What do I do in a new relationship?

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anxietyridden
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 10/1/2007 5:17 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi all,

I am new to this forum so I'll give myself a brief intro first. I'm 23 years old, female, and I've been suffering from anxiety and panic attacks since I was 8 (15 years!) It is basically generalized anxiety, social anxiety, health anxiety with a specific vomiting phobia and a mild case of OCD. I've done lots of CBT, and taken both Paxil and then Lexapro. During my senior year of college I stopped taking the Lexapro because it made me feel like a zombie -- the anxiety wasn't strong, but neither was any other emotion I had. Now I try to deal with it myself with rationalization, deep breathing, CBT as needed, and LOTS of support from my family. For the most part things are under control, but I still have times when I experience panic attacks and particularly anxiety filled days.

My question or concern is this. I just started dating someone new a few months back, and because my anxiety issues are not immediately apparent I don't disclose right away in new relationships. I don't feel the need to bare my soul to someone if things might not work out anyway. Things have been going really well for us though, and we've been spending a lot of time together. He's starting to pick up on some of my anxious behaviors and I think it's time to explain to him what is really going on. For example, he cooked my dinner on Saturday night, which was chicken. Because of my vomiting phobia, I'm very paranoid about undercooked meat. I really did not want to eat what he made because I wasn't sure it was done properly. I felt so ashamed because he worked so hard on it and was so proud and I told him I wasn't hungry. It really wasn't fair to him.

I'm just not sure how to broach the subject with him. It would seem so out of the blue to just throw it out there. Also, it's very hard for me to talk about it face to face. When I get nervous I tend to mumble and stumble over my words, and not say what I mean. But would it be acceptable to write him an email? I'm not sure what the protocol is. I'd like him to be informed because if we're spending so much time together there will be days when I need a lot of support, there might be times when I refuse to eat something, or I might be out in public with him and panic and need to leave. There will be times when I wake up in the middle of the night and need someone to talk to me. He also needs to be armed with this information so that he can make a decision about whether or not he wants to continue with this relationship. I understand that it can be a burden on relationships and that not everyone is equipped or willing to deal with it. I will be crushed if he decides to run for the hills of course, but I do know that somewhere out there is a person who will accept me for who I am. Underneath the anxiety I am still smart, funny, spunky, etc.

So that being said, does anyone have advice on how to deal with is? I'd really appreciate it.

liquid
Regular Member


Date Joined Sep 2007
Total Posts : 127
   Posted 10/1/2007 6:40 PM (GMT -7)   

hi anxietyridden and welcome to the forum,

My best advice to you, as i myself find it very hard to talk about certain things face to face, is to write you boyfriend a letter explaining about your anxiety and phobias, but be completely honest with him, i find that i can open up on paper but not face to face, And it seems that you have a good relationship with him, so im sure he will understand and appreciate what your going through. Thats the way ive explained certain things to people in the past and it has been ok for me.. hope that helps you... :-)


suffer from depression, anxiety, agrophobia, alcoholic.


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/1/2007 9:28 PM (GMT -7)   

Hello and welcome to Healing Well and the A & P forum.  I am Kitt. :-)

I agree with the letter writing, it is more personal than the email and I would suggest you give it to him in person and just explain that you want to share some things about yourself with him but it is something that is hard for you to talk about and therefore you sat down and wrote out your words in a letter.

I wish you peace and happiness but most of all I wish you love.


Respectfully
Kitt
Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
*~* Not a mental health professional at all *~*
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression 
******www.healingwell.com/donate******
_____________________________________________________
"If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” 
~Rosalyn Carter

 


anxietyridden
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 10/2/2007 4:06 AM (GMT -7)   
Thank you two for the advice. I guess the best bet really would be to write a letter. You are right, it is more personal than an email and would be more like talking face to face. Just thinking about sharing this information with him is giving me even worse anxiety though, it's keeping me up at night!

This is a separate question than my first one, I hope that's OK. Does anyone have tips for sleeping through the night without taking any medication? I really don't like to take meds if I don't absolutely have to but my sleeping pattern has been so erratic lately that sometimes I'm sleeping less than 3 hours a night because of panic attacks, and other times I'm sleeping 15 just to catch up. Nights when I'm in the throes of panic attacks I end up with terrible muscle aches all the next day because I'm so tense and and over-tired. Just curious about what some people who don't take meds might do to help with sleep?

Thanks a lot for the advice and understanding, I've been reading through this forum for a while now and it's a great place for support!

eveie
Regular Member


Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 89
   Posted 10/2/2007 1:40 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Anxietyridden,
I understand what you are saying about new relationships. I was so good at "acting" with my PD and Agoraphobia that I never mentioned it to my husband when I first met him. then he wanted to go away for a day trip...I was a mess a few days before then finally told him...I decided if he couldn't accept me warts and all and be supportive then he's not for me. 11 years of dating and 7 years of marriage later...we are happy and I am at a point where I can leave the house and we can enjoy each other outside in the world. There are good days and bad for me as I am dealing with Cancer as well, but we get through them togehter.
As far as sleeping aids...I use a bedside fountain...it really works for me and helps me sleep a few more hours than normal.
xoxoxox
eve
The true joy of life is in the journey


Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 10/3/2007 5:21 AM (GMT -7)   
I also have written many a letter whether it was to my partner or a family member trying to get points across or I feel they JUST dont listen

Let us know how the letter writing goes and after it
IF you care to share


LYN
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debaser
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 10/3/2007 7:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Wow. Congrats on the relationship. Five months isn't new anymore, though. It's well past time you let him know about this. I disagree with the letter, though. It would be easier for you, but a face-to-face conversation is probably better. Just my opinion.

There are perfectly sane people who get meet, date, and GET MARRIED within five months, though! Yeah, you gotta tell him. Stat!

Best,
D
My Brain: My friend, My enemy: A blog to chronicle my attempt to recover from anxiety/panic disorder
www.brainfriendenemy.com//


stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 10/3/2007 8:47 AM (GMT -7)   

Hello,

Remember when reading we are only sharing our own opinions and what you choose to do as far as telling your BF is what works best for you. :)  We will support your decision.

On to sleeping, you may want to read this thread, especially the hot milk trick.

http://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=9&m=918175

Take care and keep posting.

 


Respectfully
Kitt
Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
*~* Not a mental health professional at all *~*
Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression 
******www.healingwell.com/donate******
_____________________________________________________
"If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” 
~Rosalyn Carter

 


anxietyridden
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2007
Total Posts : 171
   Posted 10/3/2007 10:32 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi all,

I did end up sharing some information about my anxiety with my BF last night. I had to because hiding it from him was generating anxiety in itself! I didn't end up writing a letter and so I'm not sure how effective I was at communication. I was feeling so badly about having possibly hurt his feelings by not eating what he cooked on Saturday that I apologized again last night. When he asked why I kept bringing it up I simply said "Because I want you to know that it's not your fault and you did nothing wrong. I have some issues that are beyond my control and I think you should know about them." I told him in very plain terms that I have diagnosed anxiety disorder and that sometimes it gets the best of me. He was understanding about it, at least he did not feel as if I had been deceiving him all of this time. I know that he had pretty much picked up on the fact that I have a lot of anxiety about many different things anyway, but he said that it was good to know that I had been medically diagnosed and been treated for it in the past. When I asked if he was going to "run for the hills because I was crazy" he said "If you think that then you really ARE crazy!"

The one thing that bothered me is that we had that conversation, which is, IMO, a pretty serious one. But he kind of just accepted my explanation, told me it was fine, and let it drop. He didn't ask any questions about what my disorder entails or what it might mean for me, or for us. I just know that if the roles were reversed I'd be very curious about exactly what my partner had gone through/was going through so that I could better understand and offer support. I don't want to push it though by bringing it up with him again and just launching into a diatribe about everything I've been through. I don't want him to think that it's all we'll ever talk about from here on out and that it dominates my life completely. Am I just expecting too much to think he should be a little bit more concerned with getting a more in-depth picture of the situation? Or is it possible he might think that talking about it a lot will make me feel worse and he just wants me to feel "normal"? Any advice here guys? Grrrr, relationships are so frustrating!!

katekate888
Regular Member


Date Joined Aug 2005
Total Posts : 109
   Posted 10/3/2007 1:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Wow what a great support system you have on this thread. For a moment there when i first started reading your story I thought you were one of my good friends who is almost in the same situation that you are, all the way down to stopping Lexapro her last year of college! Anyhow, im really glad that you told your bf about your anxiety. I wont bore you with my whole story, however with my boyfriend I didnt develop the anxiety until 2 years into the relationship! So he was stuck with it  yeah j/k, anyhow he is very ok with it and supports me all the way down to waking up in the middle of the night just to go with me to make sure the door is locked! im pathetic i know! Back to your new situation, dont fret about him not seeming interested in your disorder. I firmly believe that unless you actually have anxiety you can never COMPLETELY understand what a person goes through and how to understand it. I was like that for many years when i experienced my sister doing things like coming home from school early all the time, and some of her OCD, I always said Jen, why cant you just settle down!, i never understood why but then when I had my first panic attack guess who was my go-to girl!?!! Dont worry about him not seeming interested because it also may be his way of letting you know it doesnt have to interfere with the relationship. I wish you the best. Take care!

Kate
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