Coping with the daily stress...how do you do it?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Ehlena, Oct 20, 2009.

  1. Ehlena

    Ehlena New Member

    I used to feel very mentally healthy, but I really don't anymore. I go through my day with a high level of anxiety, and I feel like I may be sliding into a depression. I'm never quite sure what difficult child is going to do next, and I see that's a common theme here. How do you all keep the stress at bay?

    MidwestMom suggested we get our difficult child in for a neuro-psychiatric evaluation, but husband isn't interested. He's pretty sure that difficult child's behavioral problems are from the ADHD and his family issues.

    I'm trying to detach myself emotionally from difficult child's problems. But it's really hard not to worry about his grades (nearly all F's), feel anxiety about what I'm going to find when I come home from work, or to feel hurt when he disrespects or insults me.

    I try to think the best of him, but then I'm depressed and disappointed if he goes in the opposite direction. And if I start to think of the bad things he might do, I feel guilty if it turns out he's behaved himself.

    I find myself hiding things because I don't want him to touch them. And then I'm always double-checking my stashes to make sure they're still hidden. I can't tell him not to touch something or eat something or use something and trust him not to do it.

    I am in daily contact with his teachers. I'm tired.

    I feel like I'm living life in a haze right now. Our counselor has urged us to be more positive, so here I am, telling difficult child that I'm proud of the work he's done and that I hope he has a good day...after he insulted me. How am I supposed to stay positive??
     
  2. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    Besides trying to find ways to nurture yourself, though activities you enjoy whenever you can fit them in (along with the counseling), I would strongly recommend discussing the whole situation with your doctor. Medication has made all the difference in the world for me, and although I highly resent having been driven to that point by my difficult child, I am so thankful that medications are there to help me and they really have worked. Like you, anxiety is my primary challenge, and there are specific medications geared toward the anxiety as well as the depression.

    Personally, I would consult with a psychiatrist rather than a GP if you can. I have sure gotten better results from that approach, because the psychiatrists are so much more knowledgeable about the specifics of those medications, and I think you are less likely to have failed attempts, less effective combinations and dosages, etc. Personally, I wasted a lot of time feeling worse than I had to, because I delayed going that route, thinking my GP could handle it. When it comes to the fine-tuning, the dosage specifics both up and down, seeing the specialist sure has given me a smoother path. Chemical jerking around is the last thing you need right now. Good luck.
     
  3. LoveMyDuke

    LoveMyDuke Guest

    My situation is a bit different…but also sort of similar. I’m also in the step role to an almost 12 y.o. boy whose bio-mom is alcohol/drug addicted and MIA. He displays basically all of the same issues…defiance, opposition, rages, swearing, lies, refusal to comply, bossy, mean, no frustration tolerance, can't trust him with anything, ARGUMENTATIVE. He pretty much runs the gamut of behavioral issues.

    There are so many wonderful, knowledgeable, amazing people on this board who will give you guidance and advice. Me…not so much. I’m having trouble coping myself and actually in the process of “getting out.” I get it from both my SO and his son and just can’t take it anymore. But you sound like an amazing stepmom…the kind of stepmom I tried to be; actually WANTED to be at one point.

    I hope your husband comes around, because MWMom is right…I think a neuropsychologist evaluation is well overdue. I used to administer NP tests (not interpret them—I’m not a clinician) and can tell you that these tests are extremely comprehensive. If you can find a good psychologist, you will learn a lot about your difficult child. Just my two cents’…do some research, maybe with some facts under your belt husband will come around and agree to testing? I mean, what can it hurt? Is he in denial that maybe his son has more problems than just ADHD?

    My coping mechanism has been to detach entirely. I stay away and do not get involved at all anymore in his parenting, school, discipline, etc. Probably not an option for you, but that’s how I manage to stay sane. That and counseling for myself. I’m learning to focus on doing good things for ME.

    At any rate, I just wanted to offer my hugs and support. I know to some degree what you are going through. Difference is, I do not love my SO’s son. Not by a long-shot, actually. I’ve known him only 3 years, and quite frankly, he makes my life a living hell. But that’s me, not you, and you sound wonderful.

    Best of luck. Stick around this Board and keep posting….you will find some amazingly strong and insightful people here that will help make sense of the insanity. Or at least offer a shoulder to cry on.
     
  4. Ehlena

    Ehlena New Member

    If this goes on for another week, I think I will consider talking to my doctor. Sometimes I feel better, and sometimes I don't. A lot of the times I'm at a fight-or-flight response level, though I'm trying to just let it go. I am really starting to dread going home.

    LoveMyDuke, I'm sorry to hear of your situation. I read your thread, and I hope you can get Coco out of there. I'm an animal lover too, and that poor dog must be suffering. I'm lucky to have an amazing husband who treats me as an equal parent, backs me up, and is the best parent that difficult child could have. Unfortunately, difficult child doesn't seem to recognize this. husband is struggling like I am, sometimes moreso. After all, he's the one that difficult child has falsely accused of abusing him.

    I don't feel immune, though. I'm pretty sure I'm going to get lumped in there too, one of these days.
     
  5. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    From a physiological response standpoint, you sound a lot like me. Has your blood pressure been checked lately? Those frequent "fight or flight" responses triggered me to have a continuing problem in that area. Even if you only have elevations during those times, a key is how often are you in that mode. I'd get a home monitor and check it out, because they aren't that expensive. It would be good info for your doctor to see what is happening there in your daily course of life, not just in his/her office. What I was ultimately told was that I was spending so much time in "fight or flight" mode that it was dangerous not to medicate the blood pressure. On the other hand, maybe the adrenaline rushes aren't doing that to you. I hope that is the case.
     
  6. MonicaRN

    MonicaRN New Member

    OMG. I just found this site and read this post. I am in the same place. I don't know if I can make it another day. I just found out, my daughter was diagnosis with Conduct Disorder and I was told yesterday. She is 16 and the last 2 years have been hell. Everyday I dread because I know either the school is going to call or a parent or even the cops.

    I am so glad I found this group.
     
  7. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Definitely see a doctor for yourself and do nice things for you. For me the biggest stress relief is exercise. It truly helps me to have a much more positive outlook on things. Sending gentle hugs your way.
     
  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    How do I cope?

    Some days, I give in to temptation.:morecrackers:
    Some days, I sit back and relax.:wine:
    Some days, I give myself permission to cut loose.:1stapril:
    Some days, I break down. :9-07tears:

    Some days, I hang out here a lot. :laugh:

    But mostly I try to take things one day at a time, knowing that eventually, with my persistence, things will get better. They might get worse before they get better, but I have faith and hope that they WILL get better.
     
  9. TPaul

    TPaul Idecor8

    Welcome monica,
    We are glad you found the board too. It helps more to have people that understand what we go through, than anyone could ever, ever imagine.

    I suggest, as will others I am sure, to get you daughter into a good psychiatrist and possibly a phyic evaluation as soon as possible. Many on the board, and I am leaning that way, believe that the ODD or COD, is a side affect if you will, of another underlying cause. My difficult child originally seen to have ODD but after a very short while he was diagnosed as Bipolar or BiPolar (BP). My wife is BiPolar (BP) so I pretty much knew that his actions where most likely BiPolar (BP) related.

    Are there any other members of your family circle that have had any kind of problems?

    welcome again
    t.paul
     
  10. TPaul

    TPaul Idecor8

    Welcome ehlena to the board,
    So glad you found a shelter from the storms of life that living with a difficult child send our way.

    The anxeity is completely understood. I to agree though that you should talk to someone about getting some thing to help you through the rough spots. Nothing to be ashamed of or look down upon, in needing something to help us through difficult emotianal times. I know that in times past I surely wish that I would have sought help when things where so bad with wife.

    Find something that you really enjoy doing, whether it be an activity, hobby, gardening, etc.... and use that to help ease the stress as you give yourself and your thoughts to that which you enjoy. For me it is decorating and without having an outlet to do it, I have no doubt that I would crumble in a minute.

    Again Welcome,
    T. Paul
     
  11. tictoc

    tictoc New Member

    Hi,
    Good question...How DO all of us cope??? I am a type A, love to be in control person and having a difficult child throws a wrench into that, now doesn't it? I am also prone to anxiety and not knowing day-to-day what life will be like makes my anxiety worse. So, I end up being tense and having a headache.

    So, what do I do? I go to the gym six days a week and exercise like mad. I also take medication for mild depression and anxiety. I speak weekly with a very compassionate psychotherapist. I go weekly for physical therapy to keep the muscle tension under control and keep the headaches away. I eat a lot of chocolate...good chocolate. I set aside one morning a week to hang out with my easy child and move at her pace. I read this board daily (or twice daily). I go out with friends once a month. I eat bacon :drool:. I read good books. I avoid things that make me feel bad, like alcohol (my body just can't handle it anymore). I buy myself trashy magazines and read them in the bathtub.

    Does all of this work? Sometimes. Not always. But, I try to give myself something to look forward to every day. At the very least, I look forward to going to the gym in the morning. It makes me feel good and I enjoy watching bad talk shows while I'm there.

    With all that said, I will say that a year ago I felt much more bleak. I was in constant pain from anxiety, was more than a little depressed, and felt like everything was falling apart. Medication, therapy, PT, and exercise have helped that a lot. It took a lot of work to get from that point to where I am now, where I can find other things to do that I enjoy and take the initiative to do them.

    So, talk to your doctor. Your reaction to having a difficult child is natural, but there are things you can do to help you cope.

    Good luck.
     
  12. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Hi, Ehlena! To answer your question...I don't always cope. There are days I scream, days I eat way too much, days I sleep all day so I don't have to look at or talk to anyone. But most of the time, I'm OK. I read a lot, watch mindless TV, check in here, pet my dog, and pray.
     
  13. bearded one

    bearded one New Member

    How? Sometimes not so well! What helps is a big woodpile of rounds, a splitting maul and two wedges. The gym has a heavy bag that is now decorated with duct tape. Even then, there are days that I just dread, knowing I'm going to have to deal with all of the nonsense that gets flung my way dealing with an ODD child. Then it's time for quiet music and prayer.
     
  14. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    I did what everyone else has mentionedl; some days I drank too much, I took up smoking temporarily, I ate to soothe at times and I didn't even know I was doing that. I screamed and yelled, left the house for time outs, cried a lot, felt sorry for myself, my family and my difficult child, considered sending her away at times. You name it, I think we've all felt it.

    Just when I really could not stand to be around her and had a difficult time thinking anything good about my dear difficult child, I gave up. I involuntarily surrendered and realized that part of my problem was trying to change her, trying to make her fit into my ideals of how she should 'be'. The I researched a bit about 'acceptance' and discovered that there was a large piece of difficult child's behavior that I had no control over no matter how hard I tried and I practiced acceptance. There is a way about my difficult child that will always be a part of her personality - no matter what I think of it - and I slowly learned to accept that part of her and let go of how I felt about it. As she grew older, *meaning this past year*, I also learned detachment from not only those behaviors but also of my having to take repsonsibility for HER actions. When she was still in school, I practiced that in regards to he completing her homework, etc., and subsequently she failed classes and had to attend summer school. Her problem, not mine. She had to pay me back for the cost of summer school and - ouch! - she didn't like that. Miraculously, she graduated. At my last PPT with her educators I told them that I was done - if they wanted her to graduate so badly, then they can hound her, I would not. That was the beginning of my detachment - without even realizing truly what I was doing, but knowing I was just plain old tired. And that worked out great - in fact, when I received the call telling me she would graduate, I cried with relief. She had made the turn she needed to make so she could get that piece of paper. Without me getting into it with her every night. Of course, the year following her graduation was he//, but a story for another time.

    So, aside from the usual advice, which is to make sure you take time to nurture yourself and spend time around other healthy adults, let go a little. Accept a little. Let go and accept; Accept and let go.

    And, depending on the age of your difficult child, override H's ruling about having him/her evaluated. If in your gut you think it may be helpful - do it. Having a definitive diagnosis helped me and helped H in the ways we disciplined and learned to understand a bit about our difficult child, and eventually, how to treat her medically.

    Hugs and best of luck.

    ps: My difficult child still upsets me at times, but at least now I don't feel responsible for her choices and actions. I hold her responsible to me for her place in our home, but that's it. Her life, not mine. Her consequences, not mine.
     
  15. emotionallybankrupt

    emotionallybankrupt New Member

    I have a friend who has a collection of great one-liners. When she shoots me one, I often carry it around with me for a while. The one from last week: "Don't get on the roller coaster with them." Me? I've been riding front seat for a while now.
     
  16. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I find the word cope to be a bit understated for difficult children. It's more a matter of survival. ;)

    Seriously, don't put off going to the doctor next week ~ do it now. You cannot handle what is going on in your home if you do not put your health & yourself first. The health is a must.

    I play (figuratively speaking) piano & I do artwork. I can lose myself in a painting or in my music. Before I could do that though I had to get into counseling along with various & sundry medications for anxiety/depression. It's not unusual for parents of difficult children to feel as though they have "failed" their children in one way or the other & the depression sets in.

    That is negative thinking & won't help. Get thee off to the doctor ASAP. Put your difficult children antics on the back burner - she may enjoy having you off her back while you take care of you for a bit.
     
  17. MICHL

    MICHL New Member

    I take zoloft daily, have suffered depression my whole life. Also I exercise & my current hobbie is beading, other than that I keep busy doing housework and have a FT job. Lately though i have been having trouble sleeping. I'm very worried about difficult child's present and future, and have anxiety about that, in addition to the day to day constant challenges, disrespect, etc. It's not what I expected my child would be like and I don't like my life, but i'm just trying to cope and make the best of it. I'm just getting by, barely, it seems.....
     
  18. lizzie09

    lizzie09 lizzie

    I have a friend who has a collection of great one-liners. When she shoots me one, I often carry it around with me for a while. The one from last week: "Don't get on the roller coaster with them." Me? I've been riding front seat for a while now.

    Great !! How on earth do you get off the roller coaster...mine often goes at such speed! THINK Iwill jump into the unknown !

    Its all quite difficult at times to detach...I too have problems sleeping thought
    it might be after hysterectomy but its also anxiety at night about whats going on or not as the case may be.
     
  19. lizzie09

    lizzie09 lizzie

    Thanks so much for this....great post! My kind of gal!
     
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