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Girl wants to "take a break" due to her anxiety. Anxiety sufferers' advice wanted! watch

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    (Original post by VladThe1mpaler)
    ok so i've been going out with this girl for 4/5 months and i really like her. She told me early on she has anxiety

    things have been going fine up until the past week where she's been distant/not meeting up/hardly texting etc. so i confronted her about it and she told me that she has been "really mentally ill" recently with her anxiety and couldn't really feel anything and suggested we "take a break" until I get back from my holiday in a few weeks and see if she's up for getting things back on track again

    I told her I can be patient but now i'm wondering how i progress things from here. Do i wait for her to text me when i get back and if i don't hear from her just assume things are completely done? Or do I text her when I get back and ask her?

    I really want things to work but I don't really understand anxiety as I have never even met anyone with it (as far as I'm aware). I've also never had a "break" it's always been a clear cut "break-up"
    Assume things are completely done. If she valued your relationship (and you) she'd "let you in" and use your presence as a way to keep herself stable. My partner and I both have anxiety and depression, and this is what we do.

    In the meanwhile, I'd try and persuade her to seek help/treatment. She's clearly either not coping or not bothered, and that's not good.
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    (Original post by Tootles)
    Assume things are completely done. If she valued your relationship (and you) she'd "let you in" and use your presence as a way to keep herself stable. My partner and I both have anxiety and depression, and this is what we do.

    In the meanwhile, I'd try and persuade her to seek help/treatment. She's clearly either not coping or not bothered, and that's not good.
    I mean 4 months isn't a huge amount of time to be together but I get what you're saying. What I'm confused about is why we have to "take a break". She told me she "felt nothing" not just about me but everything. Surely if she had feelings for me and knew that this anxiety episode would end in the future then she would have wanted to stay together? I don't know, this is the logical way someone would think but i suppose people with anxiety don't necessarily think logically.

    So you think i should just consider it over and move on? Don't even bother trying to get back in touch in a few weeks time?
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    (Original post by VladThe1mpaler)
    I mean 4 months isn't a huge amount of time to be together but I get what you're saying. What I'm confused about is why we have to "take a break". She told me she "felt nothing" not just about me but everything. Surely if she had feelings for me and knew that this anxiety episode would end in the future then she would have wanted to stay together? I don't know, this is the logical way someone would think but i suppose people with anxiety don't necessarily think logically.

    So you think i should just consider it over and move on? Don't even bother trying to get back in touch in a few weeks time?
    Pretty much. Leave her to it if she wants to be pathetic.

    I know there are going to be people who don't like me saying that kind of behaviour is pathetic, but it is. When you've got anxiety (though this sounds more like clinical depression, but they're very similar), your feelings can fade - but you know it's going to pass. You don't push people away, you keep people who can help you remember what it's like to be positive (partners, friends, parents) around you to help buck you back up. Recovering solo from an episode - in my own experience - is far more difficult than with the support of loved ones. That said, I have severe depression as well as anxiety. But without my parents and best friend being there when I had my worst bout of it, I would have been sectioned (at best) or even tried to kill myself.

    More recently, my own partner had a bout of it last year. She was awful to know at that point, and she knew it, but she also knew that if she could drag her heels for long enough, she'd get over it - and she did. She and I stayed together. We talked, we fought, we kissed and made up. That's how a couple deals with mental health problems.

    I'm sorry if I sound callous or anything... I suppose it's a callous disorder, and a very selfish one.

    So, yes, if she thinks a "break" is necessary or even relevant, she's not good for you. Chuck, rid, find a woman who's worthy of you.
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    (Original post by Tootles)
    Pretty much. Leave her to it if she wants to be pathetic.

    I know there are going to be people who don't like me saying that kind of behaviour is pathetic, but it is. When you've got anxiety (though this sounds more like clinical depression, but they're very similar), your feelings can fade - but you know it's going to pass. You don't push people away, you keep people who can help you remember what it's like to be positive (partners, friends, parents) around you to help buck you back up. Recovering solo from an episode - in my own experience - is far more difficult than with the support of loved ones. That said, I have severe depression as well as anxiety. But without my parents and best friend being there when I had my worst bout of it, I would have been sectioned (at best) or even tried to kill myself.

    More recently, my own partner had a bout of it last year. She was awful to know at that point, and she knew it, but she also knew that if she could drag her heels for long enough, she'd get over it - and she did. She and I stayed together. We talked, we fought, we kissed and made up. That's how a couple deals with mental health problems.

    I'm sorry if I sound callous or anything... I suppose it's a callous disorder, and a very selfish one.

    So, yes, if she thinks a "break" is necessary or even relevant, she's not good for you. Chuck, rid, find a woman who's worthy of you.
    Thanks for the very honest and helpful advice.
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    (Original post by Tootles)
    Pretty much. Leave her to it if she wants to be pathetic.

    I know there are going to be people who don't like me saying that kind of behaviour is pathetic, but it is. When you've got anxiety (though this sounds more like clinical depression, but they're very similar), your feelings can fade - but you know it's going to pass. You don't push people away, you keep people who can help you remember what it's like to be positive (partners, friends, parents) around you to help buck you back up. Recovering solo from an episode - in my own experience - is far more difficult than with the support of loved ones. That said, I have severe depression as well as anxiety. But without my parents and best friend being there when I had my worst bout of it, I would have been sectioned (at best) or even tried to kill myself.

    More recently, my own partner had a bout of it last year. She was awful to know at that point, and she knew it, but she also knew that if she could drag her heels for long enough, she'd get over it - and she did. She and I stayed together. We talked, we fought, we kissed and made up. That's how a couple deals with mental health problems.

    I'm sorry if I sound callous or anything... I suppose it's a callous disorder, and a very selfish one.

    So, yes, if she thinks a "break" is necessary or even relevant, she's not good for you. Chuck, rid, find a woman who's worthy of you.
    This is incredibly ignorant. Anxiety often falls into the realm of OCD and depression. To call it 'pathetic' is to call mental illness pathetic. As a sufferer of severe anxiety (especially relationship anxiety) anxious feelings do not simply 'fade' - I've been in the same episode for nearly three months. Anxiety is irrational. Despite the fact somewhere deep down you recognise that things will probably get better, when living in your head, or having the same thoughts over and over again, an anxious reality does not correspond to actual reality. You can push people away: whether it's because you have low self esteem, because you don't feel worthy of your partner, or because you feel too sick to focus on anything else. Pushing somebody away does not correspond to not caring about them. An anxious person requires sympathy, care, and space if they need it (note need, not want ). People don't just 'buck back up' - I've been on Diazepam and Mirtazapine for severe anxiety and depression because my mental faculties are corrupt from anxiety (drugs are there to accelerate healing. How do you propose, if someone is mentally sick, that they accept the positivity of their peers when reality is being mediated by mental illness?) Who says she is recovering solo? She may be organising therapy, or taking medication? You use your experience as authority, yet fail to acknowledge that anxiety is different for all sufferers. You can be supported by loved ones without them being there in person - support is not just a physical presence, it's giving someone time when they need it, sometimes knowing someone is there after you get better is comforting in itself. Not everyone is able to 'drag [their] heels' - you make it sound as if anxiety is a test of personal drive or stamina, and it's not necessarily so. Couples deal with health problems differently - it's not always the case that a partner can overcome anxiety so easily without space, without coming to realise what needs to be done to achieve health independent from a relationship. Just because the method you used worked for your relationship, it's not universal.

    You are being incredibly 'callous'. You apologise, yet continue to be so. You label it a 'callous' illness, yet if you understood the meaning of callous ('showing or having an insensitive and cruel disregard for others') you'd understand that pushing people away is, sometimes, part of anxiety. If she thinks a break is necessary, it doesn't mean she's pushing you aside: on the contrary, focusing on herself could be better for the relationship long term.
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    (Original post by Foreverneek)
    This is incredibly ignorant. Anxiety often falls into the realm of OCD and depression. To call it 'pathetic' is to call mental illness pathetic. As a sufferer of severe anxiety (especially relationship anxiety) anxious feelings do not simply 'fade' - I've been in the same episode for nearly three months. Anxiety is irrational. Despite the fact somewhere deep down you recognise that things will probably get better, when living in your head, or having the same thoughts over and over again, an anxious reality does not correspond to actual reality. You can push people away: whether it's because you have low self esteem, because you don't feel worthy of your partner, or because you feel too sick to focus on anything else. Pushing somebody away does not correspond to not caring about them. An anxious person requires sympathy, care, and space if they need it (note need, not want ). People don't just 'buck back up' - I've been on Diazepam and Mirtazapine for severe anxiety and depression because my mental faculties are corrupt from anxiety (drugs are there to accelerate healing. How do you propose, if someone is mentally sick, that they accept the positivity of their peers when reality is being mediated by mental illness?) Who says she is recovering solo? She may be organising therapy, or taking medication? You use your experience as authority, yet fail to acknowledge that anxiety is different for all sufferers. You can be supported by loved ones without them being there in person - support is not just a physical presence, it's giving someone time when they need it, sometimes knowing someone is there after you get better is comforting in itself. Not everyone is able to 'drag [their] heels' - you make it sound as if anxiety is a test of personal drive or stamina, and it's not necessarily so. Couples deal with health problems differently - it's not always the case that a partner can overcome anxiety so easily without space, without coming to realise what needs to be done to achieve health independent from a relationship. Just because the method you used worked for your relationship, it's not universal.

    You are being incredibly 'callous'. You apologise, yet continue to be so. You label it a 'callous' illness, yet if you understood the meaning of callous ('showing or having an insensitive and cruel disregard for others' you'd understand that pushing people away is, sometimes, part of anxiety. If she thinks a break is necessary, it doesn't mean she's pushing you aside: on the contrary, focusing on herself could be better for the relationship long term.
    I know anxiety is different for all sufferers. I also know that people often use it as an excuse, and that with a stong enough will you can drag your heels and get over pretty much any mental illness

    I said pathetic because OP's girlfriend sounds like she is being pathetic. I also am using the word in its correct sense that something "arouses or causes sadness or pity."

    You seem to be failing completely to grasp that I was replying and referring specifically to the case described by the OP. People use anxiety as an excuse, especially where relationships are concerned. Again, I know it happens because it's happened to me*. This specific case sounds like a girl being pathetic. If you don't like my use of that word, tough ****.

    And if you thought I was callous before, here's a corker: why would you, in full knowledge that you're liable to roll relationship-anxiety snake-eyes in a relationship, enter into one in the first place? That's like eating pizza when you've got coeliac disease.

    *
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    Before you say whatever you might about me just deciding for my self what other people think and feel, the girl in question cited anxiety as a reason to need a break right after Christmas. Within a day she had got together with - and moved in with - another man.
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    (Original post by Tootles)
    I know anxiety is different for all sufferers. I also know that people often use it as an excuse, and that with a stong enough will you can drag your heels and get over pretty much any mental illness

    I said pathetic because OP's girlfriend sounds like she is being pathetic. I also am using the word in its correct sense that something "arouses or causes sadness or pity."

    You seem to be failing completely to grasp that I was replying and referring specifically to the case described by the OP. People use anxiety as an excuse, especially where relationships are concerned. Again, I know it happens because it's happened to me*. This specific case sounds like a girl being pathetic. If you don't like my use of that word, tough ****.

    And if you thought I was callous before, here's a corker: why would you, in full knowledge that you're liable to roll relationship-anxiety snake-eyes in a relationship, enter into one in the first place? That's like eating pizza when you've got coeliac disease.

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    Spoiler:
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    Before you say whatever you might about me just deciding for my self what other people think and feel, the girl in question cited anxiety as a reason to need a break right after Christmas. Within a day she had got together with - and moved in with - another man.
    I'd consider myself a strong willed person, but anxiety has torn my life apart and has done for as long as I can remember. It's not something I drag my heels into and get over, because it's always there in the background. While I have 'episodes' of more severe anxiety, GAD is ever present. To dig one's heels in all the time, is to deny human weakness - there is only so much one person can possibly withstand. Why are there development in psychology, different modes of therapy, progress in medicine to treat anxiety and depression, if it only takes strong will?

    Why does she sound like she's being pathetic? Even if you are implying that she is using anxiety for attention, that doesn't negate or cause distrust of her anxiety. Perhaps it's simply an admission of her need for emotional support, for 'pity' or 'sadness', or in other words empathy: a shared sadness, for anxiety sufferers often seek validation from others. Your definition added nothing to your argument.

    I grasp your ignorance. I am well aware of how TSR works thank you, one person creates a thread, others reply.

    People use anxiety as an excuse? It is opinions like this which demean mental illness. Unless you have the capacity to enter the minds of all people who claim to have anxiety, and not the one girl you mention in your spoiler, this is an unnecessary statement. ROCD is a genuine illness. Look it up. 'Especially where relationships are concerned' - your use of experience as authority is a little conceited. I'm not one to get tied up in words: you assume that I am touched by your argument (I'm not, just to confirm - I just think that the bias in your argument needs to be counteracted to give the OP a more balanced view of anxiety, so an informed decision can be made).

    Why would I enter into a relationship? Consider it me digging me heels in a little. Though I struggle to sustain my will, it's not non-existent. I love my partner, anxiety just mediates everything so it appears uglier. Relationships are not my enemy, anxiety and depression are.
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    (Original post by Foreverneek)
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    You seem to be pretty knowledgeable on this topic.

    What would you suggest I do?
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    (Original post by VladThe1mpaler)
    You seem to be pretty knowledgeable on this topic.

    What would you suggest I do?
    I'd suggest waiting it out - what have you got to lose? If she decides she doesn't want a relationship, then respect that, but if she decides she does, and as you've stated you like her, then that's the best outcome. I know what it's like to feel like you have to make an immediate decision, to have that certainty, but giving it some time and allowing her to make the decision won't leave you wondering 'what if'!
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    (Original post by Foreverneek)
    I'd suggest waiting it out - what have you got to lose? If she decides she doesn't want a relationship, then respect that, but if she decides she does, and as you've stated you like her, then that's the best outcome. I know what it's like to feel like you have to make an immediate decision, to have that certainty, but giving it some time and allowing her to make the decision won't leave you wondering 'what if'!
    So just wait a month or so and then get back in touch to see how things are?
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    (Original post by VladThe1mpaler)
    So just wait a month or so and then get back in touch to see how things are?
    Sure - there's no need to put a time on it. A break doesn't necessarily mean cutting off contact completely though it's important not to 'compete' with her space. If she says she'd rather you didn't contact her at all, that's her choice to make, and it's her responsibility to set boundaries. I think you have to achieve the right balance of showing you care, but giving and respecting the space she's asked for. A brief message shouldn't compromise that, and if it does, hopefully she'll let you know
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    (Original post by Foreverneek)
    Sure - there's no need to put a time on it. A break doesn't necessarily mean cutting off contact completely though it's important not to 'compete' with her space. If she says she'd rather you didn't contact her at all, that's her choice to make, and it's her responsibility to set boundaries. I think you have to achieve the right balance of showing you care, but giving and respecting the space she's asked for. A brief message shouldn't compromise that, and if it does, hopefully she'll let you know
    Hmm ok thanks very much for the advice. The impression I got from a "break" was that she didn't want any contact really. I'm going on holiday anyway so I won't really be texting her much.
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    (Original post by VladThe1mpaler)
    ok so i've been going out with this girl for 4/5 months and i really like her. She told me early on she has anxiety

    things have been going fine up until the past week where she's been distant/not meeting up/hardly texting etc. so i confronted her about it and she told me that she has been "really mentally ill" recently with her anxiety and couldn't really feel anything and suggested we "take a break" until I get back from my holiday in a few weeks and see if she's up for getting things back on track again

    I told her I can be patient but now i'm wondering how i progress things from here. Do i wait for her to text me when i get back and if i don't hear from her just assume things are completely done? Or do I text her when I get back and ask her?

    I really want things to work but I don't really understand anxiety as I have never even met anyone with it (as far as I'm aware). I've also never had a "break" it's always been a clear cut "break-up"
    You need to tell her to try and relax Ive written a blog post about it which might help if you showed it her! Good luck x https://adventuringwithlove.wordpres.../how-to-relax/
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    It's a bit more complicated than her learning to "relax". It would be great if people could overcome anxiety and depression by "having a bath" or "eating something nice" but it doesn't work like that.

    This seems like you're just shamelessly plugging your blog.
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    Actually, I suffer from anxiety myself, and it was the cause of one of my previous breakups. I used to get stressed and worked up convinced that no one could ever want me as much as I wanted them. Relaxing isn't the overall solution but it's a step in the right direction. Sorry if it felt that way, if I wanted to plug my blog I would have done it via Twitter etc.
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    I suffer from anxiety myself and it has often put strain on my relationship with my boyfriend of 8 months. There have been times I have considered having a break for a few reasons: not wanting to take my illness out on him, not let my illness ruin our relationship, or simply just not having it in me to maintain a relationship. Anxiety is a hard, tiring illness and as this is a stressful time of year, I am sure she is just really struggling to get a grasp on her feelings. In all likelihood, she still wants to be with you or she would break things off all together, she just needs some time to focus on herself before coming back to you. Perhaps she is worried you cant handle her at her worst?

    The best advice I can give is to let her know that you're there for her and want to be with her regardless of how badly her illness is affecting her, and that if she needs anything you're just a message away. By doing this it means that you have reassured her that you still want to be in the relationship and are willing to help her through this tough time, but you are not forcing her to talk to you. I hope this helps somehow? And I hope your relationship gets back on track soon!
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    (Original post by NiamhGibson)
    I suffer from anxiety myself and it has often put strain on my relationship with my boyfriend of 8 months. There have been times I have considered having a break for a few reasons: not wanting to take my illness out on him, not let my illness ruin our relationship, or simply just not having it in me to maintain a relationship. Anxiety is a hard, tiring illness and as this is a stressful time of year, I am sure she is just really struggling to get a grasp on her feelings. In all likelihood, she still wants to be with you or she would break things off all together, she just needs some time to focus on herself before coming back to you. Perhaps she is worried you cant handle her at her worst?

    The best advice I can give is to let her know that you're there for her and want to be with her regardless of how badly her illness is affecting her, and that if she needs anything you're just a message away. By doing this it means that you have reassured her that you still want to be in the relationship and are willing to help her through this tough time, but you are not forcing her to talk to you. I hope this helps somehow? And I hope your relationship gets back on track soon!
    This is what I've been thinking. I've made it clear from the moment she told me that I don't care about her anxiety but maybe she still thinks it would bother me. She did say the last guy she went out with ended things with her after she told him about her anxiety so maybe she still has insecurities and thinks I might do the same?

    Anyway, thanks you've made me a bit more optimistic about working this out. I think I'll maybe keep the "no contact" for at least the next week or so because she wasn't texting me at all last week (which is how I knew something was bothering her) so I don't think she wants to talk. I've made my feelings clear so I hope she knows she can still contact me if she wants.
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    (Original post by bethy143)
    Actually, I suffer from anxiety myself, and it was the cause of one of my previous breakups. I used to get stressed and worked up convinced that no one could ever want me as much as I wanted them. Relaxing isn't the overall solution but it's a step in the right direction. Sorry if it felt that way, if I wanted to plug my blog I would have done it via Twitter etc.
    Sorry, that's just the impression I got. Thanks for the advice anyway.
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    (Original post by Rock Fan)
    I wouldn't bother pursuing someone who wants a break, fair enough she has anxiety but she can't just decide when it suits her to be in a relationship.
    Erm, yes, she can?
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    (Original post by porsche200471)
    As a life long sufferer (and I hate that word) I can tell you that she is in control of how she feels. By that I mean you should not turn your head inside out trying to solve this situation. She has to solve it. You could try to make it better and it might not make the slightest bit of difference. It might make a world of difference or she might just push you away. The problem is we can tell when people are trying to make us feel better. My wife would attest to this. If I hit a low patch she can sometimes pull me out of it, but sometimes it is as aggrevating as broken glass on skin. Not in the sense of being painful, more like something is clawing or scratching at your nerves.

    Now, she has asked for space. I assume from they way you talk about her that you care for her and that you would like to be a person she can lean on. You are perfectly entitled to tell her this, but do so in a way that does not pressure her. However, you are as entitled to not have to feel like your feelings are being fed through a mangle. This is a tricky situation to weigh up and you will have to decide how dependent you are on the affirmation of this girl. If you are a strong independent person you might be comfortable playing the long game in this relationship. It takes a strong individual to endure the ups and downs of another person. But you have to have a good sense of your own self worth and don't kid yourself on this point. If you tell yourself now that really want to be there for her, but then six months down the line, when familiarity sets in and reality shows you how demanding this illness can be, it is not good enough that you stuck with it just because you weren't truthful with yourself about how you don't like being alone or getting dumped. You are both better off if you want to be with this girl for the right reasons.

    If you are a self assured individual, you will also be well placed to take that chance on talking to her about what you both deserve. The potential fallout from said action is that she dumps you. If she has low self esteem, and you tell her that you will only wait for so long, then you might be fulfilling her presuppositions that she is ultimately unloveable and dump because she feels she is not worthy of you or so she doesn't expose you to any undue heart ache or just because it is all just too much ****ing hassle. This is the point where it would pay to be that self assured individual, because you will recognise that, whilst it might still hurt that it hasn't worked out, you ultimately understand that it wasn't meant to be. But if you tell her that the person she is keeping on a string is more interested in genuinely, and I mean genuinely, wants to just be with her - not try to cheer her up or suggest ways she take her mind off it - then she might recognise that you are a genuine individual without expectations. And that might be a refreshing experience for her.

    I envy you, in a way. You are faced by a big decision. I would say life changing, but then the point is all decisions are life changing. This one seems bigger than other because your emotions are wrapped up in it. But it is decision none the less, and one you have to make. No one else. Just you. Everyone will reach the end of their lives with at least one regret. The test isn't how many regrets you have. The test is knowing that you are supposed to view them in an interesting and ironic way. They should not be collected and lamented over.
    Wow, thanks very much for this thoughtful and helpful advice.

    I really do want to be with her and I never gave her nay kind of ultimatum or date (she suggested the "break" lasting until i get back from my holiday). The only thing I said to her was that if she wanted to end things permanently then I would rather she did it now.

    I am patient and I do care about her so I can wait for a while. I don't think I can wait endlessly with little to no contact with her though, I have emotional needs of my own.
 
 
 
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