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KansasTherapist, LSCSW
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 566
Experience:  17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.
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I have a 24 year old daughter. She has been living in St. Petersburg,

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I have a 24 year old daughter. She has been living in St. Petersburg, FL for a year. She recently moved into a new apartment and has discovered two large cockroaches in her bedroom. She is phobic about it. She call me crying and upset. Her roommate is getting really angry about it telling her she is over-reacting and I think that disapproval is exacerbating the situation. It feels like to me she is spiraling downward with the level of anxiety.
I think there are lots of things at play—stress in her job, a long distance relationship, friction between her and her roommate. When you add the bug problem to it, it feels like it is becoming a crisis situation. I hear it in her voice and I sensed it when I saw her a few weeks ago.
I have encouraged her to see a counselor about her general anxiety. She has scheduled an appointment for next week. She also had an exterminator come in. But, I am not sure the bugs are the real problem.
Two issues:
1. I struggled so myself with anxiety through my 20s. It wasn’t until I was into my 30s that I finally settled into a long-term career, a family, and better emotional stability. I am finding myself reliving that struggle through her and I don’t want to project my own experiences onto her and assume she is going to struggle as much as I did, although it feels like she is. I am calm with her when we talk, I talk about ways to take action, and about exploring options.
2. What is the best way for me to help her? Should I actually go there to be a support? Should I just be available on the phone? How much should I get involved? She also has type 1 diabetes and I think there are issues with her anxiety about that also.
How can I best help her as a mother who lives 1,500 miles away?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  KansasTherapist replied 5 years ago.

KansasTherapist : Hello
KansasTherapist : Your experience of struggling with anxiety and getting through it to achieve emotional stability, is a great example for your daughter.


KansasTherapist : Have you talked with her about what you went through?

A little bit

KansasTherapist : I think the advice you gave her was very good.

thank you

KansasTherapist : And she followed though with your suggestion to see a therapist, so hopefully that will help.

I have found therapy to be very helpful. Should I go there?

KansasTherapist : I don't think it's a good idea for you to go out there unless she can't function.
KansasTherapist : I think that would cause her to feel like she can't make it on her own.

I don't want her to feel that

KansasTherapist : No, of course not. You want her to feel supported.
KansasTherapist : Has she tied about wanting to come home?
KansasTherapist : Talked

No. In fact, she said that. She said she would feel like a failure.

KansasTherapist : So she feels strong enough to keep working at it.

For the time being/

KansasTherapist : What kinds of things help you with anxiety?

Therapy was the most significant. I stayed in therapy for several years.

KansasTherapist : In the moment, feeling anxious, how do you cope?

I am much older now and I have used a self-talk approach that I was taught by my therapist. I have also been very successful in many areas of my life and I think you begin to see you can be successful. I also do things like yoga and I write poetry.

KansasTherapist : Have you share those coping skills with her?

I tried. She does exercise. But I also feel like she's not hearing me or believing they will work yet. She has to experience that. Last night when she was refusing to go to sleep I told her to put her laptop in bed and watch music videos on youtube or to look at a tv show to distract herself from thinking about bugs. She tries everything I tell her to. I just hate it that she is struggling as I did. It took a long time to pull myself out of it.

KansasTherapist : I also find that meditation helps with anxiety. Hit helps control anxious thoughts.
KansasTherapist : is a web site that teaches meditation.

Thank you for that site reference. The problem is that when you are in an extremely agitated state, it is nearly impossible to rein in your thoughts enough to meditate. I think you have answered my question: should I go there. The answer is no. This just has to play out. The quicker I can get her into therapy, the better.

KansasTherapist : Yes.

Thank you. It has been helpful just to talk to someone.

KansasTherapist : You're completely welcome.
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