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scaredconfused 07-07-2010 01:09 AM

Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
Please help me, I am so terrified.

I have been having anxiety attacks for the past few weeks. This has been diagnosed as general anxiety disorder by a specialist who I am continuing to see.

I have always been a real worrier since I was little, when I used to worry about death and war and things which weren't anywhere within my control.

I was diagnosed with an eating disorder a couple of years ago, though the disorder itself was around for over a decade. I was put on Prozac and given courses of CBT and ACT. I have only stopped seeing the counsellor for this because I could no longer make it to the hospital because of the anxiety.

The anxiety has come completely out of the blue and has wiped out any ED thoughts, or any care of how I look at all. I remember feeling really down in the weeks leading up to the anxiety attacks, and worrying about unreal things like my boyfriend and I having cancer. Then I got a really weird feeling in my head, which made me feel like I couldn't see or hear or feel properly. Then the anxiety attacks started, and they have been pretty much constant ever since.

The thing that scares me is that the anxiety is centred around not loving my boyfriend any more, and very little else, though there are worries that I am going crazy, or dying etc.

I have been with my boyfriend for 3 years, and he is the most amazing person. He makes me laugh, makes me feel good about myself, he is fun, intelligent, passionate, caring, attractive, everything I could ever ever want. In our 3 years I have been the happiest I have ever felt, and we have never argued or doubted our feelings for one another. He is like my best friend as well as my boyfriend.

In my moments of clarity I know that I do love him, and when I feel happy and relaxed all these thoughts of our future together come flooding back, and I feel so complete.

But I get so anxious that I don't love him any more, and the more the thoughts stick in my head, the more I begin to feel that he is the problem, which I know isn't true! I love him so much, but I'm scared that one day I will feel so convinced by there negative thoughts that I will do something I regret, or that I will feel better and my feelings for him won't come back.

I don't want to feel this way, I hate it so so much and I just don't understand it - all I want to do is go back to feeling the way I did a few weeks ago - please please help me.

pam29 07-07-2010 05:44 AM

Re: Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
Hi scaredconfused,

I just wanted to say you're not alone. I'm not on any medication but I was diagnosed with separation anxiety back in November. I more or less always knew how I felt about my boyfriend (whom now is my fiance and I remember when he proposed I felt so happy and was trying not "happy" cry) but once I started looking for a house, I got so scared of things in my life changing ( leaving home, feeling as though I'm leaving my family, will they be ok when I leave, will I be ok when I leave) that I started freaking out thinking/ questioning "is this what I want", "do I really want to be with him", " do I really love him". The anxiety is so strong some days, well most days, that I have heart palpitations and a constant pain in my chest. I know it sounds pretty pathetic to suffer from separation anxiety at my age but it's what I was diagnosed with and it is actually more common in adults than I thought. I've actually been suffering from it since I was 12 ( never wanted to go to school, would stress/ freak out to the point of making myself sick just to stay home with my mom or sister) but was never properly diagnosed ( was diagnosed with "School Phobia") therefore my anxiety has escalated to now. I feel the same way you do. The anxiety can just consume you and make you think false thoughts. I know for me, my mind over thinks everything then I start dwelling and freak out more thinking "well there must be something wrong if I'm thinking this way". The feeling of not knowing how I truly feel scares me to death but I try my best to remember that it's my anxiety causing me to think this way and not how I truly feel. I can picture my fiance and I in our own place and him standing at the alter and I get excited thinking about it but just as quickly, my anxiety sets in and I start freaking out again. I was told by my future mother-in-law ( she too suffers from anxiety) who was told by her doctor that more often then not, your emotions are not your true feelings when you suffer from anxiety. My doctor told me that the fear of change/ separation from my family which causes my anxiety can cause me to question how I truly feel because it's easier to pull away then push through. If I pull away the anxiety will go away because I won't be leaving my family. I know I have to keep pushing because I can't live life this way so I try hard everyday. My fiance is so understanding of how I feel and what I'm going through. He just tries his best to comfort me and tell me it's going to be ok. My sister is my best friend and she is such a great support system for me. Having a great support system can make things so much better.

Any ways, sorry for such a long winded response, but you're not alone with your anxiety and as I've been told a million times by so many people, even a doctor, that anxiety can completely make you feel unsure about everything and anything. Hope this all made some sort of sense.

scaredconfused 07-07-2010 07:00 AM

Re: Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
Pam, thank you, that helps and it kind of makes sense.

There are a lot of problems within my family. My mum has suffered from MS since before I was born, my dad took a heart attack when I was 16, and I have next to no relationship with my older brother, who has a lot of issues of his own. My Mum has confided in me many times that she doesn't love my Dad, and there is generally a lot of bad feeling in our house. When I started getting treatment for my ED it became apparent very quickly that the dynamic in the house had a lot to do with my feelings - from a very young age my Mum used me as a confidante and told me whenever I was upset that no one wanted to see me upset - people need to see me happy. My Dad is a very intelligent man who expects a lot, so I have always put great pressure on myself to do well, but have never received any great praise for it because my parents didn't want to upset my brother, who, whilst intelligent, has a lot of problems with himself, and has had very little success.

I think I have always felt like I was the one to fix things. Like I would be there for my Mum when she and my Dad argued; would go without or let myself be hurt to spare the feelings of my brother; picked up the housework when my Dad got frustrated about balancing his workload and looking after his sick wife; and trying to reassure my Mum about her own insecurities (she often tells me how she wishes we were still children, and how she doesn't know what she will do when we eventually leave home).

This year is the first year my boyfriend and I have planned a holiday, though I spend a lot of (very happy) time at his house, which can make me feel guilty about not being at home. I know in the weeks leading up to the anxiety attacks I was feeling a lot of pressure to balance my time.

This feeling of not loving him though is just consuming me. I looked up 'not in love but afraid to say' and just had the most horrendous anxiety attack, which felt so real.

I don't know what to think - do you think I am somehow sabotaging myself by making myself believe that I don't love him, or is the feeling genuine? I really don't want it to be real. Please help.

scaredconfused 07-07-2010 07:06 AM

Re: Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
PS Whenever I am on the phone to him, I find myself smiling and feeling quite a bit better. When he comes to see me I feel much happier. I haven't been able to leave the house much since the attacks started, but I have had anxiety attacks at his house, over feelings that I don't love him. The feeling always passes though and then I know (or feel I know) that I do love him. I feel a great urge to tell him I love him all the time.

pam29 07-07-2010 08:44 AM

Re: Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
I know I'm not a doctor but it does sound similar too me. Has a doctor ever mentioned separation anxiety to you? You are so afraid of what will happen to your family when you leave that your anxiety is making you think you don't love your boyfriend ( you're acting as the glue / foundation to your family). With everything you just wrote, it sounds like you do truly love him and you're questioning your love because if you didn't love him, you wouldn't be any closer to leaving home ( therefor you can "take care" of your family). You have gone through so much in your life and you need to start thinking of you first even though I know how hard that is to do. I try to tell my self that everyday that my family will be ok when I'm not there. When I started having anxiety attacks about leaving I would worry about my dad dying and leaving my sister alone and was my mom going to be ok. My dad has a lot of health issues and is pretty needy of company so I'm afraid he'll feel alone when I'm gone. My fiance and him have gotten pretty close and will just hang out, watch t.v and chat. When we ( my fiance and I) leave he won't have that. I worry so much about the what if's that I start to rethink how I feel for my fiance because if I didn't love him then I wouldn't be with him and therefore would have no reason to leave home ( and then my anxiety feeling would go away). I had this anxiety before we got engaged and like I said earlier, I do remember feeling really happy and tried not to cry at that moment when he proposed. Then all my anxiety flooded back in and I started freaking out ( again). I'm sure if your family doesn't encourage you that things will be fine at home without you than it will be really hard for you to ever leave (my family has been very supportive and encouraging for me which has helped me a lot), and therefore whether you are with your boyfriend now or another guy down the road you may always freak out about your feelings because you don't have the support at home that you need.

I know this sounds pretty sad and I don't know if you believe in it but I actually went to a few psychics because I was freaking out so much. I needed to know if I was meant to be with my fiance ( probably because I have been hurt pretty bad by my past to relationships. I dated a guy for 5 years, did so much for him and he dumped me. Then I dated a guy for only 5 months but everything was perfect but all of a sudden, he broke up with me saying " I don't love you and never will") and needed to clarify my feelings. I was told that I was running scared and that I do really love him and more or less once I get passed my hurdle of moving out of my parents home I will feel happiness ( ok, my psychiatrist also said something along those lines as well).

I think the same way you do, " I don't want this feeling to be true, but since it's there it must be real because how do I not know how I truly feel". Then you dwell on this thought over and over trying to figure it out to no end, trying to find a reason as to why you're thinking this way because the relationship is great yet you have these thoughts and uncertain feelings. Anxiety can create so much false emotions that it can be so hard to believe anything but the negativity going through your mind.

scaredconfused 07-08-2010 01:32 PM

Re: Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
Hi Pam

Just wanted to say thanks for the advice and reassurance - it is definitely comforting to know that I am not alone!
I'm just sorry you have to go through the same thing - I hope your Dad is okay, and it is really great to read that you are not letting this anxiety take you over - really inspiring :)

I went back to my doctor today - he is very 'alternative' and I think has great insight as he has had anxiety problems himself. I didn't manage to ask him about separation anxiety, but I get the feeling from what he has said to me (I think he is being very careful not to influence my thinking in any way in case it interferes with finding the reason for my anxiety) that he believes my family play a big part in this problem. Certainly he has made it clear that he thinks the ED and this anxiety are one and the same in many ways - which I would agree with.

He also asked about how my ED had started - had there been something that had been said - this resonated with me deeply because I remember the exact comment that my Mum made - it was meant in a harmless way, but it led to 14 years of me basically destroying myself.

This all matches up with his theory that our minds have a blueprint built from our experiences that we unconsciously act out, regardless of whether it is positive or not - so a harmless comment can create a mind that is determined to self-harm. And there are so many instances I can think of which could have made me feel the way I do now - perhaps the holiday with my boyfriend has just triggered the blueprint, and I just have to learn to push against it.

I guess what I am saying, in an incredibly long-winded and boring way, is that I agree with you - I think I have, consciously and unconsciously, made myself believe that I can never leave my family, and though I have spent time away from them before, I have always gone on holiday with them - this will be the first year I have not, and I think all the anxiety and everything started round about the time I said no to going with them.

At the very least, I spent last night having a very happy time with my boyfriend, and though the thoughts were still lurking in the background, when I forgot them I realised I was having a great time, same as always.

The doctor was also talking about prayer today - and whenever I pray, I always find myself saying that all I want is to know we will always be together - not praying that I can find it in my heart to love him.

Today has been much better thanks to your words - I know that its not my boy that's the problem here now, and though I still don't know what is causing this, I know that I'm happy when I'm with him. So thank you so much - you helped me greatly and I would love to know how you are getting on from time to time, just for y'know, further inspiration :-)

pam29 07-09-2010 05:30 AM

Re: Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
Hi scaredconfused,

I'm really glad to hear I was able to help you. I'm also glad to hear you talked with your doctor and he is able to help you as well. I know how you feel when you say the thoughts are always lurking in the back round. I'm like that everyday and some days it's so strong all I can do is cry. You are so not alone and just by talking with you has helped me as well knowing that I'm not alone. The closer I get to moving out ( which is looking like it may be around the end of this month) of my parents house the harder it is to control the anxiety and the thoughts that run through my head. I find my mind really over powers my heart but I try to keep pushing. My sister just keeps reassuring me it's my fear and anxiety causing me to think this way and I do truly love my fiance. I really hope you can find the support system that you need and deserve to help you through. Just know that I'm always here if you ever need to talk.

I hope you have an awesome trip with your boyfriend. I know how you feel, I've always gone on family trips and it will be hard to change that. Thankfully my fiance has no problem going on these trips so I have everyone i love with me and haven't had to choose yet.

I know for sure, a lot of my problem is that I'm very attached to my sister, I'd be lost without her so I think the thought of leaving her really triggered the anxiety for me. Also leaving the comforts of home scare me to death and I get so easily stressed and overwhelmed I loose control. I've always been this way but for some reason as I get older it's harder to deal with.

Well, I'm just as long winded but there's just so much that goes through our minds LOL!!! I will for sure keep in touch often and let you know how things are going with me. Like I said, I'm moving soon which is one of my biggest hurdles and factors of my anxiety so it should be interesting to see how I deal. I too would love to hear from you time to time. Have a great day and I really do hope you have a great holiday with your boyfriend. We both need to remember on a daily basis " It's the anxiety that cause our uncertain feelings but these feelings are not our true emotions. We do truly love the men we are with."

pam29 07-09-2010 05:42 AM

Re: Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
p.s It's so true how our minds are like a blue print. I know any negative comment will send me into an anxiety attack and I start freaking out. Everytime someone asked me "well do you love him" I would freak out so much because I felt I didn't know the answer. I am a bit better now with not letting peoples comments affect me as much.

I know it's hard but we will survive and we just have to keep pushing. Even though we may never rid ourselves of anxiety, we may be able to just have better control : )

PGphmtt75 07-09-2010 02:23 PM

Re: Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
hello, I can't believe I found some people who are in a similar boat that I'm in! I've have been battling this for a long time as well. It's been so frustrating! I've been married to a great woman for 5 years now and have bouts of anxiety off and on through out our relationship. I too question do I really love her or not when I'm feeling bad and think if I really did love her I wouldn't be feeling this and go in circles in my head about it over and over until it drives me crazy! But when I'm calm and relaxed, everything is great, it's like heaven. I want to so so so badly get through this.

I've been seeing a doctor for about 6 months now and have been on zoloft for about that amount of time and I do think that helps. But I'm still working on the right dosage because it seems to work for a couple of weeks and then my axiety comes back. So that's frustrating too.

Reading both of your 2 story's I see so many things that I went through. And it's so frustrating because I want to love her so bad with all of my heart, some times it feels like I can only go so far and not fully love her for some reason. Then I start to think, well maybe I really don't. It's like I hit a ceiling with my emotions and can go any further. And when I get like this I get irritable and just want to be left alone. But again, when I'm calm and relaxed, things are great. Everything looks positive and I'm excited about things and enjoy things again. But when I'm not feeling good, everything is real negative and I can't seem to get out of the rut and dwell on everything and it's no fun.

I'm not sure where this has come from. I've always been a bit of a nervous person and a nervous kid. I think I've always had a bit of a nervous stomach. I remember when I was in about the 4th or 5th grade I got a really bad ear ache in school. I went to the nurse and got permission to go home, but she couldn't get a hold of my mom so I had to go back to class. I was really really upset and wanted to go home and I think I was crying for most of the rest of the day. My mom was playing bridge with her friends that afternoon so she was able to pick me up later in the day. And I remember after I got well enough to go back to school, I would worry myself sick at school and go home. Then in the morning I would get a stomach ache while my mom would be driving me in and she would take me home and I would be fine after that. That went on for a while until my mom figured out how to fix it. Every time she would be going somewhere during the day, she would give me a note with that person's name and phone number so if something would happen, I could get a hold of her that way. And that worked. So I would imagine that would be like your separation anxiety you were talking about. but I don't know how that relates to today.

Sorry for the long post also! But it's really nice to find someone else that has the similar issue and that it's not just me!!!!!

pam29 07-09-2010 06:03 PM

Re: Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
Hi PGphmtt75,

Glad that you found us. I too have been suffering for a long time. I've always been a ball of stress. When I hit 12 years old my anxiety began. I never wanted to leave home to go to school. It was so bad sometimes I would either sleep with my sister or on my parents bedroom floor. As I got older I would stress so much about everything and anything that I would cry myself to sleep and just to distract me, I would date a lot. As I got older it got a bit better. Now I'm at the point of my life where everything will be changing ( I've never adjusted well to change). I can't believe how pathetic it sounds to have separation anxiety at my age but I do. I'm so attached to my family that the biggest changes and commitments in my life seem so hard to do. When I first started dating my fiancÚ I would re-think my feelings once in a while but it would always pass and i knew I was just being an over thinker and that I did want to be with him. Once we started looking for houses I hit a breaking point with my anxiety. I was freaking out so much, wondering " do I really want to be with him", "do I really love him". I kept pushing through because I couldn't find any reason as to why I wouldn't want to be with him, he's the best thing that's ever happened to me. Last November I hit a wall. Asked for a break ( after 4 years) and went to see a psychiatrist. That is when I was told I have separation anxiety. Our break didn't last long but I still struggle everyday. I haven't felt much relief for some time ( my anxiety has been kicked into high gear since about last May) but I know once I move out ( well hope at least) I will be able to calm down and relax because moving out for me is one of my biggest anxiety provokers ( I know, that's pretty sad).

Any ways, I'm really glad you have shared your story and too know there are a lot more people like us out there then we know. You're not alone at all. Like I keep saying and I've been told so many times is to keep pushing. Our feelings more often then not are not our true emotions, it's our anxiety playing mind games with us. I know I have a hard time not giving into the mind games because it's just so much easier to give in then push through. These minds games can just keep snow balling on you. It would be great if you keep in touch with your progress :)

scaredconfused 07-10-2010 08:22 AM

Re: Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
Hey PG and Pam,

You both have no idea how comforting your words are - though I hate that you both have to go through the same horrible experience I have to go through, to know it's not just me is so relieving.

Today has been difficult - yesterday I got away from the house for the first time in two weeks (except to go to the doctors) and spent the night at my boyfriend's, where we just chilled out, watched some tv - I even listened to music with him, something I haven't been able to do for ages without freaking out (music is a big part of my life - planning on training to be a music teacher, so to not want to listen to music is a major thing!). Things were great, and though I still had some negative thoughts, I didn't have to panic about them, because I could dismiss them as being stupid thoughts.

My dad picked me up this morning, and as soon as I got home my parents started talking about cancelling their holiday because of how I had been. They started asking me how I could be so selfish, why was I being like this, was I not thinking about them, and so on, and boom, all of a sudden I don't know if I love my boyfriend any more.

I phoned an advice service that the doctor had given me, and told them about what had been happening. They were really helpful, and one thing they mentioned was the balance of power in a relationship - that my Mum has been such a powerful influence, that I struggle to break free from that - from what you said PG, your case sounds quite similar - your Mum was a very strong source of support and comfort when you were young, so whenever you feel down, you seek support from her rather than anyone else - does that sound correct in any way?

Anyway, today has been difficult - it feels like everything I am interested or excited about has disappeared, and I feel like I have forgotten how I felt yesterday. The thing is though, I know that it did happen, that I did feel happy and in love and thats all that matters. PG I can completely relate to you saying that you feel there is a lid on your feelings - I can feel that too, but I look at other areas of my life, like music, and I can see that my feelings are either not there or are at the very least subdued, and the reason I focus on my feelings for my boyfriend are because he's the most important in my life - and that's how the doctor explained it too. Another thing I thought about yesterday was that a lot of people with anxiety worry about their health, even though there's nothing wrong with their health - it's the same for us - we worry about our relationships, but there's nothing wrong with them!

Pam, I am so excited for you moving out - it might be hard for you, but I'm sure with time you will realise how happy you are and hopefully that will mean your anxiety will diminish a little!

I would really like to keep talking to both of you (and anyone else reading who feels this way) - please keep writing and updating - hopefully we can help and support one another through these difficult periods.

Hope you have both had a calm and relaxing day :)

pam29 07-10-2010 06:13 PM

Re: Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
Hi scaredconfused,

It does suck that we suffer from this awful anxiety. I really hate how it makes you not know how you truly feel ( that's the scariest part). I'm glad you had a good night with your boyfriend last night. One of the things that anxiety can do is completely dibiltate you. You don't want to do anything or go any where. We have to keep pushing so that we can live the lives we're meant to. Follow your dreams, don't let the anxiety stop you from your music. Allow yourself to be happy.

I'm so sorry you had a bad day today. That's not fare of your parents to make you choose or feel like you should always choose them. I know they say family first but in this case, it needs to be you first. By the sounds of it, you have always put your family first and you deserve a turn to be first. If you don't mind me asking, how old are you? ( If you don't want to answer, I understand) I'm 27 just to let you know. I am always here for you if you need to talk, even if you just need to vent or just say hi, I'M HERE for you. I don't want you to think or feel you have to do this alone.

My sister has always been my source of support and comfort and she would be considered my "attachement figure" when it comes to separation anxiety. When I'm having a down day, all I want to do is be with her and no one else. She's my rock ( that I can't break free from I suppose) but she is great with supporting me and my anxiety. She knows I will be so happy once I move out and get comfortable with my own place. That is why I'm so upset for you to think you don't have that with your family. It's just not fair for you. You deserve so much.

I had a good day today but as always, the thoughts are at the back of my mind ( I can never escape them). I'm always much better on weekends as for some reason I stress about work ( not sure why I do though, it's just the way I've always been) which sends me on a down hill spiral which then triggers the anxiety and I start freaking out about my feelings. I sit at a computer all day which allows me think which sometimes is not good. I think too much and I over think my feelings and why I feel the way I do. It's like I'm always trying to find another answer to the way I feel. I just can seem to accept that it's the anxiety that causes these thoughts. It's a viscious cycle.

I hope you have a better day tomorrow, just remember to think positive / happy thoughts as much as possible ( I know sometimes that just seems impossible). When you're having a really hard time, close your eyes, clear your mind and take deap breaths and relax.

Wow, sorry this was so long. I will for sure keep posting, I'm really enjoying sharing our thoughts and feelings. It's so nice to have someone to talk to who's going through the same thing as me:) I'm so glad I happened to come back to healthboard:) Talk to you soon, have a good night and try to get a good night sleep. Sleep is very important for anxiety sufferers.

scaredconfused 07-10-2010 06:28 PM

Re: Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
Thanks Pam, really not having a good night though - it is 230 am here and I am no where near sleep :(

Have you ever had the thought that you really don't love him? Even writing that down here, it seems so stupid because I know that I do, but it is just so hard to believe right now, all these negative thoughts keep running around and I don't know why they're there - like I can't even really remember his face properly, and I can't think why I love him right now, I just know somewhere inside me that I do. The thought of being without him makes me want to die, and trigger an immediate attack.

I'm so confused!!!

pam29 07-10-2010 06:39 PM

Re: Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
I know exactly how you feel. Yes, that happens to me too, exactly what you said. I even had to put a picture of him beside my bed so I could look at it. You know the feeling of love is in you somewhere but the anxiety is so strong and over powers any happy thoughts we have. It's like the anxiety thrives on the negativity. When I'm feeling like that, I start to cry uncontrollably. Stay strong and if you need to just chat and not be alone right now I'm here for you. Just remember, it's your anxiety not how you truly feel. You love him. Remember back to last night when you were feeling happy. Only try to focus on positive thoughts right now ( I know that's really hard when you feel like this) otherwise your anxiety is going to thrive. Are you able to throw on a favorite movie to distract your mind? You need a distraction right now.

scaredconfused 07-10-2010 06:46 PM

Re: Anxiety over not feeling in love please please help
Now I looked at the picture I have of him on my phone - he's so sweet and adorable and wonderful, and I don't know why I can't feel the love I had for him!

Movies are hard - he loves them so much, every single one reminds me of him, and I hate music right now and I can't read because it somehow makes the anxiety worse! I just want to feel that I love him so I can go to sleep :( I'm sorry for whining, I just don't know where else to go right now - if I move around I'll wake the house up and they'll freak out.

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