Identity crisis. Desperate rumination. Any thoughts to help me?

Posted , 4 users are following.

Hi people, i am going through a really hard time now and everything has just gotten out of hand for me. My brain is in overdrive constantly thinking and ruminating on things. I never get to rest. My sleep is disturbed as well as my eating habits and everything else. This is exhausting. I have had stressful lifeevents recently, and while worrying about these i have gone back to thinking about old events in my life and literally obsessing about them constantly.

Due to the demise of my relationship im suffering an identity crisis, having been with someone for 8 years, it feels as if i have no idea who i am without this person. This has also brought up things from my past and suddenly made me feel awful about them! Things that have never bothered me in the past this way. 

I changed my middlename years ago. Before i even met my partner, whom i have been with for 8 yrs. I have never told him about this because i have actually forgotten myself, cause middlenames are hardly ever used. My reasons for changing my name in this fashion (firstname has always been the same of course) is that i really hated my middlename, whenever i saw it on some piece of paper i just wanted it gone forever. It was a name heavily related to my "dad". When i was about 11 years old and following estrangement with him i found out he wasnt my biological father. I have never had any contact with his side of the family, any grandmother or anything like that, cause he came here as an immigrant long ago. I know nothing about his family. All of this made me want to shed this name which is from a different culture and isnt a pretty name. The man i called "dad" is of a different culture, one that i was never the least bit brought up in or can relate to, furthering my aversive feelings to carrying a name that sounds so different to the culture i live in. My mother has been fully supportive of this, the change having been made as i was underage. I think this whole story might sound so crazy, but this is what has been causing me huge anxiety over the last week. I suffer feelings of not knowing who i really am, and feeling as if i am "fake" and have been fake to my partner.

I have never disclosed this to him, as my "dad" have never been present in my life while i have known him. He is aware however that the man i thought to be my father as a child is not my biological one. I havent lied, i just havent told him anything about being born with a different middlename. He has never seemed to care. I dont normally think of this as a huge part of who i am and keeping a deep dark secret. But my anxiety has made me feel as if it is. The more i have thought about it in the last couple of days, the worse it has seemed to me. Is this normal to ruminate so completely about something? I know some of you might think i should tell the full story to the partner, but i feel like i will then come off as fake for never having said anything in the past and he might resent me. I want him to see me for who i have always been while he has known me. I dont want to feel like som silly middlename is essential to "who i am". I really would rather never tell him about it. My mother thinks i should just let this go, as it has nothing do with who i really am (she also regrets giving me that dreadful name and is the one who picked out the new one, her grandmothers name). My anxiety of couse doesnt stem 100% from this, there are other things too but its something i have been thinking excessively about. Can i just stop ruminating? The more i think of it the worse it all seems. I am not a lying/cheating person. But i have just always felt before that some things are better left unsaid, as they serve no purpose.

Wow this got long and complicated. If anyone has any questions or i left something out just ask. And this might come off as crazy, im aware. I may be completely ridicolous. But i havent had it easy with my identity and i just truly want a good life and to be happy. Can i let it go?

Any helpful advice as to how to stop ruminating is welcomed.

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  • Posted

    Hi Sam we're all going through hard times and we're here to help each other or get help....Sam there's a few things that will help you , as stupid as it sounds I had to go through heaven and hell to get these simple answers

    -Meditation and breathing methods ( you can search on YouTube)

    -Second of all ,you have to realize that anxiety is a battle against yourself and u have to challenge yourself bit by bit...(preferably with some help from someone who can support u)

    -find something that helps you relax....Green tea or other kinds of tea (preferably avoid medication though it might help but its a short term solution)

    -Keep yourself occupied with concentration apps, exercise a lot ex. Speed walk...avoid coffee and sugar, try to eat healthy and a lot of vitamins and you'll feel results pretty quickly

    It's basically your subconscious that isn't happy with your lifestyle and u have to convince yourself that you're healthy and perfectly fine

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    • Posted

      Hi James, thank you!

      You are very much right. It just scares me a lot what youre own mind can do to you! Its all so insane really. I mean all anxiety stems from your own mind i am aware of that. But since it can be felt so unbelievably strongly, it makes you feel as if you are closed in your own mind and might go insane altogether.

      I worry about that sometimes- what if i will never get back to normal? What if ill have anxiety for the rest of my life? I know these thoughts are hardly helpful, but maybe they are normal doubts and fears. Im finding it so helpful writing on forums and actually realizing that there are other people out there who know what i am talking about. So any reply i get is comforting. Sometimes its hard to "hope" it feels sort of too good to be true, that it will be okay! 

      I must say i symphatize infinitely with people suffering anxiety, cause there couldnt possibly be anything out there that is worse to endure.

      I hope you are doing fine in your life James!

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  • Posted

    Hi Sam. No one is going to judge you for not talking about your middle name with your partner, people withhold much more serious things than that from partners and if you don't like talking about it then that's perfectly understandable! I'm sure it's not something that would have affected the way he felt about you. Ruminating is a very common symptom of both depression and anxiety. It sounds like you are giving yourself a very hard time over this unnecessarily! You've done nothing wrong. Mine was more related to health concerns but similarly I focused on 1 specific thing and thought about it obsessively, and the more i thought about it the worse it became - until it was completely out of proportion with reality... I could think of nothing else but how awful everything was going to be because of this one thing.

    If your in a place where you can focus on meditation/yoga/exercise etc then they are all great tips to help, but if it's ongoing and effecting your life in a big way then you may need some extra help in the mean time. No one should immediately jump straight to medication but at the same time there is no shame in taking it if you need it. I am taking an SSRI and I've found it particularly helped me with rumination - the same old thoughts still come into my head but I don't obsess about them and get all tangled up in them like I used to. They come into my head, then I can move on and think about something else so that I can focus on other, more positive things. It's helped me get my life back so just wanted to comment and put it out there as an option x

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    • Posted

      Sorry, Just realised you are the same sam I replied to the other day who's doctors are pretty useless so this probably wasn't the most useful advice for you!! Hope you find the right answer...
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    • Posted

      Oh hi Melmo, yeah im the same person. I did go see a doctor and got some medications for shortterm, however they dont help me all that much. The sleeping part is the vital part here and the one thing causing the greatest concern to me..But hey if there is anything positive to be said then id love to hear it! Im really trying here. Writing from my job. Slept about 3 hrs last night.
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    • Posted

      Ye sleeps been a huge issue for me as well at times. All I can really suggest is a good sleep routine. I avoid caffeine after lunch, lots of camomile tea, herbal (valerian) sleeping pills, lavender oil and pillow sprays, bit of yoga sometimes in the evenings, breathing exercises before I go to sleep. I find all these things genuinely help but sleep won't go completely back to normal until the overall anxiety starts to improve. It seems like you are worrying about lots of different things. I had some zopiclone sleeping tablets which I used sparingly as I was scared of addiction too but I found they did really help to regulate my sleep pattern at least in the short term and I knew I had them there if I was really struggling for a few days in a row which was reassuring. Not sleeping makes anxiety 100 times worse. It really is a vicious circle sad good luck
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    • Posted

      Yeah im goint to work on that. I did get some zopiclone pills too, but like yourself i dont want to form a habit of using such pills. I did take one the other night and i slept, but it didnt spare me from the early awakening altogther. Have u managed to let go of the thing u obsessed about before? I have had some theory in the past at least that the mind can only go so far with ONE issue, and then eventually it will seem less dramatic when u think about it, and when it doesnt upset you as much anymore, u think about it less and so on. I hope this is the case for me this time too. I know however that i cannot be spared for life, and most likely another time some other issue will surface for me and give me anxiety. But one step at a time.. 

      I can only give an example. I know many readers may find this very immoral and wrong but its an experience of mine and maybe it can help somebody. I cheated on my now expartner a couple of years ago, with a coworker. It is by no means an excuse but i was heavily intoxicated, and i tend to get anxious when hungover, and adding the cheating to the mix made for an absolutely horrible combination. I felt anxious and bad nonstop for a full month, but then one day it stopped. I seriously did not think i would EVER feel okay with it. But i just stopped thinking about it more, and if i look back now i cant bring out the same feelings about it anymore. Its like it never happened. I hope nobody judges me about this, it has since been completely resolved..but its just an example of how it once was for me. I hope it can happen again and that i can just let it go..

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    • Posted

      I can't claim to have let it go completely but the medication helps me deal with it so much better. The problem still exists - it's a medical thing and they are trying to get to the bottom of it but it's taking time. I still have moments where the same thoughts come into my head but I don't obsess about them like I used to. Generally I have a much more positive outlook. Occasionally the old thoughts come in, I accept them, then I can more easily get distracted by something else and move on.

      I agree with your theory but unfortunately for me when I'd exhausted one problem id move onto something related, but usually worse... I kept adding problems I didn't have into the mix and worrying about those instead!

      As for cheating, that's obviously not ideal but everyone makes mistakes and the fact you felt guilty about it shows your a good person. Guilt and shame are horrible but if you didn't feel them you'd be a psychopath! (One way of looking at it!) At the same time there's no point in dwelling on something you can't change. To be honest, what you've experienced actually sounds completely normal! You should feel guilt and anxiety if you've done something you feel was wrong... That's human. Then realising you can't change it and moving on... Normal! Letting something like that rule your life for months on end, is where a real problem starts to develop. I know you are worrying about different things now so this is just regarding the above example smile

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