DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I recently got engaged and am over the moon. My fiancé is patient and kind, but I feel like I drag him down. I have extreme anxiety coupled with high blood pressure at the age of 25 and have lost many friendships and jobs over it. My entire life has suffered due to my inability to handle stress -- including our love life. My doctor has put me on all sorts of anti-depressants and prescriptions like Lorazepam, which didn't work for me. He also suggested counselling, which I tried and failed at. (The counsellor seemed unqualified.) If one tiny part of my day doesn't go well I break down and cannot focus on anything and have a hard time concentrating. I work full time -- don't have the time or money to see a professional therapist in the city. I feel like I'm out of options and can't deal with the pressures of work, life, or upcoming nuptials. I also want to have kids one day but that seems like one more stress. Help! P.S. I live 45 minutes away from Winnipeg. -- Super Anxious
Dear Super Anxious: Meditation and exercise can slow down the anxiety and help people cope, no matter where they live or work. Buy meditation tapes to practise before and after work and before going to sleep to help you relax and gain better control of your whole being. Exercising to the point you're physically tired will also help, so start brisk walking at noon hour and a walk with your boyfriend after dinner. Soothing background music can help decrease anxiety at home and work and it's been proven it's harder to be upset in a light pink room... As for having a meltdown whenever something goes wrong, asking yourself the question, "What am I afraid of?" will help you get hold of this problem. For instance, if you are afraid of losing your job every time you make a mistake at work, here's reality check: Ask yourself: "How many mistakes can a person make around here -- and of what kind -- without getting fired?" You boss would far rather hear you say, "Oh, I goofed. Let me fix this," than see you crying again. Some people think crying is insurance against anyone in power getting angry and firing them. Not so!
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I'm 28, dating a man 12 years my senior. He got laid off from work mid-winter and went back to upgrade his schooling. I have helped him out financially a bit. He was going through a divorce before I met him, finalized this winter. I want to move in with him sometime this year, but he's on and off. He's a great boyfriend, and is very good to me. But, he's also very flirtatious with other women, to the point they think he likes them romantically! I understand he's a social butterfly. I'm more reserved and I'm not flirtatious with the opposite sex. I understand some people are flirtatious, but not to the extreme of meeting women at functions and then start talking to them on the phone or on Facebook. Am I wasting my time with this man or perhaps insecure? -- Sincerely Confused
Dear Confused: Don't second guess your feelings of alarm. They are warning bells, not wedding bells. Being married to a flirt sets you up for a lifetime of insecurity and unhappiness. Also, you should know that if you're always helping him out financially, he doesn't feel like a hero to you, so he goes to other women who don't know his life story. Choosing a woman 12 years his junior says a lot about his maturity level and what he needs to prop his ego up. Get rid of this guy now, and move on. You're the loyal type and deserve a man who returns the respect. He has to be saying a lot behind your back and online to get these women to have big feelings. He has a need to puff up his ego, and he will drag you down. Butterflies like him are meant to be free and this guy has just gotten out of a marriage so that need is twice as great.