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Friends and Family Everyone has disagreements, even best friends and family. If you need advice about a relationship, ask us here.

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Unhappy dealing with anxiety in a negative environment? - March 14th 2016, 03:11 PM

Hello.
I am in serious need of advice at the moment.
Before Christmas, my little sister (13) was hospitalised and after she'd spent a few weeks in the hospital, at the beginningof January she was diagnosed with leukaemia. Obviously, everyone in our family is really worried, and I feel extremely helpless in this situation, because she's always suffering (or at least most of the time) and I can't really do anything except reassure her that it's going to be ok (it seems like she's responding well to therapy, despite the various lows she's been going through), I can't take her pain away.
The advice I need, though, is mostly for myself (even though I'm open to suggestions regarding what to do to feel less helpless).
I'm sure some of you have seen me posting stuff about my father just generally being a piece of trash, and once again he is making my life a living hell. Since my sister was hospitalised, he's been extremely stressed and his reactions extremely unpredictable. When I'm alone with him, which happens pretty often, he sometimes behaves badly: the smallest thing can make him angry, he raises his voice very often and for the smallest things; I was already scared of him before all of this happened, but it's become so much worse lately. He's gone from "piece of trash" to verbal abuse, and the only reason why he's only been emotionally abusive towards me a couple times is because I'm trying my best not to speak to him (as in: I don't correct him when he's wrong, I don't speak about my problems/achievements, I don't disagree with him, I don't ask him to help me with the housework, I try to be as nice as possible even when he raises his voice, etc). My mother is rarely home, because she has to go to the hospital with my sister for treatments and various other things (like nausea, fever and the like) nearly every day.
I suffer from anxiety, my father doesn't take my disorder seriously; whenever my sister feels sick, I have an anxiety attack and stop speaking (I literally just shut up unless someone says something to me, and even then I tend to talk as little as possible) because my father gets twice as stressed and his behaviour gets twice as unpredicatable.
Being stressed myself, I find myself getting angry really often and for the smallest things too, but I keep it inside to avoid a negative reaction from my father. But I don't know how long I'll be able to keep this going. I do have a couple friends, but they're busy as well and I don't want to bother them for things such as 'my father left a candy wrapping on the table and I want to beat the shit out of him' - because that's how I react at first. It seems pretty obvious that I won't be able to see a counsellor for a while. I have no idea how to deal with everything, considering that I can't bring this up to my father without causing an exaggerate reaction, which could result in him yelling abusive things at me. I feel totally helpless, I'm scared I'll lose it and go back to being the monster I used to be when I had depression (and to self-harm, because I'm still addicted, despite the fact that I ddn't do it for two years before relapsing a few weeks ago - it's the first thing that comes to my mind when I feel overwhelmed). I don't know how to handle my fear and my anger anymore.


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Re: dealing with anxiety in a negative environment? - March 15th 2016, 02:42 AM

I'm sorry to hear about your sister, I can't imagine how all of you are feeling right now. I've never had anyone in my immediate family have cancer, but I do have a disabled sibling and I think the best thing you can do is be there for her and provide a sense of normalcy if you know what I mean. I noticed my sibling likes things to be as normal as they can be and I try to help with that. If you're in doubt, you can always ask your sister if there's anything you can do as well. Remember to take care of yourself too though.

It must be tough to cope with how your dad treats you. It's understandable of him to be upset, but that's no excuse for him to take his feelings out on you. I think you're doing the right thing by staying away from him and engaging in conversation as little as possible. People who mistreat others thrive when people are around, and since you're trying to make it harder for him to say things that could be frustrating him even more. Keep trying to avoid him when you can, and maybe consider making a safe place for yourself as well so you have a place for yourself through all of this. Here's an article on it.

Anger can be really hard to cope with sometimes and that tends to make it worse. One thing you can do that might help is write a letter as though you're writing it to your dad. You don't have to worry about being polite since you're not giving it to him. Just get everything out of your system and then find a way to destroy it. Try not to read over it again because that can spark your anger. But rip the paper, soak it in water and watch the ink run, scribble all over it, or light it on fire. Destroying it can be therapeutic. I think you could benefit from having a safe place to express your feelings, so maybe you can consider using a journal or blogging to see if that helps.

I was struggling with anger recently and asked people on here for suggestions and they gave me some good ideas. One of those was to make something, like a tower out of blocks or a house of cards, and then knock it down. You could get some clay to stretch and rip it to see if that helps, or rip some paper to see how small you can get the pieces. Another thing you can do, is get some balloons and find different ways to pop them.

Something I like to do when I'm upset or anxious is bake because it's a good distraction. Maybe you can bake something for your mom or your sister (if she's able to eat with the treatment she's getting). You could focus on doing other things for your sister too, like getting her some novels or coloring books to busy herself with in the hospital. Doing something nice for her could provide a good distraction.

I mentioned creating a safe place before, and that can help with anxiety. Maybe you can do some research on some breathing exercises. Breathing has a lot to do with anxiety and if you can remind yourself to focus on it more or pay more attention to any changes, it will help. You could look into some coloring books or word searches as those are calming as well.

I hope you're able to find some things that help you with everything you're feeling.


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