Anxiety and Depression Support
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How to Help Heal Triggers?

Hi I'm here to ask for advice and help regarding my girlfriend. See we met in college and have been together for 3 years now, I have always supported her 100% throughout her eating disorder, anxiety, and depression and I always will. But for the last year things have gotten harder... it's not really our relationship but it is her triggers. See in the last year she has developed a panic response to 2 of the main things i enjoy in life. I am a bit of a nerd and have been to Japan and speak some Japanese, and love anime of course, for some reason about a year ago she developed a trigger to anything at all related to Japan. Anything at all. This hurt but I love her and made sure to hide that part of me as best I could. But now it has become a serious problem as last month she has developed a fear of what I am majoring in. This is a serious problem as now i cant talk about my day with her, I cant study near her or let her know im studying because she knows that is what I am studying. I cant leave her to just panic, I really cant do that ever, I really do love her with all my heart but this is seriously affecting my grades and I may lose my scholarship... I won't leave her or break up with her but im really scared and struggling. So I am asking anyone who can help. What can I do? She refuses to see a psychiatrist and I've been able to help her manage most of her symptoms so far but on this nothing i seem to do helps... I swear there was no bad experience with my major that would cause this, it came completely out of the blue. One day we were talking about stuff related to it and the next she got cruel and cold when i mentioned it and then immediately panicking. Please help? anyway to get rid of a trigger without medication? Would meds even help this?

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Hi,

It sounds like she has developed a fear that is causing that response. Anxiety and depression causes us to react differently to our thoughts that don't always seem rational, like her sudden trigger to anything Japanese. Maybe she fears how much time and attention you spend on Japanese things, but then gets angry with herself deep down knowing it is irrational and that causes the panic, because she is fighting those opposite feelings of what is reality vs an emotion that is a reality to HER.

Some questions I would have are you graduating soon? Did your class schedule change? Maybe she feels left out and that causing a trigger for her depression?

This reminds me of myself when I dealt with depression, and feeing like other things were more important to people than our relationship. What helped me was seeing a psychologist for therapy to help me identify when I started to feel those things. Those thoughts might not have gone away completely, but I have learned skills to help me calm down and understand my emotions are real to me BUT my husband, friend, etc. is not doing anything to purposely hurt me. While she may or may not need to see a psychiatrist for medication I think it would definitely be helpful to at least see a psychologist for therapy. Maybe suggest couples therapy if she doesn't want to go alone? Is there a family member that can help talk to her? Or a close friend?

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This is actually pretty helpful. I’ve somewhat considered that possibility before but always quickly dismis it as I don’t want to think she would try to stop me from enjoying things I like for that reason. But you put it in a way that doesn’t sound bad for some reason. We are graduating soon, I used to only take 1-2 classes in my major per semester but this year I’m taking 4-5, so maybe that is the reason? As far as Japan goes I’ve thought sometimes that maybe she felt like I’ve abandoned her as the fear of Japan cane right after I got back from a month long study abroad there. I did ask her if she felt like I abandoned her or that I ranked it over her, when I asked it she seemed extremely offended and said “no!” and then began having a severe panic attack. Before that she enjoyed Japanese culture very much, she was never a huge anime fan but really liked more mainstream ones such as Death Note, and really enjoyed the religion, temples, customs, etc. and really wanted to go someday, even had a list of places there to go! I discussed doing the study abroad with her at length before this and she seemed 100% ok with it as she was going to be in Mexico visiting her family for that month anyway and unable to talk to me. But once I got back I couldn’t tell her anything about my trip without her getting extremely cold and shutting me down. Saying things such as “nobody cares, what exactly is speaking Japanese going to give you in life?” And “anime is stupid, I don’t know why everyone I know likes it” and at first I was super super hurt but confused and a little angry though I didn’t tell her, it wasn’t till I surprised her with a trip to Disney world (she had never been and I had lefterover scholarship money, not too responsible I know but we went on a budget and it was a hard year, we are not rich people at all) that things came to a head. Everything was going great till the last night, I had made reservations to go to the Japanese restaurant in Epcot. She refused to go with me even though she used to really enjoy ramen and sushi... we got into a small fight where I told her I couldn’t believe she won’t go to something I like when the other 5 night I made sure to only go places she would love, even if I didn’t care for the food much. So I went and ate by myself and on the plane ride home she finally told me what was going on... I told her I wish she’d told me sooner and have been trying to figure what’s been wrong for the last year now. And nothing. Sorry this was so long and I really appreciate your response!

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Silly goose,You can't control her triggers. She really needs to get some help. Panic disorder can be treated with therapy or meds.

You can be supportive of that. Find a psychiatrist even if she doesn't want to use meds. I hope it all works out.

LD

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She won’t see anyone at all. She doesn’t like talking, panics at even telling me the slightest things about why she is panicking. She completely distrusts all health Professionals. Any idea on how to convince her to see someone? I tried a more tough love approach years ago and set up appointments for her and just took her to them, even with her shutting down on me, I went in with her as she said she wanted that, and also offered to wait outside if she’d rather, and she hated me for it... the one she went to said she believed she had GAD and possibly borderline personality disorder. Any ideas?

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