DARE TO ASK: Anxiety over mild tremor? Stop fretting
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
I have a tightening of my nerves that was the result of cerebral hypoxia. It
isn't noticeable except for a slight trembling of my hands. I can't pick up a
martini glass without spilling it. I'm very attractive but have always felt
embarrassed and have not dated. How will I meet a nice guy?
Anna, 27, Staten Island, N.Y.
Most every guy I know would love to have a drink spilled on them by a
beautiful woman, if for no other reason than it is an "in" to a conversation.
Doug G., 25, Lisle, Ill.
If the guy is worth your time, he won't mind. He probably won't notice. Love
Andy, 30, Columbus, Ohio
Oh my God, are we sisters? I have the same thing. Have you spoken to your
doctor? Tell him how your condition is affecting your social life.
Brandy, 26, Salina, Kan.
My hands have shaken all my life. Be yourself and you'll meet guys . . . or,
you could switch from martinis to bottled beer.
Sean, 23, Denver
Your nice guy isn't at a bar unless you want to be . . . told he will be
there for you as he slips out the window with bedsheets and a broken-down Buick
Skylark. My suggestion: Go to the bars to let your hair down, enjoy your work
and have fun.
Mike, 27, Chicago
My advice: Think of those who have it worse than you, get yourself out there
. . . and just ask for a straw.
Cindy, 30, Appleton, Wis.
No matter what is different, someone will ridicule. The trick is not caring
about the jerks and concentrating on the nice people.
Bill, 49, Dry Ridge, Ky.
Anna may fall in the broad category of people with cerebral palsy: those who
had something happen to their brain before age 2 who have motor problems such as
spasticity or trembling, says Mindy Aisen, executive director of the United
Cerebral Palsy Research and Educational Foundation.
Anna also falls in the broad category of people with tremor: everybody.
"We all have it, but in most cases it's not obvious. It can be brought out
with coffee or anxiety. For people with CP, it's just an inability to turn it
Someone with a more noticeable tremor should still "get out and mix," Aisen
said. "Some young people want to disguise it. You must look others right in the
face and say, 'I am what I am, and I am important, too.' "
If anxiety worsens the problem, medications can help, so Anna might want to
see a neurologist, Aisen added.
Also, there's nothing wrong with a little practice and planning before social
"For example, probably soup isn't the best choice at a restaurant. You might
try finger foods like a hamburger and fries. You can also plan out where you
will be going, and what obstacles there will be to overcome. You can practice
saying what you will order, looking people in the eye, relaxing. It's about
building up your confidence."
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers. Send general
column comments to phillip. firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also hear his
podcasts or watch his