Anxiety About My Mother
There is always something happening in the world that you could be anxious about, but too much anxiety about these legitimate threats can be debilitating. Although I have never considered myself to be one to experience chronic anxiety, there was a period in my life when I was tense, anxious, unable to sleep well, and even had frequent panic attacks as a result of my home-life. Having overcome my anxiety, I look back and remember the experience as though it was years instead of months, but the bad times in my life always appear to be longer when viewed through my memory. Here I will share a little about what caused my brief but intense period of anxiety.
My Mother's Health
My situation was particularly difficult and actually quite dangerous – I was primarily anxious about what I anticipated in my family’s immediate future, and the subject of my anxiety was my mother’s wellbeing. The situation was very volatile, and we (my family) were all aware of my father’s drinking habits. After drinking he became an abusive person who would always scream and hit my mother, and I recall that when I was a child I was terrified that *something* could happen to her that would cause a permanent and irreversible impact on our family. However, as a teenager I began to take the risks necessary to interrupt my father’s explosions, and although I was afraid of him due to his behavior, I was also confident that he would never harm me physically - Regardless, the outbursts recurred with each day that he drank, so my mother was almost constantly threatened.
My mother had left home many times before, but she always came back and returned to the same daily routine. I eventually left home as I grew up, so I knew that nobody was available to help her during my father’s outbursts, and this got me thinking about her wellbeing constantly – I was a nervous wreck, and I was always wondering if she was OK without my protection. I became constantly nervous and on high alert at every street corner. I was unable to sleep, and I constantly thought about my old home and my mother. Everything that I so loved about my mother was in constant jeopardy when I was not near-by to protect her, and my mother and I both decided to find a professional who could help to calm us down and resolve our family problem. A psychiatrist provided each of us with some anti-anxiety medications, and we decided to stage an intervention - Thank God the whole thing was solved relatively quickly once we decided to take action. We had a family intervention with my father, and he eventually agreed to stop drinking.
My mother began spending time with him on much better terms, and we all agreed that my father was much safer and more calm over a period of several months. For a period of time I remained constantly anxious and on-edge, always wondering when I would get the next heartbreaking call from my mother. Although the calls stopped completely, and I began to recognize that my father had truly changed with the cessation of alcohol, my anxiety persisted.
Shifting My Thoughts
Through a painstaking re-programming of my mind, I learned how to manage my anxiety by reminding myself that my mother had been working with my father for some time without incident, and that there was nothing to be alarmed about. We all knew they were doing better, and we needed to let go and relax. This was a very difficult realization for me, and there were many nights where I woke up in a panic if I even heard the phone ring. However, with the cessation of drinking, my father was completely calm, and there was no cause for alarm. I spent a long time searching for the real inner strength and optimism that I needed in order to change my entire way of thinking about the world. Finding a way to see beyond my fears was a long and challenging process, but I managed to shift my perspective without any help from professionals, and I take pride in that. Although I still experience fear from time-to-time, they are usually normal concerns related to my son and his wellbeing, but I do not experience panic attacks or trouble sleeping.
Anxiety can be a very tricky thing. In the beginning you may believe that you are responding to dangerous situations with a rational type of anxiety that matches the threat, but you may soon find that anxiety and evolve and persist even once those threats have passed. Anxiety un-checked always has the potential to grow into something that invades all aspects of your life, but you don’t need to let anxiety control you, and if it begins to do so, just find strategies that will turn your body and mind toward clear seeing and a more positive perspective as quickly as possible.
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