my gf has struggled with anxiety and panic disorders since high-school. i'm convinced she has PTSD due to a rape by her ex-boyfriend but she doesn't believe so. we're nearing our anniversary and i can't say with any confidence that she has become better at managing any of her emotions. i'm at a loss as to whether or not she will get better. she is currently seeing a counselor from school and has formed a healthy relationship with him but the cognitive techniques and meditation he's utilizing don't seem to stick when she begins to panic, she just forgets it all and reverts back to breaking down and getting stuck in her own thoughts. she was seeing a therapist for a few years but her parents refused to pay for the visits because they weren't seeing any progress. her dad is also skeptical of any real issue being present and just chalks it up to her being a young, weak woman. i can understand where he's coming from to an extent but i also think there are some very real, very challenging issues present that require more than a "toughen up."
she's sick or has some acute physical symptom at all times. literally, there's always something going on. numbness in her arm, pain in her elbow, pain in the fingers, throat pain, neck pain, back pain, nasal congestion, throat congestion, headaches, ear pain, discomfort in her eye(s), hip pain, knee pain, and i'm probably forgetting a few. it's exhausting trying to keep up with it all and it gets to the point where i almost resent her for being so weak akin to her dad. i'm not suggesting it's weak to get sick but these issues pop up seemingly randomly and then simply go away with no medical intervention whatsoever. she has been to specialists for the arm pain (thought it was a nerve issue), the throat issues, and the ear issues. they always come back saying "we can't find anything wrong with you." blood work comes back clear. MRI is clear. throat cultures are clear. everything is normal. (contd)
but she's convinced there is something wrong and these professionals are just missing something. it has gotten to the point where an issue pops up, i advise that she goes to a medical professional, and she jokes that "i bet they won't even find anything wrong with me." i've pushed her when she says this and try to reason with her that these doctors have devoted their lives to studying their fields, see thousands of patients a year, and if they tell you nothing's wrong then you should trust their judgement. if they can't find a cause then i challenge her to find an explanation that wouldn't be physiological and she shuts down cause she knows where i'm going. she begins to breakdown emotionally and i have to pull back else she elects to keep it all bottled up and not communicate with me.
this is just one of the issues that pop up. she has a problem with jumping to worst-case scenario conclusions whenever something happens. she gets caught up in "what-if" scenarios that lead her to depressive outcomes. if she is feeling uneasy about an exam that's coming up then she starts panicing and becomes anxious about not being able to transfer to a good university cause of bad grades which would cause her to have to stay home longer with her emotionally abusive parents (they seem like nice people to me but she resents them and the things that her parents have said to her do cross into emotional abuse). she worries that people will view her as a failure and stupid. she gets anxious about me leaving her cause she would be a burden on me or that i get fed up with her issues. this is the train of thought she rides from her feeling less than confident about an exam. she sits in her room, crying and breaking down about these potential scenarios instead of studying.
i try to show her how ridiculous this is, that she needs to be able to take things in a step-by-step fashion, and that none of this is going to help her with the exam but it only leads to her being more emotional. she repeats again that i'm going to leave her and that i deserve better, that she's broken and fucked up.
am i just positively reinforcing her unreasonable behavior? do i need to be tougher with her? if i don't coddle her then she distances herself from me and i can't help from there. she's 21y/o, she isn't a child but i feel like she still acts like one when it comes to real world experiences.
i have been thinking of us taking a break after the anniversary passes. maybe she needs time for herself? an opportunity to focus entirely on herself and not split her attention? it seems like a good idea to me but i don't know how she would react to a break or if she would read too much into my intentions and get wrapped up in her thoughts. i don't know if she would even take the time to better herself or just go deeper into a depression since i "left" her.
no tldr faggots
Your gf's counselor isn't doing jack shit for her. All of this could very well be a bad case of PTSD. Bad case. She needs drugs and psychotherapy in a big way. Believe it. It's going to be expensive and it's not going to be quick. She needs help, no question about it.