All Articles Tagged "anxiety"
We Do More Arguing Than Talking: How To Deal And What It Means When You And Your Man Can’t Seem To Stop Fighting
Every couple does it …and I’m not talking about sex, I’m referring to arguing, bickering, quarreling or whatever you’d like to call it. All normal couples fight–be it about jealousy, differences, anxieties, money, sex, work, forgetfulness, children or housework, everyone’s doing it.
There’s nothing wrong with a bit of disagreement. In fact, it can put things into perspective, it can reveal truth, and it can provide understanding about exactly where you and your partner stand in your relationship. However, it’s when you aren’t able to stop fighting that you should be concerned. When arguments become ongoing, trouble seems to brew just as things seem to finally settle, or light bickering becomes biting remarks, then you need to consider what’s happening beneath the surface of all that back-and-forth.
Depending solely on your situation and the level of growing animosity between the two of you, this fighting can mean a number of things –though probably not anything good. While the reasons why couples fight have already been indicated, the underlying explanation for why couples perpetually fight hasn’t been. The roots of these fights can be as basic as one person always made to feel wrong, made to feel inadequate, not feeling valued or appreciated, not properly healing from a previous relationship, the relationship not being made a priority, or issues with commitment. But because of insecurities and a shared inability to be honest, couples tend to argue about everything except the actual issue. When you and your significant other find that you’re in the same argument over and over again, there’s a strong possibility that either someone feels that they aren’t being heard or something important isn’t being said.
So, if you’re afraid that you’re in a crumbling relationship that’s ruled by anxiety and confrontation, there are a few things you can do to assess the situation, and the first thing you can do is sit down and sort out the facts. Divide fact from fiction, worries from realities, and write down the last few arguments that you’ve had, what sparked those conversations, what ended those arguments …if those arguments ended, what escalated the arguments, how disputes are usually resolved, what the patterns are, and if there is something that you want to convey to your significant other that you’re not able to say. You can easily ask your significant other to do the same, hoping that if they are as committed to the relationship as you are, they won’t take issue with putting aside time to understand the complications in your relationship. The aim is to be as honest as possible when examining the rifts in your relationship, and eventually have a candid discussion about the conclusions that you’ve come to. Remember, when you’re sharing your thoughts and feelings, try not to sound accusatory, and be sure that you’re both being heard. If you two are able to get through a frank and honest conversation, and prevail at a better place than you were before, then you should be comforted by the durability of your relationship.
First dates are typically filled with a flurry of emotions: excitement, anxiety, fear, nervousness, and plenty of others. First dates leave a lot of room for something to go wrong or for there to be tons of awkward moments. With all of this combined, there are definite dos and don’ts when it comes to a first date, namely when it comes to location. There are some places — a lot actually — where you really shouldn’t go on a first date, or else you risk having an unhappy, and really awkward, experience. Here are 14 places to avoid going on a first date.
Work, money and relationships are stressing out millennials so much that many of them are suffering from depression, according to a new study. While rates are falling for the rest of Americans, the Millennial generation, ages 18 to 33, are reporting more stress, depression and anxiety.
An online “Stress in America” survey of 2,020 U.S. adults 18 and older conducted in 2012 by Harris Interactive for American Psychological Association found that millennials are also more likely to be told by a health care provider they have depression or an anxiety disorder. In the survey, 39 percent of millennials said their stress level increased in the past year and 52 percent say stress has kept them awake at night in the past month. “On a 10-point scale, where 1 means ‘little or no stress’ and 10 means ‘a great deal of stress,’ the 2012 average is 4.9. But for millennials, it’s 5.4,” reports USA Today. Top stress sources for millennials are work (cited by 76 percent), money (73 percent) and relationships (59 percent), family responsibilities (56 percent) and the economy (55 percent).
“Millennials are growing up at a tough time. They were sheltered in many ways, with a lot of high expectations for what they should achieve. Individual failure is difficult to accept when confronted with a sense you’re an important person and expected to achieve,” Mike Hais of Arcadia, CA, a market researcher and co-author of two books on that generation, including 2011′s Millennial Momentum, told USA Today. “Even though, in most instances, it’s not their fault — the economy collapsed just as many of them were getting out of college and coming of age — that does lead to a greater sense of stress,” he says.
Depression has been diagnosed for 19 percent of millennials, compared with 14 percent of Generation X (ages 34 to 47); 12 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 48 to 66) and 11 percent of those ages 67 and older. Anxiety disorder has also been cited in millennials more than other generations, 12 percent, compared with eight percent of Gen X, seven percent of Boomers and four percent of seniors.
Millennials often try to cope with stress on their own, with more than a third saying they eat, play video games, or surf the Web. “But the most common coping mechanism is listening to music, cited by 59% of young adults; 51% exercise or walk, about the same as the national average (52%),” reports the newspaper.
It was that great poet laureate from Brooklyn, Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, who once poetically avowed in the song, “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)” that, Males shouldn’t be jealous that’s a female trait.
For some reason, it is an accepted belief that women, and women alone, succumb to the enticement of the green-eyed monster. If you ask most folks, be it woman or man, they will probably confirm that in general, women tend to be more catty and jealous than men and are more likely to act out of malice towards other women because of our envy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this sentiment casually roll off the tongue as if it were fact, and how many times, in turn, I have rolled my eyes as a response. I’m always amazed at how many people are willing to believe that women are the only gender capable of acting out badly based upon their inability to check their emotions.
Well I am here to tell you that unless he has been diagnosed with some sort of anti-social personality disorder, you can bet that men do indeed have emotions. I know, shocker right? Well let me blow your mind even further: that envy, which men might feel over an individual, can too be directed at other men. I’ll give you a second to process that point…
…got it together now? Okay good.
Show me a guy that is extremely gorgeous and happens to attract lots of attention from the opposite gender, and I’ll show you at least a dozen guys ready to pounce on him like Nino Brown did to the poor beautiful delicate flower Kareem Akbar in New Jack City (we know that was because he was light-skinned and pretty, right?). You might think I’m exaggerating, but if you want to witness true shade in action, pay close attention to how some men will speak of other men, whom they find threatening in some way. Men might not be as direct as women and attack a man over his physical appearance (i.e. shoes, body type, hair, etc…), but he will execute a well-aimed yet subtle hint about this man’s sexual preference and sit back as all his personal insecurities, fears and anxiety are transferred onto the back of the poor unsuspected schmuck.
Like for instance, I posted a promotional picture of the Kenyan Rugby “futbol” squad on my Facebook page. All the players in the picture were shirtless and were either in a pair of shorts or had a towel wrapped around the waist. And while all the men looked different, what was noticeable was how deliciously fit and toned their bodies were. I posted the picture a few months back so I can’t remember exactly how I captioned it (and I’m too lazy to search my timeline for the answer), however, I do recall writing something tongue and cheek and suggestive about orchestrating a real single ladies tour back to the Motherland (In my Beyoncé voice, singing, “If you like me than you should have put that thing on me…”). Anyway, the picture got lots of attention from the ladies in my network, who “liked,” shared and co-signed their newfound appreciation for international rugby. And the hens must have been having way too much fun because in the midst of us cackling about this fictitious voyage we were mentally embarking on, a male Facebook friend of mine decided he needed to offer his thoughts on why we were wasting our lustful time:
“I’m pretty sure that at least two of the guys in the picture are sweet.”
“Sweet” as in lacking in masculinity and/or bravery. Also used to describe a man with homosexual tendencies. And with that, all the chuckling and virtual hi-fiving had come to a screeching and uncomfortable halt. How my male Facebook friend was able to gauge individual sexuality just from looking at a single picture of men standing around pretty innocuous – with the exception of their missing shirts – is beyond my scope of understanding how “gaydar” actually works. Nevertheless, my Facebook friend was certain of this fact enough and felt compelled to cue us ladies in – just in case we were thinking of getting a little too carried away in our mid-day fantasies.
Although my Facebook friend may have felt that he was just poking fun at these brothers (and indirectly at us women), what I found very telling (and annoying), was how he felt that just putting out questions about these brothers’ sexuality would be enough to add insult in hopes of detracting away from the attention they were receiving because of their physical beauty. Nope. Sorry. For one, it’s a damn picture. I don’t even know any of these guys’ names, what positions they play or even how the hell rugby is played (I’m guessing there is a ball involved somewhere…). So why would I give two craps if these guys in this picture are gay or not? Matter of fact, when did being gay and being aesthetically pleasing to the eyes become mutually exclusive?
Anyway, this is what I told him in the comment section below the picture. And of course, this sparked an unnecessary debate in which he accused me of being sensitive and angry. But I swear I wasn’t angry, although I will admit to being a bit annoyed. I know how it goes when men want to make another guy look bad in front of the opposite sex. After all, jealousy and envy are emotions that both genders share. However, just as more women are becoming more conscious about how hurtful and counterproductive body-snarking is among women, I wish that more men would too stop the hate and understand that your insecurities and anxieties are no reason to be borderline homophobic.
A few years ago I began to notice that I had somewhat of an odd pattern of behavior surrounding my dating relationships. Let me explain. When I first meet or become romantically involved with a guy, I am one of the coolest most easygoing chicks to be around. I’m fun, I’m outgoing, I’m humorous, I’m confident. I presume this is a result of being totally detached from the guy I’m seeing. At this particular early point in the budding relationship, I am just enjoying myself and feel I have absolutely nothing to lose.
As time progresses and the relationship continues to grow, all seems well and things appear to be going fairly smooth. But then, out of nowhere, something happens. I wake up one day with this gripping feeling. It always takes me awhile to identify what it is, but I eventually come to the realization that the emotion I am being overtaken by is sheer terror. At some point in the progression of these relationships I suppose that my heart decides that she wishes to join in on the fun and that is where my problem seems to begin. When feelings start to grow and my mind receives the memo that my heart has become an active participant, I choke. Boy, do I choke. Panic seems to overtake me in a way that I am sure any licensed psychiatrist would prescribe medication to subdue. Thoughts of any and everything that could possibly go wrong in the relationship cloud my mind and I subconsciously begin looking for a way of escape.
“Get out now before any real damage is done,” is always the thought that looms in the back of my mind as fractured images of past hurts, disappointments and failed relationships clutter my memory. My mind wants to leave while my heart wants to stay and my soul seeks to find common ground between the two. More often than not, I decide to stay in the relationship, but not without putting up imaginary walls to guard my heart and appease my mind. And then of course, my mind goes into overtime by overthinking and overanalyzing every single detail of the relationship, hoping to catch on to or decode any signs of turbulence ahead of time so that I can get out before my heart can get broken.
I suppose that as a result of past occurrences, my mind is used to associating love and relationships with heartache, loss and suffering, which would make the emotional walls that I put up a mere defense mechanism; a simple defense mechanism that could potentially cause me to miss out on the love of my life. I realize that this fear is something that I must overcome. It would be a tragedy for me to get to the end of my life and realize that I allowed the one to get away because I let my uncompromising fear of being hurt have free reign to rule my love life. I know that conquering my fear of relationships won’t be easy, however, I am determined.
One of the most inspiring things I’ve ever read on this subject came in the form of an article by author and counselor, Sheryl Paul, on The Huffington Post entitled Relationship Anxiety: Fear Eyes or Clear Eyes? in which she shares her personal experiences of relationship anxiety with a boyfriend who is now her husband.
I learned that when we see life through fear-tinted glasses, it’s like walking through a fun-house where everything becomes distorted. Except that it’s not fun at all; it’s torture. Fear wanted to convince me to run because in fear’s mind, love is dangerous. Love means loss. Love means losing myself or losing the other person. Love means risking my heart and breaking down the layers of control. Real love means that I have to be accountable and vulnerable and, since I had never met someone with whom I felt safe enough to do this, almost every fiber in my body and soul wanted to run.
I remember letting out such a sigh of relief upon reading of her experiences. For so long I thought I was alone in feeling this way. What I found even more inspiring is when she reflects on how she was triumphant in her bout with relationship anxiety.
But I didn’t run. Thank God, I didn’t run…I would see his acts of caring, which are too numerous to list here. I would see his creativity, his soulfulness, the poetry of who he is. I would see that he’s everything I’ve ever wanted and needed, and I would be flooded with love and gratitude… There were many moments when fear would dissolve and I would see my partner through clear eyes, standing before me with the beauty of his soul radiating out like the rays of the sun. Fear might rear its ugly head the very next hour, but those windows of clarity are what gave me the inspiration and the knowing that I had to keep battling through the fear voices and fighting for love.
From Paul’s words, I know that there is hope for a fearful lover as myself, and as a follower of Christ, I don’t believe that it is in God’s will for me to live this way. I am determined to experience love the way in which God intended for it to be experienced. And so I will pray. I will fight, and if I’m lucky, I will not lose love to fear. Never again.
Have you ever dealt with relationship anxiety?
All photos are courtesy of Shutterstock
I sat across from my mother as a million and one thoughts and images flashed through my head. Our lovely Saturday afternoon lunch outing had just gone south as I learned that my checking account had been hacked and for the last three days someone had been going on unauthorized shopping sprees at my expense. I put my head in my hands as I moaned and groaned something about people who chose to steal from others instead of earning an honest living. The more I thought about it, the more upset I got. This had never happened to me before. I felt so violated. As I scrolled down the list of my most recent transactions on my banking app, I grew more and more angry. “The nerve of this person,” I thought to myself. As crazy as it sounds, I even began drudging up an image in my mind of the person who had broken into my account by looking at the different purchases they made. My mom eventually talked me off the ledge and I calmed down long enough to call the bank and explain what happened. They quickly put a hold on my account and reassured me that my money would be returned to my bank account within a couple of business days. For some reason though, I didn’t let out the loud sigh of relief that one would expect me to. I actually didn’t feel relieved at all. I knew all along that the bank would refund my money, but that wasn’t really my concern. It was the fact that it even happened to me in the first place that upset me the most. I had taken this unfortunate occurrence way too personally, which is something I seemed to do pretty often.
Red and itchy hives began to appear on my arms and legs, which seemed to be something that had been happening more frequently when I found myself getting extremely worked up about something. I released a loud sigh on my drive home as I realized that my “mini soap opera” had been over for almost thirty minutes, yet, I had allowed myself to get so worked up my body was still reacting to it. “This can’t be healthy,” I thought to myself.
By stressing and internalizing every little thing I was not only putting my mental and emotional health at risk, but my physical health as well. As a young woman, there are so many things that I desire to experience and accomplish. I wish to enjoy life in its full capacity and certainly do not want to be hindered by stress-induced illnesses. During that drive home I made a promise to myself. I promised myself that I would try my best to refrain from stressing over things I had no control over. A scripture from Matthew 6:27 quickly came to mind, which reads, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?” Although I read that scripture several times before, in that single moment it put so much into perspective. Worrying never really changed anything and stressing never made anything better. These behaviors are actually often counterproductive.
Do you find yourself stressing over things you have no control over?
A new study published in Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes finds that paranoid people who think people are talking about them seek out evidence of this gossip. And guess what? You’re going to find it because when your co-workers see you acting crazy, they will talk about your craziness. Self-fulfilling!
“That is, people who try to ferret out workplace enemies are likely to create some that didn’t exist before, at least in part because their own eavesdropping, snooping and gossiping sets colleagues to talking about them,” summarizes TIME.
The best course of action, the study finds, is to chill out. Perhaps you think other people are talking about you because you love to talk about other people? And all that paranoid behavior could drive your co-workers away from you on a professional level, making it hard to work in groups and, therefore, hard to do your job. When your anxieties interfere with your work, you’ve got a serious problem. Just keep in mind, the sinister goings-on in your head likely have nothing to do with reality. People are too busy for all that.
If you happen to work with someone who’s under the impression that they’re the constant topic of conversation around the water cooler, they’re probably suffering from “spotlight effect,” the narcissistic feeling that the world is paying attention to what they’re doing. In that case, just go about your business and sooner or later, the paranoid party will (hopefully) figure out that no one cares one bit about what they’re up to.
Depending on who you talk to, we are on this earth to procreate and keep the human race thriving. In the meantime, we get jobs, we achieve things, we possibly get married, we live and learn (and change hairstyles), but in the end, folks are conditioned to be ready to bring another human being into the world (once again, this depends on who you’re talking to). According to the media, everybody is doing it (“Teen Mom,” celebrities, hell the Duggar family just won’t stop), and people should follow suit. But what happens when in your mind, you’re the one person who doesn’t want to have kids?
For years, I wasn’t extremely amped about the idea of motherhood, maybe because of the fact that I’ve had nieces and nephews to help look after and keep entertained since I was 4 (I can barely remember when my first niece and nephew were born, that’s how young I really was). I liked the idea of naming kids, but the raising kids part seemed like more than I could wrap my brain around, especially when my mom would say,”When I was your age, I had TWO kids and was married!. Oh, okay.
But as the years have gone by and I’ve watched other nieces and nephews be born and grow, and now watch my sister go through her first pregnancy, I realize that IN THE FUTURE, I’d like a little bundle of joy myself. But a coworker of mine looks at the idea of motherhood the same way she looks at the rubbery stick of cheese she tried to ingest from 7-Eleven this morning…with a bit of confusion, or as I like to say, she gives it the “Oh hell no face.” She respects those who do it, but she’s over the whole “Oh, I want to have a baby” hysteria. Aside from naming the struggles of growing up in a big family, when I asked her what influenced her to pass on having her own children in the near future, she threw out a variety of scattered reasons and responses:
The Commitment: The reality of the fact that when a child comes out, it’s with you and yours until you pass on (God willing) was a little too much for her. Having responsibility over another human being for years and years was something she was a bit leery of, and even when a child grows up, that doesn’t mean the worry over them stops. There’s no vacay from being a mom.
The Financial Burden: From the cost of the pregnancy test, to the money you have to put together to help put them through college, children are indeed expensive. My co-worker says she realizes she’s not in a place in her life where she can shoulder all the costs, and isn’t sure she’ll ever be there or ready to shoulder it at all.
The Thought of Taking Care of Children Isn’t a Pleasant One: While she might not mind taking care of a little cousin for a few hours, knowing she can’t give said child back to their parent at the end of the day is a tad bit scary. Dealing with their possible terrible twos and tantrums, their energetic personalities and more for 24 hours a day, seven days a week 365 days a year (of course, with school or daycare involved) is something that fills her with anxiety, not a sense of happiness or fullness. Forget diamonds, kids are forever!
After we discussed her issues with motherhood and childbirth, the conversation turned to the idea of whether or not having these feelings and being against the idea of having children made people self-absorbed. She told me a story about hanging out with a girlfriend while they had a conversation with a man about why they didn’t have kids yet, and her friend made it clear that she wouldn’t have a child if she didn’t meet the right guy. The fella decided to blast her friend for being “selfish.” As crazy as that sounds, it’s not the first time someone has tried to pull that on a woman. When Oprah made it clear that she wasn’t going to push out any babies and reiterated the point over the years, people wondered why a woman who could provide so much to a child wouldn’t want to have children, or even adopt them. Selfish, much? But it was an interesting question: Does not wanting children make a woman selfish?
While some women might not want to give birth for superficial reasons (“I’m trying to keep my body right!”), or for random reasons (they had a bad encounter with ONE child and are over them all), there are many who just really don’t feel the need to do have a kid. Not because they hate kids, but because they just don’t see themselves in the motherly role. Maybe they’ve had bad experiences being children in humongous families, or have aspirations to do a wealth of things that wouldn’t be baby friendly, but whatever the reason, while folks might not immediately understand it, I don’t think it makes someone selfish. That’s like a woman unsure of whether or not to get married to her boyfriend does so to please the folks who say she should, only to have a rocky marriage. If you know in your heart you don’t have an enthusiasm for the concept, why would you go forth and have a child? Why bring someone in the world that you don’t want? In reality, what would be more selfish is to bring a child in the world that you can’t provide for, don’t have love for, and don’t want to take responsibility of, and sadly, we see women do things of that nature every day. Instead of giving these ladies the side eye, you might want to show them love for keeping it real with themselves.
Who knows, my co-worker’s feelings could change in the future. The right guy could come along, sweep her off of her feet and make her want to start a family. Or maybe she’ll continue to work her way to the top of the fashion world and leave all the babies and the baby talk to everybody else. In the end, I know what I would like for myself, and she clearly knows what she doesn’t want for herself. Coming to terms with the fact that you don’t want to have kids and being okay with your choice doesn’t make you selfish though, at least in my opinion. But uh, good look getting your family to be as understanding…
What are your thoughts on women who don’t want to have children? Is it selfish?
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By Ryan Rivera
Anxiety may be one of the most common mental health conditions in the country, and yet few people are willing to admit that their anxiety is causing a serious problem. Anxiety is often considered normal, especially in its milder forms, and indeed there are times when feeling anxious makes a great deal of sense (an important meeting with a client, or a job interview for example), and otherwise fairly harmless.
Yet there’s no denying that there are also times when anxiety affects your life in a negative way, and in some cases that anxiety can be fairly consistent. Persistent anxiety may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder – and for many, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) affects their life fairly regularly. If you experience anxiety when no anxiety should be present, and you find that that anxiety is affecting your quality of life, there may be more going on than you think.
You can see what qualifies as GAD in the DSM-IV-TR, but it’s not uncommon to have an anxiety problem without realizing it. So here are some potential signs to keep an eye out for.
The first professional job I ever had was teaching sexual health part-time at a nationally recognized non-profit. I traveled a short 20-minute commute outside of the city into the surrounding suburbs, but the differences between the two areas were like night and day. As I breezed along the expressway every morning and left the busy hustle and bustle of the inner city behind, I would always look at the opposing traffic braking and beeping loud and do a happy little shoulder-lean to my music over the fact that I didn’t have to be stuck in that mess everyday anymore. When I got off at my exit, it was clear that I wasn’t in Kansas anymore; the most popular spot in an area of all interstate and backwoods was the local Wal-Mart.
I was definitely out of my element, but I didn’t feel the urge to hightail it back to the city so I could be surrounded by people who looked like me and spoke like me. I embraced the duality that had just become my personal and professional life. This particular position meant that I was included in the administrative level of the organization, and surprisingly, I didn’t notice that not only was I one of the youngest employees on this level, but also the darkest. As I entered community meetings and corporate conferences, I knew based on my appearance alone that people thought I looked more like the young women I was teaching more than a facilitator. Still, I wasn’t uncomfortable, and even though I may have looked like I should be asking the questions instead of answering them, I knew that I belonged in those meetings. I’m educated, professional and damn good at what I do.
One of the things that I strive for in my career is to challenge young people to step outside of the world they know. So many young people are afraid to leave the 10 blocks of their neighborhood and unfortunately for some, that means that the only thing they will ever see are a lot of the same, whether that includes hustlers, baby mommas, crime, poverty–whatever. My parents always gave me a certain pride about my community, but they also made my childhood rich with experiences that took me outside of my familiar surroundings. As a result I feel just as comfortable at the block party BBQ as I do at a black tie gala.
But I’ll never forget a class I once observed. While a co-worker and I discussed the different opportunities students would have to visit places like the zoo and the art museum, the first question one young lady asked was, “Will there be white people there?” As we went on to discuss why this was her primary concern, she went on to reveal that she had never been an actual victim of racism, but simply felt like she didn’t belong and wasn’t comfortable around them.