Thursday, January 10, 2008

platzschwindel

Literally translated, it means "place dizziness," and it was coined in 1870, a couple of years before agoraphobia for the same cluster of symptoms. Around the same time, doctors elsewhere identified American Civil War combatants who suffered from "irritable heart" and Inuit who suffered "kayak angst." Of all those terms (and many more boring and impenetrable terms), why did agoraphobia the most common? It seems the least accurate to me. It's not so much fear of the market or open spaces as it is fear of having a panic attack in public spaces without escape or where an escape would be embarrassing.

Apparently, Pan, the god of flocks and shepherds, used to descend out of the blue to scare the animals, shepherds and nymphs. How perfect that the root of the word panic ties us to our animal side, the fight or flight response. I've started reading Wish I Could Be There: Notes From a Phobic Life by Allen Shawn. On the one hand I want to feel proud of how well I've overcome my panic and anxiety, to recognize just how large an accomplishment that is. Shawn has suffered his entire life, despite considerable insight into his condition. "A phobia is like a pain in the soul," he says. On the other hand, Shawn discusses how chronic, long-term stress (like, oh I don't know, early, sleep-deprived motherhood?) can eliminate phobic symptoms, although they often come back if and when the stress is removed, so it could just be a matter of time. And then again, this phenomenon was documented in WWII concentration camps, and I hate to liken motherhood with Nazi concentration camps.

I'm only 50 pages in, and I see myself in every page.

bamboo-graffiti


Quite a while ago, Niobe challenged folks to write a blog post in the style of another blogger. This post started as an attempt at mimicing her style, but quickly devolved into typical Sin. Sorry.

14 comments:

slouching mom said...

but the first paragraph? classic niobe.

i wonder how it feels to Allen Shawn to watch his successful (presumably not anxious) brother Wally?

bubandpie said...

I didn't guess that you were imitating Niobe, but this post did feel intriguingly different from your usual style.

Mad Hatter said...

I thought you were being classic Sage from the days of the Word-wise Wednesdays.

Now this Niobe that I hear so much about... Please don't tell me there is yet another blogger I should be reading?

Kyla said...

Word Wise Wednesdays, I remember those.

I haven't read Niobe, so I can't say. But the photo? LOVE.

Serendipity, baby! said...

Goregous photo, and great post.

flutter said...

This was beautiful though, Sin.

nomotherearth said...

Is that one of your photos, Sin? I didn't see that one in your gallery. I LOVE it. I'm a bamboo fanatic.

Lisa b said...

I thought you did pretty well too, but at first I had it in my head that I'd clicked over to bubandpie so that threw me off anyway.

Sleep deprivation is torture whether someone has imprisoned you or not.

cinnamon gurl said...

Nomo, I just added it this morning...

niobe said...

Yeah, I think you've pretty much got me pegged -- the random use of foreign languages, the excessive amount of information crammed into a single paragraph, the quibbles with other peoples' interpretations.

If I'm having a day when I'm having trouble posting, would you mind filling in for me?

Mimi said...

Well, I don't know Niobe, but yes, this didn't read 'like you' in the first bit. But it was a lovely post!

Jennifer said...

I like typical Sin. :) (Not meant as anything "against" Noibe, of course -- I don't know her blog...yet? :)

Also: I LOVE THAT PHOTO. LOVE.

the end of motherhood said...

Always happy to find another synonym for existential dread to add to my long list. But how do you pronounce it?

Alpha DogMa said...

I come from a long line of agoraphobics. It would be so easy to slip into that lifestyle -- I force myself to the contrary. I don't think blogging is HELPFUL in this regard, however.