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Topic: Struggling with FIFO partner and my anxiety

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. Jess1910
    Jess1910 avatar
    2 posts
    6 July 2020

    Hi there, this is my first post on here but i really needed someone to talk to and see if any one experiences this and how they manage.

    Ill try and cut the story down, but my partner has always done FIFO, and most the time i dont mind it, i enjoy my own time and then having him home, so it works, but the last month but anxiety has been really bad, i normally sleep wonderful, but i havnt been sleeping well, and once i have one bad night of sleep i then am so scared about going to bed again and it happening again, so then the cycle starts. he was home for 3 weeks and the last week i started sleeping amazing again, then he got a new job, 3 weeks away 1 week home. and since has has been gone i have been sleeping bad again :-( im not scared about being alone, its more that im worried i cant sleep so i dont.

    Then last night he had beers with the boys and i saw a couple of girls there and freaked out :-( Im just not coping with him being away this time, im at work today and my chest has been tight all day, i just want to cry its horrible. i just want him to come home :-(

    I feel so overwhelmed with emotions and feel like im falling apart this week. i dont know what to do to calm myself and feel more myself and not be so needy towards him, any advice would be amazing.

    Thankyou xxx

  2. Aphador
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    Aphador avatar
    71 posts
    6 July 2020

    Hi Jess :)

    It's great that you have been able to identify your anxious feelings, and well done for having the courage to voice your complications!

    I have had issues sleeping in the past, similar to how you have described. It sucks! I will speak on this part of your query, as I feel I have a bit of experience here. It's going to be a bit lecture-like- sorry!

    The way I was able to overcome patterns of insomnia was through practising deep breathing- if we want to sleep, we should act like we do when we are asleep! Often when we are anxious, we become incredibly worked up, and our breathing cycle becomes very short- in, out, in, out! When I recognise myself 'stress breathing' as I call it, I am often breathing in cycles of 3 seconds in and 3 seconds out- very rapid!

    Breathing very rapidly activates our bodies 'fight or flight' response- putting ourselves in a mode of agitation. However, the breath can also be the focal point to reverse this, and place us into the 'rest and digest' mode (if you want to read more about how the breath connects to our body's state, search 'Polyvagal Theory).

    When I tuck myself in at night- or whenever I recognise myself 'stress breathing'- I consciously begin the process of lengthening my breath count from 3 seconds in/out, to 4 seconds, then 5, etc.

    When we are worried it may be difficult to lengthen the breath- it's because we can't take our mind off whatever is bothering us! A great technique to alleviate this is something I briefly touched on- to count your breathing- count 1...2...3...etc consciously in your head. In this way, you are focussing on something other than anxious thoughts!

    One final thing- you are not going to be perfect at this the first time you try it, it takes practice. The idea is that eventually your deep breathing will relax your body and mind and you will drift out of consciousness- however putting it into practice it isn't always this easy! It is important to be able to accept this in yourself (non-resistance if you want to look more into it). For example, you are wanting to change your thoughts from: "I'm not going to be able to get to sleep, oh no!" to "I am not going to be able to get to sleep, and that is okay." Ironically, being able to accept our anxious situation can help reduce this anxious feeling.

    Reach out if any of this is confusing! It may seem a bit weird at first- especially the last part about 'non-resistance.'

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Aphador
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    Aphador avatar
    71 posts
    6 July 2020 in reply to Aphador
    I should also mention- I learned these techniques from a GP and a psychologist when I had difficulties sleeping.
  4. Jess1910
    Jess1910 avatar
    2 posts
    7 July 2020 in reply to Aphador

    Thankyou so much for your response! It was very helpful!

    I have definitely tried the breathing techniques before, i do the in for 4, hold for 4, out for 4 and it does seem to work sometimes, but then other times i feel like my mind wonders off and starts thinking about the not sleeping again and i have to try bring myself back to breathing again. it def isnt easy like you mention!

    Last night was a better night, I read a book and then i must have drifted off to sleep but woke up at 11:45 and thought i had been awake the whole time but i dont think i was! then ended going back to sleep again. thank goodness.

    Its nice to know somoene else has gone through the same and im not the only one who feels it and get anxiety about not sleeping, i feel crazy telling people sometimes because all they say is the more you think about it the worse it will be, (like i dont already know this haha)

    i am trying to find a good psychologist atm but am having a hard time tracking down a good one.

  5. Aphador
    Valued Contributor
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    Aphador avatar
    71 posts
    7 July 2020 in reply to Jess1910

    Hi Jess! :)

    Glad to know it was useful! It definitely is challenging to train our minds to think of nothing. Once I got the hang of it though, it was like a superpower that benefitted all parts of my life. I believe that breathing was the number one thing that has helped me deal with my anxiety.

    I also enjoy reading before bed! It makes me super sleepy and takes my mind off other things (like worrying about not sleeping). Sometimes I even fall asleep with my bed light on and the book on my face!

    A GP explained to me once that the manner in which we sleep is conditioned. For example, if I fall asleep while reading a book often, eventually reading a book in bed will make me tired, since my mind has associated reading with sleeping. Perhaps you could use reading before bed in a similar way?

    I deficiently remember the "don't think about it" argument to being unable to fall asleep. I guess we just have to accept that some people are going to be unable to understand, and that's okay!

    Seeing a psychologist helped me immensely, I can't recommend it enough. You may already be aware, but if you see a GP before a psychologist, they can set up a mental health plan under medicare to see a psychologist. Just thought I'd make sure you were aware!

    I have to say I haven't had the experience of a long-distance relationship like you have described. It seems like a difficult situation :(. Do you feel as though you can speak to your partner about your anxious thoughts?

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