It's Getting Bad
I have had anxiety as long as I can remember. It started during childhood with school anxiety. I wanted to stay home with my mom because I didn't feel comfortable at school so I pretended to be sick throughout the year. Then as a teen and young woman it extended into my social life and I avoided parties where I was expected to talk especially with guys. When I ventured to dance clubs in my earlly 20's I'd always hade to have a few drinks before I could relax and carry on a conversation with the opposite sex. When I met my husband at 22 I welcomed his extroverted nature as he carried on most conversations and made me feel accepted and adored despite my quiet unassuming nature.
Now that I'm a middle aged woman I'm still on the quiet side yet I've come to accept and appreciate my introvertedness. I also have control over my life and I can choose to participate or not in different social situations that I'm comfortable in. I've also developed some conversational skills which help at times when put in uncomfortable social situations. What I do have anxiety over is what I can't control.
My son has bi polar illness and from the age of 12 to 16 life was extremely stressful at home. My anxiety surfaced once again but it was different this time. I usually felt safe and calm within the confines of my home but not anymore. Living with someone with a mental illness is unnerving. When it is someone you love, it is extremely distressing. When your home is a battle ground in which you don't know where and when the battle begins from minute to minute it is hell. When you are responsible for keeping yourself and your younger kids safe on top of keeping your mentally ill son safe from himself and then on top of that keeping society safe from your son .... it is breeding grounds for panic attacks. I had them frequently years ago. It would happen when I least expected it. I remember one time being at the mall and suddenly becoming overwhelmed with terror. Because of a conversation I had with my young daughter's teacher over concerns that she is copying some of her brothers behaviors...I started to worry that DYFUS was going to be contacted. We had a horrible situation at home and it was a fact that nobody was especially safe.
After 4 years he finally was placed in a residential treatment center for 1.5 years and then into a group home for 4 months with hopes of him completing high school this year and going on to college next year. He was coming along great; life at home slowly became peaceful and harmonious and I was able to go off of antidepressants and anti anxiety meds. I shed 70 pounds, returned to college and was for the most part happy.
Within the past month I found out my son is using drugs. He is not going to school and he is acting out at the group home. I found out today that they are kicking him out as of next Wednesday. Originally they were giving him 30 days but he is decompensating quickly. Our state agency is pressing for him to come home and enter an outpatient drug rehabilitation program. We are saying no. He needs a residential drug treatment program. He can't come home on drugs. They are saying that he is our son...he needs love. We are saying we have two other kids that need to be safe. They reply that he is our "biological" son (2 daughters adopted). We reply he chose to do drugs and admits he can't live without them but doesn't feel he has a problem. THey say there is no other place for him to go; that he will live on streets or in flee bag motel. We reply you don't understand...the holes in the walls are still there, his attitude is still there, his anger, resentment is still there.
So the anxiety is returning. The guilt has been planted, the fear is awakening and I can't function once again. I couldn't do anything today productive. I feel shaky, and nervous and tearful. I am trying not to feel anything; I am trying to think. What are our options; what have other parents done; what is the best course of action; is tough love the best choice? Should we bring him home and give him a chance and then kick him out? It's only pot...maybe that isn't so bad?
I am going to beat anxiety this time. I am bigger and stronger than it. I don't need something to calm me down. I need to exercise, meditate, play piano, listen to music or write to a friend. Any other hints?