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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m afraid and I don’t know why

I’m afraid of letting go, afraid of sex, afraid of.. just afraid. I don’t know why.

I was raised in what I thought was a lax catholic family but I really don’t know anymore. Growing up I was just told to toughen up and move on. To hide things and let them go.

To move on.

Maybe I haven’t, maybe I’ve let things bottle up for so long that now they’re tearing my fiancé’ and myself apart at the seams. We want to start a family, we want kids, but the bedroom is dead and my desires as a car guy have gone from just having the perfect car and losing it, to now trying to gain that back at any cost.

Any cost.

That cost may as well be my relationship but I’ll be damned if I give it up. Every time I reach that point, that precipice, that razors edge I pull myself back and tuck it away. Move on and leave it for another day, another month.

Year 4.

My fiancé can’t do so as easily. In fact she’s losing it but there’s a calm about her at the same time. We both break down weekly now, just crying and never solving anything. Hell I’m crying now just writing this and she took the night off to help me. We’re at wits end and know the problem is me; I just refuse to give up and keep pulling her back in.

The debt I’ve raised has now made me dependent on her, not just emotionally. It’s a damned disaster and I’m constantly trying to pick up the pieces.

Then I just fall back into my habits of tucking it away, letting it go, and finding some kind of distraction.

Porn, though really it does nothing for me anymore.
Looking up car parts on craigslist
Looking up that next car
Looking up the latest info on video games
Looking up the latest info about cars

These are some of my distractions.

I bought a car after someone hit my friends truck (I was at the wheel) and just indebted myself to him because I felt bad. To the point of signing a contract to make sure I don’t stiff him the cash.
I admitted myself to the ER because of fears of suicide and now I pay the price with medical bills from that stint.

I still owe out the butt for my degree which I use on a daily basis but question whether or not it was worth it (Love the ever loving hell out of my job)

There’s still more I could share but I felt that maybe, just maybe there’d be some ear out there aside from that of my fiancé; who’s had it beyond the bun on her head, that would listen and offer advice.

I’m scared to death of going to a therapist because all of my past expierences with them haven’t been that of someone who listens but more of someone who just sits there and lords an opinion over me.. at least in my opinion.

It’s made me physically sick now how much I can’t even open up about life, love, sex, anything. I just lock up but it’s taken the razors edge and one hell of an emotional meltdown to bring me to this. My fiancé is going to post this on my behalf because she’s researched this thing to hell and back and I’m still at square one..

I need help.
 

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It doesn't sound like a dead bedroom is the thing you ought to be focusing on right now. It sounds like there is a host of other issues, including your mental well-being, which probably ought to be the thing you're worried about.
 

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ok, it sounds like what's happened is you got obsessed with an expensive car, bought it, got into huge debt, now regret it, but won't give it up.

further more, you were already in debt from college loans and added to that, now drowning in debt to the point of depression and panic and it's ruining your marriage.

is that about right? if not explain for us.
 

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I haven't got a clue what the actual issue is other than you've got anxiety that has made your sex life a thing of the past. Oh and you have debt.

You're all over the place with things you're anxious about. The least of your problems right now is sex. Everything else hinges on your anxiety.

Anxiety is treatable. Did you know that? Anxiety is actually one of the easier mental illnesses to treat. But you know why people are still suffering with anxiety? Because it's become a part of who they are and if they actually learn to live their lives without the anxiety, they don't know who they are.

To successfully treat anxiety you need 3 things. Daily medication regimen, therapy with a therapist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy, and the will to work the therapy to rid yourself of the anxiety. The meds work to keep your brain from flooding with anxious thoughts. The therapy teaches you ways to redirect yourself and reinterpret the stimuli around you, and your commitment to work at will make it

So ditch the sh!tty attitude about therapy and find a therapist, and work the therapy! If you believe you can regain your mental strength and fortitude, and you can, you will.
 
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I’m scared to death of going to a therapist because all of my past expierences with them haven’t been that of someone who listens but more of someone who just sits there and lords an opinion over me.. at least in my opinion.
What opinions are they sharing with you? And how do they lord it over you?
 

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You havent yet come back so will have to await further details. This is not a car forum but a marriage one. So will have to keep the sex issue. Please tell us what your sexual experience is and when it went 'sour'.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My Fiance posted a raw rant on my behalf so allow me to clarify, my apologies. I'll cut my response into short bullets for ease of questioning/answers.

- Debt was accrued due to the anxiety and being diagnosed on bi-polar spectrum
- The fear comes from unresolved personal issues that I believe stem from my childhood
- Lack of sex/intimacy comes from the fear, embarrassment, hiding, and pent up anxiety that still exists.
- Debt fuels the fear, locks me up in the relationship preventing me from being intimate
- Car wasn't an expensive purchase so much as an impulse purchase (and currently up for sale)
- Currently seeing a psychiatrist (since age 15, now 28) and have been through multiple medications
- Therapist has an 'air' of being overbearing, my opinion that upon reflection may be misplaced.

In the end I'm just looking for advice and a poorly worded spilling of my guts so to speak wasn't the best idea but it was a start. I just went with what was on my mind, wrote it down, and my fiance did the rest (posting it to multiple forums on my behalf as I said.)

I am going to go back on therapy, maybe even couples therapy as well as follow some advice in possibly just tiptoe-ing back into intimacy. Right now I'm just fighting off drowning in my own well of fear, and anxiety, and trying to cope with it all while working in a high stress job. I fix airliners for a living, and also have a natural fear of open heights.

That always comes home with me, so it's hard to find an angle to start at with this mound of issues. I'm just looking for advice like I said.
 

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Right now, you just might not be mentally healthy enough to be in an intimate relationship. Someone who isn't sure they wish to even exist can add little to the life of someone else. If the majority of your focus is on yourself and just keeping yourself together, what do you have right now for someone else? There is no law that requires you to be in a romantic or intimate relationship and in your present condition (from what you have described) I wonder if you are healthy enough for one and if it's even fair to attempt to be until you find some peace with yourself. Your illness isn't your fault but it certainly isn't her's, either. I would suggest you call off any marriage plans for now, drop out of the relationship for a time, put all your energy into getting yourself squared away. Until you can be comfortable and self-sufficient in your own skin you really aren't in a position to focus primarily on someone else. That is what is required in a marriage. My wife has bipolar, depression, PTSD. 99% of her attention, time, and focus is on herself and it has to be. She is just that ill. Being the spouse of someone that ill basically amounts to becoming a non-human. I do not matter to her, the marriage doesn't, the family finances don't. You would do that to someone because they help you pay bills? Doesn't your fiance' deserve a man that can and will put her first? Maybe that can someday be you but it sounds like you need some significant mental health intervention before you can. Marriages have a way of producing babies. Are you mentally in a place where you can forget all about your own needs, fears, feelings, and desires and put a tiny human before all over concerns?
 

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Debt was accrued due to the anxiety and being diagnosed on bi-polar spectrum
DB, welcome to the TAM forum. If you really do have bipolar disorder, there is a good chance you also suffer from BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). Specifically, if you have bipolar-1, the chance of also having BPD is 35%. If you have bipolar-2, that chance is 27%. See Table 3 at 2008 Study in JCP. I mention this because several of the behavioral and fear issues you describe are characteristic of BPD (or possibly Avoidant PD), not bipolar.

The fear comes from unresolved personal issues that I believe stem from my childhood.
Bipolar, as you must realize by now, is NOT caused by childhood issues. Rather, it is caused by gradual changes in body chemistry that typically take a week or two to develop and just as long to disappear.

BPD, in contrast, is believed to arise from a combination of genetics and childhood issues, e.g., an emotionally unavailable parent who fails to validate the child. Instead of acknowledging that the child has real fears that must be dealt with, the parent invalidates the child by saying things like "you are just a crybaby," "I'll give you something REAL to cry about," or "there's nothing wrong with you so stop worrying."

Growing up I was just told to toughen up and move on. To hide things and let them go.
Like I said, the parents invalidate the child's feelings. The result is that the child grows up without a strong sense of self identity -- and with an overpowering desire to frequently seek validation.

Currently seeing a psychiatrist (since age 15, now 28).
BPD traits typically start showing right after puberty, in the early teens. Bipolar traits, however, typically do not appear until age 25 on average (the normal age range for onset is 18 to 30). It nonetheless is possible -- though unlikely -- your bipolar traits started appearing at 15.

...have been through multiple medications.
Because bipolar arises from an imbalance of body chemicals, it can be treated quite successfully in most cases by simply swallowing a pill (although it may take a while to find the right pill and right dosage to swallow). BPD, however, is a thought disorder which arises from a lack of emotional skills and, thus, cannot be treated with medication. Meds won't make a dent in it.

Granted, psychiatrists prescribe meds to nearly all BPDers. It is not targeted at the BPD, however. Instead, the meds are targeted to the co-occurring disorders that accompany BPD. At the table cited above, you will find that 69% of male BPDers also have a mood disorder, 66% of them also have an anxiety disorder, 37% have bipolar disorder, and 30% have PTSD. These co-occurring disorders are called "clinical disorders" because they are treatable with medication.

Lack of sex/intimacy comes from the fear, embarrassment, hiding, and pent up anxiety that still exists. Debt fuels the fear, locks me up in the relationship preventing me from being intimate.
Bipolar sufferers generally do not fear intimacy. Granted, they might fear intimacy for a brief period if their mania is so severe that it pushes them into paranoia or psychosis. But, generally, they don't fear it.

BPDers, on the other hand, have a great fear of engulfment, i.e., the suffocating feeling of being controlled -- and of losing one's own identity -- which occurs during intimacy. Like nearly all the rest of us, BPDers crave intimacy. Yet, because they have a very weak sense of who they are, they cannot tolerate intimacy for very long. They will start feeling very uncomfortable and will create an argument -- over absolutely nothing -- to push the partner away.

Car wasn't an expensive purchase so much as an impulse purchase.
Do you have much difficulty in controlling your impulses? I ask because this is one of the defining traits for BPD. It also is a trait seen in bipolar-1 sufferers whenever they experience mania.

Therapist has an 'air' of being overbearing, my opinion that upon reflection may be misplaced.
Perhaps he is overbearing. Yet, if you really do have strong BPD traits, you will find it extremely difficult to trust anyone, including your own therapist.

Right now I'm just fighting off drowning in my own well of fear, and anxiety.... I’m afraid of letting go, afraid of sex, afraid of.. just afraid. I don’t know why.
Does that fear usually start when you come home from work? I ask because, if you're a high functioning BPDer, you likely interact very well with business associates, casual friends, and total strangers. None of those folks would bother a HF BPDer because they pose no threat to the BPDer's two great fears: abandonment and engulfment. There is no close relationship that could be abandoned and no intimacy to trigger the engulfment fear. This is why BPDers can be thoughtful and kind all day long at work -- and then come home at night to find that their fears are triggered by the very people who love them.

I'm just looking for advice.
DB, my advice is to take a quick look at my description of 12 Bipolar/BPD Differences. It is based on my 35 years of experience with a bipolar-1 sufferer (my foster son) and my 15 years of experience living with a BPDer (my exW).

If most of the BPD traits in that discussion sound very familiar, I would suggest you read my list of 18 BPD Warning Signs and my more detailed description of them in Maybe's Thread. If those descriptions ring any bells, I would be glad to join the other respondents in discussing them with you. If they don't ring many bells, I would suggest you read about Avoidant PD to see if it sounds familiar.

Significantly, learning to spot these warning signs will NOT enable you to diagnose your issues. Only a professional can do that. Yet, like learning warning signs for stroke and heart attack, learning those for BPD may help you decide whether there is sufficient reason to spend money speaking with your psychiatrist about it -- or perhaps seeking a second professional opinion. Take care, DB.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Fiancée here. Just wanted to pop in and say I saw a lot of familiar things when looking up BPD, including black-and-white thinking, inappropriate anger, lack of impulse control/mental gymnastics to rationalize something he wants/needs/etc. Nothing fits to a T, though (nothing ever does, does it?), but I think it's fair to say we'll be discussing this at his next psychiatric appointment. I didn't feel like any of the 18 signs fit, but APD doesn't seem to, either. I feel annoyed, though, that I'm the one that keeps noticing these things and themes and patterns, and his psychiatrist hasn't. But then again, my fiance has a habit of downplaying things, or simply not noticing a connection and thinking they're isolated incidents and not bothering to mention them. I'm with him nearly 24/7, his psychiatrist is not....still.

He's read your reply and sees similarities himself. He's not really sure how to feel about any of what you said, but he is upset. He may reply later on tonight after he's had time to gather his thoughts.
 

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He's read your reply and sees similarities himself.
Fiancée, seeing "similarities" does not imply DB has a BPD problem. Please keep in mind that BPD is not something -- like chickenpox -- that a person "has" or "doesn't have." Rather, it is a "spectrum disorder," which means it is a set of basic human behavioral traits we all have to some degree.

At low levels, these traits are protective ego defenses that generally are essential to our survival. They become a problem only when they are so strong and persistent that they undermine one's ability to form and maintain healthy, close LTRs. At issue, then, is not whether DB "has BPD traits." Of course he does. We all do.

Rather, at issue is whether he exhibits those traits at a strong and persistent level (i.e., is on the upper end of the BPD spectrum). Not having met him, I cannot answer that question. I nonetheless believe you can spot any strong BPD warning signs that are present if you take a little time to learn which behaviors are on the list. They are not difficult to spot because there is nothing subtle about behaviors such as irrational jealousy, temper tantrums, controlling behavior, lack of impulse control, and rapid flips between Jekyll (adoring you) and Hyde (devaluing you).

I didn't feel like any of the 18 signs fit.
My list generally gives two real-world examples for each of the 9 defining traits that are used in diagnosing BPD. See 9 BPD Traits at NIMH Website.
 

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Perhaps seek another opinion? If the gentleman in this situation hasn't been getting much relief from the treatment he is currently receiving, maybe having another psychiatrist or two evaluate him and submit diagnosis and treatment plan would help.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Fiancée, seeing "similarities" does not imply DB has a BPD problem. Please keep in mind that BPD is not something -- like chickenpox -- that a person "has" or "doesn't have." Rather, it is a "spectrum disorder," which means it is a set of basic human behavioral traits we all have to some degree.

At low levels, these traits are protective ego defenses that generally are essential to our survival. They become a problem only when they are so strong and persistent that they undermine one's ability to form and maintain healthy, close LTRs. At issue, then, is not whether DB "has BPD traits." Of course he does. We all do.

Rather, at issue is whether he exhibits those traits at a strong and persistent level (i.e., is on the upper end of the BPD spectrum). Not having met him, I cannot answer that question. I nonetheless believe you can spot any strong BPD warning signs that are present if you take a little time to learn which behaviors are on the list. They are not difficult to spot because there is nothing subtle about behaviors such as irrational jealousy, temper tantrums, controlling behavior, lack of impulse control, and rapid flips between Jekyll (adoring you) and Hyde (devaluing you).

My list generally gives two real-world examples for each of the 9 defining traits that are used in diagnosing BPD. See 9 BPD Traits at NIMH Website.
DB here;

Haven't had a chance to actually read the 'signs' post but I do feel that between Bi-Polar and BPD I agree that it's a spectrum on which I may lie.

As far as work, you really hit the nail on the head, Uptown. I find myself looking for validation for my work as a sort of psychological need for a reward of sorts. However, recently I've noticed that my fears are also manifesting as phobias I thought had long been laid to rest; fears of open heights and fears of large objects hanging overhead (if there's such a phobia). I lock up at work and in a few instances 'freaked out' or 'wigged out'; something that happens at home as well when I get stressed out.

So in the line of diagnoses, stress disorders to anxiety disorders to possible bi-Polar spectrum; this is the flow we (my psych and I) have had from age 15 to now. I also know that as I went from teen to young adult to adult chemistry changes in the brain also may change the diagnosis drastically.

So BPD right now, while a long shot and not wise to be something to self diagnose, I feel that it's in a line of self discovery that I'm going through right now. I do have a scheduled appointment with my psychiatrist within a week so these will be discussed as well as my medication choices.

Uptown, I really appreciate your insight and thank you immensely for what you've provided. I think this relationship is salvageable not because anything is truly broken, but we still have much to learn about each other and my fiancee about herself as well.

They say relationships are a 50/50 effort, but to know yourself is also part of that 50/50 effort. Right now that gives me an idea that this may be one element as to why some work and others dont; as well as why some are weak and strong.

For those curious I will try to keep you updated.

Thank you all!
 

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DB, I'm not curious but I am deeply interested. So, by all means, please let us know what your psychiatrist says. Hopefully, he will listen to you a lot better than your therapist, whom you described as a guy "who just sits there and lords an opinion over me." When speaking with your psych, please keep several things in mind.

First, the very limited success you've experienced over the past ten years from the medications suggests a personality disorder should be considered (because PDs are untouched by meds and because you are describing some red flags for PDs).

Second, a PD is not something you "don't have." Everybody has the PD traits to some degree. This is not apparent in the current DSM because, for the last 35 years, it has presented a dichotomous approach to diagnosis -- wherein in client is deemed "to have" or "not have" NPD. The psychiatric community is in the process of replacing that yes/no approach with a new graduated approach. I mention this because, if your psych says "you don't have a particular PD," it is prudent to ask "But do I have moderate to strong traits of it?"

Third, while you are exploring the relevance of a PD, don't feel compelled to explain all of your dysfunctional behaviors with only one PD. Anyone having one PD (or strong traits of one) usually suffers from one or two other PDs as well. Three-fourths of BPDers, for example, have at least one other PD. The reason is that the PDs are not diseases. Rather, they are only groups of behavioral traits that are commonly seen occurring together in a pattern.

Unfortunately, the psychiatric community created too many of these PD categories in 1980 -- with the result that clients end up having multiple PDs even though each client has only one personality. Like the "yes/no dichotomy" silliness, this mistake likely will be corrected in the next DSM revision (the current proposal is to reduce the number of PD categories from 10 to 6 by merging 4 categories). Take care, DB.
 

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No matter what the actual diagnosis is, DB isn't the most accurate self reporter to his Pdoc. Which means....someone should be going with him to ensure the accuracy of symptoms.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No matter what the actual diagnosis is, DB isn't the most accurate self reporter to his Pdoc. Which means....someone should be going with him to ensure the accuracy of symptoms.
I (fiancee) started going with him for just this reason.
 
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