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10 things someone with anxiety wants you to know about dating them.

'You’re not my therapist, and you may need to encourage me to see one.'

I’ve come to terms with my anxiety. I’d even say that we’re sometimes friends.

But whenever someone comes into my life, romantically or otherwise, they also have to get to know my anxiety. The good news is that, despite the social stigma surrounding mental health, it’s often not that big of a deal. But of course, there are things I want people to know about me and how I see the world.

Photo via iStock.


So, to my significant other, here are 10 things I want you to know about dating me:

1. I am not my anxiety.

I have anxiety and I deal with anxiety — but I am not my anxiety. It’s simply a small part of me. You most likely fell in love with the other parts of me, like the fact that I am slightly obsessed with conspiracy theories or I get sad when I see an elderly person eating alone. Please remember those parts of me, even when I don’t.

2. There are perks!

Because of my anxiety, I value the positives in my life immensely and do my best to nurture them and express my appreciation. I’m very empathetic and tuned into how others may think or feel. I’ll do my best to save you pain and protect you because I know how bad it can feel. I’ll almost always have some deeply thought-out insight because all that analyzing isn’t for nothing.

3. Please share your own struggles and tell me how I can support you.

This is a relationship and I want to be here for you as much as you’re here for me. Please don’t feel like you can’t lean on me. Nothing makes me happier than being able to help someone else, especially someone I love. I’ve learned a lot and received a lot of support from you, and I’m happy to share and return the favor.

4. If I don’t feel better when you try to help, it’s not your fault.

There are times when nothing is louder than the thoughts in my head telling me that everything is not OK — even louder than the person I love telling me that it is. I know you’re right, and I’m not just being stubborn: thoughts are powerful and sometimes they will get the best of me. Eventually, I’ll get there, so please be patient with me.

5. If I don’t feel better when you try to help, it’s not my fault.

Anxiety isn’t always something you can just suck up and move on from, like criticism or rejection. When it gets too hard to relax, I feel the anxiety at my core: my heart starts racing, my mind gets hard to distract, and my gut pulses with negativity. Like the saying goes: “You have to trust in something, and sometimes all we have is what our gut tells us.” But mine sometimes tells me scary things and, yes, it scares me.

6. You’re not my therapist, and you may need to encourage me to see one.

There are a lot of resources now for improving mental health, especially in strengthening against anxiety, such as relaxation methods or breaking negative thought patterns. I might be slow to accept this help, but please encourage me and be honest that you can’t always provide the help I need. You’re not trying to abandon me or not accept me as a whole; sometimes I need help to make real progress.

7.  There isn’t a quick fix for anxiety. It’s a work in progress, but I promise I’ll put that work in.

I have good days and I have bad days, and most likely, anxiety will always be a part of my life. But it’s been proven that it can get more and more manageable with hard work, consistency, and a good support system. I’ll provide the first two parts and love you for being a part of the third.

8.  This is hardest on me.

For me, anxiety can affect not only our relationship but also everything else: my work and career, any social situation, and even getting through the day. It can be exhausting. In fact, I probably won’t tell you a lot of what I’m experiencing, so what you notice may be only part of what I’m working through. It’s not an excuse, but please just keep it in mind if it gets hard on you.

9. Be real and honest.

The last thing I want is for you to “handle” me with kid gloves or become bitter because you’re bottling up frustrations. I need honesty. If I’m being a brat, you can definitely tell me I’m being a brat. I might not be able to control if anxiety is present in my life, but I know I can work on how I react to it. Sometimes I’m just overwhelmed or scared and I show it in a way that’s difficult. I welcome any reminders to ground myself and instead react from a clear-headed place. I trust you because I love you.

10. I love you and thank you for loving me.

It’s not easy for me to be vulnerable with you or wonder if I’m too much or too little. There might be times when I push you away just so you can’t push me away first. Everyone has their set of issues to work through and you inspire and support me to work through mine. So, thank you, and I promise I’ll return the favor.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

via Dion Merrick / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.09.21


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