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I can't make decisions

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 

I have a really really hard time making decisions. Sometime I literally can't.  I am talking big and small decisions. Today I am in tears just trying to choose a time to get my eyebrows waxed. This problem has affected my whole life. My life has gone NO where because I can never figure out what to do (BTW I am 40+). I have made so so so many bad decisions, maybe that is why I can't. I mean I have made MANY life-changing bad decisions. Now with a child I have trouble deciding what is for dinner, what we should do on free days ( free days, ugh!). I guess to I have a hard time with things that are actually choices but don't at first appear the same such as staying up late to watch TV or not lying down when I have a chance or not cleaning up when I have a minute etc. Also BTW Dh gives me a hard time about this although he isn't so great about it either and one of my sisters has some decision issues too.

 

UGH, any help or support or even a bit of understanding out there??

post #2 of 5

Offering support AND understanding. I wasn't like this when I was younger, but certainly am now (40+ too). I guess I've always had anxiety, but it's gotten worse as I've aged, and this definitely stands true for feeling overwhelmed with decision making. I have periods where it brings me to tears as well. I am not sure if you've seen a therapist, but cognitive therapy has really proven positive for me in the past. I am having a good two year run now where I have a handle on anxiety and depression, but if you haven't already been treated for or diagnosed with anything, I strongly suggest you haul butt to at least an MD for a referral. You'd be surprised at how quickly things can sometimes change with a good diagnosis.

 

Hugs to you. You definitely aren't alone. And as for your dh, he can't understand because he's never lived it.

post #3 of 5

Damn, my post just got eaten. I have been diagnosed with panic disorder with agoraphobia/social anxiety and phobias(it sounds worse when I say it out loud like that than it is in real life.  Most casual acquaintances don't even know, or they just think I'm a little kooky or uptight).  I have trouble with decisions too but it's much more concrete.  For example, I'm worrying right now because i'm supposed to meet a friend at the gym at 4:30.  I've actually been anxious about it all day.  And it seems stupid and logically I KNOW it's irrational.  But that doesn't stop me from feeling anxiety about it.  I worry because my kids aren't gonna want to go and htey'll complain on the way there.  Then when we get out around 5:30, they'll be hungry and whining for dinner and having tantrums.  And then that'll bleed into bathtime, homework, and the nightly routine and I'll worry like this and feel racing heart and stress until bedtime when they are blissfully asleep.  And it makes me not want to make decisions because of the worry I know I'll feel.  But I can't go in the morning with just one of the kids because her sisters aren't there with her and she'll be mad abotu THAT too.  :(  So I avoid going.  But EVERY decision is like that from dinner time to the gym to errands to what outfit I put on.  THAT is anxiety.  It's irrational worry about stuff that people usually take for granted.  And it varies in severity.  Mine isn't crippling and I can still hide it in front of people.  But it does make me avoid going out or being in crowds and I have trouble making/keeping friends and making plans with them and my panic attacks are getting better but obviously I'm FAR from being well right now.  My therapist and I have a long road ahead.  This has been a problem my entire life but it's spiraled out of control since my separation/divorce in the last 5 years.  Obviously more stress and more problems leads to higher anxiety levels and more panic attacks and less control over everything in general.  So I'm not a model of anxiety control obviously ;) but I sympathize for sure.  It's debilitating when you cannot even go to the grocery store without analyzing what time of day to go for several hours or even what to eat for dinner that night.

post #4 of 5

Wow, this is so interesting to read about ...

 

I, too, will belabor the possible negative consequences of taking an action and thus talk myself out of taking the action.

 

I only recently realized that anxiety over the "what ifs" is probably at the root of my anger, as well.

 

I am so sorry both of you struggle with decision making.

 

Trying to think what strategies I use ... the good old pro/con list.  The "just do it" approach with a huge dollop of acceptance if things don't go perfectly.

 

I think maybe perfectionism accerbates the difficulty, too, doesn't it?

 

So, maybe aim for "good enough" and "at least I gave it a try" and maybe we can decide to do whatever it is.

 

Hugs!

 

M

post #5 of 5
Quote:
Originally Posted by meandmine View Post

Wow, this is so interesting to read about ...

 

I, too, will belabor the possible negative consequences of taking an action and thus talk myself out of taking the action.

 

I only recently realized that anxiety over the "what ifs" is probably at the root of my anger, as well.

 

I am so sorry both of you struggle with decision making.

 

Trying to think what strategies I use ... the good old pro/con list.  The "just do it" approach with a huge dollop of acceptance if things don't go perfectly.

 

I think maybe perfectionism accerbates the difficulty, too, doesn't it?

 

So, maybe aim for "good enough" and "at least I gave it a try" and maybe we can decide to do whatever it is.

 

Hugs!

 

M

 

I really believe that a "Type A" perfectionist personality is a contributor to anxiety disorders.    It is in my case anyway.  I have such a hard time with the "what ifs" and failure and rejection because I want everything/myself to be perfect so I analyze things to death and jump to the worst possible conclusions immediately.  

Regarding anger issues, I think you hit the nail right on the head there.  I had no idea why I was so angry and "ready to snap" all the time before being diagnosed.  But if you think about it rationally, being constantly anxious and overwhelmed and jumping to the worst case scenario on everything in life is stressful so of course you'll feel anger nearly constantly.  And my therapist gave me a sheet on the consequences of stress on the brain and the effects of cortisol on the brain but I don't have it in front of me right now.  One part of the brain gets less blood flow during times of stress/anxiety in the brain(in cortisol release) and part of the survival instinct/fight or flight response is to hold onto negative feelings, NOT activate the emotional "gear shifter" and to heighten the negative emotional response to stimuli.  That explains violent outbursts or the feeling of being ready to "snap" at the least provocation.  It made so much sense to me seeing that worksheet and realizing that it wasn't just that I was a negative person and a mean person but that my brain chemistry has gotten used to responding to my anxiety disorder and it was a response that was partly out of my control.  It was very emotionally freeing.

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