Dating Someone With Social Anxiety: 6 Tips from a Therapist

woman putting on lipstick man getting dressed before going out

It’s hard to have social anxiety. You feel like everyone is judging you, and you’re frequently uncomfortable in your own skin. It can also be difficult to date someone who suffers from social anxiety. Sometimes it can seem like your life is being constricted in ways you didn’t sign up for, and that issue can lead to resentment and irritation. Here are some tips to keep in mind when your partner has social anxiety, so the relationship can withstand the pressure of this disorder.

1. Try Hard to Empathize With Your Partner

You may not have social anxiety, but do you have any other issues you wish you didn’t have, or that you are actively working on improving? Most people wish they were different in some way or other. For instance, if you struggle with ADHD, it is useful to compare the conditions in your mind, saying, “I don’t try to forget things, and my partner isn’t trying to be scared of social situations. We both struggle.” Continue reading Dating Someone With Social Anxiety: 6 Tips from a Therapist

My Holiday Anxiety Around Eating and Body Issues

thanksgiving feast family passing plates

The spread is incredible — juicy dark meat turkey, homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, those brussel sprouts my brother prepares that make them actually taste delicious, candied sweet potatoes — and we haven’t even gotten to dessert, my favorite part of every meal, especially when seasonal pies are involved.

My eyes feast on the meal, but inside my anxiety starts to edge its way into my mind. How much can I put on my plate this Thanksgiving and still feel like I won’t be judged for how much or what I am eating? Can I afford to eat two slices of pie, or do I need to stick with just one to keep up appearances? Am I making enough of a show of restraint in comparison to my BMI for the extended family members at the table so I won’t feel judged? Continue reading My Holiday Anxiety Around Eating and Body Issues

How the Right Song Can Help You Manage Anxiety

happy woman using headphones and listening to music

Maya Benattar is a licensed psychotherapist in New York City. Her office looks like the typical therapist’s office — calm and quiet, comfortable seating, soothing lighting. The perfect place to work through difficult feelings of anxiety and depression.

But a few items might catch your eye: a piano, drums, a guitar, and various other music-making tools. Not things you’d typically expect to see in a therapy setting.

That’s because Benattar — in addition to her credentials as a psychotherapist — is also a board-certified music therapist. Continue reading How the Right Song Can Help You Manage Anxiety

Ask a Therapist: Anxiety is Tearing My Boyfriend and I Apart

couple arguing outside on city street

Talkspace is pleased to continue our advice column, this week with therapist Dr. Samantha Rodman. Send your mental health questions for Samantha to [email protected].

Dating Drama writes,

I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost three months. In the beginning, everything was perfect, but then it’s like a huge storm came and destroyed our relationship. I am trying to help him deal with his severe anxiety, and we constantly fight all day. He accuses me of doing things wrong when I do nothing. I understand I have flaws and faults from the past (before we were together), but I am not the same person as I was when he first met me. I’m constantly being insulted and being accused of these ridiculous things. He even blamed me for what someone else posted on their social media. Continue reading Ask a Therapist: Anxiety is Tearing My Boyfriend and I Apart

Can Childhood Traumas Cause Panic Disorder?

mother and father arguing sad daughter with teddy bear

I’ve had severe panic attacks on and off since I was 16 years old. Although I may never be able to pinpoint their exact cause, I’ve long suspected that some of the traumas I experienced as a child (divorce, abandonment, custody battles, and verbal abuse) contributed to my panic disorder.

Recently, though, my therapist mentioned something in passing that illuminated the whole phenomenon for me in an entirely different way. She said that when we hold our emotions inside, they tend to kind of morph into conditions like anxiety and panic.

A lightbulb went off in my brain then: I could picture myself, a young girl, witnessing and experiencing all sort of things that I now know were most certainly traumatic, and basically just standing there absorbing them all. I was always the “good girl,” whom everyone thought was so resilient despite all the difficult things that were unfolding. Continue reading Can Childhood Traumas Cause Panic Disorder?

Mental Health In Bed: Sex and Anxiety

woman with sex anxiety and man in bed

Has this ever happened to you? You’ve set the scene, the mood is right, you fall into bed with your partner and then the anxiety starts: What if I’m doing this wrong? What if I hurt them? What if I get hurt?

This is how sex in a past relationship always went for me. Everything would be right. I would tell myself I would stay calm this time, and then the anxiety crept in anyway, building like a crescendo until the only thing climaxing was my panic.

I could never get past the anxiety long enough to let go and fully be with the person I loved. I tensed up, clammed up, and in the end, neither of us had a satisfying experience. I didn’t know how to talk to my partner about the anxiety because I thought it was a problem I needed to fix alone — as opposed to something we could work on together. As a result, our love life fizzled and eventually went out. Continue reading Mental Health In Bed: Sex and Anxiety

I’m A Worrier, But Maybe That’s Not Such A Bad Thing

worried red headed woman with hand on chin

I worry. A lot. About the little things, like whether my kids are coming down with pneumonia, or if we have enough milk left for breakfast tomorrow morning. And about the big things, like whether I will lose any of my freelance work, or whether our house will flood during the next hurricane.

I spend nights up worrying about the even bigger things too. I wonder if one day my kids will live in a world without hate, and I worry that our planet is going to go kaput sooner rather than later as a result of climate change.

Usually, I think of my worrying as one of my worst traits (yes, I worry about my worry, too), and something that I should probably work on eliminating from my life. But recent research points to the idea that maybe being a bit of a worrier can actually be a good thing. Continue reading I’m A Worrier, But Maybe That’s Not Such A Bad Thing

How to Manage Social Anxiety When Meeting Your SO’s Friends

man with girlfriend her friends in living room

My first experience meeting a significant other’s close friends was like being thrown into the lion’s den. I’m from a small rural town and had recently moved to a city. The group I was diving into was a suburban clique that had known each other since childhood.

I was in an unfamiliar place. People asked me lots of questions. I drank to relax. Long story short, it was awful.

Just getting out and dating with social anxiety comes with its own set of pitfalls and requires both courage and commitment. Now that you’ve jumped that hurdle, getting serious means meeting friends and family. This step of relationship growth can be a big social anxiety trigger.

Over the years, I searched for ways to make the best of meeting my partner’s friends, much to the benefit of the authors of the books I bought and therapist I paid. The following tips are what I learned and will help you have the best experience possible when meeting your significant other’s close friends or family. Before we dive in, my tips assume your partner knows about your social anxiety, your symptoms, and is committed to supporting you. If that’s not the case, that should be your first step. Continue reading How to Manage Social Anxiety When Meeting Your SO’s Friends

Traveling With Anxiety

woman traveling on train blurred view

Mental illnesses like anxiety disorders often hold us back from living life to its full potential. For many people, traveling is a dream. Who doesn’t want to see the world, explore new arts and cultures, and try native foods?

Anxiety is a naggy voice in our heads that loves to tell us what we can’t do. It creates scenarios in our mind, generating “what-ifs” that make us scared to live our daily lives, let alone venture out of our comfort zone.

Once your own voice overpowers the nagging, anxious one and you decide to take the plunge and travel, well, it’s expected that a little anxiety will kick in. Even people without anxiety often feel anxious when they’ve got a flight approaching.

As a very anxious person who just returned from a month-long Euro-trip, I have a lot of knowledge to share that can help, no matter where you’re traveling to, or for how long. Never in a million years did I think that I could travel successfully without having a nervous breakdown. These tips will help calm your nerves weeks before departure through the day you land back home. Continue reading Traveling With Anxiety

3 Tips to Manage Anxiety About Money

man woman couple looking at finances

Stress and anxiety about money is inevitable. When people have too little, they are anxious to make more. Even when they are earning enough, it can be difficult to save or effectively invest.

But despite the ubiquity of financial concerns, there is a tendency — even among family members and romantic partners — to avoid the subject entirely. Sometimes people view openly discussing money as gauche or taboo. Nonetheless, avoiding these conversations only exacerbates financial anxiety.

There are three simple steps you can take to alleviate money stress. Taking action or having conversations about finances may be awkward, but it is better for your mental health than avoiding the subject. Continue reading 3 Tips to Manage Anxiety About Money