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This thing we do • View topic - Anxiety and misunderstandings

Anxiety and misunderstandings

feminist? Christian? Pagan? Athiest? Loving partner? Adult?...

if you let someone discipline you?

Well, I know that we *are* all of those things, or whatever else we define ourselves to be. But sometimes, we just need to check in with other people, and be reminded that we're not doing something bad or wrong.

Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby DaddysLucy » Mon May 19, 2008 9:37 pm

Note: this entry is looooong.

As some of you may know, I'm currently in counseling for anxiety. I'm also going to be moving in a few months, and will be spending about half the week in another city, so I'll only be here with Daddy on the weekends. Also, Daddy tends to need a lot more "alone time" than I do. So recently we have been working on ways for me to give him alone time without it freaking me out.

See, a lot of my anxiety rests on him. I worry about us a lot. It's been better since I've been in counseling, but he is the thing I worry about the most. I worry that I am too much work for him. That he gets tired of having to punish me. That he wishes he were with someone who wasn't so anxious. That he wants to leave me because I am anxious or because I need discipline (even though he is the one who was searching for a DD-D/s relationship when we got together). That he wants to leave me for someone else. That he still carries a torch for an ex-girlfriend/ ex-submissive. That I am not submissive enough. That I am too submissive and he is getting more than he bargained for.

So being away from him, and knowing that he needs to spend time away from me, is really scary for me. I don't really have a need for alone time. I read a lot, and reading is kind of my alone time. Or taking a bath. But he has lots of hobbies-- he paints and draws and is a photographer and all kinds of things, and he likes to do these things alone sometimes. But I get afraid that his need for alone time is actually a need to be away from me because I am irritating or he is sick of me, or he needs to be alone because he'll be doing something against our rules (our rule as a monogamous couple: we don't do anything with anyone else that is anything at all like what we do together). It's not that I don't trust him (and I know it sounds that way), but it's like my anxiety is its own entity, and IT doesn't trust him. I know that he is faithful and in love with me, so I feel like a terrible partner for having these fears and worries and I am working so hard at getting rid of them, but sometimes it's hard.

So this has been the dilemma recently: We have been trying to implement a few things in our relationship to help him deal with my anxiety. Because my anxieties are so often about him, that hurts his feelings even when he tries not to take it personally. He didn't expect it to be this hard for him to disengage from my anxieties, but how could it not be? So he'd been getting fed up and irritated with me being anxious for what he saw as no reason, and started tiptoeing around me. Then, we would talk about that and agree on a new tactic: We started a journal to each other. I would write in it about things I was feeling or were hard to talk about, and he would write back. Except that I was the only one writing in it. So we talked about that (actually, I cried about it and all but told him he didn't care about me, and he felt like a huge jerk, and THEN we talked about that). Then I started tiptoeing around him, because I didn't want him to get mad at me for feeling anxious, but that made me anxious and made it worse.

So last week it all culminated. We have realized that the week before my time of the month, my anxiety is significantly worse, and that was last week. I warned him, I talked about ways to combat those fears in therapy, and talked about that with Daddy. Then, early last week, the crap hit the fan (I'm not allowed to say the s-word): Daddy was playing a video game after dinner, and I was gearing up for us to take our nightly walk. I went into the kitchen and all of a sudden I got very overwhelmed. The kitchen was a mess and I just could not deal with it. So I shakily asked Daddy to help me. Daddy asked me what was wrong, and I said I needed to clean the kitchen but I couldn't, it was too much. He told me to go sit down and he started doing it for me. Well, sitting was making me even more nervous, so I got up and started picking up the living room. He told me to sit down again, and I basically told him no, I needed to be moving.

Things got clean, and we went on our walk. I asked him if he was mad at me, and he said he was pretty irritated, but needed to think about it and he didn't really know why. We walked for about half an hour, and I asked him again if he was still mad at me. He said something about being "tired of it always being so hard." I balked at that, and told him the following: it is not "always" so hard anymore. It's a lot better. My anxious episodes are fewer, weaker, and farther between, and I am much better at handling them than I used to be. He stood by his statement. Then I said, "Well, what the f--- do you want me to do?" and I ran the rest of the way home, leaving him behind.

We barely talked for the rest of the night. We wrote back and forth to each other in the journal, but that was all until we went to bed. At bedtime, when we had cooled down, I apologized for my behavior. He explained what he'd been feeling-- he thought I got anxious because he was doing something that didn't involve me and I was feeling neglected, even though he'd asked me if I minded him playing the video game. He felt humiliated that I had run away from him (and locked the bathroom door while I took a shower, and ignored him when he tried to talk to me when he got home), and he felt like my actions had shown that I had contempt for his authority and did not respect him as my dominant/ daddy and he did not have control over me or this relationship.

I felt ashamed that I had acted in the way I did, but I felt hurt that he had said it was "always so hard," and like he didn't recognize all the strides I'd made and all the work I had been doing in therapy. I felt like he thought I wasn't working hard enough, and he basically reinforced all of my fears that if I didn't make "x" amount of progress by such and such time, he would leave me.

I didn't get punished that night, he was too upset with the whole situation, but he wasn't mad at me anymore. I got fifty strokes with the leather strap the next day, and a stern lecture about never, ever walking away from him or cursing at him. I was honestly shocked it wasn't more, but I don't decide the punishments and I think he knew I was punishing myself a great deal.

The problem was when he wanted me to write about my punishment here, and write "a good long entry about it." Well, at the time I didn't feel like anything had been resolved, so I wasn't sure what to write about. I didn't feel comfortable talking about the punishment when I felt like so much was still hanging over my head. I mean, I am going to get anxious sometimes, and the way he's dealing with it just isn't working. So I didn't have to do this entry right away.

It's been a hard few weeks with my anxiety, because as it gets better, it's felt like he gets worse at dealing with it so I feel like I am constantly instructing him on how to handle me, but that makes me feel very out of my submissive place. We operate in a pretty firm power dynamic, and I felt uncomfortable instructing him or suggesting things to him, but I knew I had to because he wasn't coming up with the solutions on his own and I felt like this was an area where I knew better how to take care of me than he did. But that was disconcerting for me, still. I did it, though.

He says that he felt like before I was in therapy, he was in a war zone with my anxiety. He could separate from it more easily because it was pretty much constant. Now that it's better, he gets lulled into a sense of security, so when I have an anxiety attack that is focused on him or us, it catches him off guard and he interprets it instinctively as my being unhappy with him or our relationship in a fundamental way. I must be upset with him, and he gets defensive because he has done nothing wrong.

So we're trying a few things. For me, I am trying to be more self-aware with when I am getting anxious. I am trying to excuse myself to the bedroom to relax and breathe for a few minutes. I am trying to remember to trust him and to know that I can rely on him and he's not going anywhere. I am working on remembering that he is entitled to his feelings, that is must be hard to be with someone who is this anxious, especially about him, and that he is allowed to feel some negative feelings about that sometimes. Those negative feelings don't mean he wants to leave me, and don't mean that he is fundamentally unhappy.

For him, we have created a script. When I am anxious, he will say some variation of "I love you, I know this moment will pass and you'll be okay," and hopefully that will remind him to disengage from my anxiety. He is also going to try to send me to our room, if I don't take this action first, when I am getting anxious to let both of us calm down for a few minutes. He is going to try to remember that even though my anxiety is about him, I do trust him and I don't really believe things this I am afraid of, if that makes sense. He is going to refrain from using absolutes like "always" and try to give me more positive feedback when I handle my anxiety in a healthy way.

So all of this is good, and we had a good week/ weekend where I was calm most of the time. We also had a chance to practice these techniques when I got a little anxious tonight, and it went well.

It's just... I've suggested a few things to him in my journal that I would like for him to have me do, and it hasn't happened. When we lived apart last year, I had to write a daily essay for him on a topic of his choosing, usually related to my submission. Since we moved in together several months ago I haven't had to do that. I would like to do that again. Not every day, but once a week or so. I suggested that in my journal to him, but we never talked about it and he never acknowledged it.

I struggle sometimes with feeling like I am the only proactive one when it comes to my anxiety. I am the one with the ideas, and I am the one telling him how best to handle me. I don't expect him to magically know how to handle this, but I am naturally submissive and it feels like I am giving more instruction than I am comfortable with. I also feel like he is a little overwhelmed with how much we talk about my anxiety. Until two weeks ago, we talked about it all the time and I have made a conscious effort to talk about it less and just enjoy my time with him more. But at the same time, there are specific things I want/ need him to do to keep me under his hand a little more firmly, especially when I am hormonal, and I feel like he is concentrating so much on getting through the day-to-day and anticipating my anxiety (even though it's lessened quite a bit and I don't think he needs to "prep" for it as much anymore) that he is not really thinking of long-term solutions, or new things to implement. He may even think that introducing new things into our routine, or re-introducing old things, would be stressful for me. I don't know.

Anyway, I don't know if I have posted this in the right spot. Maybe it should go somewhere else. And I'm not sure why this post had to be this long, or what kind of response I am expecting. I guess... this thing has been going on in my household for a while, and it's getting better, but I think maybe I want to know that there are other bottoms out there with the same fears? And reassurance that the fears are ungrounded? And ideas for how to help him stop prepping for my anxious moments and start living our life again with me? Again, it's getting better, and we had a great weekend together, but it's still a little stressful.
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Re: Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby Eayore » Sat Jun 07, 2008 7:04 pm

I am still having trouble keeping up with this board, so I have only just read this post.

I thank you for sharing this, it shows a side of you I was completely unaware of up to now. It seems to me that it is natural for you to feel anxiety about these things - perhaps what you're saying is that the anxiety itself gets out of hand?

I have certainly had moments when I feared my partner found me too much trouble, particularly my constant need for discipline. It seems to me we all have experiences when things aren't going so well in the DD relationship, and at times our Tops let us know they aren't happy (in subtle ways, or not-so-subtle).

The thing which helps me is to realise that she can (and does) make changes when she needs to. I don't get the impression from other things you have written that your Daddy finds disciplining you bothersome at all (but maybe I am not seeing what you see). However, if he did, wouldn't he just come out and say it, and tell you what he wanted to change?

I don't know if that helps at all?
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Re: Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby fail » Mon Jun 09, 2008 4:35 pm

As someone who has a partner who can be a bit anxious herself (and I'll let Nic say more if she wants), it sounds like you're doing all you can to deal with this in a healthy, safe manner.

I dunno how your Daddy feels, Lucy, but there are moments when I don't suggest anything with Nic simply because it's not my issue. I know that sounds bad but I mean it more in the way of "you know what you're going through, how you feel inside", all I (we) see are the external signs. I wouldn't presume to tell my wife how best to handle something internal that she's the one going through. I'll be supportive, I'll listen, I'll be and do whatever I can to help her in any way I can, because I love her and want for her to feel safe and calm and secure, but as I'm not an anxious person, it's hard to imagine how that feels and what I could do to help.

I dunno if that helped, but that's my chiming in.
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Re: Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby Sara'sGirl(SG) » Tue Jun 10, 2008 12:37 pm

:yeahthat: Methinks S was making a bit of an understatement when she said she has a partner who can be "a bit" anxious herself. I tend to be real anxious too, though I've never had an actual panic attack. I tend to live in constant anxiety that I'm doing something wrong between S and me. That I'm going to mess it up, and she won't want to be with me anymore. It is really not a fun way to live!

Did you and Daddy talk more since this posting, Lucy? I see that it's been a couple of weeks, and I wonder if either of you have revisited some things you wrote in your journal.

S also is great at just holding me, letting me get it out when I get really worked up, and that helps me a lot. We haven't discussed too much what we can do to help me with just..general anxiety, but that's something I discuss with my therapist a fair amount, and S is always interested in what we come up with, and how we can work things in our relationship in light of discussions I have with my therapist.

So, yeah, that's how it tends to work between us, from my perspective.
Nic

Sing 'til you're breaking glass
or you're breaking down

~Idina Menzel

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Re: Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby DaddysLucy » Wed Jun 11, 2008 6:07 pm

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Re: Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby Eayore » Wed Jun 11, 2008 7:29 pm

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Re: Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby DaddysLucy » Wed Jun 11, 2008 10:16 pm

I have not read it, so I can't speak to whether the differences he and I have are male/ female, or top/ bottom, or just personality differences. I just know that for him to hear about the specifics of my anxieties when they are about him is distressing to him, and then upsetting to me. He doesn't ignore me when this happens, though. He is more than happy to encourage me to do whatever I need to do to calm down, or give me alone time, or just hold me and talk to me-- reassure me that he's here, and I'm the one for him, and things like that. He just can't really hear the specifics. And I think it works well, because for me, telling him the specific fears I have when I get anxious is hard and embarrassing and makes me feel guilty-- if I was a "good" girlfriend and a "good" partner and a "good" little girl, I wouldn't feel this way, would I? And then that just compounds the anxious feelings.
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Re: Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby fail » Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:08 pm

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Re: Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby JigsawAnalogy » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:17 am

lucy, as a counterpoint to s's (excellent) advice, i want to let you know that the feelings you describe are feelings i, and probably lots of other people, also feel. i know they're not *rational* feelings, but they are there all the same.

on the one side of dealing with them is the fact that w and i have been together for six and a half years now, and i'm starting to get the idea that maybe she isn't going to up and leave me. it also helps that i've learned to identify where the fears are coming from--it's not that w has given a lot of signs that she's dissatisfied or about to leave. it's that i am working hard to re-write experiences i had with so many people before her.

on the other side, there's the way that my therapist (and lots of other people in my life) have been working on helping me understand that it really is ok for me not to be perfect. one thing they all keep saying is that they like me BETTER when i'm not managing everything perfectly. it's apparently distancing and intimidating to people when someone else is handling things as though they don't need help and don't make mistakes.

it's still hard. but it's something we're working on. (and i've got that little voice in the back of my head insisting, "But see, if I were really *perfect*, then it *wouldn't* be intimidating, because I would do it in a way that made people feel good, and wasn't calling attention to myself.")
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Re: Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby GF1 » Thu Jun 12, 2008 12:49 pm

A big hurdle with irrational fear or anxiety is the knowledge that it is irrational does not often alleviate the feeling and even adds to the stress or anxiety because of feeling even worse because you know it is irrational but cannot stop the feeling. It is tough to deal with and sometimes it is helpful to try meds. Not trying to pry or overstep or anything, just offering a thought. Good luck with your move.
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Re: Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby DaddysLucy » Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:53 pm

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Re: Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby JigsawAnalogy » Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:36 pm

for run of the mill anxiety, or to take the edge off just a little bit, i've found that rescue remedy is pretty helpful. it's a homeopathic, or flower essences, or something like that. anyhow, you either take it in water or put a few drops on or under your tongue.

i don't get the negative side effects with that that i do with anti-anxiety meds.* sometimes, i don't even notice that it made a difference, until i realize that i'm handling something better than i usually do (like crowded trains).

it doesn't solve everything perfectly, but it's over the counter, it doesn't have many side effects (tastes a little yucky, but that's about the worst i've had from it), and you can take it as needed.

cognitive therapy is really helpful. and so are all of those relaxation exercises one learns (breathing, grounding things, that kind of stuff). the advantage of meds, if they work, is that they give the cognitive stuff a chance to work. i know that if i'm already anxious, it can be hard to self-soothe (although i try. believe me, i try!). and if i'm already at, say, 60% anxiety, something that normally just makes me a little anxious (say, riding the train) will send me into a full-blown panic attack. and that's when it's nice to have something that will blunt the edges of that, and keep it from escalating.



*i often get "paradoxical reactions" to antianxiety meds, so they tend to increase rather than decrease my anxiety. not fun. although, the last time i was on meds intended to reduce my anxiety, and they did the opposite, at least when i finally recognized what the problem was, when i came back down to my usual level of anxiety, it was so much of an improvement that it felt way more manageable.
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Re: Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby GF1 » Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:19 am

[quote][the advantage of meds, if they work, is that they give the cognitive stuff a chance to work./quote]

That is the reason I mentioned it. It is good if the cognitive tools will work for you without the meds. It sounds as though you are working hard at doing what you need to do for yourself which is always a good thing.
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Re: Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby DaddysLucy » Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:44 am

Yeah, I've been working on changing my eating/ things-I-put-in-or-do-to-my-body habits to help the anxiety. I have only one serving of caffeine most days (even though my rule is no more than three), I exercise a lot more than I used to (I am working with little kids this summer, so that's pretty easy!), I try to drink a lot of water, and I try to eat more fruits/ veggies and less junk. I also switched my birth control pill (I had switched it a year ago, God knows why, and that corresponds with all the life changes that I went through, and the onset of my anxiety) so that seems to be helping. We also made a new rule: I must do ten minutes of progressive relaxation every day. I've already broken it a few times (I forget!) but I'm trying and I think that will help. I've figured out that the relaxation techniques don't work if you never do them!

I found out a few months ago that I have a family history on both sides of depression/ anxiety, and most of my family members have had to be on medication at some point or another, so that may be a possibility/ necessity later. Right now, CBT seems to work well most of the time. I have my setbacks, but we get through it. And I am starting to get convinced that Daddy truly is happy with me and is willing to do whatever we need to get us through this hard time. I'm so in love. :)
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Re: Anxiety and misunderstandings

Postby W-Jigsaw'sBoss » Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:20 pm

Can you talk some more about your relaxation stuff? I promised J I'd look into that and my therapist suggested a resource but I haven't started yet.


"I am loving, firm and flexible. Kind of like Lexan."
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