May 31 2015


*Revised on June 1, 2015
*Revised on June 3, 2015

[1] “Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice. It is the view that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe. It focuses on the question of human existence, and the feeling that there is no purpose or explanation at the core of existence.” ~unknown

As stated, this philosophical mindset ponders the very existence of human life, or any life at all; it suggests that the meaning of one’s life is only determined by one’s own definition of said life. Existentialism is surrounded by many unanswerable questions such as, what is the meaning of life, does my life have purpose, is life worth dying for, what happens after death, is my existence significant, and so on and so forth. [2] One example of existentialism comes from French author, journalist, and philosopher, Albert Camus, and is as follows, “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy: Must life have a meaning to be lived?” (Appignanesi, 1). However, Camus mainly focused his studies on absurdism, similar to existentialism, the ideology that the universe is meaningless.

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[3] Many of the most well-known existential ideologies come from another French philosopher by the name of Jean-Paul Sartre. Being a philosopher, and also an author and playwright, many of his lectures, plays, and stories revolve around various existential concepts. Taking a look at some of the stories Sartre has written, I personally find, can give really good insight into many of the basic concepts.

La Nausée (book, 1938)
La Nausée, or Nausea, is a very rich example of some of Sartre’s earlier existential concepts. In Nausea, the main character, Antoine Roquentin, ponders, “Why is it that everything I touch, like the feelings from my own body, makes me feel sick?” (Sartre, 17). Through thorough self-searching and investigation, he comes to the conclusion that, “Everything that exists is born for no reason, carries on living through weakness, and dies by accident” (18). This is Roquentin discovering for himself that there is no reason for anything to exist; the fact that there is no justification for the world, and everything in it, is the cause of his nausea.[4] This demonstrates Sartre’s views of existential angst, that there is no particular reason for life or death, and it showcases the concept of “inescapable consciousness”, more thoroughly discussed in Sartre’s later book, L’Être et le Néant (i.e. Being and Nothingness, 1943).
Inescapable consciousness is the idea that we are always aware of ourselves. “We have the freedom to stand back from a situation, evaluate it, and decide what to do” (53). This consciousness is designated “le pour soi” (i.e. “for itself”), being aware of oneself and one’s ability to act, make decisions, and think. The parallel term for this, only found in inanimate objects or animals, is categorized as “en-soi” (i.e. “in itself”), meaning that the object’s physical existence is its entirety, there is nothing more to it, whereas humans are more complex. The ultimate goal would be to become both, having a complete understanding of one’s self and one’s existence, and the full awareness that we are such. Humans are incapable of achieving or being able to process such awareness because we are more than our physical existence; it is not what the person physically is, but what they do, think, and achieve that makes them. For example, at one point in La Nausée, Roquentin walks into a bar and notices the bartenders purple suspenders, but is disgusted by the fact that, in some lights, they appear to be blue. He believes he is creating the characteristics of the object by analyzing and interpreting its essence. This leads him to think the essences of objects are a form of deception formed by the human mind in order to comfort itself when it encounters something unfamiliar. Here is a short film that depicts some of Roquentin’s feelings and views throughout the book.
*Caution: This video contains body horror images and vomiting, so if you are uncomfortable with either of those things, I suggest you do not watch this video.

L’Être et le Néant (book, 1943)

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L’Être et le Néant (i.e. Being and Nothingness: A Phenomenological Essay on Ontology) is based around the idea of “l’existence précède l’essence” (i.e. existence precedes essence), when it comes to humanity.

[5]“(in regards to existence precedes essence) When we consider, for example, a hammer, we can understand its nature by listing its properties and examining the purpose for which it was created. Hammers are made by people for certain reasons — in a sense, the “essence” or “nature” of a hammer exists in the mind of the creator before the actual hammer exists in the world. Thus, one can say that when it comes to things like hammers, essence precedes existence.” ~Austin Cline.

In other words, since a hammer is an inanimate object, and therefore exists “en-soi”, the essence of what it is physically and what it was created for surpasses the sole existence of the hammer itself. In Sartre’s views, this does not apply to humanity.  Only after a human’s existence has ended can an essence of that person be created because people spend so much time developing and changing and redefining themselves that a specific essence or nature cannot be pinned down until they are not longer able to change.

Qu’est-ce que la littérature? (essay, 1947)
Similar concepts are touched upon in Sartre’s later work Qu’est-ce que la littérature? (i.e. What is Literature?). Another key element of existentialism is the idea of imagination and freedom. “It is only our ability to put a distance between ourselves and our immediate experience which enables us to understand what is going on in a text” (30). To further explain, freedom and imagination are directly linked; Sartre’s idea is that if we’re unable to detach ourselves from our immediate environment and imagine outside of what is real, then we are not free. This ties in again with consciousness. One’s ability to consciously remove one’s thoughts from a realistic state and imagine things that are nonexistent, in the situation or at all, cements the idea that one is in control of oneself, and is therefore free.

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Baudelaire (essay, 1947)
Baudelaire is a psychoanalytical essay written about the French poet Charles Baudelaire.
What do I care if you are good? Be beautiful and be sad!
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Baudelaire’s father died when he was young. When his mother remarried a year later, Baudelaire felt extremely betrayed, and was very jealous of his new stepfather, and wanted to kill him, which he eventually tried to do. One of the original psychoanalyses on this behaviour, made by neurologist Sigmund Freud, was that the desire the son captured to have complete obsession of his mother was the result of an Oedipus complex. ([6] According to, the definition of an Oedipus complex is, “the unresolved desire of a child for sexual gratification through the parent of the opposite sex, especially the desire of a son for his mother. This involves, first, identification with and, later, hatred for the parent of the same sex, who is considered by the child as a rival.”) Freud also believes that this is something Baudelaire has no control over. Sartre has very different views on the matter. Sartre believes that, since he was influenced by his impulses, Baudelaire made the conscious decision to be influenced by his impulses, reinforced by the concept of mauvaise foi (i.e. bad faith). [7] (speaking of mauvaise foi)…the habit that people have of deceiving themselves into thinking that they do not have the freedom to make choices for fear of the potential consequences of making a choice.” ~Neel Burton.
Here is a video in which Neel Burton further explains the term “mauvaise foi”.

Here is a video to further conclude and restate all of the main ideologies previously mentioned.

“Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice.” Camus, Sartre, and Freud, along with many other existential philosophers, all considered the idea of existence and its meaning, and why we, as humans, exist. However, they don’t all come to the same conclusions. The differences in their conclusions further prove “the view that humans define their own meaning in life.”

1) What is your opinion on the philosophy as a whole?
2) Do you agree with the main topics/ideas discussed? If so, which ones?
3) Do you disagree with the main topics/ideas discussed? If so, which ones?
4) How did the Nausea short film make you feel? Why?
5) Which analysis of Charles Baudelaire’s behaviour do you agree with (Freud or Sartre)?


[1] Mastin, Luke. “Existentialism.” The Basics of Philosophy. N.p., 2008. Web. 18 May 2015. <>.
[2] Appignanesi, Richard, and Oscar Zarate. Introducing Existentialism. Cambridge: ICON, 2001. Print.
[3] Thody, Philip, and Howard Read. Sartre for Beginners. Duxford: Icon, 1998. Print.
[4] “Nausea.” SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 21 May 2015. <>.
[5] Cline, Austin. “Existence Precedes Essence: Existentialist Thought.”Aboutreligion., n.d. Web. 26 May 2015. <>.
[6], n.d. Web. 30 May 2015. <>.
[7] Burton, Neel. “Jean-Paul Sartre on Bad Faith.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC, 20 Mar. 2012. Web. 31 May 2015. <>.

May 23 2015

Gerard Way Concert

*Revised on May 25, 2015
On Wednesday, May 20th, 2015, I went to see Gerard Way in concert. Gerard Way is the former lead singer of the alternative rock band, now broken up, My Chemical Romance, who now tours with his band, The Hormones, with music from his new solo album, Hesitant Alien, released on September 24th, 2015. If you are interested, here are a couple songs by My Chemical Romance and a few off Way’s solo album.
My Chemical Romance: Blood, Demolition LoversFake Your Death
Gerard Way: Action Cat, Get the Gang Together, How It’s Going to Be

Here are some pictures I and a friend of mine took at the concert
20150520_212036 Gerard28 Gerard29

My Chemical Romance has been my favourite band for about two and a half years. Everything produced by the band is so artistic and meaningful, and the music itself it just absolutely incredible. Even though the output, as far as genre, is a bit different, the meaning is still there are the music is just as beautiful and full of meaning to me.

As well as loving Way as a musical artist, I am also a fan of his writing career, as he also writes comic books. Both of the comic book series, The Umbrella Academy, and, The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys, were very successful.

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Also, Way is just a lovely person. He’s an amazing husband to his wife, Lindsey Way (bassist for Mindless Self Indulgence), a wonderful father to his daughter, Bandit Way, and an outstanding role model to all of his incredible fans. For one thing, he encourages his fans to live their lives and see more of the world and explore, something that many people are too afraid to do. Here is a short improvised song, from the show I went to, about travelling the world.

Way is also a major supporter of transgender and non-binary people (if you do not know either of those terms, you can look them up here). This means a lot to me, because I am also a major supporter of the LGBTQA+ and trans* communities, and they aren’t talked about very often in the media or by celebrities, so the fact that he so actively supports them means the absolute world to me; he mentions his undying support and love for trans* people and allies at every show. Here is another video from the show I saw of Way talking about his support and his upcoming album.

As made obvious, Gerard Way cares so much for his fans for supporting him and giving him the opportunities he has had, and wants to give back to them as much as possible. One last example of his love for his fanbase is how he wants them to live their lives the best way they can. Along with raising awareness for trans* issues, he also demolishes stigmas on mental illness and encourages his audience to get the help they think they need. A simple Google search of, “Gerard Way saves lives” or “My Chemical Romance saved my life”, will prove this well enough, but here is a video of Way speaking about mental illness, and performing a song he wrote about mental illness called Maya the Psychic, last Wednesday in Toronto.
Here is the studio version of Maya the Psychic…

…and the lyrics if you want them.

If the show wasn’t amazing enough, he stayed after the show to sign things and meet fans. I got him to sign my Hesitant Alien CD and he gave me a hug and it was wonderful. Truly one of the best days of my life.

May 17 2015

Anxiety Attacks vs. Nervous Breakdowns vs. Panic Attacks part 3: Help

*Revised on May 31, 2015
*Revised on June 3, 2015
*Revised on June 13, 2015
*Revised on June 16, 2015

*If you have not read Anxiety Attacks vs. Nervous Breakdowns vs. Panic Attacks part 1:Definitions or part 2: Causes and Symptoms, go read those first if you’d like.
Different types of anxiety or mood disorders that may cause these types of outbreaks of emotion can always be helped. There are so many ways people can help themselves and places people can go to get these kinds of things checked out; there are so many people that are available to help with these kinds of things. All of the following methods are applicable to anxiety attacks, nervous breakdowns, panic attacks, and anything similar. Stay safe.

Ask for help when you think you need it (whether it is from parents, friends, professionals, etc; whatever works for you) [1]
Avoid mass amounts of caffeine
Avoid overestimating and catastrophizing
Calm and controlled breathing (for about 6-8 minutes at a time) [2]
Give yourself time to relax (take breaks, breathe, meditate)
Manage your time
Pinpoint direct causes (this will make things easier to deal with) [3]
Prioritize your needs (identify what your body and mind are lacking in because or in result of your anxiety/stress) [4]
Relax your muscles (for about 25 minutes a day) [5]
Try to take care of your body as well as your mind (keep everything as healthy as it can be, eat well, reduce use of harmful substances, sleep)
Yoga [6]
Here is guided meditation video to help with calm breathing and relaxation.

Acceptance and commitment therapy (focuses on living in the moment and experiencing things without judgement)
Cognitive behaviour therapy (focuses on thoughts and behaviours)
Core belief psychotherapy (assesses and heals one’s negative core beliefs about oneself) [7]
Dialectical behavioural therapy (involves concepts of Eastern meditation and helps tolerance of distress and regulation of emotions)
Exposure therapy (encourages confrontation of fears in a safe, controlled environment)
Interpersonal therapy (addresses depression and works to gather information to further understand one’s emotions) [8]
Psychoanalysis therapy
Here is a chart to help understand the process behind cognitive behaviour therapy.

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Antidepressants: Anafranil, Celexa, Effexor, Lexapro, Marplan, Nardil, Parnate, Paxil, Prozac, Tofranil, Zoloft
Anxiety: Ativan, Buspar, Klonopin, Tranxene, Valium, Xanax [9]
High Blood Pressure: Blocadren, Catapres, Cartrol, Inderal, Tenormin [10]
Insomnia: Halcion, Restoril
Other: Betapace (treats irregular heartbeat), Luvox (treats a variety of psychiatric disorders) [11]

Anxiety Panic Support (
Social Anxiety Support Chat ( [12]
7 Cups of Tea (
Anxiety Central (
Anxiety Chatroom (
Anxiety Social Net (
Anxiety Zone (
Experience Project (
Panic Center (
People’s Problems (
Social Anxiety Bootcamp (

24/7 Crisis Line: 905-522-1477
Help Finding a Therapist: 1-800-843-7274
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-688-6868
National Youth Crisis Support: 1-800-448-4663
Panic Disorder Information and Support: 1-800-647-2642
Suicide Hotline: 1-800-784-2433 [13]
Anxiety Alliance: 0845 296 7877 (daily, 10am-10pm)
Anxiety UK: 08444-775-774 (Monday-Friday, 9.30am-5.30pm)
International Stress Management Association: 0845-680-7083 (Monday-Friday 9am-1pm)
Lifeline: 13-11-14
National Institute of Mental Health Panic Disorder Helpline: 800-647-2642
National Mental Health Association: 800-969-6642 (Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm)
No Panic: 0844-967-4848 (daily, 10am-10pm)
Sovereign Health: 1-855-423-5350
Therapist Network: 800-843-727478

Anti-Anxiety APP (only for Android)
Anxiety Free (only for iPhone)
Calming Music to Simplicity (only for Android)
I Can be Fearless (only for iPhone)
Nature Sounds Relax and Sleep (only for Android)
Qi Gong Meditation Relaxation (only for Android)
Relax Melodies
Relax Ocean Waves Sleep (only for Android)
Relaxing Sounds of Nature (Lite) (only for iPhone)
Stop Panic and Anxiety Help (only for Android)
Universal Breathing- Pranayama Free
Worry Box-Anxiety Self Help (only for Android) [14]
Anxiety Free Hypnosis
Pacifica- Stress and Anxiety
Relax Lite
Self-Help for Anxiety Management <- strong personal recommendation
Stress Relief and Anxiety Help

[1] Webber, Bridget. “How to Cope With a Nervous Breakdown.” Help Me To Sleep Org. Ipnos Spft Inc., 04 May 2012. Web. 05 May 2015. <>.
[2] In, Toolbox. “Self-Help Strategies for Panic Disorder.” SELF-HELP STRATEGIES FOR PANIC DISORDER (n.d.): n. pag. AnxietyBC. Web. 14 May 2015. <>.
[3] Kavanagh, Sean. “Panic Disorder | Doctor |” Patient, 15 Jan. 2014. Web. 17 May 2015. <>.
[4] Masters, Frances. “5 Tips for Spotting and Stopping a Nervous Breakdown Early.” TheFusionModel. Fusion Coaching, n.d. Web. 5 May 2015. <>.
[5] “Stress.” SpringerReference (2011): n. pag. Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, Mar. 2013. Web. 15 May 2015. <>.
[6]   “Nervous Breakdown.” NativeRemedies. Silver Star Brands, Inc., n.d. Web. 06 May 2015. <>.
[7] Gagnon, Alice Brown. “Core Beliefs Psychotherapy.” Core Beliefs Psychotherapy. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 May 2015. <>.
[8] “Therapy.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America. ADAA, n.d. Web. 17 May 2015. <>.

[9] “Anxiety Medication.” Anxiety Medication | Web. 4 May 2015. <>.
[10] Schueler, Stephen J., John H. Beckett, and Scott Gettings. “Nervous Breakdown Treatment.” Nervous Breakdown: Treatment. FreeMD, 10 Mar. 2011. Web. 10 May 2015.
[11] “Anxiety Disorders.” NIMH RSS. National Institute of Mental Health, n.d. Web. 17 May 2015. <>.
[12] “Are There Any Useful Anxiety Chatrooms?” « Calm Clinic. Calm Clinic, n.d. Web. 17 May 2015. <>.
[13] “Accepting Help Is Brave.” Mental Illness Mouse. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 May 2015. <>.
[14] Holland, Kimberly. “The 18 Best Anxiety IPhone & Android Apps of 2014.”The 18 Best Anxiety IPhone & Android Apps of 2014. Health Networks, Inc., 27 May 2014. Web. 17 May 2015. <>.

May 13 2015

Anxiety Attacks vs. Nervous Breakdowns vs. Panic Attacks part 2: Causes and Symptoms

*Revised on May 17, 2015
*Revised on May 23, 2015
*Revised on May 31, 2015
*Revised on June 13, 2015
*Revised on June 16, 2015

*If you have not read Anxiety Attacks vs. Nervous Breakdowns vs. Panic Attacks part 1: Definitions, go read that first if you’d like.
There are probably an infinite amount of different causes for and symptoms from these overwhelming anxious feelings, however, these are some of the causes and symptoms of anxiety attacks, nervous breakdowns, and panic attacks. Many causes and symptoms are shared between the three, but here are only some examples. Also, each example has a link on it to a definition of the example, an explanation of how it is related to these attacks or breakdowns, or their own symptoms, so if you want to continue your learning on these topics, feel free to start here.

Anxiety Attack Causes 
-Brain malfunctions (such as Encephalopathy) [1]
-Constant feelings of tension or stress
Environmental stress
Excessive worrying
-Serious fears or phobias  

Anxiety Attack Symptoms
-Difficulty concentrating or sleeping [2]
Heart palpitations
Muscle tension [3]
-Uncontrollable shaking or trembling

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Nervous Breakdown Causes 
Death of a loved one
Financial troubles
Personal relationship issues [4]

Nervous Breakdown Symptoms
Breathing problems
-Fear (see Anxiety Attack Causes for more information)
-Irregular heartbeat (Heart arrhythmia) [5]

Teddy alone on the wet path
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Panic Attack Causes
Predisposition due to genetics [6]
Post-traumatic stress

Panic Attack Symptoms
Breathing troubles
Chest Pain
Chills or hot flashes
Heart Palpitations
Vertigo [7]

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Many of these symptoms can go on to cause other things as well; it does not simply stop. Here is a chart of some of the symptoms previously mentioned and some of the side-effects of these symptoms.

SYMPTOMS EFFECTS (or Symptoms of the Symptoms)
Anger [8] -digestive issues
-heart attacks/strokes
-high blood pressure
-skin problems

Difficulty concentrating [9] -emotional stress
-hormonal changes
-possible relation to Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Difficulty sleeping [10] -anger
-memory loss
-slowed reaction time
-slowed thought process

Dissociation [11] -feeling detached from yourself
-feeling unsure of who you are
-forgetting things very easily
-getting lost very easily
-internal voices

Guilt [12] -aggressive behaviour
-diverting blame onto others

Instability [13] -balance issues/trouble standing and walking
-mood swings (intense depression and mania)

Muscle tension [14] -immediate pain
-long-term pain

Paranoia [15] -confusion
-low self esteem
-possibility of serious conditions (such as Alzheimer’s disease, Bipolar Disorder, and Schizophrenia)

Sleepwalking [16] -night terrors
-risk of hurting oneself or others

Vertigo [17] -dizziness
-feeling lightheaded
-probable relation to mental diseases or disorders

*If you’d like to learn more, you can read Anxiety Attacks vs. Nervous Breakdowns vs. Panic Attacks part 3: Help
[1] “Anxiety Disorders: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention.”WebMD. WebMD, 2014. Web. 2 May 2015. <>.
[2] Smith, Melinda, M. A., Lawrence Robinson, and Jeanne Segal. “Anxiety Disorders and Anxiety Attacks: A Guide to the Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment Options.”, Apr. 2015. Web. 2 May 2015. <>.
[3] MacMillan, Amanda. “12 Signs You May Have an Anxiety Disorder.” Health Media Ventures, Inc., 2015. Web. 2 May 2015. <,,20646990,00.html>.
[4] Remedios, Trina. “Mental Health: 16 Signs of Nervous Breakdown.” Healthmeup. Times Internet Limited, 18 Feb. 2013. Web. 4 May 2015. <>.
[5] Prior, Elly. “Signs and Symptoms of Nervous Breakdown You Should Not Ignore.”Professional Counselling. Web. 4 May 2015. <>.
[6] Carbonell, David. “What Causes Panic Attacks?” What Causes Panic Attacks?N.p., 28 Apr. 2015. Web. 10 May 2015. <>.
[7] “Panic Attacks Symptoms, Causes, Treatment – What Are Causes and Risk Factors for Panic Attacks?” MedicineNet. MedicineNet, Inc., 29 Apr. 2015. Web. 11 May 2015. <>.
[8] Collins, Danica. “The Deadly Effects of Anger on Your Health and Mind.”Underground Health Reporter. Underground Health Reporter, n.d. Web. 12 May 2015. <>.
[9] Stöppler, Melissa Conrad. “Concentration Problems: Check Your Symptoms and Signs.” Concentration Problems: Check Your Symptoms and Signs. MedicineNet, Inc., 3 June 2012. Web. 11 May 2015. <>
[10] Feature, Camille PeriWebMD. “Sleepiness: Cognitive and Emotional Effects.”WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 11 May 2015. <>
[11] “Dissociative Disorders.” Dissociative Disorders. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.
[12] Barker, Phil. “Guilt and Shame.” Beyond Intractability. University of Colorado, July 2003. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.
[13]  Burtchell, Jeri. “Understanding and Managing Multiple Sclerosis Mood Swings.” Healthline. Health Networks, Inc., 11 Apr. 2014. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.
[14] Bushak, Lecia. “These Are The Ways That Stress Affects Your Body.” Medical Daily. IBT Media Inc., 30 Aug. 2014. Web. 11 May 2015. <>.
[15] Stöppler, Melissa Conrad. “Paranoia (Paranoid Thoughts): Check Your Symptoms and Signs.” Paranoia (Paranoid Thoughts): Check Your Symptoms and Signs. MedicineNet, Inc., 25 June 2014. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.
[16] “Sleepwalking Causes, Safety Concerns.” Remedy’s Health Community. Remedy Health Media, 1 Dec. 2000. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.
[17] “Vertigo & Dizziness Affect On The Body.” Sharecare. Sharecare, Inc., n.d. Web. 13 May 2015. <>.

May 10 2015

Anxiety Attacks vs. Nervous Breakdowns vs. Panic Attacks part 1: Definitions

*Revised on May 13, 2015
*Revised on May 17, 2015
*Revised on May 31, 2015
*Revised on June 3, 2015
*Revised on June 6, 2015
*Revised on June 13, 2015
*Revised on June 16, 2015
Even though terms like anxiety attack, nervous breakdown, and panic attack may seem like synonyms on the surface, the deeper analysis of each type of mental or physical shutdown of one’s abilities are, in some cases, very different. It is important to understand what is happening in your head in times of crisis or panic, so you can reassure yourself that you understand why you’re upset and that the feelings will subside.

Anxiety Attack
An anxiety attack is an intense, overwhelming episode of anxiety. Anxiety itself is usually a major core feature of many mental illnesses that are deemed as a type of anxiety disorder, such as agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and several more. Anxiety usually accumulates over an extended period of time. Symptoms of an anxiety attack are often a bit weaker than those of other types of breakdowns, but anxiety can last for very long periods of time; hours, days, and sometimes weeks. [1]
Anxiety photo 1
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Nervous Breakdown

A nervous, breakdown is when a person is temporarily unable to function properly due to stress, but are not always directly linked to mental illnesses or disorders. Nervous breakdowns usually occur when a person is subjected to a situation or environment that they find stressful, or when stressful thoughts become too overwhelming for a person to handle. Although these breakdowns are not directly linked with any possible mental health problems, if they occur quite often, they could be a sign or symptom of a disorder such as depression or GAD [2]. Here is a song that relates to some of the feelings that occur during a nervous breakdown:

Here is a link to the lyrics of the song.
Panic Attack

A panic attack is a sudden engulfing feeling of anxiety or fear, with symptoms that usually occur very suddenly (often triggered by a certain event or thought, but sometimes appear without apparent reason), spike after about 10 minutes and then subside. However, some panic attacks last longer or occur in succession. Panic attacks are often linked to anxiety-related mental disorders such as borderline personality disorder (BPD),depression, GAD, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, or any type of phobia [3] . 

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Here is another song that relates to stress, a common cause of panic attacks/disorders:

Here is a link to the lyrics of Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots

If you’d like to learn more, read Anxiety Attacks vs. Nervous Breakdowns vs. Panic Attacks part 2: Causes and Symptoms and/or part 3: Help

[1] Ankrom, Sheryl. “Anxiety Attacks Versus Panic Attacks: What’s the Difference.” Abouthealth., 16 Dec. 2014. Web. 2 May 2015. <>.
[2] Hall-Flavin, Daniel K. “Depression (Major Depressive Disorder): What Does It Mean to Have a Nervous Breakdown.” Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Web. 4 May 2015. <>.
[3] “Panic Attacks and Panic Disorder.” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 10 May 2015. <>

May 7 2015

Song Analysis 3

Personally, between the two choices for this song analysis, I found Michael Jackson’s Beat It to be a much better representation of Act III of Romeo and Juliet compared to The Banishment by Prong.
All of the lyrics in The Punishment suggest that the person telling the story is voluntarily leaving, but is very distraught about it. The singer does appear to feel banished, but the choice is of their own will, which does not represent Romeo’s situation at all; he was banished from the city because he killed Tybalt, of the Capulet household. The lyric, “No reason for me to hang around this place,” proves that the singer is making this decision for themself. The video is just footage from a rock show, so that is not really relevant and it does not correlate with Romeo and Juliet. Beat It represents Romeo’s situation a lot better.  This song is basically the singer warning someone to stay away from the area, because they will get killed if they stick around. One specific lyric is, “They told him, ‘Don’t you ever come around here…’,” but the whole song is based around that same theme. The video also featured a knife fight between the two main gangs in the video, which parallels the fights between Mercutio and Tybalt, and Romeo and Tybalt (Montague vs. Capulet). Overall, The Banishment  has no real correlation to Act III of Romeo and Juliet, or really at all, but Beat It by Michael Jackson does have some obvious parallels.

(Beat It knife fight)

May 5 2015

Song Analysis 2

For this song analysis, the two songs in question, to see which one better represents the second act of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, are Love Story by Taylor Swift and Closer by Ne-yo.
In my opinion, Love Story better represents this act by far. The first lyric of the song is, “We were both young when I first saw you,” which already relates to Romeo and Juliet because they were supposedly both about 13 years of age when they met.

(Love Story lyrics)
“See the lights, see the party, the ballgowns, see you making your way through the crowd,”, another lyric from the song, also relates to the first meeting of Romeo and Juliet at the party at the House of Capulet; they met on the dancefloor and they proceeded to fall in love. In specific comparison to act two, the lyric, “We keep quiet ’cause we’re dead if they knew,” is similar to the line, “The orchard walls are high and hard to climb, and the place death, considering who thou art, if any of my kinsmen find thee here,” (II.ii.68-70) said by Juliet, suggesting that Romeo is at risk of death by showing up to her house, if he is discovered. In relation to the video, it also seemed to fit the overall theme rather well. There are modern clips at the beginning and the end, but mainly, the video takes on an Elizabethan feel, which, does not technically represent the setting of 1300s Verona, Italy, it does represent the time in which the play was written, so it does have a connection, whether that was intended or not.

(Love Story video screenshot)
The first interaction between the “Romeo and Juliet-esque” characters is fairly similar to the one in the original play; they are both at a party, they met, they fall in love, etc. The end of the video seems a lot happier than the end of the play, but does seem to parallel the end of act two rather well. The two promise their love to each other and agree to get married the following day. In either sense, it might be difficult to predict the horrible end, assuming that that’s what happens in the aftermath of the Taylor Swift story as well. Overall, this song fits the general theme of the play, and of, specifically, act two, very well.

Closer by Ne-yo, however, didn’t seem to fit the overall theme of this point story. Lyrics like, “Oh I just can’t pull myself away. Under her spell I can’t break,” and, “I just can’t stop,” suggest more of a feeling of lust, rather than the love that Romeo and Juliet clam they have for each other. Romeo argues to Mercutio in the play that he knows what love is and that he is not being overtaken by his hormones (in terms of loving Rosaline; one and the same). An example of this is, “I cannot bound a pitch above dull woe. Under love’s heavy burden do I sink.” (I.iv.21-22); Romeo claims to understand his emotions. The video for Closer is very flashy and modern, with lots of creative editing and lighting to compliment it. It did look rather artistic and impressive, but did not appear, at least to me, to have any specific links or ties to the original story.

(Closer video screenshot compilation)

May 4 2015

Journal Entry: Juliet

*Revised on May 4, 2015
July 18th, 1303

I know I only met him yesterday, but Romeo and I are getting married tomorrow.
I could tell from the moment that we met last night that these feelings were very real.
Why oh why does he have to be a Montague?
I know we’re going to get married regardless, but, it just makes everything so much harder.
No matter, I love him all the same.
9 o’clock tomorrow, 9 o’clock.
I will send my nurse for him, and the final arrangements will be made.
It just seems to far away, I can’t wait any longer.
However, I will.
My darling, Romeo, is definitely worth the wait.
I’d wait forever if I had to.
9 o’clock tomorrow, 9 o’clock.


May 3 2015

Romeo and Juliet Act II Scene II- Compare and Contrast

*Revised on May 29, 2015
*Revised on June 13, 2015
*Revised on June 16, 2015
Act II Scene II is seen as one of the most crucial parts of the entire Romeo and Juliet story, and since there have been many different adaptations of this story since it was originally written, this scene has been portrayed in many different ways. The three renditions mentioned here are the graphic novel, and the film adaptations from 1968 and 1996.
Romeo and Juliet Graphic Novel cover Romeo and Juliet 1968 cover Romeo and Juliet 1996 cover
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Between all three adaptations of the story in question, all three stay very true to the original dialogue of the play. The best representation of the lines was the comic book version, since it was just the play written out in a visual form. However, I did notice that the line, “He jests at scars that never felt a wound.” (II.ii.1), said by Romeo, was missing in all three versions of the story. Both film versions of Romeo and Juliet stayed fairly true to the original text, leaving specific lines out, but not too many that the idea of the scene is lost to the viewers; no new dialogue was added, the scene purely depended on the manipulation of the preexisting lines from the play. For example, in the film from 1968, some lines such as, “It is the East, and Juliet is the sun. Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon, who is already sick and pale with grief that thou, her maid, art far more fair than she. Be not her maid since she is envious. Her vestal livery is but sick and green, and none but fools do wear it. Cast it off.” (II.ii.4-9) and, “What if her eyes were there, they in her head? The brightness of her cheek would shame those stars as daylight doth a lamp; her eye in heaven would through the airy region stream so bright that birds would sing and think it were not night.” (II.ii.18-23) were not included.
Romeo and Juliet Quote 1
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Some lines left out of the 1996 movie adaptation were, “Alack, there lies more peril in thine eye than twenty of their swords. Look thou but sweet. And I am proof against the enmity.” (II.ii.76-78) and, “Or, if thou thinkest I am too quickly won, I’ll frown and be perverse and say thee nay, so thou wilt woo, but else not for the world. In truth, fair Montague, I am too fond, and therefore thou mayst think my havior light. But trust me, gentleman, I’ll prove more true than those that have more coying to be strange. I should have been more strange, I must confess, but that thou overhears’st ere I was were my true-love passion. Therefore pardon me, and not impute this yielding light to love, which the dark night hath so discovered.” (II.ii.100-111). Although, in many cases, the lines taken out of one movie adaptation were present the the other; it just depends what the director found relevant and the most important to the plot itself.
Romeo and Juliet Quote 3
Image by: meetville.com1

As far as the actual scene itself, the graphic novel version and the 1968 film were incredibly similar, to the point where I question if the drawings in the novel were based off of the film. How the characters moved and interacted with each other were uncanningly similar. In both versions, Romeo sneaks into the Capulet’s back garden outside Juliet’s balcony, and he whispers to himself as he watches her stand there and talk to herself. He makes his presence known to her and then she panics, but is relieved after she realises it’s him. After discussing their situation, Romeo climbs a tree and meets Juliet on her balcony and they kiss and pledge their love to each other, and Juliet purposes that they get married the next day. After being called back by the nurse several times, Juliet eventually goes to leave, but then she calls Romeo back up to the balcony and they kiss again before they both exit.
Romeo and Juliet Graphic Novel photo 1 Romeo and Juliet 1968 photo 1 Romeo and Juliet Graphic Novel photo 2 Romeo and Juliet 1968 photo 3 Romeo and Juliet Graphic Novel photo 4 Romeo and Juliet 1968 photo 2
(Screenshots from Romeo and Juliet – Balcony Scene – Compare and Contrast)
The film from 1996 was, in some ways, very different from the other two adaptations. In the beginning of the scene, Romeo enters over the fence and into the area near the pool behind Juliet’s house. Startled by a noise, Romeo then panics and, in attempt to hide, crashes into things knocking them over. Romeo then hides by the wall outside Juliet’s window in effort to remain unseen by the nurse; Juliet enters via elevator, and walks around the pool talking to herself as Romeo, unnoticed, listens. As Juliet is talking, Romeo sneaks up behind her, and then replies to her thought. Juliet is spooked by Romeo’s sudden appearance which causes her to scream and grab onto him as she falls into the pool, bringing him with her. Romeo then hides under the water as a guard comes in to check on things, and, upon only seeing Juliet in the pool, leaves shortly after. Romeo and Juliet, still in the pool, discuss their situation and feelings towards one another. After much discussion, Juliet starts to leave the pool, but, in a response to Romeo, runs back and falls back into the pool, again, bringing him with her. The scene ends similarly to the other renditions, as the nurse calls Juliet back to the house, and she eventually says her goodbyes to Romeo; after planning their wedding for the next day, and giving him a necklace before she leaves.
Romeo and Juliet 1996 photo 1
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In any story, the atmosphere is very important to setting the overall mood of the story; many factors can contribute to a story’s atmosphere such as setting, music, pace, character behaviour, colours/lighting, etc. In the graphic novel, the pace was a lot slower than that of the movies, because it’s a novel, but it wasn’t too slow as to bore the reader. The House of Capulet seemed very large, as if belonging to a wealthy family, which the Capulet’s were. The colours used, around the setting and on the characters, seemed very fitting of the characters themselves and of the surroundings. Overall, the general atmosphere of the novel very well represents the intended feel of a theatre production of the same story.
Romeo and Juliet Graphic Novel photo 5
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The 1968 film version was also successful in building a suitable atmosphere. The house very much suited the family it belonged to and the style of the time period, as did the clothes both characters were wearing. Of course, there was little lighting, as the scene took place at night, so the moodiness of the nature light from the moon and from the house lights set the scene very well. The music was well suited for the time period, and for what was happening during the scene. The pace was a little bit quick, but, considering the emotion happening at the time, it did not seem unnatural and, since the scene is rather long, it did not feel too rushed.
Romeo and Juliet 1968 photo 4
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Since the 1996 film was set in a different time period, the overall atmosphere was a bit different. The whole scene was a lot more modernized than the other versions, so the set had a lot more modern things like elevators; the house was also a lot more obviously fancy from the outside. The music very well complimented the scene itself and the emotions happening in the scene, changing when something different was experienced. The only issues I personally had with the mood of this rendition was that the dialogue did not really fit with the modernized feel of the movie. Everything was modernized apart from the dialogue, so it seemed very unnatural. Overall, the atmosphere got the general idea across.
Romeo and Juliet 1996 photo 2
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All of the differing portrayals of this scene work wonders for different aspects of it, and whichever you prefer depends on what you’re looking to get out of it. If you’re looking for a more authentic rendition to the original play, then the graphic novel would suit that well, whereas if you were looking for a more engaging, creative way of telling the same story, the 1968 version may be better suited for you. If you wanted to see a different take on the original story that has already been told in many different ways, then I would suggest the 1996. Most importantly, all forms capture the general feel of what Shakespeare was originally trying to portray, and set up the upcoming scenes perfectly.