Unwanted Thoughts

By Michelle Lemme

Unwanted thoughts keep popping into my head; need to keep myself distracted so as not to get caught up in the never ending vortex of worry and guilt.   No matter what has taken place in the past, I am and always will be, a mother first.  I believe that the thoughts that I am having are not “abnormal” as I believe any mother who is undergoing something difficult with their child would also be plaque by guilt and anxiety.

My tendency is to catastrophize things, it is the rare occasion in deed when I don’t believe the worse can, and probably will happen.  No matter that I rarely have evidence which supports the catastrophic thought that is haunting me.  Sometimes, even my breathing cannot quell the fear that tears at my heart.

The “guilt” thoughts are the most dreadful, the most useless.  All of these invaders drive me to want to fix everything that is precarious in SA’s life, what mother wouldn’t want to make their children’s life easier if they could?  I’m torn apart, knowing that SA needs to continue to learn to live her life independently and responsibly.  How can she possibly succeed if I intervene in every aspect of her life?  The answer, of course, is that she cannot.  Everyone forgets that she lives with serious learning disabilities, most of which involve language processing – imagine, language is at the heart of all we do – no wonder she is frustrated so much of the time; she also has almost no working short term memory and very low scores in longer term.  Honestly, it’s amazing what she has accomplished this far in her life!  She honestly cannot fathom why she has lost so many jobs; she is convinced it has nothing to do with her, and yet, she feels badly about this and herself.  She needs fulltime work; she just hasn’t been able to find the right fit.

I don’t know enough about her “challenges” to be able to explain them to her to help her understand where some of her frustration comes from.  What she really needs is consistent, open, honest guidance from someone she can trust.  She feels as though all of her doctors have abandoned her and is skeptical of going that route again.  I believe she knows she needs help and that she really wants it but doesn’t know what to do to ask for help.  My heart aches at the prospect of the world of hurt that could be in store for her.  I am keenly aware that for my own health and well being, I cannot be the one she relies on to help her out of whatever situation she is dealing with.

The guilt comes when I start to wonder why I can’t simply “deal” with the situation in a detached and loving manner, which would help protect me from myself?  All signs point to those useless core beliefs, “I’m not good enough”, “I am a bad mother”, because wouldn’t a good mother find her child the help she needs and wouldn’t she let her live back at home???????   I know I can’t do those things, the last time I tried, I quite literally, lost my mind.  She isn’t even asking to come back home, nor is she asking for anything unreasonable….I really need to give her more credit and go back to the STOP, Challenge, Change method of managing my thoughts (so easy to say, so difficult to do).  This is the exercise where I visualize a great big red STOP sign, challenge the thought (what evidence do I have to support or not support the thought) and then change the way I am thinking to something more reasonable.  Seriously, if I would do this regularly, I think I might be able to manage my sometimes lethal thinking.