Trump announces ban on transgender individuals serving in military

President Trump touched off a firestorm Wednesday after tweeting that he wants to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military in any capacity — citing advice from his “generals” and medical costs.

In a series of tweets, he wrote: 

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow…Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming..victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

The presidents tweets came only a few weeks after Defense Secretary James Mattis said he would give military chiefs another six months to conduct a review to determine if allowing transgender individuals to enlist in the armed services will affect the readiness or lethality of the force. The deadline for that review was Dec. 1, 2017.

This is worse than dont ask dont tell, this is dont serve, dont serve, The National Center for Transgender Equality said in a written statement. This is an appalling attack on our service members; it is about bigotry rather than military readiness, reason or science. It is indefensible and cannot stand.

The Family Research Council praised Trumps action.

I applaud President Trump for keeping his promise to return to military priorities and not continue the social experimentation of the Obama era that has crippled our nations military, FRC President Tony Perkins said in a statement. The military can now focus its efforts on preparing to fight and win wars rather than being used to advance the Obama social agenda.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said “we don’t need to be experimenting with the military. Plus there’s no reason to take on that kind of financial burden.”

But Trump himself tweeted during the campaign season that he would “fight” for the LGBTQ community while his opponent “Hillary (Clinton) brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.”

During his confirmation hearing in January, Mattis was asked whether he believed that allowing LGBT Americans to serve in the military or women in combat would undermine the militarys lethality.

Frankly, senator, Ive never cared much about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with, Mattis testified.

Abbie Goldberg, professor of psychology at Clark University who has researched and written about the LGBTQ community, told Fox News no one wins under Trumps plan.  

Some people will not serve, which is a loss to the military and the country, Goldberg said. Others will serve, but not openly, and thus they will be at risk for discharge or verbal, physical and sexual abuse.

The Pentagon has refused to release any data on the number of transgender troops currently serving. A RAND study found that there are between 2,500 and 7,000 transgender service members in the active-duty military, and another 1,500 to 4,000 in the reserves.

The study also found that allowing transgender people to serve in the military would have a “minimal impact” on the health care costs.

The Pentagon announced it would continue to work closely with the White House to address the new guidance provided by the commander in chief on transgender individuals serving in the military.

We will provide revised guidance to the Department in the near future, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said in statement.

Trumps announcement comes as lawmakers on Capitol Hill debate the current practice of requiring the Pentagon to pay for medical treatment for gender transition.

Missouri Republican Rep. Vicky Hartzler offered an amendment that would prohibit the Pentagon from spending money on transition surgeries or hormone therapy. Her amendment was narrowly defeated earlier this month. 

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Trumps decision a cruel and arbitrary decision designed to humiliate transgender Americans.

On this very day in 1948, President Harry Truman signed the executive order desegregating the U.S. military. Sixty-nine years later, President Trump has chosen this day to unleash a vile and hateful agenda that will blindside thousands of patriotic Americans already serving with honor and bravery, she said.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.,slammed the sudden announcement and said anyone who is fit to serve in the military should be allowed to do so. 

The presidents tweet this morning regarding transgender Americans in the military is yet another example of why major policy announcements should not be made via Twitter, McCain, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said.

Transgender service members have been able to serve openly in the military since last year, when former Defense Secretary Ash Carter ended the ban. Since Oct. 1, transgender troops have been able to receive medical care and start formally changing their gender identifications in the Pentagon’s personnel system.

But Carter also gave the services until July 1 to develop policies to allow people already identifying as transgender to newly join the military, if they meet physical, medical and other standards, and have been stable in their identified genders for 18 months. 

“I continue to maintain that what matters in choosing those who serve is that they are best qualified,” Carter said in a statement. “To choose service members on other grounds than military qualifications is social policy and has no place in our military. There are already transgender individuals who are serving capably and honorably. This action would also send the wrong signal to a younger generation thinking about military service. 

Key concerns include whether currently enlisted troops have had medical or other issues that cause delays or problems with their ability to deploy or meet physical or other standards for their jobs. Military leaders also wanted to review how transgender troops are treated, if they’re discriminated against or if they have had disciplinary problems, the officials said. They were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations publicly, so spoke on condition of anonymity.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson, Christopher Carbone and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/07/26/trump-announces-ban-on-transgender-individuals-serving-in-military.html

Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

A lecture explaining why using our imaginations, and providing for others to use theirs, is an obligation for all citizens

Its important for people to tell you what side they are on and why, and whether they might be biased. A declaration of members interests, of a sort. So, I am going to be talking to you about reading. Im going to tell you that libraries are important. Im going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do. Im going to make an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things.

And I am biased, obviously and enormously: Im an author, often an author of fiction. I write for children and for adults. For about 30 years I have been earning my living through my words, mostly by making things up and writing them down. It is obviously in my interest for people to read, for them to read fiction, for libraries and librarians to exist and help foster a love of reading and places in which reading can occur.

So Im biased as a writer. But I am much, much more biased as a reader. And I am even more biased as a British citizen.

And Im here giving this talk tonight, under the auspices of the Reading Agency: a charity whose mission is to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. Which supports literacy programs, and libraries and individuals and nakedly and wantonly encourages the act of reading. Because, they tell us, everything changes when we read.

And its that change, and that act of reading that Im here to talk about tonight. I want to talk about what reading does. What its good for.

I was once in New York, and I listened to a talk about the building of private prisons a huge growth industry in America. The prison industry needs to plan its future growth how many cells are they going to need? How many prisoners are there going to be, 15 years from now? And they found they could predict it very easily, using a pretty simple algorithm, based on asking what percentage of 10 and 11-year-olds couldnt read. And certainly couldnt read for pleasure.

Its not one to one: you cant say that a literate society has no criminality. But there are very real correlations.

And I think some of those correlations, the simplest, come from something very simple. Literate people read fiction.

Fiction has two uses. Firstly, its a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if its hard, because someones in trouble and you have to know how its all going to end thats a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, youre on the road to reading everything. And reading is key. There were noises made briefly, a few years ago, about the idea that we were living in a post-literate world, in which the ability to make sense out of written words was somehow redundant, but those days are gone: words are more important than they ever were: we navigate the world with words, and as the world slips onto the web, we need to follow, to communicate and to comprehend what we are reading. People who cannot understand each other cannot exchange ideas, cannot communicate, and translation programs only go so far.

The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.

I dont think there is such a thing as a bad book for children. Every now and again it becomes fashionable among some adults to point at a subset of childrens books, a genre, perhaps, or an author, and to declare them bad books, books that children should be stopped from reading. Ive seen it happen over and over; Enid Blyton was declared a bad author, so was RL Stine, so were dozens of others. Comics have been decried as fostering illiteracy.

Enid
No such thing as a bad writer… Enid Blytons Famous Five. Photograph: Greg Balfour Evans/Alamy

Its tosh. Its snobbery and its foolishness. There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different. They can find the stories they need to, and they bring themselves to stories. A hackneyed, worn-out idea isnt hackneyed and worn out to them. This is the first time the child has encountered it. Do not discourage children from reading because you feel they are reading the wrong thing. Fiction you do not like is a route to other books you may prefer. And not everyone has the same taste as you.

Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a childs love of reading: stop them reading what they enjoy, or give them worthy-but-dull books that you like, the 21st-century equivalents of Victorian improving literature. Youll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and worse, unpleasant.

We need our children to get onto the reading ladder: anything that they enjoy reading will move them up, rung by rung, into literacy. (Also, do not do what this author did when his 11-year-old daughter was into RL Stine, which is to go and get a copy of Stephen Kings Carrie, saying if you liked those youll love this! Holly read nothing but safe stories of settlers on prairies for the rest of her teenage years, and still glares at me when Stephen Kings name is mentioned.)

And the second thing fiction does is to build empathy. When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world and people it and look out through other eyes. You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. Youre being someone else, and when you return to your own world, youre going to be slightly changed.

Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals.

Youre also finding out something as you read vitally important for making your way in the world. And its this:

The world doesnt have to be like this. Things can be different.

I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?

Its simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.

Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere youve never been. Once youve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.

And while were on the subject, Id like to say a few words about escapism. I hear the term bandied about as if its a bad thing. As if escapist fiction is a cheap opiate used by the muddled and the foolish and the deluded, and the only fiction that is worthy, for adults or for children, is mimetic fiction, mirroring the worst of the world the reader finds herself in.

If you were trapped in an impossible situation, in an unpleasant place, with people who meant you ill, and someone offered you a temporary escape, why wouldnt you take it? And escapist fiction is just that: fiction that opens a door, shows the sunlight outside, gives you a place to go where you are in control, are with people you want to be with(and books are real places, make no mistake about that); and more importantly, during your escape, books can also give you knowledge about the world and your predicament, give you weapons, give you armour: real things you can take back into your prison. Skills and knowledge and tools you can use to escape for real.

As JRR Tolkien reminded us, the only people who inveigh against escape are jailers.

Tolkien's
Tolkiens illustration of Bilbos home, Bag End. Photograph: HarperCollins

Another way to destroy a childs love of reading, of course, is to make sure there are no books of any kind around. And to give them nowhere to read those books. I was lucky. I had an excellent local library growing up. I had the kind of parents who could be persuaded to drop me off in the library on their way to work in summer holidays, and the kind of librarians who did not mind a small, unaccompanied boy heading back into the childrens library every morning and working his way through the card catalogue, looking for books with ghosts or magic or rockets in them, looking for vampires or detectives or witches or wonders. And when I had finished reading the childrens library I began on the adult books.

They were good librarians. They liked books and they liked the books being read. They taught me how to order books from other libraries on inter-library loans. They had no snobbery about anything I read. They just seemed to like that there was this wide-eyed little boy who loved to read, and would talk to me about the books I was reading, they would find me other books in a series, they would help. They treated me as another reader nothing less or more which meant they treated me with respect. I was not used to being treated with respect as an eight-year-old.

But libraries are about freedom. Freedom to read, freedom of ideas, freedom of communication. They are about education (which is not a process that finishes the day we leave school or university), about entertainment, about making safe spaces, and about access to information.

I worry that here in the 21st century people misunderstand what libraries are and the purpose of them. If you perceive a library as a shelf of books, it may seem antiquated or outdated in a world in which most, but not all, books in print exist digitally. But that is to miss the point fundamentally.

I think it has to do with nature of information. Information has value, and the right information has enormous value. For all of human history, we have lived in a time of information scarcity, and having the needed information was always important, and always worth something: when to plant crops, where to find things, maps and histories and stories they were always good for a meal and company. Information was a valuable thing, and those who had it or could obtain it could charge for that service.

In the last few years, weve moved from an information-scarce economy to one driven by an information glut. According to Eric Schmidt of Google, every two days now the human race creates as much information as we did from the dawn of civilisation until 2003. Thats about five exobytes of data a day, for those of you keeping score. The challenge becomes, not finding that scarce plant growing in the desert, but finding a specific plant growing in a jungle. We are going to need help navigating that information to find the thing we actually need.

A
Photograph: Alamy

Libraries are places that people go to for information. Books are only the tip of the information iceberg: they are there, and libraries can provide you freely and legally with books. More children are borrowing books from libraries than ever before books of all kinds: paper and digital and audio. But libraries are also, for example, places that people, who may not have computers, who may not have internet connections, can go online without paying anything: hugely important when the way you find out about jobs, apply for jobs or apply for benefits is increasingly migrating exclusively online. Librarians can help these people navigate that world.

I do not believe that all books will or should migrate onto screens: as Douglas Adams once pointed out to me, more than 20 years before the Kindle turned up, a physical book is like a shark. Sharks are old: there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs. And the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is. Physical books are tough, hard to destroy, bath-resistant, solar-operated, feel good in your hand: they are good at being books, and there will always be a place for them. They belong in libraries, just as libraries have already become places you can go to get access to ebooks, and audiobooks and DVDs and web content.

A library is a place that is a repository of information and gives every citizen equal access to it. That includes health information. And mental health information. Its a community space. Its a place of safety, a haven from the world. Its a place with librarians in it. What the libraries of the future will be like is something we should be imagining now.

Literacy is more important than ever it was, in this world of text and email, a world of written information. We need to read and write, we need global citizens who can read comfortably, comprehend what they are reading, understand nuance, and make themselves understood.

Libraries really are the gates to the future. So it is unfortunate that, round the world, we observe local authorities seizing the opportunity to close libraries as an easy way to save money, without realising that they are stealing from the future to pay for today. They are closing the gates that should be open.

According to a recent study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, England is the only country where the oldest age group has higher proficiency in both literacy and numeracy than the youngest group, after other factors, such as gender, socio-economic backgrounds and type of occupations are taken into account.

Or to put it another way, our children and our grandchildren are less literate and less numerate than we are. They are less able to navigate the world, to understand it to solve problems. They can be more easily lied to and misled, will be less able to change the world in which they find themselves, be less employable. All of these things. And as a country, England will fall behind other developed nations because it will lack a skilled workforce.

Books are the way that we communicate with the dead. The way that we learn lessons from those who are no longer with us, that humanity has built on itself, progressed, made knowledge incremental rather than something that has to be relearned, over and over. There are tales that are older than most countries, tales that have long outlasted the cultures and the buildings in which they were first told.

I think we have responsibilities to the future. Responsibilities and obligations to children, to the adults those children will become, to the world they will find themselves inhabiting. All of us as readers, as writers, as citizens have obligations. I thought Id try and spell out some of these obligations here.

I believe we have an obligation to read for pleasure, in private and in public places. If we read for pleasure, if others see us reading, then we learn, we exercise our imaginations. We show others that reading is a good thing.

We have an obligation to support libraries. To use libraries, to encourage others to use libraries, to protest the closure of libraries. If you do not value libraries then you do not value information or culture or wisdom. You are silencing the voices of the past and you are damaging the future.

We have an obligation to read aloud to our children. To read them things they enjoy. To read to them stories we are already tired of. To do the voices, to make it interesting, and not to stop reading to them just because they learn to read to themselves. Use reading-aloud time as bonding time, as time when no phones are being checked, when the distractions of the world are put aside.

We have an obligation to use the language. To push ourselves: to find out what words mean and how to deploy them, to communicate clearly, to say what we mean. We must not to attempt to freeze language, or to pretend it is a dead thing that must be revered, but we should use it as a living thing, that flows, that borrows words, that allows meanings and pronunciations to change with time.

We writers and especially writers for children, but all writers have an obligation to our readers: its the obligation to write true things, especially important when we are creating tales of people who do not exist in places that never were to understand that truth is not in what happens but what it tells us about who we are. Fiction is the lie that tells the truth, after all. We have an obligation not to bore our readers, but to make them need to turn the pages. One of the best cures for a reluctant reader, after all, is a tale they cannot stop themselves from reading. And while we must tell our readers true things and give them weapons and give them armour and pass on whatever wisdom we have gleaned from our short stay on this green world, we have an obligation not to preach, not to lecture, not to force predigested morals and messages down our readers throats like adult birds feeding their babies pre-masticated maggots; and we have an obligation never, ever, under any circumstances, to write anything for children that we would not want to read ourselves.

We have an obligation to understand and to acknowledge that as writers for children we are doing important work, because if we mess it up and write dull books that turn children away from reading and from books, we ve lessened our own future and diminished theirs.

We all adults and children, writers and readers have an obligation to daydream. We have an obligation to imagine. It is easy to pretend that nobody can change anything, that we are in a world in which society is huge and the individual is less than nothing: an atom in a wall, a grain of rice in a rice field. But the truth is, individuals change their world over and over, individuals make the future, and they do it by imagining that things can be different.

Look around you: I mean it. Pause, for a moment and look around the room that you are in. Im going to point out something so obvious that it tends to be forgotten. Its this: that everything you can see, including the walls, was, at some point, imagined. Someone decided it was easier to sit on a chair than on the ground and imagined the chair. Someone had to imagine a way that I could talk to you in London right now without us all getting rained on.This room and the things in it, and all the other things in this building, this city, exist because, over and over and over, people imagined things.

We have an obligation to make things beautiful. Not to leave the world uglier than we found it, not to empty the oceans, not to leave our problems for the next generation. We have an obligation to clean up after ourselves, and not leave our children with a world weve shortsightedly messed up, shortchanged, and crippled.

We have an obligation to tell our politicians what we want, to vote against politicians of whatever party who do not understand the value of reading in creating worthwhile citizens, who do not want to act to preserve and protect knowledge and encourage literacy. This is not a matter of party politics. This is a matter of common humanity.

Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. If you want your children to be intelligent, he said, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales. He understood the value of reading, and of imagining. I hope we can give our children a world in which they will read, and be read to, and imagine, and understand.

This is an edited version of Neil Gaimans lecture for the Reading Agency, delivered on Monday October 14 at the Barbican in London. The Reading Agencys annual lecture series was initiated in 2012 as a platform for leading writers and thinkers to share original, challenging ideas about reading and libraries.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/15/neil-gaiman-future-libraries-reading-daydreaming

This Is How You Love Someone With Anxiety

Someone with anxiety is inclined to assume everyone is going to leave. So much so, sometimes they might be the ones to ruin a relationship. The truth is they battle something they cant control and there is a sense of insecurity within themselves when it comes to relationships. They know its difficult and they dont want to burden you with their irrational thoughts and worries. So instead, they push you away before you get the chance to leave yourself.

Remember theyre worth fighting for.

It might be hard sometimes. There might be stupid fights of scenarios theyve created in their own head. But more than anything, they’re worth fighting for. The toughest people usually are. And if you can fight with them through this, itll come back to you ten folds.

The phrase, Its okay, can never be used enough.

Its two words. Two words that stop every thought running through their head. And honestly, you can never say it enough.

Sometimes you just have to listen.

Theyre going to play out these situations in their mind. Theyre going to jump from point A to point B and sometimes youre not even going to know how they got there. The best thing you can do is let them go off on their tangent. Even if theres no solution or a fear they worry about in the future, the act of listening will help.

Dont tell them, ‘youre overreacting.’

To you, it might seem irrational. But to them whatever they open up to you about, it’s something that actually keeps them up at night. So just take it as best you can.

They probably wont sleep through the night.

Whether it takes them a while to fall asleep or stay asleep, youll be woken up by them at 3 am as they lay there wide awake. Just hold them close and the comfort in your presence might be enough to get them back to sleep.

Remember its not that they dont trust you. Theyre scared.

You say its an ex and in their mind, they jump to cheating. You say its a friend and in their mind, its someone trying to break you too up. Its not you and your relationship that isnt trusted, its every worse case scenario automatically playing out in their head and they hate themselves for it.

Answering texts timely does help more than you know.

Youve probably noticed they answer embarrassingly fast and they know not everyone is like them but it helps when people understand it. It helps when you say I cant talk now this is why Ill text you later. Silence kills anyone with anxiety. It creates problems in their mind that arent even there. It ends in apologies that arent even needed. And it adds a layer of stress to their life they wish they could control.

Dont be mad if they send a double text.

You might turn your phone on, to four texts. If you can remember its not that theyre trying to be annoying. They care. They care too much and they know it makes them look bad.

Sometimes they just wont be up for going out.

They might cancel last minute or freeze in the middle of a night out and just not be able to do it. If they tell you they have to leave dont feel a sense of guilt or obligation to go with them. Just know they tried and for whatever reason, they couldnt handle it. What sets people with anxiety off can be many things but for a lot of people, parties in which they dont know someone ends in two ways, theyll either be quiet and awkward or youll be carrying them out as they chose vodka to ease their worries.

Accept their apologies even you don’t understand.

Whether its a night out gone wrong, a triple text, saying or doing the wrong thing, they are so observant. They will pick up on the slightest shift in you and before you even realize you might be upset and they will apologize for it.

Help when you can but know when you can’t.

They would rather have ten meltdowns, biting off more than they can chew and they will never admit they can’t handle something. Theyll always say yes. Theyll never turn anyone away. And in those moments where it seems like they are going to fall apart and break just hold them. Help them if you can but know they’re inclined to not ask for help. They’re used to dealing with things on their own.

Once trust is gained theyll love you unbelievably hard.

While uncompleted to lists, plans getting messed up, texts going answered, might overwhelm someone with anxiety, if there is something they are good at it’s love. If theres something they’re strong in, its their ability to show you how much they adore and appreciate you. It might take them a while to trust you but once they do their capacity to love you will fill you in ways, you didnt know you were empty or even missing something.

Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/kirsten-corley/2017/01/this-is-how-you-love-someone-with-anxiety/

‘Beer yoga’ is a real thing, now, because of course it is

Hmm, beer.
Image: bieryoga/facebook

Nothing like putting down an icy cold beer. Except, of course, achieving a higher state of being and eventual transcendence of the Self through the practice of yoga.

But what if you could do both, at the same time?

Yes: Beer yoga is here. After being enjoyed by Berlin hipsters, it’s now found its way to Australian shoresa land where beer’s most definitely a religious practice, at least as much as yoga. And not in the best way.

Germany’s BierYoga A.K.A BeerYoga bills itself as the “marriage of two great lovesbeer and yoga. Both are centuries-old therapies for mind, body and soul,” according to its website.

And if you think they’re just being cute, think again.

Image: bieryoga/facebook

“BeerYoga is fun but it’s no joke,” founder and yogi Jhula writes. “We take the philosophies of yoga and pair it with the pleasure of beer-drinking to reach your highest level of consciousness.”

But even Jhula wasn’t the first person to promote enlightenment through yoga under the influence of alcohol. The instructor told Ex Berliner they first saw it done at (American culture festival/desert apocalypse party shitshow) Burning Man.

But wherever it came from, it’s definitely now a thing, and a thing being marketed unironically Down Under.

Two special sessions of beer meets asana will take place in Sydney this weekend, where students can learn yoga poses involving “beer salutations” and balancing beer bottles on one’s headjust watch out for bottle smashes.

The event page assures would-be attendees that no yoga experience is necessary. Just an “open mind and a love of beer.”

And if you think that all this does nothing to curb binge-drinking and/or cheapens a legitimate and sadly oft-perverted spiritual practice, then you can just Namaste away.

[h/t Broadsheet]

BONUS: NBD, just a massive alligator out for a stroll

Read more: http://mashable.com/2017/01/17/beer-yoga-comes-to-australia-of-course/

What Anxiety Actually Is, Because Its More Than Just Worrying

Anxiety is the restless nights of sleep, as you toss and turn. Its your brain never being able to shut off. Its the thoughts you over-think before bedtime and all of your worst fears become a reality in dreams and nightmares.

Its waking up tired even though your day just started.

Anxiety is learning how to function with sleep deprivation because it took you until 2 am to shut your eyes.

Its every text you wonder Its a double or triple text in case you messed up. Anxiety is answering texts embarrassingly fast.

Anxiety is the time you spend waiting for an answer as a scenario plays out in your mind of what they could be thinking or are they mad?

Anxiety is an unanswered text that kills you inside

even though you tell yourself,

Anxiety is that critical voice that says It’s believing every negative scenario you can come up with.

Anxiety is waiting. It always feels like you’re waiting.

Its the inaccurate conclusions drawn as your mind takes off and you have no choice but to follow its destructive lead.

Anxiety is apologizing for things that dont even require the words,

Anxiety is self-doubt and a lack of confidence both in you, yourself and those around you.

Anxiety is being hyper aware of everyone and everything. So much so, you can tell if theres a shift in someone merely by their tone or word choice.

Anxiety is ruining relationships before they even begin. It tells you, Then you jump to conclusions and ruin it.

Anxiety is a constant state of worrying and panicking and being on the edge. Its irrational fears.

Its thinking too much, its caring too much. Because the root of people with anxiety is caring.

Its sweaty palms and a racing heart. But on the outside, no one can see it. You appear calm and at ease and smiling but underneath is anything but that.

Anxiety is the art of deception for people who dont know you. And for the people who do, its a constant stream of phrases like, or or Its friends listening to these conclusions youve drawn and not really understanding how you got there. But they’re there trying to support you, as things go from bad to worse in your mind.

Anxiety is wanting to fix something that isnt even a problem.

Its the stream of questions that make you doubt yourself.

Its turning back around just to double check.

Anxiety is the uneasiness at a party because you think all eyes are on you and no one wants you there. Anxiety is that extra shot you take and it seems like youre finally relaxing. Until you wake up the next day hungover, full of regret and wondering what you said to who and do you owe them an apology?

Anxiety is the overcompensating and trying too hard to please people.

Anxiety is being everywhere on time because the thought of being late would put you over the edge.

Anxiety is the fear of failure and striving for perfection. Then beating yourself up when you fall short.

Its always needing a schedule or a plan.

Anxiety is that voice inside your head thats saying

Its trying to exceed peoples expectations even if youre killing yourself to do so. Anxiety is taking on more than you can handle just so you are distracted and not overthinking something.

Anxiety is procrastination because you’re paralyzed with fear of failing so you hold it off.

Its the triggers that set you off.

Its breaking down in private and crying when youre overwhelmed but no one will ever see that side of you. Anxiety is picking up and trying again because the only thing worse than overcoming other people is overcoming you and your own demons.

Its beating that critical voice that says,

Anxiety is the want and the need to control things because it feels like this thing in your life is outside of your control and you have to learn to live with it.

But more than anything anxiety is caring. Its never wanting to hurt someones feelings. Its never wanting to do something wrong. More than anything, its the want and need to simply be accepted and liked. So you try too hard sometimes.

And when you come across friends who begin to understand, they help you through it.

Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/kirsten-corley/2017/01/what-anxiety-actually-is-because-its-more-than-just-worrying/

What Its Like To Be In Love When You Have Depression

No one will love you until you learn to love yourself is an easy enough phrase to believe is true. But its terrifying, especially when you have depression. What if you never learn? As a teenager, it made me fear for my life as an adult. I was certain I would never be capable of being in a relationship, but I was very wrong. Honestly, I do not like myself very much, and in August of 2013, a boy fell very, very much in love with me.

I have dealt with depression for as long as I can remember. Ive been on and off medications, been to therapy, but its still alive and well, comfortable in its home in my bones. I can feel it every day, a tiny inkling that causes breathtaking emotional pain at the most inconvenient of times.

My depression doesnt care that I am in a relationship with a boy who makes me laugh, tells me Im beautiful 20 times a day, and cares more deeply for me than any other boy has. I am grateful for the nights he holds me while I cry for hours for no reason. I am thankful that he puts up with my random periods of irritability. He constantly attempts to comfort me if I am suddenly uncomfortable when were out in public. He fills me with hope for the future when I lead myself down the darkest of paths, plays with my hair when Im having trouble sleeping, and encourages me to eat when I have no appetite. He takes care of me and I never even had to explain myself. I still consciously think to myself, nine months into this relationship, Wow, someone is in love with me. I often think about how lucky I am to be loved, regardless of my flaws in chemistry.

This intense love is frightening, because every day, I fear that one more thing will push him over the edge. That one more time of me rolling over in bed, teary-eyed, for no reason, could push him away. I know it upsets him, and I reassure him through my salty, blurred vision that its not his fault. I am often overcome with guilt and I hate that my feelings about myself cause any pain on his part. Sometimes he is not easily convinced, but I try as hard as I can with the little energy I have. Some of our nights end in a tight hug and an Im sorry mumbled from my lips, but Im just thankful that he is still happy to wake up to me every morning.

Every day is a struggle. I am constantly on edge, going back and forth between caring too much and not caring at all, wondering when he will have enough. He is quick to remind me how much he loves me, but I am just as quick to be overcome with crippling doubt. We both know that this is how forever will be, and if he hasnt given up yet, Im certain that he is 100% all in.

Never let anyone tell you that you are not worth being loved if you dont love yourself. Never let anyone tell you that your mental illness is the reason why you are not in a relationship. Never let anyone tell you that you should smile more, fix your hair, or wear more color. Never let anyone makes you feel bad about what you cant always control.

Someone will be in love with you regardless of your most comfortable state, and if that happens to be curled up on the floor of your room, crying as you listen to your favorite sad songs, then you have found true love.

featured image – Bhumika Bhatia

Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/holly-everett/2014/06/what-its-like-to-be-in-love-when-you-have-depression/

Hate To Break It To You But You Are The Reason Your Life Sucks So Much

If you think your life sucks, it probably does. If you think the world is out to get you, it probably is. If you think you deserve more, you probably do.

The only thing in the world holding you back from achieving greatness is in fact you.

If you think the world is out to get you its because you have a shit attitude towards life youre looking at everything the wrong way. Youre using the negatives to fuel you instead of the positives. Youre letting the negatives control your mind and in turn youre allowing them control of your life. Youre letting the bad things win.

You will never amount to any form of greatness if you spend your life working some boring desk job that just drains you of your energy because youre too lazy to get out and search for something more fulfillingthat is no ones fault but your own.

You will never travel the world and see Paris if you keep making excuses for why you cant go. Just buy the plane ticket, pack a bag and go. Let the world shape you and open your eyes. Let it challenge you and frustrate the hell out of you. Struggle with language barriers and get lost. Surrender the control you posses in every day life and just go.

You will never lose weight if you dont change your eating habits. You will never improve your health if you dont eat more vegetables. You will never get smarter or broaden your horizons if youre unwilling to learn from others and read.

You will never be happy if youre constantly looking at the negatives. You will never reach happiness in your life if youre constantly surrounding yourself by people and things that drain you.

You are the reason you are unhappy, you are the reason youre stuck in a rut and your relationships are poor and you’re constantly criticizing others and looking for more. Thats all on you.

Theres no way to sugar coat it. You are your own worst enemy; you are the only one who is standing in the way of your goals and your success.

Life doesnt owe you or anyone else anything, so dont expect it to. Dont expect a million dollars to show up at your door, dont expect to wake up with a rocking body, dont expect to get your dream job if you dont ever put work into it.

If you want something you have to work hard for it. Not a half-assed hard either, I mean you need to work your ass off. You need to make sacrifices and push through even when things get messyand complicated. You need to keep going when everything in you is telling you to give up because thats the only way youll ever amount to anything great.

If you think youre life sucks it probably does, its just like the saying, he who says he cant and he who says he can are both usually right.

Dont stand in the way of your own life, dont give up when things get hard because quitting will never get you anywhere. Instead work harder and work smarter.

Believe in yourself when no one else does so you can look back and say, I told you so.

No one will believe you can do it until you do, so you have to want your own dreams. Others can want your dreams for you but youre the only one who can make them happen and youre the only one who can succeed or fail in reaching them.

Stop doing things that dont fulfill you, stop blaming others for your problems and stop thinking life owes you something because it doesnt. If you want your life to get better than start living like it. Start doing something positive in the right direction and dont give up until you get there, then keep going.

Read more: http://thoughtcatalog.com/becca-martin/2016/12/hate-to-break-it-to-you-but-you-are-the-reason-your-life-sucks-so-much/

5 Things (8.13.17)

1. A weird thing about mental health is that pretty much everyone tells you to just go outside and go for a walk. This is okay advice. Going outside helps. Walks help. But Ive had so many frustrating experiences the last few months where Ive been doing everything right and still had anxiety. I went to my familys cabin and I was surrounded by people who love me for four days, and I was in the sun all day soaking up vitamin d, and I was doing water sports all day challenging myself, trying new things (this is supposed to spend anxious energy) and getting exercise. It was a long, idyllic weekend and every night I still felt that same familiar creep.

My mind would catch on something (on anything) and Id feel panic rise the way it always did. Id google a lot of things to try to find some fact because I always feel like there is some fact I can google that is going to make me realize how irrational Im being. I had to sit with it and be uncomfortable, the way I always did.

I was frustrated because more than any other week out of my year, I was doing what everyone says you are supposed to do and the anxiety came anyway. I was a good girl. I was trying. It came anyway. Maybe it is going to come no matter what. Maybe I should take some pills even though all the podcasts I listen to say it will make you a zombie and that the pharmaceutical industry is bad. Thats probably true, too. Everyone is bad. I am an optimist and I truly love people and even I think everyone is bad.

2. I heard a podcast I loved a few weeks ago and I sent it to a friend who loves that podcast and she loved it too. The podcast was about how we are missing something, we western humans who construct cul-de-sacs and subdivisions and have the mistaken belief that we can or should separate ourselves from pain or other people or that our lives are better when we avoid suffering and have happy #blessed lives on Instagram.

The line I remember is, We’re not going to burn down the suburbs and live in lean-tos, we’d probably be happier if we did, but we’re not going to. We know we are creating a world that is bad for us. But we also know creating is good. So we keep on doing it.

The happiest people have so many ties to each other, but we avoid those because ties to other people cause suffering. The part I keep thinking about is how the friend thought it was a good podcast but avoids all this vulnerability, all this potential for suffering. The way she is suburban in the way he uses her heart. The way she remains separate in order to avoid suvvering. The way we all know what is good for us and try to avoid it, anyway.

3. To add on to my earlier point, I started walking 10k steps a day and I still have anxiety. Sometimes I think about a problem and I think I will feel better if I go for a walk and sometimes all the walk does is get me more worked up about the problem. Though, sometimes it also helps.

4. And I speak of the word problem loosely because the problem I had the other day is that I was upset because I wasnt sure if I would ever be rich enough to live somewhere with granite counters. I am rich enough now to live somewhere with granite counters but I dont feel like that is a good use of my money because it would be very expensive to live somewhere both with granite counters and near the lake and I love living near the lake. (Living near the lake is supposed to be this whole thing that helps my anxiety to begin with).

Whats struck me a lot this year is the way that things Ive always known to be true (no ones life is as good as it seems, the way people treat you is the way people feel about you, you cant compare your life to other peoples) still ring true in theory, but can be so fucking hard to accept when it comes down to the minutiae of life.

5. A truly crazy thing about my 30s is the degree to which I compare my life to everyone else’s when I never thought I cared about everyone else’s lives. I was looking forward to this decade because everyone said you feel more confident and secure and you worry less. That’s true for me, but I also find myself feeling bad a lot for not having things I don’t even want!!! I have never been a person who wanted to own a house and I know this is a thing a lot of people dream about and want very badly. I am indifferent. I know a lot of people also want children very badly and have them and that is great for them. But suddenly, not having these things and not wanting these things is a big deal.

I feel like I should want them and that I should want them very badly and that I should feel bad that I don’t have them already.

And I know, , I don’t have to want anything other than what I actually want. But it is hard to not think I am doing something wrong — to not think I will regret not wanting the things everyone else wants. I don’t know what I can do about that. It seems so dumb to say I just care about my art and the way I express my one and only experience on this planet — whether or not that form or art is ever considered good or whether it is commercially successful — that the act of writing it down is enough for me. That seems like an insane thing to say and I am filled with doubt about how I might regret thinking that is what I care about.

But I don’t get kids. And I don’t get houses. And I just want to have amazing relationship with the people I am close to and talk about things and create things. I don’t know how to feel secure in this want, but I do know it rings true for me, it is what would make me happy and satisfied. It just feels weird it’s made out of a different substance than the things that make other people I love and respect feel happy and satisfied. Or like, it should be both and and I should be capable of doing more than I am. I don’t know. I feel behind. I feel worried. I feel anxious in a way I was hoping would be gone by now.

Pre-order your copy of Chrissy Stockton’s new poetry book, , here.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/christine-stockton/2017/08/5-things-8-13-17/

Queen Elizabeth Prepares To Abdicate Throne To Make Way For Prince Charles As King

This will be a huge change!!!

According to royal sources in

The Queen is, of course, 92 years old right now — and even tough she’s in generally good health, it’s said that she has told her inner circle of plans to hang up her crown at the age of 95, and pass on the role to Prince Charles.

Robert Jobson, the royal commentator for the Daily Mail, had this to say about the early plans being made for the move (below):

“I have spoken to a number of high-ranking courtiers who made it clear that preparations for a transition are moving ahead at pace. They have all confirmed that a Regency with Charles taking the lead is now, at the very least, a real possibility.”

Wow.

That’s a big move!

Photos: Prince Harry & Meghan Markle’s Love Story!

One senior former member of the Royal Household also added more information about the Queen and her apparent decision to wind things down in her rule (below):

“Out of the profound respect the Queen holds for the institution of monarchy and its stewardship, Her Majesty would want to make sure that she has done everything she can for her country and her people before she hands over. She is dutiful to her core. … Her Majesty is mindful of her age and wants to make sure when the time comes, the transition of the Crown is seamless. I understand the Queen has given the matter considerable thought and believes that, if she is still alive at 95, she will seriously consider passing the reign to Charles.”

Impressive!

What do U think, Perezcious readers?!

Big deal, or what???

Let us know your thoughts in the comments (below)!!!

[Image via WENN.]

Read more: http://perezhilton.com/2017-08-13-queen-elizabeth-prepares-abdicate-throne-prince-charles-king-royal-family-news

Surviving The Last Two Years Without My Mom

You are stronger, braver and more resilient than you ever thought possible. You just dont know it yet.

It was a cold Friday night in January and I was curled up on my couch after a long day at work, bowl of ice-cream in one hand and TV remote in the other. The night was ordinary just like many others before it. I never expected that it would be the worst night of my entire 25-year-old existence.

I was just about to unhook my bra, slip into my oversized pajama shirt and call it a night when my phone flashed and moms husbands name, Dale, appeared on the screen. I considered letting my phone ring and going MIA for the night, possibly polishing off the last bit of ice-cream and falling into a deep sugar coma. But for some reason I couldnt shake the feeling that it could be something important, so I answered.

Jessica, your mom’s in the hospital said the empty voice in the speaker You need to get in a cab right now.

My mom had always been in good health. At the young age of 51, shed never been struck by illness besides the odd flu or cold. So when I heard that she was in the hospital, the severity of the situation didnt immediately register – until Dale said this: Shes bleeding in her brain and it doesnt look good.

What happened after was a complete blur; the tear filled cab ride alone, the sea of hugs and tears when I arrived at the hospital, and the look on my 17-year-old sisters face when the doctor told us our mom was brain-dead almost instantly after an aneurysm burst in her brain.

What wasnt a blur was a moment I will remember for the rest of my life, the last time I held my mothers hand. She was lying on the hospital bed looking exactly like my mom always looked, bright colored lipstick, freshly colored and straightened blonde hair and dressed to the nines. At the same time, she looked nothing like my mom. There was no color in her cheeks or warmth in her eyes. I knew that she was gone.

I looked down at her hands and cradled them in my own, memorizing every inch of them. I was very aware that this would be the last time I would hold them. In this moment I realized her hands were exactly like mine, maybe a bit bigger and stronger, but identical in every other way. I suddenly had an overwhelming feeling – with my moms death a part of me would die too.

Id never lost anyone close to me before. I had never experienced grief like this – so raw and so deep. It completely consumed me. I was scared that it would destroy me and the life I had just begun to build for myself. I wanted to just get through it, and perhaps heal from it unscarred like a bump or a bruise.

Almost 2 years later I now realize that grief will always be a part of my life and many other important lessons for coping with the loss of my mom.

I remember feeling like my moms death would be that one life event that would push me to my breaking point. Maybe I would disappear on a drug binge, or quit my job. I joked with my family a lot about moving deep into the woods and living off the land, foraging for berries and making friends with the squirrels.

This was my way of telling them I was scared. Terrified even. What would losing the woman who gave birth to me do to my life? Who would I become?

I hear grief is different for everyone and for me it was no cake walk. It took me a week to come out of the most excruciating emotional pain I had ever felt in my life. It took months after that not to come home every day and cry.

BUT! While its been extremely tough at times, my life didnt completely fall apart like I thought it would. Instead of becoming a shadow of my former self, I heard my moms voice repeat in my head be strong my baby. I knew she wouldnt want to see me fail; I knew she would want me to make her proud. So thats exactly what I did!
In the last few years I met the absolute love of my life, got my first car and moved into a bigger apartment. I left a job that wasnt making me happy and started a new one Im very proud of. I didnt just survive, I made my life better. And I owe it all to her – for always loving me to pieces and making sure I knew it every single day.
Your life will only fall apart if you let it. You are stronger, braver and more resilient than you ever thought possible. You just dont know it yet.

***

I would later find out that my mom was sitting down having a drink when it happened. She was in mid-conversation with her husband when she told him her head hurt. Less than a minute later she was unconscious, and less than 10 minutes after that she was in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. She was brain-dead before she arrived. Her deaths likelihood was 1 in 1 million; the chances of this ever happening to anyone were extremely rare.

How could this happen to her? One minute she was alive and well, the next she was gone. Just like that. This made me realize exactly how precious and fleeting life really is. Growing old is a privilege and a gift that not everyone gets to experience.

All the people we know will eventually pass away, and one day we will too. Its the only certainty in life that no one ever talks about. Your own mortality is a tough pill to swallow, but once you do, youll have a deeper appreciation for your own little life and the people in it.

If you have experienced great loss, chances are, youre one of the lucky few who truly understand the value of life and love. Youll spend more time with family and friends who matter most to you. Youll walk through life holding each and every second with them close to your heart. Youll make sure to say I love you at every chance you get. Youll enjoy all the little moments, because you know that they are numbered. Its a perspective that not everyone can grasp, but you will – and thats a true gift.

Have you seen the movie ? If youre in the mood for an emotional drama Id highly recommend it, it made me sob like a baby! I wont give too much away, but in it Keira Knightly plays love (the feeling) as a character. In response to a father getting angry at love for being so painful when his young daughter died, love said I was there in her laugh, but Im also here now in your pain. Those words really meant something to me, because its extremely true.

I know my mom lives within me. She lives in the love I feel for her when I smile at a happy memory, shes there in my tears when I miss her. Shes there in everything that I do because she was my mom and her love will always be part of me. Its comforting to know that whatever you believe in (reincarnation, god, heaven, or even nothing) that your loved one is never completely gone, theyre right there with you. Love never dies.

Im living my life for two now – mostly for me but a little bit for my mom too.

Read more: https://thoughtcatalog.com/jessica-vestergaard/2017/08/surviving-the-last-two-years-without-my-mom/