[Vent] So, You've Been Told You've Changed

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[Vent] So, You've Been Told You've Changed

Post by Guest on Fri Apr 24, 2015 10:25 am

So, not to get into the entire story here (because it's not very happy, nor is it short), the last six years for my entire family has been absolutely dreadful. I'll try and summarise.

In short, all my grandparents have died and I never got to meet any of them. My grandfather on my father's side, in particular, held me up as his favourite grandson and I never got to meet him and find out why. Instead, I got woken on my 22nd birthday to be told he had a heart attack and a week later he passed.

Before this, my best friend's family fell apart and his proceeding relationship (borne, it seems, out of emotional need) almost destroyed him. My own naïveté and reluctance to interfere with what was going on led me to try and ignore the fact instead of help my friend.

My Japanese teacher was diagnosed with cancer for our last year of school and kept teaching us throughout her treatment, even if it required over-the-phone classes. She made it just long enough to hear our end of year results before the cancer took her.

And now, my mum is in constant pain and we have no idea what the hell is causing it. Not to mention that, during this, my dad's oldest brother also very suddenly died from a disturbingly sudden heart attack.

So, it hasn't been a good run for a while. It may put into context some of the issues I outlined in the last rant.

Anyway, a few days ago I was talking with my mum about something, I forget what now, and we got onto how the last few years have sucked. As we're talking, she mentioned that I've been in what she called 'caretaker' mode since the grandfather I specified above died. She followed up by saying that she thinks that his death scared me into it, so to speak. It took me so aback I sort of just agreed and moved on because I couldn't even add anything to it at the time.

But it has left me thinking. 'Caretaker' mode refers to worrying about her and everyone around me constantly. I believe there's an implication of not worrying about myself enough at the same time. It seems to fit a lot of the stress I've been feeling and the aforementioned emotional coldness and inability to express emotions I know I should be feeling without the process being manufactured forcibly.

Of all people, my mum would be the most likely to notice that what has happened has affected me in some way. She's been the biggest target of my 'caretaker' tendencies as she has suffered the most over the last few years.

On the one hand, it's actually comforting to know someone has noted my changes. I never really thought about it much outside of the last few months. However, it also does worry me that I can't just stop. I know I'm stressed and worrying and a bit of a mental wreck. But that only helps me so much. I can't just snap my fingers and stop worrying. I've been conditioned to expect the worst and it's not without valid reason. That's all sorts of terrifying.

I suppose, to tie this thinly to relationships and such, it's no wonder that despite gaining an interest in being part of one, I don't have much faith in myself when it comes to them.

Rationally, I know it's simply been a terrible run of luck and circumstance. But that terrible run has affected me regardless. It's bad enough to essentially be told you've changed in a way that has pretty poor implications, but knowing that you can't just go "oh, that's no good" and stop is horrible.

Ugh, I'm just tired of all this.

On another note...:
Feeling guilty about being attracted to women and specific traits of women again. That feels just great!

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Re: [Vent] So, You've Been Told You've Changed

Post by kleenestar on Fri Apr 24, 2015 3:13 pm

I'm sorry. That's really hard. I'm listening.

(I have thoughts, but I don't want to offer them unless they're welcome. It's not advice, just another perspective.)
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Re: [Vent] So, You've Been Told You've Changed

Post by Guest on Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:35 am

They're welcome. Honestly, any way to look at my situation differently would be pretty nice right now.

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Re: [Vent] So, You've Been Told You've Changed

Post by reboot on Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:47 am

You need to consider contacting someone about stress management. I know full bore therapy is not on your plate now, but trust me this stuff boils and explodes badly. If you want to be there for your family, you need to make sure you do not crack
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Re: [Vent] So, You've Been Told You've Changed

Post by Guest on Sat Apr 25, 2015 2:29 am

Yeah, my sister seems rather adamant about that too. She wants me to work out going to therapy, actually. Which is good, I want to too, but I can't fit it in with work, home stuff and more right now. Well, without telling the folks. Telling them is fine but telling them while all this is going on? Really don't want to do that.

But, it has to be done somehow. The last few days have been pretty good though. Three days off work for a breather. I'm owed more time off too, so I intend to take it.

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Re: [Vent] So, You've Been Told You've Changed

Post by Caffeinated on Sat Apr 25, 2015 9:45 am

MapWater wrote:Yeah, my sister seems rather adamant about that too. She wants me to work out going to therapy, actually. Which is good, I want to too, but I can't fit it in with work, home stuff and more right now. Well, without telling the folks. Telling them is fine but telling them while all this is going on? Really don't want to do that.

But, it has to be done somehow. The last few days have been pretty good though. Three days off work for a breather. I'm owed more time off too, so I intend to take it.

Why without telling the folks? If your Mom has noticed a change in you, it might be a relief to them if they knew you were getting help with managing everything that's happened and is happening. Unless your folks are super anti-therapy. But otherwise... I mean, the fact that she said something might mean she's been worried about you, and knowing you were doing some self-care could ease that parental worry.
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Re: [Vent] So, You've Been Told You've Changed

Post by reboot on Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:59 am

Caffeinated wrote:
MapWater wrote:Yeah, my sister seems rather adamant about that too. She wants me to work out going to therapy, actually. Which is good, I want to too, but I can't fit it in with work, home stuff and more right now. Well, without telling the folks. Telling them is fine but telling them while all this is going on? Really don't want to do that.

But, it has to be done somehow. The last few days have been pretty good though. Three days off work for a breather. I'm owed more time off too, so I intend to take it.

Why without telling the folks? If your Mom has noticed a change in you, it might be a relief to them if they knew you were getting help with managing everything that's happened and is happening. Unless your folks are super anti-therapy. But otherwise... I mean, the fact that she said something might mean she's been worried about you, and knowing you were doing some self-care could ease that parental worry.

Oh physics, I missed it on first read, but her comments are totally in the oblique "mom worried about adult child" vein. She might have said something because she is worried that the caretaker role and the unbelievable amount of shit you have been dealing with are hurting you.
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Re: [Vent] So, You've Been Told You've Changed

Post by Enail on Sat Apr 25, 2015 12:03 pm

I agree, it sounds like your family is worried that all the support you're giving them is hurting you, and they will feel better to know that you're looking after yourself by seeing a therapist. Taking some time off work sounds like a great idea, too. You deserve a break!
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Re: [Vent] So, You've Been Told You've Changed

Post by Conreezy on Sat Apr 25, 2015 5:07 pm

Why do you feel guilty about being attracted to women?

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Re: [Vent] So, You've Been Told You've Changed

Post by kleenestar on Sat Apr 25, 2015 11:44 pm

So, here is my perspective. It sounds like you are worried that you can't just change what you are feeling and how you have responded to this tough time. To that I would say, I don't find it one bit surprising - and in fact I'd be a lot more worried about you if you (claimed) were just able to switch it off.

It took you time, plus a whole lot of external pressure, to move into "caretaker" mode, to start worrying so much, to shut off the parts of yourself you can't currently deal with. It is normal for it to take time - possibly quite a bit of time - to change it. Plus, as you say, you still have a lot of valid reasons to worry!

The most important thing I've learned in my own struggles with anxiety is that fighting it head-on will often make it worse. So if you are like "Oh, hey, I am worrying - I must now stop worrying" you will actually only end up worrying more. So I want to reassure you that what you are feeling is okay, and normal, and appropriate for what you have been going through. At the same time, that doesn't mean you have to just give up and resign yourself to feeling this way. Beyond seeing a therapist - which I think is an excellent idea - one first step you can take is to try retraining your mind using your body. So when you notice yourself feeling fearful and hypervigilant, you can do deep breathing exercises or stretches. This will actually start to slowly train you to disassociate the scary thoughts from the vigilance response - and it doesn't require you to argue with your thoughts head-on.

I would definitely encourage you to see a therapist, and to tell your family about it; if you're concerned about adding to their stress, I would suggest framing it as you pro-actively managing your emotional state so you can be a better support to the rest of the family.

I hope this is helpful and I'm thinking of you.
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Re: [Vent] So, You've Been Told You've Changed

Post by Guest on Sun Apr 26, 2015 9:10 am

reboot wrote:
Caffeinated wrote:Why without telling the folks? If your Mom has noticed a change in you, it might be a relief to them if they knew you were getting help with managing everything that's happened and is happening. Unless your folks are super anti-therapy. But otherwise... I mean, the fact that she said something might mean she's been worried about you, and knowing you were doing some self-care could ease that parental worry.

Oh physics, I missed it on first read, but her comments are totally in the oblique "mom worried about adult child" vein. She might have said something because she is worried that the caretaker role and the unbelievable amount of shit you have been dealing with are hurting you.

Enail wrote:I agree, it sounds like your family is worried that all the support you're giving them is hurting you, and they will feel better to know that you're looking after yourself by seeing a therapist. Taking some time off work sounds like a great idea, too. You deserve a break!

Well, I didn't really think about it that way. My mum has a tendency to feel very guilty about things outside her control. Currently, the fact that her ill health is inconveniencing the family and, hell, the hospital is making her feel horrible. We joke that that is where I got it. Laughing

It's not so much anti-therapy - I can just see them pinning my issues on bad diet first. I mean, they can't exactly stop me from going and the first ten appointments are almost 100% subsidised here (if I remember my sister correctly anyway). I more want confidence they have my back, nor do I want to not tell them and make it look like I was hiding it (there's nothing wrong with that if it's necessary, of course but I want them to know - I'm bad at hiding stuff like that anyway).

Conreezy wrote:Why do you feel guilty about being attracted to women?

A whole bunch of stupid things for earlier in life. It's worth noting that this is an area I've improved leaps and bounds in by myself. I just have relapses from time to time, usually when I'm stressed about other things that give me a bit of a 'not this shit again' feeling.

As much as sometimes I'd rather just not feel attraction, I'll be kind to myself here and now and say that I have been doing well in sorting out this hang up of mine. Just need more work and not to be hard on myself when I get into a funk or feel guilty.

kleenestar wrote:So, here is my perspective. It sounds like you are worried that you can't just change what you are feeling and how you have responded to this tough time. To that I would say, I don't find it one bit surprising - and in fact I'd be a lot more worried about you if you (claimed) were just able to switch it off.

That's a big part of it, yeah. Control freak tendencies + uncontrollable changes = anxiety levels RISING.

kleenestar wrote:It took you time, plus a whole lot of external pressure, to move into "caretaker" mode, to start worrying so much, to shut off the parts of yourself you can't currently deal with. It is normal for it to take time - possibly quite a bit of time - to change it. Plus, as you say, you still have a lot of valid reasons to worry!

The most important thing I've learned in my own struggles with anxiety is that fighting it head-on will often make it worse. So if you are like "Oh, hey, I am worrying - I must now stop worrying" you will actually only end up worrying more. So I want to reassure you that what you are feeling is okay, and normal, and appropriate for what you have been going through. At the same time, that doesn't mean you have to just give up and resign yourself to feeling this way. Beyond seeing a therapist - which I think is an excellent idea - one first step you can take is to try retraining your mind using your body. So when you notice yourself feeling fearful and hypervigilant, you can do deep breathing exercises or stretches. This will actually start to slowly train you to disassociate the scary thoughts from the vigilance response - and it doesn't require you to argue with your thoughts head-on.

I would definitely encourage you to see a therapist, and to tell your family about it; if you're concerned about adding to their stress, I would suggest framing it as you pro-actively managing your emotional state so you can be a better support to the rest of the family.

I hope this is helpful and I'm thinking of you.

Oh man, head on fighting it is my go to and it never really does work... More votes for therapy is good. And if what I'm feeling is normal (another vote for that) then it certainly takes away some of the sting of feeling this way.

As for taking the edge off hypervigilance, I'll make myself a note or recurring reminder to try deep breathing (or stretching / exercise if I can get away with it).

Thank you all for the kind words and advice. I'll give it some thought on how to present my going to therapy and hopefully report back here having told them.

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Re: [Vent] So, You've Been Told You've Changed

Post by Caffeinated on Sun Apr 26, 2015 1:20 pm

MapWater wrote:
kleenestar wrote:Beyond seeing a therapist - which I think is an excellent idea - one first step you can take is to try retraining your mind using your body. So when you notice yourself feeling fearful and hypervigilant, you can do deep breathing exercises or stretches. This will actually start to slowly train you to disassociate the scary thoughts from the vigilance response - and it doesn't require you to argue with your thoughts head-on.

As for taking the edge off hypervigilance, I'll make myself a note or recurring reminder to try deep breathing (or stretching / exercise if I can get away with it).

In addition to the deep breathing or stretches/exercises, I might suggest keeping a handful of hard candy in your pocket, and when you feel that spike of anxiety, eat some candy. That was a technique I used when I quit smoking (with the difference that my spike of feeling was the desire for a cigarette), and it was helpful for me in breaking some of the associations I had developed and letting me form new ones.
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