Enabling a person with Panic Anxiety/Depression, Highly Sensitive disorders

by Doris
(Cleveland)

I am the mother of a 50 year old daughter who has issues with depression, panic-anxiety disorder and is a highly sensitive person. We began living together 7 years ago, after her sister and nephew could no longer take her "moods." At the time I was living in another city, they were having so much trouble that I moved back to the city where they were and bought a house for me and the daughter who has these issues (for the sake of this story I will call her Christina).

I have suffered at her hands for these 7 years, and I know that I have picked up the pieces when needed, instead of allowing her to do it. She cannot keep a job -- there is always something wrong with it or with someone on the job, changes jobs often, some of the time -- no job.

When things are going well with her, she's loving and a nice person. But at the times that she's in a bad mood, all hell breaks loose and I too am the brunt of her anger. She will throw things, slam doors, etc. and talk really bad to me. I am sick and tired, but cannot seem to get the strength to move out and leave her to herself. I know that she is ill, and as her mother find it difficult to leave her to herself.

She sees a therapist sometime, but not often enough due to lack of health insurance. I too, see a therapist some time. There are times I see one on a regular basis. I have applied for a seniors apt and it will be available within the next 6 months. I want to move, but have trouble fluctuating between "she needs me" and "I need to let her be." If anyone else can relate to this or has some advice, please respond.

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Jul 22, 2013
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i need help
by: Anonymous

my 36 yrs. old son is so alone. he has smoked pot since he was about 12 yrs old. he has a brother o yr. younger, this son has moved on with his life and left me with chris. he has no friends, he does work but evenings and weekends he just sits on the couch. I moved out of his apt. because it was breaking my heart to see how much 0f life he has missed. now I cry all the time knowing he is there alone. I have always helped him financially. he is a kind person. he will say he does not mind being alone. why is it killing me?

Apr 15, 2011
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ACA
by: Anonymous

Dear Anonymous, I sure don't envy you. I know what this has meant in my life. At this time I am planning to move out to an apartment. Christina has grown quite a bit within the last few months. It has happened since she's been off work on disability leave. She's happier, sweeter, and more like herself without the other conditions. I don't know why, but she is so different. I know she suffers a lot of stress on jobs she has held in the past. Now that that stress is off her, she seems more normal. She and I agree that we both would like to live alone. Our living together was not to be forever anyway. We're both looking forward to it. I know that there may be times that she needs me, and I won't be far away, but don't intend to take up her 'slack'. I will have to be strong in order to allow her to grow. Pray with me and I will for you also. See if you can speak to her therapist, she may have some advice for you. Thanks for responding.

Apr 14, 2011
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I'm in a similar situation
by: Anonymous

My sister has anxiety/panic/depression. She can't leave the house unless someone is with her, so every week I have to do errands with her. I have my own family and this is very hard on me. It's like I have a child that will never grow up. She gets very mad at me when I try to talk about her recovery. She is in therapy but I don't think it's helping.
I am the only person she can lean on but I can't do this for the rest of my life. I really don't know what to do, I am trapped. I feel like moving to a different state to get away from her.

Jan 02, 2011
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Love the Quote
by: Artist, Kathleen D. Cone

This sight is wonderful, as the saying goes--

"when the student is ready, the teacher will appear."

Just wanted to say how much I love this quote! It rings so true! *Kathy

Dec 28, 2010
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Thanks Don
by: Doris

Thank you Don for your input. I had never heard of ACA but after exploring that link I do believe that it fits Christina and myself. Unfortunately, no therapist has ever mentioned the possibility that we may be suffering from that syndrome, but it all makes sense. I will pursue it further.This sight is wonderful, as the saying goes--"when the student is ready, the teacher will appear." Thanks again.

Dec 25, 2010
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Adult Child Syndrome
by: Don

Hi Again Doris,

From this information it does appear that at least part of the roots of Christina's issues are in Adult Children of Alcoholics Syndrome (ACA). You are also likely to see yourself in the "Laundry List" of symptoms (see the link below for that list - copy and paste it into the address bar of your browser)

http://www.adultchildren.org/lit/Laundry_List.php

As you read the list keep in mind that people take one of three approaches to coping with these symptoms; 1. Some people just give into them (Surrendering to and Internalizing them) 2. Some people ignore them and/or avoid any situation that might trigger them (Avoidance & Denial)and 3. Some people fight those symptoms (Externalizing and Projecting them onto others)

To learn more about Internalizers (Possibly you) and Externalizers (Possibly Christina) go the link below:

http://www.internet-of-the-mind.com/abandonment.html#intext

Scroll up to the part that is titled "the Scab of Contempt" once you get there. Let me know if any of that fits.

Take Care!
Don Carter

Dec 25, 2010
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Enabling a person with Panic Anxiety/Depression, Highly Sensitive Disorders
by: Doris

Christina does not use drugs of any kind, no acohol or other hard drugs. I must say though that her father was an alcoholic until his death at 56. Fortunately, neither of my two children (ages 54 and 50) even like alcohol and does not indulge in any drugs. It seems that even though she does not do drugs that she still exibits some of the same behaviour that alcoholic do. She tells me that it is her illness that causes her to act this way and that I shouldn't take it personal (her therapist also told me that). However, it's still hard to take and I cannot overlook the fact that some of what she does impacts me and my life. When the "meltdown" is over she's a loving daughter. Life in general overwhelms her, her stress level is very low. I hope this additional info helps. I attended alanon for many years for support during my husband's life. I know it is a lifetime program and I still talk with people in that group and my spiritual family as well. I am 77 years old and don't get out too much anymore. Again, thanks to all of you.

Dec 24, 2010
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Hi Doris
by: Don

I sure don't envy your position, especially at this time of year. There are no easy answers to your situation. That's partly because the specific situations are so different from one person to the next that what works for some of us may not work for others...

So all we can do is give general ideas; learning to use them and adapt them to your unique situation is a job for you AND your recovery support network (12-step group, counselor, recovery coach, church group, spiritual adviser, recovering friends, etc).

The first suggestion I would make is to build a recovery support network of people who actually know something about dealing with boundaries, codependency, addictive relationships, and recovery from such things.

If Christina abuses substances or has other compulsive/addictive behaviors, then she must get help for that before you can be of any help to her. You will only end up as sick as she is if you don't have the support group and knowledge to deal with her issues.

You must take care of yourself and stay healthy if you are going to learn how to be useful to her...otherwise you just help become part of the problem. Not the cause of the problem, but part of the problem. So I would say you need to start there...

I am interested in hearing more about other possible addictions and compulsions that may be an issue. Rage can be an addictive emotion because of the adrenalin. Does she abuse substances, shop too much, problems with gambling, etc.?

Keep coming back and ask any questions you'd like...We will do our best to answer them.

Don Carter

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