Feeling Anxiety over Children

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by jodiehooks, Aug 8, 2016.

  1. jodiehooks

    jodiehooks WEARY MOTHER

    Well, for now both of my children have homes, one in jail, soon to be prison, the other in Missouri (I am in Indiana). I should be able to relax, breath, as many of you have recommended. And to some degree I can. However I know with the release of my adult son in a year or two comes new worries which even though I can't do anything about, I am worried to death. He will face job rejections, denials to apartments, lack of family support due to his past drug convictions and mistrust in the general community not to mention having no drivers license.

    How do I just let go and when he gets out ignore all this? I know it is coming, it is just a matter of time, which is interfering with my current ability to just relax and totally enjoy my own life. I have a therapy appointment Wednesday, and I am sure I will be told to detach and that he is responsible for himself. But how painful it is for a mother who does not want to see the pain of homelessness and hunger and poverty again. Many of you have experienced the too, please send advise and comments, I am willing to meditate all this out and find a way for me to live with out this dread and anxiety.
  2. karisma

    karisma Member

    Oh JH, I am so sorry you are hurting like you are.
  3. karisma

    karisma Member

    Oh my gosh, I totally didn't mean to post that yet.....so moving along to what I was going to say:

    I am a world class worrier. Of the highest order. Big Big Big time. I do truly understand the problem of how it feels to know that something bad is coming once again. Doesn't it seem like we can never fully relax during the better times because we believe we know that they won't last?

    For me, I know that when my Difficult Child is doing "better", it is always a prelude to doing "worse" again and on and on and on. I no longer think about permanent changes, but tend to focus on "Is he freaking out today?" More than 50% of the time, the answer is "yes, he is completely freaking out". My focus then becomes "Is there anything I can do that will actually help?". Here my answer almost 100% of the time is "No, there is nothing I can do" and so, I get to just sit with my horrendous anxiety and sorrow---yeah, fun times.

    I have tried nearly everything in the world to alleviate my anxiety and sadness over this over the last 23 years. I am one of those people considered "treatment resistant", in the sense that the typical treatments for anxiety and depression do not work for me, in fact, they often exacerbate my problems.

    All my life, for instance, random people walking by me have said things like "Smile. It'll get better" and "Awww, it can't be that bad!" and "Turn that frown upside down!" etc etc. My emotions are quite visible on my face...I would be terrible at poker.

    There are other common phrases that well-meaning friends like to say to me (which I completely ignore): "Why would you worry about something you can't control?" My answer to this is " Being able to control something is not a prerequisite for worrying about it. I am fully capable of being afraid of the outcome and afraid of how I, and others, will be feeling after the outcome even though it is not controllable by me." I just had to say that to a very close friend the other day. She said " you make it too hard on yourself". I said "trust me, if there was any way I could do anything in the world to make it less hard, then I would" I. Can. Not. Talk. Myself. Out. of. My. Emotions.

    They have found a gene they believe is responsible for anxiety. I have always believed it is genetic in nature. I have reasons I believe this but very long to explain. Much has to do with upper level physiology of the brain classes I took in college.

    They only thing that has ever worked for me is to physically change the brain chemicals. The best way I have accomplished this was through psychiatry. There are medications available now that are very helpful to me. Abilify and Latuda are the two best I have ever tried. I used to be the glad recipient of benzos (Valium, Klonipin, etc), but I got into recovery and told my doctors I could not have things like that anymore, even if I begged for it in the future (which I have).

    I absolutely hate worrying. I would LOVE to be one of the people I know who worry about nothing, and take life as it comes. My grandmother was quite detached from her emotions. She cared about my mom, but did not let my mother's struggles or pain keep her from playing her bridge game "Oh, I am so sorry to hear that dear, gotta run, have a game..Kiss kiss bye now". Why oh why couldn't I have been more like her?

    Im sorry I don't have any decent advice. I just want you to know that you are not alone in the fine art of worrying about things in the future. Tons of hugs to you JH. Be well.
  4. Childofmine

    Childofmine trying to do this thing one day at a time Staff Member

    Jodie, I'm so sorry for all that you are going through.

    As my dear momma says: Worry is a fast getaway on a wooden horse. (aka: It takes you nowhere.)

    In Al-Anon I learned about "living in the moment." In fact, they talk about the fact that for most of us, most of the time...this...very...moment is truly...Just Fine. I mean, we are okay, for the most part. Right now.

    Learning to live in the "now" is a task. It doesn't come naturally.

    For Big Time Worriers like many of us, we will go way way way into the future...and even borrow trouble before it even has a chance to happen. It may not happen. The worst usually doesn't happen. But we do it anyway...don't we?

    How to stop. That is the question. Jodie, have you had a chance to go to Al-Anon? I sure hope you will consider it seriously. It is a lifesaver. It is free. It is a room full of people just like you and me. They have dealt with the things we have. They have learned---and are learning---still learning---how to let go and be happy. We all know how hard that is.

    I found that it was a process, stopping the incessant worrying. It took work. But it is possible. And it is the most freeing thing in the world.

    Hang in there. Enjoy this time. Relax. Breathe. You're okay. They are somewhere. Let the future take care of itself, and let them, as much as you can, take care of themselves.
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  5. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Hi Jodi, I know how you feel. When my son was locked up for two years I had such a sense of relief but then came time for him to be released.
    I can only speak of my personal experience and if I could go back in time and do it over again the only thing I would change is how long I continued to enable him.

    My son was locked up while we still lived in CO. When son was released I flew to CO to pick him up, brought him back here to the Midwest. We purchased a house for him to live in as there was no way he was going to stay with us. Trust issues you know!
    We bought him clothes, food and a cell phone. We told him our expectations were for him to get a job and start saving his money and eventually we would start charging him some rent. Our plan was to save the rent he paid and give it back to him once he was ready to move on from our help. That never happened. Long story short, he met a girl, they had a baby, they got married, they had another baby, girl figured out that he was no good and they divorced. Over this course of a 4 years we continued to help them out, now we had grandchildren to consider.
    The final straw for me was when he used a car that we had purchased for him to "pay" his landlord for back rent. He was supposed to make payments to us for the car. I had finally had enough and knew that there was nothing more I could do for him. We had given him every opportunity several times over and he preferred the party life and a life of wondering, couch surfing and pandering.

    I do not regret offering and trying to help him. The biggest benefit for me is I have wonderful grandchildren and their mother is like a daughter to me. I know that I did all I could for him but then again, I had already done all this many years before, before he was locked up for those 2 years.

    In hindsight I can see that I was desperate to get him to change into what I wanted him to be. You see there is a point in the enabling process that it can become more about what we want than what our children want. I wanted him to change, to become a responsible productive adult. I wanted that, he did not.

    My son lives a life that I don't agree with but I do finally accept. It's his life, he is a grown man of 34 and he is entitled to live his life the way he sees fit. I don't have to like it but I do have to accept it so that I can move on and live my own life.

    For me accepting that yes, the very worst could happen to my son and that would be that he dies and I would never know it, accepting this is key to my own survival. You see we can sit and wonder and worry about all kinds of horrible scenario's but it does us no good, in fact it harms us. Letting go of the worry and wondering is not easy but it is key to moving on from the chaos and
    drama that our adult difficult children can create in our lives.

    You have time to prepare for the day your son is released. I encourage you to not use that time worrying and wondering but instead setting boundaries. Set the boundaries that YOU are comfortable with and that will ensure your safety and mental health.

    Do I still wish my son would change, of course but only if he wants to make those changes for himself. I also am realistic enough to know that day may never come and I'm okay with that.

    It does not make us bad or uncaring parents to let our children go. We have raised our children as best we could, they are adults now. They have their own journey they must traverse. If they choose homelessness then so be it. That is their choice.

    Be good to yourself Jodi. Live YOUR life the way you want. Do things that will bring you joy and happiness.

    ((HUGS)) to you.........................
  6. so ready to live

    so ready to live Active Member

    Oh Jodie, so sorry for your anxiety.
    ..and I thought I was the biggest worrier of us all...
    But, COM is right-it takes work. Sometimes I felt like how can I work on me when I am already exhausted from working on everyone else? One more job for me? Ah-therein lies the problem. I wasn't doing MY OWN WORK, only that of others, my son mainly. AL-anon was very helpful to me to see my control issues.
    So what happens if you worry constantly for the next year about what will happen when he gets out? You will have lost a year.
    It won't change the outcome one iota, maybe things will be impossible for him or maybe he'll get a break somehow, BUT you will be one year older, having one year more of terrible stress eating you alive. For nothing. Save yourself Jodie. You're worth it. Prayers.
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  7. jodiehooks

    jodiehooks WEARY MOTHER

    Tanya M: Thank you so much for your post and your personal sharing of your story, this is really what I have needed is to hear from others what has happened and how others manage emotional issues dealing with difficult adult children. I do agree that with what you say, that it is his choice to live how he wants and the fear of facing the worst that could happen which is death or other physical problems such as freezing or starving or being beaten up or abused in other ways is my problem which apparently I don't have the stomach for. I have already lost an adult child to death but it was not related to his lifestyle, it was an accident that happened while he was a trucker delivering a load of material, and he ran upon an unmarked railroad crossing, crashing into the engine and exploding killing him immediately. Thank you for sharing your story, I will take strength from this.
  8. jodiehooks

    jodiehooks WEARY MOTHER

    Thank you so much for the encouragement!!
  9. jodiehooks

    jodiehooks WEARY MOTHER

    Tanya, I can relate a lot to what you say about me wanting to have him change into what I want him to be, I have however accepted that I cant make that happen, I just want him to be ok and for me to not have to have his life and safety in the back of my mind all the time. And that is the big problem, even when I am going about my business, letting go, doing for myself, all the things that are recommended and are common sense, it is always in the back of my mind.
  10. 1905

    1905 Well-Known Member

    I know how you feel. My husband once told me something that helped greatly on a day when I was so upset, walking on eggshells and worrying. He told me, "Our son's either gonna make or he's not, and there's nothing you do about it." That one instant changed my attitude around, it's true, I have to live my life. I try to put that worry farther back in my thoughts. I hope that helps.
  11. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Hugs to you all. I can surely relate to everything you have all said.

    It's teaching ourselves to NOT do what comes natural as a mother.

    It's very hard and I'm working on it also.
  12. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Jodie, I am so sorry for your loss. How very tragic. I would imagine that this event plays a roll in how you feel about your son that's in jail.
    You know what the grieving process is as you have been through it with your other son.
    While my son is still very much alive, I went through the grieving process as it was a way to help me let go. I grieved for the son I used to have. I grieved for all the hopes and dreams that I had for him as they did die. I will always love my son but I had to let go of him. When we hold onto to a person who is toxic to us it's as if we have a bolder tied to our foot and we are trying to tread water. We have to release that which is dragging us down.
    Again, I am so sorry for your loss.

    Of course it's always in the back of your mind. While I have very successfully detached from my son I still love him and he's always in the back of my mind. I have just gotten to a much better place in dealing with the emotions that are attached. It's not something that came easy or fast, it took time.

    You have a couple of years before your son will be released. That gives you time to get your emotions in order. Setting clear boundaries of what you will and won't put up with from him. Set these boundaries, take them in each day, let them become part of who you are, gain strength from them. When your son is released you will be prepared and you will stand firm in your resolve.
    You also need boundaries for while he's locked up. When my son was locked up he wanted to call all the time. I'm sure it was out of pure boredom. Those calls were very expensive. I told him he could call once a month and if he called more than that I would not accept the charges. He would also start using very ugly language. I made it clear to him that if he started cussing that I would end the call. There was also to be no whining or complaining or I would end the call. As for money on his account, in the beginning I did until he started complaining that there wasn't anything good at the "commissary" where he could purchase extra food stuff.

    NOTE: Take this as a friendly warning. Never ever give your son any personal information about you. Social Security number, Mother's maiden name, your birth year, etc.......
    A couple of months before my son was released he wrote me a letter saying that in order for him to get an ID when he got out that he would need MY social security number. I called the prison and asked them about it and they told me under no circumstances should I give that info to my son. It's a scam that prisoners will use and is a way to start the process of stealing your identity so they can get credit cards when they get out.

    Hang in there Jodie!!

    You will get through this, you are a survivor!

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  13. savior no more

    savior no more Active Member

    Touche - that is exactly the heart of it. I'm trying while my son is in jail and heading to prison to detach from the sentencing and the outcome. He may truly want something else but at times I wonder if he's capable of being different. In the end it doesn't matter because I don't control it at all. Sometimes when things are peaceful I'll attach to some worry probably for the adrenaline boost.