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Author Topic: Anxiety
copper86
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I feel very uncomfortable and vulnerable writing this; but I think I need some support - especially since I am discussing this with people outside of my social circle.

I've always been an anxious person; and I think school had an enormous effect on it, but even when I was little, I always wanted people to like me and would feel crushed and nervous if they didn't or if I thought they didn't. University made my anxiety worse; since there was a pressure I put on myself to get good grades and to exceed, no matter what was going on in my personal life.

I am constantly anxious - even paranoid - of people's opinions of me. Not really random people, but those close to me. If I think someone is mad at me - like my brother or my partner - it will consume my mind all day. I'm also afraid my friends and family will reject me sometimes or stop wanting to be my friend. That may sound stupid; so please let me explain. A lot of my friends are Christians and uphold some conservative values; so I'm afraid if I ever do something they do not approve of, they will cut me off. I would go more into detail about that; but due to reasons of my identity not wanting to be compromised if one of my friends ever visits here, I can't (that is proof of my anxiety right there!).

This is going to be very difficult for me to say and type; but one of my biggest problems is low self-esteem. I've always thought poorly of myself; and for those reasons, I often question why my friends and partner hang out with me. As far as intimate relationships go, my partner and I are in a sexual relationship and it's a great one; but he's not always very communicative (he sometimes won't answer my text messages for a few days). It's not like I want to talk to him all the time, every day - I like that we do our own thing and talk when we both have the time, and he is really busy - but I'm always afraid that he's not responding because he wants to leave me. We have had two breaks in our relationship of around two years; so I guess I'm just afraid that he might leave me again (This is not meant to put my partner in a negative light. He is very nice to me and is a lot of fun to be around; and he has often told me that he sometimes can't answer texts because he's working, driving, slept through them, and didn't want to randomly answer "too late" ((which I guess would be hours later)).) I think that it is my paranoia that is causing me to feel this way, and not my partner; especially since I'm always spewing out hypothetical "what if's?" and just experience anxiety in other parts of my life and not just involving him.

I just need some support I think; and some assurance that I'm not the only one who gets really nervous like this. I hate to post this; so please bear with me if this post sounds pathetic or whiney. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

[ 07-11-2012, 07:57 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Hi Copper,

Thank you for sharing this with us. It's clearly tough for you to share these things. Please know there's nothing here you need to apologize for or make qualifying statements about.

It sounds like your low self-esteem goes hand-in-hand with your anxiety over what friends, family, and your partner think of you. What do you think?

While it's really important for you to not read something bad into your partner not responding your texts, especially when he has explained why he doesn't always answer them, I'm actually wondering if there's another way to deal with this. As in, perhaps the two of you could have a conversation about how often you'd each like to stay in touch with the other, and come to some agreements if the anssers to that question don't match. Looking at that another way, a lot of times when people are in relationships for a while, and don't get to see each other as often as they'd like, they come up with routines for staying in touch that feel comfortable and caring to both of them. I confess I'm a little sleepy, so if what I'm saying doesn't make sense, please let me know.

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Robin

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Sans
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Hey, Copper [Smile]

I personally identify with your post a lot. And I echo Robin in saying that there's absolutely nothing that you need to be apologizing for. You are not coming across as being pathetic or whiny at all. Far from it. I think that you are very courageous in divulging something that is really difficult for your to share. I understand that it can be so hard at times to step out and seek some support, especially for someone is very anxious about how ze will be perceived by others.

How can I claim that I understand? Because I am struggling with the same issue. [Smile]

Please be assured, you are DEFINITELY not the only one who gets really nervous like this. You are not alone.

I, too, am extremely paranoid when it comes to how others perceive me. If I think that someone is mad at me, I will sit around all day dissecting their every facial expression, body language, tone of voice, volume of voice, etc. I can become so consumed with this that I can't focus on doing any thing else. My best friend is a Christian with VERY conservative values, and does not hesitate to cut me off whenever I do something that she does not approve of. When I'm around her, I scrutinize my every word and gesture.

I've also always thought really poorly of myself. This has been getting worse recently. When I'm with my mother these days, at the slightest frown, I immediately start apologize for everything I perceive I've done wrong starting from several years ago to the present. Of course, some of this anxiety and paranoia I have can be attributed to my severe mental health issues but...it's becoming quite extreme. I have to continually consciously remind myself not to be paranoid. It works only sometimes.

One of the best examples to illustrate my paranoia is as follows. One time, after visiting me during my hospitalization, my mother returned home. After an hour, I called home to see if she has returned safely. The phone rang and rang with no one picking it up. 30 minutes later, I'm in a full-scale panic meltdown, sobbing uncontrollably and repeatedly dialing the phone number and hanging up.I thought that she was kidnapped and was determined to call the police if the next few calls did not come through. When the call finally came through, my mother informed me that she was outside shopping, and did not go straight home.

My head is positively rusty tonight, so I will not write more. But please know that you're not alone, and that there are people here to support you. Hopefully tomorrow I will be able to give you a more detailed reply than I did tonight. But I will definitely check back with you tomorrow. Until then, take care. [Smile]

Sincerely

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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Sans
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How are you doing today?

I want to let you know, in addition to what I wrote last night, that I really respect you and what you have posted. I know that it is difficult and uncomfortable for you to talk about this, and I want to help you to feel even just a little bit more at ease, if possible, by showing my support of you. I recognize that you are stepping out for support, and I would like for you to know that you are supported here, not judged. [Smile]

I know what it feels like. I know the overwhelming sense of anxiety that you struggle with. I know that it's painful to always have to second-guess what people are thinking of you, whether someone could be mad at you, etc.

And I don't think less of you for feeling this way at all. Please try to believe me.

In all honesty, I think that you are a wonderfully caring person. You have been so supportive and helpful to the other users on here. I've seen the empathy with which you reach out to others. You very much deserve to be supported. And you are supported. I hope, by knowing that you are loved, appreciated, and supported here, that it will be easier and less uncomfortable for you to talk about the anxiety that you struggle with. That is what I want. For you to feel loved, appreciated, and supported. [Smile]

- hugs for you if you want them -

With all honesty and sincerity

Sans

[ 07-12-2012, 10:35 AM: Message edited by: Sans ]

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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copper86
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Sans, I almost cried reading your messages to me. You are such a sweet and caring person; and thank you for everything you've said. I'm so sorry that you struggle with anxiety... I can't imagine what it must have been like to call and get no answer from your mother. Sometimes when my brother isn't home from work yet and it's late, I worry like that, too (and it turns out he was working overtime, like he often does; but still, it's scary). You are an inspiration to everyone on here and to all who know you; and I really appreciate your care and support. It's good to know that there are others who suffer from anxiety and paranoia. I should also try to consciously remind myself not to be paranoid; and sometimes when I do that, it does work but temporarily.

I don't like second-guessing people's views towards me and I hate thinking that they are mad at me; but it's hard to break the habit, especially since I sometimes think, "what if this time is different?" That makes me really scared.

I want to thank you again for your messages and for checking in on me - I truly appreciate it. You are such a good source of positivity and support for everyone here. Thank you so much, Sans!

Robin, I really appreciate your always-comforting and knowledgeable responses. Reading them is a comfort to me. Yes, I do think my self-esteem goes hand-in-hand with how I think those close to me view me. If I think they're mad at me, it ruins my day; and even if one of them is sarcastic with me, it can make me cry and my esteem is shot. Both my brother and partner can be sarcastic in nature and I'm sure they don't mean to hurt me (or I might take something they've said the wrong way, which is easy to do over text and in-person), but I always wonder if I've done something wrong and they're actually mad at me.

I think talking to my partner about that would be a good idea; but my biggest fear is that he'd think that my asking for this type of communication is my way of being clingy. I'm just afraid he'd associate that with me being overbearing. When he talked to me about his reasons for not always answering my texts, I told him it didn't bother me, because I'd figured he was busy. It wasn't a lie really, because I know how hectic his schedule is; and a day or two without hearing from him is usually okay. It's when it gets to be 4 or 5 that I panic. He just doesn't always communicate via text on a constant basis - it's always been like that and I respect his privacy and don't hound him for messages - but it just worries me a lot when days go by with no response.

[ 07-12-2012, 01:17 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Sans
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Copper, thank you so much for all of the lovely compliments. They really warmed me up inside. [Big Grin] Look who's speaking! You are an inspiration too. I absolutely think that you deserve all of the warmth and support that I can give. I'm here rooting for you, I care about you and I want you to know that. [Smile]

I find that, whenever I'm struggling against something really difficult or such and am discouraged, simple caring words/gestures from someone else can help give me the motivation to fight again.

These days, whenever I feel paranoid/overtly anxious, I conjure up the most extreme scenarios of what could happen and compare them to ordinary scenarios. For example, if my mother takes a little longer to come home, the thought plaguing my mind would be that "she's murdered or kidnapped". But, then, I remind myself that it's far more likely that she's calling a friend on her cell and simply forgot the time (which usually happens to be the case). I'm not sure if this would work for you, but thinking like this helps me sometimes.

For sure, the usual follow-up thought to the above would be "what if this time it's different?" And I totally get how terrifying it is to think like that. BUT, I remind myself, it hasn't been the case so far and it will most likely not be. And this is confirmed when my mother comes through the door, perfectly safe.

It IS hard to break the habit. I very much agree. I have to force myself to think in a way that is different, sometimes contradictory, to the way that I'm used to think.

Thank you for being your awesome, empathetic, lovable self! [Big Grin]

I'm not sure if this is something that you are thinking of, but I'm currently receiving cognitive behavior therapy from my psychiatrist, and I find that it helps with the anxiety and paranoia. Basically, the jest is that your feelings, thoughts, behavior, etc., are connected. So if your thoughts are by nature anxious, then they will provoke anxiety in you. However, if you begin to think in a different way, then you will not feel as anxious.

Have you considered speaking with a professional, like a university counselor or such, about your anxiety? It sounds like the anxiety causes you quite a bit of distress at times. Do you think that seeking professional support would be beneficial for you?

Thinking of you,

Sans

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Hey Copper, I'm currently going through a bit of emotional turmoil so this response will be brief and I haven't read everything on this thread, but I want to respond. I totally oidentify with what you're describing. A year ago, that was me. I've recently dealt with some really big stuff, both good and bad and I really find that I've changed for the better. I am open and not afraid of everything in every social situation any more.

I'll respond some more in a few days when I've work my current emotional turmoil out (oh and don't worry about me, I'm stressed and teary but I will be okay. This is one of those things where I'm having a bit of a hard time adjusting to new responsibilities, and a new schedule, but it will be alright once I take some time for myself)

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Sans
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Are you doing okay these days, Copper?

Just wanted to check in with you.

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

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copper86
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Moonlight, I'm so sorry that this response is coming in late. How are you feeling now? Adjusting to new responsibilities and new schedules are really difficult - I had to do that with school constantly, so I can definitely empathize with you! I'm sure you will become adjusted soon! Are you handling things better now? Sometimes, adjusting to a new term took a few weeks for me. Thank you for responding to my post and for your encouragement! I'm glad things have gotten easier for you!

Sans, thank you so much for being so supportive of me. You are such a sweet and caring person. How are you doing today?

I really need to talk right now; though this situation will probably reak of irrational thought. Last night, my partner texted me at the last minute to hang out. I told him I had to take at least 15 minutes to get ready; he said that was too long (the weather was supposed to get worse), so I said 5 minutes instead and he agreed. I was going as fast as I could to be ready, but I knew I was taking too long. He texts me and tells me not to leave; and when I asked if we couldn't see each other that night, his response was that I took too long and that it would pour soon. I apologized and felt that he was mad at me (which I do understand, but it wasn't like I was going slowly on purpose - I had to shave, put make-up on, change, and get gas money and other stuff ready); and later he told me he didn't understand how ready I needed to get. I explained everything to him, and he said "okay."

Sometimes these scenarios happen where we can't see each other due to something I did; and even though it's only happened a handful of times (and he will often cancel, too, or is too busy and we reschedule), every time it happens, I am extremely remourseful and fear that he will leave me. I ended up crying when he left and then when he asked me about getting ready that made me feel even worse.

I know that rationally speaking, someone isn't going to just walk out on you because you took too long to get ready - that's an extremely irrational concern, I know. But I'm so frightened he's going to leave me because of this. I truly felt like everything was my fault; but i couldn't just run outside in my pajamas (I always want to look good for him, and I hoped that when I had explained myself to him, he understood)! He usually gets a little unhappy when we can't hang out; but I know he's usually very nice and not irrational, but I'm still worried. I feel terrible about this.

I feel really embarrassed flushing this out; so I appreciate that the volunteers, staff, and users on this site are non-judgmental and are supportive. I sometimes wonder if I need therapy or a counsellor to talk to, but I don't have the money at the moment and still feel really embarrassed telling people my problems. I really hate doing that; so writing this took a bit of time.

Thank you all for always being so understanding.

[ 07-26-2012, 09:58 AM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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HI Copper,

I'm wondering something: What would you think if your boyfriend wasn't available when you called or texted him to go out, or if he was finishing something up and wasn't ready right away?

*hugs* to you if you want them. It totally doesn't feel good to have your thoughts running away from you and spiralling the way it sounds like yours are right now.

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Robin

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copper86
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That has happened before; and there was one time we were meeting up and I was ready long before he was. I remember feeling a little impatient; but I never let on that I was. If he's busy or can't hang out, I'll feel disappointed and hurt, but if I do feel a bit of annoyance (which I feel guilty for having), it often goes away very quickly. I really miss him and if he is too busy, I sometimes wonder if I'm not important enough for him to see or if he's not wanting to see me.

So, I know that I'm not perfect either when it comes to my feelings; but even if I do get impatient or hurt that he's unavailable, I would feel horrible if he knew I felt those things (and I do understand that he's busy with work and sports and other friends), so I just tell him I understand. I also don't want to appear clingy; so I just don't tell him if I'm upset. I also wouldn't want him to feel guilty if he knew I was upset.

Thank you for making me see things the other way, Robin! I know if he took too long or if he cancelled, I wouldn't just tell him to not see me anymore; but I'm just always unsure of him wanting me and wanting to hang out with me. Thank you for the hugs and the support... I really do feel like my thoughts and worries are hay-wire.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Do you want to talk about why you worry that you're not important to him--which is what I hear you saying.

I'm also wondering if this might be worthwhile for you and your boyfriend to discuss when you're not in the moment. That is, talk about what expectations are reasonable for each of you to have of the other in terms of getting together on the spur of the moment.

Are these spur-of-the-moment plans more common for the two of you than something that's planned ahead? I'm getting the sense that it is, so I thought I'd ask.

Also, you mentioned above wanting to look nice for him. What do you think about sharing that with him and getting his perspective on it? He might feel differently about what you need to do to make that happen than you feel. [Smile]

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Robin

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copper86
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My partner and I have had a unique relationship; and since we've been seeing each other for over two years, he has left me twice. I was very hurt both times; and so far it's been over a year and a half and things have usually been fine. I'm just always worried that he will leave me again; that I'm not important to him in that respect. Sometimes, when he's really busy and weeks go by and we don't see each other, I wonder if I'm not really on his list of priorities (but a job, other friends, and his competitive sport take up a lot of his time; and that is fine, since I have other preoccupations, too).

We could have those discussions, but these spur of the moment outings usually happen without any problems. We usually hang out at the last minute; but it's way more often that I have at least 20-30 minutes to get ready. It's been only a few times that I had to get out fast; and sometimes I have to wait for him to get there, so I'd have more time anyway.

We've actually discussed my getting ready a few times. When he asked what I had to do to get ready once (a few months ago), I told him I had to shave; and he told me that I didn't need to unless I had a lot of hair. I personally don't like having any hair and the thought of him even seeing or touching some hair makes me uncomfortable, so while that put less pressure on me, I still have my own preferences and I try to meet in the middle (not shave as long or as much if I'm in a hurry). I don't know what his stance is on make-up and hair; but he does notice if I do something different with my hair than what I usually do. I feel that if I don't fix myself up a little, it will look like I don't care how I look; or that I don't care enough about him to make myself look acceptable. I'm not sure if that made sense, though.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Sans
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Hey Copper! I'm sorry that you had such a hard time with those thoughts. I understand that when your thoughts seem like they are "racing" with anxiety, they can be very hard to manage and control. Were you able to use some sort of coping strategy, like listening to music, writing, etc., to help you manage those emotions and thoughts?

I agree with Robin in terms of telling your partner that you want to look nice for him, that you want to convey through the way you look the fact that you care a lot about him and the fact that you want him to see that you're putting a lot into this relationship. I think that he would be happy to hear that, and I think that he would understand. Copper, a lot of what you're talking about is, as I see it, two people in a relationship who have differences of opinion and perspective but who are open to hearing what the other person has to say. This is a normal, and essential part, of any relationship. If your partner were to leave you based on the fact that you approach the process of dressing up for dates differently than he expects, then, honestly, I think that you would be better off not in a relationship with someone like that.

It sounds like a lot of your anxiety about the possibility of your partner leaving you again stems from the fact that he has already left you twice. Have you two had a serious conversation about how deeply that affected you? Does he know how deeply you are affected? If not, then I believe that it would be good for him to know if you're comfortable telling him. This might help him to be able to better support you, and reassure you if and when you need it so that your anxiety does not overwhelm you like it did the last time. If you are anxious about something, it could help to ask and become aware of the truth so that you can see if your anxiety is founded on rationality/reality or not. And if not, then there is no reason for you to be anxious. It would help you to manage your anxiety in that regard.

What do you think?

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"Sneak away, sneak away / If the fate is too sad / You are not a flower of hell / That kind of place... / Don't become lost, don't become lost... / Or you won't be able to grasp the entangled hand / The cry also has a limit...." - Naraku no Hana

Posts: 537 | From: Toronto, Canada | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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