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12 Things to Know When Someone You Love Has Anxiety


Anxiety is unpredictable, confusing and intrusive. It’s tough. Not just for the people who have it but also for the people who love them. If you are one of those people, you would know too well that the second hand experience of anxiety feels bad enough – you’d do anything to make it better for the one going through it.
Whether we struggle with anxiety, confidence, body image – whatever – there are things we all need to make the world a little bit safer, a little bit more predictable, a little less scary. We all have our list. If you love someone with anxiety, their list is likely to look a little like this:
1. They’ll talk about their anxiety when they feel ready.
In the thick of an anxiety attack, nothing will make sense, so it’s best not to ask what’s going on or if they’re OK. No, they don’t feel OK. And yes, it feels like the world is falling apart at the seams.
Ask if they want to go somewhere else – maybe somewhere quieter or more private. Don’t panic or do anything that might give them the idea that they need looking after. Go for a walk with them, or just be there. Soon it will pass and when it does, they’ll be able to talk to you about what has happened, but wait for that. Then just listen and be there.
2. They’re pretty great to have around. You’ll want them as part of your tribe.
Because of their need to stay safe and to prepare against the next time anxiety rears its head, people who struggle with anxiety will generally have a plan – and they will have worked hard to make sure it works for everyone involved, not just for themselves. They’ll make sure everything has been organized to keep everyone safe, happy, on time and out of trouble. Notice the good things they do – there are plenty. Let them know you love them because of who they are, including who they are with anxiety, not despite it.
3. Remember: anxiety is a normal physical response to a brain being a little overprotective.
There’s a primitive part of all of our brains that’s geared to sense threat. For some people, it fires up a lot sooner and with a lot less reason than it does in others. When it does, it surges the body with cortisol (the stress hormone) and adrenaline to get the body ready to run for its life or fight for it. This is the fight or flight response and it’s in everyone. The “go” button is a bit more sensitive for people with anxiety.
4. There’s a lot to know, so if you try to understand everything you can … well, that makes you kind of awesome.

It makes a difference to be able to talk about anxiety without having to explain it. On the days they don’t feel like they have it in them to talk about it, it means a lot that you just “get it.” If you’ve tried to understand everything you can about what it means to have anxiety, then that’s enough. Anxiety is hard to make sense of – people with anxiety will be the first to tell you that – but it will mean everything that you’ve tried.
5. Make sure there’s room to say “no.” And don’t take it personally.
People with anxiety are super aware of everything going on – smells, sounds, people, possibilities. It’s exhausting when your attention is drawn to so many things. Don’t take “no” personally. Just because they might not want to be doing what you’re doing, that doesn’t mean they don’t want to be with you. Keep offering – don’t assume everything you offer will be met with “no” – but be understanding and “no big deal” if you aren’t taken up on your offer. They are saying no to a potential anxiety attack. Not to you.
6. Loads of lovin’ never hurt anyone, so be compassionate and there for them.
Talk up the things you love about them. There will be times that people with anxiety will feel like they are their anxiety and that they are a source of difficulty. (Who hasn’t felt like they’re making things harder than they need to be?) Specifically, I’m talking about when plans have to be changed, when you need to book a few rows back from the front row, turn the radio down, take the long way. If this is the worst you have to deal with in a friend, sign me up.
7. Anxiety has nothing to do with courage or character. Nothing at all.
Courage is feeling the edge of yourself and moving beyond it. We all have our limits, but people with anxiety are just more aware of theirs. Despite this, they are constantly facing up to the things that push against their edges. That’s courage, and people with anxiety have it in truckloads. They’re strong, intelligent and sensitive – they’ll be as sensitive to you and what you need as they are to their environment. That makes them pretty awesome to be with. They can be funny, kind, brave and spirited. Really, they’re no different than anyone else. As with everyone, the thing that trips them up sometimes (their anxiety) is also the thing that lifts them above the crowd.
8. Anxiety can change shape. It doesn’t always look the same way.
Anxiety can be slippery. Sometimes it looks the way you’d expect anxiety to look. Other times it looks cranky, depressed or frustrated. Remember this and don’t take it personally.
9. People with anxiety know their anxiety doesn’t always make sense. That’s what makes it so difficult.
Explaining there’s nothing to worry about or they should “get over it” won’t mean anything – it just won’t – because they already know this. Be understanding, calm and relaxed and above all else, just be there. Anxiety feels flighty and there’s often nothing that feels better than having someone beside you who’s grounded, available and OK to go through this with you without trying to change you.
10. Don’t try to change them.
You’ll want to give advice. But don’t. Let them know that to you, they’re absolutely fine the way they are and that you don’t need to change them or fix them. If they ask for your advice then of course, go for it. Otherwise, let them know they are enough. More than enough, actually. Just the way they are.
11. Don’t confuse their need to control their environment with their need to control you. Sometimes they look the same. They’re not.
The need to control everything that might go wrong is hard work for anxious people, and it also might make you feel controlled. See it for what it is: the need to feel safe and in control of the possibility of anxiety running the show – not the need to control you. You might get frustrated, and that’s OK; all relationships go through that. Having compassion doesn’t mean you have to go along with everything put in front of you, so talk things out gently (not critically) if you need to.
And finally …
12. Know how important you are to them. 
Anyone who sticks around through the hard stuff is a keeper. People with anxiety know this. Nothing sparks a connection more than really getting someone, being there and bringing the fun into the relationship. Be the one who refuses to let anxiety suck the life out of everything. And know you’re a keeper. Yep. You are. Know they’re grateful – so grateful – for everything you do. And they love you back.

10 Kidney-Damaging Habits That You’re Probably Doing


Every organ in your body performs a specific, important function, and that includes your kidneys. People are born with two kidneys, although the vast majority of people can stay healthy with just one.  However, if your kidneys start to deteriorate and lose function, it can have disastrous effects. Your kidneys filter toxins out of the body, a job that is clearly very important. If you are guilty of any of these 10 habits, change them—for the sake of your kidneys.

Habit 1: Staying Dehydrated

Your kidneys need water to properly filter out toxins. When you deprive your body of water, you make it impossible for your kidneys to do their job.

Habit 2: Eating Too Much Sugar

Sugar consumption rates are at an all-time high. Sugar puts an enormous toll on your kidneys and everything they have to process. Over the years, this can weaken your kidneys and affect their functioning.

Habit 3: Going Too Heavy With the Salt Shaker

Putting too much salt on your food can dehydrate you and increase blood pressure, increasing the burden you are putting on your kidneys.

Habit 4: Holding Your Urine

Though you may think you are saving time by skipping bathroom trips, what you are really doing is stressing out your kidneys. Regularly allowing your body to get rid of toxic materials via urine is an essential part of kidney health.

Habit 5: Skipping Out on Magnesium

A magnesium deficiency may take a toll on your kidneys over time. This is one of the most common deficiencies in the United States, so consider supplementing if necessary.

Habit 6: Pounding the Coffee

A coffee habit makes your kidneys work extra hard. They can take the extra work for a while, but after consistent abuse, they do start to break down.

Habit 7: Using Painkillers

Painkillers are extremely difficult on your kidneys because of all the chemicals they have. Though they should be safe for occasional use, try to find healthier coping techniques if you find yourself reaching for the painkillers too often.

Habit 8: Drinking Alcohol

Very few people are able to stop at one drink, which is why alcohol is so bad for your kidneys. Not only does this habit put extra stress on your liver, it may make it difficult for your kidneys to function at full efficiency. Switch to water instead.

Habit 9: Too Much Meat

Animal protein, though an important part of many people’s diets, is also very difficult for the body to digest. Your kidneys have a difficult time breaking down and filtering all the toxins that come from this protein source. Try going vegetarian a couple days per week.

Habit 10: Not Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep is one of the most important parts of your health, but is also one of the aspects that are most often neglected. Aim to get at least seven hours of shut-eye per night, although eight hours of sleep is optimal. When treated properly, your kidneys can keep your body going for decades to come. Treat them right by kicking these dangerous habits.

A Urine Test Could Distinguish Between Bipolar Disorder And Depression


 by Stephen Luntz


Photo credit: Distinguishing major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder might be about to get far easier.

An easy and reliable method of distinguishing bipolar disorder from major depressive disorder could save tens of thousands of lives, and transform millions more. Now researchers at Chongqing Medical University, China, claim to have found just that in a study based on biomarkers in urine.
The popular image of someone with bipolar disorder is epitomized by prominent figures such as Robin Williams – bouts of severe depression punctuated by off-the-wall mania. In reality, it is often not so easy to recognize; even Williams said he was never officially diagnosed. Moreover, as a new paper in The Journal Proteome research notes, “Multiple depressive episodes usually occur prior to the first manic episode in many bipolar patients.”
In these cases, the symptoms of bipolar can be very difficult to distinguish from those of major depressive disorder (MDD). Since MDD is the more common condition, clinicians often jump to an MDD diagnosis; indeed, many don’t even think to investigate the possibility of bipolar. Studies have found that as many as 39% of patients diagnosed with MDD have unrecognized bipolar.
The paper adds: “A large percentage of BD subjects are incorrectly treated with antidepressants in clinical practice.” The consequences can be lethal. Selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac and Celexa probably don’t help people with bipolar. SSRIs are alleged to increase suicide risk among bipolar patients, a major concern since bipolar sufferers have suicide rates around 20 times the population as a whole.
While efforts have been made to alert doctors to the dangers of this sort of misdiagnosis, as long as we continue to rely only on multiple subtle signs, the problem will remain.
The Chongquing team think they have found a way out of this problem, having identified biomarkers whose concentrations are different for people with bipolar or MDD.
The authors note that some of these biomarkers have been investigated before, but individually did not provide a sufficiently reliable method for diagnosis. However, senior author Dr. Peng Xie proposed that multiple markers in combination might succeed where each had failed.
For the study, experienced psychiatrists recruited 71 people with bipolar disorder, 126 whose diagnosis of MDD was considered reliable, and 126 “healthy controls.” Each group was divided into a training set and a test set. For the training set, the researchers knew the subject’s condition ahead of time and used this to identify relevant markers, while in the other set it was a blinded test to confirm the predictive capacity of these markers. The researchers examined the urine of those in the training set to identify 20 metabolites associated with either MDD or bipolar.
An initial trial on the test set identified 76% of those with MDD and 79% of those with bipolar, falling short of what would be required clinically. However, when the results were reanalyzed, six metabolites stood out.
After normalizing these six metabolites to creatinine concentration in urine, the authors found they could achieve 90% reliability in distinguishing between the two conditions.
The authors note that the study’s subjects had a common ethnicity and had been treated at the same hospital, necessitating further research to see whether the results can be generalized. However, the research adds to work published last year suggesting biomarkers could play a major role in depression diagnosis.

22 Things To Remember If Your Loved One Suffers From Type 1 Diabetes


22 Things To Remember If Your Loved One Suffers From Type 1 Diabetes

Many people mistakenly think Type 1 Diabetes develops because of a sugar-laden diet and lack of exercise. If your loved one has this disease, you know how far this is from the truth.
But imagine how difficult it is for them to constantly hear phrases like, “but you’re not fat,” or, “should you eat that?”
Day in and day out, they live with a disease that is largely misunderstood by the public. Unless you have Type 1 Diabetes, you can never completely understand what living with a life-threatening disease that needs constant treatment is like. However, you can support, empathize, and find heartfelt compassion for your loved one.
If you can remember the following twenty-two things that your loved one faces, you’ll come a lot closer to walking in their shoes:

1. They constantly face misguided judgments

Many people don’t know that Type 1 Diabetes is inherited. Your loved one constantly feels faulted by ignorant people for eating too much sugar or not exercising.

2. They have an incurable autoimmune disease, not a lifestyle disease

They cannot cure their disease by changing their diet or by exercising. Please help them by correcting people who suggest they quit eating sugar or start riding a bike.

3. They live each day with a serious disease that often seems to arise out of the blue for no apparent reason

With their diagnosis of diabetes, their lives changed forever and they had nothing to do with it.

4. Their definition of normal is much different than yours and mine

They will take injections or use an insulin pump for their entire life. Theirnormal is giving themselves several shots a day or monitoring a pump attached to their abdomen.  Normal is keeping their blood sugar in a safe range, or else they could get hypoglycemia and slip into a coma.

5. They look like everyone else from the outside

…but the inside is way different. Their pancreas has stopped producing insulin, and if they don’t take insulin, they will slip into a coma and could die. They live with this reality.

6. Insulin pumps can make management easier, but not worry-free

Insulin pumps come closer to mimicking how a healthy pancreas would work, delivering insulin on a set schedule. This is not a cure, and diabetics need to monitor their carb intake and watch their blood sugar levels. Successful pumps require frequent user input.

7. They want to smack people who ask them if they got the disease from eating too much sugar

Their disease has nothing to do with indulging in too many sweets and they are sick of being asked if they have an insatiable sweet tooth.

8. They live with a disease that never leaves

Even using state-of-the-art monitoring systems, there is no program-and-forget option for Type 1 Diabetics. Too much or too little insulin can result in death.

9. A canine could be their best friend and save their life

Specially trained dogs can sense rapid changes in blood chemistry before the symptoms of hypoglycemia are evident. A diabetic alert dog might be a wonderful gift for your loved one.

10. They grew up with parents who need to protect and hover

Most people are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes as small children or adolescents. They grew up with parents who needed to protect and care for their child. It can be a matter of life or death, after all.

11. They represent just 5-10% of the diabetics in the world

…but the impact it has on their lives is often huge and overwhelming.

12. They need you because they have lost other close friends to the disease

Type 1 Diabetes is life-threatening and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States.

13. If you see them acting strangely, they are not drunk, and it could be life threatening

The symptoms of hypoglycemia include shakiness, blurred vision, confusion, and lack of coordination.  Get help if you notice them acting strangely.

14. The insulin they inject or pump each day is not a cure

They will take it every day in order to stay alive.

15. They can’t ever have a holiday from this disease

It is with them every minute of every day.

16. Life is a never-ending balancing act

They have to be their own mathematician, nurse, and dietitian just to stay alive.

17. They hate it when you offer everyone but them a slice of birthday cake

They know how to handle their blood sugar much better than you do, so let them indulge and adjust their insulin levels.

18. They live with a disease that is often stigmatized

Some 71% of people with type 1 diabetes feel like they are stigmatized as being a burden on the healthcare system or a failure of personal responsibility.

19. Help them by becoming a Type 1 Diabetes myth-buster

They live in a world that misunderstands Type 1 Diabetes. Help people understand the difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

20. They don’t want you to treat them like they are handicapped

Yes, they live with a disease, but diabetes does not affect their intelligence or make them immune to people’s stares at their pumps and insulin pins.

21. They are wise well beyond their years

From a young age, they have had to take control of their health care. Diabetes pushed them to be their own best health advocate and nurse.  They have seen friends die from this disease.

22. They want your love and support, but not your pity

They want you to treat them like a human, one who feels joy and pain. True compassion and empathy show that you want to understand what life is like for them.
True empathy is walking in your loved one’s shoes and seeing their world without judgment. Empathy is not being bossy or giving unsolicited advice.
Remember that your loved one understands their disease a lot better than you do. So rather than telling them to change their lifestyle, why not treat them to a fun evening or pamper them with a day at a spa? Perhaps join them for a diabetes fundraising walk.
What would be the biggest improvement in their life?
A cure for diabetes. Help the research by donating to research for a cure
People with Type 1 Diabetes often feel alone and misunderstood, but with your support and solidarity, they can feel accepted and appreciate.