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Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC
Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5450
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Im 23 in graduate school OKMH42211

Customer Question

I'm 23 in graduate school. I have a tendency to be too attached to people and want a lot of attention. In my past, my father (pastor, became physically abusive to my oldest half-sister who was not his own because my mother got pregnant by her at the time fiance before she married him, gambler, alcoholic, and porn-aholic probably due to the fact that his father looked at porn too) left when I was 8 years old and has hardly talked to my family since. I am the youngest of 5 children and my mom raised us on her own (he moved away and got remarried). She went back to school and got a teaching degree, but went into depression and almost killed herself. She took out her anger on us and sometimes got slightly physical and definitely emotionally abusive with her word (she became an alcoholic). Fast forward and everything is a lot better. My mom still drinks but we have a good relationship now and she has gotten a lot mentally better due to therapists and anxiety medication. Rewind, girls were always very mean to me growing up and picked on me (I hung out with the guys and got best looking in high school, etc.) so I always felt like I wasn't good enough for friends. I also dated a guy for 5 years that was extremely emotionally abusive. I finally broke up with him recently and got in a stable relationship with my current boyfriend. However, I am frequently anxious and worried about our future and always want to talk to him, always want to know what he's doing, always afraid that he's not being faithful or telling me the truth, and I am pretty jealous about some things. I'm constantly thinking about him. I'm wondering if maybe I need therapy? I don't know if something is wrong with me or if these are normal worries (we had a rough first year together, what with ex's and trust issues, but now everything is good) from our past. I've seen a college counselor who was in training, but I don't feel as though she helped much. Do you think I should go to a paid professional? How do you feel about anxiety medication? I don't feel like it's something I'd be interested in because stuff like that scares me. But do you think there may be something wrong? I find myself very frequently down in the dumps and anxious. Thanks for any advice.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your questions.

It is normal for you to feel as you do now given the trauma you have been through during your childhood. It sounds like your parents had so many issues that they might have been unable to give you the care, love and attention you needed and deserved. Because of that, you probably also did not develop the right attachment to your parents that would have made you feel safe and able to trust others.

Not getting your basic emotional needs met as a child would create the symptoms you are experiencing now. There is most likely nothing wrong with you except that you are reacting to what you went through and are now able to experience all the emotions because you are out of the situation. While you are in it, you are surviving. But once you leave it, that is usually when the symptoms appear, just as you see with soldiers in war with PTSD. Being in an emotionally abusive relationship is a symptom of this as well.

Seeing a professional therapist would be the best way to address how you feel and help you find what you need to deal with the anxiety and other symptoms you are experiencing. A therapist can provide a safe environment for you to talk about what you feel and help support you in a way you deserve.

Anxiety medication can be helpful if you feel it would help you cope better in your daily life. Therapy is the best treatment for anxiety but medications can help you feel better until therapy begins to work for you. But it is not necessary.

You can also use self help to deal with your symptoms. The more you know, the better tools you have to help yourself. Here are some resources to help:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_types_symptoms_treatment.htm

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm

http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/mental-health-anxiety-disorders

I hope this has helped you,
Kate
Expert:  Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC replied 1 year ago.
Can I help you any further?

Kate

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