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Working Through My Anxiety, but it's coming back

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  • Working Through My Anxiety, but it's coming back

    I've been doing a good job the past few months of working on my anxiety, especially (but not exclusively) in how it relates to my dating life with women. I've been doing therapy for almost 2 years now, individual therapy, group support therapy, classes, etc. I've learned a lot about how to recognize an anxiety attack, ways to cope with it, how to fight through it. It's a process, and one that I'm still working on, but I can definitely see progress.

    Especially after a particular situation with a co-worker who I made the mistake of attempting to get involved with. Long story short, it was a 9 month ordeal (we work at a school and it lasted the entire school year) where essentially we started talking and hanging out, clicked and connected, but then she led me on, I moved on to start seeing other people once I realized it wasn't going anywhere with her, but while I was seeing other people, she decided to get herself involved in my personal business, start spreading rumors about me at work that I was "obsessed" with her and "stalking" her, then at the end of it, had the nerve to report me to my boss for the drama that was created by HER gossiping about me at work (spoiler alert: she made the mistake of telling me she was going to report me before she did, so I was able to report her to my boss before she reported me, and my boss and management team believed my side of the story and sided with me. There were no negative consequences in terms of my standing at work, outside of a couple individual co-workers who believed her story and don't talk to me anymore, but my job security was not damaged). Considering the situation, I came out on the back end of it feeling better than I've felt in a long time, and possibly in terms of self confidence and feelings of self worth, may have been feeling an all time high.

    The girl reporting me actually put me in better standing with my boss and superiors than I was beforehand, and built a stronger mutual trust between myself and my superiors.

    Through all the low points of depression I was going through over the period of that 9 months with this girl, I did lose a couple friends who couldn't deal with my depression, but I also gained even closer friends who of their own accord stepped up for me at my lowest point when I needed someone, and supported me and showed me love when I needed it most.

    Combined with a few other things happening at the same time, I was feeling so good about myself, about life, and about the direction I was headed. My 1 on 1 therapist even asked me if I wanted to take a break from seeing her because I was in such a good place emotionally. (I declined, because even if I'm in a good place, I believe in continuing preventative care to keep my emotional well being in a healthy place)

    I even decided that I was ready to finally get back out there and start trying to date again. And then I met someone that I liked, and now the anxiety is all flooding back.

    We matched on tinder, and started chatting and hitting it off immediately. She is 35 (same age as myself) and a mother of 2. We both work the same profession (teachers), and even have a small handful of common friends. Our online conversation was going super well. We decided to meet up, and had the most wonderful first date. We had planned to go out and get a specific dessert that she likes. We went to the restaurant that serves it, and sat and talked over a bottle of wine, and some hors d'oeuvres, and the connection we had was instant. We had such a great time that by the time I got home and texted her, I realized that we had completely forgotten to order the dessert. She replied saying "I've never forgotten my dessert before! And I've never been so happy to have forgotten!"

    Well, a few days after our date, she took a vacation with a friend out of the country and was gone for about a week. So of course we didn't speak while she was on vacation. But even with knowing she was on vacation, and now that she's back, knowing that she's a mother of 2 (ages 5 and 2), my anxiety is flooding back. Everytime a text isn't quickly responded to, or whenever we have to change plans (we were supposed to go out on a date yesterday, but some mommy issues came up and she had to attend to that), I'm falling into my trap of overthinking any possible meanings behind it. "Is she not interested anymore? Did she meet someone else and pursuing him instead?" I don't have any valid reason to believe this stuff, other than the fact that it's happened to me before (meet a girl, like a girl, feel a mutual connection and interest with girl, and then she inexplicably fizzles out with no warning or explanation), but she hasn't actually done anything to validate those thoughts. When we do speak, it's a very 2 way conversation with mutual enthusiasm. Before she had to cancel our date, she gave me her address to come pick her up.

    I know that I'm causing my own anxiety, so I'm trying to back myself off from texting her, because I don't want to reach out to her coming from a place of insecurity. It's not her job to reassure me and ease my anxiety. We were supposed to meet yesterday, and it didn't happen because she remembered a birthday party for her daughter's friend that they were invited to. I'd like to reach out to her today to talk to her, see how the party went, and try to reschedule our date. But I also fear that I'm coming from a place of insecurity, just looking for reassurance from her, and that is going to come off. So I'm also considering just sitting back today, do some stuff to enjoy my Sunday, and then maybe reach out to her tomorrow after I've had a day to (hopefully) relax.

    I'm definitely glad I didn't take that break from my therapist. This is the exact kind of stuff that I need to work out with her. I've come a long way, but I'm finding myself back in a point of weakness. I'm sure my anxieties have been a factor in many of my relationship and dating failures, and I don't want my anxieties to push away another one.

  • #2
    Well, as someone very insecure and with depression tendencies I think I understand your position, and, as you say, you are the one creating it, so you are the only one that can end it.

    Seeing that when you got in better standing with you boss and superiors you felt better I suppose you need to feel really supported to feel better, so I think doing things that make you feel good would help.
    Being someone that loves honesty, I think you should tell her your problem, telling her that if you act in a strange way that's probably your insecurity, as it can make things unnecessarily awkward and create misunderstandings that could make things worse. If she accepts it then I suppose you would feel better, but she doesn't accepts you knowing that you have such a problem (that doesn't really affect other people) then I suppose she is not that "connected" with you and you could look elsewhere for a new relationship.

    PS: not having a cell phone myself I don't really know when someone should or shouldn't use text messages instead of talking to the other person, but I always prefer to talk face to face, as that way we can see the other person's reaction.

    PPS: having said all of the above, I would like to point that I haven't been in relationship for many years, so I don't really have experience in that part of your problem.

    PPPS: seeing that you got unexpected friends that support you I suppose you are not someone that cannot make friends, so trying to get even more friends could help you feel better.

    Good luck.

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    • #3
      Iím having trouble started a new post could someone help please

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      • #4
        I don't have any valid reason to believe this stuff,
        Nor do you have any reason to CARE even if the "stuff" is true. You've been on ONE date with her so at this point you should be thinking "meh! I don't even know her enough to care one way or the other."

        I think you should work on your expectations with your therapist and come up with some exercises that will help you to keep things in perspective.
        "First off, welcome to the Relationship Forums, You'll come to understand that I don't pull any punches when giving my opinion/advice and I hope you're not so sensitive to what I see as the truth of the matter." Me!

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        • #5
          Originally posted by GrizzlyBear View Post
          Well, as someone very insecure and with depression tendencies I think I understand your position, and, as you say, you are the one creating it, so you are the only one that can end it.

          Seeing that when you got in better standing with you boss and superiors you felt better I suppose you need to feel really supported to feel better, so I think doing things that make you feel good would help.
          Being someone that loves honesty, I think you should tell her your problem, telling her that if you act in a strange way that's probably your insecurity, as it can make things unnecessarily awkward and create misunderstandings that could make things worse. If she accepts it then I suppose you would feel better, but she doesn't accepts you knowing that you have such a problem (that doesn't really affect other people) then I suppose she is not that "connected" with you and you could look elsewhere for a new relationship.

          PS: not having a cell phone myself I don't really know when someone should or shouldn't use text messages instead of talking to the other person, but I always prefer to talk face to face, as that way we can see the other person's reaction.

          PPS: having said all of the above, I would like to point that I haven't been in relationship for many years, so I don't really have experience in that part of your problem.

          PPPS: seeing that you got unexpected friends that support you I suppose you are not someone that cannot make friends, so trying to get even more friends could help you feel better.

          Good luck.
          I appreciate the feedback! I think that the main reason why I wouldn't want to tell her (in addition to being too heavy, too soon) is that it makes my problem her problem. This is my problem to deal with, not hers, and I feel that by telling her, it then makes it her problem to deal with now as well where she then feels like she has to accommodate me. It's not her baggage to carry, it's mine to sort through.

          Originally posted by phasesofthemoon View Post
          Nor do you have any reason to CARE even if the "stuff" is true. You've been on ONE date with her so at this point you should be thinking "meh! I don't even know her enough to care one way or the other."

          I think you should work on your expectations with your therapist and come up with some exercises that will help you to keep things in perspective.
          Well and this is one area where I didn't want to take a break from my therapist. At the time of my last session, I wasn't facing any adversity, so of course my anxiety levels were low. But now I'm in another situation where things I need to work on are coming to light.

          But both things can be true: I am recognizing areas that I need to work on, AND I could like this girl well enough to want to pursue it further with her.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by am529 View Post
            I appreciate the feedback! I think that the main reason why I wouldn't want to tell her (in addition to being too heavy, too soon) is that it makes my problem her problem.
            Sorry for not being clear, sometimes (like this one) I think something but only write half of what I thought.

            I should have added that, when telling her about your problem you should do it only to warn her about it, not to ask for her help or support, and saying it in a way she understands you are not asking for any help.

            PS: to make it clearer, the above is about the insecurity, that I think is your biggest problem, not depression, as I know that being with someone that suffers from depression affects us.

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            • #7
              I definitely agree that the biggest issue here is insecurity, not depression. I'm definitely not feeling depressed over the inconsistent communication (tho disappointment at the thought that she's perhaps lost interest)

              Anxiety stemming from insecurity, and as phases pointed out, way too high of expectations.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by am529 View Post

                I appreciate the feedback! I think that the main reason why I wouldn't want to tell her (in addition to being too heavy, too soon) is that it makes my problem her problem. This is my problem to deal with, not hers, and I feel that by telling her, it then makes it her problem to deal with now as well where she then feels like she has to accommodate me. It's not her baggage to carry, it's mine to sort through.



                Well and this is one area where I didn't want to take a break from my therapist. At the time of my last session, I wasn't facing any adversity, so of course my anxiety levels were low. But now I'm in another situation where things I need to work on are coming to light.

                But both things can be true: I am recognizing areas that I need to work on, AND I could like this girl well enough to want to pursue it further with her.
                Yes you could like this girl well enough to want to pursue it further but you have to actually get to know her first before you can decide that. And that's 6 months away.
                Likewise she has to get to know you too. She enjoyed your one date , so did you.
                If she loses interest , what have you lost?!! Nothing . You had a nice one date and that's fine.
                I think what you are being overly anxious about is the potential of a long term relationship and not achieving that. Why? Have you discussed that with your therapist?
                Just because one fling fizzles out , doesn't mean you have lost that long term goal of yours?

                Too much pressure is being placed on the situation (which is one date and mild plans for another)
                I think you should date a few people so you are not so focused on one .

                And no I would not tell her about your anxiety. That's asking her to enable it , rather than you dealing with it.
                Not contacting her is avoidance as well. Stop texting and start phoning instead.
                Set up another date when suits her schedule but realise that as a mother she will cancel as many times as she goes through with plans. Can you handle that?

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