The Japanese Word for Panic Attacks

There are many foreign words that do not have an English translation. One example is the Japanese word mushaburui. It translates to shaking or trembling with excitement. Musha is the Japanese word for samurai or warrior. Burui comes from the verb furu which means to shake or tremble. One website referred to the word as “shaking like a samurai.” The English translation doesn’t convey exactly what the word means. One person described with a scenario. Imagine a samurai waking in the morning before a battle. They are shaking with anticipation. It’s both fear and excitement. Will they live? Will they die?

The description of this word makes me think of a panic attack. Sometimes there isn’t any real danger when one has a panic attack, but the emotion is the same. The 2010 film “13 Assassins (Jûsan-nin no shikaku)” has a character who mentions this emotion. He says at one point in the film, “As a samurai in this era of peace, I have wished for a noble death. Now fate has called to me. See, my hands are trembling. It’s a warrior’s battle shakes.” Is the anticipation of one’s death not the same as a panic attack? It’s about one’s perspective of what they’re feeling.

This also reminds me of the 1998 film “Saving Private Ryan.” I have mentioned before how I related to Tom Hanks’ character in the film. At the beginning of the film, as the boats approach Normandy Beach on June 6, 1944, his hand is trembling. This is the same feeling the samurai felt in “13 Assassins.” This is the same feeling I have during a panic attack. When someone asks how I’m feeling, I can finally provide a word to describe it. Not everyone will know the meaning, but there is a kind of power in giving something a name.

The next time you’re feeling excited, be it negative or positive excitement, call it was it is. Mushaburui. Having this new outlook on what this emotion is, I can overcome some of my fear and accept the panic attack. I accept it as something natural. It prepares my body and reminds me of my own mortality. Courage doesn’t mean you’re not afraid. It means you go anyway. I’ve felt like I’ve lived in fear the last couple of years because my body would tremble at the thought of something. I will force myself to keep going. Whether I tremble or not.

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Distracting Depression

When our brains get so focused on one negative thing, it can be really hard to stop letting those thoughts spiral you into a pit of despair.

For me, my brain has a few cassette tapes that it plays on repeat for me when I’m really feeling depressed or anxious. Some of my mental illness’s favorite are “Nobody Loves You: An Unromantic Song for the Lonely,” “Megan’s a Failure (She Can’t Do Anything Right)” and “Let’s Lay in Bed Forever, Nobody would Miss Me.”

I have had some really negative thoughts spinning in my mind for the past few months but I found out that they were not true. Which is somehow always surprising to me when my anxious thoughts are false. Anybody else feel the same?

Lately I have been dealing with the repercussions of my action regarding that situation and I’m feeling totally awful about it. I let my anxious thoughts cloud my reality. I have been letting my fear of change get to me too.

Sometimes I have to disconnect my mind and focus on something else. I have to distract my depression and anxiety to make it be quiet.

What I often do as a distraction is to do something that I can be completely immersed in. Whether it’s studying Japanese (日本語を勉強する), watching one of my favorite movies (“Mulan” always helps), exercising or petting my cats; it makes a difference most of the time.

The reason I began studying Japanese was to distract myself from suicidal thoughts in 2018. It’s similar to why I became obsessed with makeup in 2016 to distract myself from even more severe suicidal thoughts.

I knew Japanese would take full brain power and determination to learn. I had to learn two alphabets plus be able to at least recognize basic kanji (they’re the more complex looking symbols). Studying the alphabets was the easy part too! On top of that all of the grammar and vocabulary makes it quite challenging.

Being able to practice on Duolingo, do lessons on YouTube and watch subtitled anime to hear how Japanese is spoken naturally makes me happy.

I have always enjoyed learning languages even though I’m not fluent in anything but English. I took Spanish and French in high school then German in college. I found German to be quite difficult since it was my first non-romantic language that I studied and I didn’t feel like I had enough time to devote to really understanding it.

How do you distract your mind from depression/mania/anxious thoughts/OCD tendencies? Please leave me a comment!

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