When I feel anxious I'm haunted by thoughts of how nice death would be - just realising this is a calming strategy gone wrong. Help?

I'm in my 50s. At the moment the main starting point is hormonal changes - so no real anxiety but just states that my mind interprets as fight or flight. I then find that I have intrusive thoughts about death - eg just put the foot down on the accelerator and ... - which are scarey, so feeling anxious again means an endless flood of intrusive thoughts about death. I also find that I'm more prone to over-react to life's little trials and end up feeling that I just can't cope with even the smallest amount of stress.

I've suffered from anxiety and depression for years - since I was about 10 and had problems knowing how to express the fact that I really did not like my teacher at school (nothing sinister just not being able not to bottle up how I felt about an authority figure that I didn't like). I used to get very wound up by exams and used to find the thought of death and everything coming to an end rather comforting but over the years that just seems to have developed into the vicious circle of anxiety and death thoughts that builds up over a couple of weeks in the month. Sometimes, if there is anxiety over things at work it doesn't entirely go away when the period starts.

The hormonal changes (both ways) cause migraines as well and the GP tried putting me on the pill at one point but it didn't seem to help with those. I have found that running regularly helps with the Migraine but had a fall in early December which resulted in a broken ankle and I still haven't got back to the point where I can run regularly - water retention close to the period seeming to be a big factor in not being able to get the range of movement back into the ankle. Running was also another way of dealing with the anxiety.

Feeling quite calm at the moment after spending 2.5 days laid up in bed with a migraine.

I have been treated on and off by GP for anxiety/depression over the years but never really felt listened to - I do get some feelings of low self esteem when I am depressed (because I'm obviously not coping the way 'normal' people do) but wouldn't say I was someone who actually suffers from low self esteem outside these periods.

I've been a vegetarian for 30 years, mainly because I find meat really difficult to digest. When I had the ankle pinned at Christmas they said that my bloods showed low levels of B12 so I have been on shots. When I looked up the symptoms of B12 deficiency I couldn't really relate to most of them - though my bowel movements do tend to vary between very enthusiastic and rather reluctant, I have been finding myself getting very tired over the last year or so and I do suffer from depression. I am hoping that my GP will redo the B12 test once the shots are over just incase that is a factor but at the moment I think I really need some thoughts on how to train myself away from getting so fixated on death when I get anxious.

20 Replies

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  • I too thnk about death a lot, it feels like it is going to happen tomorrow

    I am in my 50s and am still having periods and bad PMT I hate the weight gain our heads control so much of what we do with our lives

    I eat fish but no other meat and when Im run down I find nuts help a lot and spinach

  • not sure if it is the same sort of thinking about death :) For me it's like a longing for it all to be over so I'm not suffering any more, rather than a dread. if you are talking about a dread then on one level that is perfectly natural. It's an unknown and it's quite natural to be scared of the unknown and things we can't control.

    There are a lot of deficiencies that can leave you feeling run down - as well as depression, anxiety etc. Have you been to see your GP. If the weight gain isn't temporary but continuous and you are also feeling susceptible to the cold that could indicate a thyroid problem.

    B12 comes from animal sources (which includes yeast) which is why its a good job I like marmite so if you eat fish (and egg and cheese) in theory that should be okay - think it is very rare for it to be an eating disorder, and since I do eat egg and cheese it may not be a factor for me - but I was in hospital for a week and not really eating much of anything - partly because I spent a lot of time being nil-by-mouth in case I actually was on the list for that day - and partly because I was so down I just didn't want to eat anything so could well have been that.

  • Have been thinking quite a bit about my answer to your post because it could have been read as a bit dismissive and that wasn't my intention when I said that I didn't think it was the same sort of death. You mention death as something that is very close - I think about it a lot but it always feels like something that is far away - uncomfortably so at times - and I guess it's not really death that I am thinking about anyway so much as being dead - I can think of three occasions when death was actually close - one when I nearly drowned when I was 6 and 2 when I was seriously ill with bacterial infections (and both times I didn't realise how close it was until afterwards because I was too sick to be aware). On all three occasions instincts kicked in and it was the fight to survive - the sort of thing Sandra99b mentions in her comments.

    PMT is awful and the fact that it seems to get worse as you get older doesn't help.

  • What an honest and completely interesting blog. I can relate so much to what you say. I too find the thought of death very calming. And I get sudden urges like you to just do it. Then it all seems so final and I am not sure I am ready for that yet. It wasn't until reading your blog that I really understood this and I am quite amazed at this revelation. Thank you so much for posting. It has really helped me.

    I don't have any answers I'm afraid. Lots of hugs love. keep blogging

    Bev xx

  • Yes, a revelation to me too Bev, the calm in the storm if you like. The last resort but not today thanks!

    (((hugs)))

    Lorraine

    xxx

  • Thank you hypercat.

    On one level it is good to know that I'm not the only one, not that I would wish it on anyone.

    I'm experimenting with other possible comforters - and it is interesting to notice the ones that come with a level of anxiety hidden in them - relationships where I'm possibly not as confident as I should be - probably abandonment issues from end of marriage and my father's death - Parents dying isn't part of the deal when the bring you in to the world :) Ironically my relationship with my mother is more troubled and she can be a stressor at times.

    I first picked up on the sadness (more general than the 'big full stop') as an antidote to anxiety when I noticed that I felt much calmer after playing a montiverdi lament on the cello a month ago. Used to listen to a lot of sad songs when I was growing up. Though that could just have been moody teenager moping around in the dark. I have always liked classical pieces in minor keys - but I also like Led Zeppelin and a load of other stuff.

    However, now more aware that if I am going to use sadness as a way of calming down I need to be very careful - and probably need to make sure that there is a happy at the end :) Though I never actually found happy endings very comforting - didn't seem very real. Now that is probably something I could do some work on :)

    Happiness can be very scary as well.

    When the thoughts of death get really bad I usually try keeping the rational side of the brain fully occupied on something else - like sudoku or crossword. Lucky that it is rarely the case that I'm so overwhelmed that I can't manage to get into the puzzle, though it might take a while occasionally.

    Doing something physical is another strategy but that has been a bit more limited over the last few months.

  • films, books, poems and plays are all written /produced with a purpose of stirring something in us - escapism, thrillers, romantic, sad/weepies, comedy.

    They provide a safe place to experience these feelings.

    I think many of the creative minds have started with ideas that began from someone wondering what if...

    I went to see Les Mis with 3 friends and we all took a pile of tissues - we'd gone knowing we'd all have a good cry,

    can you imagine going to the pub and all crying :-O

  • It is funny that you should mention Sudokus because I use my ability to do them as an indicator of my depression level for my psychiatrist. I also like to listen to some of the Pink Flloyd songs too.

  • I listened to a lot of Leonard Cohen when I was young. That is music to commit suicide too! :)

    Bev x

  • hi gambit,

    sometimes when we feel not in control in our lives, thoughts of taking back that control can enter our minds. they can be a comfort "I have a choice"

    these thoughts can be calm rational-type thoughts of "what if?"...

    we don't feel panicked or threatened by them because, deep down, we recognise them as "what-if?" or as a stand-by in case it ever gets too bad, not to be acted on just yet, mainly never acted on because reality over rides it and we realise it's not "us". our mind is playing with ideas.

    It is the mind's way of considering a solution, were emotion plays no part.

    just as it would a man in his garden thinking " if my back gets any more painful..."

    he has a choice.

    instead of thinking

    "I've got 3 more hours of work to finish. I'll keep going and hope to work through it."

    the most comforting thoughts are of taking a nice hot shower and "I can stop this now and shower."

    Both involve taking control of the situation,

    the difference being that we know that one is harmful, the other is one from considering possible outcomes.

    If we have the thought of a final solution to end our lives, it may quickly enter our minds, but, equally as quickly, leave it.

    these thoughts of what if? came as a shock to me,

    I have too strong a need to protect me to want to end my life. [I also have difficult health conditions]

    later I allowed myself to quietly look at these "ifs" practically.

    I realise that

    there are no guarentees for a swift ending

    it might not work and I'd end up with even more problems

    how it would affect other people family, friends, witnesses, emergency teams, etc...

    death isn't easy, pretty, or a solution.

    I also thought of why I'd chosen in that moment not to and realised it was never a possibility, purely a fleeting thought.

    I've also looked at how I could whilst knowing I never would.

    Strangely, the thought that I could has a comfort to it,

    but so has the thought that I could, but wont.

    I hope this makes sense if it's a ramble, it's tiredness.

    sandra.

  • Hope you managed to get some rest.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I think I understand.

    Rather poetic in some ways - often find poetry helps when I'm feeling really as if I just can't communicate and string things together in a way coherently. I think that some of that is because it is easier to accept that people will interpret a poem in different ways so if I don't manage to get what I was hoping across then it isn't anyone's fault - they got what they needed, I hope.

    I find listening to music helpful - have one particular movement of Dvorak's 9th that I listen to if I'm feeling angry because it helps me separate the anger from me and usually breaks a downward spiral of thoughts.

  • I did sleep thanks.

    My relax music is the soundtrack to "Local Hero".

    I like writing poems if I get an idea.

    at the moment I'm finding writing anything hard to do - it sometimes feels like I'm trying to translate from a foreign language into english :)

    sandra.

  • Now you've got me humming Local Hero!

  • :D

  • Premenstual Dysphoric Disorder

    7 Mar 2007

    Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder ( PMDD ) is currently diagnosed when a woman's premenstrual symptoms are so severe that debilitating mood and behavioural changes impair basic daily activities such as work or social relationships, resulting in a form of clinical depression.

    ?

    To be diagnosed, a woman must suffer from at least four of the following 11 symptoms:

    _ markedly depressed mood

    _ marked anxiety or tension

    _ persistent irritability or anger

    _ difficulty in concentrating

    _ decreased interest in usual activities

    _ noticeable lack of energy

    _ marked change in appetite

    _ insomnia or hypersomnia

    _ sense of being overwhelmed or out of control

    _ sudden sadness or depression

    _ physical symptoms such as joint pains, headaches, breast tenderness or "bloating."

    The symptoms must occur a week before a menstrual cycle begins and disappear a few days after the menstrual cycle starts. The symptoms must recur in at least two consecutive menstrual cycles and must also "markedly interfere" with work, basic functioning or social relationships.

    The defining of PMDD is an important breakthrough because it enables women to cateforise their symptoms in terms of a specific set of clinical criteria for the first time. This will enable clinical treatment protocols to be developed and should lead to women with PMS receiving more focused diagnosis and treatment. NAPS will be campaigning to get GPs to encourage women to keep a menstrual chart and to work with women to develop the most appropriate treatment tailored to individual needs.

    Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: A Guide for Patients and Families

    Margaret L. Moline, Ph.D., David A. Kahn, M.D., Ruth W. Ross, M.A., Lee S. Cohen, M.D., and Lori L. Altshuler, M.D.

    Many women experience changes in their bodies or mood before their menstrual flow begins. However, if a woman has moderate or severe symptoms that make it hard for her to function, she may have premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or a more severe condition, premenstrual

    dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

    WHAT ARE PMS AND PMDD?

    Many women experience mild to moderate physical symptoms, such as breast tenderness, pain, or “bloating,” and mild mood changes before their menstrual flow starts. These problems are referred to as PMS.

    PMDD is a more severe premenstrual condition that affects about 5% of women during their reproductive years. Although PMDD, like PMS, may include physical symptoms, it always involves a worsening of mood that interferes significantly with the woman’s quality of life. In the days before her period, a woman with PMDD may experience moodiness or anger that seems out of control to her. These symptoms may cause her to avoid friends or relatives during the week before her period. Most researchers consider PMDD a type of mood disorder. Mood disorders are biological illnesses caused by changes in brain chemistry. PMDD is not the fault of the woman suffering from it or the result of a “weak” or unstable personality. It is not something that is “all in the woman’s head.” Rather, PMDD is a medical illness that can be treated.

    What are the symptoms of PMDD?

    The symptoms of PMDD appear regularly at some time after a woman ovulates in the middle of her monthly cycle. Symptoms generally get worse in the week before her period and then disappear during menstruation. To be diagnosed with PMDD, a woman must have five of the following symptoms* before her menstrual flow begins (although not necessarily the same symptoms each month). The symptoms must occur during most menstrual cycles and must interfere significantly with work, school, social activities, or relationships:

    • Markedly depressed mood or feelings of hopelessness

    • Marked anxiety or tension, feeling keyed up or on edge

    • Marked shifts in mood (suddenly tearful, overly sensitive)

    • Persistent, marked anger or irritability, increased conflicts

    • Loss of interest in usual activities (e.g., work, hobbies)

    • Difficulty concentrating and focusing attention

    • Marked lack of energy, feeling very easily tired out

    • Marked change in appetite, overeating, or food cravings

    • Sleeping too much or having a hard time sleeping

    • Feeling overwhelmed or out of control

    • Physical symptoms (e.g., breast tenderness/swelling, headache,

    joint/muscle pain, “bloated” sensation, weight gain).

    *Adapted with permission from Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of

    Mental Disorders, 4th ed. (American Psychiatric Association, 1994).

    How is PMDD different from other conditions?

    PMDD is distinguished from other mood disorders by a characteristic pattern of symptoms. There must be a clear interval of at least 7–10 days during each menstrual cycle when the woman feels well mentally and physically. If a woman is depressed or anxious all month long, even if she feels worse premenstrually, it is more likely that she has another kind of mood problem (such as major depression) rather than PMDD.

    When does PMDD begin?

    Premenstrual symptoms can begin at any age after a woman begins to menstruate. Some women report that symptoms worsen when they are in their 30s; others associate the onset of symptoms with a reproductive event, such as a baby’s birth or surgery for tubal ligation. Premenstrual symptoms do not occur when a woman is pregnant, breast-feeding (at least during the first few months before menstrual cycles begin again), and after menopause. Therefore, it appears PMDD symptoms can only occur when a woman is having menstrual cycles.

    Is PMDD inherited?

    No specific genes for PMDD have yet been identified. However, genes may play a role in the development of premenstrual symptoms. Studies have found that it is more likely for two identical twins to be affected than for two non-identical twin sisters. The risk of PMDD also appears to be higher if a woman’s mother had the condition.

    What causes PMDD?

    We don’t know for sure what causes PMDD, but researchers believe that, like other mood disorders, PMDD may involve an underlying vulnerability in brain chemistry. Because of this vulnerability, monthly fluctuations in hormones (oestrogen and progesterone) have a negative effect on the way nerve cells in the brain function, leading to premenstrual symptoms.

    HOW IS PMDD EVALUATED?

    Since PMDD symptoms are related to the menstrual cycle, many women may turn to their gynaecologist for help. On the other hand, since the symptoms that usually bother patients the most are depression, anxiety, or irritability, women may instead seek treatment from mental health professionals such as psychiatrists. If a woman decides to see a mental health professional, she should also be evaluated by a gynaecologist, especially if she is over 40. To confirm the diagnosis of PMDD and distinguish it from other conditions that are not related to the phase of the menstrual cycle, the doctor may ask the woman to keep a daily symptom diary. Ideally women should keep such a diary for two months before treatment is begun, although some experts would consider starting treatment earlier if the symptoms are severe.

    HOW IS PMDD TREATED?

    Many treatments for PMDD have been described in the popular press, but only a few have been evaluated in rigorous, large-scale scientific studies. We therefore recently surveyed 36 leading experts in this field about the treatment of PMDD. The recommendations described in this article are based on the results of this survey. The experts recommend that women with severe symptoms use specific prescription medications, which can be supplemented with behavioral approaches and nutritional strategies. For women with less severe symptoms, it may not be necessary to use all three approaches at once.

    What medications are used to treat PMDD?

    To treat the emotional symptoms of PMDD (e.g., depression, tearfulness, mood swings, anxiety, anger, irritability, fatigue, difficulty concentrating), the majority of experts recommend antidepressant medications. Research shows that antidepressants help both the emotional symptoms of PMDD and often the physical symptoms as well. While there are many types of antidepressants available, for PMDD, the experts recommend antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which affect a brain chemical called serotonin. SSRIs have also been shown in research to be more effective than other antidepressants in PMDD. The recommended SSRIs are fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), and paroxetine (Paxil) as first choices, with citalopram (Celexa) an alternative. For severe symptoms, antidepressants should be taken

    throughout the month, although in milder cases, they are sometimes effective if given just during the two weeks before the woman’s period.Medications that are used to treat anxiety, such as alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), and buspirone

    (BuSpar), may also help some women. In general, the experts did not recommend birth control pills or other types of hormones as initial treatments for PMDD.

    If the woman also has severe physical symptoms (headache, cramps, bloating, or water retention), the experts would combine

    the antidepressant with a medication for these physical symptoms, such as a diuretic, an over-the-counter pain medicine such as ibuprofen

    (Motrin), or a prescription pain medicine, depending on the particular problems.

    What are the side effects of SSRI medications?

    SSRIs may cause nervousness, insomnia, restlessness, nausea, diarrhoea, and sexual problems. Side effects differ from one person to

    another. Also, what may be a side effect for one person (e.g., drowsiness) may be a benefit for someone else (e.g., a woman with insomnia). Most women with PMDD do not report many problems with side effects from SSRIs. To try to reduce the risk of side effects, many doctors start with a low dose and increase it slowly. If you have problems with side effects, tell your doctor right away. If side effects persist, your doctor may lower the dose or suggest trying a different SSRI.

    What nutritional approaches are used to treat PMDD?

    A variety of nutritional approaches may be of some benefit. The most important recommendations include limiting consumption of alcohol, caffeine and salt. Some experts also advise avoiding sugar and eating more complex carbohydrates. Although studies have found that calcium supplements are helpful for PMS, the experts did not strongly recommend calcium specifically for PMDD. However, calcium supplements are recommended for women because of other health benefits (e.g., reducing the risk of osteoporosis). The experts give little support to vitamins, herbal preparations, and other dietary supplements for PMDD.

    What behavioural approaches are used for PMDD?

    Certain activities may help a woman with PMDD be healthier in mind and body and cope better. Regular exercise is strongly recommended. Although exercise has not been studied specifically in PMDD, it has shown benefit in PMS. Other strategies that may be helpful are relaxation techniques, meditation, and yoga. Psychotherapies that are helpful for depression (e.g., cognitive-behavioral and interpersonal therapies, supportive counseling) may also be helpful for PMDD.

    What if the first treatment plan does not help?

    It is important to give the treatment enough time to work before considering another. It may take two or three menstrual cycles to

    tell. If a woman has given one SSRI a fair trial but it has not helped or has caused very troublesome side effects, the experts strongly

    recommend switching to a different SSRI. The experts also recommend trying a second SSRI if a woman has had only a partial

    response to the first one after several menstrual cycles. Remember that changing medication is a complicated process. Don’t stop or change the dose of your medication without first consulting your doctor.

    If a woman with PMDD has not responded to a variety of recommended treatments, consultation with another medical

    speciality (gynaecology, psychiatry, or reproductive endocrinology) may be valuable if she is not already under such care. Further treatments that may be considered are hormonal medications (e.g., oestrogen and birth control pills). For severe symptoms that have not responded to any other strategies, the doctor may also discuss using medication to block ovulation (creating a “chemical menopause”).

    What if I need help paying for medications?

    • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association: your doctor can request a directory of programs for those who cannot afford medication by calling (202) 835-3450

    • Lilly Cares Program: (800) 545-6962

    • Pfizer Prescription Assistance: (800) 646-4455

    • SmithKline Paxil Access to Care Program: (800) 536-0402 (patient requests); (215) 751-5722 (physician requests)

    • Solvay Patient Assistance Program: (800) 788-9277

    FOR MORE INFORMATION

    • National PMS Society, P.O. Box 11467, Durham, NC 27703, (919) 489-6577

    • PMS Research Foundation, P.O. Box 14574, Las Vegas, NV 89114, (702) 369-9248 (voice mail)

    • PMS Access, P.O. Box 9326, Madison, WI 53715, (800) 222-4PMS

    • PMS Self-Help Center, 170 State St., Ste. 222, Los Altos, CA 94022

    • U.S. Doctors on the Internet Medical Treatment of PMS usdoctor.com/pms.htm

    • PMS Group Discussion aboutwomen.com/pms/

    MARCH 2001 • A POSTGRADUATE MEDICINE SPECIAL REPORT •

    < Back to list

    Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): Different from PMS?

    What's the difference between premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and premenstrual syndrome (PMS)? How is PMDD treated?

    Answer

    from Mary M. Gallenberg, M.D.

    Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a severe, sometimes disabling form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Although regular PMS and PMDD both have physical and emotional symptoms, PMDD causes extreme mood shifts that can disrupt your work and damage your relationships. About 30 percent of menstruating women have PMS. Up to 8 percent of women with PMS have symptoms that meet the diagnostic criteria for PMDD.

    In both PMDD and PMS, symptoms occur in the last week of the menstrual cycle and usually improve within a few days after menstruation begins. Both PMDD and PMS may also cause bloating, breast tenderness, fatigue, and changes in sleep and eating habits. In PMDD, however, the following emotional and behavioral symptoms stand out:

    Anxiety

    Feelings of being "keyed up" or "on edge"

    Persistent irritability

    Marked anger

    The cause of PMDD isn't clear. Underlying depression and anxiety are common in both PMS and PMDD, so it's possible that the normal physical changes that trigger a menstrual period somehow exacerbate mood disorders.

    Treatment of PMDD is directed at preventing or minimizing symptoms and may include:

    Antidepressants. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine (Prozac, others) and sertraline (Zoloft, others), reduce symptoms such as fatigue, food cravings and sleep problems. You can control PMDD by taking SSRIs all month or only in the interval between ovulation and the start of your period.

    Birth control pills. Taking birth control pills stops ovulation and stabilizes hormone fluctuations. Birth control pills containing drospirenone and packaged with a four-day placebo interval after 24 days of combination hormones may be more effective than are standard birth control pills.

    Nutritional supplements. Consuming 1,000 milligrams of dietary and supplemental calcium daily may reduce the physical and emotional symptoms of PMDD. Vitamin B-6, magnesium and L-tryptophan also may help.

    Herbal remedies. Clinical trials suggest that chasteberry may reduce irritability, mood swings, anger and headaches associated with PMDD.

    Diet and lifestyle changes. Regular exercise often reduces premenstrual symptoms. Cutting back caffeine intake can alleviate anxiety and irritability. Also, eating more carbohydrates in the week before your period may improve mood and memory.

    It's important that you review your symptoms with your doctor. A thorough medical evaluation can determine if symptoms are due to PMDD or some other condition. If you are diagnosed with PMDD, your doctor can recommend specific treatments to help minimize the impact PMDD has on the days you experience symptoms.

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  • I used to feel suisidal before a period, no one to help, now my girls are having the same problems,,, its a hormon imbalance,,, get this printed off, or if you give me your email address,, I will send it to you,, then give it your gp to read,,, they are only general practioners,,So dont have time to know everything, but at least it might help,,,andmany other woman too ,,,lets hope.

    Linda x

  • Hi

    I don't know whether what I am writing has any relevance at all to you, but when you said about bottling up feelings towards an authority figure (the teacher) when you were a child I wonder whether you also had to bottle up feelings towards another authority figure - a parent, perhaps your father, as a child and whether those feelings have been denied or supressed. It is unlikely that feelings towards a teacher would themselves be as important unless they also represented feelings towards someone of more emotional significance. It sounds as though something about the teacher reminded you of something about one of your parents.

    If what I am saying makes no sense do feel free to ignore it!

    Suexx

  • Thanks Rose - You are right that the teacher wasn't the problem. I've always had a difficult relationship with my mother and it was her that took me to the doctors and insisted on tablets etc so quite angry with her. And then there is a lot of anger and distrust of doctors because they listened to her. It was a bit of a revelation to me about 10 years ago to find out that my brother (who was my mother's favourite - I was dad's) also found her really difficult. Somehow he managed to be able to ignore her outbursts of anger whereas they always devastated me. He lives in London but probably has more to do with her than I do even though I live in the same town - though my fear has always been that caring for her would be dumped on me, though that hasn't happened and once she gets to the point of really needing to be cared for (and both of us are quite clear that that means going into a home ... which I think would be her wish anyway, given how she was when my grandmother was in the last phase of her life. Still dread it a bit because although I could cope with my grandmother being more compost than compos mentis I know it's a lot more difficult when it is your direct parent ... get a bit irritated by the obvious signs that short term memory has gone - but that could be to do with the tactics for covering up as there is a tendency to go on the offensive and blame others for not tellig her when they have told her, over and over again sometimes. Just try to take a deep breath and remind myself what is going on. There's that huge tension between her being my mother and all the feelings that you should love her and be grateful to her etc for that (though if you are a depressive it's sometimes hard to feel grateful for the gift/curse of life :)) but there have been realisations over the year, eg respecting someone doesn't mean putting up with bad behaviour and that the fact that I don't like my mother as a person and wouldn't have anything to do with her if she wasn't my mother that make things a bit easier. However, contact does feel like an uncomfortable duty. As you can see I don't really have a problem talking about it but I do sometimes have problems with the fact that I really don't want to do my duty :) and feel guilty about that occasionally - which is totally ridiculous.

    The thing with the teacher is just one part of the history - the relationship was difficult before that and it wasn't until I was in my 20's and one of her friends said how proud mum was of me that I realised she ever had a good word to say about me ... which is different from saying that she didn't ever say nice things and care for me just that I noticed the negative a lot more than the positive. I think there were elements of her being too caring/smothering at times and demanding emotional responses and that is definitely one of the things that really gets me anxious - feeling that people around me want an emotional response - just makes me withdrawn which makes their need worse etc, etc.

    Relationship with my father was very different. Loved him very much. Never made emotional demands but was always there for me ... until he dropped off the planet. Miss him but also carry him around with me in my memories.

    I did try talking to my mother about how I felt when I was in my 20s but it was obvious that she really wasn't comfortable with it and didn't want to do it so I felt I'd done all I could and should so don't think I'm worried about that side of things.

    The anxiety is general - about half of the month I just feel scared and have long since stopped wondering what it is that I'm feeling scared off because I know it's just the way my brain is interpreting some hormonal changes. Seem to have managed to find a way of using the same to separate myself from the thoughts of death - they still come but I'm not getting spooked by them the way I was when I started this question, so they go away without getting into the vicious circle - that was mainly through talking with other people on the site and reflecting on my responses to them and taking a bit of my own advice. However, it does mean that I'm really vulnerable to any stress in the week or two before my period - and the day before can be an absolute disaster which is what happened this month when I had an enormous panic attack in the middle of a meeting and had to leave - everyone was very understanding and I managed to do the meeting with no panic attacks or anything of that ilk a few days later after the period was under way.

    Anyway thanks for your comment.

  • Hi

    You have a really good understanding of the way your hormones mess up your mood! I hope you didn't feel obliged to answer or give the info, sometimes when someone hasn't made the links themselves it can be useful to suggest possible ones.

    It must have been and still be hard for you feeling like that about your mother, I felt similarly with my father though for very different reasons.

    I hope you manage to sort out the physical issue - it sounds as though there is a lot of info within another answer though I haven't read it in detail because it's not a problem I have any contact with - apart from reading your blog.

    Hope things go well for you,

    Suexx

  • Thanks but if I really understood how my hormones mess me up then I would have figured out a way of stopping them :) and I haven't - though I'm working on it. Biology is probably doing the same as the menopause should start at some point ...

    Mum is hard but at least I know that I am not totally unusual in having problems either with her as an individual or with mothers/parents in general.

    Take care of yourself

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