Therapy for us parents - does it help?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by allhaileris, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    I went to my first therapy session on Monday. I HAD to go because of a lawsuit dealing with a hospital induced injury and the PTSD that came with it, I really don't want to get into explaining that injury.

    At the end of the session she basically said that my life has been the most stressful it's ever been or ever will be, and what do I do to relieve stress. Well, cr*p, nothing much because nobody will ever give me time. The only way to reduce stress is to not have to difficult children at home (daughter and husband, cause he's one too). I can't just run away. If I didn't have a family to take care of, I could find the time to have "downtime" which in my opinion is the only de-stressor for me. Those people who live with me won't ever leave me alone. Even if husband says "leave your mom alone" I can hear them in the next room.

    So I'm wondering a couple things from you experienced parents, what do you do to help yourselves? And do you find therapy helping at all?

    And I'm not talking about walk on a beach, take a bath kind of answers because neither of those help, I'm not a squishy girly-girl who likes flowers and pink. Watching a zombie movie or listening to punk rock helps me more. But those things aren't cutting it like they would before (I assume because of the PTSD and my thyroid). I *know* I should exercise, but have to deal with pain that makes it hard to do so (see injury above) and the fact I'm dealing with hypothyroidism now (just started medications, I'm more tired, waiting for increase in medications currently). I won't get a single ounce of being relaxed in anybody else's house, nor can I get those people to leave the house for like a month solid to let me relax in my own house (they maybe give me an hour a month, in my own home). I have no money at all to spend on myself, or if I do, I feel total guilt about it. I kind of feel like I'll never get de-stressed for another decade. Oh, and when I had the chance to relax a couple months ago when we went on vacation? husband screwed that up for me entirely by getting drunk on most the nights, making me responsible parent, as well as drinking all the drinks so I had none (he normally barely drinks too). Oh, and I work full time and husband is a SAHD. Did I mention he's a difficult child??

    I really don't like talking about my feelings. I think it's one of the autistic traits in me. I'm too Vulcan. I can say I'm sad or depressed, but not this whole novel about why or how it actually makes me feel. The therapist asked if I was lonely. Nope, I wish I was more alone. Sure, I wish I had friends that lived closer (they're too spread out), but I get bothered when there are too many people around or for too long. I kind of just wanted her to say "yes, you have PTSD" and send a letter to my lawyer. She wants me to come in every week to discuss how I can fraking destress myself. I agreed to come in next week, but I really don't want to do anything at all. I just want some magic wand waved over me.

    My husband won't ever shut up. I am fairly certain he has slight aspergers and ADD. Therapist didn't seem to understand I can't just make him shut up or leave me alone without majorly hurting him because he just doesn't get it. If this was one of your kids, how could you convince she or he to let you be? Is it possible at all? My daughter will actually leave me alone, as long as I let her watch TV or play her dress up doll game on the computer. But that's only usually if husband is home, if he's gone she usually wants to be glued to me, and I'll try to find us something fun or relaxing to do. I barely mentioned the issues with daughter and I'm guessing this lady doesn't have the slightest idea how hard it is to deal with my own issues, work, be mom to my daughter and wife to husband.

    I kind of feel like the only way I will ever feel "normal" (in the sense of moods) is to not work at all, be able to cook, sew, garden, smoke pot all day (I do have a prescrip), go out and shoot photos, and watch as many movies as I myself, all the time. Instead I work, work, work some more, cook when I don't feel like it, have a garden that needs tending, a camera that has been out of batteries for months, have to take many pills to deal with my issues, and never be able to watch TV as much as I want without getting a guilt trip from husband.

    How the heck am I supposed to do this therapy thing? Is talking supposed to help? Because all it did was point out how s*cky I have it. I could complain forever and that'll never help a thing.
  2. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Lordy, I wish I had the answer for you. Sadly, many of us (minus the PTSD) live in a stress filled environment with no easy answers. If it makes you feel any better at all, Sandy, you are not alone. IF the Therapist is a decent fit for you, I think it would be wonderful to be able to honestly and freely vent. Your issues may remain the same but it's possible that the pressure might be slightly relieved by just telling someone how you truly feel. Many hugs. DDD
  3. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    I suppose talking helps otherwise you would not have started this thread. But you do need to talk with someone who you believe can understand you.
    I don't know about your law suit, but living with one or more difficult child is extremely difficult on its own. It is a stress that never ends...
    I remember going to V's therapy and litteraly falling apart in front of the therapist. She asked me if I had ever faced extreme stress before for a long period. I did and explained. She then asked me how I pulled through. I explained again. With that, she was able to tell me about my specific kind of coping mechanism (and no, long walks on the beach are/were not in the cards for me). And she simply concluded that I could do it again.
    It might sound very simplistic, but this little conversation with the therapist helped me A LOT. But I knew this therapist understood the complexity of raising V.
    As far as needing some quiet time, I would tell V that I need some time for myself, make sure he is busy with an activity he likes. I would give him some reminders when he forgets and show him on the clock when he can talk to me again.
    Or I just forget about the guilt and "dump" the kids on husband and go grocery shopping on my own and treat myself to something I like or a drink... That's the best I can do right now and it does help. If husband is busy, too bad. I need it for my sanity and he has come to understand it.
  4. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Therapy helped me a lot! The best thing I do to relieve stress is exercise. It is an incredible mood booster.
  5. Anxworrier

    Anxworrier New Member

    Ok so I don't have PTSD or an injury, but I totally get the "it's never gonna get better" feeling. That kind of dark feeling that this it, this is my life. And I get pi***y and resentful of my friends who don't have difficult children. It isn't freaking fair! But there it is.

    Ok I'm with you on the exercise thing. Bt I have no excuses not to start doing something. Maybe you can do gentle yoga somewhere or buy a cd? Or just walk? Im sorry, pot meet kettle.....I am going to try to make it a goal to start something soon. We have a Youfit near us which is cheap. My other goal is to make an appointment with a counselor. Tis ones gonna be hard. I know I will cry, and it is exhausting to tell my story...and frankly I'd rather curl up on the couch with my TiVo remote, especially now that fall season is here! Tv is my absolute favorite thing. But since my little spiraling into a dark hole with difficult child school problems, I have no appetite, no desire to watch tv, and my heads filled with endless feelings of dread and certainty that my kid will fail 7,8,9,10,11,12th grade and end up in jail.

    So we need to get some positive self talk going..and your therapist might be able to let you vent, give you some good ideas of how to take care of you, give it a chance. You are a huge step ahead of me in that you've been to an appointment! Best of luck!!
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I never could find a therapist that I could trust - had ONE for a short-term boost back when I was single, nothing since. Not for lack of trying.

    However. I do know a fair bit about the need to maintain your own sanity.

    And no, it doesn't have to be bubble-bath or chick-flicks. LOTS of us are driven by different drummers. But you do need to find, for starters, ONE good outlet. So, I'm going to make a suggestion - not that you would actually DO this, but just to get you thinking...

    What would happen if you were to polish up that camera, and take it with you to work... either leave 20 minutes early, or come home 20 minutes late. Stop somewhere enroute, and... do some photography. Give yourself that 20 minute break for each working day, and then find another 20 minutes on your non-working days to work with the pics. It's a small thing. Just 20 minutes. But... 20 minutes a day doing something you love doing, can be a really BIG mental health break.
  7. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I totally understand where you're coming from, including PTSD but without health issues beyond arthritis. I'm broke, overweight, have a bad back, and am the opposite of a girlie-girl. Since I am a single parent of 2 difficult children, I totally get the feeling of frustration and isolation and being overwhelmed. Therapy helped for awhile because I could dump all the s*** on her and not have to carry it around by myself. Just venting helped the stress. I stopped because I started sounding like a broken record and therapist got frustrated because her suggestions weren't options for me (she was married with easy child kids). Financially, we are barely scraping by. What I find helps me is LOUD music on the radio while I'm driving to and from work, grocery store, ect. I also stay up for at least an hour after my kids go to sleep to do whatever it is I want to do. Sometimes that means putting my headphones on and crank the volume up on my MP3 or even just my CD player.

    {{{{(((HUGS)))}}}} and tons of support!!
  8. Liahona

    Liahona Guest

    Could you hide in the bathroom from husband? Take a laptop in there and watch the 13th warrior on youtube. I document behaviors as a way to destress. I can put it all down on the paper and then I don't have to carry it around anymore.

    husband uses headphones to block us out. He has his ipod thing with headphones plugged into it with a movie going. He also goes into his room, locks the door, and then uses his headphones to block us out. Therapy has helped husband in the past because he was working on a specific problem. Recently, therapy has not worked for him because the therapists here don't understand adults with autism.

    Therapy has worked for me in the past but only with the right personality in the therapist. I've fired a few.

    Good luck
  9. confuzzled

    confuzzled Member

    ptsd'r here too with 2 difficult child's and a husband who adds a whole bunch of chaos to my life....

    i personally found individual therapy pretty impossible. i've had more than one therapist over the years and i have yet to find one who doesnt make those inane suggestions like "take care of yourself", or "cant you find a hobby outside the house" or "why dont you just take time and even go for a date night with husband".... (uh huh---if any of that was remotely possible i probably wouldnt need therapy).

    but what i usually DO find slighly helpful is more of a group approach with parents of other difficult children who have been there and know better. it can be formal or informal--sometimes the best support has come out of say, a seminar on IEP's or even during a chatfest in a waiting doesnt necessarily need to be a formal group therapy approach, but that can be helpful too.

    its still very hard to cope. its not a perfect system but its the best i've found for me. i really cant take some perky young thing who's just out of college with book-learnin' solutions....i need people who have been there done that with real live solutions.

    i hope YOU can find what works for YOU....feel better!!
  10. Bunny

    Bunny Guest

    Seeing a therapist helped me ALOT when difficult child was at his worst. It was a safe place to say the things that I really wanted to say, but couldn't at home, and it actually helped me to see things from difficult child's point of view, which in turn helped me to help him becuase I had a new perspective on him.
  11. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Just being able to vent to someone who wasn't part of the situation helped me. I complained. I b*tched and moaned. My therapist wasn't a great fit, but she listened - and that was enough to get me past the hump. Now, once she started in on my grieving process I had to back away because I felt she was telling me how I should feel, and, well, she had NO CLUE. However - just that outlet. Someone who was not a friend or family member. Bonus, I scheduled my appointments for just enough after work that I had to kill some time without anyone else - I'd get off work at 4:30, head in the general direction of her office (30 minutes away)... But my appointment wasn't till 6 PM... So.
  12. hipperq

    hipperq New Member

    I've had I think 6 therapists since my son was diagnosed, 13 years ago. Two were pretty good, three were awful, never went back, and the one I have now is a really good (but not perfect) fit. Talking about what is going on helps. Having her point out things I don't see about my own stress helps. Talking to someone who won't be hurt by whatever I'm thinking/saying is very helpful.

    I'm a hobby photographer, too. I do bugs mostly at the moment. Sometimes 10 minutes of flipping a couple rocks over to see what's underneath or checking out whatever's blooming near my house can put a little spot of fun and exciting in my life.

    When the kids were younger and I was at home all day, the minute my husband would walk in the door I'd tell him "I quit" and go sit on the front porch for 15 minutes.

    Walking helps a lot. My psychiatrist told me I should not nap in the morning as soon as I get the last kid on the bus (what I'd really like to do) and to walk instead. I hate it until I'm actually out the door, then I'm glad I did it. Doesn't work as well in the winter, though.

    I read a lot. When I'm stressed I can't deal with novels (I get all caught up in the characters' stress) but I will read magazines or non-fiction. Making a list of the little, good or funny things that happened to me on a given day has helped, particularly when I feel like every day has been exactly the same: torture, and every day from now on will be, too.

    I like to sing, loudly and badly. Boogieing to music while doing chores is a real de-stressor for me. Reading on line about other people's struggles helps me feel much less alone. Prayer used to do much the same, both prayers someone else read (that reminded me that people have been dealing with issues like mine for hundreds of years) and prayer of my own asking for help, acknowledging what I'm going through or being thankful for the good things I also have. I don't use that one as much any more.

    But the biggest help of all for me is actually face-to-face chatting with other moms, particularly moms with at least somewhat challenging children. Playdates worked, if I could sit and talk while the kids were playing. Support groups worked. sometimes I'd just run into someone waiting to pick my kids up from some activity and we'd hit it off. Occasionally a family member will help, too.

    Good luck, hang in there. Just asking yourself questions about what you could possibly do to make life more tolerable is a step in the right direction. And remember, this, too, will pass; life will be different (and probably better) in the future.
  13. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    Thanks all. I guess this is my "group therapy" being here. The only group here that I know of meets during work hours. I'd love to be able to take some time between work and home, but we only have one car. I could take the bus, but it's an hour home instead of a 10 min drive. husband picks me up and immediately starts talking. I've asked him before to give me 10 minutes of quiet and he just can't do it. Can't be quiet in the morning either when I'm just not awake, it takes me like an hour to really wake up. I'm also having some auditory processing issues (had a hearing test, it came out beyond fine, but my brain is mixing up letters in words and I can't hear well in noisy areas). So the constant talking is actually even worse on my brain because I can't process it correctly all the time. Watching TV is fine because the pictures make up for the words I miss, or the story will explain it later.

    We're big Renaissance Faire geeks and this weekend is the first of five weekends that we go work it. Before I always did the same thing and husband and daughter. This year I got a different job on purpose, so I could have a break from them, and take daughter from husband when he needs to do his thing. My goal is to work in the morning and then be able to take some naps during the day while they're busy. This will also give me some time to go do some photos by myself. It'll also give me some time to spend with friends. This is one of those things that is super hard work to get prepped for, but totally worth it. It stresses me though, the getting ready. husband still hasn't sorted the tents from us moving, there is a pile that is like half a car that is all camping stuff and he has to match the poles with the good tent. I saw a huge bug out in the garage a week ago and I'm scared to sort through them myself (husband thinks it was a potato bug, I think it was a 10 legged hairless conjoined twin mouse, I trapped it under a box, put a drill on it, and in the morning it was gone).

    I love to read, but nobody at home will let me read, husband just talks to me when I have a book in my hand, it's so disrespectful. I used to read all the time on BART, many years ago, I could get through a book a week, but now I'm lucky if I can get through a couple books a year. I have a half started book just sitting there needing to be finished. I have started watching shows on Netflix on my phone since we have the wifi turned on at home and I don't use data while on wifi. The headphones do help some.

    I'm not sure how much I can trust this therapist, I really don't trust many people at all. People just kind of suck. This lady is older than me, maybe early 60's, late 50s. So she's not some brand new grad student, but she's not my generation either.
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    curious - what kind of work environment? Because... there are no medications or therapies for Auditory Processing Disorders (APD), really... just accommodations and interventions, some of which might work in a work environment. (Home, well... like anywhere else, accommodations and interventions depend on some quantity of compliance...)

    While you're at it though... has husband had HIS hearing tested? People who have trouble hearing, often "talk too much"... they are always on the output end, because they can't really follow the input... Know what I mean??
  15. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    My work is actually good. I work for a money manager, I do operations (non-client support, which means a ton of stuff, lots of hats, kind of office manager, website manager, office mom and psychic), compliance (making sure we're following SEC rules) and now I started doing trading because somebody quit (like spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in a day of other people's money). It's usually quiet around here, and it's easier to work with numbers than with words. I can put my headphones in and listen to music if I want to (especially when doing all numbers, it helps my mind from drifting). It's a good job for me. I can use my geek skills well here. And I don't have to talk to a lot of people every day. My boss doesn't even come in everyday and she isn't an overtalker, she's direct and to the point. There are only 4 of us now total, we need to hire one more person. They've been wonderful to me and are very accommodating, kids come first since we all have them. But yeah, I would be "on" all day at work, being polite and whatnot and just like one of our kids, I need to come home and let down my guards, and that means giving me some transition time. I'm not given the time to reset and switch gears.

    I know husband has some hearing loss, but not a ton. His overtalking is really his ADD or probable Aspergers coming out. He LOVES it when he can find other "talkers". Maybe if he just talked about stupid fluffly stuff it wouldn't be so bad, but it's computers, conspiracy stuff, complex theories, things I actually need to use brain space for. I don't want to use my brain anymore, I want to let it just be jello after work for a bit. He also tells me the same stuff over and over, and I tell him he told me xyz, and he gets mad that he didn't tell me, and I find out at the end he told me 95% of it, and just needed to add something, but can't just tell me the 5%. He has to go over the whole thing again. Something about the way his brain works that it has to process the entire thing. And if I interrupt him, he loses his thought. He doesn't get the back and forth conversation bit, I don't know why. I can go back to a subject we spoke about 20 min ago, but not him. It's weird. I keep trying to look at it as just part of his genetics, that's it's just part of him and I try not to get frustrated by it.
  16. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Allhaileris, you sure have a lot to deal with, I completely understand why you feel the way you do. I think most of us here can relate. I have found therapy to be very helpful for myself and yet I can see that it isn't always the right road for everyone. What I like about it is that not only do you get the option to vent, but if you have a good therapist, they can offer feedback on how you may be 'stuck' in thinking that doesn't serve you and can be changed; they can help you to look at options for change that fit with your beliefs and lifestyle; they can help you to make a plan to get from here to there; they can often provide a committed listener pose which sometimes doesn't sound like much and yet when you hear yourself describing your issues to a neutral party, other ways of dealing with it surface in that atmosphere; they can provide a safe place to address old issues which may be holding you back from being the person you want to be. For me, it's worked, I've been fortunate to have found really good therapists and as a result, my life has changed significantly and for the better.

    I agree that exercise is a huge help in handling stress. As is eating a healthy diet since certain foods impact moods, in particular sugar, which I have to watch out for in a big way. Acupuncture helps me a lot, it's a very good way of calming down from the inside out. Massage, reflexology, meditation, deep breathing and moments of silence (which seem really difficult for you given your "roommates" and I can see how that would make it all feel worse). As Insane mentioned, finding the time to do something you love really helps a lot. Over many years I've had to cultivate ways to handle all the stress in my life, so I can so empathize with you. I wish you some peace and calm.............................(((HUGS)))
  17. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Sandy, my husband is an overtalker too - in certain situations. If he is uncomfortable or nervous - he babbles. ON AND ON AND ON AND ON AND ON. New situations... Or when he feels like he needs attention. Sometimes he will be quiet for hours and then I pick up a book or something and WHAM he wants to talk. Jett is like this too, only moreso.

    Why do you need to use your brain? Is this something that is important to your life, or just something he wants to jabber about?

    Can you tell him - Hey, honey, I need 30 minutes to let my brain recover from work, then we will talk - ? Would that work at all?
  18. allhaileris

    allhaileris Crumbling Family Rock

    I have to use my brain when he's talking to me because it's always subjects that involve thinking. Like if he was just blabbing on about some movie, or something his friend did, what he wants for dinner, no brain needed. But he doesn't. It's more like "I was looking at this xyz thing for the computer that involves 320g of space vs 500g of space and the processor that goes with it is abc and if I do that I'd need to reformat this and do that". Things he actually wants answers to. I also can't just ignore him. And there is the auditory processing thing, if I'm just listening to him, I have to actually think to get everything in. If I'm watching something, then I don't have to think so hard. If I'm reading I don't have to think so hard. It's just the listening part that's hard.

    And yes, I've asked him repeatedly to give me some quiet time and he never does it. Can't go a full minute without talking, when I need the space.
  19. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

    Does husband need a hobby outside the home? I know it's common for SAHMs to blast their husband's after being cooped up in the house with the kids all day. It sounds, at this point, that he is (inadvently) adding more stress that daughter. Maybe he could come to session to hammer out reasonable expectations of each other while parenting a difficult child.