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Anxiety/Intrusive Thoughts/Serious mother Issues...stuck. xposted

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Oh man. I'm sad to be writing this post.

I've had a problem with anxiety since I as a kid...I've been in therapy since I was a kid up until about two years ago. I was suffering from some pretty evil PTSD, Depression and other mood issues (not Bipolar, or anything that severe)...I do not have BPD, but a lot of my issues would manifest into symptoms similar to those suffered by people with BPD, and so my therapist decided that I might really benefit from DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) and so....I did a year of hardcore DBT with her and it was like switching on the lights. My life has completely changed, my skill set improved dramatically and I found myself navigating situations (with my mother, spouse, etc) that left me feeling healthy, proud and so free of stress.

My anxiety was never erased...but I was so committed to not being on meds (for many years no one would try to help me actually deal with any problems, trauma from my early childhood, etc, and medicated me out the you-know-what...which was so bad) that I worked super super hard at combating intrusive thoughts and the agitation that comes with anxiety. I worked so so hard you guys. I really felt better, I was keeping things in check. Up until about 1.5-2 years ago, when SLOWLY, things started creeping back in every once in a while.

I am so anxious about being kidnapped, raped, stalked....it's unreal. It affects my daily life these days to a point which makes me uncomfortable. I think that most men I don't know are dangerous and I'm convinced that there are people following me...like, if I see a set of headlights in my rearview mirror I will watch them...and if it seems like the headlights stay behind me for a while, I feel like that person is following me, to see where I live to come and "get me". I keep weapons by my bed (like a long metal club-like thing, or golf club) because I think someone is going to come in our house in the night and "get" me. I always think I'm going to be carjacked and killed, so I am very suspicious of people walking down the street, and make sure to always lock my doors when I'm driving. These aren't gripping fears...they are like, logical feelings. I think I am at high risk for being raped/kidnapped/sold into sex slavery.....they way someone else, prefectly logically, feels they are at high risk for injury because they don't wear pads when they skateboard....like, it feels that logical. It's not something that makes me feel paniky, I feel a rational sense of "okay, look at him, who is he...he's suspicious, watch him, don't turn your back to him..." kind of thing.

I have the....worst....worst...thoughts in my head. It affects my sexual relationship with my DH, because these thoughts will intrude when we are being intimate. They are such terrible thoughts, to do with children being raped and molested...I just want to beat my head against a wall because it seems like no matter what I do, I can't make it stop. I'm PETRIFIED of being sold into sex slavery and when I meet new people who are male, I am always suspicious that they are in the sex trade business. I have SEVERE trust issues with men I don't know....when I walk by men in the grocery store or wherever, I will often have thoughts like "I think he's a pedophile, I can imagine that he is a pedophile" - when it's just a guy, getting groceries.

I'm hyper sensitive to the issue of kidnapping and am always looking over my shoulder...looking for clues that someone has been waiting in my garage for me to come outside so he can "get me".....coming home is becoming more anxiety producing...I can swear I see evidence that someone has been around my door, that maybe they jimmied the lock to get in and wait for me, so they can "get me". Over the last 1.5 years, I've gone from being able to stop these thoughts, living a really normal life....to slipping back into having a lot of really illogical, but persistent and COMPLETELY overwhelming thoughts.

The latest thing to happen, is now I have this super super intrusive thought, almost like a screaming voice...that is telling me that ***I*** am a pedophile. Which, obviously, is not true. But that is what this "voice" (not an actual voice, more like a really mean, taunting thought) is telling me. The thought feels really mean, like when you're a kid and the other kids on the bus are taunting you because they found out you peed your pants at summer camp...do you know what I mean? Like, a nasty voice that says "Haha, the reason they are going to "Get you" is because YOU'RE a pedophile." - it makes me so sad that my own mind is trying to hurt me like this....and I've come to the point, with this new intrusive thought, that I can't go on like this.

To answer the inevitable question: Yes, I was abused sexually as a child. I really thought I put a lot of this behind me....but I think this all coming up again has to do with me confronting my mother about the way she handled the situation. She DID make my step father stay away, never come home again....but about a month after she found out that her husband of 10 years had been molesting her DD (me), I walked into the house to hear a strange noise...went into her room to find them engaged in wild sex. I told her how big a betrayal I thought this was she said, "I was married to him for 10 years, you can't just turn that off...I have needs" - that was her excuse at the time. More recently, she is more apologetic...but maintains that she was really hurt and doing the bst she could...but that she can't really explain the behavior.

Also....after child services had come and gone, deciding that everything was under control () we (all the kids and my mother) went to the police station and had loooooooong taped interviews about the whole situation....and then she completely fell apart. She lamented the fact that her beautiful home in her prestigious neighborhood and nice car and all of that would be gone, because with him in jail, we'd have to move (which, looking back, isn't even entirely true, she has a trust fund that would have covered most, if not all of that) and cried about how embarrassed she'd be for everyone in town to know what happened and I, being the oldest and a long time caretaker to a very manic-depressive mother, decided that something had to be done....I went back to the police station and I recanted my whole story, saying that I was just trying to "get back at" my step father for "taking my mother away from me" and that I lied about everything to try and get him in trouble. They knew it wasn't true....they had the tapes where I gave long and detailed (though not complete, to this day I haven't told anyone the whole truth) accounting of what happened and my next youngest sister was able to cooberate a lot, independant of my accounting, because she shared a room with me all my life. Poor, poor girl.. Ugh. But I was 17, 18 by the time it would have gone to trial and I said I lied and wouldn't testify to any of the "lies" I had told. My step fahter admitted some of what happened to my mother, but to the prosecutors did not and wouldn't even see them, when they called (I'm fuzzy on this part, because I heard all of this second hand) but the prosecutor had plenty to charge him with.
The prosecutor said he was going to charge him anyway, without my testimony....but nothing ever came of any of it. So...fast forward 6+ years....I went my entire pregnancy with DD so mad about the situation...she totally vanished during my pg, because she said that she couldn't be a grandmother yet, etc....and I called BS, that it wasn't about her, so I didn't make an effort to see her...and she didn't try to see me. I was mad, because I was becoming a mother and thinking about all the terrible things she had done to me, her own baby....and decided that until she could explain those things, I just didn't have anything to say to her. At the very end of my pg, she andI went out to lunch and I confronted her "Why did you make me walk into your bedroom and find you with him" "Why did you hit us all the time" "Why did you say such horrible things to us" etc....many questions like that. The overall reason she gave for all of these things (there are more issues with trauma and her not putting her kids first than I could get into here....going back from my very first memories of her...there were a lot of questions I had for her, very controlling, very crazy crazy mother) anyway, the overall response: "Maybe I'm not as great as you think, I'm not a super hero...I did the best that I could" - wow. Thanks mama.

So...I've moved on from a lot with her and repaired our relationship because I don't know how to not hveher in my life...there are wonderful things about her....but she is mentally ill...she tries, I think, to be good to me and is crazy about Avery....but then, just the other day, called and said "I just wanted to let you know, I think you are hte hero of our family, I don't know what we would have done, if you hadn't saved us, and gone to the police and recanted your story....thank you for doing that, believe me, I know it was terrible, but it had to be done, you know?" - and I started to think....man, the reason I'm having all of this anxiety and horrible thinking...is because I am allowing this person, who has betrayed me so much, to be a part of my life still....these issue are unresolved, and they are popping up in ways that are making my life more and more difficult.

So. That's where I am.

1. Terrible, unstoppable intrusive thoughts
2. A mother who is in my life, who hasn't had the courage to really own a lot of terrible behavior
3. A loving, best friend/DH who has no idea these problems are getting worse again...because he is already so stressed out and will worry alot (I know, unfair to him)

The issues to do with my major anxiety (looking over my shoulder, convinced I'm going to be attacked/raped/kidnapped, etc) are not really creating huge issues as far as quality of life are concerned, I'm not having anxiety attacks, etc....just preoccupying thoughts sometimes...VERY suspicious of people...stuff like that. It's not in any way crippling....but do I really need to take pictures of all the "suspicious" cars parked on my street?? No, I don't. I really want to repair this before it gets worse. I am EXTREMELY worried that if I don't do something, this will ultimately affect my parenting of my darling, precious baby girl and I couldn't BEAR that.....i couldn't you guys...I want so badly to be a good mama to her and I AM...I'm a great mother...but if I let this go and it gets to a point where I am afraid to leave the house or let her have play dates, etc...what's that going to be like for her? You know? I want her to see the world with wide eyes...in awe of the wonder of it all. I want her to be careful, obviously....but I want her to love people, not fear them, you know?

I'm just...at a loss. I'm so sad about it all. I really want the intrusive thoughts to go away. I know a lot of probably has to do with guilt about the abuse....it wasn't my fault, I wasa little girl....but the way my mother handled things I think left me with the feeling that somehow I deserved what happened, because it obviously didn't make herhate him so much, if she invited him back into her bed...one time, that I know of, who knows how many that I don't. My DH hates her guts....but I don't want to cut her out of my life. I know she suffers depression....all the time as a kid and young adult, she would become crippled with depression, would climb into bed in her fur coat and basically stay there for a month...getting up to use the bathroom...but mainly passed out on zanax...we (me) took care of her completely. Bringing her food and tea....looking back now it makes me so sick....she knows she hasa problem. I also believe she may have NPD....her mother DOES actually hve NPD...HER mother, when my mother told her that she was being molested....sent her away to boarding school and stayed with the man for a few years, until they divorced. Her mother was married 6-7 times....so, she comes from deep dysfunction, which in part, makes me blame her less.

Help mamas, what do I do about these issues? WHat do you think? Is this more serious than I think? Sometimes, these thoughts are so intrusive, the imagery impossible to wash fro my mind...TERRIBLE things, I think about....I think I need to go back to therapy...but what do I do about my mother. I feel like, since I told her I forgive her....I can't take that back? I know that sounds stupid.

Oohhohh.
post #2 of 10
: Run, don't walk, back to therapy. You know you're not doing ok, and you know you're not in a good place. You need help for that.

Maybe some of this is because you're still allowing your mother (who betrayed your trust in her) to be a part of your life - because if you can't trust the person who is supposed to protect you, how can you trust anyone else? But cutting her from your life is not a quick fix solution and will bring up other things. You need to deal with your issues, separate from what you do or don't do about your mother.

I'm so sorry this has happened to you, but I'm so glad you're aware enough to be looking for help.

ETA: Can you call a rape crisis centre, or a domestic violence hotline? They usually have a ton of resources for survivors of abuse, and can direct you to a good therapist/
post #3 of 10
Is the therapist that you did the DBT with still close by and available? I think that would be the best bet since she knows your history and how effective the therapy was for you last time.

It's not unusual to need a "tune up" after several years just to freshen your skills. And the fact that you have such great insight into what is going on is a great sign. Not to mention how helpful the DBT was in the first place.

Just print out your post and take it to your appt. I think you can make huge progress, quickly, with the right support.
post #4 of 10
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post #5 of 10
Wow, you have tons going on I'm not a psychologist, but it sounds like a lot of what you describe as anxiety could be linked to OCD, especially the new intrusive thoughts about you being a pedophile.

It sounds like therapy would be a very good starting off point, but medication could help as well. Sometimes we have to choose the lesser of two evils, if it's going to help us feel ok, and get through the day.
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thak you so much ladies...this was so hard to post because it;s just...embarrassing, you know?

I'm this "normal" person, with a regular life....I have "normal" friends and play dates for my babe and just...you know...I live in suburbia...I don't have anywhere in my social circle where I can talk even a little bit about this type of stuff...I don't know anyone who would get it, if I was like "Oh man, I'm so stressed, my mind keeps telling me I'm a pedophile" - You know?

I feel guilt, I think...when my mind is telling me that...it's almost like, the feeling I get, is like "You weren't molested, YOU MOLESTED YOURSELF!" - that kind of thing, you know? I think, because I have developed such an intense hatred for preditors...my mind is choosing THAT to use as a weapon against me, you know? Because I can't think of anything I hate more than people who commit those types of acts...so my mind is trying to guilt me and speak negatively to me with that weapon...because is it the most powerful weapon it has almost? You know?

Oh man...when I read my feelings on this...it scares me even more. I write about my own mind as if it is a separate entity. THAT is not good.

I think that I have developed some OCD type tendencies...because there are ritual aspects that are starting to pop up in all of this. Looking over my shoulder, so they can't sneak up....the way I lock the door, check the door..the way I scan the yard for "signs" of trouble....now that I really examine a lot of my behaviors...I am seeing patterns, things that I ALWAYS do...before I do "xyz". It's just so hard, to go from feeling really under control...to fighting this battle against myself. The intrusive thoughts really hurt me...so so bad. I used to have horrible waking nightmares about my past...I really did an awesome job stopping all of that, turning thoughts around, etc....now, these thoughts and images are just so bad, so so bad.

Thank you ladies. I felt for sure that everyone would think I was awful or seomthing...in my mind I imgained everyone would read what I posted and then think really badly of me and not respond. Thank you so much.

Somewhere, in the back of my mind....is this idea that I cannot abandon my mother, that if I do, she wil lcrumble and I will be resonsible. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I'm still an eight year old...who takes care of her when she can't cope...and yet somehow, thinks she isa hero. My one, single driving purpose in this life of mine....is to be a good mother, to have children who know I am always here for them, but who aren't smothered by me.

I want to be healthy...so that I can have a healthy home and happy children. I think step number one ofr me is going to be coming clean on how rotten things are right no with my DH. I just don't want him to worry...
post #7 of 10
You know, I used to have a ton of horrible intrusive thoughts and one thing that really helped me was acceptance-commitment therapy. I really think it is soooo helpful for anxiety, esp the OC type. Seriously, it changed my life (as cheesy as that sounds). Here's a link to read about it (and we had a thread about it somewhere back aways). http://www.contextualpsychology.org/act_for_the_public

One interesting "de-fusion" technique that I learned was the bus metaphor...let me see if I can find it. It's kind of funny, actually. You can see if it makes sense to you. I still find myself with plenty of unruly passengers on the bus - arrrgh! http://books.google.com/books?id=CTg...sult#PPA157,M1

(oops - sorry for the huge link - would do a tiny url but got to run)
post #8 of 10
I suffer from anxiety. I decided I didn't want to be medicated anymore and recently weaned myself. Then, I did what I had done before to stop the thoughts (that were as ridiculous as yours but that doesn't mean they aren't scary). I self-medicate with alcohol to shut my brain up. That leads to more problems and I finally saw the forest through the trees and am going back to my doctor this week to get on medication again. It's miserable. I cried this morning in the shower. I want you to know that anxiety disorders shouldn't be embarrasing. All of your strange thoughts sound perfectly normal to anyone who suffers with anxiety. My personal belief during those dark times is that the FBI is going to get me. Why, I don't know. I am pretty normal on the outside too.

My suggestion is call a therapist today. You know this doesn't get better magically and you know you need some help and you deserve to have happy thoughts and a peaceful life.

Your post spoke to me on many levels today, and know you are not alone and with help, this will get better.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by perl View Post
You know, I used to have a ton of horrible intrusive thoughts and one thing that really helped me was acceptance-commitment therapy. I really think it is soooo helpful for anxiety, esp the OC type. Seriously, it changed my life (as cheesy as that sounds). Here's a link to read about it (and we had a thread about it somewhere back aways). http://www.contextualpsychology.org/act_for_the_public

One interesting "de-fusion" technique that I learned was the bus metaphor...let me see if I can find it. It's kind of funny, actually. You can see if it makes sense to you. I still find myself with plenty of unruly passengers on the bus - arrrgh! http://books.google.com/books?id=CTg...sult#PPA157,M1

(oops - sorry for the huge link - would do a tiny url but got to run)

Thank you for this information....thank you so much.

Ladies: I have to thank the PPs who mentioned OCD to me....upon googling and reading and reading....I'm just, BLOWN AWAY at how dead-on the information I'm finding has been....I would never have really thought that would have been a perfect fit because I didn't realize that there are different "types" of OCD....as a kid I did a lot of walking around the house at night, checking things....all of that, but I "grew out of it" and just thought it was anxiety. Now, I'm reading all of this information.....about the personality types commonly associtated with OCD, the types of thoughts, etc...I'm beside myself. I felt so ugly and messed up inside...but after reading the information I've been finding I really feel like this is something that, with help, I can realy work on. I have such hope....just reading about how "normal" these things are for someone coping with these types of issues has helped me so much...thank you so much.

God, I KNEW I needed to reach out...I'm so glad now, that I did. Thank you all so much.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by purplemoon View Post
I suffer from anxiety. I decided I didn't want to be medicated anymore and recently weaned myself. Then, I did what I had done before to stop the thoughts (that were as ridiculous as yours but that doesn't mean they aren't scary). I self-medicate with alcohol to shut my brain up. That leads to more problems and I finally saw the forest through the trees and am going back to my doctor this week to get on medication again. It's miserable. I cried this morning in the shower. I want you to know that anxiety disorders shouldn't be embarrasing. All of your strange thoughts sound perfectly normal to anyone who suffers with anxiety. My personal belief during those dark times is that the FBI is going to get me. Why, I don't know. I am pretty normal on the outside too.

My suggestion is call a therapist today. You know this doesn't get better magically and you know you need some help and you deserve to have happy thoughts and a peaceful life.

Your post spoke to me on many levels today, and know you are not alone and with help, this will get better.
You know....I have **tons** of conspiracey theories, dark paranoias and other such anxieties constantly floating aorund in my head....over the last few yeas there has been this shift in me....at this point, the only people I obsess over and hate as much as I obsess over and hate sex offenders...are law men and politicians, government workers, etc. It's almost funny...but it's really not, because it's so consuming. I am realizing that, a lot of the charecter judgements and ideas about morality that I have are just a piece of this puzzle. These things, thoughts and ideas have almost always been a part of me...I've always felt like a hypocrite, because I've never been able to BE as good as I think I SHOULD be...people have often told me that I am very inflexible and unbending when it comes to my ideas of what should be....how good, true and efficient people should be. I'm realizing that my inability to give up control over things like household chores, filling out paperwork, etc....are a piece of this.

I've always had extreme anxiety and agitation associated with watching people complete tasks like vacuuming, folding laundry...typing, driving....watching people do things like that is excrutiating because in the back of my mind has always been this voice "He's really MESSING that up, that's NOT HOW YOU DO THAT" and then I jump in "Oh, sweetie, let me take care of that" - and I do it and I feel like such a "you know what" because I should let my husband help, I should let other people feel the pride of completing something...I feel guilt because I WANT other people to feel productive,....but secretly, I *know* that no one knows how to do it "right".

Now I'm thinking back, thanks to your post, purplemoon, and around the same time all this started getting worse....I stopped drinking because I was pregnant with Avery....and then breastfeeding. While I never drank SO much before all of that...I drank more than I would like to admit probably....never more than a couple beers at a time....but almost every night sometimes. So...I can't call it a coincidence that this all started to get a little crazy around the time I stopped consuming alcohol regularly.

In reading about the varied manifestations of OC tendencies....I'm seeing my mother, clearly clearly. I'm so frightened by this. I think I need to get help....I'm going to see about getting back into therapy where I had been going. I know my therapist left the practice...but they have such good folks over there, I'm sure I could get in with someone as good. I don't care who it is, I just need to start working this out. Just in the last 24 hours...letting my mind think about this and turn things over without trying to interrupt...I'm already having terrible thoughts evolving into new terrible thoughts. Now I'm having memories of being molested by my MOTHER....but I was not molested by my mother. My mind is now telling me that I KNOW my mother is a child predator...she is a lot of crazy things, but that is not one of them. What makes the mind turn again itself like this? Why does my mind have o be so angry at me? Want to hurt me so bad?

I don't know how to feel right now, because I'm just reading and reading about so many things I didn't realize were not normal...so many things about me that have just always been, for as lon as I can remember, I'm now seeing are neurotic...and I never knew. I just thought these things were my values...now I'm understanding the extreme stress that I've been putting on myself thinking that I have to be a certain way, that things have to be a certain way. So many habits that aren't normal that I never thought about...things I can recall my mother being crazy about. I''m NOT her...but I'm so much like her.

Purplemoon....thank you from the bottom of my heart, for telling me I'm not strange. I feel so ugly inside....my DH is my BEST FRIEND....but how do I tell my best friend, the father of my most precious baby...that I lie in bed at night screaming to my brain "SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP IT'S NOT TRUEEE!!!!" - how do I tell him that I squint my eyes, and rub my head to try and think about ANYTHING but the terrible things my mind replays over and over. I have just felt so ugly..thank you so much for helping me to feel okay about this, like I can cope with it and overcome, if I jsut get help.

I would be willing to be on meds....but I'm concerned about that because I'm pg again, due in November. I really feel like, at least getting back into a theraputic relationship with someone who can help me wade through some of this will really go a long way for me. I am really glad to be doing something about this before my next baby comes...I can only imagine that the added stress of another LO would make this worse.

Thank you so much....I really thought I was just going to have to deal with this for the rest of my life....I felt so ugly and broken in side. I just thought I was "sick" and "bad"....I should have known better. I know that having mental health issues doesn't make a person sick....I don't know why I have been beating myself up so badly...I should have known that this all was not something to feel shame over...oh man.

THANK YOU. Thank you....I feel so much peace, just at the fat that no one posted "You are sick!" - "You can't be a mother like this" - I know no one would do that...but I couldn't help but think that is what people were going to secretly think...I thought no one would respond because they would think I was terrible...it's so reassuring to hear your words of support. I'm just, crying. I'm so thankful.
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