I read the ESPN piece on Kevin Love and other NBA players’ mental health issues this morning. My son had sent it to me yesterday.
The bit about his panic attack during an Atlanta Hawks game, initially disclosed in this piece Kevin wrote on The Players Tribune, was particularly hard to read.
Kevin Love started out his Players Tribune post with this:
It came out of nowhere. I’d never had one before.
That’s how it happened to me too.
I was on a flight from NYC to DC in my mid-thirties, trying to close an important acquisition of a portfolio company by a publicly traded company.
I had no idea what was happening to me, but I couldn’t breathe, and I was freaking out.
Anyone who has had one of these things knows how it feels.
Right after it happened I went to see my regular doctor and got a prescription for medication that can calm me down in that situation.
I have carried that medication with me when I travel ever since.
But the real solution has come from many years of trying to understand the root causes of the panic and anxiety and working to deal with them.
Kevin also describes another aspect of his personality (and mine too):
“I’m a type of guy who has a very long fuse,” Love says. “I try to be as nonconfrontational as I can, but when that fuse breaks, I explode.
Understanding things like that about yourself and working to change that kind of behavior is hard work. It takes years and you are never really done.
But I have found that admitting that you have an issue and need help is the hardest and most important part.
Once you do that, you can get help and eventually get better.
I really admire Kevin Love and the other NBA players who are speaking up and talking about this.
It is hard when you are a superhuman to admit that you really aren’t.
Really happy to hear someone on the big stage taking about this. I too dealt with this in my thirties. Like so many untalked about ailments the sufferer frequently thinks they’re there only one and there’s something wrong with them and many non sufferers don’t get that panic attacks are both real and can be debilitating.
Mid thirties is when things got real for me. I started a VC firm, had three kids, a mortgage, and a ton of pressure and stress. Much of it self inflicted.
Nothing big professionally happening to me back then. The good thing was that going through it really scared me – I wanted to be around when my kids grew up. It got me off my butt, eating better and exercising. I ended up losing over 60 pounds.
I appreciate you sharing so willingly here and elsewhere. It’s too easy to idealize successful people, and it helps to see the humanity.Pressure and stress seem inevitable. Have you ever written about any coping tips you wish you had applied in retrospect?It seems like starting a VC firm, having kids, and a mortgage (or whatever the individual equivalent is) is always going to be stressful, but would be curious what types of coping strategies you think might have actually worked in retrospect.My fear is — some of that stage of life (I’m roughly in it too) is just about gutting it out, but would love to hear the “work smarter, not harder” insight you’ve developed over time.Also — I suspect the post re time at the beach with family yesterday is in part “showing not telling” around this question…
The fear of future panic attacks is more crippling than the attack itself. The first one is terrifying…I thought I was having a stroke or something…that was 10 years ago (21). I carried that medicine with me everywhere I went for 6 years. Through lifestyle changes, I’ve been able to reduce my dependency on having that medication physically on me. However, the aforementioned fear still hasn’t completely gone away.
me too. it is like a safety blanket
FWIW, I had a 2 major panic attacks – one happened out of the blue in my late 20’s (too much caffeine + stress seemed to be the main driver). The other happened a few years ago while giving a public presentation. That was the worst. Now every time I have to speak, I fear the panic attack happening again publicly. What I’ve been taking is Valerian Root and it seems to help. I know other people take medication, but just wanted to throw out there that Valerian Root is a natural herb and has worked well. It has a calming effect on you and seems to diffuse the escalation of the panic symptoms.
i’m far from being superhuman. in fact i’m only part human, as we all are.i’ve had panic attacks, in the first few years after my Nan died (i found her dead on the floor of her bedroom one morning after she failed to answer my telephone calls). my attacks were clearly based on the psychological trauma of that event. they are very scary, and you have to experience one to really understand how they can be. the “fuck, is this IT?” question would flash across my mind, and that amplified the intensity of the experience even more. horrible.it must be additionally unpleasant when it first happens in a confined public space like a plane. that would probably have been a meltdown moment.i’m a very very patient person, but there is an end to that, and that’s when i ‘release’ 🙂 it’s measured and clinical, but if it does begin it then decides when to end. it takes enormous provocation to trigger it, but some people are enormously provocative.- be antifragile.
Jasons’ wrath. I will take notice. 🙂
#bravoi made a bunch of changes as a result of an anxiety induced shit-fest of a day around 18 months ago (**mid-late 30s seems to be a theme in this thread!).started meditation and yoga religiously, cut out caffeine completely etc. subsequently have dialled meditation back and re-added normal amounts of caffeine.i find when big things strike, it’s most productive to go extreme to resolve them but then aim for a happy medium once acute aspects have been dealt with.i used to joke, i find it easy to have no biscuits or all the biscuits – the part in between i find hard. #biscuits as proxy.
I had 1 panic attack as a result of a break-up when I was 33, and I swore to conquer it, and never have it again. So, I did. I took some pill for 30 days, took a relaxation course, read about it, took 3 weeks off, cut coffee for 2 months, and learned the breathing techniques to get rid of it. I beat it, totally. It’s psychological. It’s in your thinking. It made me much stronger mentally.I’m not a doctor, and each case might be different, but my advice to any one who has it or fear it: try to get rid of it naturally. Don’t depend on the pill as a safety net, because you’ll be treating the symptom, not the cause.
William, I am going have to agree to disagree with you on this Panic Attacks, like many forms of mental or pyschological afflictions, shall we say – come from and in a variety of forms. I suffer from Diagnosed Anxiety Disorder. My grandmother had it, my mother has it and I have it, my oldest daughter has the most watered down version of all of us. For many it’s not just in your head and as easy to get rid of as breathing exercises and lowering your caffeine. For those who get the isolated, event induced one yes, for those who suffer from a life long afflction they need more help. But, Im glad you can and do control yours naturally.
Thanks Tracey. I wasn’t categorical in my advice because I know there were cases where my experience doesn’t apply. (like your description)But what I was saying is that for those who get it for some random reason, it’s possible to nip it in the bud. If I had relied on what the doctor said, he wanted me on those pills for 6 months, and I said to myself “no way, 30 day max”. Today, I don’t even have to control anything anymore, it’s just not there. It’s gone.
I agree with you about the over medication. For years doctors wanted me on Zoloft or. Prosaic which I tried once for a week, it made me nuts and I didn’t need it. Emotions are part of life and we can’t suppress them all unless they are dangerous or so debilitating. I never wanted to not be me. What I take just makes it so I dont get anxious. But many of these things are genetically transmitted and then there is just the wacky world in which we live!
Agree and you have the right attitude generally which is to challenge yourself to do better than advice given which has to cover a wide range of possibilities and people all who are different.
.Stoicism is way overrated. Take the pill.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
But, take the right pill. So many people lost because of drug misuse and abuse. It requires some tuning.
Funny growing up my Dad was a wreck when he came home from work. Just in a very anxious and generally bad mood. I had to time when I could approach him to discuss anything. Developed a skill of figuring out that right time was in between articles in the paper after he had read a few stories and after dinner. Not while he had just gotten home and was ready to eat dinner. It has been very helpful in life. My sisters never figured this out. And note I said ‘in between the stories’ do not interrupt him.Oh my point. My family didn’t drink. The liquor was a few bottles that my parents kept around for special occasions. Maybe 3 or 4 bottles let’s say. Other than jewish holidays never remember any drinking at all. Later in life I realized that if my Dad had had a small drink when he got home that he most likely would have been a different person. I don’t mean drink in a way where you are drunk and become abusive. I just mean a small drink to steady the nerves. Or even a pill to do the same.That would have been fine as addiction definitely does not run in our family. So it would have been helpful.People deal with anxiety in different ways. I deal with it by organizing and working. That to me is very helpful. Work relieves anxiety and it doesn’t matter what the work is although some work I enjoy doing more.
The human body is a giant battery.Totally agree that your inherited DAD is largely biochemical, for what my agreement matters.Have you looked at PH flushes? The idea comes from anti-viral prevention……a highly acidic environment allows viruses to flourish. Drinking Volvic or now Essentia brings you internal PH towards level.Might have an impact on your situation.
Lemon squeezed in water….my old flatmate used to say “be wise….alkalise” ha ha
i don’t believe in medication. i believe in self healing, with guidance…if absolutely necessary. it starts on the inside and the answer is to be found there.
It’s a nice idea but sometimes like with depression you have to treat the symptom and the cause. It’s not a one size fits all situation.
It’s really funny how many people seem to be telling you generalities without knowing anything about you at all your history family and so on.We are all differentReminds me of people who are always floating some diet as what I will call ‘the answer’. Guess what? I don’t need any diet at all. I didn’t even know what carbs were. I don’t follow any particular plan or regiment. My process is simple I just have above average will power and don’t get pleasure from food and have self control. Add in some psychological tricks that work for me. May not work for others. Long term also. With literally zero variance. Others would be jealous honestly. <— Bragging of this type an important component to good mental health.But my point is that is me. I’d be foolish to think others can do the same as easily as I can. People are differentI didn’t understand much about mental illness until I dated a few women who had it and also came in contact with their parents who also had issues. Then I understood (and honestly how lucky I was). Until then it wasn’t a concept that I could grasp at all.Oddly I found it interesting and not frustrating at all to be in those relationships which is why I stayed in much longer than I should have. It was actually a fun experience. Go figure that one out. The nuttiness was stimulating to me.
I devoted many years at trying to solve my first marriage. It was challenging but not fun, and when we split the most damage I took was from the fact that I wasn’t able to “solve” it. It was depression related, we couldn’t find a cure together, the right attitude or combination of pills or whatever. How much of it was personality or how much of it was a disorder I will never know.She is way much better now, so am I.We are all different. Acknowledging that deeply, solves a few problems.
.When the symptoms are bad, sometimes treating it is more than enough.Imagine what that girl felt when she lost you?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
how could you forget? we were such messes in our 30s 🙂
Indeed. That we were. But we were good messes, well-intentioned messes, good men trying to grow up as best as we could.
A lot of this describes me from demeanor to the symptoms. It turns out that the there might be a correlation between the keto diet and increased anxiety. I haven’t adhered to the keto diet since, my anxiety is better, my waistline isn’t. Still figuring things out.
Followed keto for years. Had no idea it had a connection to anxiety. Will research .Thx .
I’ll see if I can find some links. Might have just been anecdoctal too, hard to science can be hard to find in the keto community.
dont stress. i’ll do the leg work.
What I was remembering were a few conversations in the ‘Common Sense Keto’ group on Facebook and a few others. I can send you links via email or something if you’d like? I don’t really want to post publicly. Or you can join the group(if you’re on Facebook) and search ‘Keto Anxiety’ – as far as I know the group accepts everyone.
After a cursory search (I plan on continuing on my lunch break) it seems like most things on google are saying the exact opposite. The only thing I found that seems reliable (more than just a blog post/webmd article) is an article citing a study in rats.https://www.psychologytoday…I’d go out on a limb and suggest maybe it was adhering to one of the stricter diets that caused the anxiety? Keto can be a hard switch for a lot of people.
Yeah, I’ll dig it up. I think it was more a small sample size discussion on Reddit or a FB group than anything peer reviewed. Just vouching for myself, my anxiety symptoms are greatly reduced when I not on keto vs being on it. Which sucks because keto makes me feel great in every other way.
Also had panic attacks start around age 40. Lived with it for about a year until hearing that caffeine could be playing a big role. Stopped drinking coffee immediately and within a couple of months I’ve been panic attack free for the last seven year (no other meds). Decaf is now my drink of choice.
The long fuse personality is a killer. I find the act of writing helps sort through issues and express concerns. However, actual real-time confrontation – that’s hard and inevitable, and my avoiding it makes me seem aloof to everyone else. Conflict resolution seems like a skill they should teach at school.
Being a “team player” is so effective at getting things done and building teams. Is that really the culprit? I hate to think I’d have to change something that I actually really enjoy about my personality… but I also hate panic attacks.
Last sentence is super true.My Mom – MD, now 95 – always just said ‘Everything in moderation.’Goes for fuses it appears.Well done.
.We may be related. It was my Mom’s favorite also.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
Not everyday is a good day for a confrontation. If I feel weak today I won’t challenge anyone, but I will then wait for the right time and prepare and go for the fight. Things are cyclical. People too.
You are in good company.Shivaji and Mao did the same.https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…https://en.wikipedia.org/wi…
.Actually, my school, Virginia Military Institute, specialized in conflict resolution.We had courses in boxing, wrestling, hand-to-hand combat, knife fighting, marksmanship, grenade throwing, calling in artillery, directing tank fire, and firing mortars. Most of these skills are essential to resolving conflict.Bit of levity as I know you need it, sport, things as they are in SA.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
Sounds like a fun school….if a little violent 😉 SA is heading nowhere fast. Ironically this gives us a lot of business opportunity in the short term. Make hay while the sun shines – with as little conflict as possible, of course.
This is where it starts. 500 Rats (you call your classmates Brother Rats and you will bound forever by your mutual suffering) matriculated last week. By December, there will be about 400 left.VMI has a tough, unbending, demanding system and has since 1839. They shear your head, they break you physically, and, then, when you are ready, they rebuild you. You either do it their way, or you hit the road.These men and women will be subjected to unspeakable anxiety over the next year so that when they face the rigors of combat, they will be able to make good decisions under fire and under pressure.Somebody amongst these 18-year-olds will one day wear four stars and command our Army or the Marine Corps. Gen Geo Catlett Marshall, VMI grad, ran WWII. Churchill called him the “Architect of Victory.”It is a tough place to be, but a great place to be from.When you leave, you head to Airborne School, Ranger School and your branch course. These young persons will fight our wars.It is not a pretty process, but it works.These are not your typical college freshmen.Anxiety, it’s what’s for breakfast for the Rats this morning. Can you see it on their faces and they volunteered for this.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…https://uploads.disquscdn.c…
Some other things should be taught at school or by parents too.
I have been very vocal for years about the fact I suffer from Diagnosed Panic Disorder. It took me untll my early forties to be properly diagnosed and treated, though I started getting attacks in my teens.Panic is like depression or many other pyschological issues, some suffer from severe depression that needs treatment, it cannot be shooed away with yoga or postive thinking. Some get isolated incidents that are directly related to life altering events.Panic is the same, some get it from isolated events, something tragic or way too much stress at one time, big life changes etc. Others like myself are pretty much stuck with it I have written about it and talked about it on TV. I am not embarased about it. Nor should anyone be. The more we talk about it the more people will get help. I take one pill each night and have for 18 years now. It keeps mine in check. It is sometimes exacerbated by an incident or it can be free floating. My brain is wired for it. It’s partially nature and partially nurture I know that, I have had enough therapy to get to the root causes.As you say Fred it’s really scary when you experience the first one. You think you are dying. For so long these types of things were often considered women’s diseases and of the hysterical variety. They are not, it can happen to a successful VC and a big basketball player or a five year old child.The more stressful our society becomes and the less time we allow for healthy habits the worse it can get. But if you are prone to them there is a chance you will get another. Or you can be one of the lucky ones who just gets one. Or like me, it can be a part of your permenant psychological resume.It has not hindered my life or my producivity, but no question I never leave home without my pills incase a big attack comes.
Never had one but lived with gnawing fear for a long time. Like a black shadow it could envelope me quickly
Thanks for this reflection. I get panic attacks periodically. One time, I thought I was having a panic attack for a whole week. Since then, I have made a lot of changes to my lifestyle (quitting drinking, cutting back on coffee) and focused on meditating. It has never been as debilitating as it was then. It’s helpful to know that despite the physiological symptoms (and what my brain is telling me those symptoms mean), they are non-fatal. I also use the Insight Timer app, which has some great emergency meditations for panic attacks.One thing you said – well, you called out that Kevin said – was the thing about the long fuse. I, too, have an incredibly long fuse. Is this something that contributes to panic attacks? Do I need to shorten my fuse? I always try to get things done by enlisting support rather than correcting behavior. It’s effective in building relationships and being a productive team. But is it affecting my/our long-term mental health?I’d love people’s / your thoughts.
Burning the candle on both ends is one thing that many of us feel we can pull off. But it usually catches up with you and kicks your ass. Work/life balance is hard to achieve in a lot work environments. But there is also a medical problem that is not really defined well (maybe it is) too. Look at Elon Musk right now, jeeze.Sleep, exercise, diet and work balance are crucial for most but maybe that doesn’t work for everybody.
.The person who will determine the success of Tesla is Elon Musk’s psychiatrist.Right now, that company is held hostage to his physical and mental health. The edges are starting to fray.Your advice is absolutely correct.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
Agree about Musk. And perfect opportunity for me to raise a point that I have been wanting to make but haven’t had the opportunity to.Often success is determined not only by brains, luck, upbringing or experience, but by how much psychological abuse someone can take and still remain standing and carry on. Also what types of crutches or aids they are willing to use to make survival possible. (Drugs, drinking, vices which relieve stress).Part of the issues with society today with both social media and the media in general is that people see what others do and what they have (money, friends, toys, fancy lifestyle) and they don’t know what is going on under the hood.  They don’t know if they are drinking to cope, or taking drugs (non prescription or prescription and how often) or have some other vice or addiction. All they see typically are the results and possibly the success. So then they decide to go down a similar path. It drives them to a dangerous area that they are not equipped to deal with.One last point. One persons anxiety or fear is another persons fun. You may be watching someone who views the exact same activity that would give you palpitations and panic as something that brings joy and happiness. Why? Because you are not the same person as they are but you are trying to play a game that they are much better equipped to play (without any damage). Mental strength is no different than physical strength not everyone has the same base abilities. In other words everyone is trying to use an old phrase ‘keep up with the Jones’ (or the one I use ‘only be as honest as…’).
Understanding why such things happen, including effects of food and other activities or exposomes, is always a challenge without data. Anecdotal memory may result in superficial reasoning. But now techniques are being explored to create personal chronicles — also called Personicles — that may help in understanding a person — or create model of the person. Granted these are in early stages and need to develop further for becoming common place.If you are interested, I would love to discuss this direction with you or others.
Fred, thanks so much for sharing this personal struggle. I have been very open about having quit alcohol and caffeine and that, as a result, my anxiety and panic attacks have completely gone away. It is caused by stress and can be managed, you just have to be very aware of it. The fear of an additional panic attack is sometimes almost worse, but the best way to conquer that is to just confront it and ask for it. Once you do that, it won’t happen. Seems counter-intuitive, but it works. I too carry medication for plane flights, etc., but have never had to use it. Again, quitting caffeine and alcohol solved it for me. So, hopefully others try that as well as a solution as it has been incredible. Thanks again for sharing.
My first panic attack took place in the middle of a 36 hour on call shift at the hospital. I’d had a number of very complex cases over the course of a really unpleasant day and a half which included multiple patients needing to be resuscitated. One of the trainees called me with a minor but important problem.Bam, I was totally clustered.Luckily I had been practicing yoga and pranayama breathing and I recognized the symptoms and was able to get myself back on track in a few minutes. I’d just turned 33.I practice meditation, Box breathing and a number of other biofeedback and mindfulness techniques now. But the fear of having one happen at a crucial moment is always at the back of your mind.Terrifying stuff.Thanks for brining this up Fred. We really aren’t doing enough about behavioral issues and about having open and frank dialogue about how pervasive they are
I am not prone to this fortunately but have labored with anxiety disorder my entire life.I manage it though various natural processes but it is something i deal with and rarely speak of.There are a number of people in this thread that i have considered friends over the years and never shared this nor knew of theirs.That gives me pause as much as anything in these comments.
I have had anxiety my entire life. I choose to manage it naturally. Sometimes that means avoiding triggers. In my 30s it means I have taken up running. I can tell the difference in my mood when I run. The science and biology are real.I do not fault or blame folks who choose pharmaceuticals. For the most part I do ok and my condition does not prevent me from functioning. That is not true for everyone. There is no heroism or path to beating this demon. Professionals and experience can help folks manage and control it. It does not mean it went away.
Agree! For me exercise, nutrition, meditation and compartmentalizing my days has become the pace of how i live and stay productive and deal with anxiety. Sometimes better than other times but it is something to be dealt with not something that is going away for me.
It’s the Atlanta Hawks, damn.
typo. fixed. thanks!!!!!
Something similar happened to my fellow Colby musician friend Dan Harris on air when he was doing the ABC news about 10 years ago and he used it was mobilization for a 2nd career of sorts, which he continues today, in advocacy for meditation and mental health. It’s great when folks who some degree of fame can use it for good to bring attention to important issues like this. https://www.youtube.com/wat…
his meditation app 10% happier is my daily driver. beats the pants of the other ones out there.
Dan’s podcast is a game-changer if you want insight into the causes of your anxiety. Regular meditation + therapy can be a huge help.
I saw this guy’s talk at Yale. He’s onto something! 🙂
i wonder what. a neurologist would say? the brain/ mind machine.
Quick endorsement for Dan’s book 10% Happier on how to address the issues he faced (and modern stress in general) with meditation. It’s a good read. And, small world, this is Matt Harris’s brother (Matt at Bain Cap Ventures).
I bet he had PTSD as well. He mentioned when he came back from a long stretch in Iraq he felt depressed and started to self medicate
Nice to see a fellow Colby alum on AVC!
Bill, good to hear from you — I’ll ping you offline. Been too long.
Its so humbling to see others share their stories and realize how not alone we really are. Also great to read how others have handled it. My big breakthrough came when I took myself to California and attended a Hoffman Foundation week course – think lots of hitting things with bats. For me, I don’t think its ever something I’ll say I’m ‘cured’ of, but I know I’m way way way down on the spectrum which pleases me no end.
I got an anxiety episode once, after a couple of weeks of a hard due diligence. I remember I started sweating a looot (without doing any physical activity) and I had no control over it…I felt like everyone was staring at me and it was difficult to breathe at that moment. When I went to the doctor it was an anxiety attack. What I found on the topic without having to change my lifestyle to yoga and that king of things is that it seems that we all have unconscious anxiety relievers in our lives. In my case, the most effective is exercise. I try to go swimming twice a week and do functional training with my wife when I can (Not more than 3 hrs per week). On the other hand, my wife seems to lower her anxiety doing something she loves: shopping for clothes. (Disclaimer: I’m not kidding or trying to be sexist, it’s just an activity she loves so much 🙂 )Thanks for posting about this topic!
this blog is a stress anxiety reliever.
if that is true, then that is awesome
Thank you Fred. I too watched that Kevin Love piece with much interest. Your last sentence is the crux of it — admitting to others, but most importantly yourself, that you are fallible can be so hard for many people.A few years ago I had a panic attack while on a hike in Scottsdale, AZ. I had a bunch of things going on in both my personal and professional life that were weighing on me at the time and I thought the hike would help clear my mind. It was not an overly challenging hike, but I struggled on the ascent and could not catch my breath. As I reached the top, I seriously thought I was going to die. Thankfully I was with my sister, who helped me calm myself.It was in the aftermath of that day that I realized I could no longer try to be “superhuman” — not as a colleague, a boss, a friend, a husband or father. While I have many talents, I came to embrace that I, like everyone else, have weaknesses as well. The first step that made a huge difference was allowing myself to be vulnerable. I am so glad I had the courage to do that — contrary to what I had always thought, it is proving to be perhaps one of my biggest acts of strength.
Body based coping strategies are helpful those moments. Try sticking your hand in a bowl full of ice water and leaving it in there for a few seconds, or taking a very cold shower. Some folks even do something called Ice Diving, where they place their entire face into a bowl of ice cubes and water. This actually triggers the drowning reflex and it automatically calms your body. But you have to be in a place (like home) to do that. Other body based techniques can be used too that utilize other senses such as smell and taste. Fire ball candies are a portable option, and I’ve seen some people carry around tiny packets of pepper. You have to experiment a bunch to see what works for you. All of these ideas are derived from DBT. Behavioral Tech is the official company of all things DBT if you want to know more about all of it.
Thank you so much for sharing this. I experience something similar to panic attacks related to PTSD. On one hand, VCs trigger it because it was the predatory lead VC in my first startup, the devastating effects to the company and my mental and professional life after it that initiated a journey that continues to this day. On the other hand, lurking and occasionally commenting in your community was the beginning of healing for me. I feel that in some ways the steadiness of your daily posts and the faithful core of your community saved my life. I don’t experience the attacks the way I used to and some of what I experienced is more that bizarre out-of-control reaction people with PTSD experience when triggered. But knowing you’ve battled something similar and are willing to speak out is huge. We find comfort and learn more about ourselves by knowing what others we revere are experiencing. Collectively, the sharing of such stories also helps others around us to understand.
.The thing about PTSD is that it is never cured, is always lurking beneath the surface, and can be triggered by anything without warning.In the moment of that intensity, there is only survival until the hands of the clock remove one from the grips of the memories. In that moment, we are literally capable of anything.It does fade with time, but it never disappears.Good wishes.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
Thanks JLM! That is my sense as well. It does help to understand why and how triggers and responses work. I’m building my tool kit to get through it. So far, playing piano helps, deep breathing, and a leisurely walk through Ft Tryon Park.
I spent three months in the NICU with my daughter and thereafter was randomly triggered by bells and buzzers (coffee makers, alarms, elevators, etc). A friend recommended EMDR and after a few weeks of treatment I have never been triggered again. I was told it works for about 50% of people but worth it if it can help.
Thank you so much for commenting. I’ve been looking for an EMDR certified therapist in NYC. It has proven harder than I would have expected. If you know of someone here I’d really appreciate that.
You can eliminate PTSD and the disruption to flow of emotion and such of PTSD via healing practices that involve the serotonin neurotransmitter – such MDMA, psilocybin containing mushrooms, and Ayahuasca.Certain forms of talk therapy are important too to engage the language/story telling pathways, learning words to help place labels on emotion and experiences you perhaps never had labels for (so that energy can settle, be placed), along with developing skills/practices for self-awareness are important, in part to develop healthy boundaries, so you’re not simply at the whim of the external environment. This is all so that you learn to and may express your feelings and not allow them simply internalize energy that must be in-flow. Emotions and certain energies not flowing is likewise why panic attacks exist, something is blocked that shouldn’t be – generally from early childhood emotional wounds that haven’t healed; sometimes physical injury can be a block via the ego mind acting as a coping mechanism through disrupting emotional processes so an individual can function when they otherwise wouldn’t be able to from having so much pain.The current medical establishment is so indoctrinated, via carefully crafted to maintain an estranged narrative disconnected from the holistic – influenced by individuals who they themselves aren’t healthy and influenced likewise by for-profit industry interests and complexes – that the current knowledge that is in the mainstream and that spreads to the layperson is void of the [email protected]:disqus – If you’d like to safely explore and remove any underlying stress you believe you have, it sounds like it, please feel free to reach out to me directly. Would be happy to point you in the right direction. No rush, maybe once I’ve proven myself and built trust further you’ll take me up on the offer.As a compassionary note, there may be very rare instances of individuals who’s genetics and structure of their brain/biology which doesn’t allow their brain to find or reach homeostasis – perhaps through not being able to absorb a certain level of stimuli, however I believe that occurrence is magnitudes smaller than those currently with panic and anxiety dis-orders, dis-ease, etc. We all learn now, in proper schooling, that the brain is extremely malleable with its neural pathways – neural plasticity, and so long as its energy and development/evolution systems of the mind-body don’t have interference or are blocked (blocks that can be unblocked), then there’s no reason that the state of individual will be stuck at either polar extreme – nor needing to jump between two disconnected polars vs. being able to be in a gradient flowing between the two via autonomous self-regulation/self-management of mood, etc. So if you have depression, anxiety, panic attacks, are labeled bi-polar or any other number of symptomatic states, don’t dismiss or believe that is your end point/state until you’ve properly tried the various healing practices that heal and unlock old wounds, and blocks, that may be keeping you in a holding pattern caused by ego mind coping mechanisms getting stuck on and not serving you, or other.The sneaky thing about health and healing, and something that almost no one tells you, is that once you start the path to healing you will likely uncover more pain that you must address. If you start a regular yoga practice you’re getting your body’s faculties to being more efficient – even if you think of it as simply more oxygen getting to your system, which allows more processes to have more capacity and more efficiency – that efficiency will put pressure on old wounds and existing blocks; this is at least in part why some studies show that exercise actually worsens depression and anxiety – exercise, and lactic acid specifically was found to work on motivational systems, and so you’re giving yourself motivation (adding pressure to do) to do more than stagnant or not move forward contrary to how depression and anxiety can freeze you from action. If you start eating well and eating foods that don’t numb you from your emotions or that no longer distract you from underlying emotional pain, then if you want to maintain eating healthily, you must explore and heal that underlying pain.No one currently teaches all of these holistic and interconnected systems, not well or clearly enough anyhow – I certainly haven’t come across the knowledge that I have developed from my own experiences anyhow. The angering part of this for me is that certain healing practices, well, all of them, them being disconnected and people offering them individually – they don’t guide you past their own specialization of knowledge, so they may open you up to very difficult suffering and pain – and if that leads you into “modern” medicine (which should be ridiculed the most and especially not praised as modern simply means it is the least tried, true and tested means of practices) and the current indoctrinated medical system, you’re going to either be given bandaids that may help you cope (usually at a cost of side-effects and long-term financial) – or bandaids that then hurt you further and/or allow yourself to “function better” but then that increases the pressure on the unhealed systems underneath – leading to potentially really fucking up, breaking your system.The most difficult hurdle can be from fear (hurdles/blocks that people may not even recognize as fear), fear that there can be improvement once you’ve found a comfortable spot that you feel in control of, that can be most difficult to overcome. Of course control is an illusion. Control is an ego mind mechanism that can lead you to trick yourself, delude yourself, even convince yourself with completely illogical thoughts. We only can ever manage ourselves, and develop our self-regulation, self-awareness, to become better at passively managing, in flow and not with constant-and exhausting reenforcement of effort from ego mind; the main practice is of learning to let go of ego mind control, its grip it can gain over us. The best place to be is resilient, where your capacity for stress is expanded through experience, however that your baseline is “stress free” – or rather in a state of homeostasis and living in a safe, secure environment – which then brings us to the political landscape and overall health of society and how we treat people, so then you can safely lean on – and feel you can depend on, trust, those systems will take care of you in times of need. These are the systems I am going to implement.I have more thoughts, a draft comment I already started, on panic attacks – though unsure if I’ll get around to posting it today, hopefully.
Incredibly courageous post.The AVC community is a special place.
AVC community needs to send love to Elon Musk, tell him to leave the noisy deluge on Twitter for a while and pop by our bar to get some quality TLC and business support.He’s clearly struggling with mental health issues and needs empathy: https://uploads.disquscdn.c…https://uploads.disquscdn.c…@fredwilson:disqus @liad:disqus @JLM:disqus @lawrencebrass:disqus @wmoug:disqus @SixgillBlog:disqus @jasonpwright:disqus @TomLabus:disqus @sigmaalgebra:disqus @lavonnereimer:disqus @zamansky:disqus
Twitter I am guessing is a coping measure for many people. I think that is a point often missed.Even with respect to the President it’s quite obvious that he lashes out on twitter in order to cope. And honestly despite what anyone thinks that is way way way better than a host of other ways he could be trying to cope (which he may also do we don’t know but for the purpose of my point let’s assume not). Remember addiction runs in his family and killed his brother. And he knows that.Ditto for Fred. He has lashed out here at people in the comments when he gets angry. Only very occasionally but it has happened. At first take it seems to be the wrong behavior for someone like Fred. But on the other hand if you view it as a coping measure it is a vastly effective strategy with much less negative impact than other things that he could do.I use a similar theory if anyone complains about how much I work. Or I should say ‘whines’. I simply say something like ‘well would you rather I deal with the stress by working less and then drinking or taking drugs (or pot whatever)?’. That always does the trick and convinces them I am doing the right thing for me which is almost always the rule that I follow.
I believe Elon clarified soon after that he didn’t clinically have bipolar, though he feels he goes through extreme ups and downs – however who wouldn’t under the stress and level he’s functioning at? He of course can better learn to manage these stresses and make the extremes feel less; his use of Ambien and his recent “pedo” comment certainly a signs that he isn’t coping or managing well or in a healthy way.
Saying this with utmost seriousness, recent neuroscience findings indicate that taking a magic mushroom (aka Psilocybin) or an Ayahuasca trip once has a significantly positive effect on mental health — reduces anxiety attacks, depression; hell even terminal cancer patients have reported being at peace after trippin. Not a coincidence that DoD is funding this research at John Hopkins, Yale etc by huge amounts, since one of their biggest expenses is treating veterans with PTSD. Highly recommend reading Michael Pollan’s “How to change your mind” on this topic. BTW experienced meditators can reach the same calm states with ease, but I’m guessing popping a pill is much more palatable to most folk than working hard on meditation every day…
Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Give me the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.
yes, the knowing the difference is the key. life then becomes so much easier, so much more rewarding (potentially).
When I have to work on long projects I tend to seclude myself and stay at the office when there aren’t many meetings. This sometimes goes for several weeks. When I finish and go outside again I have noticed that I have mild panic attacks when I enter crowded spaces, as the subway. Nothing I can’t cope with but very uncomfortable, you feel your body preparing for something invisible. A few days outside walking under the rain or sun and talking to people cleans it.
.Ever since 9-11, I hate to be in crowds. I spend all my time profiling the dark complected, dark haired, bearded persons.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
I deeply fear earthquakes.Last 8.3 made me kneel but didn’t kill me.Genuine panic.
Yes, but where you live have much of the most gorgeous mountain views on the planet, right where you are on the eastern rim of the Ring of Fire!
Ah, don’t say that!!!! :-)!!! You will upset the politically correct, gender neutrality, dedicated, devoted NYC NYT readers, dreaming of the second coming of their savior Obama, snowflakes! They will reach for their deck of cards, the race card and the gender card.In this case, with their race card and their coveted portraits of Che, Castro, Mao, Pol Pot, Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Maduro, Nasty Nancy, Ayatollah Kockamamie, Mika and Joe, Rosie, Whoopi, Joy, Obama, and Hillary, they will accuse you of the racist sin of “profiling”, 1000X Hitler, 10,000X David Duke, the hero of the KKK, genocidal, racist, Islamophobic, homophobic, zenophobic, misogynistic, and worse!!!!For more — we all need to know all the new rules — if you mention anything at all about gender, even worse say anything about or even mention women, they will pull out their gender card and do much the same.If you even mention Trump, they will pull out both cards, call for their buddies Antifa, argue that their violence is protected free speech and Trump’s free speech is impeachable violence (thank you, Ann!).Ah, NYC is a special place, right up next to Martha’s Vineyard, DC, SF, and Hollywood.One good thing about Hollywood, some of the women (I know; I know; we’re not supposed to use that sexist word!!!) sometimes wear some really cute knitted hats!!!!Honey, “sometimes I’ve been thinking an awful lot about” bending you over my knee and using a thin tree limb to get you back to being as mature as a grade school girl (right, another word we’re not supposed to use) — actually, I’m not going to do that, but apparently your Daddy didn’t do nearly enough of that.Okay, you’ve been warned!!! :-)!!!I wish that this was all just a joke; actually, it’s not entirely so.
.I am certain there is not a single person who is reading Freddie’s excellent blog who has not had a passing encounter with anxiety which has manifested itself physiologically. Some may not have recognized it at the time.It is a normal part of living meaning that “normal” is the category reserved for those we don’t really know very well. You never know what the other person is carrying inside.Entrepreneurs and soldiers are linked by the stressful nature of their profession. In the military, we used to call it Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome until it was upgraded to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by the psychiatrists some time long after the Vietnam War. (Thank you, VA and Medicare billing codes.)I saw a ton of it up close and personal while in the military and afterwards when I was involved with veterans. Having gone to a military school, some of them were school mates. Sometimes there was a mirror involved.It is real and it is still poorly understood.What Freddie describes is something a little different but from the same family tree.So, now I propose a slightly different idea – prayer. I am not the type to wear my religious beliefs on my lapel – nor am I afraid to practice them, as unfashionable and uncool as that may be – but I have found great comfort on my knees with my hands together talking to God, not asking Him to cure things, but to simply give me the grace and strength to exercise my own free will to determine His path for me.It takes more courage – the ability to continue to perform in the face of blinding fear (sound familiar?) – to pray than it takes to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. In the end, our lives are determined by how we harness our own courage.You want to be a successful entrepreneur? Add a little courage to the mix and go start a company without knowing what the outcome may be.Having said that, count me amongst those who would be inclined to take the pill first and to then do the other things. Pills first.Tonight, I will hold you in my prayers. In all of your travails – cause we all know you’re not normal – He will be with you. Invite Him in.What the Hell, it can’t hurt to hedge your bets, no?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…
Panic attack seems like anticipatory PTSD – I’ve kept going despite seeing tons of signs of trouble, now the signs are a screaming signal.Agree on the sides of a coin idea.
Usually in practice, especially when trying to do things that are new and/or challenging, you are NOT fully in control. So, if you had any doubts, remove them. If you thought you could really be in control, f’get about it. Sure, avoid walking on thin ice, vast goals with half vast planning, walking near the edge of the cliff over a deep canyon, taking unnecessary risks, do measure twice and saw once, etc. Try to be very much in control of the things you likely can control.In some good situations, you actually can have, comparatively, a lot of control; for this it helps to have resources much in excess of likely needs. But, likely one of the reasons for your concerns is your efforts to be successful — assuming not successful yet — to GET to where you have resources much in excess of likely needs.All that done, you are still not fully in control. Why not? In short, still “shit happens”.Okay, you’ve worked hard and smart, have a 10 pound sack for expected 5 pound loads, have checked tire pressure, fan belts, oil level, transmission fluid level, brake fluid level, washer fluid level, coolant fluid level, battery strength, spark plug wires, …, and have lots of ice and water in the ice chest, lots of food, fresh batteries in the smartphone(s), etc. so now are ready to drive across Death Valley.Gee, you didn’t check the drive shaft U-joints so could still break down. Might hit a chuck hole in the road. … Shit could STILL happen. In principle you could die. Okay, accept this; you can’t 100% avoid dying. You know this. Again, shit happens.There’s a movie, Seabiscuit about the horse of the same name in the Great Depression and the jockey. At one point, the jockey is recovering from a badly broken leg, not yet fully healed, but he very much wants to ride in a big race. The owner of the horse and employer of the jockey is concerned that his leg might give out and have him fall off the horse.The owner’s wife is trying hard to help him with his emotional struggles with his dilemma. At the climax of this decision, he explains that the jockey could fall off and get trampled by the other horses. She says “He could die?”. Yup. But the jockey knows that, very well, but still very much wants to ride. She says “Let him ride.”So, they let him ride. It works out well; he doesn’t fall off the horse; he does finish the race; actually he wins the race; but, yup, he could have died.He knew that. We know that. If he dies, we hope it’s fast with little pain. But he also knew that if he didn’t race he wouldn’t win; if he did race, he might win; and actually he did!Some broad good news: (1) There are about 7 billion humans on the planet. So, from that, with all the many failures, there have also been a lot of successes. Indeed, the total number of humans is increasing. (2) Each century, it’s clear that most of the human condition has been improving. (3) Humans, essentially like modern humans, have been succeeding on earth, often against long odds — ice ages, famines, accidents, infections, epidemics, wars, “hostile forces of nature”, etc. — for at least the past 40,000 years. There were lots of early deaths, but in total it still worked. And for nearly all that 40,000 years, man made it work with next to nothing in science, technology, tools, defenses against nature, etc. (4) In the last few hundred years, nearly all humans have become MUCH better off. E.g., can be in some primitive part of Africa, have an Ebola virus epidemic, and presto the UN WHO detects the disease and flies in and cures it. (5) Now we have MUCH more information, defenses, etc. (6) Now we can see that working hard and smart very much should give us MUCH better chances than what actually did work well enough to have the population growing for nearly all of the last 40,000 years.That was a very persuasive 40,000 year history, experiment, on what actually DID work — e.g., lots of walking barefoot, forging for food, sleeping in caves, drinking hopefully clean rain water, maybe making some winter clothes out of animal skins.Net, given that the Ice Age humans made it, if we work hard and smart, why should we worry too much?One more: Since I live out in the country, there are field mice. Sadly at times, some of them try to share the inside of my house. So, I have a standard Victor mouse trap. Over last winter and spring, it caught maybe 6 mice. I bait the trap with sliced American cheese, same I often use for a lunch sandwich.But now I have a genius mouse! He ate all the cheese in the trap without springing the trap! SMART little guy: He nibbles at the edges and, somehow, actually gets all the cheese. The trap is darned sensitive, but he is even more sensitive!Okay, he’s been smart/lucky so far! So, I put more cheese in the trap. Yup, he’s still at it, nibbling at the edges of the cheese and not springing the trap.Gotta get rid of this little guy, but it’s a shame. So far, he’s making it against terrible odds. So why should I incapacitate myself with fear?
Thank you for posting this. The more people to talk about these kind of things, the better. In this day and age, there is still too much stigma surrounding any mental or emotional problem.
i’m not a confrontational person like K-Love. I’ve always compared it to taking a basketball (ironically) and pushing it down in a deep pool…the further down you push, the more explosive it comes out when there’s a mishap. just ask @gracelee!
Hi everyone,I’ve been dealing with these types of attacks this entire year on and off. For the past month or so following guidelines given in the video I’m going to link down below, as well as exercise, mindfulness, mediation, and better eating have drastically reduced my episodes, if they haven’t been completely eradicated altogether. Remember that anyone is susceptible to these attacks, especially if you aren’t taking as much time to care for your physical and mental health.The main thing with anxiety/panic attacks is to not fight them and to remember the symptoms are, “uncomfortable but not dangerous”. I know in the moment it feels like you’re going to die…but you aren’t. Once you’re able to normalize the symptoms and get to the root of what’s making you anxious in the first place, and come up with a realistic solution to that, you will feel much better. As someone who was dealing with an asthma/anxiety attack combo I can confidently say recovery is definitely possible.Hope this helps.Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/wat…
Fred – thanks for using your position of authority to steer the conversation toward important stuff like this.People still trying to “make it” might be fearful that opening up about this stuff might make them vulnerable or somehow “damaged goods”.I’ve long believed in Dijkstra’s admonition to focus on doing what only you can do. This post is a great example of that. ( https://en.wikiquote.org/wi… )
You are going to get so many me too comments on this. I was driving north just south of Columbia, SC on I-26 18 years ago when I panicked and had to pull over. Like many on this thread when I travel long-distance by car or by plane I take meds with me. I’m less reliant now, but the struggle has been more severe in the past. Thank you for sharing this!
If I were to summarize the comments, yoga and breathing techniques backstopped by a drug are the most successful solution for managing panic, anxiety, and stress. What I see is that managing stress is a teachable skill that involves awareness, reflection, and sometimes [email protected]:disqus Have you taken your experiences with anxiety and discussed managing stress with your kids?
I’m so happy you wrote about this. I never would have thought you had panic attacks if you hadn’t. “It is hard when you are a superhuman to admit that you really aren’t.” — it’s also hard when the world believes you are superhuman to admit you aren’t. But I think it helps everyone to understand the complexities of being human, and the way struggles of all kinds can be overcome with insight and help and community and understanding.
Thanks for sharing FredAs I get older – I have panic anxiety attacks as I drive down a high way (interstate usually)If bad weather, or dark and bad weather – it gets worst – it comes from no where ….especially bad going over certain bridges or tunnels.It is hard for people that don’t get struck w/ these feelings to be able to understand them
I was going to say whether meditation and yoga can help with such panic attacks (at least after some long time of practicing them), then saw that a few people have already commented here saying that those can help.
Mardy Fish – an incredible athlete and former top tennis player was also open about his anxiety attack struggles in a Players Tribute post. I was always super impressed with Mardy and this made me even more of a fan. Great read – https://www.theplayerstribu…
You gotta check out `Emotional Agility` by Susan David Ph.D. It’s a book about these sorts of things and while it may not be a direct cure for anxiety or panic attacks, it’s a template for handling emotions to where we don’t need to use terminology like `blowing fuses` and other arcane metaphors. The idea is that most human emotions are rather unpleasant but even so serve as helpful heuristics. The key is to create a no-judgement zone around them and use them as a form of emotional sensory perception.
Early 30s for me. A session with a hypno-therapist to deal with a debilitating fear of flying helped a lot, as it identified a lot of physical causes: lack of sleep, not eating properly, caffeine and nicotine, etc…There is no right answer but my experience was that there are a lot of triggers that can be avoided.
Well if we were to use the enneagram personality typing system here, my guess is you’d be a Type One with a Nine wing, or the reverse- a Type Nine with a One wing. Some days I think you’re more one than the other- only you can tell- but the important point is to look at the characteristics of the self-effacing Type 9, which unconsciously allows stuff to sneak up on them in order to avoid confrontation, even though I can tell the “main” part of you likes to be honest, open and frank. Type Nine people push negative, confrontational stuff out of mind to be all things to all people so they don’t have to face the fact that they don’t think they’re important enough to have a conflict over. Here’s the description- if it resonates, you can observe it more closely in yourself so it doesn’t sneak up on you, and you can deal with it safely in the conscious realm before it explodes from the unconscious to the body. https://www.enneagraminstit…
Have you read The Body Keeps the Score? https://www.amazon.com/Body…The author explains how panic attacks can’t rationally be mitigated and offers strategies on how to work through them.
Thanks for sharing this Fred. Very powerful and helps normalize my own difficulties for me.There is a phenomenal piece of fiction released a year or two ago called The Nix. It’s a debut novel by Nathan Hill. The central protagonist experiences panic attacks and its the most realistic portrayal of the experience I’ve ever read. Apparently, it’s very well researched (the afterword credits scientific writing for the inspiration and verisimilitude).
Thanks so much for sharing this. Talking about mental health publicly takes tremendous courage. I personally suffer from panic attacks, anxiety, and bipolar depression, while working as a software engineer (at an avc-funded company…). It’s hard, and I’ve had to admit that I’m not superhuman, either.One of the saddest parts of these diseases is that they are largely private affairs. The stigma is real. For most people, talking about these issues publically would make you essentially unemployable. Too many people suffer in silence, in a culture where it’s not okay to be anything but okay.I’m trying to write, to share my experiences somehow. Thanks again for sharing, and fighting just a little bit against the stigma.
I’ve had panic attacks for 10 years now, been on meds for that long as they were occurring several times a day. they’re absolutely horrible and I too had them on a flight and flying gets to me every time now because of the correlation… thanks for posting about this
I always considered my long fuse a weakness, idk why. Thanks for helping me see things from a new perspective.