March 25, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 92  

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Serenity now, paper swans later

Kats got your tongue
Laura Katsirdakis

News Editor

I’ve often thought every person has a little bit of craziness in them. Now, I’m quite sure that is not true — it’s just me.

I cannot do just one thing at a time. When normal people watch TV, they sit and watch. I must do something else at the same time, or I go nuts. I fold laundry, do the dishes, cut my toe nails — anything to avoid just sitting there.

When I sit in class, I do origami. I admit it, I’m the one who pisses everyone off with the paper-folding noises and the origami animals and foliage left behind wherever I go. When I wait for either the bus or class, I can read. But during class, I need something to keep my mind on the lecture.

Why, you ask? I’m crazy. I’m sorry, there’s no other explanation than that. If I’m doing nothing at all, I lose myself in endless tirades of analyzing everything possible, criticizing everything I can and worrying about everything under the sun. To make a long story short, I have a bit of an anxiety problem.

So here I am, outing myself as that annoying origami dork — and as a terminal case of anxiety to the extreme. I have had problems with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I didn’t realize this was anything out of the ordinary until I took psych 020 and read the definition in the textbook.

When I read the definition of anxiety and depression, I put my head down on the textbook and bawled. For some reason, it seemed better in my mind if I was weird, and if there was no definition of me in a textbook. But there I was on the page.

I tried to take up smoking to boost the dopamine levels in my brain, but that just gave me bad breath. So I’ve spent much of my time since psych 020 trying to find ways to combat my natural tendency of worrying myself silly and somehow assuming the sky is always falling.

It may be crazy, but origami is one of the best solutions I have found — it provides an efficient and easy method of distracting my worrisome mind so I can focus on the task at hand. In this case, the task at hand is class.

A lecture is not enough to keep my mind out of the trenches. I will worry about the upcoming essay or exam. I’ll worry my gerbil doesn’t like my new haircut; my shoes are too pointy; I forgot to do a hundred things (that I actually probably already did twice). I’ll worry the subtext of what someone said to me yesterday really means they think I’m ugly and stupid… you get the picture.

And then I turn on the TV and see those dippy Zoloft commercials. Oh you stupid sad little blob, I know your pain. But why is it that pharmaceutical companies, which make the drugs to treat depression, can’t market their products without insulting their target audience by depicting depression as a blob with a sad face bouncing around in a bunch of happy-faced blobs?

As Fiona Apple sings in “Paper Bag”: “He said it’s all in your head/ And I said so’s everything /But he don’t get it.”

Origami is a very simple solution for a very complex problem. \It allows me to focus my attention on something else, and keeps my spare “twitch” anxiety appeased for the moment. So I’m sorry if the paper-folding is too noisy for some of you, but I’m pretty sure you’ll get over it. I don’t mean any offense, I’m really just trying to keep myself sane for a moment.



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