I don't feel I can take this anymore

I'm so tired of everyday living in a constant state of 'alert' waiting for some horrible thing to happen. I have three girls -17, 13,and 4. The 13 yr old has always given us problems in terms of explosive tantrums and since she has become a teen, it is worse. One of my panic triggers is fear of conflict. I feel as if I'm living with an abuser and I never know what is going to set her off. I walk around the house on eggshells trying to keep the peace. Yesterday she had a bad tantrum and my anxiety attack felt like it was going to kill me. I almost wish it did.

I had a cancer scare two years ago and my husband had cancer 7 years ago and some pre-cancer found on his tongue a year ago. I'm going for a yearly mammogram in October (where they did a biopsy two years ago which started this health anxiety) and I'm terrified. I know as the time gets nearer, the anxiety will become almost I tolerable. I used to love Halloween but my anxiety has robbed me of this. My husband gets periodic check ups to check for recurrence and the anxiety waiting for the results is almost unbearable. The MDs say he is not at a high risk to reoccur but those fact don't mean anything to me.

There are many mornings where the alarm goes off and I honestly don't think I can force myself to live through another day of bone crushing anxiety. I'm on Paxil and have seen a therapist on and off for about 8 years. Nothing really helps and I guess I'm really depressed that nothing ever will. My life and enjoyment of my life has been taken away from me because of this anxiety. Sometimes I tell myself that IF they do find cancer in the mammogram, at least I could get relief from the anxiety.

I apologize for the disjointed post. Plus, I'm on my phone. I feel so alone and so scared and so very very very tired of waiting for the next traumatic event that triggers suffocating anxiety. I really feel like giving up. I live in a constant state of fear. The core of my fear is abandonment which I believe arguments/conflicts will cause people to leave and cancer will cause me to die and be alone. I know this doesn't make sense. It doesn't make sense to me either.


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12 Replies

  • Have you tried any support groups or, now this is just a suggestion, religions?

  • I really feel for you , anxiety disorder is horrible and a self perpetuating illness , the more we fear and think the worse our fight or flight system kicks in . I too have lived like you in fear , my youngest son had meningitis and now is brain injured and very controlling and angry , my ex was very abusive and controlling and my youngest was and still is bullied and school phobic ..my only thing I find helps me is mindfulness , it is an art , there are many books and videos on YouTube , it is trying to control unwanted thoughts , acknowledge your anxious feelings and learning to live in the moment . I too am on antidepressants, for years but really want to come off as I do not necessarily think they help me personally , as the cause of my anxieties are the reality of life and that won't go away , just change over time .

    It hard living with the constant fear of illnesses and also a troublesome child ..but you deserve to feel better , another idea is to learn some simple breathing techniques I take a deep breath for four , hold for two then breath out slowly ...through the the day , helps get the oxygen levels up in your bloodstream and relieves chest pain from anxiety etc ...

    Sorry if this sounds like a lecture or you know these thing already , just know how desperate you feel and want to offer my love and support .

    Virginia x

  • Thanks for your reply. I did mindfullness driving into work this morning. My anxiety got really bad and I forced myself to simply describe the car in front of me. Every detail that I could notice. It slowed my brain down just enough to get my physical self under control. When I got to my parking garage, I sat in the car and cried for a while. I just had too much emotional energy inside of me to fact my office. I had to tap it out somehow. I have a Xanax ready but I hate taking it because it really doesn't help and only makes me feel to tired to do the stuff I need to do. I'm hoping so hard that one day I'll wake up and be in control of my life again. I used to have so much fun with my daughters at Halloween and this time of year. We would watch silly Halloween movies and decorate the house. I even hosted a Halloween party about 5 years ago for their friends and made crazy Halloween sculpted food. Now, I can barely function to fix them breakfast in the mornings. I feel like I've been robbed of life and that saddens me so. The world is passing before my eyes and I can seem to jump on and become a part of it anymore.

  • Carmel, I too am stuck, waiting for the other shoe to drop each and every day. I know it's hard to regain control of your life when the passion is not there. Severe anxiety is so all consuming but it can be eliminated even with just bits and pieces at a time. What Janey said is true, deep breathing, belly breathing, whatever you want to call it, will calm you down for moments at a time. The thing is that you can't wait until the anxiety is off the wall. You must practice it several times a day so that it will come automatically to you when life becomes unbearable with fear. I have in no way conquered my fears yet, it's pretty hard when your life is surrounded by stressful things. BUT....

    don't give up, keep trying. It's okay to hang on to the Xanax just in case, I have one ready as well but have never taken it. Stay with the forum where you can get the support you need and not feel so alone.

    I wish you well. P.S. Now before you leave my post, take a deep breathe, hold it in for 4 counts and breathe out slowly. :)

  • Hi Carmel,

    It sounds to me as if your 13 yr old daughter is the one that should be seeing a therapist!! Neither you nor your husband should have to tolerate her behavior since it is to the point you are actually AFRAID of triggering her. Since she knows she is 'getting away with it' she has no need or no reason to change her behavior.

    Could you AND your husband talk to your therapist about this situation... It would be nice if he could accompany you to do this, but if not, then definitely YOU speak to your therapist about your daughter... Please....do this....

    Also, you could most likely benefit for keeping up your therapy because of your health fears....

    I am so sorry you are going through all of this.... I think you will have to risk your daughter's wrath and let her know (along with your husband) that her behavior is totally unacceptable... I remember certain problem students in schools where I have taught, and some were literally BEGGING for attention and discipline by their ornery or mean behavior....

  • Hi I've been battling health anxiety for the last four or five months. It was so terrible at first, but I got my life together and though I am still constantly anxious I am kind of at peace. See there is one thing that ties anxiety together, fear. Whether it be fear of death, fear of confrontation, fear of being fearful (that's a crazy one), fear that you are going crazy (I had this). Now you might just shut me down when I mention God, but he really is the only thing that helped me through this. See if you can find one thing bigger than fear then fear has no hold. I'm not expecting you to just believe me but try it once. When you start feeling that dread that feeling of horribleness taking over say a prayer and ask Jesus to help you through it. It's hard at first but eventually when you realize Jesus is bigger than all your fears your fear just kind of stops.

    I still have bad days I still am constantly freaking out but though my anxiety is there my panic attacks are gone.

  • Totally agree nothing is greater than God he has helped me and i pray day and night b i ask to be lifted up give your anxiety and depression to God.AMEN

  • Anxiety is a terrible disorder and I know the struggles you have to go through. However, I do know it is the negative thoughts that keeps us from feeling better. I know how scary cancer can be, but thinking the worst scenarios is pointless. Regarding your husband, thank God and the doctors that he is a cancer survivor and the doctors say that it is not likely for it to reoccur again. That is good news. You need to accept this wonderful news. The doctors would not tell you this if it were not true. I also had a biopsy 10 yrs ago and I did not have breast cancer, just as you don't. The doctors just wanted to be sure and that's why they did biopsy. I have gone back for my yearly exams and I always get good news just as you have since your biopsy. You and your husband have good doctors that are looking out for you. Trust them. Another trigger you mention is your fear of being alone or being abandoned. That is your anxiety thinking negative thoughts. Another trigger you mention is your daughter and her tantrums. I don't want to sound mean since I don't know her but maybe she's doing this to control you. When my 3 yr old had tantrums, I would walk away and since he was not getting an audience, he would settle down. Maybe, you should take a walk or focus on something else until she calms herself down. Just let her know you love her but not her behaviour. No one can make her happy but her. She is responsible for her behavior. You shouldn't walk around on egg shells, fearing her outburst. Do not let her control you. You do have a husband and other children you need to care for. It's not fair to them. Continue to do the fun things you and your family like to do together and if your 13 yr old acts out, let her. Just focus on enjoying doing things with the rest of family. You owe it to them and yourself to be happy. Just let her know you would love for her to be part of the fun but she is not allowed to if she is having tantrum. Since you don't say, does she take meds or anything that may cause her to act out. Keep taking your meds to help your anxiety and if you feel it's not working as well as it should, talk to your doctor. Maybe you need to increase dosage. You say you have xanax to take on as needed basis. Does it help even though it makes you tired. Maybe a lower dosage would not make you so tired. Talk to your doctor or just take half of your prescribed dosage. I wish you well and I apologize if I overstepped boundaries regarding your daughter.

  • After reading all the posts regarding your daughter, maybe some of her acting out is because she is afraid that something will happen to you or your husband and she won't have anyone to take care of her. Being adopted, she probably has a lot of insecurities about not being loved. You know first hand how this negative thinking makes you feel. Children don't always say or even know why they say or do what they do. She may have it in her mind that she is the reason for your anxiety and knowing how you have fears about your health, she probably thinks she won't have anyone to love and care for her. If you get help with your anxiety, meds and therapy, and she sees you are feeling better, it might make her feel better. Even if you don't talk about your anxiety or health issues in front of her, she knows. Like you said, she is very bright. You might consider family counseling. Talk to your doctor. She could also have anxiety and needs meds to calm her down. Her fear could be that since her biological mother is not around, you might go away too. She is testing you to find out if really love her and won't leave. Just a thought. I'm not a Dr or therapist and I'm no authority. however, this is a situation that affects the whole family. Good luck. My heart hurts for your daughter and your family.

  • Hi my name is Ray i live in the UK i have same problem has you mainly health anxiety i have problems with my son who is41 drinking and drugs and over dose now my 14 year old grandson has anxiety but it sounds to me it's your daughter that's causing concerns she's the one that needs to see her doctor it all comes back to the parents please don't worry about your results trust in God they be fine I've got anxiety but seeing councillor i worry about everything.but don't take antidepressants.if you're daughter is checked for anxiety things should change.your not alone don't give up you're stronger than this.i pray for you and your husband and family take care x

  • I want to say a thank you to everyone who responses. What wonderful things to wake up to an read.

    I'm doing better today. I battle and battled the anxiety yesterday and at about mid day, I had had enough. I honestly sat back in my office chair and said, 'Okay, anxiety, go for it. Give me all you got. Take control. Give it your all then leave me the h*ll alone for the evening so I can get some peace.' Remarkably, it worked. I felt like I had been trying to keep a giant beach ball submerged under water all morning and I was simply tired of trying to control it. So, I let it go. I decided to just invite the anxiety to drown me. On the drive home, I talked to 'it' some more....'How are you doing anxiety? Having fun? Is this the best you have got? Give me more, I can take it. Screw you, you are not being very impressive right now. See? I'm still alive'

    Wow - when I write that out, I sound a bit loony. But, I swear it helped. If nothing else, I was not trying to fight it anymore. It felt like it was outside of me - not a part of me - and I was very p*ssed at it. It felt powerful to taunt it. To make it show me everything it had and it felt good to say to it...see, you haven't killed me yet.

    Knowing me, the next time I try this I won't have as good of results. It seems like whenever I find something, my anxiety morphs and won't respond to it. It is like trying to catch a clever serial killer who changes MO every time the police get close.

    Last night I was pretty low on the anxiety scale. My daughter was in a delightful mood and even though I was anticipating her flying off the handle at every second, I kept repeating to myself that the fear was not REAL. It was the perception I had of it. If she flew off the handle, it would eventually end and I would not die. Again, this method might not work for me next.

  • I also wanted to explain a bit about my daughter because it has brought me a lot of pain over the years. She was adopted at 8.5 months old. We know nothing about her beginnings. Have no idea if she was cared for, what her nutrition was, what her birthparens' make up was....nothing. She was a quiet, snuggly, content baby. At about 3 yrs old, she went into the tantrum phase. Normal stuff didn't work. We could not ignore her or give her a time out. Her tantrums went on for hours. It was like she didn't know how to shut them off. They would usually end in her sobbing on our shoulders and needing comforting. She grew out of that phase but other things popped up. She is a bright child but has quirks about learning. If she reads passages to you out loud, she mixes words up. Puts them out of order or reads them wrong. Also, to this day, she can not tell the time and has no concept of how long 15 or 20 minutes is. You can't tell her quarter to. You have to say 1:45. My husband and I have had her tested multiple times - trust us. We are both in medical research and know the avenues to take to get answers. We've had her psychologically tested as well as educationally tested. She has 'blips' on some of the charts but nothing shows up to the degree that we can say she's ADD or has dyslexia or anxiety or attachment disorder. Because of this, there is no protocol to 'treat' her or any clues on the best way to help her. At one point, a therapist told us there were no other tests we would use.

    So, we are left with unanswered questions. Her heart is pure gold. Most of the time she's the sweetest, kindest, most empathetic child there is. Little kids flock to her and she is so good with them. She's extremely funny - very sharp wit. She works hard to make A's and B's in school (at one point before she went to school, my husband and I didn't think she would ever be able to make a passing grade). Every fear we have had of her, she has proven us wrong. She struggles but she makes it. She also cares about doing well in school. That is where my heartbreak comes in. She works so hard and it takes her so long that assignments that teachers say should take 20 minutes take her 2 hours. So, a normal load of homework can take her 5 hours a night. That is tough on anyone and, frankly, too much for a 13 yr old. Her explosions come from not being able to express or process an emotion. What set her off on Sunday was me simply asking if she was finished with a particular assignment. Obviously I tapped into something in her, anger, embarrassment, fear, frustration....that doesn't excuse her behavior but she is not just a beastly child acting out. There is something fundamentally wrong and, God help me, no one has been able to pinpoint it. It breaks my heart.

    Also, when she tore up her room, she put the wall hanging on the floor instead of throwing and smashing them and breaking the glass. To me, that is more of a statement than pure destruction. Our next step is to find a therapist and ask that therapist to specifically help her express her emotions in more productive ways. We are over trying to find out 'why'. We must move on to simply finding ways around it.

    Her behavior over the past 13 years has left me with a touch of PTSD. I hear furniture moving upstairs and my mind flashes to a tantrum where she is tearing up her room. I hear a door shut and in my mind, it is her slamming a door,. Most of the time, these are normal sounds of a family going about their business. But to me, they are constant flashbacks of her being out of control. So, being at home is a very stressful place for me to be. Most days, I dread driving in the driveway. I have fantasies about moving to the mountains - away from everyone - so I could completely avoid any sort of conflict. However, I'm smart enough to know that would mean leaving my soulmate and my three girls (who make up my whole heart and soul) behind. So, I have to find a way to temper the bad in order to enjoy the good.

    Sorry to go on like this but since I joined here, I realized that letting sun shine in to the inner most fears and voices in my head helps. I was astounded there were other people who irrationally feared cancer or who were afraid of conflict. I felt like I was the only one. In about 48 hours, I've connected here and gotten a lot of comfort knowing I'm not the only one. Just writing all of this down and putting it out there to you all helps. In fact, I really didn't know I flinched every time I heard a door shut or a drawer being pulled out and why I did that. By writing like I just did, I figured that out.

    I hope everyone has an amazing day. My husband always said the way around fear is to move directly through it. So, if it bothers you, keep heading in that direction. Opening up has been a fear of mine as has asking for help. But now that I've taken that step, it has helped.

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