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Old 02-11-2019, 12:59 PM   #1
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Default Difficulty with emotions... long post ahead

Hi there... It's been a while since I've posted, and I'm sorry if this is not the right sub-forum. My issues right now encompass a variety of issues, but mods, please move this as needed.

I have been struggling with several mental health obstacles for much of my life, but it's at a "high" right now. I've been feeling depressed for about 2-3 weeks now, and on and off all winter long (I probably have SAD). Also dealing with life-long low self-esteem, anxiety, and difficulty forming healthy relationships... I list my problems below.


- More and more I am starting to think I have depression. In the past, therapists have attributed my anxieties and other symptoms to an ďadjustment disorder,Ē and theyíre not wrong, as I explain in the next main bullet.
- The main symptom Iím experiencing is a lack of interest in my usual hobbies. I usually donít have the ďenergyĒ to do more than TV/video games. I usually cook but have less and less patience for elaborate meals and wish more that I could just throw a pizza in the oven every night. I had a burst of creativity last month where I made a bunch of art, but that quickly went away. I also have difficulty listening to music, which used to be my favorite hobby, but now I find myself not even WANTING to feel that feeling you get when you hear a song you really like, getting those chills down your spineÖ things I used to enjoy on a daily basis. It makes it harder to hang out with my bf because I get anxious when we try to have fun together because, well, I donít ďfeel like having fun,Ē to put it in depression terms.
- I should note that I donít ALWAYS feel like this. I notice itís easier to enjoy things when Iím by myself (I have tons of fun if Iím blasting music in the car alone, for example), but I still enjoy some activities with some people. Lately I have backed out of some social functions because I was feeling depressed about something, and it sucks that Iím essentially taking fun, social time away from myself.
- Another factor working against us is that weíre both living away from friends and family now. I moved several states away from home for an exciting new job and have made new friends that way, but donít have my best friends to hang out with anymore. My bf has had trouble landing a job and doesnít make friends as easily, so heís even lonelier than I am, and Iím the only one he has to keep him company. So weíre both lonely, depressed, not poor but not swimming in cash, and both suffering the consequences of my anxiety. I still call my best friend on a regular basis, but itís not quite the same as being able to cry on each otherís shoulders.

Difficulty controlling emotions (adjustment disorder):
- Throughout my whole life I have struggled with healthily expressing my emotions. I am capable of having normal, healthy talks, .e.g. With my therapist or my friends. But sometimes, and almost always with people I live with (i.e. my parents or boyfriend), I can really throw a tantrum. Since I was middle-school age, Iíve hit myself on the head, had panic attacks, or tried hitting walls/screaming into pillows/etc. The hitting myself started as a way of both expressing how sorry/guilty I felt if I did something wrong around my parents and continued onto my current relationship with my bf. My parents never did anything to address it, but my bf will physically stop me and talk me out of it.
- Also, if something goes wrong or not according to plan, I tend to freak out. If Iím looking forward to doing X, Y, and Z with a friend, and suddenly weíre not able to make it to X and Y, that can greatly upset me (not always; depends on certain factors). I know this can be a symptom of autism, but I think itís just me having too high of expectations out of life. Iím also more likely to freak out if I think itís my fault. A couple weeks ago my bf dropped my phone, but when I picked it up and dropped it again I freaked out, got mad at myself, and had a panic attack (nothing happened to the phone, btw, not a dent! I just freaked out).

Low Self-Esteem:
- Iíve been using CBT as a way of working through my anxieties and cognitive distortions, which mainly stem from a very, very low self-image. Iíve always been critical of myself: I remember crying as a child over hurting my friendsí feelings, feeling lonely in 4th grade because I didnít think I had friends, and even in college, being too afraid to ask new friends to hang out because I wasnít sure if they would even say yes. And now, in my relationship, I usually feel like Iím always in the wrong; if my bf criticizes me itís because of a character flaw, or feeling overly guilty for how my anxiety disrupts our relationship.
- Itís so extreme that I can barely focus on a compliment. People at my new job LOVE me and compliment me on a weekly basis. Theyíre letting me stay another year. I am constantly getting praise from my friends and family on my accomplishments. My friends love my artwork. Yet I cannot get it out of my head that I might be offending someone or doing a bad job. Both my parents and past employers have been less than kind whenever I didnít do a ďgood job.Ē So, now, as a young adult, I worry that if someone doesnít reply to a text right away, that I did something to offend them between the last time I talked to them or now. Or that I have to work extra hours at work to prove Iím still working hard. I constantly apologize to my bf for insignificant mistakes I make.

Persistent health problems:
- It seems like Iím always in some kind of physical discomfort. I recently discovered I may have eczema (didnít get a formal diagnosis, but Iím 99% sure I have it since Iíve had sensitive skin since childhood). I recently had a flare-up that covered almost my entire body; I had to work from home because I was in so much pain. Last year, a similar phenomenon happened. The year before that, I dealt with flea bites for almost a month, and the year before that I had what-I-now-know was an eczema flare under my arms. Iíll occasionally go through bouts of stomach aches that last up to a week, and although they have gone down with dietary adjustments, I still donít know what all my triggers are. I also have terrible PMS that exacerbates all of my pre-existing conditions (both mental and physical). Iím also well-aware that anxiety only makes these symptoms worse, and might even be causing some of them. Iíve been amping up my omega-3s, protein, etc., adjusting my diet in any way that I think will help. I donít drink soda/try to avoid sugar, have been avoiding (but not excluding) gluten, and I try to exercise at least once a week; my job keeps me fairly active as well.

Fluctuating feelings:
- I have been with my loving boyfriend for about 2.5 years now. However, I developed relationship anxieties early on that I only started addressing half a year into our relationship, and Iím still dealing with them today. Things have honestly gotten a lot better, but I struggle with how much effort I have to put in just to be happy. Itís upsetting because I know we can be happy together, but my depression and anxiety makes it a lot harder. Sometimes I canít tell if Iíll never get rid of my relationship anxieties, if itís a lost cause, or if itís better for me to figure out my anxieties, work on my relationship, and learn how to properly communicate with my partner now. Weíve both been learning from each other since we both struggle with communication, emotions, and depression, and sometimes itís great and beneficial and we have normal moments where we laugh and cuddle and have a great time, but my anxiety can instantly dissipate those feelings.
- In the three months we have been back together after our break, things were going fairly well. I was having fun, putting less pressure on the relationship, and able to have fun around him again. But a few weeks ago, we ran into an instance where we both hurt each otherís feelings, although weíve talked about it a few times now, itís hard to shake off the negative feelings that the instance evoked. How do I accept when people hurt me, forgive them, and move on? One of my biggest flaws is my inability to ďmove onĒ and stop worrying about the past.
- Part of these ďfluctuating feelingsĒ also stems from brief moments of being attracted to other people. Now, I know people are occasionally attracted to others, and I am absolutely not one to cheat. But the kicker for me is that I might be a little bi-curious. Iíve never told anyone this, not even my closest friends, and especially not my bf. Iím not sure if I should, especially since I have a tiny crush on a mutual friend of ours, AND sheís already married. When my bf and I were on a break, I mentioned that I sometimes think about other people, and it really messed him up. I didnít go into detail, but it was clear he only had eyes for me. This is also not to say I'm not attracted to him, I definitely am! Of course, he and I both have some celebrity crushes, but.. I donít know. This post is starting to get really long, so I can elaborate more if needed.

Itís not all bad:
- I know a lot of my anxieties come from my relationship, but Iím not ready to call it quits. Actually, I already took a break from my bf for a few months, and missed him enough to get back together with him. He, unlike my parents, has helped me take steps to get better. Dealing with depression himself and noticing the symptoms in me, he has encouraged me to take more steps for my mental health. Unfortunately, Iím not sure what else to do right now, Iím already seeing a therapist (about once a month), trying to incorporate mindful activities like yoga and meditation into my routine, and so forthÖ my other options might include medication, though Iím fairly nervous about side effects and withdrawal symptoms. I could also start seeing a therapist more regularly, although with only one income my options are limited (my bf has started applying to jobs which is good! there were some unavoidable obstacles for himself, like having transportation, etc.). Part of why Iím posting this is to get some advice on how I can help myself. I have been, on a irregular basis, used mindfulness, journaling, and CBT to work through my anxieties, which are usually caused by cognitive distortions. 90% of the time I THINK my friends or bf or coworkers are criticizing me, theyíre not. That kind of thing. I just want help .

One final noteÖ throughout the past few years, I have done some psychedelics. Not frequently, but every so often. And I would do them even if I was feeling anxious, perhaps in a desperate attempt to ďfixĒ my anxiety, but I think those things (lsd and shrooms) have just further ingrained my anxieties into my brain. I truly believe psychedelics have the ability to help people; Iíve had trips where I felt connected to everything and life was beautiful and I could appreciate anything and everything, but the more recent ones have been more anxiety-focused. I promised myself I wouldnít touch them until I felt absolutely ready, even if I have to wait years. Has anyone else experienced anything like this?

Also, I have a tendency to post on these forums when my anxiety is at all-time highs, meaning I don't always feel strongly about the above topics. But, right now, they are interfering with my ability to focus at work and at home, as well as disrupting fun times with my bf, friends, and otherwise. Any advice is appreciated.

If you made it to the bottom of this post, congrats, and thanks for taking the time to read it all. I truly appreciate the PC community!
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Old 02-11-2019, 01:13 PM   #2
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I'm so sorry you're going through all of this, aimlesshiker Just wanted to let you know that I've read your post and that I care about you. I feel like you're handling all of this pretty well. I'm glad you're seeing a therapist right now. Is it helping you? I'd also suggest to try to start taking meds if you can. Maybe that could help. I'd also suggest to take a break from your relationship if you feel like it's stressing you out too much. Take some time for yourself. It sounds like you really need it. Just keep doing what you're already doing. Try your best. That's all you can do after all. I'm so sorry, I know it's hard. Please don't give up. Is there anything we can do to help you? Please let us know. I'm so sorry, I wish I've had more advice to give to you. Try to hang on. You can do this! You're strong, I know that. I believe in you. We all love you here. Remember that we're here for you if you need it. Feel free to vent here as much as you want. We'll listen to what you have to say. We care about you. Keep writing here if it helps. I'm here for you as well if you need it. Feel free to PM me anytime. Let me know if I can do something to help you. Wish you good luck! Let us know how it goes. Sending many hugs to you
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Old 02-11-2019, 05:27 PM   #3
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At first glance your laundry list of issues certainly appears insurmountable... seeing them all in their entirely would be a heavy burden for anyone.

I suffer from chronic PTSD and also severe physical illness...tackling these issues has most certainly taken their toll on me. My best advice to you aimlesshiker would be to start working on your physical health so as to build a stable platform to then tackle all your other issues. Start by researching clean diets, supplements, and low impact exercise. It isn't everything, and It may take a while to see results...but is most definitely the best place to start. Speak to your treating doctor about supplements and good nutrition to get yourself on the right track.
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Old 02-11-2019, 10:00 PM   #4
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I have a tendency to post on these forums when my anxiety is at all-time highs, meaning I don't always feel strongly about the above topics.
It sounds like progress on the list of problems you have posted would benefit from more systematic, consistent steps.

You go to therapy once a month. You would like to go more, but it isn't affordable.

There are ways to get more regular "therapy". It isn't the same as regular therapy, but speaking in any safe format about what is on your mind can definitely help.

--making small posts here regularly and briefly, so that you have the chance to get specific, detailed, regular feedback
--calling a listening line (for example: Caring Contact - We're Here To Listen), where you can speak briefly but frequently, every day if you want to, with trained listeners.
--experimenting with free online counseling services, you could google that

You try to exercise once a week. I think more is needed to benefit therapeutically in a significant way.

So in general my point is that daily, or at least quite frequent, structured but limited efforts to support your mental health will be more effective and rewarding than things that are done once a month or when anxiety is ultra-high.
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