Anxiety Support
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I Feel Trapped

Hello, everyone. Ever since my health anxiety started a few months back, I have been struggling. There is always something new that I am afraid of, and I always find some kind of symptoms to back me up. At this point I am on Lexapro, and it definitely helps. However, I still find my self afraid to sleep at times, and this has absolutely destroyed my sleep schedule. I never feel fully rested. I have been sleeping through my classes at college and neglecting the work that I am assigned. Some days getting out of bed feels impossible. I don't feel depressed, but I'm just so tired. I have no motivation anymore. Somewhere along the line in the process of recovering, I fell into a rut. I feel so trapped. I don't know how to move on from this. I don't want to fail my classes and rack up school debt because I can't pass. I don't want to upset my family because I am failing either. My girlfriend has been incredibly patient with me. She tries to push me to be motivated, and sometimes it works. However, I am afraid that she will in time grow frustrated with me and not be able to be by my side. I just want my motivation back. Any advice or guidance would be appreciated.

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Hey there. What type of health anxiety symptoms that started a few months ago did/do you have and what diagnostical tool did you use "to back [you] up."? IF you're self-diagnosing via the web, then please be advised that this is the WORST possible thing anyone suffering from anxiety can do, particularly someone who is in a fragile state of mind and suffering from lack of sleep. PLEASE refrain from doing this. Please know that whatever illness you think or feel you have, the web will ALWAYS find something to back-up your fears.

You say that you're on Lexapro and that "it's helping." Do you mean it's helping with anxiety or depression or both? I only ask because I was using Cymbalta for depression and physical pain only and other meds for anxiety. However my Dr neglected to advise me not to take Cymbalta at night since it generally keeps people awake. I only found out by speaking with a pharmacist.

You don't say why you're "afraid" to sleep which is unfortunate since this is the crux of the matter. As a result it's somewhat difficult to assist you other than to say that you seriously need to explore this "fear" further and the sooner, the better. You NEED to have your mind put at ease. Most college campuses have free counselling services available. I feel you would seriously benefit from purging your fears and concerns. Also discuss your concerns with a GP.

There's loads of stuff you can do to switch off prior to bed, from watching telly the to using various physical and mental relaxation techniques. There's apps available for literally everything these days.

Get those unfounded fears out of your head by writing them down prior to sleeping. You also need to get back into a regular sleeping routine and preferably at the same time each night. If you can't sleep then get up. Don't lie there worrying and over-thinking things AND don't keep looking at the clock. That will only increase your anxiety even more.

The other major issue relates to feeling "trapped". This is why I have advised that you NEED to give voice to someone who can help you. You'll be surprised just how much better you'll probably feel just by talking to someone other than your girlfriend. The girlfriend you're afraid of losing, which is why you must speak with a mental healthcare professional. This gives your girlfriend a little break and also allay your concerns about losing her.

Also consider speaking with your course coordinator. They really should be made aware of what's going on but that's not to say you need to tell them everything. You don't. A medical certificate would also help your cause. All I have suggested is designed to take the pressure off you at least a little while being treated medically and psychologically.

In terms of being in a rut, you can change that by going to college using a different route. Think about things and schedules that you'd like to do and then little by little, DO them. Sorry, but there is no magic pill that will take away your fears, feeling trapped and in a rut. It's going to take small bite-sized daily changes in addition to help from a therapist.

Your motivation WILL come back, but it all starts with you and how hard you're prepared to turn your life around.

A book recommendation for the you: the stress response by Christy Matta, MA. (2012), New Harbinger Publications.

The very best of luck and good wishes heading your way!

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