Anxiety return


Hi all, long time no read.

I've been fairly active in life, studying and working in a bunch of new projects, in what I call "my journey after trauma treatment". I recently had a massive breakdown due to stress (not just the pandemic, but overwork and home situation).
I was living alone (no mom) with my pets before the pandemic and that wasn't to be changed anytime soon, so I was dealing with stuff I couldn't deal with while living with her, the deep-rooted anger and pain from her part of the abuse in my life. So when the pandemic hit, in March she came to join me. From there on out I had to do EVERYTHING for her, much more than before. Because she's a COPD patient, and before masks were a thing accepted in the Western part of the World, I did all the shopping, cooking, and she basically had two jobs: cleaning the kitchen and watering the garden (my garden), because she said it made her feel good. After a lot of my plants dying in her hands, I'm thinking I have to take control of that part of the work too.

The whole self-work on dealing with all that crap was abruptly interrupted by the pandemic and her presence, so I still have deep anger issues and I freak out sometimes, which leads to suicidal ideation.

I'm building an extensive curriculum through studying in Environment and Sustainability applied to Design (which was my area of studying before), and I'm great at it. I'm writing for a magazine, have my own publication and I'm working on collaborative massive work for sustainable development of a megacity with other people in terms of urbanism and applied ecological design... anyway, this all translates into a lot of work.

More so, when I don't cook, we don't eat. She has awful eating habits, decided I'm not to be a vegetarian so she does a manipulative play of not wanting vegetarian food, and when I cave she gets vegetables and asks why I'm not cooking vegetarian food. There's a lot more to it, but I'm too angry to write them all.

Anyway, we rescued a female puppy recently so now we have two dogs and two cats. She gives them food, I give affection, walks and they sleep with me.

Basically what is happening is that the puppy is aggressive, because of trauma before she got here. The vet taught me some tricks but basically, the puppy needs to have all the attention to herself, she's jealous of my other dog and becomes aggressive and destroys everything. The puppy was sleeping in my mom's room because it was impossible to manage my sleeping and two dogs and two cats, one of which could potentially be dangerous to sleep with me. A couple of nights ago, Yuki, the puppy was having a tantrum (baby thing of wanting to sleep but can't wind down) and she decided to put the puppy bed outside of her room and let me deal with it: result, I couldn't let the puppy sleep by herself in the living room while all the others were sleeping with me, she was crying until I brought her to my room. She slept all night, and well, but this last night she couldn't unwind and destroyed two of my bed pillows and when I tried to take it away she attacked me, like literally, and my other dog defended me. I put her in the living room for a while, then went to get her after she had calmed down.

The only period I had to myself in absolute calm and solitude was between 4 am and 6 am. At that time, I did art and yoga and meditated. Now with the puppy, I can't do anything.
I'm not resting enough from work, I can't sleep peacefully and the nightmares are back. I don't have time for myself.

I'm not blaming the puppy, but after 5 months of having her own space in my mom's room, she's acting out for not having her own space again, so she's becoming territorial.

My mom keeps the victim mode on, but she spends the entire day resting and doing crochet while I do all the rest. If for some reason I ask for her to make dinner or lunch, we usually only eat when I remind her it's way past normal eating hours, if only... sometimes I have to cook myself otherwise nobody eats.

Anyway, this wasn't like this before. She came back with a vengeance. I'm exhausted.
I think about suicide every week.

I scheduled an appointment with my therapist who keeps saying I'm great and there is no reason to worry. Basically, she graduated me from therapy.
I still take meds and they're effective at not keeping me completely out of sorts for the entire day.

I'm just so freaking exhausted all the time. The only periods I have to rest is when she decided to go for a drive and I say I don't want to go because I've got things to do (I never really do, I just want alone time).

We had a huge fight to the point of losing my voice. I lost my temper like I hadn't done since my teen years. She was aggressive, pushed me, and destroyed a box of chocolates out of anger. Things were calm for a while, but now we're back to her spoiled false-victimhood hysterical normal.

I don't know what to do. With the pandemic, I can't go live elsewhere, and if I did I bet that in a few months I had her breathing on my neck again. I'm tired of feeling invalidated constantly.
She becomes accusatory and blames me for pretty much her crappy existence and I've had enough.

Yesterday she wanted to talk to me about how she is a victim of the puppy and I shut her out, she became hysterical and screamed profanity and accusations, name-calling out loud, and all that. I remained statue-like and calmed down on my own, only raising my voice saying I didn't want to participate in that.

I'm not sure what I'm asking for here. I already did the moving out thing, but here we are.
What is keeping me here at the moment are the pets and some shred of hope for a better future because I have no other reason to be alive. But this is basically what's been happening for the past 6 years, pets are the only reason that I'm still here.


Hope everyone is doing ok.
It sounds like you are responsible for two lives: yours and your mom's. That isn't sustainable.

It sounds like your mom could take care of herself and just doesn't want to. Nevertheless, you cannot live both your life and hers. Perhaps you should start treating her as though she can't take care of herself.

Here we hire caretakers or in-home helpers for people who are unable to take care of themselves. If that doesn't work or we can't afford that, people who are unable to take care of themselves have to move into group homes.

Just throwing out ideas.

ms spock

Hello there's a book "The Emotionally Abusive Relationship" by Patricia Evans. Not sure if that would assist?

Can you try another therapist that listens to your feelings of overwhelm and suicidal ideation?

When I was looking after Papa Bear, we got an ACAT assessment and we got two hours per week where someone could come and be with him. Those were two important hours. We also got three showers as well. As time went on we got several 2 hour periods per week and we needed them. Papa Bear had to go into respite care as well. It was absolutely essential I couldn't have managed otherwise. Can you talk to your Mother about going into respite care? You are too exhausted to look after her as well as work and cook and do everything else as well as working and studying.

Can you schedule some days on your own. You are "working" and you leave to go elsewhere, even if it is sitting in a park with the dog.

Moving out again if you can - I know it's a lot but even if you got 3 months on your own - your mental health would improve dramatically. Being suicidal shows that this is not sustainable or working for you.

Can you rehome the puppy to a foster carer that can do one on one? A dog with those issues would be best with one on one and you don't have what it takes to take care of your Mother, nevertheless yourself. You have saved that puppy so now you can place the puppy with someone who is not totally maxed out and suicidal. You have to start looking after you.

Can you go away for a weekend? Not easy with Covid19 I know.


Moving out again if you can
I can maybe in a few months... not sure about it yet.

Can you rehome the puppy to a foster carer that can do one on one?
Not an option, I don't want to give up my puppy. I rather train her, you know? I've downloaded some classes that deal with this sort of behavior.

Can you go away for a weekend?
I might in a few weeks when the lockdown is over. I've been thinking about it, it would be good for me.

And hi!!! How are you? I missed you guys.

And hey SRG!
It sounds like your mom could take care of herself and just doesn't want to.
YEP! I think it's her depression, constantly battling the issues is making everything worse. I've been taking the approach of dealing with love but taking no crap, and it's been useful.

move into group homes.
Not an option as long as there's a pandemic. It's been hitting old folkx homes a lot and it's basically murder to do that in her condition.


Plus, she's only 65 and it would be horrible to put her in a home. She's been more open to dealing with her mistakes and issues, but it has its ups and downs... She's been ok these past few weeks, more helpful and kind. At least she's giving me more space, which is REALLY good.


Hi, @Sietz :) I hope you’ve been well — I’ve been too stressed to communicate lately and it looks like you’re in a similar boat.

My mom is nowhere near as manipulative as yours is being, and yet I feel your pain. Your mother doesn’t care about your boundaries and has proven over and over again that she isn’t trustworthy. That’s a lot to deal with on its own — nevermind actually living with this person.

Being able to get away in any way would help, but you might have to get creative. I was going to a synagogue once a week before the pandemic started. After that, I started going on walks outside, or sitting in the cold if I needed to ground.

And being able to make boundaries would help, and adjust your life where you can. My mom knows that if I make dinner, I will probably include her, but she now knows it’s not a guarantee. I can make meals I don’t share. If she makes a meal for us both, I make a point of asking if she made it to share — she almost always says yes, but it helps build that boundary. And make it a two-way street.

My mom hasn’t accepted all my boundaries, and probably never will. In fact, she’s pushed back with “you’re my mom now” and “we spent too much money” (when she buys anything impulsively), but I clearly respond every time with “I am not your keeper” and “YOU spent too much money.” I’ve been peppering in statements like “when I move out.” It helps keep a solid separation between us.

If your mom gets passive aggressive, ignore it. If she can’t use her words, it’s not your problem. And if she can’t treat you well, she’s being a problem.

Try also to do perspective shifts when you can. “This is hopeless” to “here’s how I’m going to address this” and “I’m strong enough to see this through until I get out.”

I’m really sorry you’re dealing with this right now.

I am sure I have more possible things you could try, but the main thing is to look for areas that are under YOUR control. If your mom won’t eat the veggies, for example, tell her to make her own dinner, because this one’s yours. That’s already more control your way.

Also triple check your responsibilities. I know what you mean about wanting to keep the puppy — but are you SURE that’s a good idea? The puppy has already bitten you and almost caused a dog fight. That is going to escalate without a professional and/or (mostly “and”) highly experienced trainer on the case. That puppy sounds stressed and might be better suited in a home with lower atmospheric stress, and no other dogs.

Up to you, of course! You know whats best. But you’re doing the thing where you see the problems, want to address them, but get stuck in the muck. Think of it like a budget, maybe? What monthly bills could you reasonably cut out? Maybe write it out somewhere to help organize your thoughts

I hope something there is useful. Or, gets you down the right path that’s useful to you <3 Sorry you’re dealing with this right now.

(Please excuse typos, I have not slept lol)

ms spock

There's an audiobook for "The Mindful Way Through Depression" and the "The Mindful Way Through Anxiety". I used to listen to them all the time. If you put one of them on in the background maybe your Mother would pick up some tidbits? It's a long shot.

This is a meditation I am doing at the moment. It might interest you, if not please let it slide by. Meditation: Calling on Loving Presence (18:18 min) - Tara Brach

and the David Burns podcasts are all free and some of them are gems. Some you could put on to listen for yourself but could also benefit from listening to them.

Some times other perspectives can be useful. If not please ignore.

ms spock

And hi!!! How are you? I missed you guys.
Hello! It's good to read you again! We missed you too!
YEP! I think it's her depression, constantly battling the issues is making everything worse. I've been taking the approach of dealing with love but taking no crap, and it's been useful.
That's great!
Not an option as long as there's a pandemic. It's been hitting old folkx homes a lot and it's basically murder to do that in her condition.
It depends on the place. In NSW there was spread and it changed the practices. In Melbourne the state run ones had hardly any infections at all and the private ones had about 655 deaths. So it depends on management. Morrison Government to blame for COVID aged care failures, Senate report finds

In Queensland there was a case of one person having the infectious UK Kent variant of Covid19 in the community and due to that immediately, no one was allowed to visit aged care, disability homes and other residential facilities. It's not even allowed to potentially walk in the door. The whole Greater Area of Brisbane went into an immediate three day lock down so as not to allow any infections to start moving through the communities at large. Thousands and thousands of Queenslanders are getting tested in order to make sure it's not spreading. Everyone has to wear masks for 14 days after the quarantine ends today to make sure there is no spread. Queensland has 4 cases in quarantine currently. We wear masks every where we go, we try not to go any where. Our neighbours are elderly so we wear masks if we see them as well. Things have gone badly in some countries though and the US - unless you lived in a state that managed it very well in aged care - it could be a death sentence.
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