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compartmentalising to reduce stress

(11 Posts)
gbuk Mon 20-Jul-15 17:09:22

How do you do this? I am driving myself mad today with worry over various issues and relationships. I just found myself checking that I had thought (worried) about everything that is troubling me at the moment - there is quite a lot - in case I had "missed" something and by missing it out I would cause that thing to be the one that happened. This is crazy thinking isn't it?

I am so stressed at the moment and I'm just not coping, but I have no idea where to start to reign in my thought proccesses. There is no one to talk to about things in real life except my husband but I can't talk things through with him right now as one of my worries is a health scare he is facing and I need to support him not lay more at his door.

My own health is not good, I have cancer and am always frightened that undue stress will not have a good effect on me because of this.

Does anyone have any wise words or advice to offer please?

pocketsaviour Mon 20-Jul-15 19:09:46

I just found myself checking that I had thought (worried) about everything that is troubling me at the moment - there is quite a lot - in case I had "missed" something and by missing it out I would cause that thing to be the one that happened. This is crazy thinking isn't it?

I wouldn't call it crazy; it's usually termed "magical thinking" by psychiatrists and psychologists; the idea that we can influence external events by simply speaking or thinking about them. It's the same impulse that leads football players to always wear their "lucky socks" or the way we say "It's all going well today - oops, don't want to jinx myself!"

(Some research suggests it may be more common in people who were blamed a lot for things as children. "I wouldn't hit you if you didn't make me angry." "Daddy drinks because you're so difficult." "They bully you because you're so dull.")

But in your case it has gone from the "normal" level of mild superstition and has now become a case of intrusive and cycling thoughts, by the sound of things.

It also sounds like you have an enormous amount of stress to deal with right now. flowers

Are you able to access any mental health support from Macmillan? Or via your GP?

CBT can be very good for intrusive thoughts, as can mindfulness meditation.

Does your H have any family that you could lean on for support with his scare, or has he kept it very private? Would he consider telling his family if you explained that you needed more support?

gbuk Mon 20-Jul-15 20:24:20

Thank you Pocketsaviour, I didnt realise there was a name for my thought patterns and it is interesting what you say about it being more common in people who were blamed a lot as children. If I had known what global warming was when I was a child I think I would have thought it was my fault so that really strikes a cord in me. In our house nothing was ever an accident, someone was always to blame.

my husband hasnt spoken to his family about his health, they're not close either geographically or emotionally and would probably make the situation harder to cope with if told rather than be any help.

I hadn't thought about MacMillan, I will phone them and I'll have a look into mindfulness and CBT too. Thank you so much

rumred Mon 20-Jul-15 20:50:15

great post pocket
do you have friends you can talk to op?
good luck. you can do it

Hannahouse Mon 20-Jul-15 20:54:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hannahouse Mon 20-Jul-15 20:57:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MadameLeBean Mon 20-Jul-15 21:06:24

Agree with Hanna
Also writing stuff down helps me

heyday Tue 21-Jul-15 02:34:15

Yes, I totally agree with pocket. I hear so much positive stuff about mindfulness and I think it's actually available on the NHS now. Have you thought about trying to do a gentle session of Pilates or yoga to help reduce stress? Also there may be reflexology or gentle massage tratments available through MacMillian.
I don't have a great faith (sometimes none at all) but I always find it a huge comfort to pray before I go to sleep at night. I can tell someone about all my worries and fears and can then rest easier because I have expressed them and I feel as if I have somehow shared them and therefore the burden is a little lighter. Life is all about mind over matter really. It's important to reduce your stress as your body needs all the energy and positivity it can get to help fight the cancer. Good luck, I truly hope you can find some peace in your life.

goddessofsmallthings Tue 21-Jul-15 04:11:03

It's a complex subject but I believe we can and do, influence events by thinking about them.

However, I've found that inaction can be more effective than action and where I simply haven't had time or inclination to get around to resolving an issue/making a phone call/writing a letter, it more often than not resolves itself without any help whatsoever from me.

If I have a particularly stressful matter which threatens to dominate my thinking, I compartmentalise by setting aside 10 minutes in which to dwell on nothing else and will then resolutely repel any further thoughts on the subject until the following day's allotted session.

To my mind, self-discipline is the keyword to mindfulness. Many years of meditation have taught me that we are not our thoughts and that it is perfectly possible to remain in a mentally calm and peaceful place while observing the myriad mundane and sometimes vividly lurid imaginings which can cause unease/unhappiness/distress if we allow them to rule our minds.

I'm very sorry to learn that you're a member of the club no-one wants to join and would suggest that you avail yourself of every opportunity to try the numerous relaxation techniques/sessions that are available through the NHS/MacMillan and also give some thought to hypnotherapy. Some may consider it to be a woo too far, but I've found reiki to be of immense benefit.

I often lurk on the General Health board with a view to picking up hints and tips which I pass on to a friend who has been diagnosed with cancer and it occurs to me that the latest thread 'Tamoxigang 53' may be just the place for you to offload some of your worries/fears/doubts and have a wry chuckle in the process with the inspirational women who post there - none of whom would describe themselves as being in any way out of the ordinary, but they all are iyswim.

It must seem a double whammy that dh is undergoing his own health scare and, at times like this, the pair of you are on a metaphorical see-saw where one is up and the other dow and vice versa while there are times when you'll be perfectly balanced in terms of the support you give and derive from each other.

Do you have a holiday booked, or can you and dh escape to a luxurious hotel/country inn for a couple of nights as it often easier to think positively and make rational choices when the distractions inherent in the home environment are not in evidence?

flowers for you, honey, and I wish you and your dh speedy and full recoveries.

gbuk Wed 22-Jul-15 19:41:47

Thank you all very much. Sorry for not responding sooner, but my DH health scare has turned into a definite diagnosis and not a good one. I'm just on the edge of coping now. Its al so horrible. Twice today I have wondered what it would be like to be dead. Not actually by killing kyself, just not being here anymore. I must have done something so awful for my life to be as it has been. I just wish I knew what it was.

pocketsaviour Wed 22-Jul-15 19:52:38

I must have done something so awful for my life to be as it has been. I just wish I knew what it was.

Oh love, that's not how the world works. I would suggest this is another hangover from your childhood of being blamed for anything and everything and being told (guessing) that "bad things happen to bad little girls" or that whenever you asked for help with a problem, you were told that you caused it.

If you're an atheist, you can take the view that the world is random and without pattern, and that events happen on a strictly causal basis.

If you're religious, you might ascribe to the view that god sends things to test us, but that judgement only happens after we die.

I'm sorry that your DH diagnosis is bad news. Sending you an un-MN <hug> and some brew.

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