I told my psychiatrist that everyone hates me. He said I was being ridiculous — everyone hasn't met me yet. ~Rodney Dangerfield

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

I'm here

"I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it's true I'm here, and I'm just as strange as you." ~ Frida Kahlo

Friday, October 10, 2014

Biglaw is Dead - Part II

Let me tell you what terrifies me the most about my biglaw job. I'm paid a certain salary — closer to 100 John Willards than 50 — to shovel smoke. Now, if this sounds like a job that only exists after you've eaten a batch of Space Cake that me and my friends bought in Amsterdam that one time, you'd be more right than wrong. And in terms of career longevity, there's only so much smoke left in the industry. 

Calvin would make a good litigator
Biglaw was once a glittering celebrity. And like any A-lister, it built an extensive entourage. There's Biglaw Lit Support, Biglaw Office Services, Biglaw Secretarial Support, Biglaw Special Services, Biglaw Administration and Human Resources, Biglaw Recruiting, Biglaw Marketing, Biglaw IT. Heck, Biglaw even has its own codependent friend Noreen, delivering "valid" industry critique straight from the bushes outside its back window.

But make a wish kids, it's a falling star. 

One day [2008] companies simply asked themselves "Why would we pay these lawyers over here $1,000 an hour, when those lawyers over there cost $500 an hour and are just as good, better even!"  

And just like that, the townspeople saw: Biglaw has no clothes!

to be continued

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Stopping By

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods 
and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

~Robert Frost, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Biglaw is Dead - Part I

When you think of biglaw you think of the culmination of hundreds of years of the leading legal minds.

When I first moved to DC, I couldn't wait to be surrounded by the finest from that field. The elite, the top tier, the best of the best of the best. True intellectual giants, their legal knowledge and analytical skills so advanced it would be almost otherworldly or futuristic in its progressiveness and forward-thinking. I naturally assumed they would fill to bursting the hallways of each DC law firm creating a veritable vortex of legal advancement driven by the combined powers of rational thought and sound decision making.

Well, I partly got my wish.

I've worked at large DC law firms, I've worked at small DC law firms, and they've all had one thing in common. They've all fucking sucked.

So when the attorneys I work with talk, I do feel like I'm witnessing a supernatural force. Kinda like what happened when they opened the Ark of the Covenant in that Indiana Jones movie....   

to be continued

Sunday, September 14, 2014

False Flag

I love conspiracy theories. I love them so much I want to take them behind the gym and get them pregnant. And I'm not alone. Be it the Lindbergh baby, the Apollo 11 moon landing, or the idea that Breyers engineered Birthday Cake Ice Cream just to make me fat, throughout history there are certain events that have conspiracy theorists convinced the general public isn't being told the full story.

What exactly causes conspiracy theories to develop? And more importantly what makes some people believe even the most outlandish of them? Interestingly, studies have found that the single best predictor of belief in a conspiracy theory, is belief in another or prior conspiracy theories. Sorta an incredulous version of the chicken or the egg dilemma. 

As a self-proclaimed conspiracy theorist, I've found that particular incidents, due to their extremity, their shocking nature, or their sprinkle-filled deliciousness, trigger our spidey senses. Once stimulated, people are anxious for a resolution be it a hidden agenda or a government cover-up.

I've compiled three of my favorite ominous occasions and researched the most compelling evidence for, and the strongest rebuttals against, these respective conspiracies.

1) Apollo 11 Moon Landing

The smoking gun: From the C rock to the lack of stars to moon dust, a faked moon landing is like conspiracy theory Viagra. But it is interesting how the backgrounds in certain photos are so similar they're nearly identical, as though NASA used, or forgot to change, the same backdrops for different photos.

Time for your meds:  NASA has an overall solid case against the faux moon landing conspiracy. It's almost like there's a bunch of scientists over there. But it's film expert S.G. Collins whose knowledge about the technical capacities of filming in the late sixties who makes the conspiracy-dispelling statement that it would have been easier to actually go to the moon than to fake it on video.  

2) 9/11

The smoking gun: Your 9/11 conspiracy needs can be satisfied by the film Loose Change. Not being structural engineer, I couldn't point to anything unusual about how the towers fell, but I do love money and the extraordinary amount of put options placed on United and American Airlines stocks just days prior to 9/11 caught my attention. The mathematical odds that this event would occur randomly and independently of the 9/11 attack are so low they statistically don't exist.

Time for your meds: 
Debunking the 9/11 conspiracies has become almost as popular as creating them. For me, the collapse of the Twin Towers, free from explosives or a controlled demolition proves that this horrible event wasn't internally manufactured.

3) Paul is Dead

The smoking gun: 
It would be easy to dismiss this theory that Paul McCartney secretly died in 1966 and was replaced by a look alike as the creative but insane result of the vast amounts of psychotropic drugs consumed in the sixties, if not for Gabriella Carlesi. In 2008, the Italian forensic pathologist specializing in the identification of people through craniometry or the comparison of skull features, analysed images of Paul McCartney before and after 1966 and found they did not match.

Time for your meds: Debunking Paul is dead for Dummies breaks this theory down piece by silly piece. For me, the most compelling evidence against this conspiracy is that there's simply no reason for it. It's a conspiracy as unnecessary as Ringo. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - Part III

1) The Peter Principle is a management concept that suggests employees rise into a position for which they are no longer qualified. This theory is demonstrated by incompetent middle management, the Dunning–Kruger effect, and the entirety of DC law firms. 
2) Canadian Murders. They happen. And they're horrifying.
3) Occam's razor states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected. An overly simplified view of this theory is: the simplest explanation is most likely to be correct or that William of Occam is a lazy dick.
4) Chewbacca was left-handed.
5) A Scholar's Mate is a black checkmate in chess that is accomplished in four moves or after I've had my third glass of wine.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Miracle Question

If you've ever read anything about business, studied for the GMAT, or drank myself into a blackout at my friend's grad school party last week, you'll know a little something about two contrasting business ideologies: problem-focused and solution-focused. A stagnant economy, struggling enterprise, and diminishing middle-class gives business theory about as much credibility as Wikipedia and if you're like me you probably imagine the average corporate board meeting runs much like this:

but the problem-focused/solution-focused concept holds water. To be solution-focused is to ignore the cause, details, and nuances of your problem and concentrate your efforts on a remedy, resolution, and outcome. To be problem-focused is to ignore said potential solutions and concentrate your efforts on "Bats! Bats! Dear God how did all these bats get in here?!?!"

For example, nowadays technology allows the average television viewer to virtually eliminate what was once considered a marketing staple: the commercial. Advertisers must use their thirty seconds wisely, commercials have to provide answers. 

Need something done? Rube Goldberg can help. 

Sober? Have a Samuel Jackson

Bats in your house? Protect your neck! Good Lord make sure you protect your neck!!!

Which brings us to Crazy Larry. He lives down by Union Station and your roommate bought weed from him one time — no, not that Crazy Larry, Crazy Larry, local furniture salesman and President of Crazy Larry's Couch Emporium. Due to a shipping error is currently OVERSTOCKED on couches and he needs to sell them THIS weekend at a LOW LOW price!!

Crazy Larry will offer you prices so low you'd think he was insane, but one thing he won't do is schedule an extended videoconference with the corporate office to review company training protocols in order to identify potentially problematic shipment handling procedures to ensure this never happens again.

How is Crazy Larry able to see beyond wave after endless wave of bat attacks and concentrate his energy on the ultimate goal? Solution-Focused Therapy credits The Miracle Question. Its premise is simple, one night a miracle has occurred and all the problems in your life that would normally preoccupy you have been resolved. When you awaken the next morning, what is it that you are doing, thinking, seeing, or believing that lets you know this miracle has occurred?  

Anyone else's miracle involve Alec Baldwin giving this pep talk as they get ready for work each morning?
The Miracle Question acts like a set of mini blinders. When you rewire your thinking to ignore the troublesome distractions that otherwise would monopolize your thought process, you're able to entirely invest in how you'll achieve that end goal, that perfect outcome, that light at the end of the bat-filled tunnel. 

Friday, August 8, 2014


God Entity: Bender, being God isn't easy. If you do too much, people get dependent on you, and if you do nothing, they lose hope. You have to use a light touch. Like a safecracker, or a pickpocket.

Bender: Or a guy who burns down a bar for the insurance money!

God Entity: Yes, if you make it look like an electrical thing. When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

The Raven

Robin Williams 1951-2014 
In the four months since my bipolar II diagnosis, I've discovered that the "Bipolar: True Hollywood Story" is much, much lamer than its celebrity persona. However, modern media would have us believe that a bipolar diagnosis is the medical equivalent of hitting the mental illness jackpot.

Nowadays bipolar is synonymous with the "mad genius." You imagine all manner of artists caught in the midst of mania tirelessly creating masterpieces.

What doesn't come to mind is the idea of Vincent
 van Gogh refilling his pill dispenser each week or arguing with his insurance provider about whether or not a pre-authorization is required for seroquel. In my humble experience, I've found bipolar to be disproportionately heavy on lithium shakes and memory loss and light on creative sparks and mad-scientist-like genius. But what I have experienced is this new underlying pressure to harness greatness in some way from the condition. After all, if Edgar Allan Poe can produce "The Raven," how can I justify a blog full of fart jokes, dirty poems, and animal videos?

Bipolar Superpowers activate! Wham! Wham! Hmmm, maybe the on-switch is broken? I'll bring that up to my doctor. In the meantime, Natasha Tracy examines this issue beautifully in her post Do the Mentally Ill Have to Be Extraordinary to Be Accepted?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - Part II

1) slowplay in poker, also called sandbagging or trapping, is deceptive strategy intended to lure opponents into a pot who might otherwise fold to a raise.
2) The red string of fate connects those destined to meet. The cord may stretch or tangle, but never break.
3) Howard Storm, a devout atheist and college professor, was leading a three and a half week European art tour when a perforated stomach led to a terrifying near-death experience.
4) Breaking the fourth wall occurs when an actor speaks directly to or otherwise acknowledges the audience. Examples include Shakespeare, House of Cards or me every morning in the shower.
5) Cats have a longer short-term memory than dogs, 16 hours compared to five minutes. Isn't that right Professor?

Monday, July 21, 2014

When You're Going Through Hell

I've been deep down in that darkness
I've been down to my last match
Felt a hundred different demons breathing fire down my back
And I knew that if I stumbled I'd fall right into the trap
That they were laying

But the good news is there's angels everywhere out on the street
Holding out a hand to pull you back up on your feet
The one's that you've been dragging for so long
You're on your knees might as well be praying

If you're going through hell
Keep on going
Don't slow down
If you're scared don't show it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there

When you're going through hell
Keep on moving
Face that fire
Walk right through it
You might get out before the devil even knows you're there

~Rodney Atkins


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Boring Work Days and Me: 5 Things I've Learned Before 5:00pm - Part I

1) Snooker is a, for real, sport governed by the World Snooker Association.
2) Gaslighting is a form of mental abuse in which false information is presented with the intent of making victims doubt their own memory, perception, and sanity.
3) Among notable musicians who played left-handed are Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney and Justin Bieber.
4) The rock band AC/DC's name is a tribute to the rivalry between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison

5) James Jesus Angleton, counterintelligence chief at the CIA from 1954 to 1975, suffered from crippling paranoia, but he like, these other unheeded paranoiacs, turned out to be right in the end. Read more and you'll see, you'll all see.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Feed Me Seymour

If all the cities in the U.S. met up for drinks after work one Thursday night, D.C. would show up late, bogart the pitcher of sangria, dominate the table conversation, then plop down a ten spot when it's time to split the tab. D.C. would then make a booty call to metropolitan equivalent of a 5 — Richmond for example — show up sloppy, be lazy in the sack, and not even give a courtesy call the next day.

The point is, D.C. is a taker.

Recently, a work project demanded the lion's share of my free time. Like a tornado through a Kansas City
trailer park, my nights, weekends, even lunches were sucked into the vacuum. And after the storm, like a Kansas City trailer park resident, I was confused, disorientated and left with the question: "Where the hell are my pants?"

With the project now closed and multiple months of work reduced to two categories: store and shred, I feel a bit like a member of the People's Temple Cult...but one who actually drank the Kool Aid.

When it comes to our careers, D.C. is a town that will gladly accept all the extra effort we're willing to give. It's not a city that encourages anyone to "Slow down, this assignment will be here in the morning," or "Take the day off, it's only work for Pete's Sake!" And while I believe that accomplishing anything worthwhile requires that we devote the best, and most, of ourselves to it, how do you know when that energy is channeling your life's dreams and when it's fueling a giant man-eating plant?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bipolar Like Us

What's it like being diagnosed as Bipolar II? Imagine you're going through a particularly rough patch in your life and you're suddenly handed a baby. A baby dragon. And you live in a terrible school district and there's no way you can afford to put Smuag Jr. in private school.

Bipolar II is a tricky rascal to diagnosis. What distinguishes it from Bipolar I is the absence of Bipolar I's trademark mania.

Because the Bipolar II spectrum only reaches hypomania, a mood state characterized by increased energy, productivity and confidence, it's often mistaken for simple high-functioning behavior.

Mania wants to fly to Vegas, rob a Casino, and start a high-speed police chase. Hypomania would rather work quietly and efficiently on a home improvement project or screenplay.

Hypomania's my jam. For
me, it shows up like a childhood friend on your front porch who asks "Want to ride bikes?" The world feels like it's on your side when you're hypomanic. It roots for you, shows you possibilities and connections. It's influenced my writing in ways I'll probably never fully understand. And I'll admit, now that — medically speaking — my next years will be devoted to not experiencing this sensation again, there's a part of me that feels like I'm taking the blue pill

But since I'm being honest, there's an equal part of me that recognizes the destructive path that Bipolar II has walked through my life. I see it in all the risks I've taken, all the opportunities I've lost, all the people I've hurt. 

And while my diagnosis was a series of personal and profound "a-ha" moments for me, I also had to understand how relatively little it meant to the rest of the world. My college Dean didn't call to personally apologize and cancel my student loans. "Again, we're terribly sorry for the mix-up, we'll be refunding your payments over the years and sending a fruit basket." There wasn't a steady stream of ex-boyfriends calling to apologize and admit that I was in fact right about any outstanding or unresolved fights. The Daily Show didn't immediately contact me to book a guest appearance. "As a hero and an inspiration, ho
w do you do it?" I mean, they still have time, they're a busy show.

Immediately after my diagnosis, I felt an overwhelming elation. Anyone who's struggled with mental health issues knows that just being able to put a name, any name, to what you're experiencing is a victory in itself. 
Yes! Not crazy! In your face universe! But this dragon has needs. Medication management, individual therapy, group therapy, mood charts, sleep hygiene. Mental health can feel like a mountain that you have to climb. But I hear the view from the top is amazing.

"No one can tell what goe
s on in between the person you were and the person you become. No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell. There are no maps of the change. You just come out the other side.

Or you don't."

~Stephen King, The Stand

Friday, April 18, 2014

Insomnia and Me: 5 Things I've learned before 5:00am - Part XVII

1) Ain't no burn like a Don Draper burn.
2) Whenever I'm feeling down or in need of guidance, I think of the big guy upstairs and his words give me comfort. "We all have ways of coping. I use sex and awesomeness." ~Alec Baldwin
3) Not sure if the Cat-Shaming website shames cats...or us.
4) The best line from Comedy Central's Roast of Stephen Hawking: "I. See. That. Andy. Dick. Is. Here. Tonight. I. Presume. He. Wants. Me. To. Tell. Him. How. A. Black. Hole. Swallowed. His. Career...No. No. I. Kid. Andy. It's. Not. Fair. To. Make. Fun. Of. People. With. Disabilities. Boom. Roasted."

5) I'm currently working on a political piece that's a comprehensive commentary examining how the changing roles of women and religion affect DC politics. For example, the female partner I work for is so Jewish—

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Bipolar and Me and Me: 5 Things I've Learned about Bipolar II Disorder - Part II

1) Get familiar with your medications, their side effects and alternative treatments. And don't expect anyone who looks like Bradley Cooper or Jennifer Lawrence to show up at your support group meetings.
2) The Oh Brother Where Art Thou? scenes with 
George Nelson are some of the most accurate cinematic representations of Bipolar mood shifts I've ever seen.
3) A little humor, can be a lot of help.

4) "Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all." ~Bill Clinton. 
5) Every day mania and depression will battle for dominance over your mood, emotions, and mental well being. They'll tell you no one understands you, that things will never improve, that the world would be better off without you. Mental illness is the most skilled liar you'll ever meet. "Happiness is a choice. You have to choose it – and you have to fight for it."¬™ Always be fighting. (Key: Balrog = mental illness, Gandalf = us)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Insomnia and Me: 5 Things I've learned before 5:00am - Part XVI

1) Talamakuy is an anual practice by the inhabitants of Chumbivilcas Province near Cuzco in Peru. During the festival, which occurs on December 25th, individuals are encouraged to drink and fight one another to settle old conflicts.
2) "
Lisa's Sax" is the third episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. In a series of flashbacks, the viewer learns the origin of Lisa's saxophone. The episode ends with Lisa's performance of Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street."
Will Shortz, the crossword puzzle editor for The New York Times, is the only person known to hold a college degree in enigmatology, or the study of puzzles.
The Hodge Conjecture is a major unsolved problem in algebraic geometry that relates the algebraic topology of a non-singular complex algebraic variety and the subvarieties of that variety.

5) This horse from Turkey was announced the most beautiful horse in the world.

But is he single?

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Bipolar and Me and Me: 5 Things I've Learned about Bipolar II Disorder

1) About 2.5% of the U.S. population suffers from some form of bipolar disorder – nearly 6 million people. So we're in good company.

2) The psychiatrist I'd been seeing for the past th
ree years misdiagnosed my condition. He was less like a medical doctor, and more like the doctors in Spies Like Us.
3) Bipolar II is pretty trendy these days. As a result, it's earned the false reputation as the milder, more fun younger brother of Bipolar I. Like the kind of easygoing mental illness you could have a beer with. The reality is, Bipolar II is different from Bipolar I but still equally severe.

4) Studies have shown a link between Bipolar Disorder and Creativity. But when I enact a full performance of The Pirates of Penzance with my cats, it's still considered "weird."
5) "If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you'd best teach it to dance." ~George Bernard Shaw

Monday, March 10, 2014

Just Deduce It

Not sure if in love with Sherlock Holmes.....or with Robert Downy Jr.

Known for astute logical reasoning, use of disguise, and forensic science skills, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson were a Law & Order Grisly 19th Century Homicide Unit.

What is it about the Watson-Holmes match-up that makes it so effective? The success of this twosome is more than just simply two Industrial Age bros joining fo
rces to create the ultimate crime-solving team. I theorize that a yin and yang dynamic is fundamental to a successful partnership. And when it comes to relationships, you're either a Sherlock Holmes or a Dr. Watson.

Show your work.

The Cat Ambassador Program recently discovered an odd couple pairing between young cheetahs and Anatolian Shepherd puppies. Their contrasting but unexpectedly symbiotic personalities make this union more effective than it is adorable. The shepherd's steady disposition neutralizes the naturally tweaky cheetah, while the cheetah's energy stimulates the mellow shepherd.

The result is so sweet, I could stir it into my morning coffee. While the use of cross-species experimentation is perhaps better suited for wildlife conservation than dating, the concept strikes a cord. In relationships, how do we choose what we need in a partner rather than what we want?

If you examine your own relationship, spend an evening with a couple, or crouch in the bushes spying on my married neighbors, you'll quickly discover a Watson/Holmes balance appears in every successful relationship.

Where Holmes is calculated, Watson is intuitive. When Holmes is methodical, W
atson is visceral. A Holmes-Holmes match is oppressively analytical while a Watson-Watson pairing lacks grounding and direction. But once you place Holmes in the driver seat, you'll find Watson content to navigate this union off into the sunset.

Or at least as far as the oddly homoerotic second movie.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Insomnia and Me: 5 Things I've learned before 5:00am - Part XV

1) The zebra puzzle is a logic puzzle attributed to Albert Einstein. Allegedly only 2% of the population can solve it.
2) The Tenzing-Hillary Everest Marathon reaches heights of 18,200 feet. Participants spend three weeks in Nepal prior to the race to acclimate to the high altitude.
3) In 1918, the USS Cyclops
vanished without a trace within the area known as the Bermuda Triangle. The ship was carrying 306 crew and passengers at the time of its disappearance and neither the ship nor any survivors have ever been recovered
4) Michael Jordan's "Failure" Nike commercial is the most inspirational sports commercial of all time.
5) Chronic sleep deprivation can cause fatigue, daytime sleepiness, clumsiness, weight loss or gain as well as adverse affects on the brain and cognitive function. But don't worry. Dr. FluffyFur assures me it's alright.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Strange Loop

strange loop is a phenomenon in which, whenever movement is made upwards or downwards through the levels of some hierarchical system, the system unexpectedly arrives back where it started.

Been there, right? New Year's resolutions remind us of our strange loops each January 1st as we restart diets, reevaluate careers, or reawaken in my ex-boyfriend's bed.

While drafting my own resolution list earlier this year, I realized that the only wisdom I'd amassed from DC life was to never date anyone you work with and never eat a street vendor chili dog without wearing a safety layer. It seemed that, despite my efforts in the previous year, I was locked in a strange loop. It's like the old saying goes: watch Megashark versus Crocosaurus once, shame on Netflix, watch Megashark versus Crocosaurus twice, shame on me.

Usually I t
urn to wine for advice, but on this occasion I looked to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus who reminded me that "you could not step twice into the same river." Because the river is continually flowing, it's no longer the same river you'd stepped into before. And likewise one's self is similarly evolving, so you're no longer the same person who'd previously done the stepping.

In thirteen years of running, I've had only one truly devastating injury: the stress fracture of 2012. I was benched for solid six weeks. My long awaited return to running felt like I'd never run a day in my life. My gait was awkward, my stride was forced. I was terrified that after thirteen years of running, I might be starting from scratch. 

As it turned out, getting back into running was literally like riding a bike. No wait, figuratively like riding a bike. Within a few miles, my worries dissolved and years of muscle memory picked up right where they'd left off. 

It's comforting to remember that as I work my way through the levels of my own personal hierarchical system. No matter the obstacles we face, it's impossible for any of us to truly find ourselves right back where we started. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Don't Panic

What does a panic attack feel like?

Well, the long answer is complicated. Anxiety disorders, stress issues, and panic attacks tend to be greeted with a gigantic eye roll. I've heard panic attacks sarcastically described as the result of too many First World Problems. In fact, if you'd asked me 5-years ago what I thought of such conditions, I'd have placed them in the same category as chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia, not real medical conditions, simply the imagined aliment of people too lazy to get cancer.

Luckily, the universe finds it hilarious for me to get my comeuppance.

About three years ago, after a series of personal and professional misnomers, I started experiencing general anxiety. It was the persistent and unceasing sense that something terrible was about to happen. Like alien invasion terrible. Like entire family murdered by killer clowns terrible. Like The Godfather, Part III terrible.

At first, I tried to bully these symptoms into compliance with "To-Do" lists, schedules, and punishing Type-A self-criticism. If I could just fix everything that was wrong in my life, the feelings would go away right? But nothing relieved the feelings of impending dread and my endless stack of "To-Do" lists started to creep out my roommate. I worried that maybe I couldn't hack the stressful DC life anymore. That I was losing my mind, losing control, losing my sense of self.

So the short answer is that panic attacks feel enormous. Like the world is ending and it's all your fault. They're surreal, nightmarish episodes of intense panic and my heart goes out to everyone in the world who struggles with them. I think of my 5-years ago self who was so quick to criticize the condition and I'm terrified by her serial killer-like lack of empathy.

But I'd have gained nothing from the experience if I was too hard on her. Because I like to think that I'm strangely richer for it. Anxiety makes your world smaller. And you can't combat a shrinking world with intolerance or criticism. Nothing but positive, compassionate understanding can lead you out of the catacombs.

Am I a better person because of my panic attacks? I have to be.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Insomnia and Me: 5 Things I've learned before 5:00am - Part XIV

1) Aces and Eights. They should always be split in Blackjack and are known as the Dead Man's Hand in poker.
"Who's on first?" is a comedy routine made famous by Abbott and Costello.
3) Fake Name Generator gives you alias options by gender, nationality, and age range. Need a 
29 year old German who lives in South Africa? Meet Heike Kuester.
4) What's the best episode of How I
Met Your Mother? Any episode that features the "bang, bang, bangity-bang" song.
5) What does 2014 hold? Paul Krassner has your answers.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Blue Monday

January is a rough time of year. With its yuletide debt, post holiday weight gain, and temperatures as comforting as a Scottish dungeon, people find January so bleak that the last Monday of the month has been dubbed Blue Monday

To shake yourself out of this wintery slump, studies have shown that consciously practicing gratitude has a substantial impact on your mood, outlook, and overall happiness. Tallying the things that you're grateful for, no matter how big or small, can raise substantially your spirits during the bleakest of winters. 

The hectic pace of DC makes it easy to overlook those tiny nuggets of happiness and good fortune in our lives. So in the spirit of appreciation, I took stock of 5 things that I'm grateful for:
  • Colored pencils.
  • Unlimited champagne when you get your nails done at Mimosa.
  • The Unicorn Commute: when the train arrives just as you get to the platform, no delays, and you get a seat. Yahtzee
  • 13 years of running.
  • Maintaining gainful employement despite majoring in English. Suckers....   

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Once when I was running

Once when I was running,
from all that haunted me;
To the dark I was succumbing,
to what hurt unbearably

Searching for the one thing,
that would set my sad soul free;

In time I would stumble upon it,
an inner calm and peace;
and now I am beginning,
to see and to believe,
in who I am becoming,
and all I’ve yet to be

~ Self Love, by Lang Leav

Insomnia and Me: 5 Things I've learned before 5:00am - Part XIII

1) How common or rare is your birthday?
2) 4'33" is a composition by composer John Cage. The performer does not speak or play an instrument during the piece, creating four min
utes and thirty-three seconds of silence.
3) There are two fish in a tank. One turns to the other and asks ''Where'd you learn to drive this thing?''
4) W
hen brain researcher Jill Bolte Taylor experienced a massive stroke, it was an opportunity to "study the brain from the inside out.
5) My blood type, AB Positive, is known as the "Universal Recipient" because we can receive blood from every other blood type but can only donate to other AB Positives. Universal Recipient  I haven't been called that since college.

Sunday, December 22, 2013


There's nothing I love more than a good conspiracy therory, and as someone who often finds herself awake at 4:00am comtemplating the meaning of life or fearing there's an iron somewhere in the world that I've accidently left on, John Rives' saitriacal The 4 A.M. Mystery featured in the 2007 Ted Talks conference, is sharp, satisfying, and makes me wish I was doing something more interesting at 4:00am than eating Nutella straight out of the jar.   

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Insomnia and Me: 5 Things I've learned before 5:00am - Part XII

1) Leonardo da Vinci has an estimated IQ of 220. To put that in perspective, Albert Einstein's estimated IQ measured in at around 160.
Pirah√£ might be the world's most unusual language. Possessing just eight consonants and three vowels, it also has no system for counting.
3) Fat talk is 
a body-degrading self conversation that women engage in. Many theorize one of its causes is the consistent media message that celebrities and models represent the "ideal" or perfect female body. In reality, models are significantly thinner than 98% of the population.
4) In Xanadu did Kubla Khan, A stately pleasure-dome decree.

5) Don't hate the player, hate Unatav the alien overlord from the planet Zarton who started an intergalactic space feud. That guy is an asshole.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Santa Maybe

Nowadays, Santa's actions would be classified as criminally insane.

Yet as children we're told once a year — while we're asleep, mind you — a colorful lunatic is welcomed into our homes with the intent of punishing or rewarding us for our actions. How exactly does Santa determine what's considered naughty or nice? And what kind of quality control does he have for this list of his? Checking it twice? That's less than the number of times I checked my cell phone while I was writing this post. A poorly dressed madman with an animal fetish and an elf internment camp should not be responsible for determining the moral integrity of the gift receiving population. This isn't a Christmas Tale, it reads like an episode of Investigation Discovery.