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Thread: My bf doesn't understand my suffering

  1. #1

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    My bf doesn't understand my suffering

    Hello guys...
    I'm new on this forum and I have created my account solely for the purpose of asking for your help...I don't know what to think about this situation that has been upsetting me for the last two years and I really need some advice but I don't think that people who are close to me can be unbiased on this topic, for various reasons...I am slowly becoming desperate. However, I don't really have the ability to rationalize my emotions, and I often act impulsively so I decided to ask for your help because I want to hear what an ''outsider'' thinks...I want to thank you for your responses in advance!
    I will try to make this as short as possible...

    I've been with my boyfriend for 3 years. I'm 21 and he's 23. He is my first serious relationship, and the first person I've had intimate relations with. He is sometimes a very stubborn character and he doesn't show his emotions easily, at least not in the public. Privately, he can be a very affectionate and loyal person and we've never had any problems with lying or cheating or any stuff like that...
    However, I am a girl who has been struggling with severe anxiety and panic attacks for the last 6 years. It has affected my life greatly to the point that I wasn't able to get out of my house and go to school for a whole year. I went to see a doctor and she prescribed me some medicines that slowly started to work their ''magic'' and I was eventually able to get my life back, at least partially, because I was again able to go to school, and I graduated at the top of the class. However, some anxiety was still present, as well as panick attacks that were of less intensity.

    This was all before I met him. When we first stareted dating, my friends, who hooked us up, sort of warned him of my problems, which was fine by me. He said he was okay with it. We had a great relationship, lots of good times, but lots of bad times as well. Everyone around me noticed a change for the better, including me. We would sometimes fight, which is normal, but most of these fights would be because of me and my behaviour which was sometimes impulsive.
    During these fights, we would often touch on the topic of my mental health. He is a type of person who believes that everything is just in my mind and that I can easily get rid of my problems by just focusing on good things. He may be right, but it's not that easy. The biggest problem for me are not the thoughts that occur in my head, but rather the physical processes that happen in my body during a panic attack that leave me more scared and traumatized each time.

    As I already said, my bf is a very stubborn person. It is sometimes very hard to have an objective conversation with him because he always tries to prove his point. He even sometimes suggested that I am just spoiled and imagine these problems. I would get very angry with him beacuse of that, but at the same time I understood that he hasn't gone through it so he can't know how terrible it really is.

    Two years ago, he moved to another country because of work. At first it was hard, but we figured it out. I eventually got into the college I wanted and I am now a successful student, working 2 jobs. We are in a successful long-distance, long-term relationship. We see each other every few months. I have a great relationship with his family, as he does with mine, and we got used to this long-distance thing. He is coming home for good in a few months. The good thing is that he started to listen to me more closely and he often tries do understand what I am going through. I started to control my emotions and words more so you can say we developed a better communication. BUT a big reason for this is that I drastically reduced mentioning my mental helath when talking to him in fear that it would start a new fight that I don't have energy for. And this is not the way it should be, I should be able to openly talk to my partner about my feelings and not fear what the other person might say, am I right?

    Anyways, my problem is this: since I got into college 2 years ago, my anxiety is slowly, but persistently growing. The panic attacks have come back. Recently, suicide thoughts have started to pop into my mind, something which has never happened to me before. I do not have problems with depression, I am by nature a very happy person. However, the problems that I have with my mental health have taken a toll on my mood as well, and they have taken away lots of opportunities for me to have fun and enjoy life. I have trouble with travelling and being in new places, sometimes I even struggle with my 10-min train ride to class. I ended up in a mental institiuiton about a month ago because the situation was becoming unbearable. They prescribed me new medicines, and now I am taking 4 different pills. At first they worked, but over the course of the last 2 weeks, my condition has SEVERELY deteriorated. I struggle during classes, at work, and when travelling. My family is desperate and so am I. It is as if the history is repeting itself but with stronger intensity. I now started to avoid going to work and meeting up with my friends.

    My boyfriend is very well aware of this...he gave me his support in the toughest times, even from very far away. But we recently had another fight about this topic. He still seems to be oblivious to the fact that I have some serious problems. It is as if he doesn't want to accept it. How do I deal with this? Am I supposed to accept the fact that he will probably never give me the full support and understanding that I need?

    Also, another very big problem for me that has arisen in the last few months....I started to have a big sense of guilt, in a sense of obsessively thinking that maybe I am not good enough for him and he deserves better. With me, he has limited possiblities, when we travevel I get panick attacks on the plane, I sometimes get uncomfortable if we are out somewhere or with a big group of people...I feel as if I'm taking the good stuff away from him. He can have any girl he likes. There are lots of girls out there who are equally smart and loyal as pretty as me, but who don't have this crippling condition of mine. Should I let him go? Perhaps that would be the best thing for both of us... :(
    When I try to talk to him about it, he laughs and says it's all rubish and that he loves me and will stand by me no matter what. But I often feel that he is not giving me the support that I need. Am I asking for too much? I also strongly feel that eventually he will grow tired of this and leave me, althoug he has given me no reason to think this at all. However, I can't stop overthinking about this...

    What should I do? I am looking for HONEST answers.
    Thank you very much for your time and patience and I apologize for the length of my text.

    Wish you all the best.

  2. #2
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    Iím so sorry youíre struggling with this. My heart goes out to you as Iíve been there with my mental health. Sometimes it takes different medications to find the combination that works for you so donít give up there.

    I honestly think your boyfriend is insensitive because youíre right he simply doesnít understand. Unfortunately youíre not going to get good emotional support from someone you have to cover up your problems too. What does he want? You to be dancing and smiling 24/7! Iím sorry but itís time you move on for your own sake from your boyfriend and find someone who Ďgetsí it.

    You two are just going to keep clashing. You need someone who you can be all of you with and that accepts and listens.

    You do need therapy to help you with coping skills for the anxiety and someone to talk too about the depression.

    You got this OP. Itís addition by subtraction, by subtracting him from your life your adding more quality to yours.

  3. #3
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    You need to do to a doctor asap and get a check up and ongoing therapy. LDRs are difficult and no friend/bf should have to play psychiatrist with someone who claims to be suicidal. Get help immediately.

  4. #4
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    Sorry to hear that you're going through this. Anxiety can be very hard thing to deal with on a daily basis. I agree with Wiseman2 who has adviced me previously- start seeing a therapist. I made the mistake of treating my close friends as therapists and it in the long run it didn't help. It will help you immensely and it will also help your relationship.

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  6. #5
    Platinum Member RainyCoast's Avatar
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    Have you been in intense, regular ongoing therapy for the six years you've been struggling with this and are you in intense ongoing therapy now? Are you also frequently seeing a psychiatrist?

    If you do not make it a priority to treat your condition with a team of experts as if your life depended on it (it does), this will go to hell when he no longer is protected by the many miles between you but instead dealing with your irrational fears that now govern your life from dawn to dusk. He isn't being insensitive, he simply isn't equipped to deal with what takes a professional approach. It is damaging for him to absorb your distress and to have to play therapist. I know you don't think your mental health is damaging to him but you don't need to be a violent drunk or abusive from delusions to be too much to deal with. Have a therapist or people from a support group describe it to you how dealing with a loved ones mental illness has been destructive for them.

    I have had major depression, anxiety and panic disorder and decades of PTSD, I promise I'm not coming from a non-compassionate place.

    Mental illness sometimes means a lifetime dedication to recovery or at least symptom management with the help of trained professionals and medication. Hoping someone's love, cuddles, an ever listening ear and endless interest in hearing about the imagined catastrophy of the day, every day will not work. It's out of your boyfriend's control. There are people who can genuinely help you and you need to do everything to cooperate with them in treating your illness. Don't allow yourself to think of illness as a way of ensuring anyone's undisturbed flow of affection. Remain firm in the knowledge that it is an illness you have to treat daily same as if type one diabetes or daily dialysis required your ongoing dedication to recovery/ symptom management.

    While some people are definitely better suited to be in relationships with someone with a mental illness than others, there's definitely a limit to how exposed and drained by it anyone can allow themselves to get. Even the person most understanding or most aware in regards to mental health, on top of being very loving and patient as a saint....is not a therapist, and even a therapist opts for not having to be one to their partner. No matter who you surround yourself with, you will need actual treatment first and foremost if relationships are to last.

    Imagine going through a day from start to finish always turning to your boyfriend for comfort to ease your distress, from hyperventilating while brushing your teeth because you're panicking about having to leave the house, to theatrics on the drive to work, to theatrics when unexplained panic attacks have you hysterical at home, to becoming financially dependent on him because you no longer want to show up at work, to not ever being able to go anywhere or doing anything together because you get panic attacks all the time. You know perfectly well he can't manage your symptoms, at all.

    You're in a terrible place, you didn't ask for this, and it is hurtful to hear you are "too much" when suffering. But you need to understand there's no way around intense treatment to get better, and have better relationships. Your condition doesn't make you too much. Expecting therapy from non therapists does.

    Finally, when you have learned to address your condition without dumping it on loved ones, many people will prove themselves to be unfit to be your partners. Even if you have amazing control over how much your condition affects others, some people will be prejudiced and uneducated about mental illness. It's not a big deal, you learn to filter them out, just like bigots, misogynists, snobs, abusers and whatever else you can't respect. But don't automatically accuse people of lacking understanding if you're genuinely allowing yourself to burden them with something they can't help.

    Focus on your mental health now and don't think so much about how he deals with it. When you are making it a priority to deal with it yourself, you'll probably be able to enjoy the relationship better yourself. It's very difficult for you now, but with time you realize that you much prefer the feeling of integrity and being an equal than you do being cared for like a helpless baby kitten. You'll learn to respect yourself not less, but more for the work and strength expended on managing debilitating distress. There's as much dignity in mental illness (and many other disprivileges) as we put into it. Many people are inspirational and awe inspiring for the way they cope with that burden. If you observe, you will notice it took them a shift from a victim/patient standpoint. You will also protect yourself from people who pray on vulnerable people if you shift roles from "needing someone else to manage your wellbeing" to "being an equal who just so happens to have the added responsibility of managing a condition".

    I know you just want to know he cares, but people can care greatly and be helpless and even having to completely remove themselves from someone who has permanently forfeited control over their condition. Get yourself all the help you can get for now, everything else comes after. Keep writing if you need to.

  7. #6
    Gold Member Gary Snyder's Avatar
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    Please discus this with your therapist. If you could get him to go too, or to couples counseling, that might help.

  8. #7
    Platinum Member ThatwasThen's Avatar
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    I didn't read that you are currently in ongoing therapy to help you to overcome your anxiety and panic attacks. Are you in ongoing therapy? If not, why not because it is very clear that you cannot overcome your issues with just medication.

  9. #8
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    He still seems to be oblivious to the fact that I have some serious problems. It is as if he doesn't want to accept it. How do I deal with this? Am I supposed to accept the fact that he will probably never give me the full support and understanding that I need?
    My heart goes out to you.

    He's 23. It may be hard for you to understand the lack of maturity in a 23 year old because you're even younger, but your problems are beyond the scope of his understanding--not necessarily because he's willfully cruel, but because he's not a medical expert, has likely has not been exposed to such conditions, and did not recognize the complexity of what you believed he was knowingly signing on for.

    If trying to make someone understand your problems is causing you more stress than you can handle, you have the option of telling BF that you're not currently positioned to be relationship material at this time, and you will reach out to let him know when that changes. If he's still available then, you can meet to catch up, but meanwhile, you wish him the best.

    This frees you to focus on your own health to do what you must to get better without the complications of trying to teach another person to accept territory he's not equipped or willing to navigate. This doesn't make him a villain, it makes him 23 and unqualified to play the role you want him to adopt.

    Another option would be to accept that everyone, meaning every one of us, has limits. This means that we each view the world and one another through different lenses. You may opt to accept the limits of your BF's lens and expand your own vision to seek support from people beyond BF who own the capacity to work with you in your endeavor.

    No matter how you slice it, this will be your own private battle. You have the right to elect the people you want in your life, but you cannot assign to anyone duties or abilities that they do not possess to support your condition to the degree that you would like.

    Head high, it's a decision.

  10. #9

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    Thank you all for your comments. They made me think about the situation from a different point of view. Some of you made some good points.
    I've forgotten to mention that I am seeing a therapist. I have been on medication, as well as having private sessions with various doctors, from the very start. But I have to say that talking to a therapist doesn't help me very much. I have also tried some alternative methods, such as yoga, meditation and hypnosis (which has helped me alot in the beginning).
    It also doesn't help if I have to waste my energy explaining to my loved one sth which he doesn't understand. Sometimes he even gives the impression that he doesn't even try to understand. As I've already said, he is a very stubborn person (Scropio :'-) )
    I do not expect to be pampered. What I'm asking for, and I have told him this a couple of times, is not understanding, if you can't give it to me (which is very hard to give if one hasn't been to this dark place - I am very well aware of that). What I'm asking for is that he doesn't make my situation more difficult when we fight about this and I find myself having to explain the same thing over and over again. Especially if, for example, he wants to go to a place, and I don't feel like it. I never expect of him to stay at home with me. I want him to have fun and experience things. It would be my greatest unhapiness if he deprived himself some things because of me.
    Sometimes it can be emotionally draining, both from the mental health perspective, as well as from the emotional relationship perspective. For both of us.
    I guess for now it will be wise for me to live day by day and not think about the future too much. I have to take care for myself. As RainyCoast pointed out, my life literally depends on it. I don't want to find myself finacially depend on a partner or even my parents beacuse of my disorder. It would be a nightmare for me, especially beacuse I am a capable individual with lots of ambition.
    My only hope is that my new meds start working. I still have about a month and a half to finish this semester, and that's my main focus right now.
    Thank you all so much for your time and patience and I wish you all the best. I will pray for all of us.
    xoxo

  11. #10
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Excellent you have ongoing therapy and follow up for this. Yes, do not waste anymore time explaining this to him. He does not need every detail of every feeling problem, whatever. All he needs to know is you are depressed and seeking appropriate help, then talk about something else besides your feelings, 'dark thoughts/places' and depression..

    Do not blame him for your depression/problems. Only you can fix your life. Tell your doctor and therapist what is happening, including that you feel "it doesn't help".
    Originally Posted by ffcoolj
    It also doesn't help if I have to waste my energy explaining to my loved one sth which he doesn't understand.


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