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Ask Mary Lynn Trotter MSW RSW Your Own Qu...
Mary Lynn Trotter MSW RSW
Mary Lynn Trotter MSW RSW, Social Worker
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 46
Experience:  Evidence-based therapeutic support. Cognitive behavioral strategies. Pre/postpartum expertise.
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I have been panicking a lot lately, and i think its because

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I have been panicking a lot lately, and i think its because i just started a new relationship with someone that I care about. I have gotten like this before with others, but I am overly panicking about her losing interest, or cheating, or lying about how she feels or what she does. If I don't hear from her or she doesn't respond to a text I pace around sometimes or constantly have my phone by my side and can't think about anything else and I'm constantly dreading the worst. I'm nearly 25 years old, and I have had these feelings before in other relationships and in other situations. I just can't break my mind away from worry and constant dread. I can't just let it take its course and move along because I'm silently exhausting myself worrying about what might happen or if she's doing something wrong etc. Sometimes it worries me so bad that I get almost physically sick to my stomach. Again, I've done this with most relationships I've had and it makes me miserable. More details if needed
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Mary Lynn Trotter MSW RSW replied 7 years ago.



Many, if not most people are anxious about beginning, having, and ending relationships - whether it is casual dating or more serious commitments. What we all try to do is manage the feelings as we plunge forward.


One suggestion is to talk to your new friend about your feelings - she is likely a bit nervous too. It might be a good way to build trust and intimacy.


I'm unsure if the therapy you tried in the past was cognitive-behavioral. That is one of the best ways to learn about, and handle anxiety - what you are describing (the worry, dread, pacing etc) can be better managed with some training in this area.


Let me give you an example: After a date, let's say you haven't heard from her in a few days. Make a list of all the potential reasons she hasn't called or texted you - the good and the bad. It might be hard for you to come up with good, or realistic reasons.


People wilth anxiety have a habit of quickly seeing the bad reasons, and have a harder time finding positive explanations for things. Such as, "she hasn't phoned me because she is traditional, and thinks the man should set all the dates".


This type of exercize will help you challenge yourself to see things differently. Yes, it will feel strange at first. But if you come to realize there are a number of potential reasons for other people's actions, you begin to lessen the hold you have on negative interpretations. Try it, and see if you are able to come up with a few examples of potential reasons for people's actions.


If this sounds like something that makes sense to you, you might want to look in your local library for books on cognitive behavioral therapy - such as the books by David Burns. I also recommend Mind over Mood, by Greengerger and Padesky, or the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Bourne.


If you like the approach, you can search for a CBT therapist in your area, if you would like more coaching.


Best of luck. Thanks for writing, and I hope I have been helpful.


Mary Lynn Trotter MSW RSW

Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Mary Lynn,


Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my question. I'm satisfied with what you have said, but I need to ask just a couple more things and fill in the blanks.


You're right about automatically seeing the bad reasons. I don't know why I do it. This girl that i'm speaking about, we've been seeing each other for a couple of months now and we actually know each other pretty well, we went to college together over 6 or 7 years ago and we've been spending a decent amount of time together. I think even though she hasn't given me any reason to feel otherwise, I just automatically panic and worry about what she's doing when I don't hear from her. I think I'm expecting her to just stop wanting to be with me or stop feeling for me. I think I expect it to happen and I almost wonder how anyone could really ever love me like that. I feel like I'm not really able to handle other things that I need to handle because the worry is constant. If we say we are going to do something one night, but I don't hear from her for a while (she kind of does her own thing and hangs out with her friends alot) I just panic and wonder why. Today I'm at work and I can't concentrate because my mind is just freaking out over what she's thinking. I dropped her off this morning before work after a weekend getaway together at the beach, and it went EXTREMELY well, but I still had immediate panic after I left like it was over now and something is going to happen thats negative (she'll stop feeling for me, she'll find someone else, etc..) I expected it to happen like that even before we left, so I was dreading the return before we even started the trip. I've been betrayed in the past, rather harshly actually by an ex that lied to me about some serious stuff and ended up in a mental hospital bc she had made up an identity to me, so I automatiaclly don't trust people that I care about and fear its the worst thing. I know this is alot of information, I just feel like I should tell you exactly how it feels in my head so you know. Should i approach a medicinal option to help calm my nerves and anxiety? Thanks so much for helping me, you don't know how much it means to have someone look into this for me.

Expert:  Mary Lynn Trotter MSW RSW replied 7 years ago.

I'm glad you are feeling better after writing about your feelings - that's another good trick to manage anxiety!


You are already able to see that your current anxiety may be linked to past relationships. Your uneasiness makes sense to me, given the betral you experienced.


You have helped me to understand that these feelings are getting in the way of your daily activities, such as being productive at work. That is one way we measure whether someone's anxieties require some type of treatment. Your feelings are also likely interfering with your enjoyment of the time you are spending with her.


I think it would be helpful for you to explore some type of treatment - one that has helped you manage in the past might be a good place to start. This can be professional therapy, pharmacological therapy, or a combination of both. A visit to your family physcian is your first step.


You might also pay attention to diet, exercize, reducing caffeine and alcohol, and adding some relaxation into your routine. All will complement whatevery type of formal therapy option you pursue.


You can learn to manage these feelings, and start enjoying life more.


Best of luck.

Mary Lynn



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