Ideas

Opposites Attract (Not without a challenge): A Journey into Love Languages

In almost every way my fiancée and I were different when it came to how we’re mentally and emotionally built. I was upfront with emotions especially in regards to her, family and friends and she was reserved. I was eager to communicate to solve problems and find compromise and she tended to bottle her feelings or ignored them until she exploded. In the early years of our relationship, we often fought about how our relationship should work. Admittedly, I came into my relationship with immature ideas. I was still stuck on the puppy dog phase of love where I wanted to spend every waking second with her in person or over the phone and she relished in her alone time.

Years ago when I was ranting to my friend at work about a fight my fiancée and I had and she told me about the idea of love languages. Being young and foolish, I didn’t put much thought into it. The hard way isn’t always the best way but it was the road I was on. But, with time came wisdom and desire to grow. What really put us to the test was my being unemployed. It was one of the bigger tests in our relationship. We were living together, sharing finances and terrified that things wouldn’t get back on track. Tense situations like unemployment can either make or break a person and I chose to benefit from it. Money makes every couple edgy and we were no different. However, instead of pointing fingers and worsening the situation I chose to really think about what we both needed in terms of the foundation of our relationship: our love for ourselves and each other. I revisited the love languages model and started to apply some of what I was reading to my everyday behavior.

Further research on the basic understanding of the love languages was needed and I came across The Five Love Languages by Larry Chapman. With a very generic internet understanding of the book, I was able to get further detail on each language. Chapman’s explains the five languages in great detail. His version of the Love Languages presents five languages: Acts of Service, Physical Touch, Quality Time, Affirmations and Receiving Gifts. Instead of having just one love language Chapman explains that each of us has a primary and a second love language to fulfill our figurative love tanks of emotion needed to thrive. Makes sense that you need to feel love and love yourself to fuel your relationship. He also details experiences of uses of these languages with his name protected patients and how they applied them to their own relationships.

After reading the book, I was able to pick out her love languages rather easy after applying my knowledge of her past and my knowledge of what made her happiest in the present day. Without going into too much detail about her past or our present together, I concluded that she fell under the languages of Acts of Service and Quality Time. Once the conclusion was reached I started to apply them accordingly. I began to do things without her asking, I began to put my phone away (more often, because I’m not going to pretend to be perfect) when we were spending together. I began to thoroughly pay attention to our interactions and saw a noticeable difference in how we operated. Fights were far and few and communication was at an all-time high, an accomplishment indeed! With a lot of trial and error, I’d like to think that we’ve found some sort of clarity on how we need to be loved and how we need to love each other.

I’m not saying by any means this is a cure-all to anything. Sometimes love just isn’t enough. Also, you don’t necessarily have to be in trouble to enjoy a little light reading on the betterment of your relationship. To me, it’s interesting to find the little blanks you might miss in your relationship because ego and self-interest get in the way. I definitely recommend it.

The Five Minute Journal

Journaling has been an activity that has come and gone for me. Either I judge myself too hard with what I’m writing or I lose track of time and never actually dedicate myself. However, the act itself is a huge “mind-dump” for me allowing to vent in a constructive and private way. I attempted to stay consistent with the Morning Pages method while I was unemployed but once a job came to light it was hard to sit and dedicate time to three pages a day. While it was therapeutic and helpful during those hard times, I found it hard to stay committed. I was really disappointed because I started to see such a huge difference in my thought process after giving myself the opportunity to decompress.

After I was unable to go to my therapist when she no longer accepted my coverage this summer, I searched every inch of the internet, books, and any other creative outlet for any kind of self-help. YouTube has become a staple in our house so instead of watching mind-numbing videos, I chose to look toward something more helpful. I found a YouTube called the BigNoKnow. Noah who is the creator of the channel spoke very candidly about his own mental health journey which was a great comfort. A productive binge watch at last! Noah spoke about this app he uses daily called the Five Minute Journal. He uses it daily to write down things he’s grateful for and daily affirmations. I was intrigued by the concept because I love to journal and I also noticed a lot of my journaling was mostly the “mind-dump” and less positivity whereas the app was all about positivity.

While I am not consistently daily, I am a hell of a lot more consistent then I would be with the daunting three pages. It’s a thoughtful yet thoughtless process every morning and every night. It takes a small amount of time per day to take a deep breath and reflect. Sometimes it can turn a bad morning where I’m groggy and sluggish into a hopeful one or a bad day into a calm night. For me, it has all been about resetting my perspective. It’s so easy to get lost in the negativity of daily life adding the extra weight to my already heavy mind. This app has allowed me the freedom to release the heavy feeling in simple, short constructive ways. I highly recommend it for the busy professional who wants to help maintain their mental health. 

Starting over (Again)

My writing has been a never ending journey of stops and starts. Some months, I’m full of muse and ready to share my vision and myself with the world. Whereas other months, I am drowned in the voices of opinions, the crushing stress of navigating adult life, and general life happenings that make it feel impossible to carry out this passion I love on such a precise schedule. I have started over many times, so I am not going to sit and promise consistency any longer. However, I will promise quality over quantity in my posts and hope that my vision is put forth honestly and sincerely. Just like anything else in life, my writing is ever changing. Topics, style, and most of all purpose have evolved since 2014 when I embarked on this blogging journey.

Tales from the Anxiety Ridden began as a coping mechanism. My parents retiring and leaving New York City was a hard transition. I was scared, angry and confused about not seeing them daily and being on my own for the first time. I have always thrived on routine so being thrusted into this new world was hard. Change is hard for anybody but with somebody with anxiety like mine, it felt impossible.  Anxiety has always been something I struggled with but this felt like a hurdle I couldn’t jump over. Writing has always been my easiest form of expression so I created this blog space in hopes that sharing my feelings with like minds and reading others struggles would help me feel not so alone.

Fast forward to 2019, I am a few months shy of my wedding, I was fired from a job that I hated but found a job I could really see myself in long term. Anxiety is bearable (thanks to a lot of soul searching and research) and I feel like a person who could manage day-to-day life. While I feel “healed”, I am not naïve to the fact that it could all change on the flip of a dime. However, I am going to spend every second given to me celebrating any small victories that come my way. The intention of this forum is no longer singular to the betterment of myself. For me, it is important to “pay-it-forward” in a society that can be so self-driven. I hope to share my story as it continues growing and thriving and be able to help others along the way.

I’m here starting over again, but I’m optimistic that setting a purpose and a goal will provide the quality of content I’ve always wanted to produce rather than the quantity of content that feels appropriate. Welcome to Tales from the Anxiety Ridden, almost 30 years of experience in navigating my own mind, swimming in my own gene pool of mental health short comings but I am more than that. This is my story and I cannot wait to hear yours.