Posts Tagged Heart Attacks

Glossophobia and The Fugitive Mind

Stage fright is a truly terrible feeling.  Many people confront it, but usually they manifest their experience in different ways.  Some people cry, some talk louder, some simply feel a vague sense of dread as they move through the speech.  What I’ve noticed in talking to people about it over the years is that the experience of it changes dramatically from person to person, but it is always quite miserable if you feel it.

I have an awful fear of speaking on stage.  As a teacher, I never feel nervous speaking to a roomful of high school students, but once a year in May I am asked to speak in front of a large audience on a stage with a microphone.  The speech itself is something I’m honored to give, but the fear I feel starts around January and becomes nearly debilitating by the end of April.  It is only a three-minute speech but my fear of it consumes months of my life.

People are always very supportive and try to be compassionate but usually the advice I get doesn’t help all that much.  If you mention you have this fear you will get a lot of guidance, but often I’m not sure if the people who give it really understand the parts of it that make it so terrifying.  It is an irrational feeling and most rational suggestions fail to address it in a way that is practical.  You get advice like “Try to imagine them all naked”.  If everyone in the audience were naked I’m sure I’d be even more terrified!  How could the thought of hundreds of naked humans staring at you be even remotely comforting?  Other people ask you “What’s the worst that can happen?”  They have no idea of the circus that your brain becomes for three minutes.  The worst that can happen is that you’ll be on stage giving the speech.  People simply can’t comprehend why a relatively simple act like this can cause such suffering.  I don’t really understand it myself.

The following is an attempt to describe the experience in real time.  Some of this will sound silly, but every single thought written down has gone through my mind on stage.  The goal of this piece is to create a running record of what stage fright actually feels like for me.

Alright, here we go.  Need another sip of water.  If you act confident, the fear won’t come.  Okay, time to stand up.  They just called me.  Fix my jacket.  Three buttons…how many should I button?  I need to keep it buttoned cause my tie is too short.  I look like Oliver Hardy.  Someone once told me leave the bottom unbuttoned.  Okay.  Here we go.  Don’t look up.  Don’t look up.  Just read.  You should make some arm gestures.  Just hold the podium.  Don’t fall.  Hands sweating.  The podium is see through.  Are the spots around my hand fogging up?  Do they see me sweating? Act confident.  Here it comes.  Here it comes.  I should have left them all unbuttoned.  I should have acted more confident.  Now IT is HERE. 

Hot.  What if I pass out?  Falling, hitting my head.  Would someone catch me?  I’m too big.  Where am I?  Did I just miss a line…no, no, I’m okay….page one is over.  Don’t look up.  They are all looking at you.  They are all looking at you.  Is my fly zipped?  Don’t look up.  Fast.  Dizzy when I look up.  Falling, hitting my head.  IT IS HERE.

Does what I’m saying make any sense?  Do they hear me?  I didn’t practice enough.  I practiced wrong.  Fast. I practiced too much.  What if I forget how to read?  Sweating.  Pain in the top of my head.  Antler pain.  I feel like antlers are going to sprout out of the top of my head.  Stay focused.  Where am I?  I am reading, but I don’t know how.  There is another me reading.   I don’t even know what the other me is saying.  Why are they laughing?  Did I say something funny?  Did I do something embarrassing?  I didn’t write that to be funny…what’s happening???

FOCUS!!!!  Antlers.  Sharp, sharp pain in the top of my head.  Halfway done.  Sweating.  What if I can’t breathe?  Slow down your breathing.  What if I can’t?  I don’t control my breathing.  Long way to go in this speech.  Lots of words left.  What if I start saying weird things?  What if I start shouting random nonsense?  NO CONTROL. What if I burp?  What if I start cursing?  What if I lose control of my body?  Sharp pain in my head.  Antlers are growing inside.  Will they pop out?

One page left.  Downhill, downhill, breathe, another minute…..breathe.  If I can just get one more page.  What am I talking about?  Where am I?  DON’T LOOK UP!!!!  THEY are watching you….breathe….breathe….you are going to fast…..no one understands….breathe….one paragraph now…..look up once…try it…..try it….dizzy….FOCUS….DON’T LOOK UP…..clapping…no more words….handshake….get to the chair….don’t fall….don’t pass out…get to the chair…..sit down…..breathe….

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I Lost 30 Pounds in 30 Days…Without Amputation!!!

Picture of a James Sullivan BEFORE he started the Nine and FINE Diet

Picture of James Sullivan JUST 30 DAYS AFTER starting the Nine and FINE Diet!!!!!!!!

Hello!!!!!!!  Today, I am here to talk to you about a diet that changed my life.  For years, I have struggled with my weight.  I have tried every diet on the market, but after a few days I am unable to keep to the diet because I am hungry all the time.  The most recent studies have said that eating 5 small meals a day will result in significant loss of pounds.  I heard this and thought it was impossible but it seems to be very effective.  Unfortunately, I have been unable to make this system work quickly enough and I still find myself hungry at night.  It seemed like there was no hope for me, and then I found out about the Nine and FINE Diet.  Are you sitting down?  I am about to tell you something that may sound too good to be true, but rest assured, this diet is one hundred and twelve percent effective for everyone.  According to scientists*, eating NINE large meals a day will help you lose significant amounts of weight overnight.

What?!?!  Eat nine large meals and lose weight!  How could it be true?  Well, according to scientists, the human body has some pretty amazing properties.  There is a certain point that the body hits where it is so overwhelmed by fat, carbohydrates and proteins that it begins to secrete a substance recently discovered by scientists called Jimbobwe.  Jimbobwe is a substance that eats fat.  If you have ever had a night where you ate to the point of near sickness and woke up a pound or two lighter it is because you tripped your Jimbobwe receptors.  If you think about it, the human body is kind of like the card game hearts.  In hearts, if you have the best cards you get a lot of points.  But, if you have the worst possible hand, you get even more points.  The body works in the same way.  Impossible, you say!?!?!  Scientists have proven it!!!  Ever see a 98 year old who ate badly all of her life and is still in great health?  How, you ask?!?!  Jimbobwe!!!!

Let me give you a personal example.  I started the Nine and FINE Diet on a Monday morning.  For breakfast, I had a full plate of eggs, bacon, pancakes, French toast and grits.  At about 9 o’clock, I ate a large ham sandwich, two plates full of mashed potatoes, and macaroni and cheese.  At 10:30, I ate three large hamburger patties wedged between two grilled cheese sandwiches, fries and 6 cokes.  At noon, I ate a rack of ribs, twelve dinner roles covered in butter, a side of lobster bisque soup and a plate of fried plantains.  At 1:30, I ate half of a medium cooked turkey, a large vanilla milkshake, two plates of collard greens, a hot fudge sundae and 4 peanut butter sandwiches.  At 4, I ate a large porterhouse steak, a baked potato covered in sour cream, a plate of braised pig’s knuckles, 4 slices of pizza dipped in bleu cheese and 4 cans of A and W root beer.  At 6, I ate another steak, fried onions, a Cinnabon, an entire bag of cool ranch Doritos, a Meximelt from Taco Bell, and a large vat of cookie dough ice cream.  At 6:45, I ate six fried Snicker Bars, a Whopper from Burger King and fries from Checkers.  Then, as I was getting ready for bed at 8 o’clock, I ate a bag of caramel corn, 4 turkey legs, cotton candy, a dish of funnel cake covered in ice cream, 7 pieces of chicken fried in Crisco, another Cinnabon, nine bagels covered in cream cheese, a Big Mac and 3 more milkshakes.  In total, I consumed close to 40,000 calories that day.  I also lost 5 pounds.  After 30 days of the diet, I had lost 56 pounds**.

Maybe I’m just lucky, you say.  Well, then how do you explain Marvin Altcheck?  Marvin followed the Nine and FINE for thirty days and lost 37 pounds***.  Or Jane Smith?  Jane lost 67 pounds in 30 days on the Nine and FINE Diet****.  What about Julia Marshall?  Julia began the diet at 883 pounds.  After thirty days on the diet, she was 938 pounds.  Now that’s progress!!!

Picture of Kate Johnson BEFORE the Nine and FINE Diet

Here's Kate Johnson AFTER JUST 2 MONTHS of the Nine and FINE Diet

I often hear people say things about Americans eating too much.  Maybe, these so-called “doctors” and “dieticians” are wrong.  Maybe the problem is we don’t eat enough!!!!!!!

Let’s say you have the problem that many overweight, patriotic Americans have.  You simply don’t like to eat.  Well, for just 19.99 I can offer you a thirty-day supply of Jimbobwe supplements.  Or, eat nine large meals a day AND take the supplements.  Hey…every little bit helps…Right?!?!?!?  Simply send your credit card/bank account information the address given below in the Cayman Islands and expect your supplements in the mail any day.  If you send your information in the next 12 hours, I will include a book called “The Mysteries of Jimbobwe”, a 98-page book with pictures of some of our success stories along with 47 brand new Crisco based recipes for weight loss.

So, if anyone asks you what you weigh…go ahead and finish that ice cream sundae, that box of Oreos and that stick of butter, look them in the eyes and tell them “I’m Nine and FINE” and let the results speak for themselves.

*  When using the term scientists, I am referring to several friends of mine who have taken at least 3 college level science classes.

**  Results of the diet are not typical.  Many people lose only thirty pounds in a month while other gain large amounts of weight.

***Marvin credits the Nine and FINE Diet (coupled with liposuction surgery) with his dramatic weight loss

****Jane died from congestive heart failure on the seventh day of the diet, but for the sake of the study, scientists continued to track her progress after her death

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