Psychiatry & Psychology--General/fixation


Dear Dr. Harrop,
I have suffered with panic disorder most of my adult life.  I For the most part, it is manageable.  However, at times of extreme stress (eg. friend is dying of breast cancer), I find myself fixating/obsessing over one particular thing or person.
 I am now fixated on a gay colleague, who I desperately want a better friendship with.  Although I realize there is no romantic hope here, I feel inexplicably drawn to him.  He is one of the few people who has always complimented me on my brains and personality, and not for my looks.  I continually strive to impress him.  Unfortunately, he hasn't returned my emails in over three days, and usually answers back within  half an hour.
I am convinced that it is because I have done something to hurt his feelings or turn him off (even though I know I haven't).  
How do I turn off these feelings of always feeling that I have done something to damage the relationship?  My anxiety levels are currently soring, and I know if I say something to him, he will see my crazy side, and surely walk out of my life.

This all a symptom of anxiety.  You may need to increase whatever coping skill you use to handle these usual symptoms: exercise, imaging, etc. I assume you have such skills to help you manage the ongoing anxiety.  Increased psychotherapy briefly might also help, or medication if you have used that before.

By the way, he is really not IN your life (that is your thinking) so he cannot really walk OUT of your life -- he is co-worker, not really a friend.

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Daniel S. Harrop, M.D.


Dr. Daniel S. Harrop received his B.A. and his M.D., both from Brown, and his M.B.A. from the Edinburgh Business School, Scotland. Board-certified in adult and geriatric psychiatry, he is a past president of the R.I. Psychiatric Society and a member of the Committee on Medical Quality of the American Psychiatric Association and the Committee on Continuing Medical Education of the R.I Medical Society. He serves as a consultant to four of the top five major medical management companies, including OptumHealth/United Healthcare, Magellan Behavioral Health Services, ValueOptions and APS Healthcare, and maintains a private practice in Providence, R.I. He also serves as chief psychiatric consultant on the Medical Advisory Board at the R.I. Workers Compensation Court. He was formerly on the faculty at the medical schools at both Brown University and Harvard University.

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