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Dear Christine, Single and Alone

  • Posted on March 6, 2017 at 11:21 am

Dear Christine, I am 35 and I have had 5 girlfriends since the age of 20 that each lasted between 2 and 5 years. I fall in love easy and seem to fall out of love instantly. I’m never sure when it’s going to happen or how long it will take but now that it has happened 5 times, I’m beginning to wonder why. Sometimes, they just start to get on my nerves after a period of time, other times, I’ve gone to bed in love, and woke up unable to find the feelings no matter how hard I try. I’ve walked away from some wonderful people (except for maybe 2 of them) and don’t know why. I’ve tried to prolong the breakup by faking it for a while hoping the feelings would come back but that’s really hard to do. I’m considering staying single. Is this common? Why can’t I stay in love? Thanks, Single and Alone in St Clair Shores PS I know the highs of initial love diminish, but this is something more than that. Dear Single and Alone, I wonder what sort of partners you have chosen in your dating life the last 15 years? Are…

Coping with Post-Election Anxiety: Breathe

  • Posted on November 13, 2016 at 4:43 pm
The above link connects you to a viral gif that will help you inhale deeply, then exhale slowly.  The first tool to use when anxious is to breathe, calmly, slowly, deeply.  This will slow your heart rate and get oxygen into your brain.  You can do this without watching a gif, but I a visual focus helps to empty my mind of thoughts.  It’s been a difficult week since the election.  The LGBT, immigrant, Muslim and disabled communities as well as people of color feel targeted with a surge of 200+ documented acts of aggression or violence occurring in the past week around the country. There have been a lot of very large, mostly peaceful demonstrations, as well.  So, first take a deep breath.  And a slow exhale.  And another deep breath.  Continue as you read.

“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening.  That is where your power is.”   This meme is getting a lot of play on the Internet, Instagram, FaceBook and Reddit.  Because it’s true.  When faced with reality, the only thing you have any say-so in is how you respond.  So, take a few moments to think about what response is best for you.  Then practice your response.  And Breathe!

Our community is in shock and grief.  There are stages to this process, and some of us are in denial and shock, more have moved into anger. Some are bargaining, trying to find a way to modify the results or cushion the reality.  One of my FaceBook friends has moved right into acceptance, urging the rest of us to open our minds and accept the new normal.  We each move through these stages in our own time, and we will bounce around from one to the next for quite some time.

Do some journaling (not necessarily blogging where all can see) about what you need and what helps you cope.  Consider the following:


Sleep (try for 8 hours)

Eat healthy meals regularly

Limit caffeine and alcohol


Spend time with friends, get hugs.

Find community with like minded people (church, temple, mosque, Affirmations)

Educate yourself about issues and options for change

Do something that makes you laugh (it’s why I have cats)


Being online and using social media can be a lifesaver at times of crisis, but it can also overload you.  If family, friends or acquaintances are posting too many negative or upsetting pieces on your feed, consider not following them, at least for a while.  Limit your exposure to negativity.

Set a timer  to keep yourself from getting lost in the sea of words, feelings and fears swirling around the country.  Then shift your body to another position.  Stretch, walk, run.  Breathe.  Moving your body will help shift your thoughts and feelings.

Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself and pace yourself through this national transition, no one else can.  Pay attention to your moods, your physical feelings, hungers, tiredness.  If you are racing to the future worries or trying to reconstruct what happened in the past, you are not in the present.  All we really have is this moment now.  Try to visit it regularly, even if you can’t stay in the present.

Whatever happens next, you will be respond better if you are healthy and rested.  So, Breathe deeply.  I-n-h-a-l-e slowly.  Then E-x-h-a-l-e slowly.  Repeat.

Christine Cantrell, PhD