The difficulty of anxiety in a relationship

There are a lot of bumps in the road in relationships. Even more so if you have anxiety, depression or any other type of mental illness. Letting someone in to see that part of you can be difficult. And once they do see it, if they accept you….then you feel like you can open up to everyone….which can be a bad idea in some cases that I have just learned.

My husband is great. He is understanding. I became comfortable with my mental illness, in the sense of being open about it and talking about it. Talking about my mental illness in the sense of why I do the things I do. Which can lead to a lot of heartache as I recently found out. I am the type of person who if I know you’re going on a trip, I will want to send you food or snacks to tied you along the way. However, that isn’t always perceived in the light that I want it to and comes across as being stressed or overbearing. And In that moment, those words cut through me like a newly forged blade, hot and sharp. However, my first thought was…how will this affect my husband.

And that is the thing with having anxiety in a relationship. Your fears grow more than just about yourself. Or at least mine has. My anxiety has way surpassed just myself…they’ve grown around my kids, my husband, my mother, my brothers, my friends. Everyone that I care about. That I hold dear to myself. So I am constantly worrying about what I do and how it will affect them. For instance, when I am around my husbands wrestling group. I worry that my anxious ticks, my nervous habits will cause them to look upon my husband in a different light, a wrong one. These thoughts keep me up and worried way past the interaction.

Another issue that I have come to learn about is the fact that it may appear that the ones you love act different around you because they are being protective of your illness. And that, in turn, can cause more damage than good. Because you think that maybe the self that you see with others is their true self and that the one that they are with you is only to protect you. No matter how long you’ve been together. You feel like they’ve never been their true self with you because they’re afraid of how it will affect you.

With all of that together, you worry that it isn’t everyone else. That it is you. That the way they all react or act around you is your fault. That maybe they would have a better relationship or personality if they weren’t burdened by you and the constant worry of your own mental illness. That maybe you should have been better at hiding your illness so that no one knew. That there is something wrong with you.

And that is the issue with today’s world. That we are so ashamed of our own mental problems. That we should hide away our problems from the world to see. That is the stigma and that is why talking about mental illness is so important so that we can break that stigma. However, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get help or open up about what is wrong. I’ve tried the medication’s the doctors have prescribed and they always seem to have some sort of ill effect. Therefore, I am trying something different. St. John’s Wart. I have been told it is a natural way to help with anxiety issues and mood balancing. So here’s hoping it works.

Consumes your mind

There is a saying….what consumes your mind, controls your life.

While there are sayings that can have many differentmeanings… I think that this one is pretty straight forward. If you think about something to the point that it consumes your mind, it will control your life.

It can be quite difficult to fight against this. For instance, with my anxiety…. It controls my mind and my life. It is a daily struggle to not allow anxiety or my anxiety to control my day to day life. Some days I win and some days I don’t.

Some days, fighting my anxiety is all that I can think about. I worry that something is going to happen. Something is gonna trigger a panic attack. There are some nights that my anxiety is so bad, I cry myself to sleep way after the husband and kids have gone to bed.
It is awful.

Then there are some days where I don’t think about my anxiety for even a second.

My hope is that one day… I won’t have to fight every day to keep my anxiety from consuming my mind…from consuming my life. If you have ever had a mental illness, then you how much it can consume your thoughts and your mind.

The key for this woud be to work at this every single day. To find the things that distract you from your inner mess.

I am sorry for the short half sighted post…. I am kind of distracted my MIL had a surgery on her wrist today and I was her ride. Therefore, I haven’t had much sleep and my attention span is very slim

Not okay

You do not have to accept things that you are not okay with. And I know that can be a struggle. Especially when you have a mental illness. for instance, I try to HELP everyone. I try to fix everything. I just do. I also try to feed everyone. For instance, my husbands ended up with two turkeys from his job. Of course we used one for Thanksgiving and I was going to give the second one to a friend who was going to do a community Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, some things came up and my friend couldn’t host the party. Therefore, we had an additional turkey.

So I decided that we couldn’t just leave that turkey in the freezer forever… So I decided, the weather is getting colder… Why not feed my husbands training class some turkey chili. It was pretty banging and the class loved it.

I have fed them numerous times. Because cooking helps me calm down when I am feeling anxious. Because cooking is something I have control over. I can control how something is cooked. I can control the chicken. I can control whether its baked, grilled, fried or boiled. I cannot always control my anxiety, although I am working on that.. But I can control what I cook.

Sometimes I feel like I am a push over and that a lot of people know this and use it to their advantage. Like my oldest brother. For instance, he uses manipulation to make me feel bad for him. As a way to guilt me into doing things for him. Enabling him. Only recently have I built up a back bone and learned that I do not have to accept things that I am not okay with. I am not okay with giving my brother money since I know he doesn’t use it for what he says he needs it for. He usually uses it to buy beer. Because he is an alcoholic. He says he is not but that is just denial. He is pretty much an ass when he is drunk and he knows I cannot stand him drinking or doing drugs and have kept him away from my kids when he is under the influence. Hell everytime he calls me or needs me… I go alone. My kids don’t need to be around it.

It is okay to say no. Honestly, as someone with a mental illness. I need to learn to say no more often. It is okay to not accept things that you’re not okay with. IF it makes you feel some type of way… say no. You do not have to do it. You can say no. If it makes you uncomfortable.. you don’t have to do it.

There is no rule saying that you absolutely have to accet thngs that you are not okay with. For instance, I am not okay with my FIL showing favortism to my oldest daughter and completely ignoring my youngest. He has cancelled quite a few times if my oldest wasn’t home. like coming to see the youngest alone was just too hard. But going to the school to eat lunch with the oldest was easy. Taking the oldest out to eat or to the park or to play at his house was easy. But spending any time with the youngest isn’t something that he can do. And I was not okay with that. And I let it be known that I was not okay with that. It has been almost a year since he has seen the kids. It all could have been resolved if he would have said hey I am sorry, I didn’t realize it was an issue. How can I fix it? But nope. That is not how things go. Nope. A grown man has to play the blame game. Has to blame the kids. Has to bash me to anyone and everyone that listens. Then I find out that he left his first wife not just once but twice. And the first time was when my husband was a kid. He left for someone a lot younger than him. Someone so young, that I am not okay with him being alone with my girls ever again. I am not okay with it and I don’t have to accept it.

I understand a lot of people think ‘hey he’s your husband’s father you can’t just shut him out’. Actually I can. Because my husband doesn’t want to be around his dad or his dad’s wife. They had a pretty awful relationship and I butted in and pushed for them to have some type of relationship. But since this has affect our kids…my husband is not accepting it. He’s not okay with it either and has put his foot down. My FIL actually ran into me at the store and put all the blame on my like I am some type of monster that I made his son do this and a lot of other things. I was not okay with it and I put my foot down.

You don’t have to accept things if you are not okay with it. Even if it is family. Just because it is family does not make things that make you uncomfortable okay. It isn’t. You don’t have to settle or be bullied into anything. Stand up for yourself.. You are worth it.

Nothing to be ashamed

When Chester died, I wrote a lot about the stigmatism surrounding mental illness. How it is very scary to openly talk about having a mental illness. That talking about it is like having the plague.

Seriously, I am still scared to openly talk about my illness because so many people have made it a joke. I have seen a lot of people who experience nervousness over something claim that they have an anxiety disorder However, after whatever makes them nervous, they no longer have a mental illness.

It is like having an anxiety disorder is something to joke about. It makes those of us who really have it afraid to come out with what is really going on.

There is also this type of stigmatism that if you have a mental illness you should be ashamed.. that you’re seeking attention or playing the victim.

We live in a world where it is so hard to have a mental disorder. I have anxiety disorder, panic attacks and mild depression. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am living with this and I am living with it my way. Why should I feel ashamed about it??? Seriously? Why should any of us feel ashamed about what is going on iside of our head. When you have a heart issue, your heart is sick. No one makes you feel ashamed of that. The brain is an organ. It can be sick like any other organ in your body.

Don’t be ashamed of it. Own it. You have a mental illness. And that is okay. If you’re on medication… THAT IS OKAY. Seriously. taking medication for your mental illness is brave. Because you had the courage to seek help. To get help. There are so many who have not been able to drum up the courage to ask for help.
When Chester died, many of those who knew him, came to the forefront to speak out for mental illness. To break the stigmatim. I think that the more that we talk about it, the more it will be accepted as normal. That it is nothing to be ashamed about. Because it’s not.

Open up. Tell me your story. Tell me what makes you overthink. Tell me what your anxious about. Because I am here. I will always be here. As a listening friend. As someone who shares your story. Who understands what it is like to have a mental illness. Who knows what it is like to be made ashamed of my illness. To know what it is like. So tell me your story.

Bad week

Have you ever felt like it just wasn’t your week. Like this was just a bad day. A bad moment. We’ve all had those. Things sometimes just don’t go our way. Somethings are just out of our cotrol. And it makes it even harder if you suffer from anxiety or any other mental illness. It gets to you on a mental level that can be hard to describe to those who don’t understand what that is.

However, I don’t know who needs to hear this…. A bad moment, a bad day, a bad week…doesn’t make you a bad parent.

Your kid loves you no matter what. So you burnt the toast this morning… It is okay. It will be okay. Grab that TV dinner, throw it in the microwave and give yourself a few minutes to regroup. That is the great thing about TV dinners, I know they’re all the rage of being unhealthy, but they give you 2-5 minutes of a break. A mental break at that can be essential.

You’ve had a bad day…. It happens to the best of us. Sometimes the moon isn’t aligned with your sign (or whatever that saying is) and everything just seems against you. That is okay. you’re still a good parent. Once you’ve gotten them off to bed, school lunch packed, house picked up…. run yourself a nice hot bubble bath, pour you some wine and relax. There is always tomorrow. You will be better tomorrow.

You’ve had a bad week…. That happens. Bill pile up. Things happen. School can make the kids go a little extra crazy. That is okay too. Take a Sunday off. Stay in your jammies. Or do one of our family’s favorite down time activities. We get a bunch of pillows and blankets and put them on the living room floor. We pop some popcorn and grab other snacks and drinks and then make it real dark…. It’s time for a movie.

Just because something bad has happened doesn’t automatically make you a bad parent. Life happens and a lot of the time we don’t have control over what is going to happen. We don’t have any control over what the next person is going to do. You only have control over yourself and how you react to the situation. Instead of reacting negatively with the thought that you’re being a bad parent….take a second to remember, that kid adores you. You are their world. Readjust. Refocus. Pick up and move on.

I understand it can be an extremely difficult thing to do. I honestly have the most trouble with this myself. I am always having to remind myself its nothing to fuss about. Stop fussing. Because that voice tells me all the time that fussing makes me a bad parent. I have to remember that I need to readjust. Refocus and talk to my kids instead of yelling or fussing at them. But that doesn’t make me a bad parent. It makes me a loud parent. But even my talking voice is loud so. It is a learning experience. We all are learning and growing as parents Every. Single. Day. So just remember to relax. Take a breath and know that there is always tomorrow.

Their inner voice

The way that we talk to our kids becomes their inner voice. This is true for all kids. They don’t have to be your kids per say. They could be your younger sibling, your cousin or a kid that you’re babysitting. And that voice stays with them into their adult life. It essentially defines who they are going to be. Or how they are going to hold themselves.

I know this is true. I live it. Every single day. And it is a struggle to get that voice out of my head. Especially in regards to my appearance…more so my weight.

You see, I grew up poor. We didn’t have a lot of food a lot of the time. Now its called food insecurity. So my favorite snack ould be a slice of bread because bread can be cheap and we usually had a loaf lying around the kitchen. However, anytime that my oldest brother saw me eating a slice of bread….he would say ‘you’re going to get fat’. Every Single Time.

That voice became my life. I am fat. But that isn’t from lack of trying to lose weight. I got to the gym. I eat semi healthy. I am active. As much as I can be since that one car accident has left lasting effects on my body. However, instead of looking at my curves thinking ‘hey I am thick’ or ‘Hey I have a nice shape’ I look in the mirror and think I am fat.

This stems from my father always calling my oldest brother an idiot That became his inner voice. So he learning that lashing out like this was okay from his father, he decided that (even without meaning to) it would be okay to pass this behavior down to his younger siblings. Now my other brother never got along with our brother, so he never endured this ‘voice’. However, I am the mediator between the two of them so I have a relationship with both. And because I love both of my brothers….. I have this voice inside my head that says I am fat. Even after the birth of my first daughter, I dropped downto a size 7….the smallest I have ever been in my adult life. I still looked into the mirror and thought that I was fat.

I have two daughters of my own as well as two nephews who I see Monday thru Friday like clockwork. I don’t want my insecurities….my inner voice to become theirs. That is why I try so hard to pass on positive things to them. Positive messages. My oldest nephew loves to draw. Every single time he shows me a drawing, even if it isn’t perfect, I tell him that it is awesome. That he is doing a good job. That he should keep it up. I cannot draw. I have told him that on numerous occasions. However, the fact that he can look at a movie character and then draw it out, even if it is not perfect, it pretty impressive to me and I feel that it is only right that he hear positive feedback. I understand that yes, criticism is an effective way to get better. However, we don’t need to be negatively criticising others. For instance, I could say ‘hey bud, his arm is looking a little weird, have you tried drawing it this way’. A comment that wouldn’t harmfully affect his mental state. However, saying things like ‘you can’t draw’ or ‘you should give that up already’ can have a negative effect.

I know this all too well too because I hear that voice all the time. I am a nit picker. A perfectionist. And when I cannot get something perfect, I think I am no good at anything. It is a spiriling cirlce. I know that there are so many people on Facebook and Twitter who are saying that we are rasing a bunch of sissy’s because we’re not telling them like it is. Instead we’re ‘handling them like glass’. Yes, I agree. To a certain extent. This upcoming generation is taking everything way too seriously. They are getting offended by almost everything. Like I read that they’re trying to get Baby Its cold outside taken off the radio station because it goes against the Me Too movement. However, If you pay attention to the lyrics and the time period that it was written, you will see that he’s not trying to take advantage of her. Instead, shes trying to stay. She wants to stay but the social norm of the time period says that she cannot. Because they are not married. So she’s basically saying hey I cannot drink and drive I would like to stay with you.

I’m sorry, I went off on a tangent. It is a difficult task not to say what you think. Especially if you think it is what your kid needs to hear. The early stages up until their teenage years are very critical. The way we talk and treat them are going to be reflected in their own minds. They will then reflect this behaviour out onto the world.

Say no

 

I think that when you suffer from a mental illness, you know how bad things can get. Therefore, you try even harder to make sure no one else gets that way. Or at least that is the case for me. I know how bad mental illness can get so I suffer from a ‘superhero complex’ and try to help EVERYONE. All the time. My husband says that I am always too nice. that I do things for others without being asked. Like making food for his training class. 4 weeks in a row. without being asked.
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but sometimes…. people see that kindness in you….and they exploit it. they take advantage and use the best way that they know how to exploit your sympathetic bones. Sob stories. Guilt trips. You name it….there are some people who see that you are a helpful person and they will constantly use you until you are bone dry. I actually knew some people, they were my husbands friends not mine…at all….who get everything from cars, food, clothes etc from begging others. They drain you dry. I remember them calling my husband the day he got paid or the weekend after he got paid asking for 200 bucks to pay their light bill…because they cannot keep a job….well the husband can’t keep a job, the wife refuses to work.

They dried everyone up around them……
There are so many people out there like that…. and they will leech off of you until you are down to absolutely nothing….

And it is okay to say no.
Like you do not have to give everything you have to someone who won’t even help themselves. How can you truly help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves? You can’t. Honestly… you can’t…until they are ready to help themselves…..they will constantly be leeching off of you until you’re worse than they are…..

So….if you’re anything like me…you’ll need to learn how to say no without explaining yourself….. you don’t have to explain to anyone why you are saying no to anyone. I think the only people that I explain my actions to are my husband, my kids (I explain why we say no) and my mom.

But if there is someone in your life that has leeched off of you….. or constantly bugging you to do something with or for them… you can say no….without explaning yourself…