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Don't Know How To Get Past This Anxiety

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I've been putting off posting this here for so long, telling myself it'll get better, it'll get better. But orgghkg it's just getting worse. I know this is a long post, hope that doesn't put people off reading.

Well few months back I posted a topic on DF about some blank discs I gave to a friend. This quickly turned into a mountain of anxiety for me, because I convinced myself that the blanks in fact contained my work and weren't blank at all. I'm a writer and the fear of plagiarism is something us writers live with. It just goes with the territory and, well it's just something you gotta be cautious about.

Way back in February I gave a couple of blanks to a friend so that he could take them to a mates place and burn whatever it was. Well it turned out the other mate had no burning software and so the discs were then taken to someone else's house. In the house the discs now reside lives a guy, another writer, a person who hates my guts for the flimsiest of reasons. This particular person is extremely vindictive and I say he hates my guts, but he actually hates everyone. He's a big festering cesspool of hate, everyone knows this, everyone avoids him.

Had I known these stupid blanks would end up in his house I would never have given them, because I know how anxiety works, I know my own fears and triggers. My work, my writing, is my weakest point as far as anxiety is concerned. It's my biggest love, right up there with friends and family. So the fact this very simple situation changed course, I had my feelers out (like always) for potential threats, and this one touched on my main nemesis, plagiarism and this big swear word of a human being. Who has actually done nothing wrong in this situation, he remains oblivious to it all. I'd love it to stay this way because if he got the slightest wiff this was going on, he'd have a field day. I mean he doesn't even know I'm a writer, and that's no accident.

With this disc anxiety it's not that I worry what this person would think of my work, that's not it - I stand by what I do proudly. No, it's the threat he would, given the chance, put his name to it, claim it as his own, or publish it on the internet for anyone else to rip off. That'd he'd do that, just out of spite, he's got it in him to do it, that's the kinda person we're dealing with here.

So days turned into weeks and these discs never got burned. I said to my the friend I gave the discs to, who knows my anxiety very well, I said "Hey those discs I gave you, I'm going out of my head with worry blabla" In short I explained everything. My friend understood and said he'd ask his friend (the one who was gonna burn some stuff, the one who lives with Mr HateEveryone) He said he'd ask his friend for the discs back.

Awesome, I was happy.

Then nothing happened so I piped up again after a week or so. Again my friend said "Yeah, I'll get them back" Weeks went by and still nothing, I piped up again. This cycled on for months. I don't know this peer group, I'm not connected to them. So I said to my friend

"Hey, this is really getting to me and I hate wafting around this situation like a bad smell. Could you please explain to your mate about my anxieties, and stuff? I know they'd understand, what with living with Mr HateEVeryone and all"

To which my friend said

"What do you mean? I'm not going to tell my friends about your anxieties, that's stupid. I'll get the discs back ok?"

This confused me no end. So I asked if he was ashamed of my anxieties. Apparently he wasn't, but that didn't really add up in my mind. This friend of mine was meeting with his friend who had the discs every single week, sometimes twice a week, and still said nothing about these :hearts: discs.

Right now I should point out that this situation has stunted every corner of my life. Yeah I know that sounds overly dramatic and I also know it is. Maybe it's a writer thing. Your creations, they're like your kids, you'd fight any battle for them. So I've been going out of my head and crying about this for months.

So when I'm presented with my friend being ashamed of my anxiety, I'm not in the mood to have a tea party and work him through it right? So I say (politely)

"Give me your mates number I'll explain it, Give me the address, I'll pick them up, sort out my own mess, this doesn't need to drag out any longer"

To which he said

"No, I'm not giving you the number and you're not going over there"

Time stood still. Was like I unearthed something I was and still am unaware of. I asked

"Why ever not?" he said

"I don't want you to, just no" and wouldn't offer any other explanation, assuring me he knew I wasn't gonna go over there all guns blazing. I still don't get it. Ok, whatever is going on there is non of my business, I get that. But what the heck gives him the right to say one thing and do another? I don't deserve dishonesty here.

So I gritted my teeth and negotiated (like it was really necessary), my friend agreed to text his friend and ask them to check the discs were blank. Which the friend did, and they were blank. (Surprise surprise) Then this friend wanted to know why on earth was the point of checking them and what followed was a bombardment of questions. Which my friend answered honestly. Then his friend was all like

"Whyyy didn't you just tell me, why be so guarded?! I haven't burnt them cause I'm lazy but I had no idea she (meaning me) was freaking out!, You should have just told me!!" Etc etc.

So then, Oh god all mighty I can't believe I'm typing all this crap. Anyway then because so much time had lapsed I became anxious that the wrong discs had been checked, by mistake. So aaaagain I ask for the discs to be returned. Oh god, now we're back at square one. Only now I feel so betrayed by my friend who I thought understood. This simple solution, this simple request being prolonged like this.

Now this stupid situation has opened up a whole new can of worms. I feel a shift. I don't know the direction I want this friendship to go in anymore. This has tested every inch of my endurance. I've used up all my wisdom and I know my thinking is clouded by anxiety. Since February I have experienced days of clarity, of believing the logic that my work is safe. But then I fall back into anxiety again. What this represents to me, my work, I've poured so much time and effort into it, it's a very personal en devour. It's not like poetry I pin on my fridge, that's not it. Writing is the direction I want my life to go and I'm working very hard to make it happen. My friend knows this, I feel that he's sabotaged this, by encouraging my anxieties. We speak about this, I'm honest about my feelings toward this. He assures me that's not the case and explains that he's distancing himself from the peer group of the friends that had the discs, that he has his reasons. That's ok, I can understand that there's stuff he wishes not to go into. Ok, but meanwhile I'm put through the wringer?!

Now the disc friend says they can't find the discs or has misplaced them. Mr HateEveryone shares their computer so for all I know he could have used them to burn stuff himself. (Oblivious to everything) Its funny right? Yeah, sometimes I can laugh at this.

In the mean time this situation could have been easily resolved in February and I'm having a very hard time getting over that. I don't know how to move past this. Because the anxiety over Mr HateEveryone threatening my work keeps on resurfacing and I think I could really do with some outsiders perspective, yet again. I know anxiety attaches itself to what you love. My anxiety flits and flirts from thing to thing, as much as anyone else's. I've never had anything linger this long before. I guess this is the big one, it's attacking a core element of me. Gah, how on earth do I overcome this? I'm so confused, this is now an obsession. Plus how do I get past this sorta kinda unconfirmed betrayal? When everytime I bring up the situation, I feel like my friend twists it around so that it's me counseling him! I only work this out after the fact, it's very frustrating. I feel manipulated but I don't know if that's the reality or not. This whole thing is so fuzzy to me now. Don't know if I'm Arthur or Martha.

Thanks to anyone who lasted this far down the page. Also, and I know it's not the first time I've said this, but there's children starving in Africa and here's me. Does anyone else suffer guilt over their feelings? Maybe we all lack a good dose of perspective. I know that comment probably doesn't help. But god, I can't forget that fact.

Thanks for reading.

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Hi Tweed,

As I have some major anxiety disorders myself, I understand your pain here.

Do your anxieties always get obsessional like this one with the discs, or is this new to you?

I ask because if it is new, then it is a good indication that your anxiety is getting worse, and you should speak with your therapist. You do have a therapist, right?

This is typical catastrophic thinking that is involved in all anxiety disorders, but as long as your episode of anxiety has gone on, I'd be worried and be making an appointment with your therapist ASAP.

To be honest Tweed, I don't think your friend is very sensitive to your needs, even if he vocalizes it. And it worries me about his loyalty to your friendship when he freaked out and wouldn't let you make a quick phone call to retrieve the discs that MIGHT HAVE HAD (how would your friend know?) your writing on them. I don't think they did contain your writing, and as the person that HatesEveryone seems to have said, is that they were blank. But, your "friend" should have retrieved them for you.

I would distance yourself from this "friend" and take some time away from him to take care of yourself. Then, under a clear mind, you can decide if this friend is really being a friend. Some people are only "fair weather friends" who make themselves known in time. I'm wondering if when the going gets tough, does your friend suddenly dissappear when you need him the most? Sounds like it to me, but maybe I am being too harsh.

Any dishonesty should be assessed this way--- was he meaning to be dishonest, or was he simply being lazy and not fulfilling what he said he was going to do? I don't see why he wasn't being supportive. When I see red flags in people, I re-evaluate the situation.

Either way, I think you need to discuss this with your therapist, and maybe your friend.

I don't think that anxiety attaches itself to whatever you love by the way. Anxiety is always irrational, and always out of proportion to reality. I'd talk this over with a professional mate. Best wishes to you.

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Thanks Irish Eyes,

Yeah I do have a therapist (only started recently) and it was this situation which tipped the scales and made me seek help if I'm really honest.

I have had these red flags (I call them beacons) going off about this friend for a while now. I'm definitely seeing him in a different light of late. However he is starting to come good on the situation only this week. Perhaps there is hope, I'd like to think so. Time will tell. I'm gonna keep an open mind for now.

I have a history of obsessive thinking, it's not new to me. But this prolonged obsession is new. An obsessive worry usually lasts a day or two for me, week at the max. Sometimes they alternate in shifts. Blergh don't they just suck.

Never thought about it being irrational, I always look for an underlying reason. But hey of course they can be irrational. You have enlightened me! :hearts:

With my friend I am taking a step back for now. I feel like it's getting better and no I don't think you were being harsh, because I've had those exact same thoughts. The first time we had an argument about this was months ago. It came down to a break down in communication, on my part. (Which I didn't think added up) We had the exact same argument recently, and again he said "He didn't know it was still an issue" (!!!) I really believe this mate of mine is the sorta guy who thinks things'll magically go away on their own, and then is shocked when they don't. Personality clash I guess. As for him being lazy vs being dishonest I feel it's a bit of both.

Thanks for the reply, always nice to know that others understand!

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hi Tweed,

i can understand your pain too.

i suffer from anxiety too. and i've had situations too, where i was almost 'obsessed' with the fears. while others couldn't really understand why, why it upset me so much, and for a long time. i can understand that for them such things are not "this big". for me it is.

and i think i'm beginning to understand, at least partly, why. it seems to me, that for me this extreme, prolonged anxiety comes up when it is about something very existential to me. and, having lost so much already, in my life, and in the course of those years suffering from depression and anxiety, for the few things that are not yet lost, it feels especially threatening and upsetting to me to see them endangered, threatened.

i think it is good that you have a therapist now, and i hope that s/he can help you to work through these issues.

it is weird, reading your post, i was reminded of my own, intense, and maybe/probably irrational fear (well, rational in a way, but irrational in the extent) and how i worry, and how others (friends or family) have reacted to that. and telling me that my fear is exaggerated, and irrational. i was reminded of my own frantic anxiety and worrying about something, and others' reactions to my anxiety.

for me, much of my biggest anxiety reactions is about losing my place to live. when something happens that threatens my home, my anxiety raises to the skies.

i could imagine, that for you, as a writer, this idea of someone (and even a malicious person) getting your texts, must be a very upsetting, and in a way 'fundamentally existentially threatening' thing.

i'm trying to learn to accept my being so 'weird'. for me there are things that really scare me, and situations i can think of that i really couldn't bear to experience.

that's what i'm trying to do, to learn to accept it. because it doesn't get better when i beat myself up for it.

and if i'm not going to give understanding and acceptance to myself, who is going to? well, that's my way, or rather the one i'm trying.

and i learn to accept that others who don't know this kind of extreme anxiety cannot understand it. they can't even imagine how it is, i think.

i try not to hope anymore that they could really understand. maybe it's just not possible. they might know fear, and i'm sure they could imagine some situations where they maybe would panic, but to understand why i react like this in a situation that for them does NOT seem "life threatening", maybe is asked too much.

so i'm trying to tell myself, in such situations, that it is okay to feel this anxiety, and to see / know that there is a reason for it. but also, that the extent of my anxiety is too much. so i try to work on the intensity of the anxiety, but not on telling myself that there is "no reason to fear" (when there is) (whether it is 'small' or 'big' reasons in the eyes of others, but there is a reason, in my situations). for me, losing my home would be terrible, so when something happens that might cause this loss, it is a reason to feel afraid.

i'm not really sure whether for me this is 'pure anxiety', or whether my ptsd plays a role in this too for me. the intensity (and thus, the 'irrational' part of it) comes close to what i know from my 'ptsd-typical reactions'. and maybe my experiences with my 'ptsd fears' has brought me to this approach of 'acceptance', and at the same time knowing that others cannot know why exactly it is so very scary/terrible for me. so i try not to expect too much understanding from them...

and i try to find out for myself, how i can minimize the risks, and to do what i CAN do (when i can), and what 'protection from disaster' i could find, and leave the things i cannot change to god. and tell myself that 'there is no 100% security', as much as i hate that sentence.

best wishes


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Mynah, wow feel like I'm looking into a mirror, thanks for posting that. Your insight is really something else!

It echoes what you say about expecting too much when we think others will understand on a deep level. I think that's part of what's holding me back here. I'm deluding myself(or have been) in the hope that he 'gets it'.

I thought he was coming good but this week around we go again. He's seen these people all week and has done diddley squat to resolve this. Even with me harping on about it STILL. Irish Eyes summed it up brilliantly a 'fair weather friend'.

My boyfriend wants to punch this guy's lights out because of all this. My boyfriend sent him a (polite but honest) email and the guy never responded! Only just found out about that. My boyfriend has said throughout this whole mess that he thinks the guy is doing this on purpose. I didn't want to believe this, but yeah I'm starting to warm to the idea.

I feel I want to distance myself from this friend and yet because of the discs I'm putting on a front (to secure the discs back). I feel this friend knows this, knows what it's done to me. Now he's dragging it out, cause he doesn't want me to distance myself from him when he gets them back. My boyfriend also says that our friend here wants some kinda power over me. Just based on the facts, yeah I'd agree with that. Ergh now I'm being 'nice' and polite when I really just wanna yell and scream about it. heh, Maybe doing a Godzilla is what I need.

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This is just a thought...

It sounds to me like your friend is having some issues with those people, which you've said he doesn't want to talk about, and it might be hurting him quite a bit. Maybe in trying to distance himself from these people, he is incapable of understanding your pain concerning the cds, and is viewing your anxiety as insignificant next to whatever it is that he is dealing with. He doesn't want to deal with this people, and clearly doesn't want you to either. Possibly he fears that if you went over there or contacted them yourself you would find out what is going on with him? He just wants to ignore this anxiety of yours that seems insignificant to him, hoping that it will just go away. He can't comprehend that it is really that big of a deal to you. So things get tense and he starts to avoid it, and to avoid you perhaps.

I could be entirely wrong, of course, and it wouldn't be the first time ;) I don't know this guy. I don't know all of his actions. I can't see his face as he is talking to you or hear the way that he says these things. I just thought I would offer up a different perspective on the situation. Do you feel that he is being intentionally manipulative and hurtful, or does he seem to be insecure about all of this?

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Thanks Ashen,

Actually both of us have been sending each other mixed messages about this whole situation. I do get the feeling he's manipulative sometimes, and other times I feel he's being insecure, and yeah I can see pain in him too.

I'm guilty of the exact same thing, my frustrations and anxiety can lead me to a bit of Jeckle/Hyde activity.

My anxiety paling in comparison to what he's facing is spot on. (Not saying it's right or wrong.) But you're right on the money. That's his perspective.

Well on the weekend I had a deep and meaningful with him. He told me that the person who offered to burn some stuff when the other guys had no software. He said that this person is constantly making offers that they don't follow through. He said that it's a problem for him, and others, and that this person kinda does it for attention. So what he was doing was trying not to give it attention in hope this person would actually follow through and return the discs! Anyway we both agreed that once this person understands my anxieties that they'd come good on the situation and put some effort into finding the discs. (This person is very messy and these discs have since been lost under a mountain of god knows what!) I explained how I was thinking he was doing it to me on purpose and he apologized and said how he'd just recently worked this out. He said the whole build up with his friend had clouded his clarity. I could see he was punishing someone, didn't know it was his friend, and thought it was me 'cause I had no idea about his friend's quirks. Now trying to pin his friend down to explain this is going to be tricky as his friend has a big drama going on in their life at the moment. But my friend said he'd tell this person what's going on next time he's with them. Blegh fingers crossed we can put this matter to bed for good. What a mess!

So yeah, a lot of mixed messages on both our parts. He said I'm really all over the place emotionally and unpredictable. I said I know, that it's something I"m working on. Explained that when I'm anxious all my good efforts kinda fly out the window. I could see myself through his eyes and I apologized. So glad we had that talk on the weekend. He admitted he could have shown me the bigger picture from the get go. I admitted my Jeckle/Hyde routine is destructive. So the situation itself is ongoing but at least the two of us aren't butting heads now and, oh man, that really makes a difference.

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