Your help is needed for the Richmond HS gang rape victim.

Hopefully, justice will be served in this most horrifying case of a) gang rape at a school dance, b) where up to 20 bystanders cheered and said nothing.

The 15 year old victim is said to be resting at home following her hospitalization. Here’s how you can help!

*Please* take a moment to send a card or note to the survivor of last Sat’s gang rape: Richmond High School is accepting cards and donations for the victim and her family. They can be mailed to the school at 1250 23rd St., Richmond, CA 94804-1011. Make checks out to the Richmond High Student Fund, with “For sex assault victim” written in the memo line.

Of course, I find it odd that the very school with improper lighting, security and chaperones is collecting the funds, but….please send your money to help her heal. She will have a long road, bless her.

Wrongs of Passage – Utah State University

This sad story will at least have some sort of adjudication. Sigma Nu and Chi Omega, a fraternity and sorority, respectively, are charged with the hazing death of student Michael Starks, who died of alchohol poisoning. It’s not clear what the individual punishment will be for those students involved, but I will bet the charters of each house will be pulled.

I am so sorry for the pain endured by the Starks family. What I am about to hear is the collective roar of people saying no one forced the victim to drink the vodka. I disagree. Acceptance and belonging and fear of being an outsider is what causes Greek tragedies.

Amen to his father for the brilliant quote.

Bill W. – perpetrator of “unwanted advances”? This explains a lot.

I won’t comment here as it is far too obvious. This from today’s New York Post about Susan Cheever’s upcoming book that address Bill W., founder of Alcoholics Anonymous. It seems as though “thoughtless sexual encounters” were no stranger to the original Twelve-Stepper and hidden well by other members of the beloved fellowship I have had to hear so much about. The lesson? Stop drinking, which ruins lives, but continue to ruin lives in other ways.

“September 24, 2008 —

BILL Wilson, who co-founded Alcoholics Anonymous, had another addiction: sex. “His desire for women threatened to jeopardize his entire life’s work,” Susan Cheever writes in her new book, “Desire.” Wilson – who was wed to the same woman for 53 years while keeping a mistress and catting around – had an “inability to regulate his behavior with women” and was “often accused of groping and unwelcome fondling,” Cheever says. But, she notes, he was able to cover his bad behavior with the help of grateful AA members whose lives he’d helped save.”

Cult. Thoughts?

Panic attacks – a guide

OK, so here’s a first (and also an answer to the “do you have panic attacks anymore?” question). Yes, I do. Having one right now; so I figured I’d blog it away. For those survivors reading and those who love them, PTSD and panic attacks from it are devastating. Some folks have full-blown panic disorder, some have generalized anxiety disorder. The trigger can be something known to the sufferer (like a crowded subway car, driving over a bridge), or, like me, be triggered by nothing at all. Woke up, threw on cargo pants and flip-flops (er, it’s 51 degrees!), swiped on some lipgloss, got Ava ready for school and headed to the office. Got my iced tea, took vitamins, paid some bills, answered phone calls and email and WHAMMO! Like a freight train. Here goes:

-rapid rapid heartbeat and intense fear (that’s my big one)
-feeling of doom
-sweaty and/or cold
-flushed feeling
-gastrointestinal discomfort
-“choking” sensation
-cannot breathe deeply
-need to escape (from room, building, your own clothing, your own skin)
-chest pain

Those are mine. I have been on .5mg Klonopin 3x day for about 19 years as I have the disorder. It waxes and wanes. One mg Xanax in crisis. There: full disclosure. As I am pregnant, this puts a bit of a wrinkle in it. When it’s a bad one, the docs suggest I take it as my heart rate gets too high for the baby and there’s no evidence that benzodiazepines harm unborn children if taken rarely. The guilt is overwhelming. What caused it? Too much work? Too much “perfect” as my therapist says?

I wanted to share it with you real-time as it was happening so you would all know that it’s normal and you won’t die. Here’s how I cope:

-surfing (cannot do that now)
-my noise machine (has rain forest, ocean, chimes)
-meditation podcasts from iTunes
Rescue Remedy herbal elixir from Whole Foods
-calcium and extra B-12 – helps calm you
-some protein – roll up some turkey around lowfat string cheese
-scream and punch a pillow (if alone)
-get low to the ground and try to feel connected to the Earth, “grounded”
-picture a safe haven in your mind; mine is a cloud with my favorite blanket
-FOCUS on the mundane; list the Presidents, your favorite artists, etc.
-have a “panic buddy” call tree – I DO. They love you and want to help!
-place lavender essential oils on your temples and breathe deeply
-if you are with a child, engage them; it helps. You don’t want them scared.
-surf funny blogs – laughter can help. I go to Dlisted or Gawker.

A panic attack can last 5 minutes or hours. You won’t die. Trust me, I’ve had about 900 of them and I’ve even called 911 a few times – if you do have a prescription, use it responsibly and when the doctor tells you to. It feels like hell, like you’re going crazy or having a heart attack. You aren’t.

Now that I have finished this post, on the floor, listening to ocean waves and surrounded by lavender candles, I am calm. See? It’s over. What were my triggers? Probably too much crime blogging, not enough protein this morning,a sneak peek at a certain someone’s sex offender registry profile and a talk with my agent about a speaking engagement that means a lot to me. My life is blessed, but even good stress can trigger it. Oh, and I should not have had an iced tea. What was I thinking???? Thank you all for listening. Please share your tips and stories. I am here to listen and help.

PS – enjoy the LOLcat. That’s how I felt.