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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Pregnancy Scares » Over this worry

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Author Topic: Over this worry
ConfusedMe89
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Hi Scarleteen,
First off, thank you for all the good work you all do here; to me your advice and facts are the best and most trust worthy on the internet, as a future teacher, I will definitely be recommending your site to my students [Smile]

I've been considering whether to write this to you for weeks becaause I know you've said you no longer will be answering these pregnancy fears, but in my current anxious state, I decided to ask.
Onto my irrational, and borderline stupid 'fear' which has been with me for years and occasionally starts up whenever I do anything "risky" (despite reading your article on different risks and this being considered a low/non risk, I still stress about it). Last December I engaged in dry sex with my man - he was clothed with underpants and jeans and myself a skirt with sheer stockings and lacy underpants. Despite reading your articles I still can't shake the feeling of a pregnancy risk - I should mention that since December I've had 4 periods relatively on time which clearly shows I'm not pregnant, but why do I continue to feel I am? (I can't tell you how many times I've read your article 'You're not pregnant, why do you think you are', my mind never stops over thinking)

I'm pear shaped in body so my fat stores around my belly which makes me feel I'm pregnant, even if I'm not [Frown] I know this issue is mainly psychological and I am seeing a psychologist for this, but I thought getting clarification from you might help ease my mind. I'm sorry to ask you such a repeated question, I just get scared and this worry consumes way too much of my energy [Frown] It makes it even worse that my mother recently passed away so all my stress has been focused on this potential non-existant pregnancy; and what worries me more is the fear that I will always be this scared of intimacy (I enjoy being close with my boyfriend, but due to fears of 'risks', I will stress out after certain things, mainly dry sex which is why I've stopped doing it) that eventually I'll destroy my romantic relationship because he mightn't understand.

From what I've read about dry humping, there is no risk, even if my pants and stockings were sheer, he was wearing two layers so sperm couldn't possibly 'swim' through that and there was no direct genital contact. I think to me, I just get scared because your articles states there is a low risk if one is wearing thin material - but does this only apply if that's the only article of clothing being worn (as in the man's wearning nothing)? I'm sure I've answered my own question, and apologies again for wasting your time, but my fear is so real I can't deal with it [Frown]

Thank you so much again to everyone who runs this site; without you, many people would be lost.

-ConfusedMe

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September
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Are you seeing your psychologist specifically to deal with your anxiety? If so, have you told them that you have fears around pregnancy?

What coping tools has your psychologist suggested to you?

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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ConfusedMe89
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Hey,
Thank you so much for getting back to me - I really appreciate it [Smile]
I have spoken with her about it, but I don't think she (or myself for that matter) realised the extent of my anxiety. She told me to go online to see that you can't get pregnant without sexual intercourse/ direct genital contact - however I was starting out looking at all the 'wrong' sites with stories that freaked me out even more. I'm seeing her again soon and I'll bring the issue up again, but to me, this fear of me being pregnant must be pyschological because despite thinking logically (ie. you can't get pregnant fully clothed/dry sex), my mind always reverts back to going into panic mode. If I could run away from my thoughts I so would [Frown]

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Redskies
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That definitely sounds like your psychologist did not realise that you have real anxiety around pregnancy, because one of the basic facts about anxiety is that it doesn't get sorted and answered by facts and rationality. Your psychologist will certainly know that, so is unlikely to suggest facts and rationality as the only solution to anxiety.

(I also think your psychologist perhaps didn't realise just how much poor information there is on the net about reproduction and pregnancy! You're certainly not the only person who's come here after being more scared by unreliable things they've read on the internet.)

I think that talking about it again with your psychologist would be an excellent idea. If you tell her what you've told us here, it should be very clear to her.

My deepest sympathies on the loss of your mother. That is a hard thing to experience, and you're right that additional hard things and stress in life can cause an up-tick in anxiety. Do you have support and coping methods for dealing with your loss and other stress?

Have you talked with your boyfriend about your anxiety, and about your fears over his reactions and the impact on your relationship? How have those discussions gone?

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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ConfusedMe89
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Hi Redskies,
Thanks for responding also [Smile]

I will definitely be bringing this up with my psychologist when I see her again soon.
Thank you for your condolences; I have my family, friends and boyfriend who have been helping me through this time, but only my boyfriend and close friend know about my pregnancy fears (I can't talk to my family about it because they will see it as a negative thing and not trust me being around my guy [Frown] ). My friend who is sexually active has told me countless times that pregnancy via full clothed dry sex is not possible. She has helped me calm my fears, but sometimes I get in states of panic that what if it is possible.

I have spoken to my boyfriend about my anxiety and for most part he understands, but I get scared that one day when our relationship develops and deepens even further, I'll be too scared to be intimate with him (ie. dry sex and even actual sex one day), that I'll actually ruin my relationship.

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Redskies
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Well, not having sex - or certain kinds of sex - can't ruin a relationship. Would you like to talk about how you think it might?

You've said a couple of times that you can't be intimate with your boyfriend. Are you using "intimacy" to mean sexual contact, or are you feeling that you're lacking all kinds of intimacy with him?

I'm hearing you say that you're afraid you won't be able to be intimate with him in the future. Is sexual contact something you want for yourself - now or in the future - or are your fears more about what might happen to your relationship?

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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ConfusedMe89
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Hey Redskies,
Despite my boyfriend telling me he understands and won't pressure me to do things if I get scared, I *personally* get scared that one day if we were to get married or I wanted to go the next step with him (ie. sex or even just dry sex) I'd be too scared to do it out of fear of pregnancy and he'll eventually get fed up and leave. I know that's a real hypothetical scenario because I know he wouldn't do that (he's very understanding and patient)- the problem lies with me and this is how I feel I'll ruin my relationship: that I'll never be ready for 'serious' intimacy.

When I refer to not being able to be 'intimate' with him, I'm talking about being too scared to partake in acts like dry sex (despite knowing there is a low risk and even enjoying that closeness with him; I'm just too scared to do it [Frown] and both he and I are disappointed that we don't do that anymore).

The sexual contact is something I would like in the future, it's just the fact I'm scared about the 'act' of intercourse (I define this issue along the lines of I love to talk and do certain acts of intimacy within reason, but I'm terrified of going all the way) - this might be related to factors such as my pregnancy fears, being vulnerable, and of course the fear of disappointing myself and my boyfriend.

Personally I know that if I was to start a method of contraception (ie. implant or injection) I would feel peace of mind in myself that I'd be more 'protected' (even though I wouldn't be having intercourse at least I wouldn't freak out if I was to have fully clothed dry sex with the boyfriend!) - but this isn't possible right now due to cultural restraints; so the 'best' thing would be just to refrain from all acts that scare me until I'm ready... however this isn't fair on me or my boyfriend because what if I never feel ready? [Frown]

Sorry I'm going around in circles; but voicing how I feel has definitely helped calm me down - and I'll certainly be telling this to my psychologist too when I see her next week.

Thank you much [Smile]

-ConfusedMe89

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Redskies
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Just so you know, you have the right to make whatever decisions around contraception that you want to make, according to your own values and needs. You also have the right to keep that information private.

As you mentioned cultural restraints about contraception, I'm wondering if there are also strong cultural opinions around you about pregnancy? What sort of messages have you received about pregnancy?

I think I hear you saying that you're scared you'd ruin your relationship because you think your boyfriend would leave, rather than not having sex in itself ruining the relationship - do I have that right?

Feeling scared that your boyfriend would leave, particularly when you believe he wouldn't, is definitely something to talk with your psychologist about. Have you talked with your boyfriend about your fear of him leaving?

How might you disappoint yourself, and/or your boyfriend?

"Never" is much too big a leap to make. There's a lot of time, and a lot of possibilities. It's more helpful to focus on where you are and what you need now and the direction you'd like to go in. You're already doing what you need to right now - not doing things that would make you extremely anxious - and you're getting healthcare to help you go in the direction you want to go. Those are good things!

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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ConfusedMe89
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Hi Redskies,
I'm having a panic attack right now, I go through waves of convinving myself I'm pregnant from when I had dry sex back in December - despite not missing a period since then (in fact, Janurary's period came 5 days early) my mind sees my bloated stomach and I freak out - This period is currently late by 2 days (this might be due to all the stress I'm having with mum's passing?) - but I'm terrified [Frown] Considering I've had normal periods since December I mustsn't be pregnant? I'm going to go back and read all the published articles again on this issue, but I'd have peace of mind if you gave me the 'kick up the bum' I need to snap out of my fear. My mother used to help me (she didn't know about the dry sex) with all my phobias so I'm utterly lost now that's she's gone [Frown]

Yes, there is a certain negativity around pregnancy in my culture, but me personally, I don't want children so the thought of becoming pregnant just makes me stress.

I think we're both on the same page - I'm scared one day he'll get tired of my uncontrollable phobias and that is what will make him leave. I have vocalised this to him and he said he understands, but felt 'hurt' that I felt he would ever leave due to something like this because he loves me and would never pressure me.

I feel I might disappoint myself and boyfriend because this pregnancy phobia will totally spiral out of control and stop me from being close with him on all physical levels (minus hugs and kisses.

Thank you, Redskies

-ConfusedMe89

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Redskies
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I'm sorry to hear you're having a tough time right now.

As for that "kick up the bum" - you Know that the fears you're having are simply fears and are completely contrary to facts and medical possibility, cos you've told Us that [Smile] Your fears trying to be strong and insistent means nothing about the reality, it only means that your fears are trying to be insistent, as fears tend to do.

I think I'm hearing you expressing fears about your anxiety itself, and perhaps you feeling bad about yourself for having these fears. Would it help you for us to talk about how mental issues are health issues like any other, which people have sometimes?

I lost my mother a couple of years ago. I found that some of the worst times of being without her were times when something else not-great or hard was going on that I would've wanted to talk with her about. For me, what happened then was the feeling of being without her got Way worse and so did the original issue: they kind of fuelled and amplified each other, and on top of that, the emotional energy they both took gave me far less emotional energy left over to deal with either one.

There isn't a fix for that situation, of course; there isn't a fix for missing one's mother, or the input she would've had. But one thing I'd suggest as a priority for you is to figure out - with help from other people like your psychologist, friends, boyfriend, perhaps us - some ways for you to manage hard times where you would previously have talked with your mother, so that some of the intensity and sting can be taken out of that cycle. All of this is a lot for you to have going on all at once, and the more ways and possibilities you have for feeling supported and taking care of yourself, the better. How does that sound to you?

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Heather
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I want to also add that when you say you are having a panic attack, if you are literally in the middle of a panic attack, you are probably much better served by some self-care to help you with that than by being on the net looking up more information. It's just so, so hard for anything to even make its way into our brains when we are literally in the middle of a panic: that earnestly shuts a lot of our cognitive functions down.

Here's one place to start per managing those when they happen (or at least managing them first, THEN coming somewhere like this once you're chilled out): http://www.anxietybc.com/sites/default/files/adult_hmpanic.pdf

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ConfusedMe89
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Hi Redskies,
I'm definitely feeling bad about myself for having those fears becuase it's stopping me from being close with my boyfriend and it's tearing me apart because for most part, there is such a low risk. I know this fear is psychological and has linked in with my anxiety (the anxiety will find little things and blow them out of proportion, ie. I had a bad experience waiting in line so my anxiety latched to that and I'd spend all my time thinking about it - now, my anxiety has settled in with this pregnancy phobia).

I'm so sorry about your loss; I completely agree with you that the worst times are when I need her because she was the only one who knew what to say and all my issues have amplified at the moment. I think (I hope!) this phobia will settle in time, and talking with you has definitely given me a better perspective and I'm very grateful for that [Smile]

Heather, I do apologise that I came on last night in the midst of a panic, I know I shouldn't have becuase I don't think logically in that state, but thank you to both you and Redskies for pulling me out of it with facts and logic. I have read the article you linked me to and it's extremely helpful [Smile]

Thank you both very much again,

-ConfusedMe89

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Heather
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Mostly I was offering that up for your benefit, rather than ours. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Redskies
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It's very natural to feel upset, angry, frustrated, disappointed, and a whole host of other things when a health condition seriously gets in the way of something we really want to do. But, feeling bad about ourselves? That's a common thing to feel, too, but there's not a whole lot of point to it. It can be particularly hard when it's a mental health condition that's in the way of something we dearly want to do or the life we want to lead, but it's not practically much different to if it were any other health condition. You did not choose to have the mental health issues that you have, and you cannot magic them away. It's not your fault, and it is not any flaw or weakness of yours or any problem with you. Sometimes our bodies and minds have illnesses. It's just a thing that happens. Absolutely, it can feel really really lousy and present difficult or miserable barriers. But the thing itself? Is just a thing that happens. We certainly get to feel all the things we feel about the results, what we experience, and the impact on our lives, but feeling bad about having the thing itself? Not something that was in our control, not a thing we chose.

I think that, as humans, we like having our own will and thoughts, and we like to think we are in total control of that - so if we feel like we're not, something's wrong with us, right? Not so. Brains are very biological things. Biological processes happen in our brains whenever we think or feel things (so yep, all the time). The most cutting-edge research still doesn't really know what's going on in the brain with most mental illness, but something is going on. In general concept, it is not so very different at all from any undesirable thing that can happen in any organ of our bodies. We simply do what we can to treat, improve and/or manage the condition. By going to therapy, you're doing that.

Something else to know too is that brains are really changeable and malleable. They change in response to our experiences. Trying to make a change can be hard, and usually happens very slowly indeed, but change is absolutely possible because change is a part of the brain's existence.

Thank you for your condolences. Yes, the feeling of "she would've known what to say" can be really hard. I found it helped me to utilise that in a different way. I knew my mum pretty well and had talked a lot with her, so there are a lot of situations where I realise I genuinely know what she would've said. She may not be here any more, but I can still tap into what she already gave me. Sometimes, I tell myself what she would've said, and I think "yeh, she would've said that". Occasionally it's a more unusual situation and I don't have a direct reference; I found I can look inside myself for some wisdom and some of that wisdom is from her. It's not the same and it doesn't make up for it, but it's something, and it helps. She's not here any more, but I still have the mum-ness that she was for me.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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ConfusedMe89
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Hi Redskies,
Sorry I've been rude and haven't responded back, it's been some very dark days and I'm not coping without mum [Frown]

You're absolutely right with what you said, I just have to keep telling myself that change is possible no matter how slow the progress is.
I ended up getting my period so I've told myself: "that's it with the pregnancy fear you haven't missed a period and you know the facts about dry sex so cut it out!!" - As silly as that sounds, hopefully it helps me cut down worrying about 'pregnancy fears' and maybe eventually I can be more 'closer' with the boyfriend - that's if he doesn't get sick of my constant depression - that's the next worry my anxiety will latch to :S

I also totally agree with what you're saying about how our mothers are still around, even if they aren't physically here. I just wish I could turn off the constant pain I'm feeling right now about it [Frown] I know things get better over time, but this is all just too much for me to deal with.

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Jacob at Scarleteen
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So sorry to hear what a hard time you're having, Confused!

I thought I would just add that these pregnancy fears are a perfectly understandable outlet for what you're feeling in general. Redskies was saying something similar higher up. Often when people feel trapped with their emotions they can come out in different ways.

So I don't know in what tone you ask yourself to 'cut it out', but I'd encourage you to think of it in the most self-compassionate way you can. Acknowledging that your thoughts and fears might seem very unhelpful, but they do come from a very real place for you... it's not due to being 'silly'.

A degree of temporary acceptance can be really helpful, and working on being able to say "Ok, I'm freaking out right now, but it's only a part of a deeper problem that I'm doing a great job of working on" when you notice it is just as worthwhile as an alternative to 'cut it out'.

That might not seem possible yet, but I think that it is so so brave of you to approach the treatment you have started working on. You already have a lot to be proud of.

PS, I totally get you with wishing this could be a quicker process! But I guess it is what it is... however it is worth discussing that feeling urgency with your doctor. Some people do find that immediate coping strategies are needed to go along with the long-term stuff, not to mention the possibility of medication.

[ 03-29-2014, 10:15 AM: Message edited by: Jacob at Scarleteen ]

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ConfusedMe89
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Hi Jacob,
A hard time is an understatement! [Razz]
I'm at witt's end with this pregnancy fear. I lasted a day thinking I wasn't pregnant, I saw my stomach getting out of the shower today and freaked out with a panic attack over how round my lower belly looks and when I push my hands under my stomach it feels strange - It's honestly not possible to become pregnant when there's clothes present, but my stupid mind keeps telling me I'm this freak chance that will get pregnant. I'm so frustrated like you wouldn't believe [Frown] !!
I'm seeing the psychologist in a few days so I'll talk to her about this because this is becoming a joke now.

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Redskies
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Hi ConfusedMe,

please don't be concerned about when you do or don't reply [Smile] This discussion is for you, and you can reply - or not - in whatever way helps you. I know I've written a little about my own situation, but I did so because I've generally found that people sharing a little and simply about their own loss is a thing that's often helpful and supportive. Loss can sometimes feel lonely and not understood if people aren't really talking about it, and particularly so when it's something like losing a parent at a relatively young age.

A big loss is a very hard thing to deal with. Have you been able to connect with other people who are grieving, or with support specifically for bereavement, and do you think that might help you? Are there other people who cared very much about your mother, and/or knew her well, who you might be able to spend time with or talk with? If there are people like that, perhaps her friends or relatives, they might be very happy to help support you, both for your sake and your mother's. For some people, it can help to talk with those people about the person, or about the shared feeling of loss, or about how the person supported you, or even about nothing in particular just while knowing that it is someone who has some shared understanding.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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ConfusedMe89
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Hi Redskies and everyone,
I saw my psychologist today and she was very helpful and suggested that I go and do a pregnancy test to show myself that I'm not pregnant and to help settle my anxieties. I went to the doctor today and had it done and the test was negative (the doctor said because I had dry sex in December, if by chance I was pregnant it would have shown up on the test instantly, but no signs came through) and my massive bloating might be due to constipation/stress etc.

I feel much more calmer now that I have this medical evidence to cooincide with everything that has been said here, yet I still feel scared of the "risk" I could have had/might have. I shall re-read the articles on this topic again, but are there any other suggestions you could tell me to help me cope with this?

Also, yes I have been talking with family and friends about mum and that is slowly helping me too.

I just want to say thank you again to everyone for their time and helping me through this; I know I'm not out of the woods yet with my anxieties, but at least now with your help and me seeing the negative test with my own eyes, I should be able to accept facts and move on with life. [Smile]

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Heather
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All good to hear!

Really, when it comes to anything anxiety, the person you want to talk with us your qualified healthcare provider: this is their area of expertise, not ours.

That way, too you can be sure what you are doing is consistent with what they advise, which helps them figure out the best treatment plan for you. This is the kind of thing where too many cooks in the soup is not helpful.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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ConfusedMe89
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Thank you Heather,
I still get a little anxious about it all, but I keep rememinding myself to deal with the facts, and not focus on 'what if scenarios'. This is the hard part because my mind tries to revert back to 'old ways' and tell me I'm pregnant even though I've had a test that states otherwise, but it's a work in progress.

Eventually when I get work I will definitely donate to Scarleteen - everyone who has responded to me has been so kind and understanding and it would be a real shame for this website to stop. Without the guidance and informative articles here, I would be stressed about this 24/7 so I thank you all again [Smile]

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