Extreme fear of pregnancy

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Meggyd18
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Extreme fear of pregnancy

Unread postby Meggyd18 » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:24 pm

My first pregnancy scare has completely taken over my life. It's been almost 3 straight months now, and I cannot get it out of my head that I may be pregnant. This thought is terrifying to me, as I do not want to be, and have recently broken up with my boyfriend. I have had 6 negative urine tests, 2 negative blood tests, and 3 periods (withdrawal bleeds) since my scare. However the thought that I might be pregnant is on my mind everyday. At this point I fear the only thing that will convince me is an ultrasound, but even then I'm scared I won't be able to let this go. I convince myself every ache/twinge/abnormality I feel must be due to pregnancy. I don't know how to overcome this, or ever have sex again without these thoughts.

Heather
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Re: Extreme fear of pregnancy

Unread postby Heather » Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:20 am

Hi, Meggy. I'm so sorry you're still struggling so much with this, especially now, of all times. All of our anxieties are already all keyed up as it is, having more about something else, something like pregnancy, no less, on top of them has got to be so rough.

I agree with you: it sounds like an ultrasound probably won't help you here. After all, the tests you have taken and your periods are just as accurate as an ultrasound is. The thoughts you are having clearly aren't rational -- not in the respect you could be pregnant, because you very clearly are not -- so they won't, as you've already experienced, tend to respond much to rational answers.

Since you probably won't be having a new sexual partner for a good while now -- none of us will, after all -- you can at least try and let go of any pressure you feel to get over this to be sexual with others. See if you can let that go, okay? Any pressure you can take off is going to help you out.

At this point, I'd say that you have a few options when it comes to trying to get past this or, at least, to manage it:
1) Putting your focus on everything else, and teaching yourself to stop answering your anxious thoughts. In other words, when you think this way then test or keep going deep into the thoughts, you kind of reward your brain and the thoughts and also validate the irrational idea and the anxiety, so you keep it going that way, even though it feels like you're doing the things that should end it. If you can start trying to answer these feelings and thoughts by NOT answering or validating them, by doing something else entirely when you get them, by focusing on something else.

2) Trying to get out by going through -- have you gone ahead and talked with someone about these fears? Like talking about why it would be so scary to be pregnant, why you think you feel so scared and have so much anxiety about it, but also what you think may have gotten you here? Sometimes that helps. You could do that with a friend, with staff here, and/or with a counselor. I have a could phone lines I could suggest for this if you want.

It might also help to talk about why you think you might WANT to be pregnant. I hear you, you're scared of this, so you probably don't feel like it's something you want. But our brains attach themselves to something like this in part because it in some way is giving us something we want. In this case, that could be a bunch of things, but a few possibilities could be because it's actually easier to think about than something else you might otherwise have to focus on, or because your brain is trying to tell you something you're otherwise just not looking at or dealing with (one common thing I have seen around this is that is seems to happen often to people in bad or abusive relationships, for example).

3) Related to the last bit, if you haven't already, getting qualified help for this anxiety. This is anxiety you are experiencing, and it is a mental health condition that there are quite a few effective treatments for: certain kinds of therapy, some medications, some lifestyle changes, mindfulness work, and a few more. Have you looked into getting treatment?
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

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8480
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
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Location: Chicago

Re: Extreme fear of pregnancy

Unread postby Heather » Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:32 am

(Also, in your other thread about this, staff shared this link with you -- https://www.scarleteen.com/article/bodi ... nk_you_are -- and asked you a couple times about it, particularly if there was anywhere in there that felt like a fit to you. If you didn't answer because you didn't read it, I do think it's one that would be helpful to you.

And if you didn't read it because you are feeling a big resistance to doing that, I think it might be helpful to see if you can't figure out what that's about. Is it about just really wanting to stay in this headspace, even though it's so uncomfortable? Is it about *wanting* to be pregnant in some respect? Is it about avoiding something else that's really going on? I don't know, but it might be an investigation to do for yourself that could be fruitful and help.)
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

Meggyd18
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Re: Extreme fear of pregnancy

Unread postby Meggyd18 » Sat Mar 28, 2020 7:41 am

Thanks for your response. I haven't seeked out help. I was planning to reach out to the counselors available at my college, because it was a free reliable option. But before I had the chance all this pandemic stuff broke out. Since being sent home from school, which was my distraction through all this, my anxiety has really taken a toll on me. I have tried downloading apps that claim to help with anxiety and I have read articles but it's hard to commit to it and have it make a difference. I am willing to try, but this social distancing creates the perfect environment for my thoughts to control me all day. If you know of any methods or tools that I can try on my own that would be great.

Sam W
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Re: Extreme fear of pregnancy

Unread postby Sam W » Sat Mar 28, 2020 8:23 am

Hi Meggyd18,

There are a few different ways you could approach getting more structured support for anxiety right now, since in-person help is a no-go. One is to use some of the resources in this article, including the talk lines: Anxiety and Other Mental Health Resources. As you noted, however, things like apps or workbooks only work if you're motivated to do them. So it may also help to brainstorm why you have trouble committing to them, and what kind of structure might help you do them.

Too, there are still ways to access professional mental health support. Plenty of therapists offer online sessions (I'd imagine more of them are figuring out ways to do that given the pandemic), and either your college or your health insurance provider (if you're insured) would be a starting place for looking into those resources.

Were any of Heather's other questions helpful?

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8480
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
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My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago

Re: Extreme fear of pregnancy

Unread postby Heather » Sat Mar 28, 2020 9:49 am

More later, but have you also checked to be sure you can't *still* teach out to your college's mental health services? After all, some will still be working via telemedicine. If you've just assumed you can't use those services from home, I'd check to be sure that's accurate.
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

Meggyd18
not a newbie
Posts: 9
Joined: Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:23 pm
My Awesomeness Quotient: I can juggle
My primary language: English
My pronouns: She
My sexual identity and orientation: Straight and female
Location: Delaware

Re: Extreme fear of pregnancy

Unread postby Meggyd18 » Sat Mar 28, 2020 10:19 am

Thanks, I will check with my school to see if I can still access these benefits. I have read the articles you suggested, and they help me temporarily. I just try to keep telling myself those things. Thank you

Heather
scarleteen founder & director
Posts: 8480
Joined: Sun Jul 27, 2014 11:43 am
My Awesomeness Quotient: I know every word of The Lorax by heart.
My primary language: english
My pronouns: they/them
My sexual identity and orientation: queery-queer-queer
Location: Chicago

Re: Extreme fear of pregnancy

Unread postby Heather » Sat Mar 28, 2020 12:53 pm

There's also something you can do, either until you can get other kinds of mental health help, or even if and when you do, to potentially help disrupt these obsessive thoughts and teach yourself better mental health habits from a self-care perspective.

You say using anti-anxiety apps is a thing you have a hard time keeping up the habit of. When you have one of these thoughts about pregnancy, you can answer them with use of one or more of those apps INSTEAD of answering them with tests and obsessive thinking. That not only helps disrupt the loops of your anxiety, it also gets you in the habit of making decisions/doing things that support your mental health instead of doing things that hurt it or make it harder for you to manage. Get what I mean?

And if you didn't already, I'd suggest adding a mindfulness/meditation app like Headspace or Simple Habit. This one is my personal favorite of them: https://www.stopbreathethink.com/
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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