PTSD from last relationship breakup :(

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2012
PTSD from last relationship breakup :(
14
Sun, 11-03-2013 - 1:12am

My on-and-off boyfriend of 9 years broke it off last year in August and it was incredibly hard on me.  We were living together, I truly believed this was it and we would eventually get married.  Without elaborating too much, the breakup came as a big shock to me and I literally had a nervous breakdown from it.  He left for a week and left his loaded 9mm for me (for protection) and I had never felt so suicidal and desperate before in my life, the anxiety attacks I was having were crippling and all I could do that week was panic and cry and throw up and wonder what I was going to do... 30 years old, had lost my job a year prior so I was in college full time and collecting unemployment.  I literally had constant anxiety for a week straight and couldn't function, and I couldn't tell anyone how bad it was because I was even afraid of myself.  If anyone reading this has ever suffered from anxiety attacks, they are terrifying and horrible and I can't help but think the only solution is death, but I would never do anything to harm myself.  I have to remind myself it will pass.... Well it's now been well over a year since the breakup.  The anxiety came and went for a long time, and I thought it was gone completely until I started dating again.  I started seeing a man on a regular basis and I started to develop feelings for him, which in turn started to give me massive anxiety attacks again :(  While he was with me I had 2 anxiety attacks and not only was it humiliating to confess to him, it is extremely depressing for me to think that I may have to live the rest of my life with this crippling anxiety.  That man has since decided that I am not ready for anything more than friendship.  He was very understanding and comforting when I had the attacks but he's not looking for a woman with issues..no man is.  Well that was about a month ago.  Since then I started to see a new man and I spent the night with him last night... I woke up at his house and I was fine initially, but then anxiety kicked in... It seems the moment I start to like a man, I start having panic attacks.  I am so terrified of having my world turned upside down again.  I don't want to get hurt again.  I long for the companionship of a man in my life and the affection and everything, but I am absolutely terrified of being hurt again and this fear is now ruling my everyday life.  I don't want to live with this anxiety :( I am scared now that I will never be the same, and that I will never be able to love again. It's so depressing :( At least this new guy also suffers from anxiety attacks so he totally understands but it felt pretty lame telling him this morning that I was having anxiety and that it was because I like him.  I can't believe this.  I was in counseling for a few months to try to address this but since I got a full-time job (THANK GOD) my counselor had to end the sessions because she doesn't work after 5:00.  That was a big blow, just when I thought I was getting somewhere....  I don't know what to do now. I like this guy, I really liked the last guy.  I am very ready to have a man in my life, but my mind and heart are ruined.  So sad....

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Wed, 11-06-2013 - 8:02am

Free, all I'm going to say is this: my dh and I are two very imperfect unhealthy (emotionally, somewhat mentally lol) people who are 100% perfect for each other as human beings and intimate partners. Our r-ship is not perfect, but it is as near to perfect as I've ever wanted a r-ship to be. We have issues sometimes which we resolve - quickly and without drawn-out arguments  -  together, as a couple, a team, friends and partners. I didn't do 'law of attraction' stuff either. I just got lucky. I wish you the same kind of luck.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-02-2008
Tue, 11-05-2013 - 2:27pm

Hi;

I totally agree with Music........... although it can happen it is not possible to attract a healthy mate if you dont get emotionally healthy on your own and have time alone and find out who you really are and know what you want.. We can all attract the wrong type. that is the easy part but how many people really attract the right one and so quickly....

Not saying its not possible but Julia you must be the exception to the rule.. I am sure your guy is not perfect although the way you talk about him it sounds like he his. Unless you are just accepting him for what he is or lying  no one is perfect. He must have some flaws and so do you.. I guess you both live with them..and are willing to put with it.. because no one relationship gets away with not having any problems.. If and when problems arise the couple either sorts it out or they drift apart and break up...

Most people I find just bury their heads in the sand when problems arise and that is why most people stay together. They just ignore the hard core problems and live with them....

Me being my age and having experienced two failed marriages, relationships, flings, affairs, watching other couples and staying alone I think I know what the deal is.. Not trying to sound cocky or arrogant but trust me experience is the best teacher.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Tue, 11-05-2013 - 9:58am

Oh I know it's not entirely healthy. But it's now I've always been, since very young,  and I won't be changing any time soon at the age of 43. One of the reasons for this could be that I'm a twin and life alone is unfathomable and pointless to me.  Biologically pre-programmed, so to speak. I'm not thinking as far ahead as which one of us, him or me,  will go first. (I do hope it's me!!|)

As far as OP, yes, absolutely, I do agree that she has to get herself into a healthier mental state to go back out into the world again. Medication, therapy, both. Understanding that she can't subject herself to this kind of treatment by any  man ever again.

 What I don't agree with is the notion that we have to somehow get ourselves all sorted and stable and happy to start dating again after a bad break up. That we have to read self-help books and go to endless therapy sessions for years and years until we're all 'repaired' again. Life just isn't like that, full stop.  Noone ever really recovers from terribly painful break-ups, especially if it was a very long term r-ship,  UNTIL AND UNLESS they get themselves into a new great one  that lasts. Noone's ever 'healed' through and through. If we all waited until we were to start dating again we'd all be single for the rest of our lives. Everyone's emotionally damaged, to an extent, after a certain age, because thing happen to people, and there's no way to ensure that nothing bad ever happens to us.  What heals damage - in my opinion and more importantly experience - is a new great start which develops into a happy 'forever'. At least that was the case for both myself and my sister in our lives.

 

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Community Leader
Registered: 01-25-2010
Mon, 11-04-2013 - 4:02pm

  It sounds like You are over involving your emotions.  The anxiety attacks can be calmed down effectively with several types of medication i recommend something like Valium since it can be used at the time of the attack rather than taken daily.  However, counseling would also help since the anxieties seem to be event triggered. 

   Also it seems that you are 'other centered" using a relationship with a man to validate yourself and using him as the pole of power.  That would certainly trigger problems.  learning to be in your own power would help a lot.

dragowoman

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Mon, 11-04-2013 - 12:13pm

I think it's unhealthy to have the idea in your mind that you could not function w/o a partner because at some point almost everyone has to do this, like it or not.  Even if your partner never breaks up w/ you, he could die before you--that's just a fact of live.  Since men usually die before women, I know a lot of older widows who aren't sitting in the house mourning and doing nothing.  I'm sure they miss their former DHs.  Of course most people are happier with a partner.  the problem with trying to date while you are messed up is that those people usually attract bad partners.  It's like women who were with someone abusive and don't deal with that issue chosse another partner who is also abusive.  I dont' say that people have to be perfect to date, but if the OP gets anxiety attacks everytime she starts getting close to someone, then how is she going to have a relationship?  the guy could be perfect for her, but she could drive him away because she's not ready to be in a relationship.  

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Mon, 11-04-2013 - 5:54am

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-08-2006
Sun, 11-03-2013 - 5:25pm
I used to have panic attacks...not sure if they are what you are describing, but they were quite frightening, and some were tied in worth the fear of a relationship ending. I made the choice that I am happier when not in a relationship, but I don't recommend that...it is the right choice for me, but I know not for everyone. I think your plan to get counseling and maybe medication is excellent. But I want to point out to you that you are a very strong person...you are a survivor. Some of the most dificult things that anyone can experience...abuse, loss of job, loss of love, loss of security...happened to you and you faced them and picked yourself up and moved forward. I have many 'stupid' fears (I label them that for myself, if they are someone else's, I am not downplaying them). I am afraid that if I go out to dinner with someone, I won't be able to think of anything to say...believe me, this has NEVER happened. I am afraid of getting lost...and I have been lost but always found my way home. I think you were very brave to tell the person you were with that you were having an anxiety attack. Being brave doesn't mean you aren't afraid...it means you real the fear and do it anyway. It might help you to reframe how you think about yourself to see the strong, brave woman you are...not instead of counseling, but until you get there....best wishes.
iVillage Member
Registered: 12-03-2006
Sun, 11-03-2013 - 2:52pm

sounds like you have a case depression and severe anxiety. PTSD revolve around the trauma not the attacks. From your history didn't sound like you have extreme abuse (i.e. sexual, physical abuse).  The meds you need to treat this i.e. xanax, ativan (any short term benzo) and SSRI's (prozac, paxil, etc...) are very inexpensive costing $4 per month so you may not need to wait until you get coverage. You have to pay for the dr. visits though.  

Community Leader
Registered: 07-16-2001
Sun, 11-03-2013 - 2:15pm
It sounds like the abuse could be what's traumatizing you and causing the attacks. Is there a domestic abuse support group in your area you can go to? It would be something until you have medical coverage again.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2012
Sun, 11-03-2013 - 11:34am

The last counselor I had I really liked, and she is the one who said I have symptoms of PTSD because I have anxiety attacks, claustrophobia and nightmares now.  Most of my nightmares are about having anxiety attacks and wanting to die.  I think the anxiety attacks I had the week he left traumatized me more than HE really did maybe, because I've never had lows like that in my life and felt so out of control of my mind.  The 9 years with him were some of the worst of my life, constantly breaking up with me and using that as his power, he manipulated me into an abortion once and that really screwed me up, and he was just extremely emotionally abusive and occasionally physically.  But I grew up with abuse, my father was an alcoholic and very abusive, and my alcoholic co-dependant mother usually kept her mouth shut probably out of fear of him.  My parents were emotinally unavailable most of my childhood, but I did feel very loved because they told us so often (my 2 brothers and I) and spoiled us with material stuff.  I don't see material posessions as love now, but I do find chaos and abuse OK and I stayed with my ex much longer than any normal woman would have :(  I just figured since he told me he loved me, he must love me.  And I really loved him and was attached to his daughter and I just put way to much of myself into that.  It was like losing my life when it was over, every time he would dump me.  Then I would cry and apologize profusely for being a horrible person and he would give me another chance...when I should have told him to suck it.  So now I'm 31, starting to finally get back on my feet.  I spent a year getting myself back together.  Now I go to the gym regularly, I just landed a great job, I'm independent and I'm generally happy again.  I want the affection of a man again and I'm ready for it, or so I think.  I just can't imagine getting my guts ripped out again like my ex did and feeling that awful anxiety of "what the hell am I going to do now" again.  It was literally enough to make me want to die, but I couldn't do that because I know there is too much to live for.  I really do have a good grip on myself but the moment I start to feel mushy feelings for another man I lose my cool... I don't miss or even think about my ex at all, I'm glad it's over and I knew in my heart that this would happen eventually.  I stayed with him out of comfort and I did have hope it would change but I knew deep down we were destined to break up... I just hoped it would have been at a time I wasn't so dependant.  Anyway, I will have medical coverage in 3 months and I definitely plan to address my issues with a doctor and maybe get some xanax for my anxiety attacks.  It's not just men that are making me have them lately, tho.  My father is ill and I've been having anxiety attacks imagining losing him.  I'm all messed up, and it sure would be great to have a man to give me a hug once in a while!!

Thanks all for your replies!!!!!!!!

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