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Hitting a wall

Old 08-08-2016, 05:45 AM
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Hitting a wall

I haven't been around the forum much lately, and for that reason I feel bad posting a whiny post. I would have like to have come back strong and invigorated, but such is life...

I just feel like I keep hitting walls. Both physically, mentally, and emotionally.

I look at where I was a year ago, two years ago, three years ago, and other than the fact that I completed the divorce I don't feel that I'm any better off. In fact I feel that I might be sliding backward.

Physically I'm exhausted. Though this last round of treatments seems to be showing promise, my migraines have been a constant battle. My back hurts. My eyes are bad, my hearing sucks, I have arthritis in my thumbs, I got a limpy ankle, my neck creaks, sometimes the tip of my nose itches.........

Although I know the list is real, that I'm not making these symptoms up, I also know that there is an element of depression mixed in.

I'm not happy. I look at my life and I don't see a bright and shiny future. No sooner did I clear my XAH out of my life than my daughter started having problems. Some of you may remember my post about her older boyfriend. They're still together. Well, her anxiety issues are massive, and I once again find myself walking a tightrope. Trying to parcel out what I say to her so that she'll understand it. Giving her information in doable doses, and keeping my expectations reasonable. When all I want to do is shake her and tell her that her issues are obvious, and if she would just do what her mother says all of her problems would be solved.

I'm a little smarter this time than I was when dealing with my XAH, so I try and watch what I say and how I say it. So far I think I'm doing ok. She confides in me. I guess that's good. Sometimes I don't know. I did get her to see a therapist. Finally. And she started going back to Alanon.

But, again I feel like I've been thrust into a chess game that I don't want to play. Having to deal with someone else's mental health challenges while mine get put on the back burner.

I know the conventional wisdom is to "take care of myself first" or "put on my oxygen mask first", but that's not going to happen. I know I'm not going to fall apart. I may have migraines and a back ache, but I won't fall apart. I may want to. But I won't.

I just need someone to tell me that she won't be 19 forever, that a person can learn to deal with anxiety, and that just because I haven't seen positive changes in my life yet doesn't mean I won't ever.
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Old 08-08-2016, 05:53 AM
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We went through HUGE issues with my older son when he was a teenager. In fact, he was well into his 20s before things really turned around for him. He was a mass of anxiety and depression, would not/could not hold a job longer than 3 months, couldn't stick with school, made bad choices with friends, had a few brushes with the law.

Today, he is very happy and secure in a job with a company he's been with for five years. He's received several promotions and awards. He has a lovely g/f, who has had a few issues of her own, which he managed admirably (she's doing much, much better).

So yeah, there's hope for your daughter. It sounds as if she's willing to take at least some of your guidance, which is a good thing.

I remember my mom once saying if she could have shipped me away for the entire year I was 17, she would have jumped at the chance. LOL, I don't remember being "that bad," but I was probably way more difficult than I had been.

Please do try to take care of yourself. It WILL get better, but you need to take care of things like your health problems.
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Old 08-08-2016, 06:03 AM
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I remember when I was 19 and I thought there was nothing more to learn and I was an adult and knew it all. How wrong I was. I think it comes with the territory.

Here I am now in my 40's still learning. One thing I will say I have observed. We have all come to this place which is a huge step that so many who are suffering never take. Whether it is those of us here in F&F or those over in the recovery areas, I have seen such maturity and intelligence here and it gives me a lot of hope.

It sounds like you have had a bumpy ride recently, and I'm sorry to hear of that -- The way you express yourself here shows great strength, maturity and intelligence and that's not something you learn overnight. I don't have a lot of answers but I can offer support and also say that it sure sounds like you are doing the right things for you and your family and that's wonderful.
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Old 08-08-2016, 06:22 AM
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We don't have to "take care of ourselves" JUST to stop us from falling apart, love.
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Old 08-08-2016, 06:28 AM
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I can relate with the physical ailments! Currently suffering from anxiety, my eyes always hurt, I'm not sleeping right so I am tired, my lower back keeps giving me problems, I suffer from vertigo which is somehow connected to these insane headaches that feel like my head is in a vice grip... starting at the eyes and working its way down my neck and into my shoulders. The doctor can't pinpoint where it is all coming from; I know it is stress.

The body will manifest emotional ailments. I would love to jump back into running and going to the gym and eating right and sleeping right. But I can't seem to get there. So for now, I am choosing small steps like walks in nature or beach trips with friends. They give me relief while I work out the emotional blockage I have been carrying. And part of me working that out is to get the necessary distance from the people who are affecting me so negatively. I think it is a process of accepting that their lives and choices are not in my hands.... of letting go and letting my higher power...
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Old 08-08-2016, 06:45 AM
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About her age I too went through a period of debilitating anxiety. Some of it I think was separation anxiety, and just trying to figure out my path in life. I was in college, but had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was in college, but actually hated school since the first grade LOL. Go figure I continued that route for 6 years.

These are growing pains. It is good she in in therapy I too went to a therapist that specialized in anxiety disorder. For me within 3 months I saw tremendous improvement implementing coping mechanisms, and getting to the root of the anxiety. I hope that she has found a therapist that is focusing on the anxiety issues. I did try and find my way through my parents, and certainly they were concerned and worried - it was above their pay grade to fix as it is above yours - you can't fix it, only she can. My therapist's treatment has stuck with me now for 30 years, her words still ring true for ME. The root of anxiety is trying to control what you cannot, and not controlling what you CAN.

When I start feeling anxious I immediately refer back to that, and look at what the hell I am doing.

Sorry to hear that life is a struggle, it wont always be.
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Old 08-08-2016, 09:10 AM
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((((Hugs)))) I'm sorry you're dealing with this SK.

Yes, 19 year olds go through phases. I was clinically depressed twice in my teens & yes, it was debilitating. My concern, reading through your posts, is that she's just perpetuating the same cycles being in this relationship with an alcoholic, older boyfriend & can't really deal with anything - not REALLY - while she's in a relationship that allows her to take the focus off of herself. Yes, she can learn to manage anxiety & yes she can get past this - IF she wants to. IF she decides to take the steps to do so.

My heart breaks for you here SK, I don't even want to think of my own daughter carrying all of this into adulthood & spilling it into every other relationship. But I can promise you that when you show her this attitude:

I know the conventional wisdom is to "take care of myself first" or "put on my oxygen mask first", but that's not going to happen. I know I'm not going to fall apart. I may have migraines and a back ache, but I won't fall apart. I may want to. But I won't.
then you can't be completely surprised when she demonstrates the exact same behavior, can you? If you aren't showing her how to put herself first by doing it yourself & showing her how to conquer anxiety by taking care of yours first then do your expectations REALLY qualify as reasonable?

You cannot control her any more than you could control your Ex. It might be a different situation completely, but your Codie Control is just as limited.

But, again I feel like I've been thrust into a chess game that I don't want to play. Having to deal with someone else's mental health challenges while mine get put on the back burner.
I know it may feel that way, but this is a choice you are making SK - you are far enough into recovery to know that your issues are on the back burner because YOU are putting them there. No matter what happens, DD has the right to live her own life & hey - maybe she NEEDS to go through this right now - how can you be SO SURE of what's in her future path to know exactly where she should be standing right now?
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Old 08-08-2016, 06:37 PM
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For those of you suffering from migraines, have you been tested for celiac disease (gluten intolerance)? It was what caused mine, and getting rid of the gluten in my diet was the cure. Celiac disease is also related to other auto-immune conditions like arthritis, and, untreated, can contribute to other issues like depression and nerve abnormalities. The screening test is a simple blood test.
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Old 08-08-2016, 10:30 PM
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Just big hugs SK. I relate to your post from a few angles... I too was a very depressed 19 year old. My second year of college was the most excruciatingly painful time in my life. Looking back, the things I went through then were cake compared to the things I've gone through since... but I guess I have better coping skills than I did then, or just more life experience.. or whatever. Life is tough at 19.... it just is... it will get better . It's great she's confidng in you.... I was never able to confide in my mom
I have children too... but they are still little. Oh I just can't imagine how hard it will be to deal with these types of issues when they get older
Again.. big hugs to you!!!
Take the time to take care of you.
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Old 08-09-2016, 05:06 AM
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Thanks for the support everyone. It means a lot.

Firesprite,

You make an valid point about taking care of myself, and I always have to keep that in the forefront of my mind. I try (try) to be very aware not to micro manage my daughter, and have spent a good portion of the last year letting her make her own decisions both good and bad. As we all know this is important for her as well as me.

I've done really well! I give myself a solid B+ , but I find holding my tongue, and watching my words, exhausting.

What's doing me in is the herculean effort of rewiring my brain. I'm having some successes on how I act on the outside, but I don't seem to be having as much success with changing how I feel on the inside.

When I talk about the "chess game" that's what I mean. My XAH loved chess. I didn't. There came a point as he fell deeper into his disease when I felt like I was forced into a game of chess. Playing a game I didn't like, or understand, where I had to try to anticipate his moves, while constantly keeping a blank face.

Something's missing. Some piece of the puzzle in the recovery of both my daughter and myself. I think you're right Firesprite. I think it's somehow linked to me taking care of myself.
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Old 08-09-2016, 06:32 AM
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I COMPLETELY understand, SK. I think rewiring is the hardest part of all of this - it's very, very easy to fall into old comfortable patterns & extremely difficult to create a new one. In a previous post I've said that if I had said something negative to myself 100,000 times, I've found that I need to repeat my new positive thought 200,000 times before it becomes by New Normal/default setting.

While I would never say I know I'm right, I DO know that I'm *not that wrong*... meaning, you aren't ever going to be wrong for putting effort into your self-care. Every single good thing that happened on the outside of me during my recovery, stemmed from me doing work inside first. I can't grow anything if I don't plant the seeds, ya know?

And, honestly, self-care is a big part of rewiring, IMO, I don't know that you can have one without the other, outside of blatant brainwashing. When I show myself self-care, I show that damaged, victimized part of myself that I love & value her. It's no different than if I have a new friendship where I would take some time getting to know the person & their interests - I'm simply cultivating a relationship with myself. Repeating loving actions & thoughts keeps striking that same trust-button internally & my self-trust & self-respect blossom too.

Feeling "forced" to play chess sounds pretty significant - where/who are you feeling that kind of direct stress from? (no need to answer here) Is it coming from inside of YOU & not from someone else - as in, your perception of the situation but not necessarily the reality? 19 is a tough age too - not yet grown but definitely an adult. It's such a strange stage between parents & children with neither side really sure of when & how to let go, it's not easy under the BEST of circumstances.
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Old 08-09-2016, 07:01 AM
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I also think that when you practice the self-care, even when you aren't "feeling it," you ARE rewiring your brain. One of my favorite sayings in recovery is that it's easier to act your way into right-thinking than it is to think yourself into right-acting. The more you do it, the more you will "feel it"--that's something I'm rediscovering right now as I'm making my place a cleaner, more attractive place to live. I never felt it was worth the bother, but now that I'm "bothering" with it, I'm feeling more worth it.
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Old 08-09-2016, 07:47 AM
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In terms of the chess analogy I certainly wouldn't want to imply that anyone, either my daughter or my ex, were into playing games with me. It's a feeling that comes from within me, no doubt. I think chess comes to mind simply because he loved it and I just couldn't get into it. It's a feeling that I need to anticipate their moves, and watch my moves closely. In the case of my ex it was mostly because I didn't trust him. With my daughter it's mostly because I want to keep the lines of communication open. I've seen how she balks when I start to say something negative about her boyfriend, or start to pressure her about getting into school. She can shut down frighteningly fast. I'm sure most 19year olds can. So I don't push to hard on certain topics and avoid others all together. At the same time she came to me and told me she was concerned about his drinking. So I do see a positive side to all of this.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:00 AM
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Lexie,

It sounds like you're saying "Fake it till you make it." I can get behind that.

I also like the idea of doing "the next right thing" that helps me sometimes get out of a slump. I learned that technique here at SR.

There is an important self-care correlation that I need to remind myself when it comes to my daughter: When she was around 14 she saw a counselor about anxiety. The counselor asked to talk to me. I assumed she was going to fill me in on how my daughter was upset about the war, and her father being deployed yada yada yada... Turns out my daughter was actually freaking out because she was worried about me! Ha! And I thought I was holding it together so well!
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:38 AM
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Yeah, I don't particularly care for the cutesy phrase "fake it till you make it," because it implies that you're being "fake" or "false"--the reality is that you don't need to FEEL everything before you DO it. You don't have to pretend that you believe in it or that you feel great about it (that would be "faking")--if you DO it, though--however you feel about it--something happens that makes it satisfying.

My experience, anyway.
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Old 08-09-2016, 11:05 AM
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I don't have kids. In the last year after a series of complicated life changes that don't contribute to the "storyline," I current share my home with a woman my age and her son who is 18.

My relationship with him has pushed buttons I did not even know I had. He is a pretty good young man but I kept getting pulled into a codependent dance with him around a variety of topics. I kept excepting to "niceing," him into chores, schoolwork etc.

In the last couple of weeks something shifted for me (it took long enough). That is old stuff for me.

As long as I am making and keeping it about me I can't be wrong in my interactions with him. For me self care was part of it. For me in this relationship it ranged from little things (like using the washer/dryer to big things like what type of energy I choose to spend my time on). If I put myself and my needs first and am careful to say what I mean, mean what I say and not say it mean I can't be "wrong," for either of us. Showing him an adult being genuine and true is not only a gift to me, but a gift to him.

Finally last week I told my beloved therapist....."Who would have guessed a relationship with an 18 year old was just what I needed to work through that next layer of recovery."

To me it sounds like you are in the "messy" middle of recovery. Old behaviors not working, but new behaviors not in place. It is always right to be compassionate with ourselves around this.
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