Don’t Worry Gaymo, You Were Probably Born With That Anxiety Attack

57260602ANXIETY: The New York Times Magazine continues to investigate various perils we were born with (last week’s cover story was about coming out as gay while young) with this week’s “Understanding the Anxious Mind,” which looks at a new longitudinal study which has been tracking the anxious mind in subjects since birth. Quick fun fact! Studies show that lesbian and bisexual women report higher rates of depression and anxiety than heterosexual women do. So chances are if you’re reading this, you’re probably freaking out about your bank account and your eyebrows and Angelica’s potential fever right now. Well who isn’t.

There’s insights on how to parent an anxious child (“the best fit for high-strung babies were sensitive mothers, who met their fearful children on their own terms and interacted with them in a way that was accepting and supportive without being intrusive”) but sadly, no tips on how children can interact with their super-anxious parents.

If you’ve ever had trouble explaining why, exactly, you are not only worried about swineflu but also worried about worrying about swine flu, here’s a handy definition:

ANXIETY IS NOT fear, exactly, because fear is focused on something right in front of you, a real and objective danger. It is instead a kind of fear gone wild, a generalized sense of dread about something out there that seems menacing — but that in truth is not menacing, and may not even be out there. If you’re anxious, you find it difficult to talk yourself out of this foreboding; you become trapped in an endless loop of what-ifs.

Other questions asked/answered – Why did a trait that causes so much mental anguish evolve in the first place? What cognitive behavioral therapy techniques have been effective? Are “people with higher intelligence are better at overcoming their anxious temperament”?

So, can anxiety ever be a good thing? And are we cheating ourselves by medicating it away? (Probs, but we’re busy!)

While a Sylvia Plath almost certainly won’t grow up to be a Bill Clinton, she can either grow up to be anxious and suicidal, or simply a poet.

Also check out Jezebel’s, “Born to Rue,” which offers another first-person perspective.

POT: In completely related news, here’s a big revelation that I read about in Marie Claire a few weeks ago but forgot to find online to talk about until today when it was on Jezebel. So news flash; a lot of ladies smoke pot every day! I am in California right now, and everything is really special here. That’s all I have to say about that. (@jezebel)

COMING OUT: OurSceneTV is producing a very special video project to coincide with National Coming Out Day (Sunday, October 11th) and they’re asking YOU, their viewers, to share your own coming out sotry in your own words. Let’s show the world we’re here, we’re queery, and there are a lot of us, so get used to it!

SEX COLUMNS: The history of college sex columnists, beginning in 1996 at Berkley – The College Sex Column Movement. (@the nation)

SEXISM: Alpha Mummy posted a list of 10 ways to teach kids [specifically, daughters] about sexism. Sounds great, until you realize that about half the list involves sexism. With bonus heterosexism. (@jezebel)

MUPPETS IN PALESTINE: Can muppets make friends in a politically tense area? A look behind the scenes of “Shara’a Simsim,” the Palestinian version of the global “Sesame Street” franchise.

PAY ME BITCHES: Why men continue to make more money than women: “Women, it seems to me, are generally less comfortable discussing money than men—which also leaves us in a position of weakness.” These days, when people are desperate for work and employers admittedly have the upper hand, it can seem as though we’re all Peggys in a Don Draper world. (@jezebel)

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Marie Lyn Bernard, aka Riese, is an award-winning writer, blogger, journalist, fictionist, copywriter, video-maker and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in the midwest, lost her mind in New York City and is currently making it work in California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better, The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image and The Hazards of Being Female," "Dirty Girls," and "The Best American Erotica of 2007," magazines including Nylon, Marie Claire, GO, Curve, Interlude, and CollegeBound, and all over the web including, Jezebel, Queerty, Emily Books and OurChart (RIP). She was the recapper for The L Word Online and host of Showtime’s Lezberado and her personal blog has earned many dubious honors including Best Personal Blog 2008. Riese has spoken about blogging, community-building, feminism, cyberculture and sexuality at places like BlogHer, Yale, New York University, The University of Chicago and The Museum of Sex. A graduate of the University of Michigan, Interlochen Arts Academy and The Olive Garden's week-long training intensive; she enjoys eating foods, having big ideas, reading books & talking to her stuffed dog, Tinkerbell. Also, she's Jewish. Follow her smokin’ hot adventures on twitter. Contact: riese[at]

Riese has written 2895 articles for us.


  1. OMG this is so weird.
    I was literally, 2 minutes ago, telling my friend about how anxious I was/am AND about how I’m freaking out about my bank account. IT’S LIKE YOU READ MY MIND.
    AND we were also talking about pot.

    Fact: Autostraddle is psychic. Actually, the website itself is god. Just fyi.

  2. Wait does Angelina seriously have a fever? Someone update me right now please

    Also re: the anxiety article, the Plath/Clinton comparison kind of bothers me. It’s like saying having a problem with anxiety or depression precludes your having any measurable success in the real world or at least on the global stage; check me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Abraham Lincoln depressed and anxious and gay? I feel like he got some shit done.

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