My anxiety is through the roof and I dont know what to do

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TownHall
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Location: Gainesville Ga

My anxiety is through the roof and I dont know what to do

Unread postby TownHall » Sat Jun 13, 2020 9:20 am

Hey scarleteen. So about 17 days ago I had sex with my boyfriend and I was as cautious as I could be. I have been on the pill for 7 months, He wears condoms and pulls out (he always holds the base of the condom too to make sure it doesn't slip off), and this last time I even took a plan b because I was so worried because he didn't pee after his first ejaculation and I am not sure if I touched it and touched the condom and could've gotten inside of me and it would have sperm because he didn't pee and I had taken my first pill the day before 8 hours after I was supposed to. I was on my period as well when this happened.
I don't know if this goes against your policy and I am not trying to post this to ask you if I am pregnant or if i will be pregnant but I am here because I do not know how to handle this anxiety about it. 2 years ago I used to get this "pregnancy scare" anxiety and that's why back in november 2019 I started taking birth control. As well as I had taken it even earlier in the year but stopped for a month or two because it got expensive.

I am feeling so guilty because I had sex and I can't talk to anyone because they would be disappointed because they believe sex is only for people who are married and I am not. I keep pacing and having racing thoughts and over analyzing myself and I'm making my self sick from all the stress. I have taken pregnancy tests and they are negative which I assume are correct because it been 17 days after sex but nothing is easing my mind.

I stopped having sex often because I always get anxiety and I know after this encounter I cannot continue to have it because it makes me so scared to do so. I just don't know how to do this anymore because I feel like I am dying and I hate it. Since I had sex on my period my period wouldn't show up for another four weeks so waiting for it come is torture and I feel like i'm going to die of the anxiety. Do you guys have any tips on what I can do? I keep searching the internet and trying to make myself feel better but I end up feeling worse. I try to stop thinking about it but I can't. Again Im sorry if this breaks policy but I just want to talk about how to make the anxiety not be so bad.

Amanda F.
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Re: My anxiety is through the roof and I dont know what to do

Unread postby Amanda F. » Sat Jun 13, 2020 3:55 pm

Hi Townhall,

It sounds like you have some good self-awareness of the huge amount of anxiety that sex and the risk of pregnancy are causing you. You've slowed down on having sex as often, which is a great start. I think taking a (short) break from intercourse while you find some ways to deal with this anxiety might help your mental health.

I have a few suggestions that I'd like to get your thoughts on.

1. Understanding the anxiety
Heather has written about this in the past, in response to another user that also wondered why they couldn't stop feeling anxious about pregnancy. Check out this article, and consider the questions that Heather is asking, to see if you can identify where this fear is coming from. Why can't I stop being so scared of pregnancy?

2. Address the anxiety with support
The intense anxiety you're feeling is something that a mental health professional can help you with. Talking with a therapist or counselor is confidential, and they'll be able to offer you a safe, non-judgmental space to discuss the guilt you're feeling about sex + the anxiety you have around sex and pregnancy. Part of working through the anxiety is not only understanding where it comes from, but also learning some general techniques for calming yourself down. This page has some resources about anxiety and mental health. What do you think about seeking some professional support? Anxiety and Other Mental Health Resources

This article also has some concrete steps you can take to deal with the shame you're feeling about having sex outside of marriage - a shame that is NOT because of anything you're doing wrong, but is from other people pushing it on you. Undoing Sexual Shame

And one more about shame, religion, and sex: How can I stop feeling so guilty?

3. Find sexual activities that you can enjoy without adding pregnancy anxiety
There's so much you can do with your partner that has a very low risk - or none - of pregnancy. With all the safety measures/birth control you've been taking it sounds like your risk is already pretty low, but that doesn't seem to be helping you, so maybe removing that risk all together could help you feel better.

Incorporating some different activities into your sex life that DON'T give you anxiety is important because you deserve to have sex that is enjoyable and relaxing! Here's a list of activities with the risk level associated with each one. Can I Get Pregnant, or Get or Pass On an STI From That? I'm guessing your partner is probably aware of your anxiety, so you could present the idea of taking a break from higher-risk activities in a really positive way. "I want to enjoy sex with you but my anxiety is making it really difficult. I'm working on solving it, but for the meantime, could we switch to some other fun activities so that this can be a thing I enjoy without the terrible anxiety?"

What do you think about those three steps, as a start?

TownHall
not a newbie
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:58 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: My kindness
My primary language: English
My pronouns: She
My sexual identity and orientation: Heterosexual
Location: Gainesville Ga

Re: My anxiety is through the roof and I dont know what to do

Unread postby TownHall » Mon Jun 15, 2020 6:14 am

Hey Amanda, I read Heather’s article and she talks about some woman she counseled that she just couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that she wasn’t pregnant but that because having sex before marriages is shamed upon the only punishment is to be pregnant and I feel exactly like that. I just think there’s no way I was spared this time because like I said I had sex in the past but I’m scared this was the time I would get pregnant all because of some theoretical precum that might’ve gotten on my hand/ on the condom and gone inside me. Even then I know that there would need to be an egg And these are the facts but in my head they don’t click correctly because I feel like my consequence is to be pregnant.

I don’t think there are any places around where I live where counselors are accepting people at the time. I do think I would like mental health services because these fears are making me so anxious is makes me feel sick to my stomach.
Even now I don’t want to do anything sexual or even kiss my boyfriend, I feel so overwhelmed about this and so guilty that just kissing him sends me into a spiral at the moment. I normally don’t have anxiety but it’s only ever about becoming pregnant that I get sent over edge and cannot control it. I literally get anxiety in my sleep and wake up with my heart racing.

But we are stepping back from doing anything because I just cannot get a grip, he’s listened to me a lot and reassured me but I think asking him for reassurance doesn’t actually help me. Also could I take a pregnancy test 3 weeks after sex and get an accurate answer?

Sam W
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Re: My anxiety is through the roof and I dont know what to do

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:04 am

Hi TownHall,

I'm glad you and your boyfriend are stepping back from sex for the time being, if only because it's clearly such a huge anxiety source for you right now. You actually articulated something very important, which is that reassurance seeking often doesn't help the way we hope it does. It can sometimes offer temporary relief from worry, but it doesn't dig deep enough to remove the actual source of the fear.

If you think taking a pregnancy test will help, when and how to test depends on the specific test you buy. You can read more about that here: Peeing on a Stick: All About Pregnancy Tests.

If you'd like to try accessing a mental health resource, you may still have some options right now, including online/remote ones. Would you like to explore those?

Since that section about pregnancy as a punishment or consequence resonated with you, I want to give you this piece as well. It walks you through some different ways you can try to resist or contradict that messaging: https://www.scarleteen.com/article/poli ... y_and_fear.

TownHall
not a newbie
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2018 11:58 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: My kindness
My primary language: English
My pronouns: She
My sexual identity and orientation: Heterosexual
Location: Gainesville Ga

Re: My anxiety is through the roof and I dont know what to do

Unread postby TownHall » Mon Jun 15, 2020 7:39 am

Hey Sam, yeah every time he told me I was fine and shouldn’t be stressing myself out or even worrying because there hasn’t been anything to worry about (like I haven’t missed my period nor have i gotten a positive pregnancy test when I tested a couple days ago) I feel okay for a little but then my mind would spiral out again and if just continue to ask him and it didn’t feel helpful at all!
Thank you for the pregnancy test article!
Yeah I would like to explore some mental health options I can do now
oh my gosh when the article discussed purity culture it hit me hard. When I was younger I had to sign a purity pledge and I find that on the back of my mind often about how I broke that promise. And yeah I’ve been told that birth control doesn’t work and condoms don’t work and that the moment you have intercourse even with multiple contraceptive methods you get pregnant instantly.

My own beliefs were that I shouldve waited until marriage but I’m conflicted with thinking “if I love my boyfriend and I want to end up marrying him why do I feel so guilty about having sex?” I know children aren’t punishments but when you grow up in purity culture they do get intertwined that you “sinned” and now you have to pay by having a child. And I think my anxiety also comes from what people would say about me or my family and my boyfriend if we got pregnant before being married. I turn 22 this year so I’m not super young and my mom had 3 kids by my age but it still feels like it could be the worse thing ever because of judgemental people

Sam W
scarleteen staff/volunteer
Posts: 6827
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2014 9:06 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I raise carnivorous plants
My primary language: english
My pronouns: she/her
My sexual identity and orientation: queer
Location: Desert

Re: My anxiety is through the roof and I dont know what to do

Unread postby Sam W » Mon Jun 15, 2020 8:18 am

Ooof, I'm so sorry you had t grow up with that kind of purity messaging. It just offloads a ton of misinformation and fear onto people. Have you been able to read much from folks like Impurity Culture? If not, that might be a helpful avenue to explore. Too, do you feel like you've had a chance lately to really pause and re-evaluate your own values and wants around sex?

For online resources, both BetterHelp (https://www.betterhelp.com/) and TalkSpace (https://www.talkspace.com/) are possible starting places. You can also search for therapists in your area (or under your insurance if you have it) to see if they're offering online sessions, since most mental health professionals have shifted to that due to COVID-19.


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