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As millennials strive for perfection, anxiety and depression increase

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When he was in eighth grade, Benjamin Cherkasky quit the swim team.

He loved swimming. But he wasn’t winning every time, and he felt he should already be an Olympic-like talent.

“I’m not Michael Phelps at swimming, so why am I even on the team?” he remembers thinking.

A therapist who researches perfectionism at Northwestern University’s Family Institute, he realized years later what had happened. His perfectionism was creating unrealistic standards, and unable to meet them, he quit. This continued throughout college.

“My perfectionism is very high expectations, and fantasylike and not realistic expectations, that caused real suffering and real anxiety,” he said.

Cherkasky is not alone in feeling a perfectionism that can breed anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts.

So many millennials are suffering from the ills of perfectionism that psychologists are issuing warnings and schools are emphasizing the need to both strive and accept failure.

On Thursday, Nov. 1, Northwestern held its first event on the topic, aimed at educating students that perfectionism can be poisonous and giving tips and tactics to help.

Jessica Rohlfing Pryor, a Family Institute staff psychologist leading the event, said every generation is a sponge for messages it receives.

“I would argue that millennials more than any other generation in American society are receiving very strong explicit messages around achieving,” she said. “There’s an absence of messaging that trying your hardest is still OK.”

Chronic procrastination and elaborate to-do lists can be signs of perfectionism — and potentially darker issues.

This January, the American Psychological Association reported that recent generations of college students have reported higher levels of perfectionism than earlier generations.

This “irrational desire to achieve along with being overly critical of oneself and others” takes a toll on young people’s mental health, according to its research, which analyzed data from more than 40,000 American, Canadian and British college students. Three types of perfectionism were measured: an irrational personal desire to be perfect, perceiving excessive expectations from others and placing unrealistic standards on others.

Recent generations of college students have reported significantly higher scores for each of these types of perfectionism than earlier generations, the researchers found.

People affected could be in both the millennial generation and Gen Z. Rohlfing Pryor noted that data has been collected from more than 200 studies, not all of which defined these two groups the same way. So, although more than one age group was studied, she has found perfectionism to be particularly prevalent in university students, including both undergraduate and graduate students.

Researchers noted that social media adds comparison pressure, along with the drive to earn money and set lofty career goals.

Often, perfectionists create even higher goals, which lead to a higher risk of failure and perhaps more failures.

In college, Cherkasky found himself surrounded by many intelligent people and felt he should be smart enough to already understand his textbooks, to already have mastered whatever he was learning.

“It makes you feel kind of crazy,” he said. “I felt like I should know every fact about the human brain without even going to class.”

This type of thinking can lead to putting in less effort, which can create more anxiety as people fall behind, he noted. “It causes suffering, and it causes people to kind of be isolated, and causes people to detach from their work, from their school, from other people. And so these are all perfect nutrients for anxiety to grow.”

Researchers also noted higher levels of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts recently in this age group than there were a decade ago.

Northwestern is not the only school eager to help its perfectionist students.

Brown University includes perfectionism in its counselling and psychological services, asking students if they ever feel that what they accomplish isn’t good enough, or that they must give more than 100 per cent to not be considered a failure.

Schools like the University of Texas and Harvard University note the difference between a “perfectionist” and a “healthy striver.” Harvard provides examples such as someone who is preoccupied with fear of failure and disapproval versus using anxiety and fear of failure to create energy; and someone who becomes overly defensive when criticized, versus someone who takes criticism in stride with perspective.

Rohlfing Pryor noted that Family Institute research shows perfectionists are less likely than peers to seek out resources. It’s key that students see this as something they can get help with, she said, sooner rather than later.

“They end up going (to therapy) when things are much rougher than they could have been,” she said.

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Post-vaccine surge? Michigan’s spring coronavirus case spike close to previous year’s autumn high

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(Natural News) The spike in new Wuhan coronavirus infections recorded in Michigan over the spring is similar to a spike seen during the 2020 fall season. According to a Wall Street Journal analysis, the state’s daily coronavirus case count averaged more than 7,000 for almost two weeks – before taking a slight dip to 6,891 on April 20. This echoed similar figures back in November and December 2020, which saw sharp rises in infections for those two months before plunging.

Back in autumn of last year, Michigan averaged more than 7,000 cases per day for a span of 10 days. New infections dropped slightly, then briefly spiked as the December holidays approached. It then fell to the low 1,000s for the succeeding two months – until ascending again in March.

According to University of Michigan internal medicine professor Dr. Vikas Parekh, the sudden increase in new infections could be attributed to several factors. Among the factors he cited was re-openings, which increased people’s interactions and mobility. Parekh said the loosened restrictions contributed to the spread of the highly contagious U.K. B117 variant.

“As the B117 variant spreads nationally, we will likely see other stats [with] their own surges – although I hope none are as bad as Michigan,” the professor remarked. He continued: “The milestone just tells us we are not yet in the clear, especially as we still have large portions of our population who are not vaccinated yet.”

Parekh also expressed optimism over the lower daily caseloads the Great Lakes State reported. He said he believes both cases and hospitalizations have plateaued and will likely decline soon. The professor commented: “[COVID-19] positivity has been declining now for one week, which is usually a leading indicator of case decline.”

Meanwhile, the state cited younger populations and youth sports, such as basketball, wrestling and hockey, to increase new COVID-19 infections. Because of this, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called to suspend youth sports and indoor dining in the state. She also exhorted high schools to conduct remote class sessions for two weeks to curb the spread of the pathogen.

Michigan still experienced the spike in cases despite having one of the highest vaccination rates in the country

During the opening stages of the U.S.’s immunization drive against COVID-19, Michigan boasted of having one of the highest vaccination rates nationwide. A report by Bridge Michigan even noted the initial “frenzy for vaccines” that “far exceeded the state’s limited supply.” But things have appeared to turn around for Michigan, as it now struggles to reach the 70 percent vaccination rate needed for herd immunity.

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Scottish mom’s legs turn into a pair of “giant blisters” after first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine

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(Natural News) Sarah Beuckmann of Glasgow, Scotland, felt a tingling sensation in her legs and noticed a rash flaring up around her ankles a week after getting her first dose of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine on March 18.

She also had flu-like symptoms right after the vaccination.

Beuckmann called her doctor to arrange an appointment the morning she noticed the rash, but by the afternoon her skin was already breaking out into blood-filled blisters. Blisters also appeared on her legs, hands, face, arms and bottom.

“I ended up asking my husband to take me to A&E,” said Beuckmann, referring to “accident and emergency,” the equivalent of an emergency room (ER). “When I got there, my heart rate was sitting at 160bpm, which they were very concerned about. I got put on an ECG machine.”

Doctors determine AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine triggers the rash

Medics carried out tests for HIV, herpes and other skin conditions to work out what triggered the rash, but all results came back negative. Doctors finally determined that the vaccine caused her rare reaction after carrying out two biopsies.

“Once they found that it was a reaction to the vaccine, they put me on steroids and that really seems to be helping my progress,” said Beuckmann. She had been advised by her doctor not to get the second dose of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine because of her reaction.

Beuckmann spent 16 days at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. She was discharged to recover at home. The 34-year-old mother of one is currently wheelchair-bound due to the bandages on her legs and blisters on the soles of her feet. She may need physiotherapy to help strengthen her leg muscles.

“They are starting to heal and they’re looking a lot better than they were but as the blisters started to get worse, they all sort of merged together,” she said. “I didn’t know what was going on.”

With the blisters merging, her legs have looked like a pair of “giant blisters.” Beuckmann admitted that at one point she feared her legs might have to be amputated.

Dermatologist agrees COVID-19 vaccine causes the blisters

Dr. Emma Wedgeworth, a consultant dermatologist and spokeswoman at the British Skin Foundation, agreed that Beuckmann had likely suffered a reaction to the vaccine.

“Vaccines are designed to activate the immune system. Occasionally people will have quite dramatic activation of their immune systems which, as happened in this case, can manifest in their skin” Wedgeworth told MailOnline. “This poor lady had a very severe reaction, which thankfully is extremely rare.”

It is not clear why Beuckmann, who works in retail, was invited for a vaccine. Scotland’s vaccine rollout was focused on people over the age of 50 when she got vaccinated, although vaccines are available to those who are considered at risk from the virus, or live with someone considered vulnerable.

At least 20 million Briton have had AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, which drug regulators say causes a rash in one percent of cases. They say rashes caused by the jab tend to go away within a week.

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Trojan labs? Chinese biotech company offers to build COVID testing labs in six states

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In 2012, BGI acquired Complete Genomics, a DNA sequencing company and equipment maker. The funds for the $117.6 million purchase were raised from Chinese venture capitals. The company has expanded its footprint globally. According to its website, BGI conducts business in more than 100 countries and areas and has 11 offices and labs in the U.S.

People are concerned about China’s access to American DNA data

Some said that with Complete Genomics providing an American base, BGI would have access to more DNA samples from Americans, helping it compile a huge database of genetic information. Some also worried about the protection of the genetic information’s privacy.

According to a 2019 report from the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC), BGI “has formed numerous partnerships with U.S. healthcare providers and research organizations to provide large-scale genetic sequencing to support medical research efforts,”

There are three main reasons why many people in the biotech community and government have expressed concerns about China’s access to American DNA data.

In the “60 Minutes” interview, Evanina discussed the very likely scenario in which Chinese companies would be able to micro-target American individuals and offer customized preventative solutions based on their DNA.

Evanina asked: “Do we want to have another nation systematically eliminate our healthcare services? Are we okay with that as a nation?”

The second concern is that China may use DNA to track and attack American individuals. As the USCC report states: “China could target vulnerabilities in specific individuals brought to light by genomic data or health records. Individuals targeted in such attacks would likely be strategically identified persons, such as diplomats, politicians, high-ranking federal officials or military leadership.”

The third concern is that China may devise bioweapons to target non-Asians. Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute, discussed it in his article “What Will China Do With Your DNA?” published by The Epoch Times in March 2019.

He wrote: “We know that the Asian genome is genetically distinct from the Caucasian and African in many ways. … Would it be possible to bioengineer a very virulent version of, say, smallpox, that was easily transmitted, fatal to other races, but to which the Chinese enjoyed a natural immunity? … Given our present ability to manipulate genomes, if such a bio-weapon can be imagined, it can probably – given enough time and resources – be realized.”

An article from Technocracy said: “China’s aggressive collection of American DNA should be doubly alarming because it can only spell one ultimate outcome: biowarfare. That is, genetically engineering viruses or other diseases that will be selectively harmful to U.S. populations.”

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