Stress anxiety syndrome

DebMarPir
Member

I think of this as related to middle-aged challenges that I have faced: the death of my father, a decade of caregiving for my mother, weight gain, new issues like a fibro diagnosis and the feeling that life has passed me by. It began with a midlife crisis and trying to create new goals but then bridges collapsed! I want people to know that using a psychiatrist/psychologist counselor and/or meds as I do ate not shameful. We do what we need to for survival. I would love to hear how we can battle the depression by believing the positive things we try to tell ourselves, not doubting. Thank you!

14 REPLIES 14

Vanessa
Community Manager
Community Manager

Thank you so much for sharing this @DebMarPir. You are truly inspiring and I agree that seeking help (in any fashion) is nothing to be ashamed about. Reaching out for help is probably the hardest part! Something that helps me when I'm feeling low is talking to myself how I would talk to my friends. I always uplift them and reassure that everything will be alright - so why don't I talk to myself with the same kindness? Positive self talk is more powerful than we think! 

That's what my counselor says. I have the hardest time saying nice things about myself! "I am overweight, I am this, I am that." Not, "I am caring, I am loving, I work hard, etc." Why is it we focus on the negative?

@DebMarPir    I have two books that i have recently read that really helped me.  Maybe you will like them.  "Don't give the enemy at seat at your table" by Louie Giglio  and "Ever changing perspectives" by Gareth Micheal.   Wishing you a lovely and peaceful weekend.

 

Thank you! I already sent myself a sample of the second one to start. Looking on Amazon it seems very calming, so if continues good, I will purchase and dive in. I really appreciate you taking the time. 🙂

SamMax
Member

@DebMarPir - I would gather a list of positive uplifting books then buy them, check them out from the library, borrow from friends.  Even ask friends and neighbors for some suggested books.  Then spend time each day reading just 10 pages.  Do this for 90 days and see what happens.  I have been doing this since January and really enjoy it.  

Thanks @SamMax. I have been buying those journals that ask  you questions - like "100 Happy Lists" sort of books - for awhile. When I have time, I sit down and do a couple pages. I don't know why, but I do like them, they sort of help relieve my stress. Not sure if that's what you meant, but they work for me, and I need to make more time also for creative projects, like little paper mache painting projects or whatever, those help a lot, too.

 

That's a good idea. I actually try to do a little journaling, using the magazine "Bella Grace" or little journals that have appropriate question prompts. I do like them, although I am not the best always about doing them every day. I'm trying to do them more as they do help. This is because for a long time I couldn't read a book, it gave me too much anxiety (I felt like I should be doing something and was "wasting" time.) Now I am reading again and even if I often just start a book and then doing get around to finishing, it is still progress. Thank you!

Dani_P
Community Manager
Community Manager

Thank you so much for this vulnerable and powerful share. Something that has helped me during times when my mental health feels low and challenging, is committing to writing down 3 things I'm grateful for every single morning when I wake up (especially before I touch my phone). It helps ground my mind in something positive and helps access my mental resilience more easily when things get challenging throughout the day. Excited to hear what others share!

Valerie_C
Guide
Guide
Thanks for sharing your story. We are here to hold space and be a community of support. What I know and have learned about the brain is that self doubt is completely normal and it is difficult to 100% believe is positive affirmations on a constant basis. I’d like to offer up the practice of micro-steps to create cognitive shifts (changing your thoughts leads to a change in emotions and behaviors). 1) I have faced many challenges that make me feel sad. 2) I have faced many challenges that make me feel sad, and it’s ok. 3) There are moments in my day when I think it would be possible for me to be less sad. 4) I am learning through working with my mental health team on tools and strategies to neutralize the sadness. 5) I believe that maybe one day I can feel more positive about the past challenges as I practice the tools and strategies that I am learning. 6) There are times when I don’t feel as sad because I my brain is much more resilient to things that have triggered my sadness in the past. 7) Most days of the week I am able to focus my energy and attention on practices that support keeping my mind calm and at ease. 😎 I am at peace. It is helpful to personalize these steps as it is more meaningful. Stay on one step until you fully believe it before going to the next one. Jumping from step one to step 8 makes can lead to a lot of self doubt as your brain does better with smaller shifts and needs some convincing that change is truly possible with the intermediary steps.

Hi @Valerie_C, thanks for the response to this, which I had posted awhile ago. It was welcome, because I have an ongoing struggle with the stress/anxiety. My psychologist/counselor has said it will continue as long as my dear mother is alive, get worse when she passes, then go away. (It began when my parent became ill and Dad died, as I was trying to care for them both. Then increased with grief and caregiving for her a decade.) I hadn't really thought of the nonjudgemental aspects you mention. This is because I feel sad not infrequently and am on meds for depression and anxiety, right? My pressure has decreased a little since Mom went into a nearby home, but I am still calling daily, putting out some fires, visiting weekly and such. Is one ever at peace? I hope one day to be. As a Catholic, my faith is very important; I know what I am doing and why I am doing it; out of love. And I hope that while this is a cross at times, I know God brings good out of that - my Mom is happy and knows she is not neglected - and accepts that I have limits now. That is the most peace I can hope for perhaps. But we are all works in progress, and the key is...NEVER give up! 🙂 Bless you for telling me it's ok to be sad, though. This year is the 10th anniversary of my dear Dad's death and I still miss him a lot, it's triggered some feelings again. But I am my parents' daughter and I keep marching, and that is good.

 

Hi @DebMarPir.  Your story resonates very closely with my own.  I am not sure where you are in life, but I am 60 and the daughter of Danish parents who immigrated, so we have no family around to help.  My mother has been in a nursing home for 10 years, and I have been helping my father look after her for years before that, and helping my Dad as well.  Sadness lives in my life as well although I try to keep it in perspective.  Not an easy thing to do all the time though.  I am glad to hear that your faith is important to you as I find prayer is my meditation.  Spending time in the garden, and finishing one of my Mom’s needlepoint projects provide me with solace, downtime and wonderful memories of my parents.  Reading is also very calming for me.  I also see a therapist when I am having trouble dealing with all the emotions that spring up and anxiety can be an issue.  I do believe that these emotions are part of our journey and should not be suppressed.  One must take time to  grieve as well as take time to feel joy.  When I am out of balance with this perspective I reach out for help.  Bless you for being there for your parents.  Our culture does not seem to place as much value on our elderly as they deserve.  You are honouring your parents by helping them and the life and love they gave you.  All the best to you in your journey. 

Hi @vivijg! We resonate because our stories are similar, I suspect! I turn 55 in about 6 weeks. My Dad was the second generation born here so while all American, I grew up hearing my grandparents/great-grandparents speak Slovak on my Dad's side. (My Mom's Mom was also half Swedish.) I find there are different life phases - do you? There was the phase where both parents were very ill and couldn't care for one another.  And I handled it. Then my Dad passed away after six months. Then my Mom was very ill but overcame it. I had to adjust, eventually give up my job, move "home." Now after ten years, I couldn't get help with the pandemic when our aides quit despite insurance to pay for the help, so Mom and I agreed on a home short-term and it became permanent when she liked it. I, like you with your situation, look after her still. I try to call every day and visit weekly, she is about a 45-minute drive on back roads. But she is great and puts no pressure on me and I have aides that go sit with her, as she cannot see or walk. I want her to have company. As for me, I have had a psychologist counselor since Dad died, to start simply for grief counseling  (and psychiatrist for meds). You are right about suppression. I could not really grieve at first, but my counselor told me if I held it inside, it would still be there in 30 years, it doesn't go away till we can process it. I am alone in caring for my parents because my brothers live further aware and put their wife/kids first. I am unmarried but still would not have put one ahead of the other. I simply couldn't. Maybe that is why daughters do most of the caregiving? 

 

Thank you for your note, which helps give me a little more courage. My Mom is great, no pressure in that if I can't come, it's okay. If I don't feel good and have to rest, it's okay now. If I need to vent, it's okay. I just need to get to the stage where I KNOW it's okay, and feel that. -Oh and I am journaling a bit and trying to read more. It works when I am at peace. And I hope prayer gives me that. 

 

Bless you for reaching out.

BeckyR
Member

I battled Fibro, too, for several painful years. Shockingly, almost all of my pain went away when I got on the right meds for my RA. I also have had depression, but am on a great med for me now which makes me forget I have it. Please, until you are feeling better, do not push yourself to meet new goals. Just concentrate on feeling better, then the goals can follow

Wow Becky, that's good to hear. I have tested negative for RA (though I have a teenage niece who has juvenile RA). I recently upped my meds after I talked to my doctor, because I think our emotions get a real workout over the holidays, and it's helped. What you say about holding off on big new goals makes sense. I would be happier, I think, if I didn't have worry about our financial situation, but I am looking at going back to work - not right away, but in the next 6 months or year. I feel like I have some catching up to do after letting my health kind of go downhill for a decade in that I almost put Mom first.