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Anxiety – Help needed

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  • #231813
    Shelbyville
    Participant

    Hi there,

     

    I already started a thread in ‘Relationships’ as to why I am now suffering from anxiety. I don’t need to go into the ins and outs of it here, essentially my partner of 4 years ended the relationship 4 weeks ago as he could not commit to the things I wanted with him.

    Anyway, as a result the anxiety has been ferocious. Week one it wasn’t too bad, as I suspect I was still in denial. However since then it has been beating me up. I am trying to staying functioning. I go to work, try to meet people and keep myself distracted as the advice goes. However, the flight or fight response keeps getting triggered in my body and it’s making life hell.

    Night-time towards early morning seems to be the worst, but last night for example, it was ALL night, including nightmares and a very upset tummy. I meditate, journal and see a therapist, so I don’t know what else I can do. I take a low level dose of serotonin booster since 2 years ago when I has a very acute episode where I was unable to function for about 6 weeks.

    Can anyone tell me if it’s possible to recover from this? Last night was so bad, I couldn’t understand how I’m going to cope long term. How can anyone manage this on an ongoing basis?

    If anyone has any advice or has been through something similar and knows how to help it felt, if possible, I’d appreciate any help.

    #231843
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shelby(or Stella?):

    I read a bit of your most recent posts on your other thread a few moments ago and thought to myself to drop you a note there regarding starting that anxiety-thread I suggested to you before but didn’t want to interrupt yet again the exchange you have there. To my delight, returning to the list of topics page, I see that you did start the thread! I am glad you did. Here, for as long as you wish to communicate with me, we will focus on your anxiety not the relationship that ended. Before I continue, I want to study your many posts on your other thread and be back to you with input regarding your anxiety. I will do so after answering other threads. Be back to you later.

    anita

    #231947
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shelby:

    You wrote today on your other thread: “I thought I was nearly at a point where my ex had said he would work on it and figure out the answers but he must have got freaked or something and bailed out at the last  minute, deciding he was ‘better off’ (easier and less frightening) on his own”.

    I suggested to you before, on your other thread, that your significant anxiety before, during and after your recent relationship originated in your childhood  home life. You rejected my suggestion.

    We all don’t want to address issues that frighten us, that freak us out, not only your ex boyfriend. He probably did figure he was “‘better off’ (easier and less frightening)” to be on his own.

    But won’t you too decide the same thing in context of this very thread, to abandon it and focus on your other thread because it is “easier and less frightening” to communicate about the breakup than it is to communicate about your childhood?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 years ago by anita.
    #232355
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shelby:

    “Anxiety- Help needed” is the title. It is also the Human Condition. I have these early morning thoughts today, putting together what I learned over yeas of purposefully examining anxiety:

    Every person is afraid, every person is anxious. Every human suffers from anxiety. When parents choose to bring a child into the world, they also choose to bring an anxious child and anxious adult into the world. It can’t be otherwise. There is no set of parents in the whole wide world that can somehow bring up an anxiety-free person.

    Every person with a functioning brain knows that he or she will die at some time, not knowing when or how, and that every person he/she knows will also die, when or how… don’t know. This is enough to cause anxiety. Imagine, the richest person in the world, one with billions of dollars, cannot change this one reality I just mentioned. The wealthiest person,  one envied by so many for his mansions, property, owning whole towns, islands… and yet, he knows that he too will die and so will everyone he knows and there is nothing he can do about it.

    Some people are anxious and go to work, function well enough, so they are not labeled anxious, but they are. They too suffer as do those who don’t work and don’t function well or at all. Some are on psychiatric drugs to calm that anxiety, some take any kind of drug, desperate to not feel afraid.

    Humans invented heaven as a place where one day they will no longer be afraid, a place where they and all their neighbors will live forever, healthy with no risk of dying. We invented heaven because we are afraid and we dream of one day no longer being afraid.

    We daydream otherwise of no longer feeling afraid, and sometimes we don’t. Oh, how special are those times of freedom from fear. The sun seems brighter, the grass greener, hope is alive, motivation is undisrupted, how wonderful life is, how it can be. But it can’t, not for long, because we are exposed daily of reminders that we will die and so will everyone else, it is in the news, this or that celebrity died, a war, a natural disaster, people die, or we pass by a cemetery, or a hospital, or we hear a commercial about deadly diseases and on and on and on.

    Anxiety is something we have to live with, all of us. It is not a condition specific to certain individuals, it is the Human Condition.

    I am studying your other thread, reading all your posts thoroughly, for the first time so to come up with my study of anxiety related to breakups of romantic relationships. Thank you for starting this thread.

    anita

    #232727
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Shelby:

    You wrote on your other thread: “a friend said I was more unhappy than happy with my ex… I was unhappy in the relationship… I used to get incredibly needy even in the relationship… I was unhappy in the relationship. I am even more unhappy now”.

    About why you were unhappy in the relationship, you wrote: “I was unhappy because things weren’t progressing… I understood more and more each month that passed what his issues were, through the insight of therapy, and I genuinely thought I could help him work it out and have our happy ending”

    All through the relationship you were anxious and you still are. The difference is that during the relationship you had a mission: to achieve that “happy ending”, that Hollywood ending (“I’m a total romantic at heart and want that Hollywood ending”). During the relationship, you had hope, you had a mission and you were motivated. Following the breakup you lost your hope, your mission, and therefore, your motivation: “I just feel empty. I’m trying to fill my days with mechanical empty activities. Nothing brings me joy. I’m existing, not living”.

    You wrote about your experience in the relationship: “I thoroughly enjoyed his company and looked forward to each time I was with him. But the frustration of being stalled seeped out of me despite my best efforts, when the heart wants more, it can’t be silenced”

    That more that your heart wanted then was calm, to no longer feel anxious, and you believed it would be accomplished by that happy ending. You were focused on him as The Problem, the one that is keeping you away from the happy ending, and as The Solution, the one to bring about that happy ending.

    And you figured there is something wrong with him, and if you fix it, then he will take you to that happy ending. You wrote: “I thought I could help him and in the end he said there was nothing wrong with him and that he didn’t need help… he felt he was always made to feel like he wasn’t good enough”.

    The relationship was about you trying to find that heaven people dream about, the happily-ever-after. But there is no such thing. Your anxiety would have persisted passed a wedding. Anxiety does not go away when a wedding ceremony takes place. It doesn’t go away no matter what event takes place in our lives. What your mission did accomplish instead is that he felt he wasn’t good enough.

    “I get this incredible fear in the morning. I just feel so scared and people ask me why and I’m not sure”. The solution to that fear, that ongoing fear (anxiety) is not him, never has been him. There is nothing wrong with wanting to get married, but not as a magical solution to anxiety.

    Looking for the solution in him or in any other man, in a future relationship, will only bring you more heartache and hurt a future relationship as well. Look into it, into that fear, in therapy.

    Following this post I withdraw from this thread and will post again only if you ask me to do so. In case this is my last post to you, I wish you well, hope that you feel better very soon!

    anita

     

     

    #367066
    Moomin
    Participant

    Hi, I’m new here. I came across this thread through the original thread from Shelbyville (I hope she is doing ok now!). I was relieved to find others that have experienced the same destructive and overwhelming emotions as me when dealing with a breakup.
    <div>To my friends I seem to have it together. And I can honestly say I have my life in a good order. I have my own home, job (covid permitting), loving parents, and many good close friends. I genuinely enjoy my own company. Sometimes I wonder if that is to my detriment as I have a fear of not being in control of things and open to disappointment.</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>I have struggled for 30 years with the visceral emotions Shelbyville and others have described following various breakups. These seem to be completely disproportionate to the depth of the relationship – I get the feelings of utmost panic and fear as soon as I believe someone has rejected or withdrawn their affection (even if I ended the relationship). It stops me from functioning day-to-day and only stops if I am soothed (by contact from the person who has “rejected” me), or if I temporarily distract myself. I weep and wail and curl into a ball, blame myself and my failings for the withdrawal of affection, go over and over things. I can’t breathe, my chest is tight. These symptoms can go on for several months until something replaces them. Interestingly I can also turn these symptoms off temporarily – which makes me feel like a fraud!</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>My current situation as a gay 46 year old woman is that I have been enjoying a 1 year relationship with a woman who I think is incredible. I have honestly never felt this before about anybody. The relationship has been difficult in the last few months, I think for the following reasons:</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>It’s long distance and we have been forced to spend long periods together and long periods apart due to covid.</div>
    <div>When we are together it is in my house which I am currently renovating on my own – which is a stressful and not a very positive environment.</div>
    <div>My partner has a very demanding job and is by her own admission a workaholic – something she believes she does so she doesn’t have to sort out other things in her life. She describes herself as not knowing how to have fun anymore, though the insecure part of me sometimes thinks this is an inability to have fun with me.</div>
    <div>I have been living alone for so long that I find it difficult to let someone in and truly be vulnerable to them (fear off being disappointed/rejected). I feel I have been making inroads to this with my partner as to this, as we have great communication and a very supportive relationship. Probably the last time I was able to do this was with my first girlfriend in my 20s.</div>
    <div>I maybe have my partner on a pedestal – my self esteem can sometimes be low- though I hide this. She has a very successful high powered job, is athletic and capable at pretty much everything.</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>As I say, it’s been difficult and we have got into a real rut. We discussed this last week, and my partner said things feel different. They did feel different and i felt she had withdrawn a lot of affection, although I could see she was very stressed and tired from work. What she said, on top of how I was already feeling (anxious) pushed all my buttons and over a period of days I went nuclear! I was examining every action and word from her as I sign I was being rejected and that she was withdrawing. As a result I knew it would only get worse in my head and my behaviour would become so bad I would make myself unlovable and she would leave me. So I forced the issue of breaking up.</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>Cue the panic, anxiety, sobbing,  stress! Belief that I will never be ok, everything has changed and is broken, that I won’t recover, that I need to do everything to make it right again. My rational head says this is nonsense! I have been here many many times before and thoughts of each of those people (though I did not like them this much) do not hold any sway over me any more. I think there is a cumulative trauma in this pattern that gets worse not better.</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>I found it soothing what @anita said in one of the posts, that when you feel like this you are not in danger, you are not going to die (my rational head knows this!) And also how this feeling can be as a result of a childhood experience. This point I would like to explore more.</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>My partner wants us to work through things, taking time out but remaining in communication. She believes relationships require work and this might just be a blip. I have a small issue in that she has suggested I see my friends more and do more activities – something I think that is a projection of what she admits she is lacking in her life- as I said, I have a rich life and am thankful for many close friends – and I think the issue has been that with real life and the demands of her job and the house we have neglected to do happy things together.</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>The upshot of all this is that I need to be patient and give her space to fix some of the things she needs to in her life. My problem is how to do this without the anxiety and crazy panic, which will undoubtedly push her away. I am constantly looking at my phone and panicking that she hasn’t replied to me even though she is online, and I’m reading into things and being really needy (hopefully I am hiding the majority of this from her!). When we were ok I felt so secure that we could go all day without texting, and in fact I liked that.</div>
    <div>I try doing the cold turkey thing and staying away from contact. It’s hard and I also think that option cuts ties with her and is really just a step towards living without each other (I compartmentalise a lot).</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>Part of me is so scared of loss that I think that NOT trying to make another go of it is the “least worst option”. At least I get the crazy out of the way in the next few months, rather than fearing I will need to go through it later on if we get back together properly and then split up. I am scared of getting back together and it not feeling right or being irrecoverably broken.</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>If I was able to control the crazy I think we would not only have a better shot at the relationship, but I would also be a stronger person going forward.</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>I had a very loving childhood, with parents who are still together (now in their 70s and 80s). I do remember having this panic as a child. For instance if going away on a holiday with school (which I had requested!) being in utmost panic before I went – sobbing, mum please don’t make me go, and crying pretty much the whole time I was away.</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>If anyone has any thoughts or questions I could ask myself I would be really grateful, or advice on types of therapy (hypnotherapy?) – although due to work situation with covid (not working)  that is not an option right now.</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>I wish to be able to quash this anxiety and separate it from any feelings of heartache or concern for a loving and caring relationship.</div>
    <div></div>
    <div>Thanks and have a lovely day xx</div>
    <div></div>

    #367076
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Moomin:

    I am sure that the original poster will not mind that you posted here, almost 2 years following her original post, because she repeatedly welcomed many members to post about their personal challenges in her other thread, being very generous this way. Therefore, I feel comfortable communicating with you here.

    Anxiety is a complex topic and I will be glad to communicate with you  for about it over time. Because this is my first post to you, and there is so much to respond to in your post, it will be a long first reply to you. Please take time reading this post, better not rush through it, nor is there a reason to rush.

    1. You wrote: “I found it soothing what anita said on one of the posts, that when you feel like this you are not in danger. You are not going to die.. And also how this feeling can be as a result of a childhood experience. This point I would like to explore”-

    – I’ll be glad to explore this with you. And it is amazing, isn’t it, how powerful emotions feel, and yet they don’t kill us. The biological reason for this is that in nature, when a deer, let’s say, spots a mountain lion, the deer feels a very powerful fear that motivates it to immediately escape, super fast. It is not the lion itself that causes the deer to put all of its energy into an immediate and powerful escape- it is the fear. If the fear itself was to kill the deer, that would defeat the purpose of the escape.

    It is the lion that can kill the deer, not the fear. The fear feels so dangerous because it is designed to motivate an animal to escape real and present danger. Question is, what is the lion in your story.

    You wrote: “I do remember having this panic as a child. For instance if going away on a holiday with school (which I requested!) being in utmost panic before I went- sobbing, mum please don’t make me go, and crying pretty much the whole time I was away”-

    – back to the deer: a fawn, a very young deer, when separated from her mother feels the kind of fear you felt then, going on a trip away from your mother. For a young fawn, being separated from the mother means no  food and no protection from the cold and from predators that favor the young. For a young animal, being separated from the mother is a real and present danger. Even though a human child has other options if separated from the mother (such as the police and social  services that can place the child in a home), the instincts of the child are the same as the instincts of other young  animals. The lion, in your story, is separation from your mother.

    When you requested the holiday trip, you forgot at the time about an experience you had earlier on, but when the trip was becoming a reality, the fear from the prior experience was activated. What that prior experience was, I don’t know.

    Let’s look at the fear: “visceral emotions.. utmost panic and fear as soon as I believe someone has rejected or withdrawn their affection… It stops me from functioning day-to-day and only stops if I am soothed (by contact from the person who has ‘rejected’ me), or if I temporarily distract myself. I weep and wail and curl into a ball, blame myself.. go over and over things. I can’t breathe, my chest is tight.. I can also turn these symptoms off temporarily- which makes me feel like a fraud!”-

    – Turning the symptoms off temporarily is a result of the natural reaction of dissociation that other animals are capable of, such as when playing dead when too close to a predator (running from the predator is not likely to succeed). The animal playing dead is not thinking “I am a fraud”, because it doesn’t have the capability to form thoughts. But we humans, once naturally dissociating, we can think and we suspect that we are frauds!

    Same with blaming oneself- because we can think, we blame  ourselves.

    It stops you from functioning because when separated from the mother, or the social group, a young animal’s only concern is to return to the mother or the social group. I remember a young coyote a few years ago, outside my home, having been separated from its group- the noise that it made was incredibly loud and persistent, most urgent. The young coyote wasn’t concerned with hunting for a rabbit or finding shelter. It’s  only concern was to return to the group. Finally, members of the group located the lost one, and the howling stopped, the lost one was soothed. The biological purpose of your weeping and wailing out loud is to get the attention of your mother, not different from the lost coyote.

    Although, a child who  is afraid for too long, no longer remembering the traumatic separation, may cry silently, having given up being helped, not  remembering what help she needed before.

    “I will never be ok, everything has changed and is broken, that I won’t recover, that I need to do everything to make it right again. My rational head says this is nonsense!”- but your instinctive, emotional self is doing the same as the fawn and the lost coyote do, because remaining separated from the mother or the social group really means that everything has changed and is broken; remaining separated really means that they will not recover. And therefore, they need to do everything to make it right again!

    2. “My partner has a very demanding job and is by her own admission a workaholic.. My partner wants us to work through things, taking time out but remaining in communication. She believes relationships require work”- this is encouraging for the relationship because she is motivated to work, not only in her career but in the relationship. And if you are willing to work too, then the two of you will be engaged in a working relationship, a working relationship that is likely to bring about a better intimate relationship, as time goes by, with work.

    “She describes herself as not knowing how to have fun… She has a very successful high powered job, is athletic and capable at pretty much everything”- she is capable at almost everything: she is not capable of having fun. My understanding: to have fun she would need to relax, but when she relaxes, she becomes aware of the anxiety that drives her. She prefers to be driven by the anxiety than to stay still and be aware of her anxiety.

    “I have a small issue in that she has suggested I see my friends more and do more activities- something I think that is a projection of what she admits she is lacking in her life- as I said, I have a rich life.. close friends”- I think that she suggested that you see your friends more etc., not because she thinks that you lack friends, and that you are faulty for not having friends and activities, but because she wants you and your anxiety away from her. She doesn’t want to feel her own anxiety close to her awareness: she doesn’t want yours either.

    3. “If I was able to control the crazy, I think we would not  only have a better shot at the relationship, but I would also be a stronger person going forward”- it is possible for you. It takes becoming skillful using what is called emotional regulation skills, turning down the volume of the fear, so to speak, so to not be overwhelmed by it.

    “I had a very loving childhood, with parents who are still together”- something happened. It might not have been something worthy of a horror film. It could be that your parents were having relationship troubles long ago, when you were a child, you heard them arguing maybe, you were afraid to be left alone if their fights escalated into a disaster. Maybe you were literally left alone one evening or night, without a baby sitter, maybe for an hour. Your parents may not have thought it was a big deal..  only an hour. But for a child, time feels differently, when afraid- an hour feels like an eternity.

    anita

     

     

    #367104
    Moomin
    Participant

    Anita,

     

    Thank you so much for your time in responding, and also to make me aware of the etiquette in forum posts – I hadn’t thought that through.

     

    Your words have been very helpful to me, and have prompted more questions in my analytical brain.

     

    1.The Lion. It may or may not be this. When I was 1 year old I was hospitalised with a strain of meningitis. I believe I was in the hospital for about a week. With this being the mid seventies, there weren’t the parent/child facilities there are now, and visiting hours were strict. My mother has mentioned this on a few occasions, and I think she perhaps feels some guilt or sadness still about this. Also it must have been a very traumatic time for her.

     

    Are there particular age ranges when a child is developing that make them more susceptible to forming negative associations, and carrying these through to adulthood?

     

    2.I imagine that pretty much every child will have had some sort of experience of feeling alone and afraid. Parents are human after all. So I wonder why for some people this would cause later issues and not for others?

     

    3.Why would this feeling transfer to a romantic relationship, and, to my embarrassment, even to a previous relationship that only had a handful of dates? I don’t associate these people with a parent figure.

     

    4.Can the trigger be prevented from going off? (Without having to resort to no romantic connections, which is an option!)

     

    5.Emotional regulation skills. Do you have any advice on developing these? And can that be done in the absence of the stimulus, or only when triggered and hysterical?

     

    Thank you also for your comments on my partner’s emotional motivations. It is good to be reminded that she too is fallible, and we are all in this together.

     

    Wishing you a happy and healthy day,

    Moomin

    #367137
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Moomin:

    You are welcome. Thank you for wishing me a happy and healthy day, and I wish you the same. This will be another long post in which I will reply to your 1- 5 statements/ questions (and I will ask you two questions):

    #1- you were hospitalized for about a week when you were 1, away from your parents, and your mother mentioned that with what you believe to be “guilt or sadness still about this”- as to whether that experience caused your 30 years long anxiety following breakups, I ask:

    * Did your mother mention to you how you behaved after being re-united with her, whether your behavior after the hospital was different from your behavior before the hospital (maybe after re-uniting, you cried more, slept less, appeared more clingy, or detached)?

    * Are you aware of experiencing anxiety prior to your first breakup, prior to age 16?

    “Are there particular age ranges when a child is developing that make them more susceptible to forming negative associations, and carrying these through to adulthood?”-

    – according to an article, Attachment and Separation: What Everyone Should Know, by Dr. Peter Cook (in natural child. org), “It is believed that children aged 6 months to 4 years are more particularly vulnerable” to separation from their mothers.

    Another article, psychological emotional and physical experiences of hospitalized children in oatext. com, reads: “The experience of illness and hospitalisation.. exerts a great deal of psychological distress, one of the most distressful events people might actually experience in their life time… From the outset, we know that illness is a major stressor in one’s life. Various symptoms of the illness put the body into a state of continuous stress.. Being hospitalised, individuals may experience a wide range of short-term as well as long-term consequences… Children are particularly prone to the adverse effects of being ill… In a sense, for children ‘the hospital is like a foreign country to whose customs, language and schedules they must learn to adapt’…

    “A considerate body of research on the effects of paediatric hospitalisation has been conducted since the 1950s.. When children are scared, tired or in pain, they are particularly dependent on the safe and stable environment of their  home and on the support and love of their family members… For children, this is not  only a subjective need, but also  a vital necessity… especially when they become ill, they need their families’ support more than ever…

    “Recent empirical data highlights that adverse effects of hospitalisation on children, have been found to be stronger when parents are not present, or when parents are highly anxious and were not able to calmly respond to them.

    “Illness and hospitalisation are traumatic, anxiety provoking and can lead to transient or long-term behavioural  and psychological difficulties in children… It has been argued that hospitalisation can be a life crisis for children, which might further highlight and aggravate their experience of fear, loneliness and frustration”.

    Regarding you being hospitalized at one year old, according to Erik Erikson’s stages of psychological development theory, Wikipedia, the first stage is infancy, under 2 years old.

    He called that stage “Hope: trust vs. mistrust”, it reads: “The infant depends on the parents, especially the mother, for sustenance and comfort. The child’s relative understanding of the world and society comes from the parents and their interaction with the child. A child’s first trust is always with the parent… If the parents expose the child to warmth, regularly, and dependable affection, the infant’s view of the world will be one of trust. Should parents fail to provide a secure environment and to meet the child’s basic needs; a sense of mistrust will result. Development of mistrust can lead to feelings of frustration, suspicion, withdrawal, and a lack of confidence… the major development task in infancy is to learn whether or not other people, especially primary caregivers, regularly satisfy basic needs. If caregivers are consistent sources of food, comfort, and affection, an infant learns trust- that others are dependable and reliable… the child’s number one needs are to feel safe, comforted, and well cared for”.

    #2: “I imagine that pretty much every child will have had some sort of experience of feeling alone and afraid. Parents are human after all. So I wonder why for some people this would cause later issues and not for others?”-

    – most parents fail their children,  most parents can do better for their children if they had the motivation to seek the help they need and to do right by their children. And therefore, most adult children have issues. No two people have the very same childhood, and as a result, different people have different combinations of issues and different extents of the same issues. It is not true that a minority of people have issues and most people are issues- free. Because there are so many people with serious issues, the state of the world is as sad as it is now.

    #3: “Why would this feeling transfer to a romantic relationship, and, to my embarrassment, even to a previous relationship that only had a handful of dates? I don’t associate these people with a parent figure”-

    -because as Erikson wrote: “The child’s relative understanding of the world and society comes from the parents and their interaction with the child. A child first trust is always with the parent”. Following a separation from a woman you dated  just a handful of dates, your childhood experience of separation from your mother was activated. It does not mean that you thought of that woman as a mother figure; it means that you felt some emotional attachment to her, and separation from her triggered your childhood anxiety when separated from your mother (to whom you were very attached).

    #4: “Can the trigger be prevented from going off? (Without having to resort to no romantic connections, which is an option!)”-

    – no, I don’t believe it is possible to prevent being triggered in the ways that you do, not for a long, long time. Over time, with healing and management, you can lessen the intensity of the triggered experience.

    #5: “Emotional regulation skills. Do you have any advice on developing these? And can that be done in the absence of the stimulus, or only when triggered and hysterical?”-

    – Emotional regulation skills need to be practiced every day, regardless of the presence or absence of a trigger, or a stimulus. You can start with downloading Mark William’s series of Mindfulness Mediation series. Last I checked the downloading is free of charge. I recommend him because my former therapist gave me homework after each session, and part of the homework was to listen to one or more of the meditations every day. This was my introduction to the learning of emotional regulation skills.

    anita

    #367139
    Moomin
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you again. I’m checking out Mark Williams now.

    In answer to your questions:

    Experiencing anxiety – both myself and my sister were shy, quite clingy in social situations, children but I’m not sure anxious, apart from the separation thing. I remember being in early teens waiting for my mum to get home from work, and saying if three cars go past and they aren’t her then she’s not coming home (ie something bad has happened). So I think I was always anxious about the possibility she might disappear.

    My first experience of “rejection” was around the age of 17, and I had nobody I felt I could talk to about it. This gave me strong negative emotions and caused me to secretly self harm. Something I have only confessed recently to a friend.

    I have gently enquired with my mum about what I was like  after hospital but it’s inconclusive. She was concerned with the fact that I was not mentally or physically impaired due to the illness, so I think that was what was foremost in her mind. She mentioned that I wasn’t fully alone, that a nurse would check my vital signs every 15 mins.

    M

    #367140
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Moomin:

    In your recent post, you shared that you remember as an early teenager, waiting for your mother to come back home from work, afraid that she may not come home, that she may not be alive anymore. You looked for a sign: how many cars pass by, so to comfort yourself.

    In your first post, you wrote regarding romantic partners: “I get the feelings of utmost panic and fear as soon as I believe someone has rejected or withdrawn their affection“.

    When you feared that your mother was no longer alive, you feared that her affection was withdrawn from you in a very final way, and in a devastating way, because you had only one mother, and you were not expecting a second mother. No one to replace your one and only mother.

    When you fear that a romantic partner will withdraw her affection from you, or that she already has, it probably feels final and devastating, like the finality of death, and it probably feels like there will be no one to replace her as the source of affection. And that makes the fear overwhelming.

    What do you think?

    anita

    #367141
    Moomin
    Participant

    Yes I agree. It feels like she is the only one, even though I know from experience that this is not true!

    #367142
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Moomin:

    As a child, did you have any reason to suspect that your mother will not come back from work? I don’t have any reason to think that your mother said or did any of the following, but I am asking anyway:

    Did she complain to you that she works very hard outside the home, that the work is hard on her body and is causing her to get sick?

    Did she ever talk about wanting to die or wanting to cause herself harm?

    Was she clearly at times depressed, withdrawn, in bed for many hours in her room?

    Any such thing??

    anita

    #367143
    Moomin
    Participant

    Hi Anita, no, not at all.

    I do remember something said (probably out of frustration) and possibly only 1 or 2 times when I was <10, that she had a bank account called her “running away money”. It was in fact an old bank account from prior to her meeting my father. It was said in response to the (I think) common, petulant child protestation  that I was going to run away from home.

    I don’t think by my teens I ever thought she would do such a thing though.

    M

    #367144
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Moomin:

    “It was said in response to the (I think) common, petulant child protestation that I was going to run away from home”- I don’t understand this sentence, can you elaborate (who wanted to run away from home.. under what circumstances, who said what to whom)?

    anita

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