Welcome to the Anxiety Forum - A Home for Those with Anxiety, Fear, or Panic Attacks.
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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Oh gosh, what am I even doing. (tl;dr)

    I'm Caitlyn, turning 21 in a few days, and I've been suffering from anxiety for about 10 years. Issues with generalized anxiety, social anxiety, relationship anxiety, and irrational fears about the potential death of loved ones are a daily, minute-to-minute struggle. No matter how much I logically reason with myself, or try to talk myself out of the fear, the sense of panic, tight chest, racing thoughts, dizziness, and breathlessness remain. My thoughts slip the tightest holds and spill everywhere.

    It's all rooted in a difficult past (emotional and physical abuse, the close, long, and humbling death of my grandmother (second parent / mentor / protector / encourager / confidante), constant emotional & physical bullying at school, abusive relationships, etc.) But my life is relatively good, now. By all other standards, I'm content. Self-supported, good job, good relationship, good friends, open possibility. Just wading through the aftermath. What was embedded in me.

    I've allowed anxiety to grind my growth as a person almost to a halt. Every attempt I've made at returning to college has ended in panic, avoidance, and almost always failure. I'm terrified to extend myself very far professionally. I'm a writer, and while I'm consistently productive, the thought of opening myself to criticism and what seems to me like inevitable failure stops me from pursuing getting anything published. My current job has helped/forced me to confront much of my social anxiety. Where I was once terrified to make or answer phone calls to or from strangers (even at home), I'm now a receptionist who does it all day for a living. I've also regularly given tours, instructed reasonably large groups of volunteers, and become friendly with a majority of my coworkers. (All things I wouldn't have even believed myself CAPABLE of a year ago.) One of the personal comforts I repeat like some Vedic mantra: I'm getting there. Before any help, I'm getting there.

    I'm in a healthy, supportive, and loving relationship for the first time, and while it's been very healing and positive to have someone so helpful and understanding by my side-- I also carry a huge sense of guilt for being so anxious and having panic attacks and emotional outbursts. We live together. He's a heartwarmingly dedicated, caring, honest and thoughtful person, and I can't shake the feeling that he deserves someone way more emotionally well-adjusted than I am. I rarely express it, but I am constantly terrified that he is secretly growing exasperated with me, realizing that I'm not worth his time, and will leave any moment. I'm also constantly worrying as soon as he leaves that he'll get into an accident and die. I've expressed all of my fears to him, and he's very supportive, always offering to let me know when he arrives somewhere safely. He keeps in touch while he's away, on his own initiative. I make an immense effort not to allow my fears to limit him at all, and always encourage him to go out if he wants to. He still always asks if I'm okay with it, just as a courtesy. I try very hard not to overwhelm him or raise an alarm every time I feel panic (e.g. Asking if he's going to leave, telling him I'm afraid he'll die, etc.). Instead, I'll just say that I'm feeling anxious. So he knows I'm having a hard time, but I'm not placing any blame or pressure directly on him. Sometimes, it still comes out, though-- in full detail. Whenever I enter a panic and it shows, his immediate reaction is to ask how he can help. And the fact that he's also suffered from anxiety adds an imperative level of understanding to the relationship. But I'm still always terrified that it's not enough. That I'm not enough. That I'm beyond repair and beyond love and acceptance, and that no one could possibly endure me.

    I'm here because I want to conquer this. I want to be a better person, less self-absorbed and more giving/loving. I want to be liberated, and accomplish more than terrified complacency. And I'm starting down that road with cognitive restructuring and the possibility of exploring medication eventually. My friends do not understand this problem at all (often just telling me to 'think differently' or 'stop overthinking things', or mistaking my panicked silence in group situations as introversion). It isn't fair to rely solely on my boyfriend for support. He's just one person. So I feel like coming to a community of people struggling with the same and similar issues will be invaluably helpful. It's hard enough for me to write and post this, but small strides still take you forward. I hope sharing my experiences will help others, and that eventually I can wave from the other side of this and help those who are standing where I am now. So hi, thanks for reading, and I apologize for the length!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    I also am in the first healthy loving relationship of my life. everything you described of having a more emotionally well balanced person is how I feel as well. I met here when I was going through this hard time and she still likes me. When I am in a good enough mood, I am witty, funny and all around fun to be around. She likes me for that and has accepted how I am and that I have issues. It sounds like yours has too. Dont beat yourself up, he obviously likes you for some good reason .

    Its funny because this girl I am seeing thinks I dont like her because of how I am feeling right now (distant). In actuality I care for her a great deal. Make sure your anxiety doesn't push him away by fear of losing him. I am for once in my life content with being miserable, at least , because I know I am loved.



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