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anxiety,agrophobia

(8 Posts)
maria1966 Tue 15-Feb-05 11:22:33

Help, I just need some honest opinions about my situation.To cut a long story short,am under therapist for anxiety and agrophobia.Have 2 children 3 and a half and 21 months.Having real problems taking the oldest to pre school which is only 5 mins away am working on it with school and therapisT.
My dh parents live in Ireland and know my situation although it is not talked about.
They have just sent e mail to dh offering to pay for plane tickets to visit at easter as they want to see the grand children and of course my dh wants to see his parents.
Alarm bells rang for me when he told me and he my dh says if i can't go he will take the children himself.So what choice do i have?
I can't manage the 5 min trip round the corner at the moment but they expect me to get on a plane and go to Ireland.I feel i am not ready for this at the moment but how will it look if my dh takes the kids without me,what sort of mother does that make me?
I don't think they want to see me anyway,got really depressed before xmas and spoke to mil and the redsult was she did'nt want to discuss it and when i called back FIL just put the phone down on me,no words nothing.
Spoke to MIL last friday and finally admitted the true problems i was having with going out,no response nothing and now this.Did she not hear what i said,can't go 5 mins round the corner but of course it would be easy to get on a plane and go to Ireland,NOT!!!
My dh just says i am stopping them seeing their grand children which is not true,they are welcome here anytime but they have been over 3 times since the children were born and i feel at this difficult time for me they could make the effort.Of course my dh does not agree .
I don't see i have a choice in this i ethier force myself to do this and itwill be a nightmare from beginning to end for me or dh takes them on his own which i don't think i could stand .i have nevwer been away from children and they are keeping me going at the moment i could not let them go,i don't want to be without them,i would worry constantly.That is part of my problem with going out,i want to keep them safe.I lost my parents a few years ago and my brother a couple of years ago and love my children so much am afraid what could happen to them.
My dh just says he will take them and i better get used to it.
Am i being selfish? Please be honest with me,i need that.
Am i going mad?
I feel under so much pressure they seem to be arranging this without any thought to my situation and have put me in a no win situation.
I am working with the therapist and have got a programme for certain days worked out with the school and really want to suceed for my ds benefit.I don't want to jepordise the work i am doing with the therapist but this will now worry me up until easter and be a constant pressure.
Please advise

Newbarnsleygirl Tue 15-Feb-05 11:30:49

Sorry to hear M1966

It sounds like your MIL just desperate to see your children and your dh and doesn't want to think about your problems because she knows it could effect her. Which seems rather selfish especially when you have taken the time out to explain your anxietys to her.

Have you managed to stay out of the house for longer than 5 mins recently ie like 2hrs plus?

If so how did you feel in that time.

Newbarnsleygirl Tue 15-Feb-05 12:04:17

Bump. See if anyone else can help.

maria1966 Tue 15-Feb-05 12:07:18

Hi, NBG.
The last time i went out was sat 29th jan into town nearby with dh and kids.We went in the car and i walked around for about an hour and felt quite at ease as i knew the car was nearby and home was about 5 mins away if i wanted to go home.
I had to prepare myself for this days before to plan the outing.I feel safe when the house is not to far away.
My mil like you said probably does'nt want to getb ininvolved with this but surely even if she's not concerned for me she should be for her grandchildrens sake.I feel i am alone in dealing with this and no one understands apart from my therapist.Like she says if i had a broken leg or an ilness you could see then maybe things would be different but when it's related to your mind they just can't see the pain i am going through and the constant guilt feelings and self loathing.
I just feel i don't matter to them and without my parents i suspose i was looking for surrogate parents.
My frame of mind is not good at the moment,feeling depressed and tearful and i don't know if i can hold it together for a visit to Ireland with the usual stresses of the children and being in someone elses house and the inevitable comments from mil on how to bring up the children(as i have witnessed befote on a previous visit).I might just snap.I am tired of putting on a act for everyone,pretending everything is ok when i know i feel so down and un motivated most days.How can i go over there and play happy familys,i don't feel emotionally stable enough to do this.
I came of anti depressants before xmas as they made me feel numb nd tired all the time but my therapist and hv think i should have stayed on them as i am still stuggling.
My mil knows this but says she does'nt think i was depressed anyway as i seem to manage with the kids,housework etc,but it's all a big act on my part,inside i am feeling like S--t.
No matter what i say or do no one is listening to me.My dh saw how upset i was last night when this whole visit thing came up but just said i was beingselfish and not to worry his parents are getting on and will die soon anyway so i won't have that problem then.Emotional blackmail is not the way to go.
I got my dh to talk to the therapist on the phone for her to explain my condition and tell him what we are working towards.Disater,he was just questioning her qualifications and wondered if she was the right person to treat me as she had not gone through this herself.No joy there then.I thought it would give him an understanding .
What do i do know.
I have left a message for my therapist as i really need to talk to someone at the moment.

ElectricBlue Tue 15-Feb-05 18:40:53

Maria - so sorry to hear you are having all these difficulties. It must be hard enough trying to cope with your actual anxiety issues and work towards the goals - but all the external people and pressure are such an added test. I can sympathise, because I used to be very claustrophobic many years ago. I've also been in some similar situations in the past with family and my xdp pushing and guilting me out from all sides to do something that I found so fearful, and me choosing not to do it was just as bad. Once I was honest with people I was able to say NO to things I didn't want to do and did not allow myself to feel guilty. You've done the very brave and honest thing already by telling your in-laws, even tho their reaction has been offhand. I think you've got a lot of guts because you are tackling things AND getting help. But there's no escaping a decision, you have to make one - and there's no stressfree option. The key thing you said was that you're not ready for this at the moment .... so with that in mind, least stressful option is that they come to visit you, let them see how you function and they might get a sense of your reality - may be hard to persuade them to come if they're elderly, but your condition is challenging too. Easter is still a way off, so see what your Therapist's opinion is about it all. If your DH is questioning her quals, why not ask her to get a 2nd opinion for his benefit from another colleague/therapist - several heads might be better than one. Can your DH read up on the subject more, would it help? It's important that your DH believes and supports you because you really need good support. Wishing you lots of luck.

foxinsocks Tue 15-Feb-05 18:58:27

maria, I have a lot of sympathy for you as my mother suffered with agoraphobia so I know how debilitating it can be.

First of all, you need to resolve the pressure you are feeling about this trip otherwise it will start to take over your life so you need to make a decision. I imagine you are feeling bad for 2 reasons, 1. that you are unable to go and to other people it appears completely irrational (and probably to a degree yourself) 2. that you are letting dh down. I would put my foot down now and say you are unable to go but take dh up on his offer of taking the kids on their own. That way the in laws don't miss out.

Secondly, there are medications that can help you feel better. I am in no way qualified but I know that my mum did have some quite good stuff at one point. If you feel that you want to try and do the flight, you can go the GP and get something strong. Prepare your dh so that he can look after the kids. Book seats right at the back so you're near the loo in case you need to escape and hopefully you might make it. It's a 45 minute flight. If you park your car at the airport (I know it costs a lot) it will make you feel so much better on the flight home knowing your car is there ready to take you back home.

Agoraphobia is awful - and what is worse is that it is very difficult to get anyone else to understand how bad it can make you feel. I think you are very courageous to tackle like you have done but I do think possibly, medication can help alleviate some of the symptoms you are feeling now (the excess stress) and I wouldn't be too worried about asking for them!

foxinsocks Tue 15-Feb-05 19:07:50

by the way maria, the fact that you go on outings (the one you mentioned in January) is fantastic. Well done to you. I know you had to do a lot of preparation but it worked and you were fine. It sounds like the work you are doing with the therapist is really paying off. What does your therapist think of the whole situation? Does she/he think you are capable of doing this flight?

By the way, have you tried the 'circle' thing for explaining to dh. My mum said to me - she has a 'safe zone' with the home in the middle. Her safe zone used to vary but when she felt bad, that safe zone used to only be the house and on better days, it would stretch a bit further (like a circle expanding). Anywhere out of that safe zone would cause her to panic as she only felt comfortable in her own environment.

maria1966 Tue 15-Feb-05 22:34:52

Thank you all so much for your advice.MY dh came home this evening and when i mentioned that this trip has been on my mind all day and worrying me it turned into a row ending up with him saying he is taking the kids with him and i can't stop him.
I got really hysterical at this point and went upstairs and sobbed as i feel so trapped.
My mil and fil could come and visit us although they are 65 and 70 they are still active and jet off on holidays and visit people.But when it is suggested mil gets round it and it's always a case of them wanting us to go over as other family members are visiting at this time and it's convienent for everyone else to meet up then.
I did go over last august although this was a real struggle but it was fil 70th birthday and there was a big party ,i did that for my dh and the childrens sake.It was really stressful,loads of people staying at the house and the children just seemed to get in the way most of the time andd i was fed up of mil telling my ds not to do this ,don't touch that etc .They have a big house on the shore and is a great place but i always feel overwhealmed with this and the types of people that are at thier "dinner parties" i feel i am not good emough
THe thought of my dh going and taking the children hurts me so much,i can't be without them and he probably knows this.
Emotional blackmail i think they call it and it hurts me to think that my dh could make me feel this way and threaten me with this.
I keep thinking if i do this then no way am i going to go their and put on a act and put up with the disapproving comments in how i am bringing up my children .Also fil put the phone down on me before xmas and i don,t know why and my dh thinks this dos,nt matter.But i was really upset when i called to speak to mil and to get that rweaction and my dh thinks i should forget about it.They obviously have no feelings for me and how i am feeling at all.I suspose it,s convienent to forget all that so they an see their grandchildren.But i have not forgotton how my mil just blanked me for a while no phone calls and then just rang obviously asking about the kids but ignoring me i told her the problems i was having.I feel invisible and i don't matter.
Without family support or dh support i am stuck in a rut and i wish i had the sort of mil who cared and maybe visited me more to give me some support,but nothing.I know if my lovely mum and dad were still alive they would never have treated dh that way if he needed them.

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