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Author Topic: Anxiety
Roxie102
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Let me preface this by saying, I feel pretty pathetic after considering other people's problems, but I'm still upset.

My boyfriend and I talk on the phone almost every day, sometimes multiple times a day. We don't see each other much, so this is the main way we stay connected. He's been grounded since last Tuesday and not been allowed to call me. He keeps telling me he doesn't know when we'll be able to talk again, and this is what's killing me. In the few texts he's sent me (I haven't gotten one since Friday), he just keeps telling me to calm down and relax, that it'll be over soon. I still can't stop worrying though. The last time we went this long without talking was at the beginning of June. He went to camp for a week, but I had known about it for a while, so I was pretty okay with it. After he came back though, he was acting weird and told me he wasn't sure he wanted to be tied down, that he wasn't sure that he loved me, and stuff like that. Since then he's told me he didn't mean any of it and that he was just confused about his feelings at the time. Still, I worry that after this break, he'll do the same thing. I wake up everyday hoping I'll get a call from him, and I never do. As a result, my stomach hurts and I cry a lot. I know I'm probably overreacting and that the very act of not communicating for a little while doesn't mean he'll stop loving me, but I still feel horrible. I just get more afraid with every passing day and I keep wondering how much longer he'll be grounded. I guess my question is, is there anything I can do right now to feel better until the time passes?

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Heather
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You're not pathetic, marie.

What it sounds like to me is that the attachment issues you've talked about having here before are still in big play, and also like you are not feeling very secure in this relationship or yourself, should you not be in it. Does that seem right?

If it does, have you looked any more into getting help with these things, rather than looking to something like contact from your boyfriend to...well, help you avoid them?

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Roxie102
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Yeah, I have no reason to not feel secure in my relationship, but I still do. I don't tend to get attached easily to too many people for fear of getting hurt, but when I do get attached to someone, I get *really* attached.

I guess it's just that I feel like he's the only person I can really talk to about my problems because he helps me with them and respects them. I feel like no one else does. That's why people see me as cold and aloof - because I don't like opening up to lots of people for fear of being criticized.

I'm not really sure what's caused my separation anxiety, but I guess I'll look into getting an appointment with the councilor when I get back to school, even though I'm kind of afraid to. I plan on calling one of my friends tonight to talk too.

Oh, on top of this, I'm worried about suffocating my boyfriend with my anxiety and clinginess... *sigh*

[ 08-07-2011, 05:21 PM: Message edited by: marie293 ]

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Heather
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But if you don't open up to people, how COULD anyone else be there for you? Know what I mean? In other words, I hear you voicing something that sounds self-perpetuating. You can only talk to your boyfriend and feel he's the only one who understand you, but you only open up to your boyfriend so he's the only person you're providing that opportunity to in the first place.

I wonder if it might help for you to try and evaluate what happens for you in your heart and head when you do get the contact you're not getting right now. Do you then feel secure about yourself and this relationship? Or is that contact just kind of feeding the monster of insecurity so it isn't hungry again for a little while?

What do you think you need in order to feel just fine -- even if it's a bummer and you miss someone -- when you're in a situation like this, where it's clear a lack of contact is about a restriction on the other person they can't control, not about them ditching you?

I think it's also worth thinking about why you feel like the whole world would fall down for you if and when someone you're with wasn't sure about their feelings or didn't want to be in a relationship with you (not saying that's the case here, and don't want to trigger your anxiety in asking). This sounds really, really intense for you, and very painful. Do you feel like you could feel whole unto and comfortable with yourself without being able to talk to your boyfriend in these moments, whether that's about having someone else to talk with, or about learning ways to take care of yourself by yourself?

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Roxie102
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your first assumption is exactly right. I guess I also need to work on opening up to more people...

I almost always feel comfortable and secure and happy when I get contact with him. The problem is when I don't.

I know it's not really his fault and that he has no control over this, but at the same time, I find myself wondering why he's not taking this as hard as I am.

I fear my whole world crashing down because I worry that I'll never find someone again. Again, I know that won't be the case, but the future scares me.

Of course, missing someone is just a fact of life when you're close to them and they're not there, but I do wish I could feel less empty and hopeless when he's not around.

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Roxie102
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your first assumption is exactly right. I guess I also need to work on opening up to more people...

I almost always feel comfortable and secure and happy when I get contact with him. I'm not clingy and anxious when I know we'll be seeing each other soon or when I know he'll be calling later on in the day or has something to do where he can't call me. So yes, I'd say I'm mostly okay.

I know it's not really his fault and that he has no control over this, but at the same time, I find myself wondering why he's not taking this as hard as I am.

I fear my whole world crashing down because I worry that I'll never find someone again. Again, I know that won't be the case, but the future scares me.

Of course, missing someone is just a fact of life when you're close to them and they're not there, but I do wish I could feel less empty and hopeless when he's not around.

(sorry about double posting.)

[ 08-07-2011, 05:38 PM: Message edited by: marie293 ]

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Heather
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Do you think he might not be taking it as hard as you are because having this kind of space feels less scary to him, or because he is less dependent on it in order to feel okay?

And do you think this is mostly about missing him, or mostly about needing the contact to feel secure yourself? I'm hearing that it's more about the latter, but I want to be sure I'm not misunderstanding your own feelings, which you're the expert on, not me.

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Roxie102
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Clearly he seems to be more secure in himself and doesn't need the constant affirmation that I need. That's not bad I guess, but it just makes me feel more irrational.

I do miss him, but yes, I think it'd due to me not feeling secure when our usual routine is missing and when I don't get the constant affirmation that everything is okay. My mind often wanders and draws unlikely conclusions in situations like this.

Oh, another thing. I was visiting my grandmother the other day and she asked me why I was looking so down. I told her about this and what did she do? She laughed at me. [Frown]

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Heather
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Can we maybe ditch the word "irrational?" That's such a negative and heavy word, and I'm someone who feels like the words we use about ourselves and our behavior really matter. If we pick words like that, it's mostly just going to make us feel bad and make it harder to create positive change, I think.

It's not usually irrational to feel insecure, anyway. People who feel insecure usually have reasons for feeling that way; it's usually caused by actual things in their lives.

I'm so sorry your grandmother laughed at you. This obviously isn't funny. Like I said, you're clearly in a whole lot of agony here, and that's serious and something I think it's fair to expect others to take seriously.

So. I agree, probably your boyfriend is more secure in himself, and thus, the relationship than you are at this stage of your life. I think it's also important to consider how much the affirmation you're looking for helps you or hurts you in that regard. For instance, compared to whatever energy you have put into getting it or seeking it out, how much energy have you put into doing things that might earnestly increase your feelings of self-esteem and security in yourself, for yourself now and in the long-haul?

Or maybe let's try this: what things have you been doing in this same time period that have potentially really supported improvements for you with this?

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Roxie102
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It doesn't really make sense to me why he's more okay as he's about a year and a half younger than me (not that that makes a difference) and has been cheated on in the past. It's his personality I guess.

I'm really not sure I've done much of anything. I started applying to college, I've cried and moped, and I've been writing and thinking a lot more about my attachment and about my feelings. It's been helping a little bit I think, but then again, I write all the time.

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Heather
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Well, our self-esteem is not usually about our age, and it's also about a LOT more than just what our history in romantic relations has been. It might also help to know that strong self-esteem is a big part of being emotionally resilient so, for instance, someone with a stronger self-esteem is likely to bounce back a lot better from something like infidelity than someone whose self-esteem isn't so strong.

Have you ever had any hep from anyone in working on your self-esteem?

Applying to colleges sounds like an awesome positive: that's making movements about something vital to your own life and life goals that's (I hope) about you and what you want for yourself. Moping? Not really something that increases esteem. Good for grieving, sure, but not about esteem. When you're writing and thinking about your feelings, are you trying to do so in ways that are about propping yourself up instead of putting yourself down?

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Roxie102
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No, I haven't. I suppose I never realized I had a self-esteem problem.

I write about my negative feelings of course, but mostly I try to make myself think about positive things. Today I woke up and wrote a letter to my boyfriend (with no intention of sending it), telling him about what I've been doing and hoping for and all - exactly what I'd do if I was actually talking to him. Often though, I try to remain optimistic in my writing, even if it's not what I'm feeling.

Also, is it incorrect to think that since he's not feeling as bad as I am that he isn't as invested in and serious about the relationship as I am?

[ 08-07-2011, 06:29 PM: Message edited by: marie293 ]

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Heather
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Can I ask how you feel, in general, when you're on your own? Without a boyfriend, period, and then in times when it's just you, all by yourself? Do you feel good about you? Do you like yourself? Do you think you're valuable as a person, even if and when you don't accomplish anything major or when there isn't someone else, like a boyfriend, who is in a kind of relationship with you that suggests you have value?

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Roxie102
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He's my first boyfriend. The funny thing is, when I met him, I had told him that I didn't really want a relationship, that I thought high school relationships were pointless. I didn't believe in love. I think he was attracted to me in the first place because I seemed so independent and unattainable. I liked him a lot and ended up giving in and accepting his offer of being his girlfriend, and few months into the relationship, I got attached, and here I am now.

[ 08-07-2011, 06:36 PM: Message edited by: marie293 ]

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Heather
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Can I also ask how your other relationships in life have been, then? have you been really close to other people before, friends or family? Have close social interactions with people generally gone well for you and supported you in feeling good?

I'm still interested in how you feel about yourself all on your own and all that other stuff, if you're down with sharing.

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Heather
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(Just FYI, it's time for me to finish my workday, but I'm glad to talk more tomorrow if you'd like to.

In the meantime, I think that idea of calling a supportive friend is a great one. How about in your writing tonight, you maybe also try and write out a list of ways you can comfort yourself and take care of yourself when you are feelings insecure that don't just involve your boyfriend?)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Roxie102
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I've had three very close platonic relationships. In addition, I have lots of "aquaintances" I guess you'd call them. One of my close friends moved away at the same time I changed schools, so it ended. Another I feel has pretty much fizzled away, and I'm fine with that, and the one I still have today was my roommate last year at boarding school. She got very sick a couple months into school and had to be home schooled the rest of the year, and I dealt with the pain of being attached to her for a while. Yesterday I found out she decided to come back to school this year, so we'll be together again. As for family? I'm pretty close with all of them, but I have no siblings.

In general, I like myself a lot. I think I'm beautiful and smart and capable. I'm content with my life on a daily basis. I enjoy being alone as well. If there's not someone around for me to be really close to, I'm pretty much okay with spending time with myself. I'm pretty introverted.
I don't like having these anxiety problems though. That's one thing I'd change.

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Heather
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Again, heading off, and I'm sorry if I've asked about this before and have forgotten, but in the case this is more about some kind of anxiety than anything else -- which sounds possible, and a bit more likely now than esteem issues -- have you ever seen anyone about these anxieties to get them evaluated?

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Roxie102
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No, I haven't. As long as I can remember, I'd get nervous before school, nervous before going on a trip, nervous if my mom was a couple minutes late to pick me up from somewhere - just generally anxious about lots of different situations. I even get nervous before seeing my boyfriend if it's been a while since I've seen him. I think anxiety could be a likely culprit.

[ 08-07-2011, 07:37 PM: Message edited by: marie293 ]

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Roxie102
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I've been thinking about calling his house all day to check in on the situation, but the last time I did that (Friday), his dad answered and was a little rude to me, so I'm a little reluctant. My mom and friend think it'll probably be over tomorrow since tomorrow will have been one week, plus my horoscope suggests this too [Big Grin] So, should I just wait? I'm getting kind of impatient.
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Heather
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I think it might help to think of a situation like this as a potentially positive challenge for you.

Your boyfriend is clearly in the doghouse right now, for whatever reason. As a result, his calls to you/with you have been limited.

You calling is only likely to get him in even more trouble. He needs you to take care of yourself right now so that the conflict at his home can get resolved, and he can get out of the doghouse.

And, from what I can gather, YOU need you to be able to learn to handle things like this, and to take care of yourself in this, or at other times.

Sounds like you have a parent and friend you can ask for extra support of you need it. How about leaning on them, while also doing some of what you can to take care of you in new ways?

For instance, what you're describing in the post before this last one sounds to me like a long history of anxiety, not a maybe-anxiety. That's not for me to diagnose, but how about doing some work today to find out who you can see to help you figure out if this is anxiety, and then help you with treatment?

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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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Roxie102
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I agree. thanks so much. I'll look into getting some help with my anxiety.
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Roxie102
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Sorry, but could you suggest a few ways to work on this in the meantime, before getting treatment?
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Kachina
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You could do some activities that you enjoy to take your mind off this for awhile. Dwelling on one thing can increase anxiety, if you make your mind focus on something else it can help.

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Humans are allergic to change. They love to say, "We've always done it this way." I try to fight that. That's why I have a clock on my wall that runs counter-clockwise. - Grace Hopper

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Roxie102
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Just an update - he called me tonight. [Smile] We really didn't get into heavy, emotional stuff tonight, as we were mostly just catching up. The break didn't seem to bother him much, but he asked me how it made me feel. Without dragging him into all my anxious feelings of hopelessness, I basically told him that it made me remember how much I really do love him and love having him in my life. I'll probably tell him about all of my fears in a few days, when he's more receptive.

Thanks again for all the help. I know I'll be able to deal with situations like this better when they come up again.

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Heather
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marie: sorry not to have been around, I was having some connectivity troubles yesterday.

However, I likely wouldn't have been much help, anyway. Details of managing anxiety and depression are just outside the scope of what we do here and are qualified to do here. Were you able to start looking into who you can see for an evulation so you CA start getting that kind of qualified help?

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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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Roxie102
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I think I'll just see the counselor at school when I go back next week and see what she says. thanks for the concern. [Smile]
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