You are currently browsing all posts tagged with 'anxiety'.

Dear Christine, Sorry in Southfield

  • Posted on January 20, 2019 at 12:45 pm

Dr. Christine, A few months ago and back, I used to be “one of those guys” who disdained Homosexuals. : I used to be so uptight to the extent that I would mentally rehearse how I would punch a gay guy if he ever came onto me. I was such a jerk, right? Well, I went to the barber shop yesterday and got my hair dyed from black to Medium Brown. When I got home, I got some pretty unpleasant criticism from my father. For a moment there, he thought I was gay because only Gay people would “do such a thing”.. And at THAT moment, I started to have that soft spot in my heart for you guys because of all the sh*t that you go through. It’s pretty unfair how your own parents would look down on you if they thought you where a homosexual. You know, at the end of the day, I would definitely prefer being friends with a kind-hearted homosexual than an inconsiderate heterosexual. Not that you give a damn or anything, but I’d just like to apologize for all the crap that we (the Heteros) have given you. Sorry. Dear Sorry, I do give…

Dear Christine, Confused in Clawson

  • Posted on January 7, 2019 at 8:45 am

Dear Christine,

I read your columns every week and many of them have hit home for me. I have a question of my own now. I am a straight woman and my best friend is a gay man who I have known since high school some 40+ years ago. We like to joke that we are the real life Will And Grace.  We even dated for a bit before he came out. My “Will” has always been safe when it comes to sexual relationships and he’s had quite a few. In the last year he went through quite a run of sexual encounters which he told me about more graphically than I would have needed to know!

Three months ago he informed me he is HIV positive. I’m sad and even angry at him for being careless. His behavior has changed so much recently that he has been pulling away from our friendship. I’ve called, left messages, he doesn’t return my calls. This is someone I spoke to several times a week and now he won’t speak to me. Do you have any advice as to what I should do? I’m heartbroken and miss him a lot. Thanks,

Confused in Clawson

Dear Confused,
It’s hard and confusing when other’s behaviors change in ways that you find uncomfortable.  I hear your sadness and anger at your “Will” pulling away from you after a year when he has been irresponsible sexually to the point of becoming HIV+.  First, know that an HIV+ diagnosis is not the death sentence it was 30 – 35 years ago.  There are excellent medications that can keep it in check, making it more of a chronic illness.  And unless our 45th President takes it away, the government has helped fund insurance and medications for people with HIV+/AIDS.  For those readers who prefer to reduce the risk of HIV, please use condoms, and there is a medication called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/risk/prep/index.htmlin a daily pill.  Check with your doctor about this.

It’s a fact that Will has pulled away and there is not a lot you can do.  It only takes one  to end a friendship or romantic relationship.  You leave messages, but he doesn’t respond.  Clearly, he is going through some changes and he isn’t sharing what those are.  Maybe he believes he is protecting you?  Maybe he is protecting himself?  Maybe he can’t process these things within himself, much less with anyone else.  Try to remember that this is about him.  He is running away, emotionally and/or physically.   He is not be able to converse and hear your  emotions or judgment in your voice. Talking can move too fast, spilling out words not carefully thought out, possibly causing further damage to your friendship.

Try writing him a letter or email that he can read when he is ready, so he can read and reread alone as much as he needs and wants.  Let him know you miss him and that you are concerned for him.  If you can, let him know you aren’t judging his variety of changed behaviors.  Let him know you are there for him, to listen to and support him in this challenging time.

The bottom line here is that he has pulled away from your friendship.  He is allowed to do that.  And there may be consequences to any friendship when one person disappears.    If you used to visit each other’s homes on a regular basis, maybe stop by, and leave a card if he doesn’t answer the door.  Don’t hound him as he seems to need more space, more time.

Keep him in your thoughts, send him love and light, and remember the good times you shared.  When he is able, he may return.  And if he returns, remember that he already is a very changed person.  Meanwhile, take care of you and lean on other friends.

Take care,
Christine Cantrell, PhD,

Licensed Psychologist

Dear Christine, Nevous in Novi

  • Posted on December 17, 2018 at 10:45 am

Dear Christine, Not sure what to do here. I have a good friend who has been driving drunk. She has come to my house barely able to walk yet she drove and has also shown up places where I knew she was too drunk to drive. After she shows up, we make sure she gets a ride or is sober before we let her go but how can we stop her when we are not there? I have told her the next time I catch her driving drunk, I am going to call the police and turn her in. I’m afraid she’s going to kill someone. I have no idea how many other times she’s driving drunk either. My knowledge of this makes me feel like I need to do something. What? Thanks! Dear Nervous, I checked two resources to answer this question: The Berkley Police Department, Deputy Chief Bob Narth and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) contact, Elvira Anderson. The police give the short answer that if you know or suspect someone is driving drunk, call the town police office where the person is driving and ask for the shift officer and give a description of the vehicle and…

Dear Christine, Lean in Lansing

  • Posted on December 12, 2018 at 12:58 pm

I’ve been living with my girlfriend for about six months and we dated for about a year before that and I’m a person who struggles with their weight. I’m about 40 pounds overweight my girlfriend is thin and she can eat anything she wants… very frustrating! So, our schedules work out so that she makes dinner three nights a week I make dinner three nights a week and we go out to dinner once a week. The problem that I’m having with her and she knows I try to avoid bread but on her night to cook dinner she makes like a big plate of lasagna with garlic bread and there’s always dessert.  Bread and sugar and desserts are my weakness and I’ve asked her to please consider the fact that I’m trying to lose weight but it doesn’t change anything. And then sometimes when it’s her time to cook dinner she gets busy and says let’s go out to dinner instead. We’re going out to dinner I mean even if you eat a salad you know there’s a lotta calories in that. So I’ve been struggling with my weight since we’ve lived together I’m starting to gain weight. I know it’s on me, I know I should have will power, and even if she makes lasagna maybe I could watch my portions, maybe I could say no to the desert, but when it is there in front of me I can’t help myself. When I lived alone I didn’t keep bread in the house. I kept lean chicken fish meat fruits and vegetables in the house and I was doing OK. I have gained 10 pounds. Is there a way to convince her or do I just have to find will power myself? If I have to find the will power, how do I do it?

Signed, Lean in Lansing

Dear Lean,

My wife isa lifetime member of Weight Watchers and every few years goes back to meetings and weighs and measures her portions, and cuts up a great many vegetables.  She has successfully lost weight each time.  She does most of the cooking for us and has told me over the years how much she appreciates my support in her investing in that healthier style of eating.  What is not to support?  It is healthier, and we both benefit.  I no longer can afford to graze as I please, though for many years I did. I would change my eating style to match hers, and if I wanted bread or pasta, I would get a carry out lunch when she wasn’t around.

The question is about what kind of relationship do you have?  Are you both able to take care of your own self first and foremost, and with what is left over, support the other in their goals?  It’s great for her that she can eat anything and not gain weight.  But you can’t!  Is she willing to modify her cooking for your health?  It might require to learn some new recipes and if you’re into lean meats and vegetables, learning more about spices and herbs can enhance meals that have less fat and starch.

Have a conversation about both of your needs and how you can support each other in healthy goals. Take some time to check out some cookbooks, go shopping for produce and lean meats together and go to Penzey’s Spices on line, or the store on 13 Mile at Southfield.  Planning, shopping and cooking new things might spice up your relationship!  Check out these on line resources as well.  https://www.penzeys.com/shop/recipes/   https://www.weightwatchers.com/us/article/weight-watchers-most-popular-recipes

Good luck to you both!

Christine C Cantrell, PhD

Licensed Psychologist

Dear Christine, Dying to Not Know in Dundee

  • Posted on December 3, 2018 at 10:12 am

Dear Christine, Everything seems outwardly fun in my relationship I’ve been with my partner Marc for over 10 years but the other day I saw his phone and it was buzzing in there was a text message from a guy and it was definitely sexually explicit and it sounds like there something going on because I was being a little nosy I didn’t say anything I’m afraid to say anything because everything is going so great and I’m afraid if I say something it’ll be true I don’t want to break the status quo yet. I have to know I think. Dying to Not Know in Dundee Dear Dying, The Washington Post has a phrase at the top of its masthead that applies here:  “Democracy dies in darkness”.  And relationships die in darkness too.  So, you say there’s “outward fun” in your decade together with John, but I would appear that under that cover of fun is a different story. What kind of relationship do you really want?  One where he sneaks around and has sexting going on on the side?  And in which you are “being nosy”?  Right now, you have a Schroedinger’s Cat Paradox relationship.  As long as…

Dear Christine, Heart Broken in Holly

  • Posted on November 25, 2018 at 11:59 am

Dear Christine, I love her, but she assures me it’s over. She calls sometimes and makes plans with me and then cancels on short notice. I always get my hopes up and then I feel like shit when she does this. What should I do? What should I say to her? I do want to be friends with her but she makes that so hard, because everything has to be when she’s got time for me and then she cancels anyway. Heart Broken in Holly Dear Heart Broken, Oprah Winfrey once said “when people tell you who they are, listen to them.” If your ex still calls and makes plans and cancels abruptly, but insists it’s over, then believe the “it’s over” part of that. Words are easy, actions tell the truth. I hear that you are hurting and miss her, and that you feel like you are occasionally fit into her busy life, and hope keeps rising up, only to be dashed again. I imagine it’s not the description of the relationship you had with her, or that you would want with anyone. You can only make a choice for yourself here. Choose for it to be over. You…

Dear Christine, A Reader in Royal Oak

  • Posted on November 5, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Hi Dr. Christine, My partner and I have been together 19 years and overall we’re both happy together. Lately, though, I noticed she is asking me to pay the utility bills she always pays, saying she has no money. I pay a set, agreed upon amount for rent and living expenses, and we both do the chores and shopping. She does the upkeep and maintenance on the house, which is in her name only. She was burned in a prior relationship and she has always said she will not ever consider adding me to the deed. I’m confused because she has a good job and makes more money than I do, and I don’t know why she wouldn’t have money for the bills she’s used to paying regularly. I don’t think she’s gambling or using drugs, but I can’t figure out what is going on. Any suggestions? A Reader in Royal Oak. Dear Reader in Royal Oak, You raise several important issues. We gays and lesbians do not have access to the legal rights that married people get through their wedding license, such as joint home ownership or rights of survivorship to a house, should the owning partner die. We…

Dear Christine, Any Ideas in Ann Arbor?

  • Posted on October 30, 2018 at 10:13 am

Hello Dr. Cantrell, I have a question that I am sure will lead to the answer that therapy is a great idea. For three years, we (my partner and I) have discussed this over and over again. Her lack of action is leading me to asking you about this. My partner and I have been together for 8.5 years and we love each other. I can count the number of times we have been intimate on one hand and there are no health reasons for it. I have given up the hope that we will be intimate after discussing a number of alternatives or go to therapy. I am very sad as she emphatically denies there being any reason for her lack of interest in intimacy. Being celibate just makes her happy. It drives me nuts, but she is content. I don’t want to be with anyone else and she says being intimate with others makes her very unhappy. It is not that this is a relationship breaker. I refuse to leave her over something that seems so adolescent but it won’t stop bugging me. I just feel more like a close room mate than anything else and we should…

Dear Christine, Damaged Goods in Dearborn Heights

  • Posted on October 22, 2018 at 9:15 am

Dear Christine, I am a 28-year-old gay man. I came out when I was 18 and since then I’ve enjoyed a healthy, active dating life. I’ve always been comfortable with my sexuality. Three months ago, however, I tested HIV-positive and since then feel like I have to come out all over again. I haven’t been able to start dating yet because I’m afraid of how people will react when I tell them about my situation. And I don’t know what the rules are. What do I tell people? When do I tell people? And, if safe sex really is safe, do I have to tell them at all? And mostly I’m afraid (although I know it sounds crazy) that no one’s ever going to love me again. Damaged Goods in Dearborn Heights Dear Damaged Goods, I hear you, coming out all over again, now as HIV + being just as confused and uncertain how to tell others as you were to tell people you were gay 10 years ago. Trust your instincts with people, and tell those who feels safe to you. There may be some rejection from some people, but if they were people you wanted to date or…

Dear Christine, Ranting in Romulus

  • Posted on October 14, 2018 at 8:14 pm

Dear Christine I don’t know everybody’s talking about how divided the country is and I know we are all Americans and we should all we care about each other however my wife and I we are both very liberal Democrats we both hate Donald Trump but her parents are very right wing Republicans they love tromp they want to argue with us when we go over there and I don’t wanna go over there and it’s made my wife very upset with me and she says just put it aside for the day let’s try not to engage with them but I have purged my Facebook of all my Republican friends who spoke out and I didn’t used to hate Republicans but now I feel like I just don’t want anything to do with anyone who is a Republican How can I set my feelings aside It feels almost impossible signed ranting in Romulus Dear Ranting, I hear you loud and clear.  Your Republican Trump-loving in-laws arguing about politics when you visit feels like you’re getting “tromped.”  That is a situation that plays out in many families these days, and brace yourselves, readers, as the holidays are coming up sooner…