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Author Topic: Anxiety-- desperately need help
fallenleaf
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Hi everyone,

I have been in a serious relationship for the past ten months, the first relationship for us both, and we've taken it pretty seriously. I've posted here before with sexual concerns and figuring out how to do what feels right for me in that regard (I'm quite conservative, and he just wants to do whatever makes me comfortable, so the issue was more realizing that for me and figuring out what does make me comfortable)

The issue I really need to discuss is something that happened last night that has happened frequently in the past. We are apart for the summer, and last night we had a great conversation chatting online and by video for a bit, we've been experimenting with different ways to stay in touch other than calling each other which we do often.

Anyway, a little after the conversation ended, I texted him asking if something I said was weird or annoyed him. I do this SO frequently. I really try to not give in to the urge to text him and make sure I didn't say anything weird/annoying, but I ended up texting him anyway. He didn't respond immediately because he was visiting a friend in the city and had just gotten off transportation and was walking.

I was so ashamed and embarrassed that I texted him saying I was so sorry and to please ignore me. I was so angry that I had given into this stupid insecurity, and stupid urge, that I texted him saying we shouldn't talk for the rest of the month, because I was so sick of feeling like I ruined our talking and communication with my stupid, needless questions. I told him it's still hard to discipline myself and I didn't want to jeopardize our relationship any longer.

Before I knew it, I was in my room freaking out and crying alone, just feeling so much psychological pain, even suicidal thoughts. He had just arrived and really couldn't focus on this issue and texting in general so he said he couldn't talk about this now. I started freaking out and telling him that it's all over (our relationship) and that I couldn't do this anymore, and that I wouldn't be talking to him. He was so confused. It was late at night at this point, and I felt so alone and desperate, texting him I was so happy just a few hours ago and then these feelings take over, and I'm trying so hard to not let the negative self-criticism (I am a HUGE perfectionist) turn into this monster that perpetuates these feelings. I was freaking out, saying every time this happens, and every time I text him like this, I felt his love for me chipping away and I just wanted him to forget about me... but he assured me he loves me and is not judging me.

I woke up early in the morning five hours later and texted him that I felt so ashamed of myself and I felt I couldn't see or talk to him again, and that I was so sorry. He told me I have nothing to be ashamed about. I fell asleep for three more hours and then woke up, texting him I didn't know what to do and for him to tell me if he wanted me to leave him alone forever. He responded saying where he was in the city and wishing I was there with him. I texted him with things like I didn't know how to talk to him again because I was scared this would happen again, and it's like I'm fighting a mental voice. He was somewhere where he wasn't allowed to have his phone out, so he wasn't able to really respond which freaked me out more.

He eventually texted me I need to get help and these feelings aren't getting better with his efforts, and that he'd talk to me tonight, and that he loved me and believed in the real, happy me.

I feel so selfish and ashamed for texting him like this. All these paranoid thoughts that were unwarranted were rushing through my head about why he wasn't texting me immediately and if he truly cared about me. I'm calm now, and it's so scary (to him too) how quickly these episodes come and go. Again, I often make myself anxious like this, but this was pretty extreme. My boyfriend is a little sick of having long conversations about our relationship (because I am insecure? anxious? first relationship?) and wants to go back to talking as we used to about what connected us so strongly in the first place.

Am I crazy? What do I do now? I don't know what's wrong with me. I would really appreciate opinions/anything, please... [Frown]

[ 06-19-2012, 03:58 PM: Message edited by: Anna284 ]

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September
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Hi Anna. I am sorry you are feeling so upset! You're not crazy, so please do not worry about that.

Let's try and figure out what is going on here, alright?

Can you formulate what it is that you worry about? When you say you are afraid of annoying your partner, is there a particular reason why you think that you might be annoying him? A reason why you think that, if you had said something to frustrate or upset him, that he would not tell you right away?

What do you think would happen if he did feel annoyed? Do you have an idea of what you are afraid of?

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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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fallenleaf
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Thanks for the reply, I just worry about not being the great girlfriend, saying something stupid, though he assures me he never judges me. I'm so scared of initiating contact too much, or bothering him, even though he always says he's happy to hear from me. I'm scared of being too needy even though I totally was with all those texts which is what is SO ironic.

If he was annoyed, I'm not sure what he will do, I was always scared he wouldn't say he was and then it would build up and one day he wouldn't be able to take it anymore, but he says that's just not how he works and he's not going to just "one day" break up with me, so I don't know why I'm so scared.

He says he'll tell me if he is annoyed, and that the thing that annoys him the most is when I assume what he's thinking. The anxiety comes so fast and is so intense, I just don't get it! I'm really trying to loosen up and just be so happy with him because I love him and he does make me so happy, but I don't know what the problem is.

I also have had an eating disorder and struggle all the time with body image issues, which I don't get because everyone thinks I'm so confident, and sometimes elitist. My boyfriend just thinks I need to let myself be and stop judging myself, but it's so hard...

[ 06-19-2012, 04:08 PM: Message edited by: Anna284 ]

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September
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I just want to check in on a couple of things with you:

You understand that no one can be the "perfect" partner, and that anyone with a healthy, respectful mindset is not going to expect their partner to be perfect?

You understand that we all sometimes say silly or insensitive things? And that that is okay, because sometimes we talk before we think, or we just didn't know something?

You understand that sometimes we get annoyed with our partners, or they get annoyed with us? We can't always be happy with someone 100% of the time - that is not how human interaction works. The more time we spend with someone the higher the chances that sooner or later, we will say something that upsets or annoys them. And that is alright, too. Sometimes it's a misunderstanding that can be cleared up in a few minutes, sometimes it's a bigger deal and we are upset with each other for a couple of days, or we have an argument about it. But any friendship or relationship worth its salt can weather something like that. So even if you did annoy your partner, it would not be the end of the world.


Lastly, have you ever had any counseling around your eating disorder?

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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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September
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[Anna, I am heading to bed now, as it's getting pretty late where I'm at. But I will check in with you in the morning, and there are other volunteers around if you want to talk some more in the meantime.]

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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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fallenleaf
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I understand that relationships aren't supposed to be perfect. I guess subconsciously I am a perfectionist-- but sometimes my boyfriend feels he's walking on eggshells around me-- but he also says that he never is really angry at me, and I don't understand if that's normal or whatever.

I really try to be free around him but sometimes I feel like I live outside of myself. As if I'm always observing myself, always evaluating the image that I am projecting, this is why I feel so trapped and alone, because I can't just let go, and it's not only with my boyfriend but around others in social situations as well. A lot of people think I'm confident and have it all together but they have no idea that Inside I feel like a mess sometimes.

I haven't had counseling for my eating disorder, it started a couple years ago when I left for college. I'm really strict with myself with eating healthy, and exercising a lot, etc, and I get very frustrated when I feel lazy.

Do I just have some sort of anxiety disorder? I don't know how to proceed with my boyfriend-- the relationship has been such a trigger for anxiety but I want to deal with the anxiety and not end the relationship, since the latter won't solve the problem.

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fallenleaf
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Ok-- thanks for the help, good night!
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fallenleaf
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[ 06-19-2012, 09:14 PM: Message edited by: Anna284 ]

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Robin Lee
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Can you say more about what you mean by whether or not it's normal for your boyfriend not to be angry with you?

What would you like to do in terms of starting to tackle this anxiety. Is counselling something you'd like to explore?

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Robin

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fallenleaf
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Okay, well I just talked to my boyfriend and he talked about how he'd rather me say something that annoys him and get a little annoyed rather than get angry at myself and freak out. He doubts he would even be annoyed, since he said that in previous cases and with this one, what I'm concerned will annoy him would not annoy him, so it's no point freaking out. I guess I don't think it's normal for him to be so supportive, and I'm so surprised he's not angry at how difficult I've been.

I would like to explore counseling but my parents have a complicated relationship with therapy. I actually saw a therapist briefly in middle school and they got mad because they didn't think I needed one. They think therapy is for people who don't have close family and friends to talk to about problems. So I don't know where to turn now.

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September
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Alright, I'm back.

When your boyfriend says he won't get angry or that he won't judge you, maybe what he means is that he knows you, so when you say something that's silly or annoying, he can take it in context? He might know if something is out of character for you, or whether you just worded something badly, so he does not take offense.

As for the way you feel in social situations, as though you are always watching yourself: it may help you to realize that you are not alone in this. A lot of people do this, at least in some situations. Even the most confident of people have situations where they are evaluating themselves and feeling awkward and insecure. That also means that, all of the little details you are fretting about? Most of the people around you aren't even paying attention to them, because they are fretting about their own perceived flaws and short-comings.

Of course, getting to know people better ideally also means slowly coming to feel more comfortable around them. Ideally, our friends and partners are people around which we can let down our guards and be more ourselves, without having to worry. You've been with your partner for ten months now - that's a pretty long time. Maybe you can give him the benefit of the doubt and see if you can't allow yourself a little bit more freedom around him?

One thing I am wondering from reading your second post - can you talk about how you think you have been "difficult", and why you would expect your partner to be angry at you because of it?

Are you still in college, Anna? If so, that is an excellent opportunity for you to explore counseling if you are interested in that. Most colleges have counseling centers, and you don't need to discuss that with your parents if you don't want to.

[ 06-20-2012, 03:35 AM: Message edited by: September ]

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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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fallenleaf
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I neglected to mention-- this past spring at school I did work with a counselor from my college services but she wasn't very helpful. However, in the fall, I plan to go back with a person there in mind that I know will be better, since I have talked to her before.

Yeah, I'm trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, and it actually makes the little worries and assumptions seem so much more just in my head, than actually real. We talked about this last night, and about how hyper-analytical I am. I just can't turn my brain off, it's really unbelievable.

The reason I think I become difficult is because when I give these worries and assumptions about what he thinks or how he feels about me legitimacy, by asking him to clarify or whatever, I feel like it really annoys him. Last night, he told me that he'd rather me ask him, though, than go through the anxiety I went through the night before just making horrible assumptions in my head. But above all, he'd prefer me to just trust him. I just feel I've been difficult and I deserve to be punished for how much I texted him and how needy and helpless I seemed. It was just embarrassing... and he's sick of me saying that I'm embarrassed for things around him because he just wants me to be myself.

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September
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I really don't think you deserve any sort of a punishment for being anxious and worried. Certainly this is something that you'll want to change, simply because it can't be fun for either of you to be going through this, but it really is not something you should be punished for.

So, where I see room for improvement here is your level of self-confidence. It sounds like you doubt and second-guess yourself a lot.

Some counseling to help you build better self-esteem would be a great idea, and I think talking to the counseling services at your college again in the fall is a good plan.

In the meantime, can you think of some things that make you feel good about yourself? What are some moments when you feel sure of yourself?

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

Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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