QUESTION: 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.
ANSWER: calm down u need self control,life is short and precious and everything is not that serious. Learn to reign in your negative thoughts. One of the reasons you're paranoid is probably that you tend to assume the worst in any situation, and focus on the worst thing that can happen instead of being realistic about the possible outcome. You may think that everyone hates you or is talking about you, that everyone hates your new haircut, that your new boss is out to get you -- however, it's very likely that none of this is true. The next time you have a very negative thought, stop and do the following:
Ask yourself how likely it is that the negative thought you're having is actually likely to come true.
When you're expecting the worst, consider all of the possible outcomes of a situation, not just the most negative ones. Then you'll see that there are many other possibilities besides the worst one.
Try to combat each negative thought you have with two positive thoughts. For example, if you're worried that everyone thinks your new shoes look terrible, remind yourself how great your hair and outfit look.
Stop obsessing over every little thing. Part of being paranoid means not just considering that everyone is against you or out to get you, but it also means thinking about this constantly. The more you think about the same negative thing, the more you indulge your paranoid thoughts, and the more you become convinced that they are likely to be accurate. Though it's impossible to stop obsessing completely, there are a few tricks that can help you minimize your obsessive thoughts:
Give yourself a designated "worry time." Tell yourself that you're going to freak out about whether or not your best friend secretly hates you or if your boyfriend is cheating on you from 5-5:30 every evening. Spend this time sitting down with your paranoid thoughts, evaluating them, and trying to minimize them. If a worry comes up during a different part of the day, just try to mentally move it to your "worry time."
Remember Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind. When faced with a difficult problem, she says, "I'll think about that tomorrow." Tell yourself the same thing when a thought keeps nagging at you -- tell yourself that it may be a cause for concern, but that you don't have time to stop and obsess over it.
Keep a journal that tracks your paranoid thoughts. Reread it weekly. This can help you not only get out some of your paranoid feelings in a more introspective fashion, but it can also help you see that some of your paranoid fears were completely unfounded when you read back over what you've written.
learn to pray,,, Stay too busy to be paranoid. Another way to avoid being paranoid is to not give yourself a lot of time to wallow or sit around thinking about what everyone else is thinking about you, or worrying that the world is going to end. Though staying busy can't help you escape your problems, it can help you focus your energies on more productive outlets, such as pursuing your interests or attaining your personal goals.
If you spend even a few hours a week pursuing something that your really love, whether it's yoga or coin collecting, you're guaranteed to be less absorbed in your paranoid thoughts.
Make sure you leave some room in your schedule for reflection. Just don't leave your schedule wide open or you'll have too much time to be paranoid.
See if your paranoia is rooted in anxiety. Anxiety may be the cause or tied up with your paranoia. If you have anxiety, then you may be plagued by worry and a constant fear that something may go wrong. Anxiety may even trigger your paranoid thoughts, though these two conditions are different. Anxiety may cause you to worry that you're suffering from a fatal illness; paranoia may lead you to believe that your doctor purposefully made you sick. Stop caring what other people think. If you want to be able to socialize without constantly worrying about how others perceive you, then you have to slowly learn to stop caring about what people think. Of course, this is easier said than done, but once you start believing in yourself and get comfortable around others, you'll see that every little thing you do, say, or wear doesn't really matter to anyone around you.
Work on being less self-conscious. Don't ask people what you should do, what decision you should make, or if you look okay every two seconds, or you won't be able to fully think for yourself.
Embrace your identity. Work on expressing yourself instead of saying what the people around you want to hear.
Put yourself out there. Many paranoid people are so afraid that no one likes them or wants to hang out with them that they're more likely to spend some time alone or at home instead of in a social setting. Well, if you never put yourself out there or take a risk in a social setting, then you'll only expect the worst because you won't ever experience the positive aspects of social interaction. Make a goal of getting out of the house and hanging out with people fairly often, or at least once or twice a week.
The more time you spend socializing, the more comfortable you'll be with the people around you and the less likely you'll be to imagine that they all hate you.
It'll be scary to put yourself out there at first, but it'll ease your worries about what's happening when you're not around.
Stop worrying that your partner is cheating on you. This is one of the most common forms of paranoia. If you're worried that your partner is cheating on you currently, and especially if you've had this concern about every person you've dated, then chances are that your worries are rooted in paranoia. Ask yourself if you have any concrete evidence that this may be happening or if all of your concerns are rooted in your paranoia.
Be open and talk to your partner about it. Tell him or her that you know your feelings are irrational and that you want help dealing with them.
Don't accuse your partner of cheating or check in every two seconds when you're not together to make sure he or she is not cheating. This will only make your partner feel like there's a lack of trust in the relationship.
Explore the unknown. Don't be afraid to talk to your partner about his or her ex if it comes up; sometimes knowing what actually happened can help you see that you have no reason to worry.
Maintain your own identity. If you get too obsessed with the person you're dating or start depending on him or her too much, then you'll be even more likely to be paranoid because you'll feel completely dependent on that person's loyalty.
Hang in there. Constantly worrying that others are trying to hurt you is draining, and acting on those worries can result in situations which are very painful to you. It's okay. Forgive yourself again. You're okay. Keep trying.
Believe in yourself, you have the confidence to do anything you want to. Don't let little things bother you and do your best.
Most people tend feel a little bit edgy and more sensitive, especially when it comes to paranoia, when they are sleep-deprived. Get a good night's sleep (about 8 to 9 hours) and you'll more than likely feel better. It's normal to feel a little scared at times, just not all the time.
Just think to yourself that there are other things in life to worry about. So put it to the back of your mind don't let it distract you!
If you are paranoid constantly more than a month and it's causing you problems, you should see your GP.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thanks so much for the thorough answer. I have already been trying to work on a worry time and have been writing in a worry journal and it helped me break everything down to these main problems: I feel afraid of not being good enough, insecure about everything I am and do, and I take everything personally. Do you have any ideas for how I could work through that and how it'll help me control my worrying?
Another major problem with the worry time thing is that I've been trying to work with it and I keep having problems with the procrastinating of the worry. A single idea pops into my head, and even when I tell myself that I shouldn't worry about it at that moment, I still continue to think about the thought unless I get myself completely consumed in something (usually that means stress cleaning or working out) but if I stop for a single moment I start thinking about everything all over again.
The biggest problem is that I am too good at multitasking so it's hard to distract myself completely, as I could be concentrating on something else but I still have a train of thought that brings me back to the problem. How do I condition myself to recognize these negative thoughts, combat them, and then leave them for later?
Thanks for the advice so far, I'm jotting down some notes to remember what I need to work on. If you could give me a bit more advice on these problems I have about it, that would mean the world to me. Thank you!
hope if i have helped this 2nd time u will rate me for my efforts.“And maybe that’s the crux of the matter: When you have low self-esteem, you see your experiences and the world around you as an extension of how you feel about you. People do what they do, not because they’re independent individual entities, but because of something in you that brings about their actions and thinking, and life happens, shit happens even, not because there are a gazillion other reasons or factors that could have brought it about, but because of something in you.”Keep loving and nurturingy isn’t expanded enough or interpreted in a way that is also along the lines of “when the student is ready a teacher will appear”…being thinking people we can think of exceptions and go around in circles tripping ourselves up…perhaps another spin on the law of attraction and the teacher appearing is that we get chances to test ourselves on what we have learned…do we graduate yet? Have we retained what we’ve learned enough to demonstrate it in action and not just in our heads/projection? Instead of thinking: you because when you can love yourself you can truly love others and receive love.
y isn’t expanded enough or interpreted in a way that is also along the lines of “when the student is ready a teacher will appear”…being thinking people we can think of exceptions and go around in circles tripping ourselves up…perhaps another spin on the law of attraction and the teacher appearing is that we get chances to test ourselves on what we have learned…do we graduate yet? Have we retained what we’ve learned enough to demonstrate it in action and not just in our heads/projection? Instead of thinking:
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