Note: I am not a doctor. This is not a doctor’s advice. Just so we’re clear on that, k?
I had previously wanted to do a post on my anxiety struggles I’ve had for the past year and a half when, in my opinion, I got the hang of managing them. But I also started to realize that it would be a HUGE post. So now I’m going to break it up into several pieces and release them one by one.
First, I need to start at the basics. That’s this post. Then I want to go into specifics, including self-help techniques that have worked for me personally, advice on specific symptoms (like insomnia and heart palpitations), and other things that I think might be useful for people like me to read.
So… anxiety in the context of these posts are when someone is anxious in situations that don’t fit what is happening around them. For example, someone with a irrational fear of being in public places. It’s not just in specific instances, though.
Although it has never been officially diagnosed, I have what is known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, or GAD. I say it wasn’t officially diagnosed because I was having these symptoms that were extremely like GAD, I received medicine for it, and it worked. I was supposed to see someone that would evaluate whether or not I actually had GAD, but that never happened. Since the medicine worked for what I was going through, my doctor found it not necessary to evaluate it anymore since we were all in agreement anyway, him, me, and my parents, and the tests I had ruled out any heart problems that it could have also been. It’s kind of an ex post facto justification, which is bad, but it was a really strong one. I was not in too much doubt when I started getting medication as to what I was experiencing. Anyway… GAD is simply feeling more anxious in general, nothing specific. Sometimes the slightest things can cause me great anxiety… although I’m certainly doing better than I was a year ago. An example is that I can’t tolerate staying up late very well, which for a male college student is practically unique. When something bad happens, I tend to dwell on it for an unreasonably long period of time.
Other anxiety disorders include social anxiety (anxiety in normal social situations, perhaps a fear of being judged or emabarassed), panic disorder (lots of panic and terror for no rational reason, or perhaps no reason at all), obsessive-compulsive disorder (people who perform irrational tasks regularly, such as somebody with a fear of germs washing their hands a lot), post-traumatic stress disorder (anxiety associated with the memory of a specific terrifying event), and phobias (hypochondria, fear of flying, spiders, etc.).
UPDATE #2 (11/30): As said before, all the money I have gotten up until now was sent today. Proof (click to read):
UPDATE #1 (11/27): If you’ve been watching the Fundraise page, you might have seen that all of the money so far has been donated offline, and that some of the donations are anonymous. “Well, what about me?” you ask. “I don’t wish to be anonymous but I don’t appear on the list.” Simple. Since Fundraise only seems to accept donations $10 or greater, I have been grouping smaller donations together with larger ones to meet that requirement. So multiple people can ‘share’ a single (usually anonymous) donation. Rest assured that all the money I’ve received for this is still there, and everything is currently up-to-date (or at least it will be after I finish writing this :P). If you’ve made a smaller donation (below $10) it might take a while to see it pop up here, though.
To the fundraiser in general… Western Union has a promotion this month where there are no fees involved in sending money to the Philippines, so I will send over everything I have around the end of this week. The fundraiser, of course, will still continue beyond that. We’re almost at $250! If you were curious, Google puts $247 USD as being convertable to 10769.37 Philippine pesos.
And there’s this page ( http://www.living-in-the-philippines.com/cost-of-living-philippines.shtml ) that shows that 10000+ pesos can be meaningful. As a reminder, we’ve got a family of five here (four who live in the Philippines).
The fundraiser is still on for the majority of two more weeks, so let’s see where this can go! Thank you to everybody who has donated so far!
If you’ve been REALLY out of the loop, last weekend a highly destructive super typhoon (Haiyan) smashed into the central Philippines, taking an estimated 2,500 people and countless buildings with it. So bad was this typhoon that when it passed the Philippines and then proceeded to bother Vietnam, it was still a highly dangerous natural disaster. And it was one of the worst natural disasters ever – people are still debating whether it was record-setting.
As I noted in my last post, I have a girlfriend in the Philippines, on the island of Samar, one of the hardest hit locations. After a very hard period of not hearing from her for days (it took days for communication to be repaired, and power has still yet to return as of November 14th), I heard that her family’s house got beaten up by the storm, as many others in the country have also experienced. Understandably, finances are a bit tight for them right now. The father is working abroad, and then there is a mother (duh), my girlfriend, and her sister and brother. Two of them attend college presently, my girlfriend and her brother. They’ve been able to live in a part of their house that remains intact. They’ve also been able to store up some food, but when that runs out, they’ll have higher food prices to deal with.
On an island-wide scale, electricity still hasn’t returned to the area they live. Food is scarce, and people are in disarray. Prisoners have escaped their confinement, women are being raped, and many people are evacuating the area (all things my girlfriend told me). Even after the typhoon has left, safety is still a big concern. They’ve been able to live in a part of their house that remains intact. They’ve also been able to store up some food, but when that runs out, they’ll have higher food prices to deal with.
This is where we come in. Me, and you, the reader. I am organizing a donation drive for this family. While the big push will end Dec. 9th, I will also accept donations that trickle in afterwards for a time, and send those off at a later date (if I get them).
So… how can you trust me? Fair question. My last blog post, which was written more than a month ago, mentioned my girlfriend. I’ve shared news on the typhoon pretty extensively on Twitter (starting Nov. 7th) during the three or so days when I didn’t know whether my girlfriend was safe or not. I diverted ad revenue from some of my games to charities that would help the Philippines. And I have a little link to how you can help the country in general on the main page of the site, where it will continue to be for some time, probably. Also, I will share a screenshot of the donation on/shortly after Dec. 9th, as well as the one afterwards.
Remember, every donation, no matter how small, can help. Since the Philippines is not a fully developed country, donations can conceivably stretch to be a bit more useful than they can here (in the U.S.)
Then, the next question is how you can help? Well…
You can donate securely through Paypal, which takes pretty much any major credit card. OR if you know me in person, you can give me the donation that way because you won’t have to pay any Paypal fees (30 cents a transaction + 2.9% of the donation, so $3.20 for $100 dollars. Even for donations :\ ). Paypal will convert between currencies, so if you happen to be international, just use Google to convert your currency into USD and donate that. I haven’t really used paypal for myself in a while, so if I see money randomly pop up in there I will immediately know what it’s for.
I also have a page running for the next 2+ weeks at Fundraise.com. If you’re here, I recommend NOT using this if possible, because Fundraise takes a small cut of money donated through them. Use PayPal instead, or donate in person if you know me in real life. But if you really are curious: https://www.fundraise.com/brian-orchosky/help-the-deirit-family