24-hour mother disaster news

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Elsi, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I can’t remember who here brought up the “24 hour mother disaster news channel”, but I am finding myself stuck there this morning. There was a shooting in the area of the city where my two wayward ones tend to hang out and an unidentified man was killed. I have no other details, no reason to believe this could be my son, they haven’t even released the approximate age or race of the man in question. Shootings happen in the city with a sad regularity. But for whatever reason my mind is racing to the inevitable what ifs this morning.

    Because this is my greatest fear. That one of my kids will be killed on the street with no ID and I will never know what happened to them. Somewhere on the back pages of a newspaper will be a small story about an unidentified homeless man found dead on the streets and I will never see it or make the connection.

    I last heard from C a few days ago when he did respond to a text and promised he would call later but of course he never did. I know he’s probably fine and sleeping somewhere (where? Who knows.). I’ll text him later and hopefully he’ll respond. He often doesn’t.

    I just can’t quite figure out how to change the channel in the meantime.
  2. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Oh how distressing! Yes, our minds always go to those places. But I would be preaching to the choir to suggest how to distract yourself. I normally say one day at a time. I'll say one hour at a time. I also know that police stations are flooded with calls from patents of missing adults in the case of unidentified victims. Why shouldn't you be one of them? Probably won't get any info that way but can't hurt.

    Ever try making a list of ways to distract yourself? My dbt class (distress tolerance module) gave out a business card to keep in your wallet. Listed 20 ways to re-focus. Not all worked for everyone. So I made my own list. Helpful when you're distressed and can't get organized enough to think. Just pull out the list and start anywhere. Wish I still had that card.

    My go-tos:
    Take dog for a brisk 15 minute walk
    Clean the bathroom(s) from top to bottom.
    Dig a big hole in the garden (for new post or tree)

    Yes, all physical stuff. But getting the muscles moving and having something done at the end clears the fog for me.
  3. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Thanks Smithmom. You’re right about the physical stuff. That helps me too. Sadly my house is already rediculously clean and it is raining to beat the band today. So I’m feeling at a loss. Do I clean out the linen closet for the third time? Re wash the kitchen floor? Sigh.

    They did release more details and my son does not fit the physical description. His phone is off again - he must be out of minutes. I have no idea where he is or if he has somewhere to get out of the cold rain tonight.

    This morning’s news just threw me out of equilibrium today. I know it’s not him. I just am having trouble changing the ‘what if’ channel anyway. I’m having a terrible time focusing on work. Working from home I spend way too much time alone. R works long days a lot and I don’t get out much. I can’t drive in the dark so as the days get shorter I really get shut in here. I actually really like being alone for the most part, except I know other people would help keep me distracted. When you work in an office around others i think it’s easier to keep your mind off your worries. Even just having a different physical environment to go into is probably healthy.

    Out of curiosity - how many holes do you have in your yard by now? I would have a lot if I used that method!
  4. This is not going to be comforting, so I apologize in advance. Morgues take photos of all unidentified bodies. You can google "unidentified bodies morgue MY STATE" and find a state internet site where you can view deceased people who were not identified.
  5. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    Oh my. I probably should not get in the habit of looking. At least not without pretty strong reason to believe ... ok I can’t finish that right now. But I suppose it is good information to know for those of us with kids on the streets. In case we have reason to need it.

    I think calling around or looking at pictures is not a healthy strategy for me. I’ve been down that road a couple of times when I did believe something must have happened. It wrecked me. I can’t work myself up to that level for every news report in their area. I KNOW logically chances are this has nothing to do with my kids. There are a lot of people in the city. I need to keep talking myself down from the ledge.
  6. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I am hyperventilating here. I think that is where we put ourselves--right into a panic attack. Any relaxation strategy--body based--would be the response. The mind has gotten us on the mother disaster channel. The mind in these moments is not our friend. The body is. That is what I think. All of your strategies and those of smithmom, too, are successful because they get you out of your mind, and into a place where your body/mind can stabilize itself.
    OMG. I would find that traumatizing.

    Elsi. You knew that there was a 1 in 50000 chance or less that it was him. You knew that you had gone off the deep end. Making it into a serious enterprise--looking at dead bodies--is what people do when there is a 50-50 chance of the worst.

    The problem we have is that their situations are full of risk. Their every day choices put them at risk. This is their baseline. And it makes this OUR BASELINE.

    I used the example to M a few minutes ago: it is like I have a chronic disease. (Knowing full-well that what I was saying was extremely inappropriate. People do not say their beloved children are diseases.) Like Diabetes. That we have to learn to live with. People get over diabetes, if they eat a low carb diet and do intermittent fasting. This is true (see Jason Fung MD.) Writing this still does not help me get clarity. I do not know where I am going with this, except that I understand the agony.
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2018
  7. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    I think you're right. I think this is why stimming is so soothing for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids. It calms anxiety and shuts down the mind. I did my share as a kid, though they didn't call it that, they just called it Elsi being weird again. I trained myself out of that, but I still remember what it felt like to drop into that full-body trance. I could use a little of that now but I seem to have outgrown the knack. I just want to turn my brain OFF again sometimes. I've lost my off switch.

    I am getting a massage tomorrow. Perhaps it will help.

    Yes. I need to keep talking myself down, not escalate right now. Though your mention of odds now has my brain trying to calculate the exact odds based on the number of people in the total metro area, the number of people in that neighborhood, his behavior patterns and risk factors ... ack I shouldn't go down that road either.

    Yes. We spend our lives waiting for the phone call or the knock on the door. Because we know they are putting themselves into situations where their risks are much, much higher than the average. And you're right, living like this is very much like learning to manage a chronic condition. We have to learn to live around the anxiety and keep going.

    And I know all this, but it is so much easier to advise someone else than to follow my own advice in the moment.

    Thank you.
  8. toughlovin

    toughlovin Well-Known Member

    Oh Gosh I know that fear. That was my worst fear when my son was homeless and lost his phone with no id... that he would die on the street and I wouldnt know. Its a horrible thought and fear. At one point I think I asked him to put some kind of identifying information in his backpack so at least someone could call me. It is the main reason we keep him supplied with a phone even in the worst of times.

    So Elsi not sure I have any real advice in dealing with the anxiety and fear except that I understand. For me the best coping strategy is distraction. Finding things I like to do and people I like to be with.... that doesnt help much late at night when I cant sleep though. Then the only thing that helped was the serenity prayer.
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  9. Smithmom

    Smithmom Active Member

    Make a go to list. It really does help when you can't think what to do.

    LOL ah yes, fruit trees. Had lots of them. Kids loved them. Would buy them from a catalogue so they were waiting in pots to be planted. Now in an apt so no digging now. I long for a garden!

    Had a friend who bought a rowing machine when her husband left. Middle of the night while the kids were sleeping she got nice arm muscles.

    Another friend used to rearrange the furniture. Husband would come home from work, look around and ask what happened today.

    I also found painting therapeutic, wall painting. Changing the color of the room. Always had cans of paint and supplies in the basement waiting for inspiration.

    Key is setting up these things beforehand. So you have something mindless to do. Those calls and news reports cause a fog. Having the work ready to go is key.

    But that's my list. And the only cleaning I do mindlessly is bathroom. Everything else is an asthma trigger for me. Closets require thought like do I really need this?

    Seriously though, when I did DBT I used the list a lot. Now finding mindless work comes more naturally.

    The office never helped me. That, and people in general, requires more focus than I'm capable of in a fog. Great for distraction but not the absolute panic of something like the news report today. In the absolute panic I think you had this morning I can't think straight much less focus.
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  10. Elsi

    Elsi Active Member

    That’s a really good idea. We do have lots of home improvement projects we haven’t gotten to yet - we’ve only been here a couple of years. We have a home gym set up downstairs but I’ve never thought to go down there in the night! We’ve got a couple acres so there are always outdoor chores to do if it WOULD EVER STOP RAINING. I think I’ll make a list of the indoor home improvement projects. Though I can get in over my head with those if R is not here. You’re right about organizing too. I ended up starting the pantry yesterday and pulled everything out and then couldn’t find the energy and focus to figure out how to them back in. R found me on the floor in the middle of a pile of canned goods.

    I would love to start painting. We have been putting it off because we have a 16 year old husky in a doggie wheelchair and she tends to bang her wheels into the walls a lot. But maybe I could start with a couple bedrooms she doesn’t go into much.

    TL, the serenity prayer is always a good go to as well.

    I know this man is not my son. The physical description does not match. He is someone else’s son, and that is heartbreaking.

    C hasn’t responded to me yet, but I have to remind myself that nothing has changed from two days ago except my state of mind. I know part of it is just knowing winter is coming and not knowing where he is or if he has a safe place to sleep. But he probably does. He is charming and resourceful.

    Just another day. Thank you all.