Tag Archive | Mental Health

Stop thinking and stop analysing.

English: graphic convention of manga, sweating...

English: graphic convention of manga, sweating, used to represent feeling anxiety, confusion, embarrassed, and so on. 日本語: マンガの表現技法。汗。不安、困惑、戸惑いなどといった感情の表現。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Stop thinking and stop analysing.

My husband will tell you, I over analyse everything – and think something to death.  I view it from this angle, and that angle, and then from another angle.  He hates it and he is right.  I need to learn to just accept things and not over think or over analyse.  It is dangerous to do this.

One of the best quotes I have ever read was:

“Do not over think things – you’ll create a problem where none existed…”

I have such a strong tendency to do this.

Yesterday, I had a wonderful email yesterday that told me God is on my side, that He will fight the battle and that I need to trust Him.  Today I get an email telling me I have to confront my fears or keep running, and I start to panic thinking God is telling me to get divorced.  God would not do this.  He is totally against divorce.  I know this because His Word has told me so.  Over and over and over again.  And so, in the face of my anxiety, I will trust Him.  I know that He gave my husband to me and I know that my anxiety is more over the fact that my mother left and I have been conditioned my whole life to be just like her.  And I know that I love this man – more than anything.  I feel so good being with him.  And I know that he is God’s gift to me.  I know why God has not healed my from this anxiety – it keeps me praying.

And then I think of my husband reading this blog and I feel so ashamed and so embarrassed, because the last thing on earth that I want to do is to hurt him – I love him and want to protect him at all costs.

I read a blog yesterday where the blogger also battles with anxiety and she says that we need to be careful not to define ourselves by our anxiety.  And that is exactly what I am doing.  I am allowing myself to be defined by these anxious feelings – instead of moving past that and accepting them as fleeting moments and feelings that come and go.

“Balance begins by knowing how you feel but not being so swayed that you are ruled by every passing incident of anger, worry or resentment.” –Deepak Chopra

Since childhood, I’ve struggled with frequent bouts of anxiety and panic.  Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if my predisposition to worry began in utero.  (As a foetus, I probably worried incessantly about whether or not I was developing properly.)  My anxiety has played such a dominant role in my life that, at times, it has become all-consuming.

But I work at it—each and every day.  Having spent the better part of my life navigating the rocky waters of my anxiety, I’ve learned a thing or two.  And although I know that there are some parts of my emotional makeup that I may not be able to change, I can—and do—view it in a more productive light.

Fact: I suffer from anxiety and panic attacks.

Fact: I am not my anxiety and panic attacks.

Though I spent many years believing my anxious thoughts made up the whole of me, I have come to realize the faulty logic behind that notion: Emotions, by nature, move with fluidity—dancing in and out of the mind, carefully orchestrated by the tide that is an ever-evolving state of consciousness.  So how can any single emotion define a person?

It cannot.

I now know and expect that throughout my life, I will experience emotional ebbs and flows; some emotions will feel good, some will feel crappy and some will just flat-out trounce me.  But they are fleeting; they are not here to stay.  Emotions stop in for a visit; hang around for a bit then move on their merry way, making room for the new ones to take their place.  Just because I feel anxious, scared, or depressed in any given moment doesn’t mean I’ll feel that way forever.  It doesn’t make me who I am.

While I do still grapple with my emotional health, I know that I am making strides towards finding a greater inner peace.  I used to define myself by my anxiety.  Not anymore.  Today I see my anxious ways as part of what makes me who I am today, but not who I am as a whole.  There are many characteristics that, today, I use to define myself—and anxious is not one of them: I am kind; I am loving; I am extroverted; I am sentimental; I am blond-haired and brown-eyed; I am (sometimes) funny; I am cautious.

I am not anxious.  I am simply someone who experiences anxious thoughts on occasion.

I am many things, but I am not my emotions.

http://im-still-learning.com/2013/07/15/i-am-not-my-emotions/

And that is where I need to be.  And in order to do that, I cannot analyse every fleeting emotion and thought and cling to it for dear life in case it may mean something dark and sinister that I am hoping to not to confront.

What I need to do is focus on enjoying my life.

And then, one of the most profound blogs I have read, is this:

The solution to a problem is not in its solving

I have been contemplating this notion for quite some time and just a moment ago, it occurred to me, that the way to transcend a problem is not actually done but the process of solving it.

I have found that the more interested I become in the specifics of a problem and the more energy and effort I put into solving it, the longer it takes to overcome.  Then, when I realize that the problem is no longer present, when it is no longer an issue, I discover that it came about not by the process of trying to solve it but by getting distracted out of the obsession of dealing with it and trying to find its solution.

This of course ties in directly with the concept that what you give energy to is what you give life to.  If you focus on a problem then you will have a problem to solve for as long as you remain focused in that direction, because that is the frequency you are operating on.

This law shall we say, is a completely practical and functional formula that works without fail, all the time and under all circumstances and conditions.  It works not by denial of a problem but from the complete removal of all attention to it.

One great example of understanding this concept was displayed in the wise words of Mother Theresa who once proclaimed something along the lines of;

“If I am asked to join an anti-war protest then I will not come but invite me to a rally for peace and I’ll be there”

http://takecareofthemostimportant.com/2013/07/10/from-problem-to-no-problem/

So, now, I need to give life to my thoughts on my marriage, on me, on my husband.  Easy decision to make – not so easy to implement.  But I have to.

I am also not going to continue with this blog.  I feel too much guilt keeping things from my husband that I know would hurt and devastate him – I need to get a handle on my thoughts, focus on what is good, and share and be open with my husband on what I can without hurting him or my marriage.  I have another blog that I will share things on, and I will focus on the good – ignore and rest.  And not allow myself to be defined by my anxiety – which this blog is encouraging me to do.

GAD

Panic-attack

Panic-attack (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Courtesy of Discovery Health:

16 July 2013 at 07:17

Anxiety disorders are a common yet misunderstood mental health issue. Here’s how to identify the signs and how to get help.

By Joanne Lillie

“I have been anxious my whole life, but my anxiety really got out of control in the last three or four years. I had to resign from my job as a teacher; at one stage I could not pick up the phone, drive, or face people. Going out was out of the question. My anxiety levels were so high I would just shiver with fear,” says Elaine (36) from Johannesburg. Elaine has generalised anxiety disorder in addition to a particularly challenging type of major treatment-resistant depression. “I had very little motivation, drive or self-esteem, my anxiety had a devastating effect on my quality of life.”

Depression runs in her family, and stress is her main anxiety trigger. “I am someone who works well under pressure, and it has taken me many years to work out where the fine line between productive pressure and an anxiety trigger is,” she says.

Elaine now sees a limited number of students at home for extra lessons. “I am not completely myself yet, I am not functioning at my best, but medication is keeping me stable and I am gaining control of my anxiety and depression.”

Like Elaine, people who suffer from generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) experience an exaggerated sort of tension and extreme worry without an obvious cause. People with GAD often seem unable to relax or fall asleep and may also experience lightheadedness, shortness of breath, nausea, trembling, muscle tension, headaches, irritability, or sweating.

Everyone feels anxiety at some stage as a normal reaction to threatening, dangerous, uncertain, or important situations. Some anxiety can even enhance your function, motivation, and productivity; such as those people, like Elaine, who work well under pressure. But, when you have severe anxiety, which is excessive, chronic, and interferes with your ability to function during a normal day’s activities, your may have generalised anxiety disorder. (Generalised anxiety is different from phobia because it is not triggered by a specific object or situation.)

Symptoms of GAD

  • Excessive anxiety and worry for a large portion of the day
  • Difficulty controlling worry
  • Restlessness or feeling on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or restless unsatisfying sleep)

Panic disorder

Another type of anxiety disorder, and probably the most common kind, is panic disorder. Brief episodes of intense fear which are accompanied by physical symptoms such as heart palpitations, dizziness, nausea, tingling, feeling out of breath and chest pains characterise panic disorder. These ‘panic attacks’ are believed to occur when the brain’s normal mechanism for reacting to a threat – the so-called fight or flight response – becomes faulty. Most people with panic disorder also feel anxious about the possibility of having another attacks and avoid situations in which they believe these attacks could happen, this can start to impact their lives quite dramatically.

Panic disorder affects one out of every 75 people and usually starts during the teen years or in early adulthood.

Panic attacks

Initial panic attacks may happen in ordinary situations or when you’re under a lot of pressure, or feeling stressed from an overload of work, for example, or from the loss of a family member or close friend. The attacks may also follow surgery, a serious accident, illness or childbirth. Too much caffeine or the use of cocaine or other stimulant drugs can also trigger panic attacks. Nevertheless, panic attacks usually take a person by complete surprise. This unpredictability is one of the reasons they are so confusing and devastating; many people seek help at an emergency unit.

Panic attack symptoms

A panic attack is a sudden and strong feeling of overwhelming fear and apprehension…

During a panic attack, some or all of the following symptoms occur:

  • A sense of being overwhelmed by fright and terror, with accompanying physical distress for between four and six minutes
  • Racing or pounding heartbeat
  • Chest pains
  • Dizziness
  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands
  • Flushes or chills
  • Sense of unreality
  • Fear of losing control, going ‘crazy’, or doing something embarrassing
  • Fear of dying

Strategies for coping with panic

Remember that although your feelings and symptoms may be very frightening, they are not dangerous or harmful. What you are experiencing is only an exaggeration of your body’s normal reaction to stress.

Do not fight your feelings or try to wish them away. The more you are willing to face them, the less intense they will become. Do not add to your panic by thinking about what might happen. If you find yourself asking “What if?” tell yourself “So what!”

Remain focused on the present. Notice what is really happening to you as opposed to what you think might happen. Label your fear level from zero to ten and watch it fluctuate. Notice that it does not stay at a very high level for more than a few seconds

When you find yourself thinking about the fear, change your ‘what if’ thinking. Focus on and carry out a simple and manageable task such as counting backwards from 100 in three’s or snapping a rubber band on your wrist.

Notice that when you stop adding frightening thoughts to your fear, it begins to fade. When the fear comes, expect and accept it. Wait and give it time to pass without running away from it.

Panic and anxiety self-test

If you think you may have a panic or anxiety disorder take this self-rating questionnaire and discuss the findings with your mental health expert.

Anxiety self-rating scale

This scale is designed for your personal use; there are no right or wrong answers. Usually your first response is the best.

For each item decide if it NEVER applies to you (mark 0); SOMETIMES applies to you (mark 1); HALF THE TIME applies to you (mark 2); FREQUENTLY applies to you (mark 3); or ALWAYS applies to you (mark 4).

When you are finished add up your totals in all 5 columns to get your TOTAL SCORE. Make sure you base your answers on how you actually behave in your daily life, not on how you would like to be.

1. I feel tense, nervous, restless, or agitated 0 1 2 3 4

2. I feel afraid for no apparent reason 0 1 2 3 4

3. I worry about bad things that might happen to me or those I care about 0 1 2 3 4

4. I have difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up early 0 1 2 3 4

5. I have difficulty eating too much, too little or digesting my food 0 1 2 3 4

6. I wish I knew a way to make myself more relaxed 0 1 2 3 4

7. I have difficulty with my concentration, memory or thinking 0 1 2 3 4

8. I would say I am anxious much of the time 0 1 2 3 4

9. From time to time I have experienced a racing heartbeat, cold hands or feet, dry mouth, sweating, tight muscles, difficulty breathing, numbness, frequent urination, or hot/cold flashes 0 1 2 3 4

10. I wish I could be as relaxed with myself as others seem to be 0 1 2 3 4

SCORING: Total the number of points in each of the columns. Add all columns together to get your TOTAL SCORE

0 to 8 points = MINIMAL ANXIETY

8 to 16 points = MILD ANXIETY

17 to 24 points = MODERATE ANXIETY

25 to 32 points = HIGH ANXIETY (Warning Level)

33 to 40 points = EXTREME ANXIETY (Warning Level)

For more information, support, telephone counseling, or referral to a doctor, psychiatrist or clinic in your area, please contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group on 0800 21 22 23 or 0800 70 80 90 seven days a week, from 8am to 8pm.

Actively thinking positive

Cover for A Decade of Negative Thinking: Essay...

Cover for A Decade of Negative Thinking: Essays on Art, Politics, and Daily Life (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The thing about thinking positive is that it has to be an active choice.  You can’t just passively sit by, try to not allow negative thoughts and feelings to invade your space.  You need to counteract each negative thought and feeling with actively thinking something positive.  While you may stop eating junk food, you have to actually physically get off your butt and start exercising in order to get fit.  One is passive – you’re just stopping doing something.  But how long with that last if you don’t proactively fill that void with something else?  If you want to quit smoking, you actually can’t just stop.  You need to fill that void that quitting makes with something else.  Many people, for example, start exercising when they quit smoking.  And are then quite successful in never smoking again.

There is a passage of scripture that speaks about casting out a demon and if you don’t fill that void with something else, seven times more demons will come back.

Hang on, going to Google it quickly.

Matthew 12

43 “Now when the unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and does not find it.  44 “Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came’; and when it comes, it finds it unoccupied, swept, and put in order.  45 “Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first.  That is the way it will also be with this evil generation.”

And so it is with negative thinking.  You need to get rid of negative thinking and negative emotions, but you also need to fill that void with something positive – if you’re not going to fill the void that getting rid of negative thinking and emotions create, you will just find yourself with even more negativity that in time will be more difficult to get rid of.  Seven times more difficult if this passage of scripture is anything to go by.  So start proactively getting your mind and your emotions fit.  But actively and proactively thinking and feeling positive thoughts and emotions.

What works for me – and you will have to find what will work for you – is I have positive conversations with myself.  I am always talking to myself, so I might as well make it work for me.

A negative thought flits into my head – I won’t eat, I’m sick, I’m going to die (believe it or not, I used to wake up with such fear and anxiety with these three thoughts running around in my head).  Instead of just trying to get that negative thought out of your head – try to focus on the opposite and positive.  Of course I’ll eat – I eat every day at every mealtime without any problems (see how I’m backing up this positive thought with everyday evidence that supports that), and I am not sick.  I don’t feel sick and there is nothing wrong with me.  In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I saw a doctor or actually needed to see a doctor.  And yes, I am going to die one day.  But today is not that day.  And even if it is today, I’m sure of my salvation so there is really nothing to worry about.  Then take a deep breath and force (or allow) yourself to feel relief and something positive.  Then distract yourself and go on with your day.

You need to be conscious every time a negative thought or feeling comes into your mind – so that you can actively and proactively react with something positive, based on truth and based on faith.

But it will take time.  I have been negative for the last 40 years, allowing myself to be lured into the fantasies of negative thinking – I loved the drama it created within me .  Sometimes my fantasies or thoughts would be so negative, I would find myself crying in the car on the way home.  For heaven’s sake, no wonder I battle with anxiety.  Because you see, those emotions I created with negative thinking and fantasizing have to go somewhere – they don’t just evaporate.  It is energy being created, and well, it is coming out now.  So, this not something that is going to change overnight.  But, I figure I have the next 40 years to try to get it right.

Rather than thinking or fantasizing about a car accident, and having my entire family killed, and be drawn into the allure of this fantasy, think about all of us having a picnic together and having fun and enjoying ourselves and each other.  The positive feelings associate with the picnic fantasy will go along well to emotional health and wellness and should the event arise – a picnic in the park – you will enjoy it so much more.

Being angry with your mother…

Cover of "Daughter"

Cover of Daughter

Being angry at your mother

My mother loves to play games.  She has to have all the attention all the time.  And she loves to compete with me.  Being an only daughter, shy and very insecure means that I never found my voice to stand up for myself.  At least not as a child.  But, she still loves to play games.  Shall I give you a few examples?

I tell my mother I’ve joined gym, as I need to get fit and start exercising and try losing some weight.  She has a total hissy fit about it, then joins a weight loss program (the details of which she will not give me) and continually asks me, “Have you lost weight?”  Seriously, I have enough weight issues of my own, without adding all this to the mix.  No wonder I have such anxiety about losing weightFlip.  (Yes, this is the same mother who took me to a doctor for anorexia when I had never, ever in my life been on a diet to lose weight.  And then admonished me for eating a chocolate cake, because I’d get fat.  I was about 16 at the time.  No wonder…)

Anyway, let me get to the point of my story – she comes to visit us every Tuesday night.  So, last night it is cold and raining, but when I phone her to ask if she is still coming, “Of course, I’ll be there.”

When she eventually arrives, she walks in, sighs and tells no one in particular about the bad she’s had, how bad the driving is and how she just can’t do this anymore.  Then she says she won’t be staying for supper, as she just can’t be out this late.  Sigh.  So, I tell her she must do whatever makes her happy and if she wants to leave now, and then she must.  The next thing she is staying for supper, bathing our daughter and she will see me next week.  All because I didn’t give in to the attention seeking.  I am so confused sometimes about how to handle her.

So, this is my prayer – to be the wife my husband needs me to be.  To be the mother my daughter needs me to be.  And to be the daughter that my mother needs me to be – which means that I don’t take all her game playing, that I be honest with her to help her get over herself.

This is a letter I wrote to my mother about two years ago and very little has changed since then.  It just makes me angry.

To my mother,

I love you so much.  We have always been so close and have had such a good relationship over the years, but it seems now with our daughter’s arrival in this world, that has now changed.  And I’m not totally sure I can clearly articulate or understand the reasons why.

I thought perhaps I should make clear to you some of the issues where misunderstandings have occurred – perhaps I am missing something.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that I miss our closeness, and I miss having you to rely on.  You’re simply not available to help and assist with our daughter like I thought you would be.  In fact, hubby and I used to joke that we’d have to hide and pretend we’re not home because we thought you’d practically move in with us.  Alas, the opposite has happened.  Yet, when my brother and his then wife had their kids, they used to sit outside drinking coffee and having a cigarette while you fed, bathed and put to bed their three children.  I know that you say you didn’t have a choice, but you did.  And yet, with our daughter, you resist feeding her, you resist bathing her – you come over for five minutes to play with her and then leave.  How will that build a lasting relationship with her?  I just don’t understand.

It is very important to me that you and our daughter have a good relationship.  Perhaps because I didn’t have a good relationship with my only Granny that I knew – she always saw me as the black sheep of the family.  And I know the yearning I had for a Granny I could turn to.  Is it asking too much for you to be part of our daughter’s life so that she can have what I feel like I missed out on?  I know that you think I just say the opposite of what you want to do to be difficult, but that isn’t even close to the truth.  I thought I’d cite some examples:

  • Yesterday, you took our daughter’s shirt off because it was so hot.  I didn’t say anything because I actually didn’t have the energy for another confrontation with you.  And I am glad that when Hubby got home, he did say something.  You see, our daughter has been chesty for a while now and we don’t want her running around without a shirt on.  I’m not saying this against what you want to do, but because it is the best for our daughter.
  • You keep taking her dummy and taggy away from her – seriously, she is only 20 months old.  If it offers her some sort of comfort, both Hubby and I are actually quite pleased for her to have it.  If by the time she turns three or four, she still has it, well, we will do something about it then.  I know you don’t agree, but she is ONLY 20 months old – she too young to have your comfort taken away from her like that.
  • When you do come over, you immediately open every single window and door in our house, because you’re hot.  But, the thing is this – we have the doors closed because I like to feed our daughter BEFORE she goes out to play.  Once she has had her supper, she can play outside for three hours for all I care (well, okay, maybe not quite, but at least until bath time).  If she goes outside before she’s eaten, we have a screaming match to get her inside again.  Yes, I know I am the mommy, but I really don’t want to face a screaming match every day to feed her.  It’s easier for me this way.  Is it really that difficult to wait half an hour or so, just so that I can feed her and then open the sliding door?
  • I know that the cleanliness of our house is not up to your standard – you keep reminding us of that all the time.  Here’s the thing – we will always have dogs and they will always be part of the family and will always be allowed inside.  I think it is extremely healthy for kids to grow up with animals.  And whilst I know you don’t approve, this just simply isn’t going to change.
  • You keep saying, “I know you guys like to do things your way, but when I was raising my kids I did this and this.”  Here’s the thing – I will never do things your way.  Why?  Well, because simply I am not you.  I cannot think like you or work like you, just like you cannot think like me or work like me.  We are two unique individuals and I have to raise our daughter in a way that works for me.  I know that you suggested to Hubby that we put the mattress down in front of the TV on a Saturday afternoon for our daughter to take her nap, because that is what you used to do.  But, the thing is this – our daughter will nap for maybe 30 minutes and I seriously don’t want her watching that much TV or get into the habit of falling asleep in front of the TV.  If I put our daughter in her cot, she’ll nap for an hour or two, and wake up ready to face the rest of the day and play with her toys.  Once again, why is this even an issue?

I discussed via Skype a little while ago about getting a professional baby sitter in – your response really surprised me.  I did not expect a simple “okay.”  And yes, I know you live a full life and I know it is unfair to expect one person to handle all our baby sitting requirements, so from that point of view, it’s probably a good idea to get someone in that we can trust to help with Our daughter.

But, it has been incredibly unfair on me.  You refuse to come while our daughter is still awake or to help feed and bath her and put her down.  The result is that I have to do everything, plus still get ready and still try be on time for whatever function we’re going to.  A little while ago, we were invited to a restaurant to celebrate a friend’s 40th.  You didn’t want us to go when the invite stated, because you wanted me to put our daughter down first.  The result was that Hubby and I were almost 45 minutes late with everyone waiting for us before the first course could be served.  Why – what is the issue with helping with our daughter so that I can get ready and be on time for an event we’ve been invited to?  Seriously, we go out perhaps twice a month at the most – this is not an every weekend thing that we want you to look after our daughter.  Once again, am I missing something here?  I just don’t understand.Is it too much to ask for you to support me in raising my one and only little girl – even if you don’t agree?  Is it too much to ask that you help me have a little bit of a social life and enjoy some time with Hubby when you’ve agreed to baby sit?  I absolutely freak out at the idea of having a stranger look after our daughter, but what choice to we have?  On Saturday night, we were over an hour late for our function, because you didn’t want to feed or bath our daughter – in fact, you only arrived after she had gone down.  Then I still had to get ready and still try make it on time.  I know that you said it was stupid to have a dinner at 18:30 but I don’t agree.  We’re being invited out – it’s not up to us to dictate what time someone else must hold their function.  So, perhaps a stranger looking after our daughter will help – someone who could feed and bath, while I get ready, someone who could help put her down so Hubby and I can be on time and actually enjoy a stress-free time away.

I know you keep saying that you raised your three children on your own, but you actually didn’t, did you?  You worked morning’s only for the first part, had a live-in nanny that worked for you three days a week and your mother was around and living with us to help.  And while I don’t want to compare because each situation is so very different, Hubby and I are really battling financially at the moment.  We can’t afford a nanny, in fact, we can barely afford our daughter’s school fees, never mind the potty she needs or the bedside bars to get her into a big bed.  We’re working around the clock to try make additional income and we have no support.

I really had hoped things would be different, but remember, no matter what happens or has happened, or whatever confusion or misunderstandings there may be, I love you very, very much.  I really do.

Another post from another blog I manage, also explains fully what I am talking about:

I love my mom.  I do, and I know that she loves me.  And she has been great in lending me clothes to wear while I am too large to fit into my own clothes (yes, our daughter is almost 20 months old).  And she has been fantastic in buying our daughter things that we need – like the pram, clothes, bedding, etc.  I can‘t fault my mom on any of that.  In that way, she’s been the most amazing blessing.

However…

Sometimes I just need time.  I need to know that I can leave our daughter with her and take a time out and it’ll all be okay.  At the moment I can’t do that.  It’s a fight every time.  Let me give you an example:  she comes to visit our daughter every Tuesday night, with the idea to feed her and bath her and spend some quality time with her.  I mistakenly thought that this would be time that hubby and I can then spend together, even if we stay at home.  However, the reality is that I land up feeding her and bathing her, while my mother either chats to hubby, on her phone or watches Sewende Laan on SABC 2.  So, you can see why I’m a little confused.

Another thing that is really irking me is that my mother will walk into our house and basically re-arrange EVERYTHING we do.  I mean everything – on Saturday I had a bad case of Gastro (Our daughter had it on Thursday) and I was man-down.  So, I SMSd my mother to come over to help with our daughter, because hubby had put his back out.  So, she arrives about two hours later, and insists on taking our daughter for a walk and gets angry with me when I say no.  I said no because it was about 34 degrees (way too hot to be outside) and our daughter is battling with a cold.  It was such an issue.  Anyway, she didn’t take our daughter for a walk, it was just too hot.

Another example – she’ll pop in at 17:00 to visit our daughter and want to take her for a walk or play in the park.  I have no problem with this, in fact, I encourage it.  But, 17:00 is our daughter’s suppertime.  What I would want is for our daughter to eat first, then she can play to her heart’s content until bathing time.  However, my mom flips out – she can have supper later?  Why is it such an issue?

I feel like I’m fighting on all fronts just to be able to raise and do with our daughter the way I see best.  Is it really such a big deal to want to feed our daughter FIRST and then let her play?  Want another example?  We have a sliding door leading onto the garden.  When I’m feeding Our daughter, I usually keep this closed as there is no way to keep her inside when there exists the possibility of her being outside.  So, I close the sliding door, feed her, then open the sliding door and let her play outside.  What does my mother do?  Open the sliding door first thing and what does our daughter do?  Go right outside to play.  Then it’s a huge battle to get her inside to have her supper.  Surely, we can wait five or ten minutes for our daughter to eat first?  It’s just such a battle.

On Saturday, the dog beds were thrown outside, sliding door opened, hubby’s cycling clothes tidied (not sure what that has to do with looking after our daughter) and everything rearranged and changed within five minutes of her arriving.  It drove me mad.  All I wanted was for her to watch our daughter for an hour or two, so that hubby and I could sort ourselves out.  Am I asking too much?

Oh, and the comment, “I know you like to do this and this that way, but when I was raising you kids, I did it this way”.  Yeah, I get that – but I’m not you and you are not me.  I have the right to do things my way.  Simply because I am me.

ARGH.

Anyway, I hope this explains the complex relationship I have with my mother.  I need to break away from the game playing, be true to myself and try build a genuine relationship with my mother – even if, for now, it is only one sided.

Waking up feeling normal

For the last couple of years, since this anxiety bomb exploded in my head, I would wake up feeling anxious – wondering what the day would bring.  And I would then have to draw on all my coping skills just to make it through breakfast, never mind still get through the whole day.  I distinctly recall having to take each moment, breath by breath.  And my mind was a shambles – I had no control over the thoughts being flung into my head, or how I reacted to them.  When things were at their worst, I started taking Paxil (thanks to my local GP for that).  Paxil immediately helped calm me down and I started on 20mg a day, and now I am down to half a tablet a day.  I have been on since April last year, so just over a year now.  And I intend to stay on until at least the end of this year.

What this has done for me is given me a chance to take a step back, take control of my thoughts and anxiety, and to breathe.  Just breathe.  And it has given me the opportunity to understand my anxiety and to question my fears.  I have been able to focus on positive thinking and believing.  And I’m only taking a half a tablet a day – and as the doc said, it won’t prevent anxiety or panic attacks, but it will give me that space to breath and control my reactions more effectively.  And it has done just that.  I am confident that by next year this time, I could go off these tablets completely.  The thought makes me very nervous, because I don’t want my daughter or hubby to experience another anxiety episode or panic attack – especially if it involves the choking reaction I have whenever we sit down to a meal.

But, the last couple of weeks I have noticed something – and it doesn’t happen every day, but often of late, I have woken up feeling completely normal.  As in, no fear of anxiety or panic, not even a feeling of it lurking in the corner, just totally and completely normal.  Sometimes this “normal” feeling will last through the day, sometimes just through the morning, but more and more I am waking up feeling normal.

And you know what?

It is amazing.

There is, of course, this little voice that says it’s just the tablets, but I’ve been on the tablets for over a year now, and this is the first time this has happened – so yes, the tablets may be helping, but I think it is also me working on changing my thinking, my attitude and focusing on faith and believing.  All of that helps.

I really hope and pray for God’s grace and strength that I may continue on this path – that I can get off these tablets once and for all.  But, if I have to stay on them for life, then so be it – as long as it protects hubby and my daughter from having to witness this awful anxiety, then I am happy to stay on it for life.  If it comes to that.

But I don’t think that it will.

Let’s see what happens over the next year.

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

2 Timothy 1:7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.