Welcome to the Anxiety Forum - A Home for Those with Anxiety, Fear, or Panic Attacks.
Panic 468x60
Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1

    Unhappy Needing Reationship Advice

    Hello all, I hate admitting it but I'm lost. My relationship is on the verge of breaking down because my girlfriend and I can't figure out how to deal with my anxiety. It's kind of redundant too considering most of my anxiety is about my relationship. I also apologize for the length ahead of time. I wanted the whole story out there so I wouldn't have to explain anything. To say our relationship has been a breeze would be a utter lie and in order to understand it I need to start at the beginning.

    My girlfriend and I just celebrated our 4 year dating anniversary in August and it has been a rocky path. We're both young and met in high school, she a grade below me, and before you say we're too young or inexperienced please don't I've heard it before and it's BS. I'll try to stick to the short version of the story. I've had anxiety all my life but it wasn't diagnosed until 10 months ago. My girlfriend and I still haven't figured out how to have a successful relationship with the anxiety. About a month and a half ago things started to spiral and it has brought our relationship to the edge. She got a new job which had her working late into the night and made it difficult to see each other, her grandfather went into the hospital and nearly died, my anxiety went through the roof because she was spending so much time with to of her male friends who were anxiety triggers for me, then I lost my job, she lost her new job, got back her old job, found out her father (barely a part of her life but also gave her a half brother that she can't get time to see) was in jail awaiting trial for something so awful she wouldn't tell me, and she found out her half brother had been put in foster care half way across the country.

    Her mom (We both still live at home) advised her not to talk to me until I got a new job because she might be a distraction. Her mom is also very much not my biggest fan and is constantly trying to pry us apart and my girlfriend still hasn't worked up the ability to be her own person yet. Anyways, while she wasn't talking to me she found out that all of my anxiety was stressing her out and that no matter what the situation I seemed to always make it about my anxiety. With everything going on she was understandably stressed and so am I. She decided it might be best if we didn't contact each other for a while and while I was not a fan, I tried to go along with it. She and I began talking about non-serious issues on and off about two and a half weeks into it. It was nice to talk but it stressed me out because I couldn't figure out what was going on, if we were back to normal or not. I was (and still am) hunting for a new job and she liked updates on how I was doing and I liked to here how she was doing, but we never actually discussed our issues. Then her birthday came and went. I told her I had gotten her a gift and she seemed interested in hanging out sometime but not one on one.

    The day after her birthday I finally snapped. My anxiety and paranoia had built for a month and I couldn't handle it. So I asked her directly if we could talk face to face. She freaked out and said that what I did was exactly what she was talking about stressing her. I made it about my anxiety, about my issues and that's extremely emotionally draining for her. Apparently she had only been talking to me because she was trying to be my friend in the mean time between figuring stuff out and seeing me again, but that hadn't worked because I had snapped and tried confronting the issue head on. Now we're back to complete no-contact, and it's supposedly long-term which is very vague. But we haven't broken up.

    This whole thing is ridiculous. We've both been under incredible stress and while I understand I do bring up my anxiety a lot it's only because I want to figure it out and move past it so we can have a successful relationship. I don't know how to explain any of that to her and she barely understands what anxiety is. I know she loves me and she's dropped a lot of hints about marriage and moving in together. I just can't figure out how to have anxiety and actively work at figuring out how to overcome it as a couple without it becoming a huge issue that nearly destroys my relationship. As it stands I can't contact her or she'll snap and break up with me and I just have to wait for her to come to me. I know if I could just sit down in a room with her and talk through it we could move past all this like we have with every other major issue in our relationship, but I can't even get her to talk much less sit down with me.

    I'm all out of ideas. We love each other and I want this to work out, but I just can't figure out how.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Lenexa, Kansas
    Posts
    22
    From experience, if the parents don't like you. It'll make the relationship harder than normal. But it sounds like you need a clean break for the both of you to figure out what you both need. She seems to be adding all this extra stress on your shoulders, and you sound as if it's having a bigger negative impact on your life. So take a break for awhile and get things into perspective. Then, when you figure everything out, just take it a step at a time.
    Sorry if it wasn't what you wanted to hear, but it might help.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Kierstennotsojoy View Post
    From experience, if the parents don't like you. It'll make the relationship harder than normal. But it sounds like you need a clean break for the both of you to figure out what you both need. She seems to be adding all this extra stress on your shoulders, and you sound as if it's having a bigger negative impact on your life. So take a break for awhile and get things into perspective. Then, when you figure everything out, just take it a step at a time.
    Sorry if it wasn't what you wanted to hear, but it might help.
    Considering before I was diagnosed with Anxiety we had broken up or had breaks three other times I don't really like the idea, your right. I already know what I want from our relationship. And she did too. But when I was diagnosed it threw things off. She understood how serious it was when I had gone to the hospital but it seems like she's forgotten and now thinks of it as an annoyance rather than a medical condition. She's asked about what it feels like to have a panic attack and what she can do to help and stuff, so I know she wants to try at least. And I refuse to give up. Every single problem our relationship has had no matter how big, and there have been many challenges to overcome, have always been able to be resolved by talking. There may have been weeks where one of us thought it would be easier if we didn't talk about the problem directly but every single time, when we got done discussing the problem it ended up being simple and relatively easy and we both agreed that we should've just talked sooner. I don't even think I'm causing the issue per se. Sure anxiety can be frustrating, but we've gotten through worse. I honestly think the problem is within her.

    She's a beautiful person inside and out when she's being herself. But when she's around her mom or certain friends she will act differently. Not regarding me specifically but in general. She's spent her whole life attached at the hip to her mom because she was a child of a single parent. And her mom has been pretty stuck on her too. Barely any social life that I've noticed and a part time job means being home most of the time and having her daughter as her only friend. Neither of them has been apart from the other in 20 years and while my girlfriend may be interested in leaving the nest her mother is scared of being alone and is fighting aggressively against any threat. I think my girlfriend is noticing for once that she's got a different opinion than her mother and since she's 20, she doesn't have to do what her mom says but still feels torn about the whole thing. Judging by all the "motivational" things that are passive aggressively posted on my girlfriends Facebook page her mom has been fighting to have my girlfriend break up with me since the end of August. The fact that she hasn't broken up with me because of that actually says a lot about her feelings. But that doesn't make things any easier.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    126
    There are things you can help, and things you can't, Hodgepodge. And right now you're trying to do damage control on the things you can't do anything about, namely your girlfriend, her feelings, her mother's feelings, and all the other crap she's dealing with right now. That's completely out of your control and you shouldn't prioritise worrying about it. At the same time, your anxiety is not your girlfriend's responsibility, and while it's perfectly okay to discuss it, I wonder if maybe you're expecting too much from her. You definitely do need support for your anxiety, but she's not the professional support you need right now, and clearly the whole thing is stressing her out.

    However, you can do something about the anxiety. And while I'm not advocating for you and your girlfriend to break up, I feel that a short period of distance is probably not the worst thing that could happen right now. It gives her time to deal with the crap on her plate, and for you to deal with the crap on yours. Because together, neither of you is helping the other at the moment, just burdening each other with some pretty heavy issues. Clearly, something needs to change before you get back together again, and while you have no control over what your girlfriend does, you CAN control your own life and get on the road to recovery.

    Figure out whatever it is you need to do to get to a better place, and decide to do it. Once you're there, message her and see how it goes.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by snowberry View Post
    There are things you can help, and things you can't, Hodgepodge. And right now you're trying to do damage control on the things you can't do anything about, namely your girlfriend, her feelings, her mother's feelings, and all the other crap she's dealing with right now. That's completely out of your control and you shouldn't prioritise worrying about it. At the same time, your anxiety is not your girlfriend's responsibility, and while it's perfectly okay to discuss it, I wonder if maybe you're expecting too much from her. You definitely do need support for your anxiety, but she's not the professional support you need right now, and clearly the whole thing is stressing her out.

    However, you can do something about the anxiety. And while I'm not advocating for you and your girlfriend to break up, I feel that a short period of distance is probably not the worst thing that could happen right now. It gives her time to deal with the crap on her plate, and for you to deal with the crap on yours. Because together, neither of you is helping the other at the moment, just burdening each other with some pretty heavy issues. Clearly, something needs to change before you get back together again, and while you have no control over what your girlfriend does, you CAN control your own life and get on the road to recovery.

    Figure out whatever it is you need to do to get to a better place, and decide to do it. Once you're there, message her and see how it goes.
    I do wonder if I'm expecting too much of her sometimes. I try my best to avoid bringing my issues to her attention if they don't need to be brought up. If they are things that can be discussed with my counselor later I do. But when I'm close to a panic attack over what's happening in that moment I don't see how I can avoid bringing it up. I've been trying very hard to get over some of my anxieties and have been doing relatively well at it. A lot of that I need her support with. The thing thing that really ends up being an issue is yet again when I'm about to have a panic attack. I don't think it's too much to ask for her to spend a couple minutes giving me a hug and reassuring me that everything's fine, which is usually enough to quell the panic attack and get me back under control. I think just knowing that some of what she does that she finds fun is causing me anxiety is weighing heavy on her. Which makes sense. Neither of us want my anxiety to prevent fun. And like I said, I'd like to work on fixing that. Those two anxiety triggers probably wouldn't be so bad if I could sit down and talk to them about my issues and actually understand them better. But working with a counselor to get over an anxiety for months and having all that anxiety the whole time is irrational when it could be solved in two weeks by talking through it. I guess I really don't know what I should be expecting and what I shouldn't. It's ridiculous to think that we can be in a long term relationship and she can completely avoid my anxiety the whole time. Like I said, we're new at this, we haven't figured out the balance yet. I'd like to work on that but without actually talking to her that's hard.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    126
    Hodgepodge, do you know how to breathe properly during a panic attack? Breathing properly will stop you hyperventilating and will stop the attack from getting out of control.

    You breathe in through the nose for a count of 4.
    Then breathe out through pursed lips for a count of 8.

    If this is too hard at first, breathe in for 6 and out for 8, but the out-breath MUST be longer. It might seem counter-intuitive, like you want to take big gulping breaths, but I assure you it will make a huge difference. I've never had a huge panic attack since learning this breathing method. It's based on science, not pseudo-science or spirituality, so you can be assured it works.

    You've got to be able to deal with panic attacks by yourself because your girlfriend may not always be there. Once you've learned to get yourself under control alone, you've empowered yourself further in your recovery. The 'Quick Guide to Stopping Panic Attacks' thread on this forum is also full of great advice: Sit quietly, don't seek a safe person or place, do the special breathing I told you and remind yourself that it's nothing serious, that panic attacks are awful but harmless and that you'll be okay once it's passed.

    Your girlfriend cannot, of course, avoid your anxiety, but you do perhaps need to rely on her less to get you through it. That's a huge burden to place on someone, and it isn't fair to expect her to take responsibility for your mental health. You need to allow her to be supportive rather than act as a carer that gets you through the worst. That's why you need to get panic attacks under control by yourself. Next time it happens when you're with her, instead of relying on her to get you calm you will be able to excuse yourself and bring yourself back down. This would help twofold - giving you greater power over your anxiety and giving her a much-needed break.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by snowberry View Post
    Hodgepodge, do you know how to breathe properly during a panic attack? Breathing properly will stop you hyperventilating and will stop the attack from getting out of control.

    You breathe in through the nose for a count of 4.
    Then breathe out through pursed lips for a count of 8.

    If this is too hard at first, breathe in for 6 and out for 8, but the out-breath MUST be longer. It might seem counter-intuitive, like you want to take big gulping breaths, but I assure you it will make a huge difference. I've never had a huge panic attack since learning this breathing method. It's based on science, not pseudo-science or spirituality, so you can be assured it works.

    You've got to be able to deal with panic attacks by yourself because your girlfriend may not always be there. Once you've learned to get yourself under control alone, you've empowered yourself further in your recovery. The 'Quick Guide to Stopping Panic Attacks' thread on this forum is also full of great advice: Sit quietly, don't seek a safe person or place, do the special breathing I told you and remind yourself that it's nothing serious, that panic attacks are awful but harmless and that you'll be okay once it's passed.

    Your girlfriend cannot, of course, avoid your anxiety, but you do perhaps need to rely on her less to get you through it. That's a huge burden to place on someone, and it isn't fair to expect her to take responsibility for your mental health. You need to allow her to be supportive rather than act as a carer that gets you through the worst. That's why you need to get panic attacks under control by yourself. Next time it happens when you're with her, instead of relying on her to get you calm you will be able to excuse yourself and bring yourself back down. This would help twofold - giving you greater power over your anxiety and giving her a much-needed break.
    I haven't had much time to learn anything on how to actually deal with panic attacks or paranoia or anything since I was diagnosed in late January. I was either trying to enjoy the good while it lasted or dealing with the bad the only way I knew how. After thinking on it for a while I did come to the conclusion that our decision to essentially wing it when it came to how to deal with my anxiety probably wasn't the best choice. I have been relying on her too much and need to learn to figure things out on my own better. Looking back on it, for how much she's put up with everything, it's no wonder she snapped like this. She lasted longer than could've been expected of her. I just wish I had this clarity before I had snapped at her. As it stands it seems like I'm stuck in limbo. I have to trust that she will remember that we've been through worse and not give up on me so quickly. I know I have no control over it and must leave it but that's the hardest part.

    Control has always been my main issue. Since I can't control what affects my anxiety and how until it does I have to focus on controlling the other variables. How I react after is under my control and the more control I have over my environment and other variables the easier it is to either avoid anxiety or prepare for it. So when I have any situation with literally NO control at all it drives me insane. In every normal situation you can normally understand that more effort gets you closer to the desired result but when the situation is opposite... I just don't know.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Posts
    126
    Quote Originally Posted by Hodgepodge75 View Post
    I haven't had much time to learn anything on how to actually deal with panic attacks or paranoia or anything since I was diagnosed in late January. I was either trying to enjoy the good while it lasted or dealing with the bad the only way I knew how. After thinking on it for a while I did come to the conclusion that our decision to essentially wing it when it came to how to deal with my anxiety probably wasn't the best choice. I have been relying on her too much and need to learn to figure things out on my own better. Looking back on it, for how much she's put up with everything, it's no wonder she snapped like this. She lasted longer than could've been expected of her. I just wish I had this clarity before I had snapped at her. As it stands it seems like I'm stuck in limbo. I have to trust that she will remember that we've been through worse and not give up on me so quickly. I know I have no control over it and must leave it but that's the hardest part.

    Control has always been my main issue. Since I can't control what affects my anxiety and how until it does I have to focus on controlling the other variables. How I react after is under my control and the more control I have over my environment and other variables the easier it is to either avoid anxiety or prepare for it. So when I have any situation with literally NO control at all it drives me insane. In every normal situation you can normally understand that more effort gets you closer to the desired result but when the situation is opposite... I just don't know.
    Ah, but you do know, and knowledge is power, as they say. Now you know the things you need to be getting on with: 1.) Learn how to handle your panic attacks alone, 2.) Keep seeking guidance from professionals, and 3.) Figure out what you CAN control, what you CAN'T control, and concentrate on the former.

    I think most of us here have issues with control. It really is a hard thing to get over, the nagging need to control everything in our lives. Having said that, simply recognising what you are able to change as opposed to what you can't change can make things a lot more straight forward. For example, it's horrible when your girlfriend's mom doesn't support the relationship, but that's not something you have control over, so it's not worth expending energy on it. When ever you think about it, try to release it from your mind and concentrate on the matter at hand, i.e., dealing with your condition. If you're still seeing a therapist, talk to them about strategies for dealing with control issues. All you will do is make yourself more stressed and anxious thinking about uncontrollable things, and what you really want is to get better so you can get to a place where you and your relationship with your girlfriend are able to function again. Good luck, Hodgepodge.

 

 

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Panic Large