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Worried that I am (properly) losing the plot... hand-holding needed(24 Posts)
Have posted similar threads before so sorry for boring but I'm a bit worried about my delayed reaction to various things which have happened in my life.
Split with H about four months ago at my instigation, shortly after my mum died. Up until about a month ago was doing really well, felt independent, free, happy and like I was coping really well with everything. DD (4) also seemed to be coping pretty well considering and I was patting myself on the back and feeling I was moving on.
In the past few weeks various fairly low-level things have happened which normally I would shake off but which have really upset me and have made me question my mental health.
The most recent thing was a minor spat with a colleague about something incredibly trivial. I have stewed over it for a week, can't get over it and have become paranoid and convinced myself that my colleagues, and this one in particular, are out to knife me in the back and f* me over. I know how paranoid that sounds, I know it's not actually true and that people don't actually think that much about me but in my own mind I believe it is. Its really upsetting me because until recently work was a real haven from my domestic problems and I now don't feel I can trust anyone there. Can't talk to or socialise with people, feel people are laughing at me, talking behind my back etc.
I know I need to snap out of it or they will start to actually dislike me instead of just disliking me in my paranoid fantasies, but I just can't. I can't trust them and I need to feel that I have trust above all else at the moment. Its become a catch 22 where the more I feel like this the more moody and withdrawn I have become and no doubt I'm really irritating them and they think I'm a weak, self-indulgent cow who needs to get over herself. I have actually started to construct fantasy bitchy conversations that they have about me in the pub -- is this normal? surely not....
I feel that above all I can't show people at work any weakness and its driving me to behave in ways which are very weird and ultimately quite weak because I don't have any self control.
I'm having counselling at the moment and up until this point I had felt OK but I'm really shaken at how much I have gone to pieces recently. Just feel exhausted, paranoid and tearful. I have to keep leaving the room all the time and so forth. I know its going to take a while but I just want to be back on an even keel again.
Don't really comment on threads (long time lurker), but yours really struck me. Not too good at giving advice but it seems to me that you are grieving. I think you have to give yourself some time. Perhaps talk to your colleagues, you don't have to go into detail but say that things are just getting on top of you personally. I'm sure they will understand. Sending you a hug...and really admire you for what you have come through.
Rachelbluefoot thanks... but that's what's weird -- I don't feel able to open up to any of them. I know they know that I have gone through quite a lot in the past six months and in a couple of cases have actually offered me the chance to talk about it but I feel that if I show the slightest sense of wanting to reach out to people they will think I'm needy and weird and back away from me.
I don't know how to be with people any more -- I have got on really well with these people for 18 months and in some cases got quite close to them but I now feel if I try to be friendly or even cheerful around them they will think I'm desperate and push me away. The only way I can cope is to be moody and aloof and that creates an awful cycle where I then think they think I'm being self-centred.
I can't win.
I actually wanted to send an email to say sorry I'm behaving like such a freak, I will get over it and be normal again, just bear with me for a couple of weeks. But then I couldn't do it as I was scared of what they would think of me. It's pathetic really as I know rationally that if they reject me they don't matter anyway, but I can't help it.
I don't think that you are losing the plot though. I think you are adjusting to life without the people you came to rely on. Your support system. And now, you have to rely on you. I know that sounds quite hippy shite!! But it's true. Your work colleagues will understand, and I think the email is a good idea...but when you are ready. Is there any chance you can take a few days off work? Go spoil yourself? Get some pleasure from loving you for a change? Perhaps not having to be at work may help? I genuinely think it's time you need. Time to adjust to supporting yourself, emotionally!! You can't change the circumstances, what people think about you, how people talk about you, what they say...the only thing you can change is you!! xx
OP, from what you have written here, I think you should go and have a chat with your GP. maybe I have read it wrong, but like you, it doesn't 'feel' right.
I am about to have some time off work and I think some distance will help.
I'm just worried that I've destroyed the goodwill I had with my self-destructive and self-centred behaviour. I think people will understandably feel that I should have moved on by now.
I would like to send the email but I don't work in a very nurturing environment. I think people judge you quite harshly for showing weakness in this world generally and particularly in the industry I work in....
Patchwork perhaps I will talk to the GP. I don't want to go on ADs which is what GPs say nine times out of ten in these situations -- have tried them before and they didn't work and made me put on tons of weight. And I'm already having counselling so hard to see what else the GP could do....
I found starting my counselling wobbled me and I actually got more upset before I felt better, if that makes sense? I found it emotionally draining and although it was worth it, it certainly was hard. Maybe you are feeling the way you do because you are addressing everything that's gone on?
MrsEvadneCake possibly... that crossed my mind. I had felt up until quite recently that things were almost too good to be true and that I couldn't really be coping this easily with a bereavement and a separation in the space of two months.
Maybe I just need to accept that its taking longer than I expected. I can live with that.
What I'm really struggling with is the degree of paranoia and the self-destructive cycle I've got myself into about things and people who in the scheme of things are not hugely important. Its as if I'm transferring all the stuff that's happened to me elsewhere....
And I'm scared of actually being unable to control my behaviour and doing something which will get me fired. Thankfully my employers have been very understanding but there are limits....
Also thanks to all of you for making me feel a bit more normal and less mad
I'm with MrsEvadneCake, newnamesamegame. The death of a parent tends to create significant psychological shifts. Couple that with breaking up with a spouse/partner, and entering into counselling (and all of them being related to a greater or lesser extent), and it will feel like the ground is wobbling beneath your feet. In fact, in a sense, it is: you are losing 'anchors' to the old, but yet to shift into the new.
Speak to your counsellor. That's the first thing, and it is important. The rest will fall into place.
I cannot emphasise this enough. Not because it's serious to the point of your being sectioned, but because this is what a huge sea-change looks and feels like and you need as much holding as possible through it all. Your counsellor couldn't have come at a better time, imo. Make use of them.
I'm going to say something that may piss you off - but be still. Actively let go and be still. Say to yourself - kindly - "be still"
Bcs all this is gaining momentum; and the more you battle to get control of it, the more the stress goes up, the worse it gets.
So stop. Be still. Just for a few moments. Find a mindfulness app and work mindfulness meditations into your daily life. Makes a big difference. Resets the meter.
springydaffs that didn't piss me off at all -- actually my counsellor is about to begin on something like this so its quite timely. I'm not sure about the mindfulness but very happy to give it a go. I think the thing about resetting the meter is helpful - I have found just telling myself its a new day can be quite helpful.
Thanks to all of you....
Oh bless you.
4 months is nothing.
I ran on adrenalin for that long before the crash came.
Adrenalin is a great thing for getting you through the initial fallout and upset but when your body no longer needs it and it all stops it's horrible.
Be kind to yourself.
People will be patient with you so don't worry about that too much.
Talk to your counsellor about it all and hopefully you'll get there.
Give yourself time though. This won't fix itself overnight.
You can't just 'get a grip' or 'get over it'
If only everything was that easy, unfortunately it just isn't!
No wonder you feel like you arent in control.
I agree with the mindfulness sugestions and also why not tell your colleagues that you are struggling? It will give them a bit of context to why you might be being a bit standoffish and they will cut you some slack. You dont have to go into details, but when you find yourself being sharp or offhand, just take a moment and say,"Im sorry, Ive got a lot on my plate at the moment, I dont mean to offend". Thats all. Or speak to your line manager - In the past whenI was a line manager my staff came to me with their personal problems all the time, it was part of my job to give "pastoral care".
And finally, give yourself some time. Think about how you will feel in a years time.
Take care x
My first thought reading was that counselling can open up a huge can of worms and while it's good at the end it's painful to go through it. When l had counselling my counsellor sort of taught me how to cope between sessions when a wound was opened but not entirely worked through. Maybe yours would do that. Also l found letting people into my life in work even in a small way really helped although when things round you are tough it's the last thing you want to do. You have been through a lot. You are not out the other side yet but you will come through. Be patient with yourself. Do you keep a journal as that helped me sort my thoughts at times?
junebirthdaygirl I know some degree of openness is liberating and helpful. But I'm terrified of opening up and seeking support from these people and being rejected by them. I know they're not actually going to tell me to p* off but I feel so vulnerable at the moment that anything short of the really deep support that old friends can give you would feel like a cheat. I don't really want to be with people who will say "there, there, you'll get over it" and go back to gossiping about trivia as it feels like a sticking plaster on a war wound. But by the same token, I can't really expect people who I don't know that well to provide that level of support and I don't want to be a drain or a bore. Can anyone relate to this?
I am getting some support from my really old friends and family, its not as if I'm going through this totally alone. But I see them at best once a fortnight, as opposed to every day. My colleagues see me first thing in the morning when I haven't slept all night and my eyes are read from crying, they see me nearly bursting into tears at my desk etc. I can't hide it from them but I don't feel able to be truly open about how wobbly and exposed I feel as its a drain on them and depressing. I feel like I'm imposing on them by allowing them to be aware that I feel like shit.
I haven't kept a journal (I was going to say I don't have time but I have plenty of time to be on MN). Maybe that would be helpful.
Fear can really distort things - the fear of something is very often much worse than the thing itself.
I relate to paranoid thoughts - when I had PND (though I didn't know that at the time) I one day was convinced all the women at playgroup were talking about/sneering at me. It was a turning point because I knew that couldn't be right - but I was convinced nonetheless! I made an appt with gp forthwith and was put on ADs. Bliss.
Re fear being worse than anything could be - try not to take seriously what's going on with you. Definitely some brain chemistry is going a bit skew whiff because of stress so employ the usual techniques to address getting things back on an even keel physiologically eg exercise, good diet, breathing (deep, into the gut when you think of it - SO important), mindfulness (look into it. The term itself pissed me off until I looked into it - it's good!). I would suggest ADs to get your brain chemistry firing properly. I'm a great fan, they saved my life, there's a time and a place (and thank God for modern medicine!). Or eg Kalms (x3 per day) if you want to start gently - but don't rule out ADs if necessary.
Time off work may be an idea at the mo, to give you a break from what you are feeling is a very threatening environment. Yes your wires may have got crossed but from what you say it is an environment that is somewhat cut-throat. While that environment may be stimulating for you usually it may be you can't hack at it at the moment.
Thanks springydaffs that's a very wise post I think and I found that really helpful. I really don't want to go on ADs, though I do accept they have a place for many people -- I've tried them before and they really didn't agree with me. But mindfulness does seem worth a go and I think counselling will help.
My work environment isn't exactly cut-throat, but its fair to say its not somewhere you are are encouraged to wear your heart on your sleeve and you are required to keep quite an upbeat persona a lot of the time. In practice there's not much I can do about this and I basically like my job so I just have to man up and deal with it on a day to day basis. But I think I do need to detach from it somewhat, which is what I'm doing in a way. I think when you are feeling vulnerable and you are exposed to people 24/7 it can make you feel very exposed. But ultimately it could be a strengthening experience. I am off work now for a week and am going to take it really easy and try to regroup as far as possible.
Thank you all, I'm feeling a lot better today and though I don't think I'm totally out of the woods I do recognise that this is a part of the process.
OP, you sound absolutely sane to me: the most telling thing is that you recognise that you have paranoid feelings and they are almost certainly unfounded. However you do sound very anxious and why wouldn't you? Two huge life events are a massive shock to the system. Sometimes we cope with utter crap and suddenly one tiny thing is the final straw. We all have a tipping point.
Do look into mindfulness and calm breathing techniques, they are so helpful. Be Still is such wise advice. Slow down and accept this is a rough patch which will pass. Although ADs are not for you I would still speak with your GP, anti anxiety meds can be very helpful and did my fil absolute wonders.
You will get through this.min the meantime be kind to yourself and get all the rl support you can.
Thanks everyone. This has been hugely helpful.
OP, I have felt exactly the same as you, to the point of constructing the fantasy conversations in my head, where people are bitching about me. You aren't "losing it" at all. You have had a terrible time lately and it sounds to me like it is all taking its toll on you without you realising. I had the same thing, except my problems were no way near what you have even through.
Agree with pp who advised you to see your GP and try mindfulness.
Try to put aside what people at work think.
If possible, use it as a time to focus on work, and remember that people have their own concerns and stresses and they probably aren't thinking about you as much as you think they are.
Keep working hard and soon the focus will move away from you, nothing lasts forever.
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