Roots of my anxiety + cognitive behavioural therapy

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Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2007
Total Posts : 45
   Posted 1/21/2008 2:28 PM (GMT -6)   
The frustrating thing is that I know why I'm like this and I know I shouldn't be so anxious constantly, but my mindset just won't change no matter how hard I try.
I'm naturally very reserved and quiet. At high school I was bullied relentlessly and more often than not it was over my appearance. I was overweight, always had my hair scraped back, had bad skin and wore glasses. I was also quite academic and even got picked on for that. I'm sure I've shared this on here before, but the worst thing that used to happen was in science class when a group of boys would intentionally say nasty comments and I would blush and then they would get the rest of the class's attention and point out my red face to them. That's typical anxiety isn't it...feeling as though everyone's looking at you and judging you. Well, they were! It was relentless too. Every single lesson I would be sitting there with my head down waiting for the humiliation, as though I somehow deserved it and should expect it.
Another thing, my dad has always had unpredictably horrible, sometimes violent, mood swings. It's always been something that has kept me on edge ever since I was a little girl. I can't help but feel this has just ingrained anxiety into me. I had to be on my guard to survive for many years, could never relax.
My mum died when I was 15, I know that this has definitely not helped. Not only for the obvious reasons, it was a horrible thing to have to go through, but because I lost my role model and was left alone. Again, I had to be on my guard to survive because this made my dad even worse. I look back and wonder how on earth I managed to get through my teens without her.
So this is basically why I'm anxious all the time. I look completely different to how I used to as a school girl and never get any negative comments about the way I look anymore. And yet, I feel impending doom constantly. My boyfriend's lovely, reliable and good looking and yet I've convinced myself that he's only with me as some sick joke or until someone better comes along. I make up reasons for me not to trust him based on things which don't even exist. If he harmlessly chats to a friend who happens to be a girl I'll get the idea into my head that he's talking to her instead of me because she's way more interesting and prettier than me. I absolutely HATE myself for being like this, I really can't stand it. He wouldn't waste his spare time with me if he was secretly lusting after someone else and deep down I know this.
I'm kind of angry too. I let people walk all over me for so many years just because I was a bit 'different' and out of the clique. What annoys me about it is that it's such a teenagery, angsty thing which I feel I should have moved on from by now. I'm 20 years old now and those people are long gone, all doing their own things and living their own lives; they've grown up and probably wouldn't bully anyone now because it's such a childish thing to do. It really does bother me that I'm an adult and yet the things they did as children have had such a negative effect that they make me feel insecure and anxious even now.
It's this anger which is provoking me to ask questions about how I can try and get better. I don't believe I should feel as though I deserve to feel like this all the time. I'm fed up of fearing the unknown in case the unknown hurts me and it's becoming impractical because life continues to shift into various states of uncertainty; you can't live your life by a set of guidelines. From what I've heard on here and other places, cognitive behavioural therapy sounds like it could be a really positive thing for me. I don't know how to ask for help though. How do you take that first step? Plus can anyone here tell me what cognitive behavioural therapy actually involves? If people could post their experiences and the type of exercises you had to do or things you were prompted to talk about then that would be really helpful.
Sorry to drone on about this, I always feel so self-obsessed after typing so much about myself, but I must admit to my head feeling a lot less cluttered too. This is the only place where people genuinely understand how it feels.

Post Edited (mynameis) : 1/21/2008 12:31:17 PM (GMT-7)

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 1/21/2008 3:23 PM (GMT -6)   


I am glad you feel safe here and can get your feelings out on the table. I know how mean and nasty teens can be, why I don't know but they can be really bad.  I was not the most gorgeous girl in High School either and I had a stepmom that put me down, called me fat etc.  I just now with the help of therapy have learned to start to throw out all that old garbage cluttering my head.

I am not who those people said  I was, I am a good and decent person and I had to learn to love me and let go of my feelings of insecurity.  It takes a lot of work and I still fall back into old patterns.  Anger is  easy because you feel hurt and you want to make it right somehow but there is no good way to change the past, only move forward. Channel that anger into good use.

Know that you are a wonderful and caring person, your smart and witty and you have a whole family here that understands you.

Stay with us and keep on posting.

Kitt, Co-Moderator: Anxiety ~ Panic  ~ Crohn's
*~* *~*
It is health that is real wealth and not pieces of gold and silver.~Mahatma Gandhi~

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 717
   Posted 1/21/2008 3:42 PM (GMT -6)   
First of all, I'm so sorry for what you had to endure as a teen, kids can really be so awful and nobody deserves to be treated the way you were.  Secondly, don't apologize for posting, we all need to vent, and this is the place to do it, so you just write to your hearts content, it is freeing! 
I can relate to alot of what you said about the roots of your anxiety, I had a tough time in my teen years as well, and have a mother who is just plain evil to this day.  I've been in therapy with a wonderful family therapist for a little over a year and we've been dealing with alot of the issues that stem from my childhood and teen-early adult years.  I was told that the pain and humiliation we experience in childhood carries with us until it is dealt with properly, through therapy in my case.  The teen years are the years that we develop our sense of self, our self-esteem, figure out who we are, and when we are constantly tormented by others, it makes it difficult to develop a "normal" view of ourselves and our value.  It doesn't mean we don't have value, just that our view is messed up by what others have done to us.  That makes it difficult to grow into a well adjusted adult.  I totally understand why you are hanging onto the anger from the past, horrible things were done and said to you and that changed who you are, it hurt you to the core, and those hurts are not easily healed.  I would strongly suggest finding a good therapist to discuss these issues with.  I've had a remarkable change in my anxiety and in my self-esteem since I've started dealing with the issues I have.
As far as CBT, I use relaxation, deep breathing and alot of running positive thoughts through my head.  When a negative or scary thought pops into my head, I just say "stop" and start challenging the scary thought with all the positive facts I know.  For example, when my heart does a little flutter and I immediately think I'm going to have a heart attack, I replace that thought with facts that I heart is healthy, it flutters because of anxiety, not because there is something wrong with my heart, I've had flutters for 18 years, and nothing bad has ever happened, it's not going to now, etc.  It takes time to make the positive thoughts stick, so you have to be super patient about it and give it time to work.  I've read alot of books on the subject as well, if you like to read.  Others here will have more advice on this too.
I do hope that this has helped you some, keep posting and I'm sure others will have some more excellent advice for you!

Veteran Member

Date Joined Dec 2007
Total Posts : 2113
   Posted 1/21/2008 5:35 PM (GMT -6)   
Cognitive behavioral therapy is really quite simple on the theoretical level and has probably saved my sisters life (she too suffers from anxiety and depression and went through a horrible childhood and teen years)
Basically CBT focuses on three things AFFECT BEHAVIOR and COGNITION. People are only capable of those three things and those things are interelated. Changing the way you think changes the way you behave..
Sometime the most powerful technique is to change the way you behave which helps bring into line how you are thinking and feeling.
As for asking for help there are several options. Ask your primary physician for a referal, call you eap if you work for a company large enough to have one, google on line for someone in your area who practices CBT.
Once you learn the techniques you are often able to use them by yourself.

Elite Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 1/21/2008 7:40 PM (GMT -6)   
You have been given some awesome advice M and I do hope you will take it too heart
CBT has really done its job with me as well ...........

I too am so bleeding sorry for all you have had to deal with in your life ......
You have to put that in the back of your mind ( YES I do know it is very hard to do ) and get on with your life
Be you .........from your posts I see a great person that needs to come out and show the world .
"Hey Look At Me "

Keep us posted plz......and take care as we do care

Contribute Today ..Click On         
Moderator,Anxiety/Panic, Alzheimers,Co Mod for Crohns                     

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