Posts tagged "Anxiety"
New Music: The Hold Steady’s Teeth Dreams

New Music: The Hold Steady’s Teeth Dreams

“So maybe [anxiety]’s just a part of who we all are, and always were. My worry now, though, is that we are starting to nurture these neuroses of ours, and treating them like pets. That can’t be a good thing.” –Craig Finn, in The Independent

I don’t often remember my dreams, yet for some reason, I still have a fairly vivid memory of a dream I had a couple years ago—in that dream, my teeth were falling out. As I later learned, dreams about teeth are normally assumed to reveal anxiety about money, relationships, and, well, just about anything. For me,…

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A Cure for Our Self-Knowledge: Why We’ll Always Want Our Milk in the Same Sippy Cup

A Cure for Our Self-Knowledge: Why We’ll Always Want Our Milk in the Same Sippy Cup

The Paris Review’s (stunning) most recent issue features interviews with quite the coupling: Mad Men creator Matthew Weiner and our favorite psychoanalyst, Adam Phillips. Both men talk about the art of writing, Phillips using a lot of the dialectic idioms you seem him using on paper all the time. Things like, “Symptoms are forms of self-knowledge.” Or, “Analysis should be the need not to know yourself.”

That being said, Phillips covers a lot of ground, including his own childhood, the books that formed him, the initial interests that brought him to the analysands’ chair. But mainly the conversation covers the breadth…

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NYC Preview: Ye Who Are Heavy Laden: Anxiety, Suffering and the Gospel

NYC Preview: Ye Who Are Heavy Laden: Anxiety, Suffering and the Gospel

We all, at one point or another, have experienced anxiety or suffering to some degree, and many of us have experienced both. The way our world addresses anxiety is to offer temporal solutions that may (to some extent) ease the physical side-effects of anxiety. But, in the grand scheme of anxiety itself, these temporal solutions do nothing for the root problem: I’m actually anxious, I’m actually stressed. The same can be said for the way our world addresses suffering; often the solutions offered to the sufferer do nothing for the greater problem: I’m actually suffering, I’m actually hurting.  We’d tell…

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NYC Preview: The Passion of the Childish Gambino: Online Honesty and Instagram Authenticity

NYC Preview: The Passion of the Childish Gambino: Online Honesty and Instagram Authenticity

Mockingbird has been around since 2008, and the earliest post we have on the subject of Social Media is 2009, in which we studied the phenomenon of getting busted on Facebook for real-life lies.  In the five years since that post, we certainly haven’t lost our fascination with the subject- it’s been one of our favorite hobbies to put the world’s social life under the microscope and view our favorite themes in action. Facebook users (for 10 years now!) are cultivating identities to be liked instead of being honest. Selfies are the new living room portraits, carefully framed to show the…

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Coping with Our Failure to Be Happy: Moral Palliatives vs Repentance

Coping with Our Failure to Be Happy: Moral Palliatives vs Repentance

Well, we’re probably nearing our yearly limit for writing about anxiety, and it’s only January, but great articles on the subject have been irrepressible. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that our increasing need to self-actualize, and increasing avenues for doing so, is a root behind the contemporary epidemic of nerves that had 1 in 5 American adults on anti-anxiety or antidepressant meds in 2011, numbers which have presumably risen since. An organization called the ADAA (anxiety and depression, etc) reported that almost one-third of the nation’s health bill is caused by anxiety disorders. You could reasonably ask…

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What Can Woody Allen Trapped Inside John Calvin Teach Us About Anxiety?

What Can Woody Allen Trapped Inside John Calvin Teach Us About Anxiety?

“To some people, I may seem calm. But if you could peer beneath the surface, you would see that I’m like a duck—paddling, paddling, paddling…” – Scott Stossel

You don’t have to have a therapist on speed dial to relate. You don’t need a prescription to Xanax or Ativan, or a shelf full of ‘dealing with anxiety’ books to know what he’s talking about. You don’t even need to be interested in mental health. If you have a pulse, you know. Of course, it helps if you have an Internet connection too. The skyrocketing rates of anxiety in America are no…

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The Wisdom of an Army Family

An irresistible if also quite sobering paragraph from an unpublished Tim Kreider essay about impermanence, “Up in the Air”:

lego_arrested_development_home_bare“My friend Robin grew up in an army family, and learned early on that she wouldn’t live anywhere or know anyone for very long, that things like houses and best friends were strictly provisional and temporary. It makes me sad to know that she had to internalize this lesson so early–kids like me, with stabler lives, were brought up with the delusion, fuzzy and comforting as a favorite blanket, that home and friendship were givens, fixed forever. But, as Robin points out, transience wasn’t just a peculiarity of her own upbringing; it turns out to be the reality of life, for all of us. Everything is contingent and ephemeral, and the flimsy little Potemkin villages of permanence and security we rig up for ourselves—real estate, possessions, tenure and retirement plans, circles of friends and long-term relationships–are easily demolished by layoffs or divorce, accidents or diagnoses, even, on occasion, non-metaphorical hurricanes.”

If I’d had it on hand this past August, it would’ve definitely been included in this sermon, “Plank to Plank”:


Speaking of both Kreider and anxiety, we are finally ready to announce the theme for the upcoming NYC conference (4/3-5)! Curious? You know the drill. Preliminary Schedule coming next week.

Modern Origins of Anxiety – Scientific Christianity and Epistemic Optimism

Modern Origins of Anxiety – Scientific Christianity and Epistemic Optimism

The question of what causes anxiety is one to which we’ve given an embarrassing amount of attention, especially within the context of Christianity. The Onion was good to remind us a few week ago that “Anxiety [Isn't] Resolved By Thinking About It Really Hard”, but the relationship between religion and anxiety is a fascinating and potent one; i.e., the decline of religion and rise of anxiety may not be completely independent phenomena… but by “decline of religion” we don’t just mean secularization, but also certain shifts within religion itself. As a Church called to look for the plank in our own eyes, I think…

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Alain de Botton Talks Christianity, Anxiety, and Death

Alain de Botton Talks Christianity, Anxiety, and Death

“What would Alain de Botton do?” — Mark Corrigan, Peep Show, Season 4

In a passage eerily reminiscent of Paul Zahl’s Panopticon, emerging Mbird-favorite Alain de Botton speaks about death and the counterintuitively comforting perspective sometimes offers on life and our ‘status anxiety‘. Turns out we’re all anxious about downward mobility of some sort, and the ultimate equalizer, the inevitable rock-bottom, can speak to this:

“Whatever other differences there may be between them, Christian and secular concepts overlap substantially on the subject of what is meaningful in life when viewed from the perspective of death. There is a strikingly similar positive emphasis on love,…

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LeBron James and His Freedom

LeBron James and His Freedom

I love LeBron James. I love the way he plays basketball. He is freakishly athletic–he’s a 6-foot-8, 260-pound freight train that bulldozes his way up and down the floor, while having the court vision and passing skills that are unheard of for a player his size. Then, of course, is his otherworldly leaping ability. I remember watching LeBron in a regular season game in 2008 and being dumbfounded. James went up and caught what was supposed to be an “alley-oop”, but was thrown far too high. When LeBron caught it, he was eye level with the rim. With his size…

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From The Onion: Man Still Trying To Find Right Work-Anxiety–Life-Anxiety Balance

From The Onion: Man Still Trying To Find Right Work-Anxiety–Life-Anxiety Balance

Yet another amazing dispatch from America’s Finest News Source, ht JD:

FORT WAYNE, IN—Lamenting that there are only so many hours in the day to devote to his various stresses, local Epione Medical Instruments sales manager and father of two Dale Humphrey told reporters Friday that he continues to have difficulty striking a proper work-anxiety–life-anxiety balance.

“It seems like I’m always so busy dwelling on the countless dilemmas that come up in the office that I barely have any time to stress over the problems facing me at home,” said Humphrey, 38, noting that the demands of worrying about work leave him…

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Dostoevsky Talks Romans 7, Original Caprice, and Performancism

Dostoevsky Talks Romans 7, Original Caprice, and Performancism

From his Notes from Underground, in which the great Russian author’s disturbed protagonist questions ideals of human progress, enlightenment, secular humanism, and other naïvetés of the nineteenth century – but timeless, too:

But these are all golden dreams. Oh, tell me, who first announced, who was the first to proclaim that man does dirty only because he doesn’t know his real interests; and that were he to be enlightened, were his eyes to be opened to his real, normal interests, man would immediately stop doing dirty, would immediately become good and noble, because, being enlightened and understanding his real profit, he would…

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The Dopamine Thrill of Winning and Suspended Animation

The Dopamine Thrill of Winning and Suspended Animation

Did you get to check out The Atlantic piece DZ quoted in last week’s weekender, “Parents Ruin Sports for Their Kids by Obsessing About Winning”? As soon as I read it, I knew taking a closer look was inevitable this week in Mbird sports!

DZ was right, the title is anything but subtle. In the piece, Lisa Endlich Heffernan admits to her own proneness to turning athletics into an avenue for performancism, not just for her child but for herself:

Every sports cliche you can think of, I have uttered: teamwork, respect for the coach, being part of something bigger than yourself,…

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Andre Dubus III on Tragedy and Happiness in America

Andre Dubus III on Tragedy and Happiness in America

From his interview yesterday on the Diane Rehm show, starting at about the 3:30 mark:

AD3: “Frankly, I have this belief (that) if you scratch the surface of any human being, across the country, across the world, at any moment of any day, even right this moment, everybody’s in some kind of trouble. It’s normal. It’s just part of human existence. I think that in America, we freak out about that. I think we’ve been sold a bill of goods, that we think we’re supposed to be happy all the time, especially if we’re successful.”

DR: “It’s in the constitution!”

AD3: “Yeah. ‘Life, liberty…

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Hans Urs von Balthasar on Christian Defenselessness

From a profound little book called The Christian and Anxiety, on weakness, defenselessness, and the paradoxical, left-handed strength that may spring from them:

Of all things, defenselessness and, from the natural human perspective, weakness (and, last but not least, anxiety) now become the essential prerequisites for Christian fortitude. Right where I become serious about baring my heart and my life, the real power (which is not mine but God’s) radiates most purely. ‘But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show us that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.’ We are oppressed on every side but are not made anxious; ‘perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.’ (2 Cor 4:7-9), ‘but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ I will all the more gladly boast of my weakness… for when I am weak, then I am strong’ (2 Cor 12:9-10). Ever-increasing defenselessness is an ever-increasingly open stance toward God and for God, and hence an ever-increasing influx and indwelling of God’s power in man. No one is as unarmed and exposed as the saint is before God, and therefore no one is as ready to be deluged by every anxiety; yet this is the quintessence of courage and armament – by God.