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How to manage DM's anxiety?

(10 Posts)
barmorteacake Sun 15-Nov-20 11:12:21

Just that really. For context, DP and I are both secondary school teachers in former Tier 2 area. Both in early 30s, otherwise fit and well. We are concerned for our vulnerable colleagues but feel a certain inevitability about getting Covid - several cases in our schools, for example. Mine has been less hit than DP's. We are not blase - far from it - but realistically accept that we are likely to get it but also we are likely, fortunately, to be okay.

We haven't really seen my parents even before restrictions because the anxiety DM displays means we think she finds it stressful seeing us - constantly worrying, washing shopping, talking about our awful work situation, etc. DP went for a test last week and we weren't going to tell her but she dropped over something for us (thinking we were at work), saw both of our cars, and then was highly stressed out for the 48 hours he had to wait.

Any advice on how to manage this? DP and I are sticking rigidly to the rules outside of our workplaces, so are unlikely to pass anything on to any family members but her constant concern for both of us makes me feel like I need to support her and help her gain a sense of proportion. Any ideas?

OP’s posts: |
LindaEllen Sun 15-Nov-20 11:45:08

The only person who can help her is her.
She needs professional help for her anxiety.
Once you reach the stage of having to hide things from people because of how they might react, you know there's something really wrong.

Crakeandoryx Sun 15-Nov-20 11:56:49

You've got to keep telling her that your all ok. Tell her your work isn't as bad as it's being made out (even if that isn't the case!) and give her a positive response with every negative comment.

Tell her about some people who have had it and been fine in all age groups. Do not tell her about school related transmissions, keep it to "a colleague's sister, my old friend etc". Tell her about positive experiences when shopping, good distancing, loads of food on shelves and constant cleaning in shops.

Once you've done this distract her, talk about TV you've watched, meals you've cooked and keep the conversation away from covid. Anxiety breeds obsession with the situation. Relieve her from her thoughts.

Positive thoughts to challenge her perceptions and distraction! It will take time and a GP might be needed to help further.

barmorteacake Sun 15-Nov-20 13:41:19

Thank you both - I appreciate it. It's made worse by the fact that she refuses to admit anything is wrong; in fact, she believes she is just acting with a normal sense of caution. I will follow your advice and like you say she may need greater support.

OP’s posts: |
Porcupineinwaiting Sun 15-Nov-20 16:08:20

Just manage the news you give her. I was really sick with COVID in March last year but still managed an upbeat phone call with my mum most days. I didnt share the paramedic call outs or worst stuff with her til much later.

Rabbitholebonkers Sun 15-Nov-20 17:42:20

Nothing you could say or do will ease her anxiety if she has an anxiety issue.

There is no managing it from your POV. It’s up to her to manage her own anxiety.

All you can do is advise her to get help regarding her anxiety. Failing that you have no responsibility/obligation.

MereDintofPandiculation Sun 15-Nov-20 18:01:08

If you're in your 30s, she's possibly in her 60s, and she does have a higher risk than you of ill-health, as well as less chance of being treated should she become seriously ill. So as whereas you're trying to avoid it but regard it as inevitable that you'll get it at some point, she is presumably trying to avoid it completely, and being with someone who reckons it's just a matter of time is going to be stressful.

barmorteacake Sun 15-Nov-20 18:21:12

MereHint yes that thought definitely did occur to me. Although she's 58 and in great physical health, she is nonetheless at higher risk and I get that. However I have been very careful to not go round to her house since about the end of September (tier 2 kicked in October for us) and obviously now am avoiding completely.

I know I'm not responsible for her anxiety but I still want to do what I can, as it's not nice to see her work herself up like this.

OP’s posts: |
StillCounting123 Sun 15-Nov-20 22:13:17

Sounds like a tricky situation OP.

Does she have plenty going on in her life - work, hobbies, family etc? Or is she sat at home watching the news and fretting?

My own mum has tendencies to being like how you describe, and I've even heard her repeat verbatim the words and phrases used on the news/in newspapers regarding Covid. So frustrating, as I can see how deeply its sunk into her head.

No advice for you, but I understand where you are coming from.

musicalfrog Sun 15-Nov-20 23:19:10

Tell her to watch/read less news.

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