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Anxiety This forum is for seeking advice on anxiety and stress related issues.

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darkwolf_2020 Offline
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Need advice about a trigger - January 31st 2016, 01:49 AM

So a little history. I have pretty bad anxiety (mainly social anxiety) and depression. It has been going on for a long time, but it really ramped up last April to a point of which I was having multiple panic attacks a day and was basically a selective mute. It was better for a while in the fall, but now it's back although it's more depression than anxiety.

So my problem, besides all that stuff, is that now my old teacher (from that April) is a MAJOR anxiety trigger for me. I see him a lot because I go to a really small school, and my class are right next to his room. Every time I see him(both in pictures and real life), hear him, or even when I near people who mention him I get really anxious and sometimes have a panic attack. that usually happens if he tries talking to me or we make eye contact. It has been happening since I returned to school since September, and even though it doesn't seem like a big deal I can't get over it.

I don't really know why I have this reaction to him, but I think it was because he knew what was going on with me and was there when I was at my worse.

The other theory that I have is kinda weird, but here it is. Last year when I was going through it all, he didn't talk a lot about it with me until the very end of the year when it was really bad, but apparently he had been talking to my parents and the school psychologist about me behind my back for weeks. I know that it sounds odd, but I think in someway I felt betrayed by him because of it. Before that spring, he and I were close, but after my anxiety kicked in I couldn't even look him in the eye. Anyways, I think that my anxiety around him kinda stemmed from all those things and developed into an irrational fear.

So here's my predicament. I haven't had a really conversation with him, or even really said hello, since that spring. And what's worse, I never thanked him for trying to help me. Now, I think that I am finally ready and want to talk to him. I think that once I do that I'll be a lot better, the issue is I don't really know what to do. First off, he's most likely completely moved on from what happened so it would be weird if I brought it up again. Second I don't know what I would say because it would be so out of the blue. I mean, I don't think it would be the best thing to just walk into his classroom and say "Hi I just wanted to say thanks for not letting me get completely depressed and kill myself. Anyways, have a nice lunch!" Yeah, no, I don't think so. Lastly, I don't really know when to do it. I'm not his student anymore so it would be kinda weird for me to just walk into his classroom because most likely some of the kids would be in there, even during breaks.

Sorry that was longer than I expected, I really just need to get it out. I would love your advice about what to do, and whether or not I should do it in the first place. My anxiety and depression is finally beginning to get a little better thanks to my new teacher, and I what to put this behind me so I can move on and get better.

Thanks so much for listening,

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Re: Need advice about a trigger - January 31st 2016, 02:30 AM

Your reaction to him isn't weird, and even if he was trying to help you, I don't blame you for feeling betrayed that it went on behind your back before he talked to you about it. I would've felt the same way.

If you can, you might want to consider emailing him. That way, you can think about what you want to tell him, put this behind you without facing him, he can choose whether or not to respond, which makes it easier for him, and you don't have to worry about other people being there or overhearing anything. If you can't email, maybe he has a free period he spends in his office and you might be able to talk to him then.

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Celyn Offline
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Re: Need advice about a trigger - February 2nd 2016, 09:13 PM

Hey there,

I've been in a very similar situation where I was anxious, but more so around a teacher that I admired and that kind of knew that I was going through a difficult time. I was the same as you- seeing the teacher or even hearing the teacher made me panic. And it made no sense because the teacher was so lovely.

I think this makes us feel worse because we really admire them, and we may feel self-conscious about ourselves, more so than usual, especially if they were there for us during a difficult time. I think that how you felt when your teacher told you that he had been talking to your parents and psychologist is also justified- you felt betrayed. At the same time, I'm sure he was just doing his job and actually cared about you, hence why he had been talking about you.

It's so nice of you to want to thank him, and I'm sure he will appreciate that a lot. I understand it can be difficult when you feel anxious though. I don't think that he has 'moved on' from what happened. Good teachers often like to know how their former students are doing, so I don't think it would be weird at all. I think that dropping by during a break, and if there are other students there, and asking if you could have a quiet/private word would work. Probably best to think about what you want to say before hand. Alternatively, you could write a letter or a note to give to him, if you don't feel like talking.

I'm glad that your anxiety and depression is getting better! Also, no need to apologise about the length- the more detail you give us, the more we can try to help you.

Hope this helped a bit

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Re: Need advice about a trigger - February 2nd 2016, 09:42 PM

Thank you so much for your advice. It meant a lot to hear that other people understand what's happening with me. There's one part that I wasn't super clear about, it's not super important but he didn't tell me. I found out because my mom left her email up on my computer on their email chain with him. I also found out because he knew things about my life that I never told him. And then when I finally opened up to him, he said that we should tell my parents like he hadn't talked to them already. It's not much of a difference, but it made it hurt just a little more. Thanks you guys so much for the suggestions!

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