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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Support Groups » So much emotional anguish

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Author Topic: So much emotional anguish
EC
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My former girlfriend and I broke up over a month ago and I am not doing well at all. It seems like life is getting worse by the day rather than better. Every day that passes, it seems like our chances of ever getting back together become more and more slim. I am in therapy, have started antidepressants, and have even joined "Codependents Anonymous" to try to work on myself and get well again, but I'm just suffering so much.

My life on the outside is fine. I have a decent (if boring) job; I have good credit, a good education, I've just been accepted into grad school, everything would appear to be fine. But most of the time I really cannot stand myself. The internal experience of living life is quite often pure misery.

In particular I've been having lots of obsessive thoughts lately. One thought that is driving me crazy is the thought of my former girlfriend moving on to someone else, especially sexually. When I have these thoughts I sometimes twitch because it's so horrible to think about.

I have also been very worried about my health lately. I am exhausted all the time and am convinced I have some form of cancer or lupus...some immune system problem. I have a doctor's appointment coming up at the end of the month, but in the mean time it's just worry worry worry.

I've made a list of things I can do to keep myself busy and improve myself, but it's so hard to conjure up enough energy to do anything. Being social is also so stressful and exhausting (and oftentimes unrewarding). And there is nothing that's all that fun to do on my own.

Does anybody have any suggestions on how to feel a little better? Thanks!

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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So sorry to hear you've been struggling like this?

How has leaning -- perhaps a little extra -- on your therapist and your CA group gone for you?

--------------------
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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EC
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Well it helps to be able to be completely honest for one or two hours out of the week, that's probably what helps the most. But usually after the session, my feelings go back to "normal." My therapist practices cognitive-behavioral therapy, and sometimes I feel it's just a bandaid to try to cover up negative feelings.

I've just started the CoDA group and I think it's something I will stick with, but it feels really awkward trying to open up to so many people at once.

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Heather
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And how long have you been in therapy?

--------------------
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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EC
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About a year and a half total (spread out over a couple different practitioners).
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Jacob at Scarleteen
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Hey EC,

I've been a CBT patient and have received help from various people for anxiety related mental health problems and can totally understand what you mean about "opening up to so many people at once."

For me I think I have realised over the past few years that much of working on my own self esteem is a longer process than I thought. At times I've even put pressure on myself to recover quicker.

Your predicament is different from mine but I just wanted to share because I have definitely turned down help and successfully cut down the quantity of support I have made use of (despite how difficult it was actually get that help in the first place), because it was becoming overwhelming. If you feel you're seeing too many people, it's totally fine to step back a little bit and perhaps take things slower.

It sounds like you have been pretty proactive in working on your problems which is great but also be careful not to pressure yourself in the process.

As per CBT, or any therapy as a bandaid, and feeling as though positive feelings which might come from it are only covering underlying feelings: It's worth remembering that we can often feel plenty of things at the same time, and some, positive experiences can feel unnerving, or unreal. So this discomfort could be part of your process. Or, on the other hand, there could be things which are underlying which you either haven't addressed in your therapy yet, or that this type of therapy might not be helpful for. This is probably something to discuss with the therapist themselves... as questioning the treatment is a pretty important part of making sure you are helped, one way or another.

I hope I haven't misread your experiences and projected my own too much. Somehow what you describe sounds familiar but I could have completely got it wrong. So please discard any of that if it feels like it completely doesn't fit.

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EC
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I've been thinking about that, how all the different support systems can be overwhelming, especially at a time when I would like to simplify my life. Mostly I think it will be hard to get to a point of being comfortable opening up to a group, and it might cause a lot of anxiety even if it's healing. So I have to weigh all that. I have been deliberately overwhelming myself with any kind of support to make each day slightly more bearable.

I am impatient with myself because I hate all kinds of pain, physical or mental. Throughout my life I've even avoided physical activity at times since it causes slight muscle pain. I know facing the emotional pain now would mean less later, but I just can't face the full blown reality of this breakup. Maybe little by little but I keep holding back.

I have brought up some of my concerns about CBT with my therapist and she has altered my treatment somewhat. I really don't know what would be best, whether it's to look back into childhood experiences or stick with the present.

Thanks, Jacob and Heather, for responding to my messages.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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All that you just shared in that last post: have you also shared that with your therapist? If so, what have they had to say about that?

--------------------
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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EC
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I have shared some of this with my therapist, not so much about the CoDA group concerns. But I have mentioned my lack of tolerance for pain. Her response is usually that it's a natural way for the mind to protect itself from feeling too much during intense times.

Regarding the format of therapy, I have brought that up. She is a big subscriber of CBT and thinks my thoughts are causing my feelings. I have said I'm not sure if that's the case with me; she thinks because I've had irrational thoughts for so long it will take some time to "undo" them.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Are you saying you're not so sure CBT feels like the right approach for *you*?

--------------------
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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EC
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My gut feeling is that CBT may not be the best approach for me, even if it does have some helpful strategies.

But I also wonder if any type of therapy could really help. My previous therapist was more into psychoanalysis and childhood experiences, but I was almost equally skeptical about that.

Also, I keep holding onto hope that my ex and I could get back together, so I don't know that I'm even motivated to move forward. Sometimes I feel that holding on to that hope is the only thing that keeps me going and motivated in life.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Have you and your current therapist perhaps taken an appointment to simply talk about the whole range of therapy approaches available to you?

If not, I'd suggest that.

Mind, it's also obviously on you to figure out if some, any or all of this is about you standing in your own way. If we don't really go all-in with any kind of therapy or help, none of it is likely to make a difference.

--------------------
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

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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