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Forums / PTSD & Trauma / Struggling with anxiety

Topic: Struggling with anxiety

  1. Bella Donna
    Bella Donna avatar
    29 posts
    28 April 2018 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    I had to tell my daughter that my Mum is sick, because she has often questioned her behaviour & she’s also been upset thinking my Mum acts the way she does because of something she’s done. That’s exactly how I felt growing up. She makes you feel “bad” & like you’re the reason why she’s having an episode.

    Please don’t get me wrong, I still love my Mum. I just can’t be around her anymore for my own mental health. Even though she chose to ignore what her husband did to me, I still loved her. Realising I would never get her approval, or her support, has been the hardest thing for me to deal with. I just wanted her to love me. The less I see her though, the less I seek something from her that I know I’ll never get.

    I’m going to buy a journal this week & start writing my memories & feelings down. I’m going to finish off with things I have to be greatful for. If nothing else, I’d like to learn how to like myself & not focus on all of the negative in my life. To not fear being happy would be beautiful!

  2. Bella Donna
    Bella Donna avatar
    29 posts
    28 July 2018

    Hi,

    I’m struggling again. It feels like everything is going wrong atm. I had an accident at work several months ago & my workplace has not been very supportive. Yesterday I had a physio appt for the accident & had 2 male physios observing me & I found it very confronting being asked to tuck my shirt into the back of my bra & bend forward to try touch my toes while both males were behind me. I get they needed to check where I’m at, but I felt like I had no control throughout the session & it’s left me quite upset. I’d like to leave my job, but I’m concerned I won’t be able to find any ther job due to this accident & I’m not qualified to do anything else. I just feel a bit helpless atm.

  3. Croix
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    28 July 2018 in reply to Bella Donna

    Dear Bella Donna~

    Yes I can quite imagine your feelings with the two male physios, it's a real pity there was no female one instead. As you say a not so supportive workplace. Having a feeling of being trapped in a job is pretty horrible. Is there any possibility of looking elsewhere while still working? I know if I just left employment I'd be really stressed unless I found another straight away (mind you I do tend to catastrophize a lot -if that's a word:).\

    I guess at the moment a most important thing is your actual physical condition. Are you showing signs of recovery?

    Feeling out of control of things in one's life happens a lot I guess, and trying to counteract that is hard, however you did cope with the examination, something that would have taken a fair bit of resolve so please pat yourself on the back (yes I know, hard to do).

    Do you think it helpful to look at the things you succeed at. Just reading what you have said here gives a picture of a pretty admirable person dealing with huge burdens life has placed on you and still able to see with perspective and offer love to your children. Plus someone that has fostered a relationship with your children that allows you to speak frankly with them about the past.

    That last thing will stand them in good stead in the future when they need to speak frankly about things in their lives.

    Croix

  4. Bella Donna
    Bella Donna avatar
    29 posts
    28 July 2018 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    I couldn’t imagine not working, as hard as it is sometimes. I’m worried that I’ll struggle finding another job due to this injury. It’s defin better than it was, but it doesn’t take a lot for it to flair up again.

    My weight is not helping the recovery process. To have to let go of the “fat mask” I have covered myself with, would leave me feeling very vulnerable. As much as I hate being fat, food is the one comfort I’ve had all my life & I feel safer when I’m big.

    I contacted a counselling line recently & I was asked what I do for myself that makes me happy & I honestly couldn’t think of anything that is outside of my home & not related to my kids, or the people I support at work. I’m not living my life to the fullest, but I just do what I can to get through the day.

    I don’t know why I’m so upset atm. It feels like it could be a combination of things - work, injury, living with my past. When I’m doing something with my kids, or when I’m at work supporting people I feel happy. It’s when it’s quiet that I really struggle. My anxiety levels have been through the roof.

    I have at times got myself into a very dark place & wanted to finish things but I don’t want to put my kids through that. They’re the only thing keeping me going.

    B.

  5. Croix
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    28 July 2018 in reply to Bella Donna

    Dear B~

    It is an important question, things that you do for you. I've found it has made a huge difference in lots of ways. Give me something to look forward to each day, takes me out of myself and circumstances and anxiety for a while, and at the same time sort of lets me know I'm worthy of or deserve something for me -if that makes sense.

    The things I enjoyed returned even though like you I could not think what they were. Books, movies, walks, all sorts of things.

    I'm glad you feel for your kids, not only for the obvious reasons, but because when I've been in that dark place my whole world has shrunk down to just me and seemingly insuperable problems and blame and pain. I guess there is a glimmer of light for you having them in your consciousnesses. Again I'm probably not making that much sense.

    I think they are lucky to have you as a mum.

    If being quiet lets anxiety in can you do more that occupies your mind? A conscious plan along those lines might help, what do you think?

    Hang in there B, it does get better (I'm an example)

    Croix

  6. Bella Donna
    Bella Donna avatar
    29 posts
    28 July 2018 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    You’ve given me some good ideas & I will try to do things for myself that make me happy. It definitely is something that would require a conscious effort.

    I feel really ashamed when I start to feel really low. I appreciate you sharing some of your experiences because it helps to know that I’m not alone with this. As much as it’s never nice to hear another person has experienced similar lows. Well done on working your way through it successfully.

    Thank you for complimenting me as a Mum. All things considered, I think I’ve done an alright job as a parent. I do love them dearly.

    B.

  7. Croix
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    29 July 2018 in reply to Bella Donna

    Dear B

    I hope it is helping.

    I remember that while I was still at work I did not ask for help, or at least not for the stress-related stuff, just the physical symptoms. This was a huge mistake.

    One of the reasons I did not tell people was because I was ashamed. Not the only reason but a pretty powerful one. I felt that my problems had been brought on by me, and that it was a flaw in my character, or weakness or something like that. This is a real trap, I felt because it was me than I'd always be this way, so there was no where to go to improve.

    Later on I found firstly that it was the illness putting me down, and secondly just abut everyone I talked to has said much the same thing. While I have to admit there is some residual instinct that says it is me I no longer believe it.

    Being ill, or having a broken leg, is something that simply happens. This all goes back to what I was trying to say before about feeling worthy enough to deserve nice things just for you.

    You deserve all the good things, you've had to deal with all the bad.

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  8. Bella Donna
    Bella Donna avatar
    29 posts
    29 July 2018 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    You really hit the nail on the head with how I feel & deal with it. I haven’t explained to anyone at work why I struggle at times. I try so hard to hide it, but I believe it comes out in other ways. I do feel very ashamed of myself for feeling the way I do & I feel different & less compared to other people.

    I recently went out with my daughter & broke out in a bright red rash all over my neck & face. I had been feeling a little anxious before going out but had no idea that it would escalate so quickly & why. I cut the outing short because it was embarrassing.

    When things like that happen, I get really annoyed with myself for feeling the way I do & for letting my emotions get the better of me in front of my kids. In those moments, I feel like I’m just a lost cause.

    Even though my posts have been quite dreary, I do really appreciate your support. It has made a difference & helped me get through this weekend. I started out very emotional & unwell & I have made it through without feeling quite so bad about myself. So thank you!

    B.

  9. Bella Donna
    Bella Donna avatar
    29 posts
    30 September 2018 in reply to Croix

    Hi,

    I wanted to post something a little different & just say thank you for all of the support I’ve received, especially from Croix. I recently met my “real” Dad, after more than 35 years of no contact. I’ve waited a long time for a positive family experience & I’ve finally had it. My Dad is unwell & may not be here for very long, but I’ll be eternally great full for the times we’ve shared over recent weeks. I’ve had some horrific experiences at the hands of people that are supposed to love & protect you, but I now have some positive memories to take with me into the future. For the first time in many years I feel there’s hope & that I’m deserving of love. I still struggle a lot, but not like I used to.

    Thank you to all who have supported me.

    ❤️

  10. Croix
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    2 October 2018 in reply to Bella Donna

    Dear Bella Donna~

    Thank you for saying that, it does mean a lot when someone says they feel a bit better. I guess it lets me know my experiences can help.

    I'm very glad you found your dad, it could well be you inherited the capacity for love from him. While it is sad his health is uncertain it's a two-way street.

    When my first partner passed away after a long illness I'd been with her constantly and believed not only I made her life happier and easier, but she had provided me with love - and satisfaction in helping her. Not the easiest chapter in life, but I'd not have missed it for anything.

    Of course you deserve love

    Croix

  11. Bella Donna
    Bella Donna avatar
    29 posts
    7 December 2018 in reply to Croix
    I’m struggling again. I feel like I’ve just had enough. All I seem to do is work & just exist. I can’t get my stuff together for long periods at a time & I just don’t cope well when I’m feeling low. I’m so tired.
  12. Croix
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    8 December 2018 in reply to Bella Donna

    Dear B~

    I'm pleased to hear from you, even if life is miserable at the moment. Don't worry about hte delay in getting back to you, it happens in this place, unfortunate but no reflection on you or the care we have.

    If I remember feeling out of control, particularly at work, plus your mother, made life very difficult to deal with. You did say you had been in contact wiht your dad but his health was not good.

    Are these some of hte things getting to you at the moment. I do know myself when I've been very tired over a long period my ability to ride over the bumps gets a lot less.

    Dear B~

    While I'm sorry life is getting hard at the moment I am glad to hear from you. I'm sorry it sometimes takes a while to get an answer here. It is the way things work, no lack of regard or concern for you at all.

    I know that fatigue over a long period, even caring for kids you love, makes it so much harder to ride over the bumps, I get that way myself and things become really discouraging.

    I'm guessing of course but work and your mother both created great problems and feeling you had little control simply made matters worse.

    You did mention being very happy to contact your dad, but his health was shaky. A real pity when finding him after so long.

    Would you like to say if I'm on the right track or are there other matters?

    You don't have to worry about saying how you feel, or what is wrong. It is the rare person for whom things always go smoothly after the sort of experiences you have had. The fact you get though them and do reach out shows great capability and strength - and love.

    Croix

  13. Idkme
    Idkme avatar
    149 posts
    9 December 2018 in reply to Croix

    Hi Bella Donna,

    the fact that you’ve recognised that you are struggling is a great sign that you are aware.... the worst feeling is when it’s gone to the point that you don’t ‘feel’ any more.

    So now is the time to pull out that kit of resources..... you’ve used one by posting here, what’s some others that have worked for you? How can you add some ‘feeling’ into your day? If you feel angry, that’s okay, use the emotion to ‘do’ something (not destructive).

    What things do you like to do?

    Ps. It’s also complete okay to feel tired and drained.... especially this time of the year. Find some self soothing things to do.... read a book, watch a movie, go out to movies, catch up with a friend, write a journal, do something creative, go for a nature walk.... plan something ahead.

    I hope that helps.....

    we’re listening.....

  14. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    4914 posts
    9 December 2018 in reply to Croix

    Dear Bella Donna

    We have not 'spoken' before and I am so sad and sorry for the life you have been forced to lead. Not having someone to love you and show that love is dreadful at any time, but more so for a child. Add abuse to that and I am surprised you are coping at all. These are not easy events to live with.

    I noticed earlier that Croix suggested you see a psychiatrist. Have you explored that option? Money wise it's a good option although initially a little expensive. Croix explained about the safety net provisions. Like Croix I also see a psychiatrist regularly. My psych charges $250 for each consultation but once I reach the safety net my out of pocket expense is about $17. May I suggest you think about this option.

    Psychological stress will often make you feel tired and sets off a circle where you are tired→feel depressed→get more tired→more distressed. Not a good place to be. Can you visit your GP for a check-up and have a chat about your mental health? I have found GP to be very experienced with mental health issues and able to help. I know about having a mental health plan but it only lasts a short time and to continue seeing the psychologist gets expensive.

    Do your children live with you? I understand they have left school and I wonder if they live with you now.

    I see you recently made contact with your dad. That was wonderful. It's sad he is unwell and I think you are wise to enjoy his company for as long as you can. To have someone who cares makes a world of difference.

    Please reach out for help. Feeling so unwell is probably natural under the circumstances but not something you want or need. How are you with phone lines? There is a 24/7 help line called Suicide Call Back Service which is amazing. Please do not be put off by the name. I do not think you are suicidal. The number is 1300 659 467 and is available 24/7. Look at their web site https://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au/ I have always found them helpful.

    Please look after yourself.

    Mary

  15. Bella Donna
    Bella Donna avatar
    29 posts
    29 December 2018 in reply to White Rose

    Hi,

    Thank you for all of your kind words. This month has been very difficult. Xmas always bring bags up a lot of emotions & I tend to focus on the negative. There are times when I still feel like I did as a child, unworthy of love & like I have no control. It becomes extremely difficult to just make it through the day.

    I tried reaching out for help & never followed through on anything. My experiences with counselling haven’t always been great. I did have one particular lady who was brilliant, but she has since moved on. I feel like I tell my story to someone & then I have to start all over again.

    I have had contact with my Dad, but he suffers from bipolar & some days he doesn’t feel like talking very much. He doesn’t know about what I went through with my step father & I don’t think it’s right for me to tell him either given the state he’s in. But it does make me feel like I have no one to turn to that will just hold me & be there for me when I struggle with the pain from it all.

    My kids do live with me & I do my very best to shield them from all of this. They are all aware of some parts of my childhood & are understanding when I tell them that I’m not having a great day. I’m very fortunate that they’re such beautiful people, but at the same time it’s not their job to pick me up.

    I do need help, I just don’t know what to do.

    ❤️

  16. Croix
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    29 December 2018 in reply to Bella Donna

    Dear Bella Donna~

    Christmas can be hard time and bring out behavior, emotions and memories that can be very hard to cope with. not good.

    I do have a different viewpoint from you on offspring. You said "I do my very best to shield them" and also "it’s not their job to pick me up". If I remember right you have one boy in late teens and a couple more as adults.

    True, a young child needs a lot of parental shielding, but as they mature they do need life experience, if only so they can function successfully by themselves later on. Actually that is not the only reason, that experience gives them the wisdom to help those they love - which includes you. For adults shielding should be over, and have reduced to affection, help as needed and reliability. They need treating as adults.

    Helping is a natural part of being human, and leads to feelings of worth and self esteem - as well happiness in cherishing someone.

    I can understand you being reluctant to say much in the way of detail, to your family, and also to any new medical professional you have to go see. I guess with family the trick is to bring yourself to say enough for them to realize the deep effect your early life has had on you and how it manifests itself.Plus what helps best, which may actually be talking, you would be the judge..

    Maybe your dad might be the exception considering his illness, you would be the best judge there too, though people with a mental illness can sometimes have too much responsibility taken away from them, for the best of intentions.

    You should expect your kids support, it is their job. With the psychologists perhaps writing down a summary might help them catch up.

    You have survived a truly horrible childhood and now have all the control in the world. You also sound a most caring and loving person.

    Croix

  17. Idkme
    Idkme avatar
    149 posts
    30 December 2018 in reply to Croix

    Hi Bella Donna,

    just popping in to let you know I too have the worry I can’t tell my mother as she has bipolar and on the up times she will often bring up things from my past and spread it out to the world or throw it in my face, so I didn’t tell her details or specifics but just let her know that sometimes I need some love and care too, but it does make it difficult.

    I guess the same goes for children. I think there is age appropriate conversations you could have. Having the knowledge can actually make them more aware to protect themselves and help others if they ever are in that situation, so may be a thought.... after all we need to start making these conversations less awkward and more visible so those predictors out there can be more exposed and warned.

    Just my thoughts.

    We are here... talk to us.... we will try as best we can to understand....

  18. Bella Donna
    Bella Donna avatar
    29 posts
    31 December 2018 in reply to Idkme

    Thank you so much, to both of you. I don’t think I’ve ever allowed myself to grieve for what I went through (in a healthy manner) & I have said many times that I feel “bad” for what happened, even though I know it wasn’t my fault.

    My kids are my world & the only people that have shown me unconditional love. I could share more of what I’m going through with them, but I just don’t want them to feel like they have to take care of me, when it should be the other way around.

    My Mum has recently contacted me which has been a bit of a shock. She’s still with her husband & I just don’t know if I want to go down that path again. I was never good enough in her eyes. I just never received the love I craved for from her. I’ve never been able to accept that.

    I’m trying to pick myself up. I knew I was bad a few months ago when I visualised how to hurt myself & it scared me. I did go to the GP & I was placed on some medication. It’s the little flashbacks of sexual abuse that get me. It sickens me.

    Thank you for being there for me. I’m sorry if I’m rambling on. This is the only place where I let some of my story out & I feel like there is so much that I want to say, but it’s very hard to articulate it sometimes.

    ❤️

  19. Croix
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    1 January 2019 in reply to Bella Donna

    Dear B~

    I know you mum contacting will have put you in a quandary, do you think that as you are not that good at the moment the extra pressure her presence will bring is what you need? I would not expect her basic nature will have changed. Plus it brings you closer to her husband.

    Facing someone when strong and sure is one thing. When vulnerable it may be quite different and might need to be avoided.

    Memories, flashbacks or whatever you want to call them bring up terrible emotions. Logic has little part to play, knowing something is not your fault gives no relief at the time.

    I try to plan for these episodes, and also can say they have got less potent - and less frequent - over the years. If a nightmare I'll get up and make a cuppa or shower, no matter how much I feel like just lying there. If up I'll talk with my partner, (or the dog!) plus exercise. I've tried journaling, manufacturing happy endings, and talk in depth to a psychiatrist, it boils down to being a whole lot of little strategies.

    One big one is to avoid known triggers.

    Does this seem to make sense?

    Croix

  20. Idkme
    Idkme avatar
    149 posts
    2 January 2019 in reply to Bella Donna

    Hi Bella Donna,

    grieving is definitely a process and very individual in time span and progress. So just talking about it and thinking about it can help you recognise what progress you have made.

    Feel free to ramble as much as you like. Nothing is pointless, it’s all good for many reasons including getting it off your chess, that’s the great thing about this forum.

    Feel free to ask questions too if it suits

  21. Bella Donna
    Bella Donna avatar
    29 posts
    11 January 2019 in reply to Idkme

    Hi,

    Today was not the greatest. I drove down to do some shopping & bumped straight into my Mum. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, I was expecting fireworks. I did end up quite emotional & it has left me feeling a bit down.

    I would love to find a professional to speak to, but it’s making the first step. I’m just feeling a bit lost. I am so nervous when I go out though,because of my weight.

    I’m 44 next month, I’ve let my past control my life for so long. I know what I need to do, but I just have to follow through with it. It’s hard when there’s a lot of shame involved.

    Thank you so very much for taking the time to respond to me. I do appreciate it.

    ❤️

  22. Croix
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    11 January 2019 in reply to Bella Donna

    Dear B~

    Not a good day, but meeting your mother never was gong to be good. At least you know how you react and can find ways to cope with that.

    Which reminds me

    https://www.sane.org/the-sane-blog/managing-symptoms/coping-with-flashbacks

    Has some stuff that seems meaningful to me, maybe it will for you too.

    I can understand the shame factor, in my case just feeling suicidal has been bad enough, your abuse is a whole different thing, much worse I suspect.

    So you know you have this problem of getting started with professional support. What do you think might help? I found writing it all out first and then phoning for a long consultation is easier than going in cold. You share the paper and just answer questions - much easier than trying to explain from scratch face to face.

    To tell a story does not need to be all at once, you can build over time till you have a realistic picture, which is why writing in advance can be good.

    If you know shame will hit you what can you plan for that? Even deciding what to do with your hands might be a help - again what do you think? An appointment is only so long, there is always an end in sight.

    One other thing to bear in mind, if the psychologist or psychiatrist is any good they are not just sitting there like dummies, they have experience and actually try to help with your efforts to communicate, a 2 person effort.

    Croix

  23. Idkme
    Idkme avatar
    149 posts
    12 January 2019 in reply to Bella Donna

    Hi Bella Donna,

    it seems that this ‘awakening’ (as I refer to it), can be linked to a stage of maturity.... I turned 44 in October last year and managed to keep my abuse under lock and key for some 30 years only to be triggered last year.

    It was the first time I had to get help from a psychologist. It’s the best thing I’ve done in a long time. I’m definitek not ‘over’ it but I’m much more aware of my self sabotaging actions and negative choices I make.

    I chose to find a psychologist that I could skype with who was trained in with childhood trauma, she is a clinical psychologist and I have built a trusting relationship with her as a professional. I also do heaps of reading and YouTube watching. There are so many resources out there but the counselling can help sift it out a bit more and settle me down to what’s important.

    Ive got a post that I’ve been sharing my journey on, it’s called “newly triggered”, I felt a lot of similar things that you did at the beginning. Feel free to read or comment/question on it if you want.

    I suggest you action some positive choices into your life soon before the ‘not great days’ become more and more.... the reaction you had to bumping into your mum is absolutely to be expected and the following ‘down’ is possibly a result of the fight/flight/flee response.

    Visit your GP and ask them for a referral, it’s private and confidential, and if you don’t like the psychologist you meet then change.... there are plenty of fish in the sea,

    i hope that helps.

  24. Bella Donna
    Bella Donna avatar
    29 posts
    14 January 2019 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    I think writing in down would be a great idea. I haven’t been very kind to myself over the years & there’s a lot of self loathing. I think if I were to write it all down, it might actually help me to acknowledge that I’ve been through a lot & instead of beating myself up about how I’ve acted in the past, I can hopefully show myself some compassion.

    My anxiety is becoming worse, I will discuss this with my GP at my next appointment. I’m just in constant fear when I’m out of my home. It’s horrible. I constantly tell myself that I’m too fat & not good enough & different from everyone else. I don’t think I’ve ever felt comfortable in my own skin.

    Thank you,

    B ❤️

  25. Bella Donna
    Bella Donna avatar
    29 posts
    14 January 2019 in reply to Idkme

    Hi Idkme,

    I will have a look at “newly triggered” & see if I can relate to it. The anxiety is the hardest to deal with atm. It’s crippling. I keep gaining weight & that’s just feeding the anxiety & self loathing. I would never want anyone to feel the way I do at times.

    Thank you for your support!

    B ❤️

  26. Croix
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    6167 posts
    15 January 2019 in reply to Bella Donna

    Dear Bella Donna~

    One of the good things about you is you have a pretty accurate idea of what is happening to you - I did not for years. This is an advantage because it means you can list the things that are wrong and seek help to address them, (and this includes weight).

    I needed outside help to improve, and I'd think many, yourself included, do too. A psychiatrist was mentioned earlier in this thread, and I'll mention it again now. The whole thing needs someone with experience to guide and steer you to a better life. They provide the assessment, information and map out a plan, you do it. Works OK. Sometimes meds, sometimes not.

    Life can be an awful lot better, and that can start by accepting that it is your mother's husband who is to blame, caused all the things you do not like about yourself, and infected you with massive anxiety -and probably PTSD too (though I'm no doctor and am guessing). You might realize that intellectually, it is the professionals' job to make you believe it.

    The time will come when you are comfortable with yourself - if I can turn around from suicidal mess, then I'd imagine you can too.

    Croix

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