Wednesday, September 17, 2014 11:30

Men Dealing With Fright

June 14th, 2014

mdwfI don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend a night in a mausoleum than ascend the creaky stairway to my addled psyche. Ghosts, goblins, and that dude in the hockey mask are no match for my tortured thoughts of death and inadequacy.

We all have them. But unlike women, who freely gab about what frightens them, we men keep our fears locked in the bell towers of our souls. The only thing worse than facing our own twisted horrors is letting someone else know how creeped out we get.

For example, I doubt I’m the first guy to bolt upright in the middle of the night, heart pounding, suddenly aware that one day I’m going to die. But I can’t be sure, because it never comes up while I’m eating chicken wings and watching the Red Sox with my buddies. (I’m also deeply troubled by circus clowns, but who isn’t?)

It’s too bad men don’t talk about this stuff, though, because our anxieties thrive when buried beneath bravado and “No Fear” T-shirts. Experts say our private dreads are like vampires. Let them prowl around in the dark of our subconscious, and they’ll suck us dry. But lead those snaggletoothed bastards out into the light of day, and poof!–they’re vaporized.

“The first, biggest step in handling any fear is to acknowledge it to yourself,” says Ethan S. Gologor, Ph.D., a psychologist and professor at City University of New York. “Only then can you effectively deal with it.”

Still a little frightened? That’s okay, follow us. We’ll lead you through the haunted house of men’s most awful fears, room by room. The shutters will clack, the wind will howl, and your gut will twist with dread. But it’ll be worth it. A fear faced is a fear conquered.


Women and advice columnists love to tell men not to worry so much about their jobs. “It’s not who you are,” they say. Well, yeah, it is. A man’s attachment to his job is “programmed deeply into his emotional design,” says Gloria Vanderhorst, Ph.D., a psychologist in Towson, Maryland, and an expert on men’s issues. “Women put down men for defining themselves by their work, but it’s not superficial, it’s real.”

Even in today’s booming market, men are being laid off or shunted aside. That’s why it’s emotionally dangerous for you to identify too closely with one job or company. But that doesn’t mean your work should be meaningless. Acknowledge how much it matters, and hone your abilities. `Transferable skills are crucial,” Vanderhorst says.

Next, network and seek new opportunities. If you have options, the thought of losing your current job will lose its bite.


Most of us will have sex thousands of times in our lives, so it’s stupid to think we won’t ever have a performance problem. Still, there are few things more frightening than not being able to deliver on demand. We ponder the causes (stress at work, our trick knee, a loss of libido) and the implications (I’ll never have sex again, I’m getting old, my wife doesn’t turn me on). “It can be terrifying,” Vanderhorst says. “Everything that men are is crystallized in the act of sex. If the penis makes the man but he can’t use it, what does that mean?”

Worse, most women aren’t going to pat your hand and tell you it’s okay. They’re too busy worrying about what your soft serve means to them (you’re cheating on her, you think she’s fat, she’s no longer sexy). “Women immediately question themselves and the relationship. Impotence unleashes her insecurities and suspicions,” Vanderhorst says.

All this emotional wrangling makes it more likely that the problem will recur. And next time it could be worse. Rather than endure embarrassment and another suspicious look, a man is more likely to pick a fight so that there’s a reason–other than his wilting erection–to end the lovemaking.

So if you experience a false start–and trust us, you will–first reassure your wife that it’s not her and it’s not you; it’s that complicated delivery system dangling between your legs. The majority of one-time failures are just that–one-time–so don’t trouble yourself with imaginings. Look for possible causes, such as fatigue, that new bike seat, or the four mai tais you just threw down at the neighborhood luau. Then, like that time you fell off your Harley, climb right back on. If your problem becomes chronic, see a doctor. Chances are it’s something that can easily be fixed.


byfYour toddler spills ice cream on the new leather sofa, and you explode. About halfway through your diatribe, you feel your spirit leave your body and watch from the ceiling as you rant at the little guy–just like your father.

You swore it would never happen. You pledged to be more understanding than your dad, to see the big picture. Now, as you clean up the stain, and then junior’s tears, you feel a chill of fear similar to the one you felt when you were the kid ruining the furniture.

Dads are more threatening than moms. We’re bigger and stronger than moms, and we’re the disciplinarians. It’s natural that a son wouldn’t want to do that to his own kids. So when you hear yourself using the same phrases and tone of voice Pop used while reaming you out, it strikes a terrifying chord.

But you aren’t doomed to repeat his pattern. If you catch yourself being overly harsh, admit to yourself that you need to chill, then consider bringing your wife in on the project. Ask her to give you a silent signal when she sees you steaming up beyond reason. “Women are great at observing and picking up on patterns, so she will probably see it before you will? Vanderhorst says. Just stress that she shouldn’t nag you about it. There’s no reason she has to turn into her mother.


Men are trained to seek independence. So it can be indescribably painful when a guy who was once utterly self-reliant is forced to spend his last years in a nursing home, wearing a drool bib and a rear-vented gown.

You want scary? How about lying immobile in an automatic bed, receiving a sponge bath from an orderly named Hank. Or dropping the remote control with the channel tuned to The View and not being able to reach the nurses’ call button. Being totally dependent is Guy Hell. Men are designed to be strong and competent. We want to die with our boots on, not live through a slow, humiliating decline.

But life doesn’t always cooperate. Though exercise and smart eating can ease the effects of aging, we are all at the mercy of fate to some degree. The only real solution is to accept the notion that letting people assist you isn’t such a horrible thing. Even Michael Jordan needed some help from Scottie Pippen. (Someone had to hold the trophy while he talked to Ahmad.)

Too many of us accept the myth that men can’t admit weakness. That myth is what keeps us from developing the type of relationships that can sustain us when we grow older and need help.


There may be nothing scarier than approaching death and realizing you never really did what you wanted to do. Whether your dream is starting a band or opening a bait shop, accomplishing a life goal–in essence, living on your own terms–can spell the difference between contentment and regret.

But too few of us make conscious choices about what we want in life. “You can’t have it all,” says Herb Goldberg, Ph.D., a psychologist and author. “If you want the mainstream life–money, house, nice car, wife, and children–you can’t also have the excitement of freedom.” Goldberg says too many guys rush into a career, and marriage, and kids, before they’ve had a chance to explore who they are. “Men are afraid that if they pause, they’ll fall behind in their careers and never catch up,” he says.

A word of advice to those who find themselves at midlife with most of their decisions already made: Running off with an aerobics instructor won’t make your life better. To fight the fear, Gologor suggests, change your perspective from what you’ve achieved in life to how you’ve lived it. Great accomplishments seem to be the purpose of life when we’re young, but the perspective we gain as we age can help puncture this myth. “Looking back on a life lived with integrity and purpose can be enormously satisfying,” Gologor says.

Less Expensive Ways To Fix Hard Drive Clicking

January 13th, 2014

lehdcTo have lesser expenses for the services of fix hard drive clicking, you have to research well on possible companies that will provide you with it. You can maximize the internet to search these companies located in your area. Since there are scams and other fraudulent activities online, it is important that you read reviews from forum sites and be able to distinguish a reliable company. Ask help from someone you know so that you will have your computer fix hard drive clicking. Do not be easily lured with an offer because sometimes, you will not get the worth of your invest. Affordable does not mean effective. Thus, you have to ensure that you are paying a good price for the best services for your hard drive.

Other than this, it is important that you deal with the right people. Evaluate the company’s work from previous customers and ask several questions that are relevant to your hard drive concerns. Research well because there are companies that have hidden charges. In order to avoid this from happening, you have to ask a quote and ensure that the fees are fixed. Furthermore, do not stop comparing the services from one another to fix hard drive clicking.

Common Sense Saves Hard Drive

Comic TV series often make fun of computer technicians. It seems that the most of ordinary problems with computers can be solved by simple “turn it off and on” method. But fun is the last on our mind if a hard drive is broken. Especially it is not funny to see that happen while working something important and the first thing on our mind will be how to fix broken hard drive and not the funny comic TV serial. But the good news is that few simple actions can save us from experiencing unpleasant situation with our hard drive. Common sense can help our computer a lot, so if we turn our brain on, that can help our hard drive from turning off.

Each hard drive needs ventilation, so the back side of our computer should always be free, so the air can go in and out without any problem. But if we push the computer on to the wall, there will be no space and the air inside PC can be too warm, so that can cause problems with hard drive. We want our hard drive to be ventilated. Otherwise, it will be damaged and we will have to fix broken hard drive.

VitalSleep Can Be A Perfect Option For You

January 2nd, 2014

Among many ways to stop snoring for good, mouthpieces have proven to be both affordable and efficient; so many people go after the first one they see on television. Since people usually have problem with mouthpiece size, the VitalSleep design can be a perfect option since this company created choices for every user.

Even though most people prefer mouthpieces over other anti-snoring devices, some of them are very uncomfortable, and people mostly hate the idea of having something in their mouth all night long. On the other hand, the problem with mouthpiece may go beyond its comfort, because they may even cause irritations of the gums. When looking for a mouthpiece, it is important to check the fit and the function of the device, and then choose the cheapest one. In addition, one must be clear when it comes to snoring causes, because there is mouthpiece that can help if snoring is caused by nasal congestion. Thanks to this that is used by thousands of snorers all around the world, one does not have to visit the dentist in order to set the fitting of this mouthpiece. The most important fact about this device is that it does not have any side effects reported, so even children can use in case of heavy snoring.


Finding Cheap Solutions For Snoring

No matter what kind of health problem one has, it is crucial to find the remedy that will not only help without any risks, but that will not lead to bankruptcy, as well. Snoring can be easily cured with various inexpensive options, and one of those is VitalSleep, the mouthpiece that gets rid of snoring instantly. If you want to use VitalSleep anti-snoring device, you should visit a review website to get the best deal. However, for those who want to keep their options open, here are other cheap solutions for snoring.

The anti-snoring pillow is a great way to get rid of snoring sound, but only if a snorer does not toss and turn during night. The problem is, once the person changes the position, the airway passages will get blocked again, and snoring will return. Anti-snoring sprays should prevent the throat from drying out, and it is recommended to go for natural ones, in order to avoid getting in touch with dangerous ingredients. Mouthpieces, especially the comfortable ones like VitalSleep, can easily help with snoring because they keep the tongue from falling back, and the jaw will find the right position. Even with all those devices, one cannot permanently stop snoring if he does not make some changes in lifestyle, and those include losing weight, reducing alcohol and cigarettes, and having more active life.

How Helpful The VitalSleep Mouthpiece Actually Is?

Over the last decade, snoring has become quite a problem for both men and women, so many companies claim they know the right solution for this problem. Since the snoring can lead to serious health issues in the future, most people decide to try various mouthpieces, one of the best ways to get rid of snoring safely. However, it is better to learn more about this device and be prepared for everything it brings.  And for this, you may check this VitalSleep review blog.

When it comes to snoring, the major issue begins with wrong positions of jaw and tongue, so the right device must unblock the air passages, and let the person breathe normally during sleep. The mouthpiece looks like the one used by boxers, with small structural changes, since it should be comfortable enough to wear while sleeping. Although different companies have different ideas about mouthpiece comfort, the most important thing is creating the device that can fit any mouth. Only that way, the anti-snoring device can manage to stop this problem for good. As for negative facts, people usually have problems with dryness of the throat, and some even stop feeling their teeth, but with VitalSleep, there is no need to worry, because this device gives only the best for snorer and his bed partner.

It’s Classic Horror, Y’all

October 30th, 2013

hfHalloween is a perfect time to let our patrons (and ourselves) indulge fantasies of joy and fright. These emotions are closer to each other than we often admit and are inextricably linked in the twentieth-century phenomenon of horror films. The gothic novel (which must have been one of the favorite guilty pleasures of the nineteenth century) has become a richly varied film genre that now includes films about ghosts and other supernatural beings, slicer/dicer psychopaths, radioactive mutants, and space aliens–some of which occasionally cross-pollinate with other genres such as the western and the slapstick comedy.

The list that follows is meant to be a core list of classic (or should-be classic) horror films of a gentler nature (no Freddy or Jason or death by lawn equipment here).

The titles below are available at home-use prices (the final criteria for selection). NOTE: The dates given are the dates of the original release of the film, rather than any individual video release.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Republic Pictures. 1919. 60min. $11.95.

This black-and-white silent German classic was a melding of contemporary film and drama. Expressionism, the dramatic aesthetic at the time, is reflected in the famous sets, the expressionist acting styles, and the convoluted plot. A must for any collection. Directed by Robert Wiene.

Cat People. Baker & Taylor. 1942. 73min. $19.95.

An acknowledged classic in understated. suggestive horror, this black-and-white movie, produced by Val Lewton and directed by Jacques Tourneur, portrays a Yugoslavian girl who thinks she turns into a panther. The horror grows from sound effects, skilled camera use. and other atmospheric devices.

Dracula. Baker & Taylor. 1931. 84min. $14.95,

Face it. Despite the best efforts of Dreyer, Herzog, and Rice, Tod Browning’s black-and-white version is the Dracula–the one we all picture whenever the word vampire is uttered.

Frankenstein, Baker & Taylor. 1931. 71 min. $14.95.

Director James Whale, photographer Arthur Edeson, and actor Boris Karloff crafted an ageless film that still pleases in a restored black-and-white version. Its popularity and influence set filmdom on a new course.

Haunting. MGM/UA Home Entertainment. 1963. 112min. $19.95.

A scientist, a skeptic, and some mediums stay in a haunted house for a scary weekend of being terrorized by the unknown. Robert Wise directed this truly suspenseful black-and-white film.

The Lift. Media Home Entertainment. 1985. 95min. $59.95

This little-known thriller (with English subtitles) by Dutch filmmaker Dick Maas is low in budget but high in satisfaction. Unexpectedly, an office elevator begins killing its passengers, and no one is safe, until the maintenance man is called in for repairs. Good atmospherics abound.

Lost Boys. Warner. 1987. 92min. $14.95.

This movie is a very successful updating of the vampire legend to modern days and modern ways, as way-cool teens contend with the way-cool undead. Lushly photographed and scored, this mixes humor with suspense and mocks the oh-so-jaded among us.

The Mummy. Baker & Taylor. 1932. 72min. $14.95.

Boris Karloff is the mummy and protector of the reincarnation of his beloved Egyptian princess. Maybe director Karl Freund and the crew were smoking some of those old herbs, since this is a dreamy, languid, stylized horror piece.

Near Dark. HBO Home Video. 1987. 94min. $19.99.

If you only see one modern-day vampire movie, make it this one. A cowboy is “drafted” by a van full of drifting bloodsuckers who haven’t an ounce of conscience among them. The script, direction, photography, and special effects all work together to produce a feeling of true horror. This is how it would be if vampires were here now.

Night of the Living Dead. Republic Pictures. 1968. 98min. $19.95.

George Romero’s low-budget black-and-white classic still packs a wallop. It may be the picture’s newsreel quality, but it still feels real. Some of the cannibal scenes seem like outtakes from some early nature documentary. Tacky or not, it belongs in most collections.

Nosferatu. Grapevine Video. 1921. 84min. $19.95.

One of the most beautiful films ever made, F. W. Murnau’s silent black-and-white version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula starred Max Schreck as the count. The feelings of dread and true horror and the undying style are drawn from German expressionist sets, lighting, and acting.

Parents. Live Home Video. 1988. 81 min. $14.98.

hmOne of the darkest, least-familiar black comedies around, this is set in suburban Indiana in the 1950s where a young boy slowly discovers that his parents are cannibals. As deftly handled as anyone could want. The blood-saturated dream sequences alone are worth the viewing. The film stars Randy Quaid, Mary Beth Hurt, and Sandy Dennis in her most bizarre role.

Phantom of the Opera. Nostalgia Family Video. 1925. 94min. $24.95.

Lon Chaney’s vehicle for immortality has been seen by almost everyone, but this black-and-white silent classic is still one of the most-often-screened Halloween films.

Rosemary’s Baby. Baker & Taylor. 1968. 137min. $14.95.

Roman Polanski’s film of the Ira Levin novel presents the horror of the corruption of motherhood, all done in an atmosphere of ordinariness. Still a delight after all these years.

Spiders. Kino on Video. 1919. 137 min. $29.95.

Fritz Lang’s lost, half-completed adventure serial has much of the atmospherics of a horror film. A criminal band seeks to dominate the world through terror and thuggery. Karl Freund’s photography and the awesome use of New World locations create an entertaining movie with some genuine horror experiences.

Vampyr. Nostalgia Family Video. 1932. 75min. silent. $24.95.

The other classic silent vampire film. Carl Dreyer’s adaptation of the story “Carmilla,” by Sheridan Le Fanu, is a masterpiece of suggestion, of the horror in the corner-of-the-eye glimpse of something that should not be there.

Facing The Face Of Terror

October 15th, 2013

Commenting on Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Hitchcockian shocker Les Diaboliques, Georges Franju, that other French master of the ghastly frisson, commented: “The trouble with Clouzot is that he tries to knock the audience’s head off. That’s wrong; you should twist it off.” Seeing Franju’s 1959 Eyes Without a Face (Les Yeux Sans Visage), you wonder what he was thinking; if this is an exercise in persuasive subtlety, my name’s Sam Peckinpah. In fact, rather than twist your head, it attempts to slice off your face.

ftfotThis is a film that can still make you squirm – still an 18 certificate, nearly 40 years after it induced a fainting epidemic at the Edinburgh Film Festival. In fact, except for one notorious scene, Franju’s film is as discreet in its nerve-twisting as Val Lewton’s legendary 1940s Hollywood horrors (Cat People, I Walked With a Zombie), which showed nothing, but suggested the worst. Franju’s tactic is different: he shows plenty, but leaves it to you to decide what it’s really about.

Eyes Without a Face is a variation on the Beauty and the Beast myth: brilliant plastic surgeon Dr Genissier (Pierre Brasseur) hideously scars his daughter Christiane (Edith Scob) in a car accident. Determined to reconstruct her face, he sends his assistant Louise (Alida Valli) on missions to pick up likely face donors, unwitting girls who happen to have Christiane’s blue eyes. On first viewing, the film may seem superficial, more fairy-tale than horror, or still and fusty, a museum piece. In fact, its rather solemn deliberation adds to the clinical ghastliness; it’s matched by the self-satisfied dignity of Brasseur’s walk, which reminds us that the prince of surgery is also the provincial quality butcher.

The film’s sense of dread comes in the way it slowly reveals what its horror is about, like a mask being lifted. The opening sequence is brilliantly deceptive. Accompanied by Maurice Jarre’s creepy calliope music, Valli drives down a country road at night. The conventions of horror tell us that she’s the one facing a menace; and when we see a mysterious figure in a coat and hat slouched in the back seat, we think it’s a creepy interloper. But it turns out to be the disguised body of a girl Valli is disposing of. From the start, our certainties are disturbed, and such reversals and ambiguities run through the film. With Genissier and Louise playing both her protective parents and her tyrannical jailers, Christiane is at once fairy-tale princess and monster. She’s the lovely Minotaur in Genissier’s labyrinthine house, wafting around in a white alabaster mask that inscrutably replaces and mocks her lost beauty, and a long white dress that’s half surgical gown, half wedding train (her own engagement to a doctor has been interrupted by her “death”).

Meanwhile, the innocents whom Louise “auditions” in a series of conceivably Sapphic encounters, become the faceless stand-ins to Christiane, this transcendent screen star, a star who is herself the screen: their own features are peeled off like so many flimsy disposables. In the film’s most distressing sequence – still horrifying despite blood oozing in monochrome, rather than spurting scarlet – Genissier and Louise perform a typical operation, briefly becoming faceless themselves, as their eyes peer out from behind surgical masks. It’s a painfully protracted scene, performed with clinical application, daring us to stare intently at what we can’t really bear to.

ftfot1Franju does show us everything here, and mercifully, as the scene reaches its apogee of horror, the screen blurs over and the image fades. But it’s already too late, as it clearly was for that Edinburgh audience. Compare the subtler use of the unwatchable in a scene that’s become just as famous – the ear-slicing in Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino built up his scene in such a way that we think he can’t possibly back down from the horror; and just as we think we’re going to see the terrible deed, the camera jerks away. Franju, though, goes one step further – he takes us beyond what’s tolerable, then fades out in a way that mimics our fainting in horror at having seen too much. (I’d be interested to know how much this scene influenced the French performance artist Orlan, who has spent much of the past decade publically being sliced up in the name of her inquiry into the body cosmetic).

Too much is indeed what the film is about. Genissier, the classic Promethean ghoul, does too much and it destroys him. Similarly, we see too much for our own good, and it compromises us. The mask of delicacy we wear as cinema-goers is peeled off by our willingness to sit unblinking (if we can) through something that taste and compassion demand we shut our eyes to – the skinning of an innocent. We’re asked to decide what we look at, and once we go with Genissier, we’ve signed up on the side of the ghouls.

This trick has been used bluntly in countless horror films since, but most slasher movies simply address the dumb adolescent in us, our desire to prove we’re game enough not to duck behind the sofa. Franju was one of the first to do it (the eyeball-slashing in Un Chien Andalou was so abrupt, it gave the audience no choice in the matter), but he also uses it in the framework of a complex play with the theme of looking, of masks and eyes.

What, after all, does the title mean? It implies the lack of a face – but there are too many faces in this film: faces scarred, removed, replaced with masks; faces that themselves become masks, like Genissier’s last experiment. Christiane’s gentle, hieratic white features are more fully a face than any other in the film: they represent an abstracted ideal of beauty that Edith Scob’s real features, seen elsewhere, seem hopelessly to be aspiring to, just as Pygmalion’s live creation can never live up to the statue.

The importance of the eyes is suggested by a bizarre loose thread – the victims are chosen to replace Christiane’s face because, like her, they all have blue eyes. But why should that matter? After all, the eyes are the only part of the face they won’t be donating. But eyes are traditionally the manifestation of the soul – so, the victims can give Christiane back her face, but never her soul. In the remarkable final shot of her as a mad-woman loosed from her attic, it’s as if she’s finally given up her soul, or become a lost soul, free-floating without anchor. Throughout, the film suggests that being and appearing – having a soul and seeming to have one – are two entirely separate things, and that the self and its manifestation are never found in the same place. (We only ever see Christiane’s original face in a briefly glimpsed photo of her on her fiance’s table, a reproduction of a self that appears nowhere else).

The surgery and Christiane’s final apotheosis have become legendary images; but there’s another that really sticks in your mind, and crystallises the title’s meaning. It’s a close-up of one of the victims; all we see is her bandaged face, eyes wide open, gazing in impassive grace or horror. No face, just looking; which is all we’re left with as viewers. Looking into the abyss, Franju seems to tell us, leaves us abysses ourselves, disfigured, de-faced, staring.

The Biology Behind Horror

September 25th, 2013

tbbhDoes the idea of riding a roller coaster at an amusement park excite you or terrify you? How about watching Freddy Krueger in “Nightmare on Elm Street” in a dark theater? Do you ever pick up a Stephen King novel, or do you stick with drama and romance?

Lots of teens say there is nothing like a good scare from the thrill of an amusement park ride or a tense moment from a horror story. In fact, there are so many who think so, that the “chill industry” is doing very well, thank you.

According to a recent survey of young people age 10 to 13, 89 percent had seen at least one movie in the “Friday the 13th” or “Nightmare on Elm Street” series; 62 percent had seen at least four of them. “Friday the 13th” grossed a total of $200 million dollars. Horror fans have made horror writer Stephen King a millionaire many times over.

A Healthy Pursuit?

In spite of the evidence showing that the chill industry is anything but frozen, there are people who would rather stay far away from scary rides and hold-your-breath movies. But, is one approach better than the other? Is seeking chills a healthy pursuit for teens?

Experts say yes…and no. For example, going to a horror movie is experiencing a safe and sometimes much-needed escape, says horror critic Douglas E. Winter. “We love to see something so grotesque and unexpected that it makes us scream or laugh…secure in the knowledge that in the fun house of fear, such behavior is not only accepted but encouraged,” Winter wrote in 1985, the year he published a book of interviews with horror writers called The Faces of Fear.

“Every horror story,” Winter writes, “has a happy ending: We have a simple escape–we can just wake up and say it was all a dream.”

The “dream” can also be a way of preparing for life, according to Dr. Lenore Terr, a San Francisco child psychologist. Dr. Terr says that going to a horror movie or riding a roller coaster can help us feel in control. “It is a way for us to confront our fears,” Dr. Terr says, “and gain mastery over our feelings.”

There is a feeling of reassurance, notes Dr. Terr, “when you come out (of the movie) alive.”

Goods vs. Evil

pgvedHorror writer and bookseller Robert Weinberg believes that the horror story is an example of the perfect good-versus-evil drama. Horror, he says, simply makes a good story.

“The horror story usually involves a hero figure who is forced into making a stand–he or she is forced into action, into a commitment,” Weinberg says, adding that this is an attractive quality for a hero.

Some teens may even identify with the monsters in a horror movie because adolescence is a time of dramatic bodily changes. Some teens sometimes feel unacceptable, not unlike a monster of freak in a horror movie. And the physical thrill of a roller coaster ride can appeal to a teen, psychologists says, because of that temporary feeling of being out of control–like their own changing body. These experiences are attractive because they are short-lived mini-versions of what young people feel they are going through.

In some cases, say experts, there may even be a positive message from the horror movies. One critic pointed out that the only people who die in a Freddy Krueger movie are the ones who don’t face the truth or who takes drugs, watch too much TV, or eat too much; in other words, they don’t lead a “healthy lifestyle.”

The Downside

But there is a downside to too much chill seeking. Long-term viewing of the creep shows and horror flicks may lead to violent or aggressive behavior in some young people, says a 1990 American Academy of Pediatrics statement.

Others experts point out that too much horror movie watching or roller coaster riding is like too much of anything–unhealthy–and can keep a teen from experiencing a variety of other activities.

If the watching and riding and reading are done strictly for rebellious purposes, for example, to go against a parent’s wishes, it may not be beneficial to a teen. For some, chill seeking may be initially inspiring because of the fact that it is different. And that’s OK. But is isn’t a good idea to make a hobby of it merely because it’s done without a parent’s knowledge.

Chill seekers should keep in mind that the chill seeking is a temporary, fun, thrill-like experience. Even those who create the chills admit that this is so.

Take actor Anthony Hopkins, for instance, in his frightening role as a psychopath in “The Silence of the Lambs.” It was great fun,” he was quoted as saying in a New York Times interview. “What it is for an actor is a great chance to play a game, to flirt with something that’s so diabolical, knowing it’s only a fiction.

Almost everyone is afraid of something, even if it isn’t ghostly. You may steer clear of roller coasters but enjoy in-line skating because it’s fast. Or you may change the TV channel if a horror movie comes on but not fear jumping from the high diving board at the pool.

It’s healthy to try new things every once in a while–like taking a well-through-out risk. It’s worth finding out what you like, what you dislike, and what you want to avoid. A good scare now and then can help you sort out those feelings.

Beating The Fear Is Easy

August 22nd, 2013

adAnxiety is actually a healthy emotion. Without it, we couldn’t anticipate danger and prod ourselves into action. But abnormal anxiety is of no use at all. It sets off false alarms in our minds, dramatically exaggerating perceived dangers and provoking terror and dread that interfere with daily life. An anxiety disorder can also be humiliating, according to Robert DuPont, M.D., coauthor of The Anxiety Cure, because sufferers know it’s irrational yet cannot control their obsessive thoughts and physical symptoms. “It is like putting your hand into a pocketful of fishhooks,” says Dr. DuPont. “The more you struggle, the more hooked you get.”

More than 17 percent of Americans aged 15 to 54 experience an anxiety disorder in a given year, according to a national survey conducted by Ronald Kessler, Ph.D., professor of health-care policy at Harvard Medical School. Largely because of the shame attached to mental illness, fewer than one quarter of these people seek help. On these pages, two women break the silence surrounding this common mental-health problem and describe how they suffered for years before receiving effective treatment.

Tricia Hindermann, 28, ARLINGTON, VA

A woman who clearly loves life, Tricia Hindermann describes herself as “energetic and up.” And yet, she has long known she has “more of an anxious nature” than most people. Panicky sensations first bothered her in college, then subsided after she graduated. Three years ago, she met the man she was to marry and began working at a marketing company. “It was a stressful job,” says Hindermann, “and little things became big things. Going outside to get coffee, I’d feel dizzy and very weak. I’d think: What’s wrong? What’s happening? I’m too young to feel this way. “She went to a psychiatrist who prescribed an antianxiety drug, but it didn’t make her feel any better, so she stopped taking it.

Hindermann left that job and took another, but eventually quit to plan her wedding and start a business selling advertising art on the Internet. Her marriage and business were going well, she says, when the panicky feelings suddenly intensified. One night Hindermann awoke terrified: She was panting, her heart racing, her face numb. She made her husband take her to the emergency room, where she learned there was nothing physically wrong with her. Her symptoms were caused by a panic attack, and she was told she needed to consult a doctor.

Because of her unsuccessful previous experience with antianxiety medication, Hindermann was distrustful of doctors and skeptical about what they could do. She decided to handle her problem alone. However, as she spent more time working at home, she began to experience nearly constant anxiety. “All the time I had a racing heart, dizziness, uneasiness. I couldn’t take a deep breath and relax, and I was worried about panic attacks, which I was having every couple of days. My mind was always taken up with Here I am by myself. What if I can’t get help?”

These feelings were beginning to intrude on all aspects of her life. “At parties I might look okay, but always in the back of my mind was What if it happens? I’d be too tired or edgy to enjoy myself. My husband and I would go out running, and I’d feel my heart race and I’d think, You’re going to fall over and die, and I’d have to stop.” She felt sick and stressed out all the time.

Not knowing where to turn, Hindermann went on the Internet, typed in the word anxiety, and found the Ross Center for Anxiety and Related Disorders, right in Washington, DC. Jerilyn Ross, a psychotherapist and clinical social worker, is one of the country’s leading anxiety-disorder experts. A recovered phobic (her fear: high floors), Ross helped pioneer and popularize the use of goal-oriented cognitive/behavioral therapy for this problem; she encourages patients to change their thinking about anxiety, distract themselves from their panicky feelings, and practice self-acceptance.

After reviewing Hindermann’s history and talking to her, Ross suggested individual sessions with one of the center’s psychotherapists. Ross also advised her to talk to a psychiatrist who could prescribe medication.

Hindermann balked. “I’m a very healthy person,” she says now. “I thought of medicine as poison that would hurt me.” Instead Hindermann focused on her regular sessions with the therapist, learning that the constant “what ifs?” she asked herself only increased her anxiety. She practiced ways to interrupt that pattern (if thinking. Seeing a therapist definitely helped, but her life was still dominated by panic attacks and worry about them.

Finally, last July, tired of feeling the way she did, Hindermann reconsidered medication. The psychiatrist explained that medications were not a cure-all, nor was taking them an admission of failure or weakness. A very low dose of a widely used antidepressant, Zoloft, would simply give her relief and allow her to make progress in her therapy. He also recommended Inderal, a beta-blocker, to regulate her heartbeat. “That sounded good,” says Hindermann, “because I was still so anxious about my heart beating too fast.”

She started with low dosages, so she could see how her body would react. After two weeks, her panic attacks were gone. By September, her energy had returned, and she felt motivated to rake a part-time job and to move forward with her Interact business. She continues to see her therapist every couple of weeks. She runs and hikes with her husband and can once again enjoy her social life.

Hindermann has no illusions about her anxiety disorder. “It will always be them,” she says, “but I’m learning to live with it. I’m not always thinking, What could happen to me? I have time for real things. I can go to the store, walk my dog, sit at home and watch a video, and be content. I feel like I’ve gotten my life back.”

 Elaine Geffken, 39, ANDOVER, MA

egToday, Elaine Geffken, a busy mother of three, is active in her community and happily taking care of her husband and family. Not that unusual, perhaps, yet for Geffken, this life feels miraculous. For more than tea years she suffered from a debilitating anxiety that threatened her career, her sense of identity, and the family life she so clearly treasures.

“It wasn’t any one thing; anxiety slowly crept in,” she says. In her mid-20s, as a recent MBA graduate, she started working at a bank in Pennsylvania. “There were few women who held managerial positions,” she says. “Some male bankers and customers would say very demeaning things, and I let it get to me.”

When she moved to Massachusetts with her husband in 1984, Geffken took a job at a government contracting firm. It was at this point, she says, that she really started to doubt herself. Often, she would find herself in business meetings scarcely able to speak: “There’d be twenty people in a closed room all looking at me, waiting for an answer. I’d go tense; I’d feel trapped.” Each morning when she got out of her car and headed for her office door, anxiety would engulf her: What is it going to he today? she would wonder.

Geffken left that job for one in a smaller company, but anxiety dogged her. “I couldn’t get up and give presentations. I was having panic attacks in meetings.” Geffken’s husband was sympathetic, but, she says, “I felt very alone. I couldn’t understand myself what was happening and couldn’t communicate it to anybody.”

When another firm bought the company she worked for, Geffken decided it was time to do what she and her husband had always planned: have a baby. “I was relieved; I thought, Okay, I won’t be working, I won’t be anxious.” She became pregnant right away and felt calm–except when she and her husband would meet people at a restaurant or a dinner party. “It was the tables,” she says ruefully. “My husband and I kid about it now. But tables reminded me of meeting rooms, and I’d get very anxious.”

As a new mother, Geffken found more ways to doubt herself. “My confidence was really dwindling. The anxiety was there all the time, affecting how I related to zither people.” Her second and third child arrived; soon, the older two were off to school, and Geffken’s sense of isolation increased.

Then, in 1998, Geffken had a panic attack while driving alone on the highway at night. “This was really frightening–you’re going sixty miles per hour, and you can’t breathe, you can’t see.” From then on, she became anxious about driving along that stretch of highway. “I thought, This is totally loony. How can I be a mother of three kids and not drive?” She felt herself starting to sink into a depression.

With a perfectionist personality, Geffken explains “It was really hard for me to say, even to my husband, `I have a problem. I need to get help.’ But finally, I did.” In the fall of 1998, Geffken went to the Andover Center for Anxiety Disorders, run by psychiatrist Jorge H. DeNapoli, M.D. In the waking room, she read a fact sheet explaining anxiety and panic disorder. “It was like, Oh, my gosh! This is me!” Geffken had found a place where she didn’t have to hide her problems. She went to the center for group therapy for ten weeks. “Probably the most important thing for me,” she says, “was understanding that I wasn’t alone. My attitude was different there. I could sit and say, `So what if I have a panic attack. Nobody here is going to care.'”

Like many other anxiety-disorder sufferers, Geffken worried about taking medication. Yet, as she came to understand how anxiety had made her nervous system highly reactive, she followed Dr. DeNapoli’s suggestion to take the antianxiety drag Klonopin. She met regularly with a therapist and learned how to cope with her physical symptoms and irrational thoughts. “I’d notice my heart racing, and I’d think, So what! Your heart’s supposed to be beating; if it doesn’t, you die. `So what!’ became my favorite phrase!”

With her therapist, Geffken set goals: “To make more time for myself. To laugh at myself, accept that I’m not perfect and that no one is. To be willing to try new things even if they bring about failure.” Looking back over the past year, Geffken sees how far she has come. “When I went to the center, I was feeling very bad about myself: Now I’m teaching Sunday school, helping my husband with Cub Scouts, running community fired-misers. I’m in my kids’ classrooms two or three times a week. It’s such a liberation that I can do these things and do them comfortably.”