Post # 1
Hey all, I’ve been lurking around reading posts for a while, but now I need some help. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Panic Disorder, which are not conducive to waiting and surprises and other people being in control of situations. So I’m having some trouble playing this Waiting Game. Boyfriend or Best Friend and I have started looking at rings, have agreed we’re getting married, have tentatively set a date, but he’s been very clear that he wants to do the traditional proposal with ring (I’d be fine with just deciding we’re engaged, but hey, if he wants to be romantic, who am I to stop him? )
I know this proposal is coming in the next month or two, but guys. The anxiety. is. killing. me. It’s this completely irrational shadow that follows me around, wreaking havoc. For example, Anxiety says “Why hasn’t he proposed yet? It’s because he doesn’t really want to get married, you’ll be waiting forever, etc.” Reality: We decided, together, that he would propose with a ring, and that I would choose the ring. I haven’t picked a ring yet, so of course he hasn’t proposed yet. Or Anxiety will say, “Are you sure you really want to get married? Are you sure you want to marry this man? Maybe marriage is all a sham!” Reality: I’ve known I want to marry this guy for like a year now. He’s amazing. He gets me. He understands the GAD and PD and helps me center myself.
I normally have the anxiety under control, but my usual tricks aren’t cutting it, and I need some advice. The proposal is coming, it’s coming soon, my rational mind knows that…but as anyone with mental health issues knows, they aren’t rational and don’t listen to logic and facts. So, any Bees out there with GAD or PD or other anxiety disorders? Any tips for handling this time?
Post # 2
I think you should talk to your Boyfriend or Best Friend. His want to do things traditionally should not trump your mental health. Would it help if he told you the specific weekend he was planning on proposing? He can still do whatever romantic thing he has planned but maybe it will help with your anxiety to know exactly when it’s coming. Taking out the surprise timing element of it seems like a decent compromise to me.
Post # 3
I’m not sure it’s actually the surprise part that is the problem; I know it’s coming, and he’s pretty terrible at surprises so I’m sure I’ll be able to figure out when it will be. It’s the waiting part. Even if I knew the exact date, I’d still be waiting. Thank you though!
Post # 4
I also have panic disorder and GAD. I totally get it. I totally understand the anxiety about the uncertainty of waiting for a traditional proposal, the creeping thoughts of “oh my god what if this is all a horrible mistake” — but we know what this is. There’s something, at least for me, reassuring about remembering that all these thoughts are the product of irrational ruminative processes and not reflective of reality. I know he wants to marry me. I know I want to marry him. I know I wouldn’t even have made it this far if this weren’t the right thing.
Is there any chance you could ask him for more specifics on the proposal and when it’s coming? For example, if he could say it’s this month, or not for at least another month…?
Have you ever done CBT or ACT? Have you thought about applying those coping techniques — for example, challenging your automatic thoughts, or comparing how your behavior and feelings now are different from how you’d like them to be and ways in which you can change your behavior to make your now and ideal more in-line?