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I am having an interesting time of it at the moment observing my daughter struggle with anxiety.  I always knew that she got anxious, but now in her early 20’s she seems to be taking a similar path to her mother.  Her worries are different than mine, but they manifest themselves in the same way – obsession to the point of not being able to think of anything else, and then when one particular issue dies down, something else comes up to take it’s place.   

I ache for her, and I want to make it all go away.  I hate the thought that she is going down this path, and I feel guilty. Have I passed this on to her, was it the way I brought her up?  I’m scared that my constant worrying lead to her adopting similar behaviour, but I also know that hereditary factors come into it as well.  I know that I can’t solve this for her, but I desperately want her to learn some of the strategies that have helped me.  I border on becoming obsessed and over involved.  In short I am anxious!   

I remember being her age, how anxiety ruled my life, but having no idea what it was, that it was treatable and that other people suffered the same thing.  I felt alone and quite mad.  I try to tell myself that my honesty with her has enabled her to seek help and deal with this at a far earlier age, and that perhaps this will enable her to cope better than I did.  I also have to remind myself that she is not me – she won’t be feeling everything that I have, and she will find her own way.   

Have other people noticed this pattern in their families?  How do you deal with it, what helps? I would be really interested to hear your thoughts.

Here’s a snippet:

My first attack happened a week before my graduation from college. I was in bed, painting my nails bright red, when my heart began racing. I had the sensation that I was watching myself from above — not alive but not quite dead. (I’d later learn that a sense of dreamlike unreality — depersonalization — is a hallmark of panic.)

I wondered at first if I were being punished for drinking too much at a party the night before. Perhaps someone had spiked my drink. (Nobody had.) What if I were actually dying? (I wasn’t.) This is panic’s flailing logic. Other sufferers I know count coins to ground themselves; some clean out their closets. Back then, when the attacks were new to me, I used to match celebrities with their home towns. (I recall murmuring, “Rosie O’Donnell, Merrick, Long Island,” repeatedly.)

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"Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it." -- Mark Twain

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