Thursday, April 14, 2011

If You Should Die Before You Wake

I grew up in Canada. In the land of polar bears they have health care for all. I don't want to argue whether or not the level of health care offered in Canada is superior or inferior to that which is offered in the Unites States. What I do want argue is the volume at which that service is offered. 

When I used to go to sleep in my igloo at bedtime I would leave the television on to help lull me to sleep. After eleven o'clock at night there is nothing good on T.V. I'd just set the channel to the first talk show I could find and let it drone on in the background. The commercials that would come on were for various food and drink products. Every so often a semi pornographic phone sex ad was spliced in but those always had soft saxophone music that did little to interrupt a determined sleeper. 

At this point I need to disclose something. I have panic attacks. Many people who don't know what panic attacks are think that they are instances in your life where you worry, stress or panic about things. Real panic attacks however are nothing like you feeling anxious about your new job or failing a math test. Often panic attacks are unexplained and happen spontaneously. Imagine yourself reading a book sitting out in the sun. Suddenly every muscle in your body tenses up, your heart rate ramps up to about 180 beats per minute, you start having chest pains, you can't breathe and you think in about 3 seconds you are going to die from a heart attack. This can happen up to and including 50 times a day and each time you sincerely believe that you are dying. The attack can last for minutes or hours, the length is all decided by your own crazy mind. As you can imagine, having no control over when attacks strike and seemingly no reason why they do it can be a source of great tension and anxiety in ones life. 

Why do I bring this up you ask? While living in the U.S. I've tried to use the same method of leaving the television on for background noise while I try to sleep. The one major difference? health care is big business in the United States. It all began with anti depressant and mood stabilizer ads. Abilify, Cymbalta, Pristiq Effexor, all of them were the same. They would fade in with some down tempo music describing the symptoms of depression. They would then go on to tell you how their product would solve your depression. That was about the first 30 seconds. What followed next was a minute and a half of them disclosing warnings and side effects, chief among them "An increase in your depression, thoughts of suicide, diarrhea and death. I don't know about you but someone who is grappling with anxiety doesn't need to be repeatedly injected with thoughts of diarrhea induced death.

What would naturally follow these commercials were the ones about class action lawsuits. "Have you recently had a heart attack? Do you know someone who has? Do you know someone who is thinking about having a heart attack? Have you ever seen the twisted purple corpse of someone who has died from a heart attack? Are you thinking about that image? Is it scaring you? Are you starting to panic? Are you breathing into a paper bag and hyperventilating? If so, call the law offices of Dewey, Rapem and Howe today!

Follow this with commericals from Dr Oz's next show "Do you have skin? Find out about a very common disease found on all door knobs that will probably kill you." How the hell am I supposed to sleep through that? At what point can we start pointing fingers and label this shit hysteria for ratings? Isn't there something in the Hippocratic oath that says not to do unnecessary damage? Just because psychology is a soft science does not mean that I need to be paranoid about dying every moment of my life. 

I guess I could just turn the television off, but then it would be so dark and quiet.


  1. Those class action lawsuit commercials have always bothered me especially since they air right when I am about to settle down and go to sleep. I guess they serve their purpose of catching your attention though.

  2. Drone
    You actually do have a very good blog... and I look forward to reading more
    Cheers from Aussie Stella

  3. I keep the Television on, with very minimal audio, stuck on the Bollywood Channel. Sometimes, the old Chinese Movies Channel. Nobody buys any spots there. Why would anyone? I sleep like a little kitten.

    And you're an absolutely deranged, anxiety stricken, funny hornet! Lol. Love this post.

  4. DAMN YOU! I was gonna get all Pharmaceutical! Oh well I'll do it next week. I get PA's too (I've abbreviated them so they sound more badass)

    PA's are just another way of nature letting you know that ur a fucking badass ninja! Usually after mine I like to juggle throwing stars, it makes me relax!

  5. I hate the fact that they are pushing drugs that kill people, when they're making harmless "drugs" illegal for the same reasons... to make their precious money.

    That's all these assholes care about. Sometimes I fucking hate living in America.

  6. Seems to me that you can watch all the healthcare ads - use their products - experience the awful side effects - then find out how to sue the bastards.

  7. Maybe we should get everyone here to pool in then and get you this book:

    This way you wouldn't have to watch the commercials.

    Also don't forget the static channel it is calming and never really fluctuates and offers light. Just have to watch out for poltergeist activity every now and then.

    I'm always reminded of that Kevin Spacey movie though when I hear of people with that condition. Maybe just ask your wife to put a pillow over your head while your sleeping. :-)

    Obviously today I'm not being helpful.

  8. Dark and quiet are good :-)

  9. o dear ... i also have had my bout with panic attacks ... i completely understand. i had to go through a lot of therapy to get over mine from the motorcycle accident ...

    it's not stress man, it's a real switch in your brain that made me go out of my body and get ready for the big pass-out. i understand :)