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Posted by: Sarah | 2004/02/05

Thanks Cybershrink - Re: Separation Anxiety

Dear Cybershrink

My apologies for replying to you incorrectly. I only realised after I'd written my post that I needed to reply to you with a separate new letter. Just to recap what I was trying to say in my previous message. Whilst, my psychiatrist is a highly intelligent woman and good in her field, I am somewhat hesitant to go back and to be told yet *again* about my "issue" of separating from my mother. I've addressed it over and over again. I'm certainly not in denial.

Anyway, I must just tell you that is one of the first days that I've able to think more clearly and rationally about my boyfriend. I've only taken one tranquiliser today, so perhaps the Effexor is doing it's job. I actually haven't been second-guessing myself every five minutes as to how I feel about him.

I do feel that I've definitely had some kind of relapse these past few weeks, as even when I had *minor* doubts about my relationship, I could always gloss over them and move on. My mom has taken my lapse into anxiety really badly. She said that she has observed my behaviour over these past few weeks and that I am not my usual self at all. She said that I am usually far more together and focussed. What's worse it that I'm not even sure how long I was skipping the Effexor for.

Cybershrink, I think what my doc has failed to realise is that there are a number of factors at play that could have led to a diminished attraction to my boyfriend.

One of the key issues has been our sex-life. I waited a year to sleep with him and when it finally happened, the sex was not quite what I'd wanted it to be. Whilst he is very caring and attentive in our intimate moments, he had this marked tendency to be very babyish or child-like in the bedroom for most of this year, which had started to bother me tremendously over time. By the way, he became infantile like this while we were away and in my already overwraught state-of-mind, I couldn't even sleep with him without crying.

In the rest of our relationship, he is very much a masculine man, so you can imagine how offputting it was for me when he would turn into this little baby in bed with child-like expressions and mannerisms. In my anxious state I eventually told him how I felt (as tactfully as possible) and he *has* realised that I want a "man" in bed, not an infant. It took me a long time to tell him how I felt, as I didn't want to emasculate him.

Also, if you recall, because of my anxiety, I wanted to come off The Pill and I've found that condoms aren't the greatest when it comes to a spontaneous love-life either. I've decided to go back on because I believe the freedom The Pill provides, can only improve things.

Lastly, as I mentioned in my previous post, I broke an engagement three years ago. I had only known the man six months, but within a week of agreeing to marry him, I panicked and realised that I was settling, rather than being with someone I truely loved. The spark had died or perhaps was never really there to begin with. What followed was about 8 months of a major depression, which led me to be *very* cautious about ever making a commitment again, unless I was 100% sure.

It was actually the EffexorXR and therapy that saved me and my doc said that my recovery was quicker than most. Since then, she has told me that my only real condition is GAD, but that I could have episodes of depression again in my lifetime.

Just going back to when I went away with my boyfriend. As you can well imagine, when I started feeling a *similar* loss of attraction to my current partner as I did with my ex-fiance, I started to replay that whole previous experience in my mind, which in turn, led to the endless anxiety and second-guessing these past few weeks. I just wanted to bring these other factors to light because I feel they are relevant.

I guess my question is, where to from here? Should I stay on the EffexorXR (I'm worried about having to take the Xanor indefinitely, as I know about it's addictive properties) or should I change therapists and enquire about the cognitive/behavioural approach? I'm supposed to see my doc on Monday, but I really don't need to hear about my subconscious or inner-child yet again. I am in a stressful profession (education) and don't want to lose my relationship either. Are there any books you can recommend for positive reinforcement or related to the cognitive/behavioural approach? Anything you can recommend would be most appreciated.

Best wishes and thanks again
Sarah

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Sarah,
I think some therapists spend far, are too much time talking to the "inner child" ( a concept and technique with absolutely no research to confirming it's validity or effectiveness ); and not enough time talking to your Outer Adult ! It's up to you to decide whether you might benefit from seeing a different therapist, with at least different pre-occupations ! It's an advantage to therapists, that given a fluent, intelligent and psychologically-minded person like yourself, virtually ANY method can enable you to achieve some results, though these may be more caused by your own skills and work, than to anything else. That's why I like CBT, because the evidence is that the therapy approach itself makes a real positive difference.
It's hard to recommend specific books, as so much depends not on what exists in the USA, but on what you personally can reach and get. Maybe have a quick look at Kalahari.net, especially as they seem able to access many US books, and they have a 20 % off sale on books, due to end this week-end.

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