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by therising
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Supporting family and friends with a mental health condition (carers)

Space for sharing tips on supporting a partner, family member or friend with a mental health condition, and seeking support for your own wellbeing with other carers.

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by Eagle Ray
17 Jun

Topic: Highly Sensitive People (HSP)

  1. Guest_1055
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    18 January 2022 in reply to therising

    Interesting what you said there therising. The bit you wrote about not being able to switch off... I can be a lot like that. Truly can be overwhelming and depressing. But for me too can also be overwhelming good emotions as well. Like at weddings, receiving gifts, birth of babies, will I would be the one quietly sobbing with happy type emotions. And actually sometimes I would rather not be like that... can be embarrassing. The crying that is..

    Other times if other people are too sad, depressed or whatever, I can mostly pick that up. Feel deeply for the other person... And if I am not wise I can become so distraught, sad etc to the point of detaching my soul and start to feel "far away". Just my coping mechanism I think. Its one of the reasons I am unable to read lots of depressing or actually even anxious type posts on here.

    I let someone down the other day. And I felt so so disappointed and felt so so deeply about it. Still feel sad about it. Both for her and myself.

    I can pick up on my family's anxiety too... and then can become a bit that way myself. I had to learn to breathe in that situation then I was able to pray for the person.

    Yeah Tony, what I meant was, some posts appeared to have a high word count... They just looked long compared to other posts on the forum. So yeah what Sleepy said.

    Interesting discussion anyway.

    1 person found this helpful
  2. Guest_1643
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    18 January 2022 in reply to therising

    Hi the rising

    I met two women who claimed to be empaths who were very narcissistic.

    They identified as empaths and talked about it for hours..,,but weren't very sensitive to others jn their actions. Anyone can say they're an empath, and sometimes maybe to excuse their behaviour. So for that reason I don't like labels of that sort.

    being an empathetic or caring person is very different to saying u are those things.

    Ppl who say they are very nice and caring all the time to me, red flags. Over my life I've learnt to judge ppl,by how they act, not what they say about themselves.

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Guest_1643
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    18 January 2022 in reply to Guest_1055

    Hi Shelll,

    I feel being in touch with ppls emotions can be appreciated by others. Do u feel it affects u badly, or can it also sometimes mean u can make ppl feel comfortable and understood ?

    I think from having very severe ptsd from childhood I can't always handle some stories ppl tell me , here and irl. I want to, but I step back a bit at times. In hospital I heard some traumatic stories that still effect me.

    1 person found this helpful
  4. white knight
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    18 January 2022 in reply to Guest_1055

    Hi Shelll

    OK. Posts that have long paragraphs have more letters because lots of paragraphs adds characters when you start a new one. They seem longer for this reason.

    Therising- Being a male and lived and worked with many of them, I can say it is common for men to "switch" to aggression at any time.

    It's like a red line. Like a list of topics he has in his head...if anyone says this or that I'm going to give it to them". A man is well prepared for such scenarios.

    Yes, I think this instant aggression is natural, as unacceptable as it is.

    TonyWK

  5. CMF
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    19 January 2022 in reply to Guest_1643

    Hi all

    I agree with Sleepy, if a person has to make a point of what they believe they are..mi don't trust them. My colleague used to make a point about helping others, we should always help etc but she gets so annoyed when people bother her. She talks about being bullied at another office & no one helping her, but she is sometimes not a nice person herself the way she talks about others. She's sugary sweet in front of people, different as soon as they're gone. Yeah. Actions def speak louder than words. I absorb all her negativity & don't trust her 1 bit.

    Cmf

    1 person found this helpful
  6. white knight
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    19 January 2022 in reply to CMF

    Hi CMF

    Very interesting part of the topic for me is people with a persuasive mask at your face, often mentioning negatives about other people. My estranged mother had it in an art form. Sadly us siblings didnt identify it until well into adulthood such was her ability to manipulate, get you onside at the expense of another sibling then your turn came around about 2 months later, the cycle was hard to see as it was so many weeks apart.

    It has little to do with sensitivity and more to do with trust and how our sensitivity (enabling without intent) draws these people into a false sense of low intelligence, that they think we dont know they are fake...if you get my meaning? Thankfully along with my sensitive/enabling/people pleaser persona I have the uniformed/warder/fearless side that, when pushed, I can call these people out for who they are but I really have to be pushed that way eg if such a person told me untruths about a dear friend or relative that I knew was a lie then I couldnt stand by and absorb it. I often remind myself of that saying mentioned earlier "evil flourishes when good men do nothing". Even though action results in less friends but better quality ones.

    As Shelll said, some self claimed empaths can be narcissists.

    TonyWK

  7. Guest_1643
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    19 January 2022 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony, I mentioned that, about empaths.

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  8. white knight
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    19 January 2022 in reply to Guest_1643

    Thanks Sleepy. Still early in the day, another coffee needed lol

    TonyWK

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  9. Guest_1643
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    19 January 2022

    no probs at all. I burn toast every morning before I've woken up :)

    I've never described myself as a sensitive person ... i've had it weaponized against me so i'm a bit wary.

    Same as perfectionist. My Dad used those words to put me down.

    I was an organized, resourceful, caring kid but I guess he didn't like that.

    I do struggle a lot with feeling like the world is kinda rigged, and the vulnerable are always getting exploited. I hate injustice and hate bullying.

    I know I shouldn't read too many real-news stories coz I get so upset.

    I was bullied when I was younger for being quiet, and then for being too loud, for basically everything until I learnt not to care or even to answer back.

    It's hard also when you are being bullied at home. I think that is my form of sensitivity, hypervigiliance. I can't relax and am always trying to read people to check if they are "safe"

    2 people found this helpful
  10. CMF
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    19 January 2022 in reply to white knight

    Tony,

    you hit the nail on the head...they think we don't know they're being fake!

    It really irks me. The fake sugary sweet act as it is usually exaggerated.

    It really upsets me, the Jeckle &Hyde behaviour.

    Cmf x

  11. white knight
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    19 January 2022 in reply to CMF

    CMF

    For the same reasons I weeded out the fake and/or manipulating people from my life 11 years ago. Not only my narc mother but her two golden children her nephew and one granddaughter. Both had never been in mother dearest bad books, oblivious to her behind closed doors techniques of destroying my sister and myself of our confidence.

    Such a better life now.

    Sleepy-

    Re "I do struggle a lot with feeling like the world is kinda rigged, and the vulnerable are always getting exploited. I hate injustice and hate bullying.

    I know I shouldn't read too many
    real-news stories coz I get so upset"

    You and I both. I need to constantly remind myself that I have no control over world events only my own surroundings.

    "Same as perfectionist. My Dad used those words to put me down."

    We have so much in common. Mother would remind me "you'll never be like your father". Recently a long time family friend 77yo said "you won't ever be as good as your dad"- instant devastation. I told him my mother used to say that and I don't ever want to hear it again!

    My only solace is knowing he loves me like a son and on his way home his wife would have unleashed on him.

    Mental scars.

    TonyWK.

    2 people found this helpful
  12. On The Road
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    20 January 2022 in reply to white knight
    Hi, Tony
    Thanks for your reply. It is weird, I feel like I am switching back and forth between "I'm too self-conscious" and "I don't care about anything nor anybody", which is making me emotionally tired.
    But my skin does actually grow thicker, I got offended and I forgive, I offend someone and apologise. It is not difficult for me to show mannerisms. But speaking of knowing them deeper, I shrink back. probably due to my personality and my own demons. I do realise I have to sort out my problems first in this case.
    It is quite interesting that there are many people living as semi-hermit, with the "help" of the internet (?) lol. I always think one of the reasons that some megacities such as Tokyo are the best place for me to live is it contends a huge population while allowing urban hermits to settle within.

    Hi therising
    there is definitely a "straight talker" in me. the straight talker was being angry from time to time, and he put on an intense one-man show at the "stage". after him, the "miserable whiner" would come on stage and blame everything on him. and it is the "miserable whiner" that affect my emotion the most. It seems to be my fault to have a straight talker and let him do the judgement for me. That being said, the straight talker does save our gentle nature from harm, his reaction might be too strong but he was right.

    Hi quirkywords
    I'm sure that my "straight talker" has started turning into a "sarcastic talker", can I say this is better for me? it may be a better fit!
  13. therising
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    20 January 2022 in reply to On The Road

    Hi On The Road

    It's interesting when different parts of us come to life. There are times where I've felt this as being thoroughly confusing and even overwhelming. I've found sometimes a part of me will come to life only under extreme circumstances. It's like I may have tolerated a particular behaviour from someone for years, even decades. It can take years before I hit the brink and spill over into complete intolerance. In such a situation, I can meet with 'the ranting maniac' in myself, being left to wonder where she came from. Then, afterwards, the people pleaser in me pops up saying 'I can't believe you did that. That was horrible, what you did, what you said to that person'. At the end of the day, I think there's a sage in all of us, there to help us make some sense of things. If you can channel them, they may sound a little like 'You've been so incredibly tolerant for so long. You've tried so hard, over and over, to communicate how upsetting and even depressing that person's behaviour is. Have they ever listened? Did you just get their full attention?'.

    I think it sometimes becomes a matter of what part of myself am I channeling at any given time. I read a brilliant book that touches on this. 'Insanely Gifted - Turn Your Demons Into Creative Rocket Fuel', by Jamie Catto, is both a fascinating and educational read. He's a great author, in my opinion, with a great sense of humor. He's someone who struggled with severe anxiety and depression in his teens, so he can relate to the non rosy side of life. The book explores our multi faceted nature and addresses how to access and use a lot of the facets or parts of yourself to your advantage. As he says, all parts of us exist for good reason. Sometimes, what exists for good reason can become a problem at times, such as 'the people pleaser' part of our self.

    :)

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  14. Guest_1643
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    20 January 2022 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony

    It is powerful healer for me to thi k about what I can control

    I can't stop vulnerable ppl from being harmed or change the past but I can raise awareness about power dynamics, gaslighting etc, and I can choose to distance myself very firmly from ppl who do that.

    Yes, Mental scars sadly, I thought about ur statements and upbringing and see a lot of parallels.

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  15. Guest_1643
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    20 January 2022

    Hi all,

    The concept of scapegoating was used by a phone counsellor on a helpline.

    I wander if abusive or selfish ppl scapegoat sensitive ppl. I guess it's important to learn how to stand up for yourself or protect urself.

  16. white knight
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    20 January 2022 in reply to Guest_1643

    Hi Sleepy

    The notion in the animal kingdom "only the strongest survive" is a true one. As a sensitive young man at 21yo entering the prison officer profession I would not have lasted long without some street wisdom like bluffing, loud firm voice, equalising aggressive threats and so on.

    No different in normal life. As long as it's proportional, fair and reasonable...and... we're prepared to apologise if in error.

    TonyWK

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  17. Guest_1643
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    21 January 2022 in reply to white knight

    hi tony

    i agree with u

    it's also how you state a boundary.

    sometimes i get an abusive or nosy text from someone i haven't spoken to ina long itme. I used to just ignore it... I don't think ignoring is enough. I am firm these days to show what I won't tolerate.

    1 person found this helpful
  18. white knight
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    23 January 2022 in reply to Guest_1643

    Hi Sleepy

    I have a similar attitude in regards to people over stepping the boundary of privacy. However, I'm constantly adjusting to prevent error. For example- my wife has a really nosy auntie (by marriage). Each time she speaks on the phone the auntie asks her something private like "how much inheritance did you end up getting" or "can you afford to go on holidays". Over time I've realised, believe it or not, that its actually her way of caring. eg her intention is to ensure that my wife isnt struggling.

    It's just a strange way of how people think. Thankfully my wife isnt as HSP as me.

    TonyWK

    1 person found this helpful
  19. Guest_1055
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    23 January 2022 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony...

    thanks for taking the time to answer my query. I still don't get it. But that is ok. Its not really a significant thing anyway. More important issues in life I guess

    Hi Shelll
    OK. Posts that have long paragraphs have more letters because lots of paragraphs adds characters when you start a new one. They seem longer for this reason.

  20. Guest_1055
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    23 January 2022 in reply to Guest_1643

    HI Sleepy...

    It can affect me badly. I can become so very overwhelmed. Its like I carry their emotion or something. Really a challenge to explain. And yeah my sister has said that she feels understood. As for other people... well I am not sure. No wait. My mum seemed to appreciate me just sitting close to her one day. She was struggling with something. I just sensed it. No words were necessary. So I think she felt comforted by that.

    As to helping people feel comfortable... Very tricky because I can become very awkward and self conscious. It seems to radiate from me. I totally hate it. Then I sense others around me uncomfortable. It's like it spread from me or something.

    I can relate to you in regards to not being able to hear traumatic stories. Here and in real life. Sometimes it just breaks my heart. I started a thread a few years back called "crying when others are hurt" I was talking about being on Beyond Blue and reading certain things on hear. I simply could not cope with it. This is one of the reasons I do not engage with a lot of threads.

    I am sorry your heard traumatic stores whilst your where in hospital. Can hurt ones heart.. So sad

    1. Shelll,
      I feel being in touch with ppls emotions can be appreciated by others. Do u feel it affects u badly, or can it also sometimes mean u can make ppl feel comfortable and understood ?
      I think from having very severe ptsd from childhood I can't always handle some stories ppl tell me , here and irl. I want to, but I step back a bit at times. In hospital I heard some traumatic stories that still effect me.
  21. therising
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    24 January 2022 in reply to Guest_1055

    Hi Shelll

    I think it's really incredibly challenging when you have an ability no one shows you how to manage. If you can imagine being raised by someone who's an experienced feeler of other people's emotions and that person, your mum or dad, says to you 'I know exactly what your problem is and I'll show you how to manage it beautifully, master it', that would be great. You could have your own in house teacher or instructor when it comes to how to feel and when not to feel so much. A lot of the time, it doesn't work that way unfortunately. If anything, we can be surrounded by people who more so say stuff like 'You're way too sensitive'. It's a 'What's wrong with you? Let's shut this fault of yours down' kind of statement.

    May sound a bit strange but I've found one of the many challenges when it comes to feeling for others involves imagination. Distressing imagery can be a serious trigger for someone who feels so much, largely because you can feel what you can imagine, clearly see in your mind. If you can clearly imagine and therefor feel someone's intense sufferance, it's highly triggering. What you imagine becomes physical/emotional. Knowing when to shut your imagination down, in favour of pure logic or analytics or when to balance yourself somewhere in between the 2 can be a challenge. I suppose it depends on the situation, what you need to gain from it. Imagination, that which receives and generates imagery, is an incredibly powerful and sometimes overwhelming thing. It's a tool that can feel like a curse at times.

    It's interesting, the ability to feel what others feel. I know of a woman who takes this to a whole other level. While initially fearing she was becoming a hypochondriac, she found herself going off to see the doctor on a fairly regular basis. Chest pain, back pain, headaches, you name it, she had it. While the doctor could never find anything wrong with her, someone close to her led her to wonder whether she was feeling what others were feeling. So, she began to ask. If she felt chest pain, she'd ask the person she was with whether they had any pain in the chest. Shocked, they'd reply 'Yes'. Back pain? 'Yes' etc. She began to advise people to seek medical or emotional help, in a variety of ways, which made an enormous difference to them. The challenge came down to fine tuning this ability, in relation to whether she felt them experiencing heartbreak or serious heart issues. As I say, this takes feeling for others to a whole new level :)

    1 person found this helpful
  22. Guest_1055
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    24 January 2022 in reply to therising

    Hi Rising... I can relate to a lot of what you say. Except feeling others physical pain. I can feel a bit sick in the tummy when someone is anxious though. Most likely they atr experiencing that themselves.

    Indeed it would be wonderful if someone could show you what to do with these emotions when we were growing up. My parents... who I love were almost non emotional. I felt no emotional connection to them. Unconsciously think I learnt when you feel, you just stuff all that deep inside of you. I had to learn the names of emotions later on. When I got married.. For some reason lots of emotions exploded out of me. I was scared of the emotion of anger... my own anger. Had to learn about it and how to manage it. I rarely become angry now.

    Interesting what you say about imagination. Can very much relate to that. I have an excellent imagination. And true it can be connected to feelings. Reading or watching something traumatic.. I can hardly go there. My brain imagines the scene then it can hurt me so much. For this reason I don't even watch voilent movies. As even made up stuff has a similar affect on me. I never see it has entertainment at all.

    And sometimes I find it challenging to switch from emotional to logical thoughts. Maybe need to keep practicing saying things to ourselves like "its going to be ok" imagine giving ourselves a comforting hug.

    I do have this exercise I did in the car last week. Where I went back in my memory to my childhood. It was a painful memory. An incident happened... for me it was super sad. And I caused it by an accident. I went back to the image and felt it again. A lot of the hurt was still stuffed down in me. In my imagination I imagined a different scenario to the outcome of it. I imagined being held and comforted. And being told gently "its all ok, it was just an accident" and "and of course you didn't mean to do it Then my tears running down my face... I couldn't cry back then but in my imagination of the incident I am free to. They were gently wiped away. I felt understood, nurtured and loved. Which was a total opposite of what really happened. Then I forgave. Forgave the person for not comforting me when I was in desperate need of it. Pretty sure they had no idea that it affected me so deeply back then. And I would never tell them now. I understand now they did the very best they could. And they loved me.

    Thankyou the rising... I seem to be learning more about myself and didn't realise there are some folk similar. "

    1 person found this helpful
  23. Guest_1055
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    25 January 2022

    Hi beautiful people...

    I would welcome any advice.

    It feels like my heart is breaking, like a strong dull ache near where the physical heart is. It's my mum she has been experiencing extreme pain from Trigeminal Neuralgia. And I know it must be so bad, because she is considering major surgery for it. And my mum is a natural type person. Prefers to heal her body naturally.

    I love her so much, and to know she is has been suffering so much pain, it hurts me so much to know it. Tears are behind my eyes. I am not sure I can handle this one. I can't, it hurts so bad in my soul for her. I would never tell her this...crying now.

    If any of your guys have any advice for me. I truly would welcome it. Thanks

    1 person found this helpful
  24. white knight
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    25 January 2022 in reply to Guest_1055

    Hi Shelll

    You might be at an advantage to create a new post as all the members one might be more knowledgeable. Make your heading "mum has Trigeminal Neuralgia".

    I have a couple 77yo as friends. Twice the female has had cancer. On both occasions I rang the male while she was in chemo to ask how he's coping. He expressed he was fine because "what can I do anyhow? I make sure she's as comfortable as possible, that's it".

    He has a point. Remember the thread "worry worry, worry "? It's not productive to worry, in fact it brings you down when she needs you to be strong.

    TonyWK

    1 person found this helpful
  25. Guest_1055
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    25 January 2022 in reply to white knight

    Hi Tony, appreciate your reply.

    I am quite hesitant to start another thread. It is advice to handle my own emotions in regards to what is happening with my mum. She never sees me cry about what is happening to her. I keep it in. I saw her today. And as I was driving along everything came out. Great sobs of whatever that emotion is called. It truly is breaking my heart.

    I know I am sensitive and feel so deeply when others are hurting. But if it is someone I care so very much about, the ache in my heart is stronger.

    So yeah that is what I was wanting advice about. I am sorry if my words are not clear. Trouble communicating some times.

    About the worry.. Yeah I am not sure I am experiencing a lot of worry. Just the achy sadness feeling that she is experiencing pain.

    Thanks anyway for your time Tony

  26. therising
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    26 January 2022 in reply to Guest_1055

    Hi Shelll

    You are such an intensely beautiful sensitive person. It is so obvious how much you love your mum based on the fact you feel such overwhelming heartbreak for her and what she's having to go through. If she's feeling seriously depressed by the condition, I imagine this adds to the heartache you feel. By the way, I don't think people truly understand heartache until they feel it physically. Can be such a deeply physical emotion.

    I'd never heard of Trigeminal Neuralgia before you mentioned it. Had a look online and was left feeling so deeply for your mum. Known as being one of the most painful conditions known to man, it must be so mind altering and exhausting for her to have to manage living with that level of pain. I imagine there are times where she just wants to scream, not just based on the pain but also based on pure frustration and perhaps a sense of hopelessness to a degree.

    Do they know what's causing it? Cervical misalignment/compression? Myelin sheath degeneration? Something else? The reason for asking this is based on whether you can do something about it yourselves. Fascinating research has and is being done into Myelin sheath regeneration and all the ways a person can help themself naturally with the regeneration. If the condition is based on permanent damage, I can understand the need for surgery. We can't fix everything our self.

    It's amazing how the mantra 'I will not settle!' can change our life. It's also amazing how this mantra can also help with heartache or heartbreak at times. Whether it's 'I will not settle for what the experts have told me. I'm going to do my own research into this so as to find the answers outside the square' or 'I will not settle for being told I am not capable of achieving what I need to achieve, while being told I'm pathetic or useless' or 'I will not settle for stopping my life because my partner has left me', there are so many things to not settle for in life. If I was to ask 'How does settling feel?', especially when there's no much sufferance involved, settling can feel heartbreaking. Compare this with not settling. How does not settling feel? Does it fill your heart with a pure sense of drive and inspiration? Does it make you feel like a warrior on a mission? It's therapeutic to repair/re-pair your heart with your intention.

    Even if your mum has no choice but to face surgery, why settle for having to wait so long for the surgery? They better have a good reason. Why settle for anything less?

    2 people found this helpful
  27. white knight
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    26 January 2022 in reply to Guest_1055

    Hi Shelll

    That's ok, the main reason for a new thread was not to risk moving away from the original topic which is common. However, I'm here to help and who cares if we move a little left or right?

    I honestly cant improve on Rising's reply considering my knowledge is also based on the internet when I googled your mums illness.

    Based on Rising's last sentence perhaps take her to emergency at a hospital?

    Lets us know here how you went precious

    TonyWK

    2 people found this helpful
  28. Guest_1643
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    4854 posts
    26 January 2022 in reply to Guest_1055

    Hi Shelll, it sounds like u are going through a lot...I'm so sorry.

    I can see it deeply affects you. I hope u have been OK and able to feel OK. I hope the tears u shared before Ur mum helped u and her, sometimes having a cry can help. A lot of feelings swarming around, sometimes it feels like tears are the only way. Sending a hug to u.

    2 people found this helpful
  29. Frangepani
    Frangepani avatar
    31 posts
    26 January 2022 in reply to Guest_1643
    Hi Sleepy 21 thankyou for sharing im hearing you I know exactly how you feel I feel the same way. What we gotta do is find like minded people like ourselves who will care about us for our true authentic self than for someone where not just to fit in I've chosen not do that anymore we only hurting ourselves other people are not going to give a dam. Don't waist your time on people who don't reciprocate how you feel its time we loose and never get back. I know easier said than done right. Im really struggling with it especially when its your family.
    1 person found this helpful
  30. Guest_1643
    blueVoices member
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    Guest_1643 avatar
    4854 posts
    26 January 2022 in reply to Frangepani

    Well said frangepani.

    It is harder for sure with family.

    I can understand as I find my family very pushy and narcissistic .

    They seem to make everything about them.

    I recently sent to a family member a text telling them that I can't take on what they are going through,

    Then blocked them.

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