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What's wrong with me?


Master_Z
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My life has been so screwed up for about 3 years. My sister, a drug addict, risked her childrens's death, so my parents got custody of her 3 children, ages 2, 3, and 7. I've been so used to being an only child, and I feel like my life is falling apart. We only have 2 bedrooms, so its always very noise and chaotic. Only the 7 year old is in school, and the 2 and 3 year olds are at that age where they are crazy. Sometimes I find myself constantly picking at my skin, trying to pop pimples and stuff. I also have found that I've become really sensitive to sounds, especially the babies' crying and my father's smoker cough. I hate my life now. I can't do anything, and I feel so isolated. I don't know if I have depression or what. I always feel stressed out, and I have no motivation anymore. Can someone help me out?

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It sounds like you're stressed, and with good reason. Any time there is an abrupt change in our lives we become stressed out. The larger the change, and the more dramatic the change, the more stressed we become. That is what stress, our mind and body's reaction to change.

It is completely possible, and most likely probable that you miss the quiet, or more likely the attention. You had mentioned that you had grown accustomed to living as an only child in the household. With other children introduced into this household, I would assume that there is a gap somewhere. How do you repair it? Well as reparations go, this is a piece of cake. Go out when you have time, spend time with your friends, go to a quiet place. I know friends with kids that will go to the lake with me, if only to recharge their batteries.

The fact is most likely this is not depression. Depression by definition is a negative reaction to negative stressors that is over and beyond the expected reaction. Being stressed out will cause over irritability which may cause you to have heightened senses. I know when I'm stressed I will hear the littlest things.

As for getting over the noise at home. Every parent in this forum will attest, you'll get used to it. It's only a manner of time.

- Anonymous

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Hi Master, welcome to the community. I agree with Pseudonym that you should schedule some quiet time for yourself away from home or in a corner of the house that is less noisy whenever you need to. Even a brief walk around the neighbourhood may be enough to relax you. However, sometimes the circumstances are such that the noise is unavoidable, in which case I suggest to play classical music at low volume in the background. My teacher once recommended Handel's Water Works to me when I experienced some noise problems at home and I found it very helpful. Since the CD duration was approximately one hour, I set my CD player to repeat, and used the beginning of the first track to signal a break from whatever it was I was doing You may also find that a shower/bath can help alleviate the stress of a day.

As for your skin, try using a simple anti-septic from the pharmacy to keep your pimples clean, and keep your skin moisturized with a simple moisturizer. This will prevent or minimize scarring, and help heal your skin. If your skin is bothering you, perhaps you should ask a doctor about what you can do.

I am not sure if you are depressed either, but I am familiar with feeling stressed out, and having low motivation. At this point it is likely very difficult, but you should start thinking positively about any goals that you may have that command your immediate attention. To do so, ask yourself what is on your mind that you know you should change, like uncompleted homework, chores, etc.; imagine yourself beyond the completion date; visualize in your mind with as much detail as possible what WILD SUCCESS!! would look like; freeze the image in place to take note of all of the details you generate, and ask yourself what you need to do to achieve this image. While you are doing the things you have decided must be done in order to achieve this image, focus your mind's eye on the wild success. This may seem like puff talk, but the images you focus on in your mind have effects on your body as if they were real. Thus, if you think negative, discouraging thoughts your body will respond in kind.

It is your imagination, so feel free to be creative. For instance, if you run, imagine yourself blazing down the track, screaming and laughing the whole way through. If you are reading something, imagine yourself totally focused on the words. When I first started using my imagination in this way, I felt a bit ridiculous, and found it very difficult. But, over time, constantly demanding myself to visualize success helps me refocus, and encourages me to ask what I have to do to move from where I am to whatever wild success may be. When the circumstances get a little wild, a wilder imagination under my command keeps me pumped up enough to stay motivated.

If you are interested, the outcome visioning process I share here is according to Getting Things Done, by David Allen.

Edited by kaudio
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This is most likely what we'd call an adjustment disorder. Your world has turned upside down and your personal space has been invaded. And you are stressed out as a result. Maybe you're depressed, maybe not, but you are surely stressed.

So one thing you can do is to work on learning and practicing some stress reduction skills. We have an article that goes over stress reduction and stress management in some detail that you might want to read over.

Another thing to think about, which maybe is a stretch but maybe not is to consider the situation from the larger perspective - of what it means for your parents to have rescued these children (your neices/nephews) from the surely negative consequences of their mother's behavior. If this did not happen, these relatively innocent kids would have their lives threatened, they would be neglected or perhaps even actively abused, and this would be a really tragic outcome with long lasting consequences for them. What has happened instead is that you have been seriously inconvenienced, and probably you have less of everything now, but this is a time limited situation - you will ultimately be able to move out of the parental home and go to school or whatever you will do and there are ways to adapt to the shocking change. In the larger scheme of things, you have done a great deed for these children and if you can start to see it that way - that you are contributing to the greater good and not just being inconvenienced, then you will start to see the world through the eyes of a more grown up adult person's eyes, and you will appreciate the sacrifices that your parents are making too (for they surely do not want this additional responsibility - they are doing this because they are responsible people). If you can grow in compassion and in appreication, the whole process will become easier, because it will be something you begin to participate in and choose rather than something that has been shoved onto you.

Another thing to consider is that it was once the norm in America to have large families all shoved into tiny houses. It's not so much like that anymore becuase families are generally smaller and houses are generally bigger, but if you can again detach yourself from your suffering just a bit and see the larger picture, you will see that many people have lived through this situation historically (and many do today too in many other countries - overcrowding is very common all over the world) and have done just fine for themselves. It's your perspective and the contrast between what you had and what you've got now that makes it feel cramped and crowded. If it had been that way all along you'd not be upset much at all.

So consider these things if you care to, and give this some time. You will adjust I think. There are even opportunities (to grow closer to these neices/nephews) hidden here that would not have been possible under the prior circumstances.

Mark

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