Dealing with Stress/Physical Stress


Hello, my name is Natasha, I am a 19 year old second-year student athlete who goes to a school 10 hours away from home (where my family and boyfriend are). I apologize in advance but this will probably be the longest question you'll ever have to read because I really need to be able to explain myself to get the help I need. Several years ago, I was diagnosed with Pure Type 2 Bipolar I Disorder and I'm having trouble with a variety of things recently. Throughout my life I've had many problems with my family (extreme emotional abuse, mother has some kind of serious mental disorder, father is detached and has cheated on my mother multiple times, etc.), relationships (some abuse, having a tendency to become extremely attached to the wrong person), and some social problems (difficulty understanding and fitting in with societal demands).

Wednesday (August 5th), I had to leave my home and boyfriend for pre-season training at my college and I'm having an extremely rough time since. My boyfriend and I have been best friends for 5 years, and last December we started dating and I've never been happier with anyone in my life. Our chemistry together is insane and even though we have been dating for such a short time, we've both been thinking that this relationship could possibly lead to marriage. Because of this, I have been really attached to him in ways I told myself that I'd never be attached to someone again. I won't be able to see him for at least 3 months because of season. This has flipped me out to no end and I've been upset every day just thinking about how much I miss him. He's strong and doesn't really want to show how much he misses me and just continues with life as usual.

I need to work on my personality and my response to certain situations. I have a tendency to worry about pretty much anything you could possibly think of. This becomes a larger problem when it starts affecting my relationships and my overall lifestyle. I have this odd, physical response to extreme amounts of worry or anxiety (this response kicks in fastest when I become suspicious that my boyfriend is going to cheat on me) where I become extremely nauseous and sometimes hypervenelate, sometimes I get worked up to the point where I've thrown up. Since I've come back to school, I've been having panic attacks over a variety of things: worrying about the season and fearing that I will not do better than I did last year even though I have been preparing all summer, panicking over my school schedule that will start in 3 weeks, freaking out that I'm going to have to go through another stressful year of college, and constantly freaking out about my boyfriend and being afraid that he is going to cheat on me. Therefore, I have been feeling physically ill for the last week or so at all times and I can't stop. There's really no way to calm down when I feel sick from this, I've tried distracting myself, meditation, medications, etc. When I'm feeling sick from this, I lose all appetite for pretty much the rest of the day, I lose all motivation to do anything, and I can't fall asleep.

I know that I've improved in my volleyball, I know that I'll be able to handle my school work efficiently, and I know that my boyfriend loves me as a friend and a lover and would never do something like that to me. It's just I worry about it so much and that I'm so afraid of not being good enough and I am so insecure about myself and everything I do that I'm scared to death that I'm going to mess things up with him and something's going to go wrong. But that's the catch, my worrying about our relationship leads me to bring it up to him all the time and he keeps reassuring me that everything is fine and I believe it. He's told me every single time that our relationship is absolutely perfect except for the fact that I worry all the time about it.

On Friday my boyfriend had a party at his apartment after I left to celebrate him getting a new job and moving out. The next morning, they found out that one of the guys at the party (a friend I've known since I was 7) killed himself in his car in front of their apartment. This is also adding to the stress of everything, on top of the fact that my boyfriend told me this morning that he is now going to have a girl rooming in his bedroom with him because she has no other place to stay. He assures me that nothing will happen because she also has a boyfriend (which I found is untrue). Needlesstosay, I have been vomitting the entire day because this news is extremely upsetting. Right now he is at work so I can't really talk with him about it and work more things out.

Overall, I've been having an absolutely terrible time and I can't stop worrying about every little thing. I researched stuff about how to deal with worrying like this and have tried to implement them, but all it does it stress me out more about it. I really need advice about what to do with this situation and I really need to stop worrying to the point of getting sick because it's extremely unhealthy and dangerous. I also want to be able to calm down about my boyfriend and trust in him and not be so attached. I don't know why this happens and how to get it to stop and I really need it to stop. Any help will be fantastic. Thanks.

Hi Natasha

You should only have one focus now, and that is to make a success of your studies.  You have an opportunity and the ability, and being a student will give you more confidence than you can imagine at this time.

You need structure in your life, and your study routine will give you that structure and routine.

Moving house is one of the most stressful life events, and that is what you are doing.

You also need to be honest with yourself about your boyfriend.  I would share your concerns about him sharing his living space with another girl and not being honest about it.  However, imagine not going away to study and then finding out that he is seeing someone else.  For the moment I would say give him the benefit of the doubt and focus on your studies.

If he is honest and true and the one for you, then this will become clear over time and you will be very happy once you have completed your studies.  If he is not material for a long-distance relationship, that will also become clear, but then you will have the comfort and structure of your studies, and you will have your own circle of fellow students to share stuff with.

You will do fine.  Believe in yourself and do everything the way you normally do - to the best of your abilities.

When you feel things become a bit much for you, take a long walk and focus on breathing deeply.  Meditation is good, but I get the impression that meditation for you is an opportunity to brood rather than relax.  Instead, walk off your anxiety as fast as you can.  You will feel exhilarated and full of energy, and that will help you cope better on all fronts.

Dealing with Stress

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Elsabe Smit


Stress is the result of an inner conflict or a conflict between you and the world around you. I deal with relationships (marriage, divorce, teams in business), parenting, money issues, bereavement, conflict, and major life events (serious illness, redundancy).


Trained as psychologist, NLP master practitioner, highly intuitive. Uses a unique and holistic approach that focuses on removing physical and emotional pain.

Published various academic textbooks as author, co-author and editor.

Master's Degree in Industrial psychology, Master's Degree in Business Administration

Past/Present Clients
Businesses with change management, conflict management, communication and teamwork. Individuals with divorce, relationship issues, career crises, personal growth, money issues, mid-life crises.

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