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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3188
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Im 28 years old and in a serious long-term relationship.

Resolved Question:

I'm 28 years old and in a serious long-term relationship. My boyfriend and I fully intend on getting married, but we recently found out that I was pregnant (6 weeks!). We're excited, but I'm on the verge of a nervous breakdown every time I think about telling my parents. I'm the only girl of two in a family from a hispanic background, and my parents (both born and raised in Mexico) are extremely traditional and VERY (VERY) over protective. They have had a serious issue with every huge life decision I ever made that didn't follow their standards. From going away to college, to moving out on my own. I even have to hide that my boyfriend is living with me because my mother is DISGUSTED by the thought. When I lived with them, their restrictions required me to lie about nearly everything I did and it put an ENORMOUS strain on our relationship. To say that they would be extremely disappointed in me for being pregnant is an understatement. My boyfriend's family is a little more open minded (they are an all-american family with views that aren't quite as old-fashioned and restrictive) and he was raised in a completely different environment. Needless to say, he can't quite understand what my reservations are about telling my family. I'm a grown woman with a crippling fear of my parents. This extreme stress is affecting my ability to function normally everyday. I break down in tears and hysterics at the mere thought of it. What can I do to healthily deal with this situation??
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 6 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello

Dr. Z :

I believe I can help you with your concern

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that you are going through this stress about telling your family on your pregnancy, even though a pregnancy should be a joyous occasion

Dr. Z :

Well may I ask, have you considered trying therapy at all? It is obviously safer than using medication to calm your nerves during your pregnancy

Dr. Z :

I can also teach you some therapy techniques too that may help ease your stress and anxiety

Customer:

I have considered therapy. I know there's no immediate solution, but I wanted a starting point. Or maybe some guidance as to whether or not therapy was a viable option.

Dr. Z :

Therapy is definitely an option, I think you would benefit from a solution focused therapy and this is why I would recommend Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), as this is the most evidence based therapy to date that can help treat your anxiety and stress. CBT has a premise that your symptoms are caused by negative thoughts, so if we change your thought process to be more positive and objective as well, then your symptoms will lessen.

Dr. Z :

Would you like me to teach you some CBT techniques to help you, I can also recommend some good CBT books too

Customer:

It sounds like that's exactly what I need. Please.

Dr. Z :

So this link may help you, it contains a technique I use with patients called a thought record. It will help you keep track of any negative thoughts you have. You put the negative thought on paper, the emotion accompanying, the evidence to support it, and the evidence against it. Then I want you to come up with an alternative thought for the situation (more objective and plausible). This will help you change your way of thinking to be able to think more positive and not automatically go to a negative type of thinking.

Dr. Z :

In addition, these two worksheets are very good at helping lessen anxiety symptoms. It can help you focus on the big picture and the objective/positive thoughts and outcomes.

Dr. Z :

Also individuals with severe anxiety/stress have a poor coping mechanism, so this worksheet will help you develop a better coping strategy to manage your symptoms better.

Dr. Z :

These two books are also really effective in helping manage anxiety as well.

Dr. Z :

This is a link for something called Progressive Muscle Relaxation that can help you create a long term calm by using muscle tension and release techniques; it can help manage your anxiety and is very similar to a style of meditation.

Dr. Z :

Also if you like I can look for good CBT therapists in your area as well

Customer:

That would be extremely helpful

Dr. Z :

Sure, what is your zip code, so I can look in your area

Customer:

60139 or 60173

Dr. Z :

Okay give me a few minutes to compile a list for you. Also your boyfriend can go to therapy with you as well and maybe he will get a better understanding of the stress you are under about telling your parenrs

Customer:

He's not really an advocate for therapy. It's difficult to explain to him the severity of the situation since he has never come across anything like it.

Customer:

He's a very laidback person with very little stress.

Customer:

Can I ask, have you ever dealt with a similar situation?

Dr. Z :

Well if he loves you, maybe he would be willing to go to a session or two with you

Customer:

My family is extremely loving and close, so I feel like dealing with a situation like this is particularly sensitive...

Dr. Z :

Oh yes actually, this is not uncommon and usually once the initial shock wears off the parents are very open and supportive.

Dr. Z :

I live and practice in California, so I deal with these situations very often as we are a very diverse state

Customer:

At this point, I'm having difficulty imagining a positive outcome. I've always been a bit of a worry wart, which of course triggers the usual "It'll be fine" response from my boyfriend. But my anxiety about this is causing a severe strain on my life.

Dr. Z :

Well that is why CBT will be very effective for you because it will allow you to focus on the objective outcomes instead of the negative ones that create more anxiety and worry for you.

Customer:

Any luck on finding CBT specialists in my area?

Dr. Z :

Yes, I just made the list now. Here are some good CBT therapists that specialize in treating Anxiety in the zip codes you gave me

Dr. Z :

Is there anything else I can assist you with today?

Customer:

Oh wow. Thank you so much.

Customer:

Is there any other closing advice you think would be helpful for me to know?

Dr. Z :

Well be patient with the therapy, like you said this is not a quick fix. Also enjoy this time, pregnancy is a magical time for a young woman, so try not to let the stress overwhelm you. The more you practice the CBT techniques the faster they will be ingrained in your mind, which will lessen your stress.

Customer:

Thank you for your help and information, Dr. Z. I truly appreciate it.

Dr. Z :

Anytime, I am always happy to help. Congratulations on your wonderful news and I hope that this treatment works to lower your stress/anxiety. My goal is to provide you with excellent service, so if you ever have any further questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me at anytime.

Customer:

Thanks again.

Dr. Z :

You are most welcome :)

Dr. Z :

Oh and also when you finish rating me, this chat will be sent as a link to your email, if it has not already, so you can always use it for future reference. In addition, this chat will be saved in your JA account under My Questions so you can always go back to it when you need to

Customer:

It's as if you read my mind! I was confused as to what I needed to do to submit my rating. Thanks for the tip :)

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 3188
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and 3 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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