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Hi everyone, like I've said before, I hate that you guys have to go through the same thing as me, because obviously I understand how awful it is, but it is SO SO comforting to come on here and read your posts when I am at my wit's end with this! All of your posts really resonate with me, and I hope and pray all the time that we will all get better. :)

PG, medication is a funny one for me - during the eating disorder I mentioned, I was put on a high dosage of Prozac. At the time it seemed to work, but looking back now I do wonder if it was just a placebo effect - the doctor I'm currently seeing believes that anxiety is an electrical imbalance rather than a chemical one, and I know when I was put on Prozac the second time (for anxiety), I felt absolutely awful. When I went back to my doctor she admitted that the Prozac often made people feel numb and anxious in the first couple of weeks, and it was possibly a mistake to put me back on it given how awful I already felt. She is still pushing the beta-blocker she put me on (Half Indrel), but I haven't taken it since she gave them to me. In a strange way, I would rather have the physical symptoms of anxiety accompanying the mental symptoms, as the physical remind me that it IS an illness - the thoughts in my head aren't real!

Your use of alcohol and cigarettes also makes sense to me - you used those things in the way that I used my eating disorder - so little of what I used to do was about being thin, it was really just a coping mechanism. Sometimes I think it would be better to go back to my bad habits too, because it made everything else seem bearable, but thankfully the treatment I had has instilled it into me that going down that route again will not make any difference - the problem isn't that I'm fat, it's that I can't cope with the constant anxiety and guilt I feel with regards to my family. I truly believe that this anxiety over my relationship is the same thing - I'm picking holes in something which is FINE (I was never fat, but I convinced myself I was/ I was never not in love but I have convinced myself otherwise) because of some sort of guilt/unhappiness I am feeling elsewhere. And now I'm aware of that fact, I'm increasingly aware of the little cruel comments my parents make about my boyfriend and our relationship.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this before (I probably have), but my doctor believes that whatever we learn as children is instilled somewhere in our brain, and that part of our brain will follow what we learned to the letter, regardless of whether it is true or not. For me, my parents have never been happily married - something which my Mum told me from a very young age. I asked the doctor if that would have had an effect on me - and he said it would have been very damaging. So in your past PG, you spent months knowing that something was wrong and no one was able to tell you what was wrong - could it be you're applying the same experience to your relationship, only to find this time that there actually is NOTHING wrong?!

By the way, I too have looked at other websites and been very upset with what I found - you just have to remember that there are some very insensitive people out there, and that the internet is full of stuff which is completely untrue. One thing that worries me most is that no one can tell you how you feel about love and relationships - there isn't a set way of telling if you are still in love or not - like when I thought I was fat, there was a wealth of scientific evidence to suggest that I wasn't - there isn't the same thing for what we're feeling. One thing I did read which really helped me though was someone on another website saying that love is a choice - we've been conditioned to believe that it should be this wonderful, magical thing, where you're happy all the time, but in reality it's just not like that. Love is hard work, and it's a CHOICE.

To illustrate what I mean, last time I was at the doctor's, he did an exercise with me which made me tap in to my unconscious. Halfway through the exercise, he asked me to imagine someone sitting with me, and told me I could do whatever I want with that person. Of course, I was sitting with my boyfriend, and all I wanted to do was tell him that I love him - but I couldn't do it. I came round from the exercise in the middle of a panic attack, crying and shaking, and completely unable to breathe. The doctor asked me what I dream about - and normally I dream about a lot of nonsense. He explained that that is what the unconscious mind does - it takes what we have learned (and as a child I learned that relationships were an unhappy thing) and follows it exactly - no interpretation, no understanding, nothing. But in my conscious mind, I KNOW that I love him, that I have never stopped loving him, that I always will love him - that I CHOOSE to love him. It's just that, for whatever reason, my conscious mind got so exhausted that the unconscious has taken over, and is trying to get me to follow what it learned when I was a child - that it's dangerous and upsetting to be in a relationship, that it is much better to just carry on with my family - nothing else. Does that make any sense at all?

The same kind of thing happened the other day - my Mum started telling me how I was being selfish and inconsiderate by not going on holiday with them, and all of a sudden I just couldn't take it any more, couldn't fight it any more - my unconscious took over, told me that it would be easier and less painful to just do what she said, and give everything up. Thankfully, I called my boyfriend and he came and took me away from the situation for a few days. Whilst my anxiety wasn't cured (lots of derealisation and bizarre, upsetting thoughts) I could push the symptoms away a lot better than before, and had more time feeling like myself than I ever did at home. Now I'm back home, and my family's problems got loaded on to me straight away - cue me feeling rotten again!

Oli, I saw your thread on here a while back and I meant to respond to it, but by the time I went to do it, it had gone! I understand how you feel - I was always very shy when I was younger too, my friends used to say that I was practically mute! When I started going out with my boyfriend I had all those thoughts too, to the extent that our first New Year as a couple, I worried he thought I was a weirdo because I wanted to spend it with him but couldn't say it! I have gone through constant worries since then, even believing for a while that he was really sick and I was going to lose him (there was nothing wrong with him). But the worry that I don't love him seems to have stuck for just now, and believe me, there have been times when I have come close to ending it all because it just gets too hard - but then I remember what an incredible guy he is, and how stupid I would be to ever give him up. You need to remember that this is all coming from somewhere else, which is SO hard sometimes because your brain gets too tired to fight it, but you HAVE to. Like I said before, love is a choice, and the fact that you're choosing to stick it out speaks volumes - far more than the negative thoughts in your head.

And don't ever worry about writing too much - as you can see, I'm the champion at that - we just have a lot to say and to get out!

Kat, I'm really glad you found us :) It's comforting to hear from someone who is in exactly the same position - I know that the need to 'fix' things for your family is absolutely exhausting, and that's what has happened to me - I hit the wall, I couldn't do any more, and I think it is that which has made me question my relationship. Like, as a couple, the way I see it is that you have to be there for one another, and if there's something which is weighing you down already, you can't do that job properly. Because of the issues within my family, I've carried them for so long, but it has got to the point now that it has to come to a choice - I can either tell my family 'no more', or I can give up on my relationship. And, having seen the reaction from my family when I told them I couldn't do it any more (NOT positive, believe me!), I know it will be difficult, but I will have to walk away from them. My boyfriend has shown me nothing but love, patience and encouragement. My family will do the same, so long as it is on THEIR terms, in THEIR time, and nothing else. It's tearing me apart, but I have to do it.

So, after all that rambling - can I ask - does anyone have completely bizarre and unreal thoughts?! Like yesterday I wondered if I was gay, which is COMPLETELY weird because I have never had ANY inclination, but it popped into my head and it just wouldn't leave (and of course, there's nothing wrong with being gay). Any thoughts?

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