Phobias are a common form of anxiety disorders. An American study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that between 8.7% and 18.1% of Americans suffer from phobias. Broken down by age and gender, the study found that phobias were the most common mental illness among women in all age groups and the second most common illness among men older than 25.
Phobias are not generally diagnosed if they are not particularly distressing to the patient and if they are not frequently encountered. If a phobia is defined as “impairing to the individual”, then it will be treated after being measured in context by the degree of severity. A large percent of the American population is afraid of public speaking, which could range from mild uncomfortability, to an intense anxiety that inhibits all social involvement.
Phobias are generally caused by an event recorded by the amygdala and hippocampus and labeled as deadly or dangerous; thus whenever a specific situation is approached again the body reacts as if the event were happening repeatedly afterward. Treatment comes in some way or another as a replacing of the memory and reaction to the previous event perceived as deadly with something more realistic and based more rationally. In reality most phobias are irrational, in that the subconscious association causes far more fear than is warranted based on the actual danger of the stimulus; a person with a phobia of water may admit that their physiological arousal is irrational and over-reactive, but this alone does not cure the phobia.
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For years, Charlie Callas made Johnny Carson laugh on the “Tonight Show.” However, I’ve never laughed harder in my life then the times Charlie and I just sat around and talked about the art of comedy. I learned so much from Charlie and now he too slips into the darkness of the unknown.
Mark Callas said his father knew every member of the Rat Pack, a group of actors that included Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Joey Bishop and Peter Lawford.
Callas toured with Sinatra and Tom Jones, had a role with Jerry Lewis in the movie “The Big Mouth” in 1967, and was a guest on TV variety shows hosted by Jackie Gleason, Ed Sullivan, Merv Griffin, Andy Williams and Flip Wilson. Callas guest-hosted on the “Joey Bishop Show.”
The fact is that more than 50 million people alive at this very moment will be dead within the next twelve months.
And though your brain is culturally trained to understand that as “them” I am here to tell you that one of “them” could be YOU. Our anxiety of death is really the anticipation of a future event. What we focus on in life is how and when we will die. Not the fact that we will. An event we have all been socially conditioned to fear, avoid and be afraid of.
Yet, we don’t even know what exactly it is.
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I am greatly concerned by newspaper articles and television news reports urging people to get their flu shots early. The articles are almost always one-sided; presenting only the viewpoints of government health officials, pharmaceutical companies that manufacture flu vaccines, and drug stores that sell them. The tone is the same: get your flu shot or you could die.
As we’ve seen in previous years, people see these reports and needlessly run out to get vaccinated without knowing the facts about the flu or vaccines. And if this isn’t bad enough after last year’s fiasco of “the sky is falling” warnings, pharmacists and others who sell vaccines, along with public health departments that are supposed to inform the public about real health issues, are warning more people to get their vaccinations even earlier this year.
The facts are that flu vaccines have a negative impact on the health of people of all ages and the government knows it! Even the CDC’s own website about influenza and flu vaccine includes a section about who should not be vaccinated against season flu: including people who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past, and people who developed Guillian-Barre syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine previously (www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm). One of our primary national public health organizations says people can get Guillian-Barre syndrome from flu vaccines!
Facing death almost always forces an individual to assess what is really important in life. My story is no different. Hello, my name is Elder Nicole B. Simpson and I am a World Trade Center survivor. My life was totally fulfilled and I was achieving the American dream on September 10, 2001. But the next day changed everything for my family and me. I represent the typical family – a wife and mother of two children. We were a two income family living in a nice community attempting to increase our quality of life. Then disaster hit us all. Scared and uncertain of what the future was going to hold, I faced many obstacles after the tragic events.
Wikipedia says: “An attitude is a hypothetical construct that represents an individual’s degree of like or dislike for an item. Attitudes are generally positive or negative views of a person, place, thing, or event– this is often referred to as the attitude object. People can also be conflicted or ambivalent toward an object, meaning that they simultaneously possess both positive and negative attitudes toward the item in question.”
While this is true, Wikipedia has left something out that I believe is so very important.
It’s the role your attitude plays in your own life and the direct effect it has on the quality of life you live each day. That’s what I want to discuss here. Lately, I have been having many conversations with callers who seem to be unaware of just how important a role your attitude plays in your life.
Attitude is everything.
Have you recently been passed over for promotion? Seeing a peer being offered advancement opportunities while your career seems stuck in a rut can be an unpleasant experience. This is especially true when you consider your skill set and commitment to be equal to (or better than) that of your promoted coworker. Coping with the emotional fall out of this situation requires objective self examination and good communication. Stressing out about your capabilities and worth isn’t effective either so the best thing to do is find out what happened and get feedback.
Talking to Your Boss
Storming into your manager’s office and demanding an explanation for why you weren’t chosen is a bad idea for obvious reasons. Someone who can’t stay in control of their emotions isn’t ready for additional responsibilities. On the other hand, trying to figure out “what went wrong” all on your own is a sure way to become paranoid and depressed. So, it is OK to talk to your boss about how the decision to promote a peer was reached – once you have calmed down. Here’s an example of a respectful way you can talk to your boss that may shed some light on what’s holding you back in terms of your career:
Many of today’s workers are faced with a stressful caregiving situation as their parents become more and more dependent. Even if you don’t have an aging parent living with you, there’s a good chance you could be “on call”. Mom may fall and break her hip while she’s home alone; Dad might have a memory lapse and be found wandering the streets. As the emergency contact, you’re the one who is asked to come and sort things out.
If a health issue is ongoing, FMLA may kick in. This provides you with legally protected (but unpaid) leave to care for an ill family member if you work for a company with 50+ employees. However, when you pitch in to care for a mother or father in-law FMLA does not apply. So far, the law hasn’t caught up with the realities of elder caregiving. It’s up to employers to decide when and if emergency time off will be granted or if you will be fired for attendance violations.
Some Employers Have a Double Standard
Many employers seem to have a compassionate attitude about parents having to leave the office suddenly when a dependent child needs them. Part of this has to do with a wariness of being accused of discriminating against women. After all, it’s still usually Mom who gets the call to deal with a child-related emergency – even if both parents work.
However, employers don’t always view the elder caregiving relationship as a serious commitment. Apparently, they figure you can just get someone else to step in and take care of an emergent need. Unlike in the UK, there is currently no law protecting U.S. employees’ right to put family first in these situations. Employees can’t afford to wait for the law to catch up – they need to start negotiating for changes in the workplace now.