Hi, everyone. I'm new here, so bear with me. If I put this topic in the wrong discussion area, I'm sorry. I just found this website today because I desperately need to talk to someone who understands what I'm going through. I searched around specifically for an anxiety message forum, and the search results handed me this site. I hope it's alright if I go on for just a little bit. I really need to talk.
So, it starts like this. I'm 19 years old. I've suffered from anxiety/depression a good portion of my life. I believe I began struggling with feelings of depression back when I was 12 years old. Throughout my teen years, I've had bouts of anxiety and depression that have come and gone. Sometimes I can push them aside and ignore them, other times it is unbearable and difficult to go about my day. In the past I have noticed my depression and anxiety seems to be at its utmost worst during the winter. A couple of years ago my depression/anxiety had spiraled so wildly out of my control that I often considered 0119. I hope my mentioning 0119 is not prohibited on this board. This isn't a discussion about 0119, I promise. This is about my depression/anxiety currently, and how I need to get myself straightened out. I need someone to also listen to me. I need to know that what I'm feeling is fairly normal for anxiety sufferers. Maybe someone here has been in my place. Maybe then I won't beat myself up for it as badly as I have been.
I am currently in my first relationship. It is going on six months. I am very happy with him, and he is happy with me. He lives a couple of hours away away from me across the border in Canada, but he visits me every single weekend. We really do have a very stable, honest, successful, happy relationship. He has reminded me of his love for me countless times; I have never been given any reason to doubt that. It's always important to mention that I've never been an overly jealous person, nor the clingy type. I'm actually a bit of a commitment-phobe by times, and that makes me a tad frightened by people who seem to get too attached too quickly. I point this out because I need to emphasize how much anxiety has changed me into someone I am not.
The past week or so I have been a wreck. My anxiety has been troubling me now for the past two months, but it has progressed rather slowly, then suddenly exhilarated and tumbled me into madness. It started with my paranoia. I have always been exceptionally paranoid and panicked, but when fall came around I had noticed that my paranoia has worsened and intensified quite a bit. I was suddenly afraid to go out, to be anywhere, and especially to walk in and out of parking lots. I was afraid to be sitting in a vehicle, and I lived with the constant fear that something was going to get me, or someone I love, every time I was not home. My panic has now escalated into something else: panic and jealousy over my relationship.
For the past two months I've slowly sank into the blackhole of anxiety. I've lost weight, lost the desire to eat (and this is coming from a girl who LOVES eating), and I've become exceptionally emotional, and I am not usually a crier. I can't silence the voices that make me tremble at night, and that fill me with doubt and self-loathing. I have always suffered with low self-esteem and insecurities, but I had never been involved in a relationship before and had someone else have to be responsible for what I feel is entirely my issues, and not his. The past week I have been a mess. I'm not really sleeping much. If I try to sleep at night, as soon as the light goes off, I'm suddenly wired, alert and afraid. My stomach feels like it's doing cartwheels and then twisting into itself, and I feel I might puke (which is also why I cannot eat much; my stomach is constantly twisting and pulling with nerves). Just last weekend while my boyfriend was visiting, I laid beside him and trembled violently; I couldn't stop being nervous. I then curled into myself and started to cry. He heard me whimpering slightly, and I lied and said I was yawning. Half-asleep, he didn't question me again. My boyfriend knows from the day I've met him that I've suffered from issues like this. But the irrationality and panic I feel building inside of me, I know, involves asking him for a lot of patience.
Here's where I become someone I normally am not. I'm slightly embarrassed writing this, because these strong feelings came absolutely out of nowhere and I'm not proud to admit them; I am fully aware that they are ridiculous and irrational. But that doesn't make it stop. My boyfriend decided to show me videos of his nephews and niece when they were a little bit younger, so we sat on my bed and he pulled his laptop in front of us and we sat down to watch them, alongside a bowl of macaroni and cheese (yes, we are adults, I swear). His ex-girlfriend made appearances in every one of these videos, because he had been with her for close to five years. My boyfriend broke up with her in February early this year, and began dating me in July. I know all about him and his ex. From day one he has told me it wasn't right and doesn't miss her or have any desire to speak to her. He has always told me he loves me, I'm the love of his life, and he considers me truly his first love. Knowing all of this and believing he's sincere, I still felt so much jealousy and pain watching videos of her. My paranoia spiraled then. My stomach clenched and I couldn't eat. Thoughts of enormous jealousy arose in me, and I couldn't shut them up. I panicked, wondering if seeing her made him miss her; if maybe they made him reflect on the good times and that now he was going to be thinking about her. We have talked about her before and I was always alright with it; it's well in the past and it's history. But I couldn't help how I was feeling. My stomach felt like I had been physically punched. My paranoia fed me lies in my head: "He misses her. He doesn't love you like he loved her. She seems so nice; how could he not miss that?" I went to bed that night scared to death of losing him, because my paranoia convinced me I was.
The next day I couldn't shake the uneasy feeling inside of me. I outright asked my boyfriend if we were okay, because I was convinced we had an impending doom that was right around the corner. My paranoia had convinced me that that feeling of security I had was a lie, and that we were going to break up. I spent the whole day not eating, shaking uncontrollably. Then later that night I found some sense of clarity when he called me and we talked. I felt like everything was alright. But then my sister told me how over the weekend my boyfriend accidentally referred to me by his ex-girlfriend's name while making me something to eat. He told my parents, ever so naturally, "I'm just heating up a burrito for Lisa," which is his ex-girlfriend. When my sister told me that, my heart began pounding and I started shaking. Normally, mind you, I would not react so irrationally. It'd call for a discussion, sure, but I wouldn't outright panic. No, I was PANICKED. I messaged him immediately and asked him if it was true, figuring my sister had heard it wrong, and he began apologizing all over himself. He felt horrible when it happened, and feels horrible about it now. I couldn't stop shaking. I convinced him it was fine, I just wish he had told me, and I asked him if he has been missing her. This went on for a little bit. He felt horrible and planned on telling me. I was torn between knowing I shouldn't make a big deal out of it, and literally making a big deal out of it. That night I went to bed shaking.
The next day (yesterday) I was a mess. I felt convinced I was losing my boyfriend, and it drove me to a panic attack that involved hyperventilating. I called him on the phone to calm my nerves, but wound up crying and worrying him. He had a day off of work, so he drove two hours in the afternoon to spend the rest of the night with me, only to drive back at 5am to go to work. I am so appreciative of him doing this for me; I could not thank him enough. Seeing him was exactly the confirmation I needed that everything would be alright. Though anxiety still lurked around the corner and I wasn't healed, seeing him brought a sense of comfort. Until he left. Then and even now I am again filled with a sense of just not being right, and I can't explain it. Feelings of jealousy come out of nowhere. But I know internally that this isn't just about him. It's the same demons I have been fighting for YEARS, and now I actually have something important that I could lose. And I think this particular stressful and anxious time in my life is making me react with paranoia and yes, jealousy.
Is this normal? Please tell me this irrational jealousy is normal with anxiety sufferers and people who are prone to paranoia. I don't like this person at all. I'm afraid that this will cause me to lose him, and to lose myself. I'm not myself. I'm not happy, and I'm not living comfortably. I just need to know if this is normal. Please. Maybe it's my paranoia, but I also feel utterly crazy.
Thank you to anyone who even bothered to read all of that. You're my savior. I really needed someone to just hear me out, without judgment. A place I could go where people understand.
Any and all advice is so, so appreciated. Thank you, thank you, thank you.