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Feelings of anxiety/sadness/worry...

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Hi everyone, i am going to try to explain this as clearly and as logically as i can but it may end up being very long-winded.


I posted a while ago about my girlfriend of about 4 months and how about a year to a year 1/2 ago she used to self-harm by cutting herself. The other night when we were having quite a deep conversation about our feelings i asked her to promise me that if she ever felt like doing it again or if she actually ever did it again then i wanted her to let me know. A few minutes later she told me that she had cut herself earlier in the week and that it was the first time she has done it since she originally stopped doing it.

Obviously this hit me like a tonne of bricks, it felt like someone had just taken a sledgehammer to my guts. It was such an awful blow to me because i was under the belief that she was past that phase and was now strong enough to avoid going back to it. My first question, naturally, was "what made you feel like doing it?" to which her response was very muddled. All that i could really get out of her about it was that she felt under pressure because of the exams she ahs been having this week. Next, i told her that i am NOT going to ask her to stop doing it, but that it bothers me that she focusses her emotions in that way. I assured her that she has me and if she needs to take out her stress on someone then she can beat on me all she wants. Was this the right thing to do and the right way of approaching the subject?


A few weeks ago i posted about how the news of her self-harm had affected me. After a few days the feeling seemed to lift and i was feeling positive again. However, this week the feeling has come back. Specifically it has been back since about wednesday/thursday, with two real low points being friday when i got home and a very rough day today at work (with my girlfriend there giving me lots of support) followed by feeling even worse when i got home.


I told my girldfriend last night about these feelings. We were led on her couch and i started feeling very uncomfortable, i started trying to control my breathing. At this point she observed that something was wrong and began to question me about it and what was causing it. I think that the way i explained it to her was quite effective in getting accross what i was feeling, of course i left out a few things that might have involved her because i saw no need to tell her and place a burden on her.


The feelings/symptoms i experience and have experienced

The feelings come and go. Generally i will wake up feeling average, sometimes with a heaviness in my stomach that almost feels like my body has food left to digest in the gut. Throughout the day i will fluctuate between feeling normal (relatively happy and positive) and sad for no apparent reason, sometimes needing to control my breathing.


Feelings of anxiety, characterised by a knot or tightness in my stomach around the solar plexus and just below, which are present throughout most of the day. These frequently come to a climax when i get home from school or work. One time a few weeks ago i think i had a mild panic attack becuase of this.


Occasional feelings of extreme sadness, feeling like there is no light left in the world. At these points i can only see darkness and sadness everywhere i look, even in overly happy and positive situations (i will find myself looking and contemplating what could make them sad).


The above feelings of sadness are sometimes followed by panic. I feel a very tight knot in my stomach, which is accompanied by a cold wave washing over me making me light headed and feeling like i need to escape from the situation and the emotions i am feeling (this is very similar to claustrophobia) and i also feel like i am going to pass out if i dont sit or lie down.


I have little interest in doing stuff that i would usually rush to do when i got home, such as my hobbies. All i feel like doing is reading, studying, sleeping or sitting and watching the television.


I also have trouble sleeping, the other night I found myself waking extremely early and being unable to get to sleep. Then I found myself sleeping in the afternoon. My mum thinks that the illness is down to being out of my usual sleep-wake cycle, however I haven’t told her about some of the symptons (sadness, panic, anxiety)


**I have been thinking very much about these feeling and when they generally occur. I have gone through this 'phase' before, and if my memory serves me correctly, these feelings are most common to my in winter. I have researched Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and it seems to link with the symptoms of that, i mentioned this to my girlfriend when we were discussing it and she said it was a possibility. It also links with stress, depression and anxiety disorders. I think it is most likely down to an inability to cop with stress as well as others do.**


What does everyone think of these symptoms, is there anyone who feels them themselves, or any doctors who could advise me as to what it may be?


Causes of the symptoms

Right away I must say that I do not know of one single thing that causes these symptoms. Most likely it is a mixture of things at work, home and in my social life that I am unable or unwilling to distance myself from.


Most frequently these feelings occur in the evening when i get home from school, work or my girlfriend’s house. Perhaps that can be linked to a fear of being without my peers for social support or simply a fear of being bored at home.


I get the feelings when my girlfriend is not feeling well. Her illnesses or any sadness often reflect themselves in me, possibly because I worry about her. I also worry about her cutting herself, although that gets easier with time.


I also find myself fearing that she does not feel the same way. This is a recent thing. The other night she didn’t seem very interested in kissing and the night before she failed to respond to my text message. I think this could be a combination of factors including the fact that she had cut herself earlier in the week and was worried about telling me. Also, when we finished work yesterday and I was feeling really light-headed and nauseous, she didn’t want to kiss me goodbye for fear of catching something! Actually, if I am honest I wouldn’t have wanted to kiss me either! I think I am most likely being very paranoid about this however, because she continues to make plans for our future such as weekend trips, valentines day, birthdays, etc. which she even went and told her friends about!!


Pressure at work such as the occasional slave-driving boss as well as customer complaints can also set me off.


**After telling my girlfriend about these symptoms, feelings and a few of the causes I have become worried that she thinks less of me. She said she was shocked that I had these feelings because she never detected anything wrong before, she also said that she thinks more of me now for being strong enough to tell her about them and “let her in”. I still worry that she no longer sees me as her rock, especially after how bad I was feeling at work yesterday and the fact that I went home early.**




I know this is long and that it contains a lot of information. I like to try and say as much as possible because it not only helps me get it all off my chest and into some sort of logical form, it also allows you all to get a more detailed picture so that you are able to help more. Thanks in advance. Any replies, comments, questions or advice will be most appreciated…



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I would do a couple of things. First would be to educate yourself on the subject of why cutters do what they do. I would go to my local bookstore or Amazon and find books that address this subject. I might grab a few of them to get different perspectives by different professionals.


Next, I might actually go talking to a professional - be it online or in person. I think that as her boyfriend, you're limited in what you can do. However, informing yourself and educating yourself might help you understand exactly how much you can influence her. If anything, you might get an even better understanding of why she does what she does.


And this goes with any type of abuse. Anyone whose partner has been abused or is abusing themself - educate yourself, read up about it, talk to an expert on the subject and see how you can learn your role in her life. You won't be able to solve your partners problems on your own but you can gain a better understanding and thereforeeee take positive steps to improve your relationship.


Good luck.

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I dont think it is just the fact that she used to cut herself or did it again recently. I was feeling this way before she even told me that she had done it again.


I told my mum and she says that everyone feels this way in winter and that i dont need to see a doctor becuase they will only tell me the same thing. I know everyone is down in the winter months, but it seems that everyone copes with it better than i do. I suffer at lot, i feel sad a lot right now, right now i want to cry, i want someone to understand.


I want all these feelings to go away. Dont worry in not thinking about suicide or anything, thats just stupid. I want to see a doctor, or a psychiatrist, or someone who can help me deal with all of this, i dont want to do it by myself.


I want to tell my mum about my girlfriend, but i would feel like i am breaking her trust.

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I don't think it's normal to become depressed during winter. Sure, the weather could make you more apt to depression but it's not the cause of it. In other words, the root of what's causing these feelings lies somewhere in or around you. Perhaps professional help may clear some things up and help you understand yourself and your feelings better.

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