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Help with anxiety/relationship
May 14, 2006 7:14 PM   Subscribe

I know similar questions have been asked, but here goes...I've had anxiety and depression for awhile now, but more severely the last few months. I've been seeing a therapist, and have been on some medicine, and both have helped, but I'm looking for more help

I'm almost 22 years old, and I'm in college. The main cause of my anxiety is my girlfriend who I've been with now for 7 months. We spend a lot of time together at school, and now that summers here, we live about 2 hours apart as were both now at home. While Icant begin to describe the entire situation, basically I'm very anxious and depressed, essentially seperation anxiety. Anyway, I guess I'm asking for some reading recommendations, both fiction and non-fiction, that could help relax me, just feel better being alone, make me not worry so much about what she's doing at every moment, who she may be talking to, paranoid thoughts of losing her, etc. Just want to feel good and hopeful, and happy. I will get to see her every few weeks, so its not too bad, but this is definitely very very difficult for me. Thanks
posted by rbf1138 to Human Relations (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Wow. If I didn't know otherwise, I'd think this was my boyfriend posting. We're in almost exactly the same situation. While I don't know about reading material, I know that the single best thing we've done has been to make liberal use of our cell phone minutes calling each other nightly. That's kept us in touch and up-to-date, and lessened the contrast between when we're together and apart.

Stick with it! You may get a lot of people on here telling you it's not worth it to try and stick together over the summer—but what you have to do is remember all the good things about being together, and don't give up just because you change over a few months apart or people say it won't work out.
posted by limeonaire at 7:20 PM on May 14, 2006

Try Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson. It's an enjoyable read, and it's 1100 pages, so it'll keep you occupied. Then when you're done you can read the Baroque Cycle.
posted by ludwig_van at 7:26 PM on May 14, 2006

Feeling Good is a good read.
posted by Eater at 7:46 PM on May 14, 2006

not worry so much about what she's doing at every moment, who she may be talking to, paranoid thoughts of losing her

A healthy relationship is one that puts the both of you on equal footing. You don't trust her, though. Why is that? It's all too easy when you suffer from depression to assume that you are not good/hot/smart/cool enough to be with someone as awesome as she is. But trust, man, trust is downright liberating. For both of you.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 7:53 PM on May 14, 2006

Start pumping weights bro. Up your stock and feel better too.
posted by rinkjustice at 7:57 PM on May 14, 2006

you can try the art of happiness that book has been really helpful to me.
posted by antisocialiting at 8:04 PM on May 14, 2006

while you are away from your girlfriend, perhaps you can develop some outside interests, such as writing, photography, or a new sport (perhaps running a few miles, a few times a week). Keep your mind and body occupied productively, and you will see your anxiety and depression diminish markedly.

Bonus, when you see her again, you have an additional topic of discussion that you can have with her - show her your writings, photos or running muscles :)

Disclaimer - I don't know you from adam, so please feel free to substitute other hobbies for writing, photography and running. These hobbies interest me greatly, but your mileage may vary.
posted by seawallrunner at 8:14 PM on May 14, 2006

If you're only two hours apart and this worried, you've got trust issues. If you don't work on that now, you may as well throw in the towel. You've still got anxiety and depression issues, which means something is still off. Let your therapist and doctor know about both the trust issues and the remaining anxiety.

For reading, here's a slightly unorthodox suggestion. See if you can volunteer at a local library, reading to kids. The material is usually optimistic and uplifting, not to mention how the kids will enjoy it.

Also, as rinkjustice mentioned, lifting weights will help. Rather, any physical exercise will help. It's well documented how physical activity can stave off depression.
posted by Saydur at 8:16 PM on May 14, 2006

I recently finished Frek and the Elixir, and it'll draw you in for a while. It's based on the monomyth (like Lord of the Rings or Star Wars... but with crazy biotech and physics). Very engaging.

Also, I second seawallrunner's writing suggestion.
posted by brundlefly at 8:52 PM on May 14, 2006

I second Feeling Good. It was/is pretty close to a lifesaver for me. Dunno what music you're into, but Touching from a Distance has helped me. It's about Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division. Both of Jonathan Safran Foer's books (Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close) deal with loss and family over many generations. They're really funny and sad at the same time.

But definately, definately read Feeling Good.
posted by 7878ponce at 9:05 PM on May 14, 2006

I third "Feeling Good".

I second lifting weights/physical exercise. Apart from obvious pros (feeling better, looking better) exercise produces endorphins, which is basically natural high. Bottom line, exercise is good for you.

For the book suggestion, The wheel of time series. 11 books at ~1000 pages each, will eat up plenty of time. It's a pretty entertaining series.

Finally, if all else fails, call up your buds, rent a funny stupid comedy (like Harold and Kumar go to white castle or 40 year old virgin) and get really stoned.

Best of luck. Don't sweat this stuff too much.
posted by aeighty at 10:23 PM on May 14, 2006

Therapy. Also, Feeling Good. And you're not anxious because your girlfriend is away. Healthy people aren't extremely anxious when loved ones are away.
posted by callmejay at 10:49 PM on May 14, 2006

Thanks for all the sugestions...
Yes, I certainly am aware of the trust issues involved here, and thats something I've been trying to work on.
My parents have suggested doing volunteer work this summer as a way to feel good about myself while helping others, so that's definitely a good possiblity. I think I need to be around people to just stay positive and interacting. I also usually run during the summer, so that takes care of a bit of the excercise portion. Frankly, my girlfrend is not so great at the telephone thing, so lacking more overt expressions of affection and having the physical presence of her with me to validate the relationship takes its toll on me, and creates the anxiety.
posted by rbf1138 at 7:29 AM on May 15, 2006

I've sometimes found that this sort of anxiety is good at being a bit of a push toward healthy activity. I get worried that a partner will think I'm not cool/smart/active/whatever enough, so I must push myself to do cool/smart/active things while he's not around so that I can talk about them when we are together.

Ummm, it's less neurotic than it sounds, really.

Basically, if you're anxious that she may not want to be with you, then push yourself to do stuff that makes you the kind of guy she'd want to be with. Not in a way that radically changes who you are or anything, just use your anxiety as a motivating tool to make changes you'd like to see in your life.

And the big positive side effect is that the activities you do will take your mind off her, and help you develop a better sense of perspective about the relationship so you stop obsessing.
posted by occhiblu at 9:15 AM on May 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

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