Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.

A MH WWYD all (gentle) thoughts welcome

(30 Posts)
ThatsNumberWang Tue 09-Aug-16 10:45:37

Have name changed for this.
I have no idea what to do.
My MIL (who I have no problem with and like) has booked a big family holiday in France for lots of members of her side of the family, our family are included, we weren't invited as such just told we were going about 18 months ago.

It takes place next week, I am ill, I have OCD, GAD, HA, clinical depression and an eating disorder, been ill for 30ish years, comes and goes in varying degrees. I am terrified of travel (both travelling and being away from home) however usually, or at least so far in the past when we have planned and taken trips I have been in a place where I have been able to go, this time I feel I am not. I am already struggling massively, I had a fairly severe episode two weeks ago, I have suicidal thoughts and am battling the urge to self harm. I think going might break me.

These are the scenerios that worry me the most:
Not being able to get in the car to leave
Not being able to get on the Ferry
Insisting on turning around and returning home at some point before arrival
Not being able to leave my bedroom and or speak or interact with anyone whilst there
Not being able to eat the entire time (likely)
Having a total screaming mess breakdown while there in front of other people
Having to cut the holiday short to return home
Not being able to come back (car/ferry etc)

All of the above mainly don't want to go through in front of young-ish dc's who know I have MH issues, but I obviously shelter from the fallout as much as is humanly possible.

Told the dc's this morning that we may not be able to go, one is meh, the other is heartbroken, dp is sad but supportive, but his parents are elderly and he would very much like to go, they very very much want us there.

Also if I have a huge breakdown on return (or there) there is a possibility of me not being able to look after the dc's, therefore dp not being able to work (SE) and us all being totally shafted as we will have no money. I haven't had that kind of breakdown in over 15 years and not since having children but have had several in the past.

At the moment (as I have many times in the past) wishing I had stayed single and never had children and not inflicted myself on them in this way, I am a horrible, useless person and they deserve so so much better as they are all lovely, I can't bear to hurt and let them down like this, but I am teetering on a knife edge.

Sorry it's so long and utterly mundane. In my position WWYD?

rainbowstardrops Tue 09-Aug-16 10:48:28

Oh you poor thing. Is it possible for DH to go with the children? Would you be ok alone? flowers

ThatsNumberWang Tue 09-Aug-16 10:56:23

I have thought that but I'm not sure I would be safe alone atm sad and I don't really have anyone around that could stay or offer support, I have little contact with my family and my best friend is on holiday unfortunately.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Tue 09-Aug-16 11:05:39

In your position I would send DH and the children.

From your second post it reads like you don't want to do that and what you'd really like is validation that it's OK to cancel the holiday for your whole family. Having been in a similar situation to yourself I don't think it's right to do that.

Sorry if that's not what you wanted to hear.

ThatsNumberWang Tue 09-Aug-16 11:15:01

No I don't think I do, if I want validation it's probably more that allowing my dc's to see their mum completely fall apart won't do them any lasting damage. I cannot bear to let everyone down like this and be the one who is responsible just because I am a shit person. So I think I would rather risk myself. I genuinely think I might be a danger alone though.

SwearyGodmother Tue 09-Aug-16 11:19:35

Please cancel. If you're not safe on your own then your DH has to stay with you and keep you safe. You're obviously not in a place to go so don't go. It's not worth the risk. I have similar issues and last time we went away when I was in as bad a place as you are we had to come back after 3 days (at significant expense) and ended up under the care of the crisis team.

Keep fighting the good fight, there will be periods when it won't be as bad - it just truly sucks that at the moment you're in a position where it's horrible.

You are not, incidentally, a horrible, useless person and your children do not deserve better. You are an ill person who is suffering - you are as lovely as your children and they will get everything they need and want from you. Don't add to your pressures.

CotswoldStrife Tue 09-Aug-16 11:20:26

Is there anyone you can stay with if DH and the children go?

What is is about this holiday that is different, is it the lack of control because someone else has booked it?

Geraniumred Tue 09-Aug-16 11:25:25

Don't go. It sounds way too much. Can you have time at home with your family that you would all enjoy instead? The point of a holiday is enjoyment. Not sacrificing your mental health in order to please others. Your mental health is more important at this time.

erinaceus Tue 09-Aug-16 11:25:38

I am so sorry that you find yourself facing this dilemma. It does sound difficult. Congratulations for having managed to travel in the past. It sounds as if this trip has come at a bad time and that the prospect of it is making you anxious.

Thinking laterally:

Are you able to go, with a plan to be able to leave if you need to, for example, by taking two cars? Or is this not possible due to practicalities such as location, financials, or, erm, not having two cars...

FWIW, despite you feeling told you were going, you are not actually obliged to go, and you and your DP - and depending on their age, the DC as well - are free to work out a different solution that suits your family unit best. Stay safe.


dangermouseisace Tue 09-Aug-16 12:12:19

oh numberwang what a stressful situation.

You state it yourself though- you are ill If it was physical you wouldn't be expected to go. It sounds like there are just so many factors that will only add to your stress levels it could cause you anxiety pre trip, during trip, and fall out afterwards. A holiday would be stress but do-able…holiday abroad- more stress…with family members…extra stress…family members who aren't directly related to you…massively more stress!! Don't feel guilty about finding these things difficult. I would have found that sort of thing really difficult when completely and utterly well TBH but then I didn't like my MIL grin

Do you get any support from MH team? Just thinking, if DH and kids go could you be supported by the crisis team if you didn't feel safe on your own

oldstripeyNEWname1 Tue 09-Aug-16 12:38:52

Oh you have my sympathy and empathy. Your history and situation now very much echo mine.

So at the moment, you're overwhelmed by feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and powerlessness. Part of that is due to the manner in which the holiday has been booked (imposition taking control away); length of the build up (allowing time your fear to grow); both the unknown elements (what will happen) and the expectations (what you assume will happen).

You're also fighting very real and frightening memories of previous episodes.

Each of those things individually can be a trigger. And that's not even counting stresses of kids being around for summer holidays, lack of routine, money worries.

And whilst you've not voiced it so directly, would I be right in thinking your real fear is your risk escalating on the ferry and in France? If you have suicidal ideation, now is not the time to be asking about offending your MIL.

Right, so you need a plan that challenges those three enemies of powerlessness, helplessness, hopelessness. And once you've started to wobble one leg of that triangle, it loses its power.

Three really strong things in your favour.

You've got through this loads of times before. You've been in the pit, couldn't see the light but hung on until it got better. You can get through a panic attack. Thirty years? So surviving and having a life then! You're living with it, not defined by it.

Secondly sounds like you have a great fella there. Some blokes can be added to support when they'd be paid anyway!

Lastly. So you worried your kids will see you have a meltdown? Sweetie, they're not blind or stupid. So already know you have some issues. Good. You're teaching them difference. They need to know. I bet they're already more attuned and empathic than kids their age. Life is hard, don't shy away from allowing them to see that. It helps prepare them when they face their own challenge. It sounds like great parenting to me. Kids need to know their parents too.

As other posters say, you need a plan. Sounds like you need one for next few weeks no matter where you are.

Why not tell the PIL what the situation is? What's to lose? If you had physical condition where relapse meant chance of hospital admission and/or bed rest, it would be a no brainer. Except risks here are higher!!!!!!

How old are your kids? It might be of benefit to ask them to keep an eye out for you. Tell them honestly the behaviour that really upsets you. They are adaptable. for me it was the high pitched screaming. They didn't even realise they did it when things got especially silly but it sent me over the edge.

Have you seen yr doctors for a meds review? I think maybe you could do with something new/extra to calm your additional anxiety now.

Sorry this has become such a long post. I really feel for you. Many posters have said what you should do about the holiday. That has to be your choice. What I wanted to get across is that you seemed to have lost sight of what you can do to try to get control back of yourself. And that isn't just about the holiday. The holiday is exacerbating your negative feelings about yourself. You have had, and have got a huge amount to deal with. Please accept that yourself and give yourself some credit. And my advice (which I am only just beginning to follow) is to tell the family the same. "I am doing my best. Some days are really hard, harder than you'll ever know. I might make it holiday but it may just be too much, too difficult for my ".....and if you don't...." I hope you'll understand but I just can't take the risk at the moment. With my lovely family here looking after me, I hope to recover soon and I wish you all a lovely holiday."

oldstripeyNEWname1 Tue 09-Aug-16 12:44:51

Arrh typing on tablet. Loads of typos. Sorry! Some blokes can't be *arsed to support. I'll find and correct the rest later. X

dangermouseisace Tue 09-Aug-16 16:53:59

ah oldstripey now I wish that sort of stuff would come out of my brain!!! what a lovely spot on piece of writing smile

Cocoabutton Tue 09-Aug-16 17:06:19

flowers I echo the other posters saying if you are not well, you cannot go. If lots of other family are going, can they not take your DC? You don't say how old the DC are, but this would give DC a chance to go and you a rest.

I don't think going sounds like a good idea, and your well-being is more important for your family than anything else.

FairyHoof Tue 09-Aug-16 17:13:17

It's been booked for 18 months. Why have you waited this long, told the children they can go etc., if it was never manageable for you? Or is it last minute nerves?

What's HA? I guess the others are obsessive-compulsive disorder, generalised anxiety disorder.

What caused the episode two weeks ago? What treatment have you received for it?

All your worries make sense in the context of generalised anxiety disorder. Have you done CBT? They all involve black and white thinking errors.

As you've not had a huge breakdown in 15 years, there's no reason to suspect that will happen.

Your DC is heartbroken and this has been promised for 18 months. I would let them and your husband go, and seek treatment from your mental health team.

I know it's hard, but you have to take some personal responsibility to manage your own illness. The nature of anxiety disorders is that you worry about things that are unlikely to happen, your world becomes smaller and smaller, you need more and more reassurance and care to do even basic things. Giving in to your anxiety is not the way to manage this. Don't make your DC's world smaller too.

weirdsister Tue 09-Aug-16 17:22:31

Could you ask for medication to help you to travel?
If you managed to get there would dh be willing to leave with you if you couldn't cope? Or would staying away from the group help?

erinaceus Tue 09-Aug-16 18:28:06

FWIW I do not agree with FairyHoof.

If you do go, can you take food you can eat with you, even if you have to eat separately or in your room?
If you do have a meltdown in front of the inlaws, or have to stay out of the way of everyone, what will happen?
Can your DP take the DC who was disappointed, and the one who felt meh can stay with you? This depends to quite a large extend on the age of the DC and how you and your DP are doing, but it seems to me that you have a lot of options here, and a lot of support and understanding on MN whatever you decide to do.


ThatsNumberWang Tue 09-Aug-16 20:13:57

Thank you so much for people taking the time to reply

oldstripeyNEWname1 - thank you for all your words, particularly the ones I may steal at the end to explain to family. They are very aware of my situation, as I have always been ill since they have known me, but I nearly always manage to do stuff and very rarely cancel anything so I don't think they get why I can't do this time especially when it is very important to them. Everything you have said makes so much sense, I need to read it several times I think and show it to dp too.

Dc going with other wouldn't work as everyone else is far away and logisically it would be very difficult, plus I am not sure they would want to go without us.

FairyHoof - I didn't tell the dcs my pils did, before they told me and dp, if we had been invited rather than told we were going they would never have been promised and would not have been told until we had made a decision.
HA is health anxiety.
I have been 'receiving treatment' for the last 20 years, mostly talking therapies, much medication (whoever said I needed a review might be right, I should see my GP) I have been doing CBT (with a therapist, individual, group and intensive) for the past 6 years - I am quite fucked.
I take ALL responsibility for my illness and am horribly aware of how it impacts others and hate it, I very rarely let anyone down or fail to attend things even when I find them cripplingly painful, I hardly ever ever give in to my anxiety.

Those who have said it might be about control are probably onto something, I hate being out of control.

If we go dp is happy to leave if we need to, but I can't decide if that is better or worse for the kids than not going at all.

Eating in my room and taking my own food would be happening anyway wink that won't be a problem, they have known me a long time and yes even if I do have a melt down it's not the end of the world, just not much fun for everyone else and especially for dp who will end up trying to look after me and rally everyone else's questions and concern.

I am just so bad at the moment, everything seems so difficult, going on holiday with loads of pressure and expectations from others seems impossible. I still don't know what to do.

dangermouseisace Tue 09-Aug-16 20:23:49

sorry, I don't agree with fairyhoof either. It sounds, from what you've written, that this is a particularly bad time right now, and in the past you've been able to do these things despite finding them difficult.

I think it is good to challenge thoughts/behaviours and ourselves but challenges are best taken little steps at a time. It sounds like you have a good deal of self awareness as to how your condition affects you, and are keen to avoid both inconveniencing anyone and also having a complete breakdown. You're not at rock bottom yet but you sound very close to it. It sounds like this is not the time to be overwhelming yourself by expecting too much of yourself. Your family need you long term- not for just a holiday!

dangermouseisace Tue 09-Aug-16 20:27:32

thinking can your GP give you some valium or something to take with you just in case? Or would that make you anxious/not be suitable due to eating problems...

LapinR0se Tue 09-Aug-16 20:32:03

Sorry if this has already been suggested up thread, but could you get your own accommodation near theirs but separate so you have your own space?

Lorelei76 Tue 09-Aug-16 22:04:52

I think you absolutely can't go I'm afraid.

could your DC go and your DH stay behind to help you out?

btw I have raging travel anxiety and once spent the first 3 days of a week holiday managing an anxiety attack, it was really only resolved because my friends effectively took it in turns to opt out of whatever daily activities they had in order to sit with me in the hotel. Felt like a total waste of time and money and I felt so guilty for my fab friends.

however, I think my situation was very different, I wasn't at risk in any way, I wasn't on medication (it sounds to me like you should see your GP) and I was in a good place generally but just had a very bad attack of something I wasn't fully aware I had if that makes sense - haven't always had travel anxiety.

I think it's really important that you put yourself first here. In comparison, I really wanted to go on my holiday and was shocked to find myself feeling so awful on arrival, but as you are already dreading it, it seems like the wrong thing for you. You also sound like you have good self knowledge of what you can and can't cope with so your inclination to not go seems completely right to me.

are you thinking if you stay home alone your anxiety will reach dangerous levels? You really must see your GP.

take care of yourself flowers

Cocoabutton Tue 09-Aug-16 22:49:23

To be honest, the situation of someone booking a holiday for me, and everything that entailed for me, without discussing it, would annoy me. Regardless of any health issues - whatever the intentions, it rather takes away your choice in the matter. I think it is reasonable to feel this without it being about control issues.

I hope you find a solution. I don't know how old your DC are, but there are many things more locally children like to do.

Lorelei76 Tue 09-Aug-16 23:35:17

Cocoa - oh yes, totally agree, but that's a whole other thread. It does suggest to me that the ILs won't be sympathetic or helpful if the OP has any problems as well.

erinaceus Wed 10-Aug-16 06:35:40

Wishing you the best of luck OP.

Meds review with GP sounds like a good idea, as does a longer chat with your DP and/or PIL about springing holidays on your family and the anxiety that it provokes for you. If your PIL knew and understood how difficult this specific situation is for you and your family, perhaps they would involve you more in the planning process in the future so that you feel more in control? I also think the expectation that you go on a holiday that they planned is unreasonable, as is informing your DC before you knew about the planned trip, MH issues notwithstanding.

I am glad you are already on top of taking care of yourself as best you can eating wise.

Is staying in separate, nearby accommodation an option? If you do have to come home again because you are just not managing, is that so, so terrible? Are there any allies for you among your DP's extended family? Some people are more taboo about mental health problems and other people more empathetic, and if a large group of people are going you may will find that you find a new ally.

If you need to stay here and your DP and DC go, can you use the time to get a meds review with your GP and to work on your support networks beyond your DP, perhaps ask if you can be under your local crisis team for a short period and post a lot on MN when it all gets too much look into other RL support?

I feel for you, I really do. It sounds as if even making a decision about whether to go or not seems to be overwhelming right now. Take care of yourself, whatever you decide to do.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now