Profile for Sara Benincasa

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Girl Talk: I’m Too Crazy For Health Insurance

Married For Insurance
An essay from a woman who got married for health insurance. Read More »
I Have Panic Attacks
An essay about suffering from panic attacks. Read More »
Mental Health Days
In praise of mental health days. Read More »

Unlike my future captor Tom Cruise, I’m a big fan of psychiatry. Why? Well, it’s given me opportunities I never could have experienced without medical intervention for depression, agoraphobia and panic attacks. To put it more simply: Psychiatry has saved my life. But thanks to a couple of friendly letters from health insurance companies, I’ve recently learned I don’t deserve to go to the doctor.

And here I thought I was doing well. Keep reading »

Book Excerpt: “Agorafabulous! Dispatches From My Bedroom” — Plus, Win A Copy Of The Book!

Panic Attacks Explained
Sara Benincasa explains panic attacks in cartoon form. Watch »

Sara Benincasa’s struggle with panic disorder began with childhood anxiety attacks and intensified until, at the age of 21, she developed full-on agoraphobia.  Her fears were so severe she was afraid to leave her own bedroom.  She sank into suicidal depression.  Garbage piled up against the wall as her appetite for food—and life—slipped away.  Finally, one day two college friends contacted Sara’s family out of fear for her safety and state of mind.  Here is an excerpt detailing when Sara’s parents have first been notified that their daughter was dealing with some very real problems.

“Hello?” I said hoarsely.

“Hi, Ra-Ra!” chirped one voice.

“Hey, Ra!” boomed another.

It was my parents. Keep reading »

I Have Panic Attacks

In retrospect, it was all inevitable. Not the details, like the time I grew so afraid of using the toilet that I urinated in cereal bowls in my apartment, or the time I collapsed outside a filling station in Sicily and told someone I couldn’t remember how to breathe. Those specific situations weren’t predictable, of course. But looking back, I can see how much sense it makes that I have panic attacks. Keep reading »

Recapping “Gossip Girl”: Valley Girls (The Spin-Off That’ll Never Happen)

Last night, “Gossip Girl” was awesome fun! It was weirdly sentimental, and sweet, and No Doubt was there covering Adam and the Ants, and Brittany Snow actually charmed my dang pants off with her turn as Young Lily, and the ‘80s fashion was ADORBZ, and they played Men Without Hats, and there were actual nice parallels between the dual storylines! I feel like someone sat the writers down and gave them a talking-to. Keep reading »

Recapping “Gossip Girl”: The Wrath Of Con

OMFG this episode was actually F-U-N in spots! Can you believe it? Neither can I! Well, don’t worry. I’m sure next week’s episode will be supreme crossover lameness to pimp the new Lily-is-young-in-the-‘80s series. But today it’s still 2009, and I’m still basking in the afterglow of a sorta-good episode.

To review: Serena’s ugstown boyfriend Gabriel stole a bunch of money through a Ponzi scheme and disappeared. In this episode, Serena lures him in with a false pregnancy claim and then gets him to admit everything. He’s wearing softest powder blue and has a weird sudden fake tan. Because she’s stupid, she doesn’t involve the police but instead tries to play Encyclopedia Brown. Keep reading »

Recapping “Gossip Girl”: Southern Gentlemen Prefer Blondes

Last night paired up Blair and Chuck once again as a duo willing to stoop low to achieve a high goal: save their girl Serena from heartbreak at the hands of a sociopath. Only this time, their route actually finds them seeking help from last season’s worst character, Georgina. In fact, I was so enraged at Michelle Trachtenberg’s presence on the show that I coined the term “to Trachtenburgle,” i.e. to appear on a formerly great show and ruin it (by way of historical reference, see her performance as Dawn “The Key” Summers on “Buffy”). And I’ve held it against MT ever since. But this season, it looks like she gets to play Georgina for laughs, and oddly enough, she’s good at it. Keep reading »

Recapping “Gossip Girl”: Seder Anything

After an excruciating hiatus, “Gossip Girl” is back! On last night’s episode, Passover was in the air, and Blair’s Jewish stepdad was back onscreen for Seder in the latest installment of your favorite meaningless teen dramedy. Also, other things happened. Keep reading »

Recapping “Gossip Girl”: Remains Of The J

OMG! Spoiler alert, for those of you who have yet to review your DVR’d “Gossip Girl” from last night: this episode didn’t completely suck! I know, right? Amazing! Let’s dive right into it.

First up: did they or didn’t they? Meaning Blair and Nate, of course. Turns out they didn’t, although Blair has been bringing Nate breakfast at his manse on the windswept Upper East Side moors for the past week. Try telling that to Vanessa, though. After getting a friendly text from her estranged loverboy (or so she thinks!), Our Lady of Indeterminate Ethnicity catches sight of Blair leaving Nate’s abode before school one morning. Chuck rolls up in his limo and lets V know that it was in fact he, the dastardly Bassling, who sent the false text. For you see, Charles has been stalking Blair and is convinced that Nate has resumed sticking his Archibald in her Waldorf. Vanessa resists Chuckie’s attempt to draw her into his plans for revenge, but oh: the episode’s only just begun…. Keep reading »

Recapping “Gossip Girl”: The Grandfather

At this point, I love “Gossip Girl” the way I once loved a certain young lad back in my high school days. It’s almost like reliving that entire romance, in fact. Though I loved the show once with a passion beyond compare, it no longer satisfies me. I talk trash about it behind its back. But at the same time, I just can’t let go, because the good parts (the soundtrack, Ed Westwick’s face) are still so good. On some level, I’m still in love.

With that in mind, let’s enter the spectacular zone of white privilege and excess that is this thrice-baked trifle of a guilty pleasure… Keep reading »

Recapping “Gossip Girl”: The Age of Dissonance

I have so many questions as I sit, rapt, through the intro to Monday’s night episode of “Gossip Girl”: Would Dan boink Ol’ Teachy McTeacherson again? Would Serena’s breasts push free of their restrictive corsetry and finally take over the entire screen with their golden magnificence? Would Chuck take his custom-made Saville Row pants off and dance for me and me alone? Keep reading »

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