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Repeatedly telephoning family members for reassurance

D

DDorset

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Hello. I am new here, a single male in my late forties who has had anxiety for over 20 years.

Often, when anxious I constantly telephone family members (several times an hour sometimes) for the same reassurance, which is putting stress on my elderly parents.

My brother has sent me a letter recently outlining the stress my actions are causing and has laid down very rigid rules of which family members I can contact on given evenings and has set a one hour time slot for me to call once in the given evenings. No leeway at all will be allowed.

I appreciate my anxiety needs managing by myself and seeing a letter helps me do so.

Has a similar thing happened to you?
 
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Quickduck

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:welcome: to the forum. I hope you enjoy posting here. :)
I've just turned 40 and also suffer from anxiety; regretfully both my parents are deceased and those family members I do have are less than supportive, but I have been able to get a great deal of support from some lovely people here, perhaps this will work for you too. :)
 
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notrealname

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DDorset said:
Hello. I am new here, a single male in my late forties who has had anxiety for over 20 years.

Often, when anxious I constantly telephone family members (several times an hour sometimes) for the same reassurance, which is putting stress on my elderly parents.

My brother has sent me a letter recently outlining the stress my actions are causing and has laid down very rigid rules of which family members I can contact on given evenings and has set a one hour time slot for me to call once in the given evenings. No leeway at all will be allowed.

I appreciate my anxiety needs managing by myself and seeing a letter helps me do so.

Has a similar thing happened to you?
Not quite a similar thing, although a friend once sent me an email telling me to 'contact her when I get better' after I leaned on her too heavily. She was wrong to do that, in that that's not the way to respond to someone ever, but she had a point in that she wasn't able to enjoy the friendship when I was so constantly in need and I needed to find better ways to help myself.

It sounds like your brother has not sent the most compassionate letter and he is being a little controlling here and treating you like a child, which is certainly not helpful. Allowing yourself to feel shame over this will make everything a lot worse so do not do that. Have compassion for yourself. You did not intend harm, you were desperate for support.

But you're right that the way you are seeking support may not be the most effective and the most reliable and may put strain on relationships. Are you currently in therapy? With chronic anxiety this severe you could maybe try psychotherapy - make sure your GP understands the severity so he/she knows what to do.

Sometimes as children we have not learned self soothing techniques, which makes it very difficult to self soothe as an adult. I have found the best way is mindfulness - which means observing your thoughts and emotions rather than attaching to them. Start with simple emotions and work up to more complex ones.

So, for instance, if I'm exhausted and haven't slept well and I'm in work, instead of getting worked up that I'm tired and I can't concentrate and letting that frustrate me, I just say to myself 'I'm tired, but that's ok, I don't have to perform all the time, I'll just take it slowly and see what I can get done, I'll get home soon'.

Or if I'm in a meeting and the team are really frustrating, instead of attaching to my anger I notice it and think 'I'm feeling angry at the moment'. It sounds very simple, but it actually calms you the fuck right down. It gives you a little distance between yourself and your emotions.

I found it really good for dealing with anxiety. When anxiety started I just thought 'I'm feeling anxious, it won't do me any harm' and when dealing with rumination and anxious thoughts I find it helpful to catch myself doing it and say to myself 'I'm having those thoughts again, but they're just thoughts and they don't help me to feel content' and then I focus my attention on my surroundings and on what is actually happening in the moment. This distancing stops the flow of the thoughts and helps them to ebb away. Sometimes you have to do it a few times to get a result, but if you keep doing it and doing it you'll start feeling better.
 
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