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Forums / Anxiety / Falling apart; abusive neighbour

Topic: Falling apart; abusive neighbour

  1. ShelterIt
    ShelterIt avatar
    15 posts
    18 March 2022

    Hi,

    I live in a small coastal town, lived here for 12 years. 2 years ago a couple moved in next door, both real-estate agents. I'll only mention the man, as I've never talked to his wife.

    A bit of context here is that I suffer from LPTSD and trauma from having been bullied and abused as a child over many years, and I've got 25 years of therapy trying to have a normal life. I'm still today struggling with social anxiety and I'm painfully conflict shy. I wouldn't dare to try to fix a wrong order at Maccas.

    After two years of mostly verbal abuse (trees, bushes, our chickens, anything he doesn't like) it culminated last Wednesday with him assaulting me in my driveway (tree dispute where he doesn't like councils' decision). Reported it to the police, of course, but i'm concerned not much will come of that unless he attacks again. I now live in constant fear of waiting for when he'll attack next.

    The incident last week has left me completely destroyed. My neighbour has always been aggressive and abusive, to everyone in my household and people visiting, to council and others. And now I'm shaking like a leaf, afraid to be in the house, to be outside the house, to come and go, I can't sleep without hefty pills, and I'm on two different anxiety meds just to stay upright. It's been over a week, and I feel I'm losing it.

    So my question is; what to do next? I've done all the obvious things, police, council, lawAccessNSW, seeing psychologist, GP, but no one can do anything. We've talked about selling, but a) that's hard on the kids, and b) unfair to those we sell it to. Abusive neighbours are perfectly allowed to be abusive, it seems. And I'm running out of strength, this anxiety and the very thought of having to live with this is just so overwhelming. Has anyone had to deal with something like this?

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
    • Works for beyondblue moderating these forums
    Sophie_M avatar
    6815 posts
    18 March 2022 in reply to ShelterIt
    Hi ShelterIt,

    Welcome to the forums. We can hear it's been a really difficult time, but please know that you're in a really safe space for sharing here, with a lovely community of kind and understanding people.

    It sounds like it's really having an impact on how you're feeling day to day, so please know that there’s always someone here for you to talk it through with. The Beyond Blue counsellors are available 24/7 online, here. If using the phone would be difficult for you, you can reach them via webchat or email:

    We’re sure we’ll hear from our lovely, supportive community soon. In the meantime, here’s a few things you might like to look at: We are here to support you and you are not alone. Thank you so much for sharing here. Please feel free to share a bit more and let us know what is going on for you, and what might help, if you feel comfortable.

    Kind regards,

    Sophie M
    1 person found this helpful
  3. missep123
    Community Champion
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    1100 posts
    18 March 2022 in reply to ShelterIt

    Hi ShelterIt,

    I am so sorry to hear that you have been going through this. I wish I knew exactly what to say to comfort you.

    I can't imagine what you are going through because even when my neighbour was aggressive about cutting down trees I was so anxious about them knocking on our door.

    I wish your neighbour could see how much their actions have affected you. I am worried they don't sound like empathetic people at all.

    I'm so sorry I don't know exactly what advice to give but I hope that others will respond here.

    I hear you though, I want you to know you are not alone

    2 people found this helpful
  4. ShelterIt
    ShelterIt avatar
    15 posts
    18 March 2022 in reply to missep123

    Thanks. I guess part of my issue here is that I've been doing quite well over the years, I thought I was leaning towards a normal life, I've been able to reflect and forgive and all that. After all, it was mostly kids (within some span), and one can understand the context better.

    But this is an adult man with two little kids, and my emotions are going haywire! It's as if I'm right there back again, and I can't shake it. If it was some random guy somewhere, I might fare much better, but I have to live here. This is my home, our house, which has gone from being a dream to being a nightmare.

    Yes, I wish people could understand more about the psychological aspects of, well, everything, but this guy cares nothing about people or feelings or nonsense like that; he cares about macho ideals (what he says) and expensive cars (what he drives).

    I'm not sure how I can live with this hanging over me? This is one of those moments when I wish I wasn't me, which is hard to say. We live with our trauma and issues the best we can, of course, but ... some days I wish I was someone else.

  5. tranzcrybe
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    18 March 2022 in reply to ShelterIt
    At the moment you have a real 'monster under the bed' where it occupies your mind whether or not anything is happening.
    Do you know how to shake that?
    You take a deep breath and stick your head under the bed to see it for what it is...
    In other words, find out precisely what is bugging your neighbour and sit down together to reach a compromise - what is he willing to contribute to facilitate the outcome, and how far can you go to meet his expectations?
    If you have council approvals then the issue isn't yours but his, so in this regard you will be trying to help him (but I'm pretty sure he will expect you to do all the work yourself!).
    Negotiation is the key here and respectfully standing up to bullies usually puts them back in their box. Also consider having someone with you for support (witness) to keep things civil and try to remember its all about the issue, not you personally.
    1 person found this helpful
  6. ShelterIt
    ShelterIt avatar
    15 posts
    18 March 2022 in reply to tranzcrybe

    Thanks for that, but I don't think this monster is the normal kind. As I wrote in a letter (seeking professional help elsewhere); "I need some actual advice on what to do, what my avenues are. There is no "talk to him" or "mediation" or even "call council" options here." We understand the underlying issues are his, with the tree, with a dislike of the type of people we are (I'm a small guy who keeps to himself and works with computers and studies philosophy) or whatever, it's through council and our opinion hasn't even come into it. But we're the manifestation of the things that stands in the way of what the monster wants.

    He's a person with very, very different values from me, there's no middle ground from which to have any rational way forward, or even compromise on. Unless we all agree that even though I like my tree, it needs to be chopped down because he wants it chopped down? It's not like a compromise where we can prune it; he wants it gone. (pruning it *was* our compromise, but that's not enough, no matter what the law states) By that token it's a human problem, not one of laws. The law and council and everyone agrees on what the facts are and how things should be. But he doesn't like it. I don't know how to compromise with "doesn't like it"?

    That's a huge part of why I'm so anxious; the monster is irrational, selfish, and aggressive, and treats us as a problem instead of people. We're considering chopping the tree (even though we love it), were considering selling the house and move (even though it's our dream house), we're considering all these rather drastic things because he is a bully that's used to getting his way through his aggression. It's not right, but it may still happen.

    I'm still a mess, I don't think I've cried this much in years, I haven't felt this awful in, oh, 40 years. I certainly feel let down by the societal structures that seems to enable people like this to abuse people around them and get their way. It seems very unfair that the little guy has to suffer, especially those of us who already have really hard internal struggles on top, who don't fit the stereotype of "she'll be right, mate". If anyone have any good ideas, please let me know, I'm going insane.

    It essentially boils down to this question; has anyone dealt successfully with anxious trauma that's triggered by living next to a monster (that will continue to be a monster, no matter what)?

  7. tranzcrybe
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    19 March 2022 in reply to ShelterIt

    Unless you had the tree physically transplanted onto your property in the last two years, there is no reason to chop, sell, or relocate - your neighbour had made an informed decision to purchase based on their own enquiries (as any estate agent would recognise) and has no authority to demand action from you.
    In fact, the purchase price may have reflected this very obstacle to his favour.
    Yes, people are allowed to be abusive, but are also accountable for their actions. As such, I would be inclined to increase video surveillance of your property to protect your interests and, in your own small way, take a stand against injustice.

    I do know the feeling of conflict with unreasonable parties, and the anguish that accompanies confrontation - yes, it is gut wrenching and painful. I choose to measure the short term cost over the long term suffering and fight for what I believe in.

  8. ShelterIt
    ShelterIt avatar
    15 posts
    19 March 2022 in reply to tranzcrybe

    I don't really want to make this about rules and how awful the neighbour is, there's tons of stuff we could report on him but hasn't (loud outdoor speakers playing music all the time, air conditioner running all night 15 db over the limit, unhinged 2am parties with fighting, same with his unhoused pool pump, two years of verbal abuse and threats, because, well, we're just normal nice people trying not to poke a bear. People often say we should report these things, but as far as they mean well, they don't live here, they're not being abused and assaulted by him. We've stayed clear of him as much as we can. This tree situation is just the thing that brought me right back into trauma with him taking it to the next level of abuse. And yes, the tree was he before we bought here 12 years ago. And yes, legally and technically he's in wrong on so many things, including the tree he got rid of.

    But my real problem is that there seems to be no support for people who have to live next to abusive people at the best of times, and now what when it's a person with PTSD and trauma who can't walk outdoors of his own house without meds and anxiety attacks? What can I do to just live? In my own house? Without shaking anxiety? Is the answer simply more meds and hope he isn't outside his own house (the thought alone makes me go and hide, I'm peaking out from curtains just to get to my car, it's so exhausting), and if you can't do that forever, move?

    There's great suicide prevention services around, and support groups like this one is great, but I'm just not coping at all. Can anyone think of something for this situation? My trigger lives next door, every day, every hour, and I don't know what to do. Is the answer to sell up? Is that the only answer?

    1 person found this helpful
  9. ShelterIt
    ShelterIt avatar
    15 posts
    20 March 2022 in reply to tranzcrybe
    Oh, and thanks for your reply. I do appreciate it. I'm just feeling so lost. So thank you.
  10. tranzcrybe
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    20 March 2022 in reply to ShelterIt

    Yep, we all need to make allowances for people living their own lives; and often the behaviour alludes to a deeper sense of unfulfillment in life which is compensated by overbearing and arrogance. I actually feel sorry for people who are this insecure and unhappy in themselves.

    I hear what you are saying about support, but without a 'solution' you may be patching over the cracks. This brings it back to you to address the problem with something to ease the distress if not eradicate it - "if I have a sore leg, I can cut it off" is not always the ideal outcome!

    Might I suggest a few final options?

    1] a high fence (within council guidelines) between your properties to put your 'problem' out of sight if not mind;

    2] hedges and garden beds to 'physically' distance yourself;

    3] a strategically placed garden shed to buffer invasive noise/disturbence;

    4] double glazed windows;

    5] reflective window treatment;

    6] a water feature for enhanced serenity, or design a private courtyard;

    7] smiling at your neighbour and offering kind words without altering your stance (to convey that he does not reside in your head and his intimidation is in vain).

    Incorporating some or all of the above might restore a degree of harmony to what is clearly an unpleasant situation.

    No need to feel ungrateful, you are dealing with much stress and I know how tolerance can be diminished under such circumstances. :)

  11. ShelterIt
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    15 posts
    20 March 2022 in reply to tranzcrybe

    Thanks. We're looking at your option 1 in combination with security camera, if I get brave enough to go out there and install it. The other options are tricky or not doable.

    I've talked to Adult MH team services today, they can hopefully get me some acute help. AVO can't happen without mediation, which I'm now incapable of doing, so that won't happen. It's incredibly hard for mental health sufferers to find people willing to champion you. Support is one thing, but knowing the system, knowing the processes, it's all beyond me, I've only lived in Australia for 15 years without the need for serious help like this before. I still don't know what to do. My wife wants me and her to take the dog for a walk, and even that fills me with dread as I have to go out there. I'm so tired of this, there seems to be no end to it.

    Thanks for listening, though. I'm trying to keep it together. Maybe this is going to sound nuts, but I've built a little cubby house in the spare room downstairs, out of pillows and mattresses. It's oddly calming to sit in there. I'm wondering if this is what I did back when I was a kid all those years ago, and if it had the same effect.

    1 person found this helpful
  12. missep123
    Community Champion
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    1100 posts
    24 March 2022 in reply to ShelterIt

    Hi ShelterIt,

    I am so sorry, it's so hard when there are terrible neighbours because we may love our homes but we can't pick the ones who live next to us. I am really sorry to hear how this has been impacting you.

    I can see you are trying your best to work through this and find solutions and process everything. Personally my family built a tall fence around our property and it really helped to increase our privacy and my comfort to be outside! Especially since I couldn't really see into the neighbours properties anymore and hence they couldn't see into mine. I really hope that you find this comfort too if this is what you end up doing.

    Your cubby house situation sounds like a safe space, I think all of us have a certain place in our homes that really gives us comfort!

    Please keep us updated I really feel for you. Also please continue reaching out to the mental health services because your wellbeing is so incredibly important.

    1 person found this helpful
  13. ShelterIt
    ShelterIt avatar
    15 posts
    25 March 2022 in reply to missep123

    Hi, and thanks for following up. It's been ... hard, and getting harder. I've done all the right things, GP, referrals, and also the community MH team, just to talk to someone who can help me medically with the most urgent issue of ongoing anxiety attacks. I've had online sessions, and I went into the community MH center and did a health evaluation, still waiting for someone to actually talk to me in a professional capacity. I feel like I'm in a Kafka novel. I've seen my GP thrice, he's the only one who's trying within his capacity to do something, anything, even though it's the usual small batch of anti-anxiety and long batch of anti-depression meds.

    I've "solved" my ongoing attacks for now by living in my car down by the harbour, third night tonight. I'll try to come home little by little. My marriage is of course very strained at this point, she's trying her best. I come by for things like driving our son to school, so that's a way to slowly get back to dare to live in my own house again.

    The battle to just see a psychiatrist these last 17 days (and counting) has been nothing short of astounding. If I was suicidal or violent I would get help pronto, but because I'm just a meek computer nerd who studies philosophy, I'm rewarded with nothing but red tape and "nothing we can do." I don't understand how this is possible, what happens to people less on the ball than I am? What happens when they hit the wall and need acute attention? Is running screaming through the ER the only solution? I've never felt so let down by the system as I do now. I thought I was on top of my PTSD, and have never had a history with the MH system before, but this incident shows me that maybe I shouldn't be smart and brave and try to stay on top of things?

    I'm now on various waiting lists (earliest official date is in June!!) to see someone with an acute anxiety issue. The irony and personal devastation of that statement is beyond perplexing. I'm waiting on a list for telehealth options, no guarantees. I'm waiting for the community MH team to get back to me with more than "see your psychiatrist again, because we don't know anything about my medication (which I use in a very small dosage)" despite that I told them he's unavailable until June (travelling) in both the initial phone call *and* the MH assessment. I feel like I'm being pranked.

    Anyway. I'm giving up on the system. Living in the car, building a wall, slowly coming back. I'll let you know how it goes.

  14. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
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    6815 posts
    25 March 2022 in reply to ShelterIt
    Hi ShelterIt,

    Thank you for updating us here. It sounds like an incredibly hard time. You've been making some amazing steps towards getting support. We're sorry it doesn't always feel helpful, that would be really isolating and frustrating. 

    You mentioned staying in your car. We can hear that isn't ideal. Is there anywhere else you could stay while you figure out a plan for getting back home? It sounds like it could be really worth speaking to our Support Service about this. They may be able to help you to plan your next steps, and they're also lovely to speak to, even right in the moment of distress. The Beyond Blue helpline is here for you on 1300 22 4636, or on webchat here. Please remember you can talk to Blue Knot about this on 1300 657 380, every day between 9-5 (AEST). Their counsellors are really happy to talk through complex trauma and the impacts this situation is having.

    It’s really good that you could share here. As the conversation above shows, this is a truly supportive, safe and non-judgmental space.

    Kind regards,

    Sophie M
    1 person found this helpful
  15. ShelterIt
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    15 posts
    25 March 2022 in reply to Sophie_M

    Hi there,

    Thanks for the concern. Please don't interpret me living in the car as a negative, it's a lovely car that has been my safe space for many years I used to do field research and the car is quite capable of being both comfortable and practical. I also live down by the harbour which is about 10 minutes from my house, my wife knows where I am, and we agree that this might be the best short-term solution. And, indeed, my anxiety is quite reduced to the point of not taking any meds for that part of it (apart for sleeping). The rest is more long-term planning and dealing with the onset of depression.

    Sometimes being homeless is an actual answer, especially as I live next door to a trigger. My disappointment with the public health system is something else, and if nothing else, maybe my big mistake was to think that there are system solutions to peripheral problems, like people like me. I do wish I could see someone about the immediate psychiatric issues, but I think the best thing I did was to jump in the car and take charge of my inner problems myself and not worry so much about what others might think of it.

    Hopefully I can return home in a couple of days, if not fully, then at least soon. And hopefully I will find some long-term help with the PTSD (looking at both CBT and EMDR), hopefully next week will see glimmers of hope.

  16. Karen0901
    Karen0901 avatar
    73 posts
    25 March 2022 in reply to ShelterIt

    Your quote about "running through the emergency" is exactly what I said when I was at my lowest in Dec/Jan. I was desperate. Couldn't function but you only get treated when it's really bad. I ended up getting an ambulance and was in a mental health ward for a week. Couldn't stop shaking. They finally took me seriously when they saw what my body was doing to me. Still, you get kicked out of help as quickly as possible.

    To me, your problem has an easy solution, just move. Don't feel guilt about it. Other people may be able to deal with the situation better. I had an abusive step father growing up and I know how to deal with bullies. However, you will never 'fix' the problem. It is his personality, just as you have your own. The other option is: does he rent or own the house? If he rents, find his real estate agent and complain. Kick him out.

    There is a solution to this problem. You need to find it. Run through different scenarios and find one that is acceptable for you. You can not go on as you are. Mental health services will not help as much as you are hoping until you find the long term change.

    1 person found this helpful
  17. ShelterIt
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    15 posts
    27 March 2022 in reply to Karen0901

    Hi, and thanks for your reply. Yes, I agree, I shouldn't feel guilty about whatever solution can be come to. It's hard to simply move as we bought and moved into our dream home about 12 years ago (and yes, our neighbour owns his newly built house), and we still have kids in school in the area (and buying in this area is crazy hard at the moment; it's one of those areas featured in the news as having surpassed Byron Bay in terms of prices and popularity ... *sigh* we got in a long time it became any of that :) )

    I still have got no help from the system, not the police, not the community MH team, no one, I'm still in shock as I a) never ask for help (and probably won't ask again), and b) I'm asking for so little (just to see a psychiatrist). I'm booked into one around mid-May (which is about 4 weeks too late, but I'll take what I can get).

    I've found a clinic nearby that offer various CBT and EMDR dealing with trauma, and I'm going there today, which means I'll try to deal with at least the long-term part of it. I'm running out of anxiety meds at the moment from the GP (and they won't extend it until I see a psychiatrist; again, I'm living in a Kafka novel), and I don't know what will happen when I run out in a couple of days. I've been home a couple of times, slowly easing my way back. A 24/7 camera is installed (with sound), and I carry an extra video camera plus large stick at all times, but I can only handle a few hours at a time.

    I'm also looking into how high a fence I'm allowed to build out front; that's the main source of the trigger right now, so I'm hoping out of sight (and out of shouting distance) might help, too. That is, if council are willing to help.

    I'll keep you posted, and thank you all for replying to me, even though it's really, really hard to find actual solutions. I really feel for people who end up in situations like this that aren't as on the ball as I am. I only suffer from anxiety from specific triggers, I can't imagine if your triggers are wider or less defined, it must be hell. I try to stay positive, usually by staying away from the front of the house (even though my bedroom window looks down on the crime scene). I'm still shaky as I write this, and I'm not even at home (working in the car).

    Thank you, all.

  18. missep123
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    31 March 2022 in reply to ShelterIt

    Hi ShelterIt,

    I am so sorry to hear that the waitlists for psychiatrists and to see a mental health professional in the mental health capacity is so long. In these times I really feel for you that you have to wait because I can understand how much you want and of course need that support. You mentioned finding a CBT and EMDR clinic nearby, were they able to see you? CBT and EMDR can be extremely helpful to process trauma symptoms, I hope that you were able to get in and that you also find it to be helpful. I am going to be honest though I have heard that it takes time to use the tools you learn and to integrate them into your life.

    I really hope you can build the fence out front as well! I personally could imagine that I would be more comfortable if I didn't have to see the neighbour.

    Please keep us updated, I wish I knew exactly what to say to comfort you but I am very grateful that you have kept us updated here so that we may support you in the way that we can

    1 person found this helpful
  19. ShelterIt
    ShelterIt avatar
    15 posts
    5 April 2022 in reply to missep123

    Hi, and thanks for that. I don't know what to do, either, I feel quite distressed by it all, as you can imagine.

    I've done two sessions so far targeting the PTSD, still very much in the discovery part of it. Nothing much new here, except maybe that it has shaped me beyond all the things I already knew it had shaped me. Bloody brains and their complex nature and chemicals and whatsnot.

    I at least live at home again after living in the car for a while. We're now a month later (tomorrow) and I still haven't seen a psychiatrist. The community MH team was friendly but absolutely useless, I'm still in shock over that one, especially since I'm out of any meds that helped (and the GP can't give me more, because, uh, rules?). I'm now surviving through a 24/7 camera on my driveway, carrying a large stick, and self-medicating on alcohol for sleeping. It's madness that it has to be this hard for honest people in distress.

    My anxiety attacks are further apart (although I had one yesterday), and I have fallen into a steady anxious livable but tough life; every day I wake up with my innards in turmoil, it's a bit like fearing the day. It's not an intellectual thing, pure emotional response, I can't even pinpoint what causes it, there's nothing specific I think of. It's now just there. I try to befriend it in a hope of calming it down, but it it's resistant so far. Hard to think well with it.

    I'm about to leave for another state for a week or so, hopefully that will be a way to calm things down. Hopefully the return won't be too hard for me, but I'll update on that when we get there.

    Thanks for all thoughts so far. It's still very hard to get out of bed in the morning, and hard to not get straight into it after dinner (not to mention hard to try to even make dinner). It's tough not to feel like I've lost, that I shouldn't be this fragile. But I also know the scars run so deep, I have nothing to be ashamed of. Hopefully the only way is up.

  20. therising
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    5 April 2022 in reply to ShelterIt

    Hi ShelterIt

    I'm a gal who absolutely loves philosophers, people who just love to wonder about so much. Technically, philosophers are naturally wonderful people (full of wonder).

    Do you ever seriously wonder why your neighbour's insane? Personally, I see you as being someone who is highly sensitive to the insane behaviour of others. The fact that you've dealt with people from your past whose mentally challenging behaviour has left you feeling everything, from your thoughts through to your nervous system (so intensely), triggers me to fury. How dare they lead you to do all the hard work when it comes to managing their nature. If they were more conscious, you wouldn't have to so carefully manage your own nervous system. Others can be such hard work.

    Wondering if you have anyone in your life that you know who would be happy to have somewhat of a holiday in your house for a little while. Perhaps a relative who you get along well with who'd like to come to stay. Such a person would have to be someone who knows how to manage a bleep like your neighbour. Perhaps they'd actually love the challenge, maybe even thrive on it. If anyone like this comes to mind, perhaps they're the type to engage your local MP who will work to look into council based neighbour disputes. Maybe they're the sort of person who won't hesitate in phoning the police every single time there appears to be a threat or a breaking of the law. The police will get sick of them calling, maybe to the point of doing something. Maybe they'd be the type of person to start a petition amongst neighbours that will lead the local council to begin taking this more seriously. Maybe your wife's up for the overall challenge. Maybe her seeing you suffer through all this will lead her to no longer tolerate it.

    With that 'fight or flight' response, we're either left shaking with fear or shaking in fury. Either way we're shaken up. The difference is mindset. You can find people who've spent so many years shaking in fear of those with questionable mental health issues (whether they be bullies at school or bullies next door). Then, one day, something changes in an instant. When asked 'How did everything change?' their response is something like 'I just couldn't take one more day of being treated like poop by someone so lacking in consciousness'.

    You deserve so much better from all the people who should be acting as upstanders, not bystanders. Their efforts are seriously not good enough. Wish I was there for you :)

  21. Karen0901
    Karen0901 avatar
    73 posts
    17 April 2022 in reply to ShelterIt

    How are you going now? Did going away help? I really relate to how you are feeling, despite our reasons for it being completely different. So I'm really hoping you are feeling better.

    My psychiatrist said that strong anxiety can not be helped well with medication. The only medication that can really help only work for a short time. They are also addictive....

    I use  medication and therapy. The therapy should help reduce the anxiety enough the medication can help more. Your GP should be able to prescribe medication.

    Try deep breathing and other anxiety calming strategies.

    Have you thought about renting your house and then moving into a rental in your area? This might be an option for you to decide how to solve your problem and give you time to work on your mental health.

  22. missep123
    Community Champion
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    18 April 2022 in reply to ShelterIt

    ShelterIt,

    I am so grateful that you have continued to keep us updated, it has been a little while since your last post so I wanted to check and see how you are doing!

    We are here for you

  23. ShelterIt
    ShelterIt avatar
    15 posts
    19 April 2022 in reply to therising

    Hi all,

    Sorry for the low response, I've taken 1.5 weeks off without a computer to try to reset, and have just returned. There's mainly two updates / insights;

    I'm going through PTSD trauma therapy, it's ongoing and is useful for understanding both the situation and myself, but not so much for reducing anxiety. I think the major insight for has been that my trauma is more linked to the feeling of being alone and helpless more than any violence angle, which explains the ongoing triggering my neighbour incurs. I've got ADD with a strong sense of justice and fairness, and *that* has shaped my trauma more than the incidents; there was no justice around me, no one could help, so all my anxiousness (and now probably depression) comes from fairly common human issues but amplified to trauma through ADD. I have for most of my life (and still to this day) had problems with recurring nightmares that always had a strong supernatural non-physical theme. I now realize that this is a manifestation of the same trauma; an invisible, hard-to-define but powerful force that controls my surroundings, and I'm helpless to get away from it.

    The other insight is just realizing how much of me has been shaped by my ADD, in particularly how hard it is to find friends and people like me in the odd anti-emotional mono-cultural Australian society, and that I have gone through a grieving process of letting go of all those people as I left my home country (Norway) for Australia some 15 years ago. This probably is a larger consequence for my depression (that now has been super-charged) than I realized.

    I'm still a mess, but I've got good days and bad days. The anxiety attacks have receded into a reality of continuous dread, not sure if that's better or worse. I'm now only on anti-depressants (the common kind) and as long as I can live this way, it's a path forward. I've been a practitioner of meditation my adult life, and maybe that's helping me, breathing and counter-focus, etc, and I use philosophy for all its worth in finding (at least) intellectual understanding underneath it all.

    Thanks all for the support and getting back to me, I do appreciate it.

  24. missep123
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    missep123 avatar
    1100 posts
    25 April 2022 in reply to ShelterIt

    Hi ShelterIt,

    Thank you so much for keeping us updated because we really do care about you here!

    You brought up a very important point about PTSD trauma therapy and how it has been useful for you in understanding yourself however it has not reduced your anxiety. I have heard that whilst processing during therapy (especially trauma related) it can be a very challenging and vulnerable process to go through! I really hope in time though that when you have processed everything in a safe environment that your anxiety does lessen. Although from what you have written I can understand that it is quite complicated given your insight about ADD feeding into the trauma experiences but I really do hope that trauma therapy helps you to understand and hopefully dissipate this link.

    I'm so sorry that you have felt as if you are in a continuous dread, how has being on the anti-depressants been for you? Has it been helping this feeling? You seem to have a lot of insight into yourself, I believe that aligns also with your knowledge of philosophy so I truly hope that this helps you on the journey!

    1 person found this helpful
  25. NonStampCollectorFan
    NonStampCollectorFan avatar
    10 posts
    25 April 2022 in reply to ShelterIt
    I'm is an almost identical situation. I was foolish enough to be friendly to a neighbor that was the local hero of the region for being a fire-fighter chief. - he abused a situation in 2020 and then extorted money out of me. I've been told hes on the council and last week Ive received an abatement notice stating I got to fly down to Tasmania this week and mow grass or get a $3,500 fine + the councils fees. I don't even know if i can get down there because of shifting covid laws. For me its extortion and torment 24/7 since i got the note. I'm thinking the australian broadcasting corporation(or prince harry) could help but this is a hope/despair crisis. And NO-ONE wants to start a fight with "The corruption behind the issued compliance"/the law.
  26. therising
    Valued Contributor
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    therising avatar
    2816 posts
    25 April 2022 in reply to ShelterIt

    Hi ShelterIt

    Sounds like you're making some progress through the PTSD therapy which is great. I think the challenging part about gradually waking up to how things played out up to this point is...some of it can be naturally depressing. So, it can be kinda like we're waking up to a lot of potentially depressing factors in order to make our way through and out the other side of depression. For example, someone could be asking themself 'Why do I feel so weak, worthless and depressed?'. Gradually a therapist gets to the bottom of things to reveal no one in that person's life cared all that much about them when they were young. They may be led to recall many of the comments that led them to the conclusion that they're weak, worthless and a 'waste of space who will never amount to anything'. That's dark and depressing stuff which can trigger overwhelming sadness. Can even get to the point where that adult can be left grieving for the childhood they wish they'd had. At the end of the day though, it's a gradual wake up call to see how the incredibly destructive faults were in the people around them, not them. They can even be led to feel incredibly proud of how they managed to make their way through into adulthood through such an obvious lack of constructive guidance and the soul destroying behaviours of others. In other words, they've raised themself a lot of the time, even in childhood.

    I wish the experts would focus more on the incredible abilities of those diagnosed with ADD, ADHD and those on the autism spectrum. There are some absolutely incredible abilities there. Problem is, sometimes it can be hard to find your tribe of the same kind of folk, who hold the same abilities. For example, just say we're 'a feeler', someone who feels so much. If you report to people in the mainstream stuff like 'That person brings me down/depresses me or that person stresses me out to the point where I can physically feel the stress they put on me and the depressing feelings they lead me to' and people can say 'You're too sensitive'. Find your tribe and each member may say 'You can feel that too? I thought it was just me. Doesn't it feel horrible. What the heck is wrong with the people who lead us to feel stress and depression. They're seriously messed up'.

    1 person found this helpful
  27. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    2816 posts
    25 April 2022 in reply to ShelterIt

    Hi again ShelterIt

    Had to run, drive my son to school :)

    That tribe factor: The people we best vibe with can develop us in a way where we can learn to live largely without a doubt. They're real self esteem boosters. As a group you may all agree 'We're not going out to dinner there, that place has a depressing feel to it. Where not going here, all the staff have a really angry vibe to them. Definitely not going there, the patrons there are generally highly selfish, thoughtless and seriously triggering'. So you know it's not all in your head that you feel these things because others are feeling them too. One of the things about ADD, it's challenging when you can feel boredom or disinterest to the point where you're on the verge of going to sleep or to the point where the fly on the wall beside you is far more fascinating than anything else. Stick a kid in classrooms for more than a decade and teach them stuff in the most uninteresting way possible and then expect them to focus. Almost impossible. Get a teacher who knows it's boring and therefor makes it more exciting and that's a game changer. Get a brilliant teacher who tells a kid with ADHD, who struggles with managing hyperactivity, 'Go run around the school and come back in 5 mins with less energy so you can learn' and that's also a game changer. Or get a teacher who recognises how hard it is for some kids to focus beyond their imagination and they'll teach that child through their imagination.

    All 3 of those scenarios point to abilities

    1. The ability to recognise or feel what's boring and tune out from it. When it comes to that fly on the wall - the ability to study the finer and fascinating details of nature
    2. The ability to channel enormous amount of energy
    3. The ability to learn and channel through the imagination. The imagination's a powerful thing we can't afford to lose. Highly imaginative people throughout history include Nikola Tesla, Elon Musk, Leonardo Da Vinci, Martin Luther King Jr and so on. All visionaries :) Actually, Musk created a private school (Ad Astra), having referred to mainstream schooling, from his experience, as 'torture'.
    1 person found this helpful
  28. ShelterIt
    ShelterIt avatar
    15 posts
    26 April 2022 in reply to missep123

    Hi,

    > I really do hope that trauma therapy helps you to understand and hopefully dissipate this link

    Oddly, I'm not too hopeful about that, but that possibly speaks to having too much info and knowledge about ADD, trauma, and my own situation. Dealing with trauma / PTSD is much easier if you can pin it to specific incidents, but these more blurry long-term affectations are harder as they become an import part of who you are, part of your identity. It's not easy to categorise and choose embedded traits, unfortunately.

    > how has being on the anti-depressants been for you?

    The truth is, I'm not sure. I've been on them before, and I've never been that affected by them. I think I fall into the category of taking them as a precaution (better safe than sorry), but they don't really change my situation as much as, say, doing intellectual work does. By that I mean, I can be anxious with or without medication ad only think about what makes me anxious, but the anxiety will dissipate more if I sit down for an hour and write down how I feel and how I plan to deal with it. That's the kinaesthetic part of dealing with anxiety that has more effect for me than mere discovery work. We know from tons of experimental data that putting a physical spin on a mental exercise help us bond to the solutions we think we need, and things like EMDR is exactly based on that premise.

    I think the ADD link is the most prominent at the moment, and I'm going through my life linking in negative and positive traits and experiences to that at the moment. This understanding certainly helps, even if it does not remove the anxiety, at least not completely. But also, I'm half-way through the therapy series, who knows what will happen next? I'll keep you posted.

    1 person found this helpful
  29. ShelterIt
    ShelterIt avatar
    15 posts
    26 April 2022 in reply to therising

    > they've raised themself a lot of the time, even in childhood

    Spot on, and very important; people with ADHD (or any ASD) develop a whole forest full of coping mechanisms, some good, some bad, and it's often a miracle if they turned into a person who doesn't struggle in life in some way. It seems the hit rate on that is fairly low, for all of those reasons you mentioned, the lack of understanding and support for people who have a different cognitive and mental mode of operation.

    I hate that we're often talking about these things with "mental health" or "on the spectrum", indicating that these things are classified as an issue for *the person* as opposed to for *society* as a whole, but I guess we have to start somewhere. Being on the spectrum signifies a difference, for sure, but shouldn't signify that the difference is a *problem*. I think this is why it became a problem for me; I was tagged as the one with issues, probably from my reactions to the bullying (anger, mostly), so I was sent to a psychologist for years rather than the people doing the bullying. I, even as a child, recognized that I was not the problem they were looking for, but felt, again even as a child, that my opinion on the matter wasn't taken into account (because experts were involved, I assume).

    Luckily it was a new expert that came in and made me feel I was being listened to that *actually* resolved the bullying situation, so at least I don't have issues associated with that (experts) as much as a more systematic problem (both in terms of systems as well as knowledge).

    > I wish the experts would focus more on the incredible abilities of those diagnosed with ADD

    Agreed, there's tremendous potential in there, when promoted and cared for in a world of understanding. The time I've "wasted" on trying to fit in, trying to deal with a world not designed with me in mind, is mind-blowing! And I know I'm definitely not alone. I'm seeing a lot of good representation these days, so there's been a ton of good progress over the years (the support my kids got compared to me is tremendous), even though there's still a lot of work that needs to happen to bring that support and understanding into the world, especially the educational world.

    I also recommend everyone go see Hannah Gadsby's special "Douglas" on Netflix, it's the funniest and truest and loveliest and most awesome ASD representation ever! I cried and laughed at the same time through pretty much the whole thing, truly amazing.

  30. ShelterIt
    ShelterIt avatar
    15 posts
    28 April 2022 in reply to NonStampCollectorFan
    There's toxic people out there. For us ADD people that's a difficult pill to swallow, sometimes outright impossible to feed back into our model of reality, causing a lot of anxiety that neurotypicals don't understand at all.

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