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family doesnt understand my severe anxiety


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I have come to terms with the fact that I am never work in a people related field, or even have a steady job for very long, bc of my debihilating anxiety, and panic attacks. I have severe social anxiety, and I have panic attacks almost daily from it, just walking down my street, not to mention going places like the grocery store even is a chore for me, nad I start freaking out, when too many people are on the same aisle as me. But why cant the people around me realize this, that I am not going to be a people person, I am not going to be able to hold down a job, like a lot of people do. I Honestly Cant Hold Down a job, for my life, bc of this reason. I panic at the slightest thing, if I dont do something right, if I am not quick enough to respond to a situation, at work. I am trying to explain to my family and my bf, that this isnt something you can just FACE Your fears an d get over. and that I have been this way since I was like 7. and I am 22, so it isnt something that time just takes away. I have tried many different things to manage it, klonopin, xanax, buspar, and they only work for a short period of time, and then quit. and therapy does nothing, bc most of my fears are completely irrational and make no sense, so talking about it, doesnt seem to make them easier to deal with. I just want my family and bf to understand that this is probably going to be lifetime condition, and that I might not ever be very financially stable, bc jobs I can ACTUALLY DO, will be hard to find. does anyone relate? how do I explain this to them, I try over and over again, and still they dont get it.

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I get what you are saying completely because I too have had those symptoms. But I am discouraged by your opinion that you won't ever get better. If all you've done with a therapist is talk about how you feel, you haven't been to the right therapist. Let me see if explaining helps any: What is going on with your brain is that you have a "hair trigger" for your flight or fight response system. This means that the part of your brain that goes off when you are in danger goes off too easily. So a stranger too close by will cause you to panic. What you do in therapy is retrain your brain not to see these things as a threat. It is how your brain is wired, but it isn't necessarily permanent. So if you are seeing a therapist who does cognitive behavioral treatment, then you will have things you work on that help you feel less panicked by everyday situations. You should be learning coping skills on how to calm yourself down when in a panic.

Panic disorder is one of the most treatable mental illnesses. I'm not saying it should be easy for you to get better, but I can't see that you are completely out of options. The mental health system is very difficult to navigate and it takes a while sometimes to find good therapists or psychiatrists. I wonder if you want to get better. Sometimes people don't.

As far as your family goes, try explaining the problem to them like I explained to you. Hope this helps.

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I get what you are saying completely because I too have had those symptoms. But I am discouraged by your opinion that you won't ever get better. If all you've done with a therapist is talk about how you feel, you haven't been to the right therapist

I agree with that but I know how hard it can be so im not going to say its going to get better. Only that I hope you get some relief.

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I wonder if you want to get better. Sometimes people don't.

And frankly I'm starting to wonder if you got your therapy certificate out of a cracker jack box.

I guess you've never met anyone that didn't want to get better. There are a lot of them. They have lots of reasons why they don't want to get better. For some people, mental illness is incorporated into their identity and they don't know who they are without it. For others if they got better they'd have to take on responsibilities they never have before. They are legitimate reasons to fear getting better and to want others to not expect any more of them. I don't expect everyone to get what I'm saying. But then again, random people's opinion on the internet of what I'm saying doesn't phase me much.

P.S.: What is a "therapy certificate" anyway?

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I guess you've never met anyone that didn't want to get better. There are a lot of them. They have lots of reasons why they don't want to get better. For some people, mental illness is incorporated into their identity and they don't know who they are without it. For others if they got better they'd have to take on responsibilities they never have before. They are legitimate reasons to fear getting better and to want others to not expect any more of them. I don't expect everyone to get what I'm saying. But then again, random people's opinion on the internet of what I'm saying doesn't phase me much.

P.S.: What is a "therapy certificate" anyway?

Threadjack

Actually, CBL (now CB), I think you'll find people here are fairly well familiar with the concept of resistance. I'm interested that you haven't 'heard' that in your time here on the board.

I think that if you took the text you've written into supervision, you'd have some interesting discussions. Yes, I understand that you're not here in your therapist role. You're here as a crazy person. That's a difficult role transition. Nevertheless... I think that text, the text that you wrote as just CBL, not as CBL-at-work, would be fruitful material for supervision, because those candid real-world responses may give you a lot of insight into your own therapeutic process, from what I've read about that kind of thing.

Considering your own lived experience with OCD, and your own lived experience with the limitations of therapy as treatment, and the relief you subsequently had from medication... try to generalize that to the OP's situation.

You weren't resistant to getting better; you weren't stuck in the illness role; you weren't so vested in the identity that you couldn't break loose.

And you may be tempted to reply with a long list of all the differences in motivation, etc., and how you are all better now.

Fine, if that's important to you to share that with a random internet crazy person who doesn't faze (sp?) you, feel free.

After you're done with that process, and I'll listen, then remember that not all failure to progress is rooted in a desire to remain ill - not even MOST failure to progress. That desire may be a part of it; there is often fear of changing a role. Moving from "expert at being ill" to "novice at being well" is a big change. You're absolutely right about that.

Not all failure to respond to therapy is because all prior therapists were inadequate. That strikes me as a... risky... belief for a novice therapist to hold.

When I read the OP, what I read is: hopelessness and helplessness. In your experience, is advice-giving the most successful approach in that situation? Or, in the initial few minutes, questioning the other person's motivation in that situation? (And I'm talking about SOCIALLY, not therapeutically.)

Because, well, that just hasn't been my experience.

But I'm just a random internet person. I don't know nothin' 'bout no supervision or anything like that.

I don't, in fact, even have a therapy certificate, as it turns out, when I check the wall.

Thanks so much for your time.

--Another Irrelevant Random Internet Crazy Person

[/threadjack]

edited for irrelevance (even for a threadjack)

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RANDOM people??? CBL, both Maddy and Susan have much much longer CB resumes than *you*. YOU are the random person who showed up here and started passing out advice. you're the random newcomer here, kiddo.

Yes, believe it or not, you are all "random people" to me at this point unless I've gotten to know you in that internet kind of way. Your comment reminds me of middle school and the separation between the cool kids and the nerds. "CB resumes"?? Grow up.

I don't give a crap how "new" I am to a message board. I didn't know this was some exclusive club that people are hazed into. I have a life beyond this. Isn't the point of posting on here to see what other people think? Sometimes people reply to things I post and I don't agree. Oh well. That is what happens on online forums.

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I guess you've never met anyone that didn't want to get better. There are a lot of them. They have lots of reasons why they don't want to get better. For some people, mental illness is incorporated into their identity and they don't know who they are without it. For others if they got better they'd have to take on responsibilities they never have before. They are legitimate reasons to fear getting better and to want others to not expect any more of them. I don't expect everyone to get what I'm saying. But then again, random people's opinion on the internet of what I'm saying doesn't phase me much.

P.S.: What is a "therapy certificate" anyway?

Threadjack

Actually, CBL (now CB), I think you'll find people here are fairly well familiar with the concept of resistance. I'm interested that you haven't 'heard' that in your time here on the board.

I think that if you took the text you've written into supervision, you'd have some interesting discussions. Yes, I understand that you're not here in your therapist role. You're here as a crazy person. That's a difficult role transition. Nevertheless... I think that text, the text that you wrote as just CBL, not as CBL-at-work, would be fruitful material for supervision, because those candid real-world responses may give you a lot of insight into your own therapeutic process, from what I've read about that kind of thing.

Considering your own lived experience with OCD, and your own lived experience with the limitations of therapy as treatment, and the relief you subsequently had from medication... try to generalize that to the OP's situation.

You weren't resistant to getting better; you weren't stuck in the illness role; you weren't so vested in the identity that you couldn't break loose.

And you may be tempted to reply with a long list of all the differences in motivation, etc., and how you are all better now.

Fine, if that's important to you to share that with a random internet crazy person who doesn't faze (sp?) you, feel free.

After you're done with that process, and I'll listen, then remember that not all failure to progress is rooted in a desire to remain ill - not even MOST failure to progress. That desire may be a part of it; there is often fear of changing a role. Moving from "expert at being ill" to "novice at being well" is a big change. You're absolutely right about that.

Not all failure to respond to therapy is because all prior therapists were inadequate. That strikes me as a... risky... belief for a novice therapist to hold.

When I read the OP, what I read is: hopelessness and helplessness. In your experience, is advice-giving the most successful approach in that situation? Or, in the initial few minutes, questioning the other person's motivation in that situation? (And I'm talking about SOCIALLY, not therapeutically.)

Because, well, that just hasn't been my experience.

But I'm just a random internet person. I don't know nothin' 'bout no supervision or anything like that.

I don't, in fact, even have a therapy certificate, as it turns out, when I check the wall.

Thanks so much for your time.

--Another Irrelevant Random Internet Crazy Person

[/threadjack]

edited for irrelevance (even for a threadjack)

I get everything you are saying. What I don't want is for everyone to view everything I say through the lens of me being a professional. I don't write stuff here from that identity. I just try to use the knowledge I have of things from experience, reading, school, ect... to apply to what someone writes. I don't have the energy to think when I'm home like I do at work. At work I think about how every little thing I say and do will affect my clients and how they perceive me. I don't want that liability here. I just want to say what I think and only censor myself as far as trying not to upset anyone or disrespect them. I don't want to be held to the same expectations as a professional here. This is for many reasons but mostly because the lack of information from all of these situations would make it impossible for me to give any type of professional comments.

The vibe I got from the original poster (or is it postee, lol) that it was a good possibility that they may not be interested in getting better, for whatever reason. I wanted to throw it out to them as a potential reason they are in the situation they are. I could be totally off, who knows. I don't know them at all. I dont know that it would be accurate to assume that I've never experienced any resistance to the treatment process, or that I don't know what it's like to incorporate my illness into my identity. In fact I've been through all of that and somehow got beyond it.

The only reason I even let anyone know here that I am a therapist is because it is something I am damn proud of. I busted my behind during some really rough times to be where I am right now. It is a strange dichotomy to view myself as the client and the therapist at the same time. It is something I am still trying to come to terms with. But again in case anyone is confused, i'm not here to be anyone's therapist. I'm not well off financially to be handing out services for free, not to mention how unethical it would be to even consider doing such a thing.

On another note.... I did once get an entire paper checkers set from a Cracker Jack box. It was the best thing I ever found in one of them.

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I wonder if you want to get better. Sometimes people don't.

Them's fightin' words. (and words that can cause serious harm.)

It's better not to lead with your chin when you start a fight.

Your post was both patronizing and discouraging.

I spent years hearing that. It was bullshit. It very nearly destroyed me. What I needed was diagnosis, treatment and (are you listening?) compassionate understanding.

The op expressed frustration and hopelessness. Sometimes people do that. It's called "venting."

I'm finished now. Susanb had some really good advice.

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I get everything you are saying. What I don't want is for everyone to view everything I say through the lens of me being a professional.
I don't think that's going to be a big problem.

At work I think about how every little thing I say and do will affect my clients and how they perceive me.
You should grow out of that at some point - that's the usual novice to expert transition. It'll stop sapping your strength. Really. Relax. You aren't going to scar a client for life with one wrong adverb. (it takes at least three.)

I dont know that it would be accurate to assume that I've never experienced any resistance to the treatment process, or that I don't know what it's like to incorporate my illness into my identity. In fact I've been through all of that and somehow got beyond it.
Really? Beyond it? Gosh.

Also, if this is in reply to my post, I suggest you try reading it again. If anything, I'd be thinking about, oh, maybe, abreaction on your part (in terms of resistance) and bringing THAT to supervision as something that may influence your responses to clients.

The only reason I even let anyone know here that I am a therapist is because it is something I am damn proud of. I busted my behind during some really rough times to be where I am right now. It is a strange dichotomy to view myself as the client and the therapist at the same time. It is something I am still trying to come to terms with.
Which is why supervision is crucial.

But again in case anyone is confused, i'm not here to be anyone's therapist.
That's good. It's not an option anyway.

I understand you're proud of your degree. Many people on here have assorted letters after their name, and many of them worked hard.

If you put it in your sig in 12 point red type, please don't be surprised that people hold you to a minimum expected standard of education or proficiency, even though you absolutely can not act in that role. Them's the breaks.

R2's post, by the way, is a lesson in where therapy can go very, very, very wrong. Look up the history of the Synanon movement. (R2, tell me to edit this out if it's too close to home.) Although I'm sure you're familiar with it, CrB, as they must have covered it in your program.

As you no doubt know, Synanon was very focused on resistance as the reason for failure to progress. You'll find in your travels that Synanon victims/graduates don't do well with the type of suggestions you made. I really can't think of a better way to blow up a therapeutic (or social) relationship.

If I were to write this: "CrB, I wonder if you really want to hear what people have to say or help any of your clients to progress in their work. Sometimes therapists don't, because they're too invested in their clients' maintaining the illness role."

I'd probably get an interesting reaction, if I didn't preface it and set it apart like this.

It's as likely as the issue of significant client resistance as the major contributing factor. It certainly does happen.

I'm not saying it's the case, by the way.

Heavy-handed point made?

OK.

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I don't give a crap how "new" I am to a message board.

well, see, WE do. here's the thing: we are a well-established board with a long history and past. our organization is pretty loose, there really isn't any kind of hierarchy and any authority is more imagined than real, BUT we are subject to group dynamics/behavior.

one part of that is WE don't know you and YOU don't necessarily know how we, as a group, behave and react...some things are well received, some are not. things that are appropriate to other boards are not well accepted here, and vice versa.

my point was that if long-time members suggest that long-time established members suggest or hint that your behavior is outside the norm for this group, you may do well to heed the hint.

this place runs a lot like a workplace: there's an unwritten 'newbie' period, where newcomers get the feel for this place, and we get a feel for them. during that period, most people don't take the "I don't give a crap how "new" I am to a message board." attitude unless they want to stir things up.

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I don't give a crap how "new" I am to a message board.

well, see, WE do. here's the thing: we are a well-established board with a long history and past. our organization is pretty loose, there really isn't any kind of hierarchy and any authority is more imagined than real, BUT we are subject to group dynamics/behavior.

one part of that is WE don't know you and YOU don't necessarily know how we, as a group, behave and react...some things are well received, some are not. things that are appropriate to other boards are not well accepted here, and vice versa.

my point was that if long-time members suggest that long-time established members suggest or hint that your behavior is outside the norm for this group, you may do well to heed the hint.

this place runs a lot like a workplace: there's an unwritten 'newbie' period, where newcomers get the feel for this place, and we get a feel for them. during that period, most people don't take the "I don't give a crap how "new" I am to a message board." attitude unless they want to stir things up.

Gimme a break. CBL's post was objectionable on it's own merits, not because she didn't know some secret handshake (of which I have no knowledge).

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Ditto (r2mnot's post.)

Lots of people have written things that were valuable on here. I have a short attention span, so if I'm not referring to them all, it's not because they weren't useful, it's because I'm kind of wandery right now (hi, I take a lot of Topamax and some Lyrica and some Keppra and also some lithium... and I'm working a lot right now...)

I wanted to come back to something susanb said, emphasis mine:

because of your illness you do have limitations. If some of that pressure is removed, you might start to feel a little better. I was really able to flourish when I got married because my husband accepted who I was at that time and let me do things as I was comfortable with them. He let me define what I did without pressure, and that way I was able to finally let go and make progress. Maybe this is something you can discuss with your family-- that the pressure actually makes it harder to see a brighter future.

The idea of radical acceptance is a weird one to wrap one's brain around, but it was the thing that let me get through school.

I don't think I can explain it right now in coherent enough terms. And yet, here I go trying anyway. Whee!

When you say, "This is where I am, am this is what is happening," rather than worrying about all the possible futures... it starts to relieve some pressure.

This is not "giving up" - this is first accepting the reality of the situation.

Saying "I should be walking across the street, damn it, that sign says WALK! Everyone expects me to walk, the sign says to walk, how can I not walk? The sign says I can!" when there are cars speeding towards you - most people would agree this isn't going to work out well, right? You would want to sort of get a handle on the reality of the situation and come to a solution. You probably will sooner or later. Yelling at yourself isn't going to speed up the process, but it probably is your brain's way of trying to help you along... misguided though it may be.

Argh. Well, no, I guess I can't describe this right now without sounding majorly spacey. OK. I'll accept that. ;)

More to follow after I reduce my sleep debt...

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I get what you are saying completely because I too have had those symptoms. But I am discouraged by your opinion that you won't ever get better. If all you've done with a therapist is talk about how you feel, you haven't been to the right therapist. Let me see if explaining helps any: What is going on with your brain is that you have a "hair trigger" for your flight or fight response system. This means that the part of your brain that goes off when you are in danger goes off too easily. So a stranger too close by will cause you to panic. What you do in therapy is retrain your brain not to see these things as a threat. It is how your brain is wired, but it isn't necessarily permanent. So if you are seeing a therapist who does cognitive behavioral treatment, then you will have things you work on that help you feel less panicked by everyday situations. You should be learning coping skills on how to calm yourself down when in a panic.

Panic disorder is one of the most treatable mental illnesses. I'm not saying it should be easy for you to get better, but I can't see that you are completely out of options. The mental health system is very difficult to navigate and it takes a while sometimes to find good therapists or psychiatrists. I wonder if you want to get better. Sometimes people don't.

As far as your family goes, try explaining the problem to them like I explained to you. Hope this helps.

Wow, CBL, I don't post very often on here. It really takes a lot for me to do more than read.

What kind of "therapy degree" do you have, anyway? Please tell me it isn't social work. I have a master's in s.w. and any one of my teachers would have torn you a new one for a response like that.

Notice the OP hasn't been back to this thread after your "encouraging" response. That really, really bothers me.

You talk about being hyperaware of what you want to say to your clients and having worries that you will say/do the wrong thing.

What shocks me is that you would post this in response to someone who appears to be showing signs of depression. Guess what?

One should be even more cautious over the internet about how one responds. Like you said, you don't know this person, what they are really feeling and thinking, and how they might feel in response to a post like this. You could easily drive someone away from a source of help, make them feel even worse about therapy (I sure wouldn't want the type of therapy you would provide), etc. etc. Nice. Really helpful.

I'd say no offense, but you will probably take offense. I don't really care. It's clear that you've had more gentle feedback about this, and are choosing to ignore/discount what feedback you are being offered. You probably do the same thing in "supervision" if you are able to have gotten through a degree and still have this level of lack of empathy and compassion.

You need to take a serious look at yourself, instead of being defensive. Good luck with that.

Anna

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First off, I don't understand why everyone is suddenly attacking CrB. I understand if you don't agree with what they said, but wow. I think people are going really overboard, especially the stuff that is along the lines of "You're new here which means we are better than you, so you have to take our abuse". Jumping down their throat is not going to accomplish anything.

Tiredoftherapy21, I am where you are right now. I haven't been able to hold down a job and am getting to the point where I'm even scared of looking for a job as it seems so overwhelming and once I get it I'm convinced I'll fuck it up. Even before I get it, I'm convinced I'll fuck it up. It's really, really hindering me. I don't have a therapist at the moment, but I feel the way you do sometimes. How would that help me since everything is irrational?

But then I start thinking about it and realize that by me thinking all of my fears are irrational and that the way that I am thinking, is irrational, is demeaning to myself and invalidating myself. Therapy would help because my fears AREN'T irrational. I have them for a very specific reason. I have mental health problems. Things have happened to me in the past. That's ok. I am not worthless because of these fears. I need to work on them. Maybe I'll never be able to hold on to a normal job, but at least I will try. I do wish my family and friends would understand, but most do not. That doesn't help at all with me thinking how I am feeling is irrational, etc. I have to learn how to stop caring about their validation. It's hard.

I'm sorry this is so inarticulate. I've gotten barely any sleep in the past three weeks. I totally sympathize and empathize with you Tiredoftherapy21 and wish you the very, very, very best. Again, I hope this made any sense. I'm also always here to talk.

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One thing I've learned in my life is that the field of psychology and mental health is very subjective. Everyone has their own two cents about how things should be done and said. But the bottom line is that it doesn't really matter what is "correct" for a therapist to say, because I'm not being a therapist here. How people perceive what I'm saying is going to be their own issue. I don't intentionally say things here to be upsetting to others. I am responsible enough not to be intentionally insulting or condescending here because I don't know how sensitive a particular person might be. Unfortunately I have not received that same respect from others.

There is nothing inherantly (sp?) wrong with not wanting to get better. But I think it helps to consider it as a possibility when one is feeling hopeless and nothing has worked for them. There are plenty of people who don't even realize that they don't want to get better. Me suggesting that to someone isn't meant to make them feel worse. If it gets perceived that way, I do apologize.

Anyhow, I definitely know nothing about this hierarchy of members on crazyboards, or the meaning of the crazyboard "resume". But I do know that being insulting, condescending, acting superior to people who are new here seems to defeat the purpose of this type of forum. I dont know what the "norm" is here, but I've never been good at being normal. I can't control how people think about me here. Just be assured that if I'm trying to upset someone or hurt their feelings it will be very obvious. If anyone feels like arguing with me some more, telling me how I'm a loser because I'm "new" here, or wants to make suggestions for my future job performance private message me. I'm not going to keep reading this thread. Have a great day! ;)

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You know, all I have to say about this is, it's funny.

A certain poster is all about her right to say or post whatever she wants and defends it to the death.

Then when she gets feedback she doesn't like, it suddenly becomes "rude" or "insulting" and that person then refuses to participate.

One of the clearest cases of "I can dish it out but can't take it" I've ever seen.

Well done, poster. Well done. And it's happened before with you. At least you're consistent. I guess.

Anna

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So, back to the original intent of this thread, tiredoftherapy21, are you still here?

I'm sure I'm not the only one who would like to hear how you're doing.

tiredoftherapy21 is still around, but I'm not sure she can answers to her questions through all of the back and forth.

Those questions would be the explicit "How do I explain this nonsense in my head to my family and bf so that they *understand* it?", and "How can I hold down a real job for adequate pay in thise situation, when I'm not seeing much improvement at all?"

To the OP:

Personally, as many times as I've read descriptions and had personal discussions about panic attacks and the like, I DON'T understand all that beyond that has got to be a nightmare to go through. I probably never will. How to "radically accept" the fact that the people you feel are close to you might have a similar experience? I don't know. Maybe one or two would benefit from some sessions with your therapist to explain the issues involved without compromising the specific case details?

I have come to terms with the fact that I am never work in a people related field, or even have a steady job for very long, bc of my debilating anxiety, and panic attacks.

Many steady and freelance jobs can be found outside of "people-related" fields. Matching them to your talents and interests may be difficult, and it may require taking work you don't like, but there has to be something that allows you to break for an indefinite time while you spaz out, then come back and finish your 8 hours or assigned tasks or whatever. After all, I don't think Grandma Moses was pulling 8-hr shift work. There should be educational and occupational counselling resources available to you through your therapist.

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