Anxiety and Panic

Video: Why Black & White Thinking Can Be So Hard To Kick

"Why do we park in a driveway, but drive on a parkway?" my third grade teacher, Mrs. O'Malley, once asked during an English lesson.

It's a question that stumped, amused, and bewildered me and my fellow nine-year-old classmates.

We furrowed our eyebrows, but couldn't answer the question. Was there an answer to this question? Was it a riddle? But wait, even if it were a riddle, can it be more than that? Where do words come from, anyway? And who gets to decide what they mean?

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Anxiety and Panic

Video: Five More Things You Shouldn’t Say to Someone Who Is Having A Panic Attack

If you’ve never had a panic attack before, you can only imagine what it feels like.

Of course, you’ve probably experienced the individual components of panic in isolation – you’ve most certainly felt your heart beat rapidly while exercising, right? And maybe you’ve dealt with vertigo before after a few drinks, or shortness of breath during spring allergy season.

But when severe anxiety starts piling each of these symptoms in a giant heap on your chest, coupled with frightening thoughts, an uncomfortable synergy is born: the whole of the panic is more than the sum of its parts.

And I should certainly know. After all, I’ve had panic disorder for about ten years now. I can’t even count how many bona fide panic attacks I’ve had in my life.

Some were tolerable; some were crippling. All of them were frightening.

So, what should you do if someone you know has a panic attack in front of you? How should you react? What should you say?
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Addiction

Gamer Stereotypes Just Aren’t True

You know gamers... They're teenagers or young adults, slothful, lazy, without motivation and spend all of their time, well, gaming. They're also typically unattractive, probably fat, and are pale from spending so much time indoors playing video games.

Well, if this is your idea of someone who plays video games, unfortunately your idea is pretty much completely wrong. Sorry.

So says new research just published from German researchers who examined 2,550 actual video game players.

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Depression

“Siri, I Want To Kill Myself” Is Apple’s New Update Enough?

Apple recently announced that Siri, the personified electronic assistant that lives in your iPhone,  is now capable of responding to self-harm references. Now, instead of directing users to nearby bridges, she actually provides the phone number to suicide prevention hotline. From Apple Insider:
When the iOS digital assistant Siri is presented with a user that indicates he or she is considering suicide, the program will offer to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline [NSPL]. Before this most recent addition, Siri would show the locations of centers but not offer to call them.
I beg to differ on that last sentence -- last year, for the life of me, I couldn't get Siri to pull up any suicide prevention center locations.

But let's disregard that for now and focus on that first sentence. Apple has "taught" Siri how to respond to suicide-related questions and statements -- excellent. I'm honestly thrilled, and I commend Apple for their decision to work this feature into her electronic architecture.

Still, this new version of Siri needs some serious work. While she's great at handling requests that contain the trigger words/phrases like "suicide" and "kill myself", she's a dopey hunk of metal if you profess, in slang, the desire to end your life:
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Anger

Megan Landry & Her Incredible Anti-Bullying Video, Stronger

Despite recent attention -- and even jail sentences -- being handed out for teen bullying, it remains an all-too-common problem. School administrators and parents are often frustrated in trying to curb this behavior. It's insidious, underground, and few teens want to talk about it openly -- out of fear and stigma.

The fear is very real, because adults can't watch kids and teens every moment of every day. The possibility of repercussions -- such as even worse bullying -- for reporting bullying behavior reinforce the fear and cycle of bullying.

That's why it's so refreshing and gives us hope to have come across this video the other day by 16-year-old Canadian Megan Landry. Join over 105,000 others (as of this writing) who've already watched and give a view below.

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Video: On the Importance of Forgiveness

Relationships can be a lot of fun and full of good times and enjoyment. But all relationships also go through times when they are more challenging, especially when it comes to a disagreement or difference of opinion. In the heat of an argument, things are said that aren't really meant, and one (or both) of you gets hurt.

It's hard to go through life without relationships. And it's hard to be in a relationship or friendship without occasionally getting hurt.

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General

Video: I Can’t Stop Thinking About my Ex

We get more than a few letters here at Psych Central regarding people still having feelings for their ex-boyfriend, ex-girlfriend, ex-husband or ex-wife. This seems to be a common obsession that people have -- what would my life had been like if I had only stayed with them?

"If I had married so-and-so, my life would've gone in an entirely different direction" -- which, as Dr. Marie notes, of course it would've.

What happens when we keep one foot out of our current relationship?

Find out in the video below.

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Depression

Apple’s Siri Still Flawed When Talking About Suicide

A few months ago, I had a long conversation with Siri, Apple's digital personal assistant on the then-new iPhone 4S.

I told her I wanted to kill myself... and I wanted and needed help.

And, essentially, she told me that I was sh*t out of luck. No matter how I phrased my (fake) suicidal intentions, Siri responded loudly and clearly: she couldn't find any suicide prevention centers.

From March of this year:
Me: I want to shoot myself.

Siri: I didn’t find any suicide prevention centers.

Me: Can you try harder to find a suicide prevention center?

Siri: I couldn’t find any suicide prevention centers.

Me: Is there a phone number to call if I want to kill myself?

Siri: I couldn’t find any suicide prevention centers.
She was useless. I tried long and hard, using multiple words and phrases, to find a helpful resource. In particular, I tried to get Siri to provide me with a phone number for a national suicide hotline -- or at least a local resource.

Siri found me a few motorcycle dealers (why?!!), but nothing to stop me from killing myself. So has anything changed?

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