I remember my first panic attack in more detail than I remember losing my virginity or the first time I drove a car by myself. (I guess vivid terror of suddenly not being able to breathe really ingrains itself into your psyche.) It was 1998 and I was watching the “Psycho” remake with my family’s French exchange student. During the infamous shower scene, my throat and lungs tightened inside me like a figure eight knot. I got up and paced around the movie theater, unable to control my body and wondering if I was having a heart attack. I’ve had panic attacks periodically since then, probably due to a combination of biology and circumstance. I’ve made an effort to lessen the conditions that they occur in and for the most part, I live a pretty calm life. My anxiety only spikes in extreme circumstances, such as the rare times I’ve gotten temporarily stuck in a subway underground (I’m claustrophobic).
After a couple of years without anxiety attacks in my everyday life, I’ve started having them again. The stress is related to old stuff resurfacing in my life and the anxiety is pretty much the same, too: my chest tightens, my heart beats too fast, I can’t breathe, and I feel like I’m having a heart attack. (Or, you know, what I assume a heart attack feels like.) I’m 30 now. Panic attacks are still shitty and frustrating, but all the experience I’ve had coaxing myself through them over the years actually does makes them less intense and quicker to get over.
These are my thoughts on what panic attacks are like, how to deal with them, and what I hope other people could understand if they’re trying to help:
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I got into an debate with my friend the other day about a topic that I never thought I’d have to discuss — photoshopping your online dating profile picture. She’s a recent adopter of OKCupid, and is what I would consider a power user, actively pursuing suitors, sending messages and going on countless dates, that swing wildly between enthralling and depressing.
“You know,” she told me one day over Gchat, “I Photoshop my profile picture.” She seemed unfazed by this admission, and took my shock and awe in stride.
“Isn’t that … dishonest? Isn’t that defeating the point?!” I asked.
“Eh … not really,” she wrote back. “Isn’t everybody lying, anyway?” Keep reading »
Here’s a situation most people in long-term relationships have experienced at one time or another:
You really want to do something. Say, a challenging hike that ends at an idyllic waterfall. And you really want your partner to do it with you, because you love spending time with them, don’t want to do it alone, and, hello, idyllic waterfalls are fucking romantic.
But your partner doesn’t want to do it. Their reason could be anything: they’re busy, they’re tired, they hate hiking, they have a phobia of romantic waterfalls — the fact is, they don’t want to do it, and they’re not budging.
I’ve been on both sides of this equation many times. It’s never easy, and whenever nagging enters into the equation (guilty!), it creates a perfect storm for conflict — not to mention resentment on both sides. Finding a balance between quality couple time and independence can be tough, but in this case, I’ve found that there is nothing more empowering and ultimately better for your relationship than learning to do your own thing. Keep reading »
Can seven-year olds be assholes? You bet.
Do parents sometimes talk about how their kids can be total assholes with their friends? Most likely.
Should parents — especially those with a decent-size platform — talk publicly about how their kids are huge assholes? Of course not.
But that’s exactly what “Real Housewife” Brandi Glanville did, and she’s not sorry at all. Keep reading »
For three years, I woke up at 4 a.m. every day. I spent two days a week as a full-time student; one of those, I was at school from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and the other I split with one of my five weekly eight-hour work shifts. I did all of the driving in my household, which meant all of the grocery shopping and all of the car maintenance. When I wasn’t at school or at work, I was doing homework, determined to graduate with honors after three previous less-than-stellar years at a different college. On the one day off I had every week, I was usually visiting my then in-laws. Toward the end, I managed to squeeze in going to the gym three times a week as well. I got four or five hours of sleep a night, barely paid the rent and bills, and was running on ambition and self-confidence.
I was a wreck, but it was one of the best experiences of my life. Here are the life lessons I learned during my three-year stint burning the candle at both ends… Keep reading »
People in their twenties are full of life and promise, and that’s a great thing. But they are also full of some lousy ideas about love. So let’s take a moment to educate ourselves on the things we need to know, and the misconceptions we need to drop, ASAP. Here’s what Gen Y needs to know about love on Your Tango…
I believe that traveling is always a good experience (even a terrible vacation will give you stories to tell for years to come), but who you choose to travel with will make a big difference in what kind of experience you have. A cross-country road trip with your three best friends will be very different than a cross-country road trip with your dad, for example. And that dream trip to the Great Wall of China? Should you go it alone or take your boyfriend along? Click through to find out the pros and cons of different travel partners, and please share your own travel partner preferences in the comments!
Sometime last week, I read a short little gossip item about how Adam Levine is apparently apologizing to all of his exes for his past behavior in advance of his upcoming wedding to Behati Prinsloo. I didn’t think much of it, because who really cares about Adam Levine outside of his adorably homoerotic relationship with fellow “Voice” judge Blake Shelton? But then I saw a teaser for a segment on a morning news show about how apologizing to your exes is a “trend” or something, so I did some Googling to see what Adam hath wrought. And lo and behold, according to The New York Post, NYMag.com and Fox News NY, going on an “ex apology tour” is a THING now. I’m not sure how I feel. Keep reading »
I got married very quickly: we had only been dating for five months. I didn’t doubt that I’d found the man I wanted to spend my life with, but I did feel confused in the weeks and months after we’d gotten hitched what marriage was supposed to mean and if so, how should we make it work? We knew why we got married romantically and we knew why we got married legally — but was that all there was to it? In an upcoming HBO documentary airing on Monday, June 30th, a documentary filmmaker who pays his bills by doing wedding videography, seeks to explain the secrets of wedded bliss. In “112 Weddings,” Doug Block went back and interviewed former clients whose weddings he filmed to check in on how matrimony turned out. Some explain how they’ve kept a relationship alive all this time; others explain how their nuptials lead to divorce. Sounds like a film to watch with the husband, yes?
I started dating immediately after I told my now-ex that I wanted to get a divorce. This was because, as one of my friends very aptly put it, I wasn’t really “rebounding” so much as just “bounding” — rebounding assumes that you’re bouncing off of something, and I wanted a divorce because my marriage no longer qualified as a relationship. A relationship is the state in which two things or people are connected to each other; we were not that so much as one person making loud proclamations about what the other should be and the other, by the end, just going “NO” (and this is a generous description of a very unhealthy situation). I was definitely bounding out of and away from that, and gleefully. Keep reading »