View Full Version : Should I keep on dating?
03-05-2007, 12:45 PM
Hello. My GF struggles with anxiety and agoraphobia. She treats me really well likes me and I like her a lot too. I think she had a panic atack in the past. Is that something that can severly change relationship in marriage? I guess I am just anxious it will get worse when there is a lot more stress when we get married.
Any advice? What kind of questions should I ask her to see if everything will be at least the way it is with us now? Can this kind of thing get a lot worse?
03-06-2007, 03:24 AM
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03-06-2007, 12:06 PM
Thanks for your thoughts. I obviously want to look for her needs and what is best for her situation and thatís exactly what I have been doing so far. I think I am being understanding and am learning what it takes to live with anxiety. But I also realize I need to look after my future family and I need someone who will provide me an equal support. I hear you that life holds no guarantees, thatís true, and also something bad can easily happen to me to.
I guess I just struggle with the thought that there is a big chance that things will go much worse than that they are now because the amounted stress w/kids, jobs, etc. I just donít see that's a good point to start thinking marriage having all these worries. Am I ready for marriage? I donít think so. I am trying to find out what it takes to deal with diagnosis like that and if I can deal with it in the future. Trying to find out what level of commitment I can handle. Well love comes along with commitment to the other person so I am definitely not there either.
Am I thinking just about myself? Of course I am, that just a protection so I don't end up in ruin by taking more than I can chew in the future.
Here is a Q. If someone lives under constant anxiety (but does not let it show most of the time-amazing to me, btw) do you think we can have a healthy emotional relationship? Or is it all acting just to cover up what is really happening inside? I have been noticing efforts to cover up just not to make me feel bad. How do you folks with Ag. relate to people that have no fears, anxiety or headaches whatsoever? Do the symptoms go away when around them and you can have normal relationship or do you have to have your guards up all the time.
03-06-2007, 04:34 PM
Okay. Here's my answer to your last question. Is it possible for something with anxiety and agoraphobia to have a healthy emotional relationship? ABSOLUTELY!
I had agoraphobia for 3 years. I'm better now and I live a full life and I work in communications. I'm going to be on tv tomorrow and I'm excited about it. So, obviously, I got a whole lot better. When I was agoraphobic, one thing that my friends and family commented on a lot was the fact that my personality, sense of humour, etc. -- all the things they loved about me -- were exactly the same. The only difference was that I had panic attacks when I went outside. Friends would come over to visit and we'd be chatting, watching a movie, having a few drinks and it was like nothing had changed. It seemed almost surreal that I had agoraphobia -- because that was the only thing that was different about me -- the fact that I didn't go out.
I was with people I loved and who loved me. I trusted those people, so I was comfortable being myself. I didn't have to hide anything. They knew about my fears. So, maybe your girlfriend tries to cover up her anxiety because she doesn't trust you enough to be herself. Perhaps she feels you will judge her if she shows weakness.
If that's the case, I think it's a very valid fear on her part. You don't accept her as she is. She's protecting herself from being judged by you. That's probably why you feel like she's not being real with you.
Are you being real with her? It's a two-way street. Does she know that you have reservations about whether or not you want to stay with her? Does she know that you are considering breaking up with her because of her anxiety problem?
A "healthy emotional relationship" requires honesty from both people involved.
Here's my opinion. If you don't care enough about her to accept her as she is, then she's better off without you. If you stay with her longer and her anxiety happens to get worse and then you leave her, she'll just be hurt worse. The hurt is inevitable, but the longer you're together, the more it will hurt. She deserves to meet someone who will fall in love with her unconditionally.
You had another question: "How do you folks with Ag. relate to people that have no fears, anxiety or headaches whatsoever?"
I've never met one of these people you describe. A person with NO fears? A person who has no headaches WHATSOEVER? Really? That sounds like a robot to me. I'll bet you have some fears. There's one fear I know you have -- you're afraid you're not strong enough to handle being in a relationship where someone else might need a lot of support from you. You're afraid you're not up to the challenge. That's a fear I've never had because I know I'd be able to handle it. You can't predict the future no matter who you're with. You can't guarantee that you'll have an equally supportive relationship in your future. The woman you end up marrying might get MS or she might fall in love with the mailman and leave you with 3 kids. So, your fear of the future seems pretty irrational to me... but you know what? We all have some irrational fears, don't we?
While I was out in a club, drinking martinis, being the life of the party and dancing with my friends on my 30th birthday, if someone had said to me, "Juliana, 1 year from now you will be so agoraphobic you will be afraid to leave your flat," I would have laughed in their face. I had never had an anxiety problem. I had never experienced a panic attack. I was (and had always been) more confident and more outgoing than almost anyone I've ever met. I had a friend who had a problem with panic attacks and I remember him trying to explain to me how he felt, and I just couldn't wrap my head around it. I didn't understand why he didn't just get over it and MAKE himself do things. I thought he was being silly and he shouldn't think about it; he should just DO it. I just couldn't understand how it would feel to have an anxiety problem. I had worries and fears of my own but they seemed "normal" to me; his fears, however, seemed ridiculous. The concept of a panic attack was foreign to me. So, I was the last person you would ever imagine getting agoraphobia... but it happened to me.
Just something to keep in mind -- Life is full of unexpected changes. You could suffer through a horrid event tonight and end up with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or get diagnosed with a chronic disease. We can't predict the future. There's no such thing as a SAFE bet. Maybe someday you'll actually fall in love with someone just as they are and the thought of leaving them won't cross your mind... and I hope they love you in the same way... because you never know when you'll need someone to support YOU.
03-06-2007, 09:30 PM
Thanks Juliana. You make a lot of sense. It almost seems that people suffering with anxiety have more drive for good relationships than other people and they make long lasting bonds. Thats what I keep hearing around here. As if they realized more than anybody that they need somebody trustworthy to be around. Am I right?
I was surprised about your confidence, that you were so sure you would be able to handle anything that comes up in the future. Thats good. I guess I have not been through struggles as much as you had. And you are right, thats what I fear I would struggle with because everything in my life almost always went the way it was planned. I guess I have been extremely lucky and I tend to expect things to continue going the same way. Thats why I try to avoid at least problems that I can predict.
odd question: can she get a panic attack when we are kissing...you know higher hart rate, etc... I am being serious.
Is it true that ag. people are a lot more sensitive to their own emotions? is it normal for them to try to keep emotions at bay just because they are worried they might escalate to PA? I have no clue... this is just a random thought from what I have been reading.
Thanks guys for trying to help.
03-06-2007, 09:56 PM
A higher heart rate when you're kissing is a GOOD thing. LOL.
I suppose it's possible that she could have a panic attack at that time. It's not something I've ever experienced, but it depends on what her fears are. You need to talk to her and get her to open up about what frightens her and what triggers her panic attacks.
I don't know if it's common for people with panic attacks to try to keep emotions at bay. I can only speak for myself. I have never been a particularly emotional person. My sister calls me the ice princess. She's the exact opposite of me, so I call her the 5'9" exposed nerve. She's SO emotional.
I've always been very open in relationships. I'm just not one to cry easily or yell. It takes a lot to make me angry and it takes a lot to make me cry. I'm a rather easy-going, calm person. Yet another reason why I was so surprised that I ended up with agoraphobia and panic attacks.
As for confidence about the future. I learned a lesson when I was in my early 20s. I was engaged and my fiance and I had our whole lives mapped out. It seemed like everything was all tied up -- a perfect future. When I realized that I wasn't in love with him any more and didn't want to marry him, it was very hard to deal with. I couldn't imagine my future without him. We had planned everything so perfectly, but something unexpected happened. So, I felt like I was starting all over again -- trying to PLAN every detail of a new future for myself. A friend gave me a piece of advice at that time and I really took it to heart and put it into practice in my life. He said, "If you're climbing a mountain, and always looking at the summit, you're going to trip over the rocks under your feet."
So, we can't plan everything. We have to leave some things up to chance, follow our hearts and live in the moment whenever we can. I've been through things that I didn't think I would be able to handle, but I handled them and came out on the other side as a stronger person. It's a struggle for me to not overthink things because I'm a very logical, analytical person and I suspect you might be too. I try to resist that urge when it comes to relationships, though. I follow my heart and do what feels right. Let the chips fall where they may.
I give you credit for caring enough about your girlfriend to want to learn more about her condition. You can learn a lot from her. Talk to her about it and eventually she'll open up more about how she feels and what she fears. There are things that trigger her anxiety... and reasons for her fears. You should know what those things are. Talking to someone else can be very therapeutic for her. Just know that people suffering from anxiety problems often feel very fragile and are afraid of being judged, so she has to feel safe with you. Anxiety and "irrational" fears can make a person feel very ashamed too, so talking openly about it is difficult. She's probably very afraid of getting hurt by you.
Does she see a therapist? If she doesn't, you should suggest Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. It can be very effective. Anxiety does not have to be a life sentence. Lots of people get better.
03-16-2007, 11:24 PM
People who have anxiety typically are very creative and intelligent people. It takes a certain amount of creativity to worry about the things that aren't really a threat to us.
I don't think that her having an anxiety problem is going to affect your relationship by itself. If things are good otherwise, you'll likely be fine.
Support her, encourage her to see a therapist and work on her anxiety. Just be careful not to enable her anxiety (ie. do things for her that she is avoiding because of her anxiety). It's tough not to do when you care about someone, but it's necessary.
05-12-2007, 11:27 AM
I was reading your posts and am very intrigued to find out your methods of overcoming your anxiety.
I have been teaching photoshop classes at uni and it has helped my walk into the eye of the storm and out the other side. But having said that i still get other symptoms as anxiety seems to have a parsidic nature and attaches itself as a new fear every day it seems.
Anyway, please let me know of any help you may be abel to give me, i loved your posts and find you very open minded and insiteful. i have lots more to tell you and ask you, but will leave that for another time.
One last question though (haha) is this :
When you say you follow your heart in relationships...well.. how do you know you are following your heart or your fears in your head. For example, if i wanted to break up with a girl i think is amazing just because i find her 80% right for me and i feel i need 90-100% to be with her forever, how do i know that i am thinking with my heart that says..let go, there will be others..or my head that might say "break up with her, your getting too close, i'm scared etc" ?
11-18-2008, 09:50 PM
By the way we broke up in 2007. Her anxiety was affecting way too much and it was not going to be any good for the future. But she never did have a panic attack kissing me. ;-)
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