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Offline Lenny79

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Personality changes
« on: June 18, 2014, 01:45:40 PM »
Hi , new here so bare with me , here's my story . I'm 35 years old and I believe I've been suffering from anxiety for the past 16 months . Yes I should get it properly diagnosed but I tried to work it out in my head for a long time before finally accepting there is an issue . I guess it began around the time my father was diagnosed with cancer last year , Febuary to be exact .
He had had a stroke back in 2002 and we cared for him at home . This cancer came out of absolutely nowhere . My mother died of cancer when I was 10 and my eldest brother kind of tool over looking after the family as my dad couldn't cope . Thankfully my father didn't drink but it just couldn't manage . So flash forward to last year . There had always been issues in the family between my siblings , fortunetly as me been the youngest I generally wasn't involved and was more a buffer between everyone . I had always kind of carried a bit of resentment of how my mother passed away and how life had been for us in regards to my friends who seemed to grow up a relatively free of such drama .
 My father passed away last summer and I found that my personality completely changed . We all came together as a family for him for the first time in 25 years and all my anger & resentment melted away . I handled his passing pretty well , too well . A few months later I found myself getting very anxious over things . Bad memories from my past would fill my mind and persist , I had no ideas what was going on . I had always had a bit of OCD but it went completely through the roof after this . My anger and resentment was gone , replaced with fear & anxiety . Now to be clear I am not an angry person , it was just anger for how my life had been without my mother and how my childhood had been taken away . I did well in school , went to college and had a good job up until 2009 when I was made redundant . I decided to look after my dad for a couple of years after that as I had no life because of my job and wanted to live again . Myself and my two brothers looked after my dad . In 2011 I moved in with my partner and stopped looking after my dad as we organised home care . I've moved around in jobs abit since then but professionally have been drifting for the last five years .
Since he passed away I've found a massive void in my life .
 I was happy enough for a while but anxiety has taken over now , thankfully I'm not at a panic attack stage but the same couple of thoughts consume me every day to the extent I don't even think about my father . My personality has completely changed , I now fear things which I had no problem doing before . I'm going too see a doctor next month to get to the root of it . I want to be happy again , I know I can be .
I just want to know has anyone else gone through a similar personality change .
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Online kconnors

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Re: Personality changes
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2014, 05:25:08 PM »
Hi Lenny,

So glad you came buy today . . . I can only speak for myself, but what you are experiencing is similar to what happened to me . . .different family situation but a lot of common points . . . I think that you have shown a lot of insight into what might be going on especially when you write that after your dad's passing, you now feel a void . . . it seems when you were growing up, as the youngest without your mom, there was a void; then you dad had difficulties in managing his reality, so there was another void. With your dad;s passing, it appears you have gone past anger and resentment but when we lose even negative feelings we lose, for lack of a better term, a comfort zone . . .,sometimes, negative feelings are comforting because we are familiar with them and then when they are gone, it is a different set of feelings . . . when we do not have the appropriate management techniques, this sense of loss creates anticipatory anxiety . . . one does not have to be an angry person to be angry especially at childhood circumstances over which you had no control . . . no one can rebuild the past, but you show such insight, I am sure you can understand it with some guided counseling which you are set to have next month . . . you have carried a terrific responsibility for several years . . . it has affected the direction of your life but now you are in the position to make decisions for you, for what you want . . . I think, and this is personal experience, that the reason why you may fixate on a couple of thoughts is that you are trying to build a comfort zone so you will become familiar with something to which to direct your focus . . . between now and when you see a professional, let me offer some things for your consideration: first, and this will help you in the short term and in the long term with your counselor, try to write even just a few lines in a journal about what you are thinking and why you would focus on those thoughts --- do you have any concerns that your partner may leave you? if so, why and are those reasons grounded in reality?; when you start fixating, change what you are doing --- if possible, something that needs focus . . . even mundane tasks are helpful if you do them with mindfulness ---- clean out the knife drawer but focus on what you are doing . . .let the other thoughts pass through but keep coming back to the task at hand; do you have a support group / person who is trustworthy and I would suggest other than your partner just so you have an objective sounding board? Are you working now and, if not, is there something you can do to restart your career . . .

You have many layers to unfold but you know what you need to do and you have a wonderful perspective of your past and the key events . . . a counselor will help you unravel them . . . it won't be a one time event but a process and there may be bumps in the road but already you have started to form the building blocks to move on . . if and when you can, please check in with us and let us know how we might support you . . . but, sincerely, my personality changed and it took me a while to rebuild but I did and probably am still in the process but I feel that I know myself and it has made me a stronger person and personality . . .take care, kc
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Offline Lenny79

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Re: Personality changes
« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2014, 08:46:09 AM »
Thanks for responding , it has really helped . I'm really hoping that some medication might ease what I'm going through . Of course I will seek counciling as well . I was a maintanance technician for most of my life , repairing machines , etc . A few months after my dad passed I just happened to be reading something about electrical wiring and it scared the hell out of me . Ever since I've been worried about electrical fires . I've never had this fear before but at least I understand now why because I totally blocked out my dads passing and now it has come back with a vengeance . Whatever has happened it has just stuck with me , a random few sentences in an article has changed me completely . I can't seem to resolve it my head , I let it go too long and it has stuck with me . I always had mild OCD but now it's stronger . I worry did I wire a light fixture in my old home safely , or other jobs I've done . Now I know I did but my brain just isn't coming to the realisation that I did . What's happened as well is that I know if I look at it I just find other ways for it to be unsafe .
In all my years I never worried about this but ever since I read that my mind has become consumed by it .
Apart from that I've no issues , my partner is completely understanding in the situation . I guess the work I'm doing now hasn't helped either , the boredom of it has left me too much time to overthink things . I'm quoting this job at the end of next month , pay is poor but I need to sort myself out . We are selling the family home too , yes this has distressed me too but there's nothing I can do about that . I plan to take a few months out to fix myself and hopefully the house sale will go through quickly enough that money shouldn't be a concern .
Wow , it's amazing how these things develop , the mind is a strange thing  :spineyes:
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Offline Never-Quit

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Re: Personality changes
« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2014, 11:18:38 AM »
Hi Lenny,  :action-smiley-065:

Wow, what a touching story, like "KConners" mentioned, that we seem to have so much in common as we deal with the lost of loved ones, and as we get older LIFE changes, and it feels someone just pulled the foundation from our life.

Medication will definitely help the OCD - "I had the same - I Hoped " I wired the light fixture, or anything else I did for years!

Check, Re-Check, Check Again, Re-Check, Write it down on paper as checked - this was my life, Oh!  "Did I leave the kitchen stove on?"  - "Did I turn off my car's headlights" and do this routine over and over again.

This is my fourth "Personality Change" or "Mid Life Crises" or "Paradigm Shifting of Life" -

These are some of the things that really helped me ... through this transitional phases of my life:

1) Reconnecting with God and my Spiritual Life (which I ignored much of the time in my youth) - There are so many good books now , that comfort and encourage you  :nature-smiley-016: instead of judging and having critical undertones (old school)  :sick0002:

2) Good Psychiatrist and Doctor - The Panic Disorder, GAD, and the OCD all came at the same time, my psychiatrist at the time, in 1995 or so, was smart enough to know that a higher dosage was needed to finally get the "OCD" under control, he had my Panic Disorder and GAD managed pretty well already... :yes:

3) There so many excellent books out there and tapes!  On self-help and finding purpose.  One of my favorite books for dealing with anxiety and all the conflicting feelings was:

"Feeling Good - The New Mood Therapy" from David Burns. It was recommend by my psychologist I was seeing, to help sort out my thoughts, feelings and anxiety.

4) My biggest ally against OCD, was my "Journal" as KConnors mentioned in his post, it helped move my "OCD repeativite thoughts" out of my head and on to my "Journal" - which allowed to track my feelings, my moods, my concerns.

5) My Support Group - Which in addition to my Psychiatrist, I had weekly or monthly visits with "Psychologist" that I felt comfortable with and understood me, and key people in my life that I could trust, friends at church, a good Counselor like KConnors mentions, are invaluable aides that will be there when those "road bumps" come at you.

The people here at this forum have shown incredible EMPATHY and SUPPORT, along with their excellent knowledge on medications, their experiences - which I keep learning from - even at my older age (Mid 50's)

Keep in Touch, We hope the best in your Journey, You are not alone!! :action-smiley-065:
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Never, never, never give up. -Winston Churchill

“You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."   ~ John Wooden

Offline Lenny79

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Re: Personality changes
« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2014, 03:41:18 PM »
Thanks for the comments Neverquit . Yeah I guess the last year has been a strange one . The care for my father was an integral part of all my siblings lives so I guess there was bound to be some life changes for us all . It wasn't always easy looking after him , I don't have children so I can only compare it to maybe looking after a child . But a child who you knew was always going to be unwell . It put a massive strain on all our lives , I'm not going to deny it . And as selfish as I can be I thought maybe we could all move on & begin to live our individual lives after it all but I guess that's not the case for me . I loved him to bits and was responsible for improving his quality of life . It was just horrific how he went in the end . For a man that didn't drink or smoke it was cruel to say the least . When he was diagnosed I think he didn't take it all in , I guess he was in shock . But I will never forget what he told me shortly afterwards " why does everything bad arrive at my door " . That broke me up , as it would anybody .
The job I'm in at the moment is the direct reason for the condition I'm in at the moment .
I was a confident person before I took the job but systematically over the last year it has destroyed me mentality and is the contributor to my anxiety . I guess maybe I feel a little alone as well because even though I have a loving partner , both my parents are gone now . In a funny way I'm an orphan now  :laugh3:.
We are selling the family home because one member of the family pushed it , was going to bring in lawyers if we didn't agree to it . So basically I've not had one day of peace since the old man left us .
I'm not sure my mind is ready to be happy or move on at this stage .
I go through stages of not thinking about the things that bother me but I realise each time they will gradually creep up on me . Had a nice few hours of calm tonight but low & behold it came back again . I guess it's the uncertainty & doubt that bugs me the most . Not having control as well .
Most of time I say " it's just the anxiety , it will pass " . Well I could do with just gettin on a bus and never coming back ! When I resolve one thing , another comes along . I think I have developed a routine here that when I feel ok , my mind is nearly willing itself to find something to be worried about .
And it's always about causing harm to other people , electrical fires to be exact because of some perceived mistake I might have made . I'm not god or a higher power , I can't control electricity . I'm not even sure how I would approach a councillor about something like this . But I will carry on & try & outthink it .
Next step is handing in my notice next Wednesday , that will be interesting  :laugh3:
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Offline houndlvr1

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Re: Personality changes
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2014, 04:04:32 PM »
Your story is similar to mine.
In my early 30's I was in a severe head on collision - just a few months after getting married.  It was the first time I recall having a panic attack.  I never really knew if it was PTSD or just stress from so much change in my life (moving out of my parents home/marrying etc) but there it was - and the attacks/anxiety and OCD kinda kicked in at full force.  I went to a counsellor who helped and eventually got over the attacks.
Two years ago I lost my dad suddenly and 4 months later there I was - in the ER suffering from the single worst attack I had ever had.  I visited the ER one more time (same year) with similar symptoms and they ran tons of tests....dx'd me with panic disorder.
Since that time I have "mini" panic attacks - I get brain fog, palpitations, sometimes hot flashes and I like to think I'm better but I most definitely have PTSD and some OCD along with anxiety/depression.  I don't think I'm the same person I was two years ago either...and thats not a good thing because I spend SO MUCH TIME worrying about any thing at all that I realize I'm missing so much of life.

I have seen a new therapist (3x now) and continue to do self help work - reading books, listening to relaxation tapes at night (they really do help) and I do believe I'll get through this but some times the light at the end of the tunnel seems so far away.

I hope you know you are not alone in what you are experiencing - and by you sharing your story, you're helping me actually by reminding me that I'm not either!

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Offline Lenny79

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Re: Personality changes
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2014, 04:49:40 AM »
Sorry to hear about your issues houndlvr1 . It's amazing how trauma can hit you after an event . As I say , I was the only one in my family who kept it together afterwards . I said to myself at the time that dad will want me to be happy so I'm not going to grieve . As the months passed I was ok while I heard my other siblings were crying and in bits . The last time I cried was the Saturday before he passed , he went on the Tuesday . I have not shed a tear since . I spent months not thinking bout him as my brain was blocking it out but of course it used bad thoughts and memories to replace my grief for him . I guess it decided if your not gonna feel bad about this we'll find something for you to feel bad about . It's coming up to the first anniversary next Wednesday , so these next few days are going to be tough because I'm remembering the sequence of events of each day now up to next Wednesday . I'm tired of feeling crap to be honest , I need to not live in fear & be anxious . I like you feel like I'm missing out on happiness and I want to be happy . We are on this planet for a short time , we must make the most of it , we don't know what's around the corner . I think we feel immortal at times but his passing has thought me we are not , in hindsight I'm glad I was too young to realise what was going on when my mms passed when I was young . I'm sure it had an effect on me but I thank The Lord now that it didn't affect me then like it is now .
I can only hope that counciling & meds might help . I need to convince myself that things are ok and accept that I can't control everything . I need to get rid of this tick tock mentality waiting for something bad to happen . Thanks for your comments , it also helps me to realise I'm not the only one in this boat !
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Offline houndlvr1

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Re: Personality changes
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2014, 10:34:31 PM »
So you just summed up exactly what has happened to me. Somehow my dads death has given me PTSD whereby like you I relive his last few days over and over. My dad went into the hospital on a Sunday and was gone a few days later. Everyone around me was s wreck but I handled the doctors the funeral the phone calls flowers etc and never cried. Then I fell apart with fear and anxiety and that horrible realisation that I won't live forever. I hope we find some peace because this is not how my DSD would want me to be.
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Offline Lenny79

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Re: Personality changes
« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2014, 11:45:34 PM »
Yes , this is the biggest factor to hit me . I guess it comes back to the god complex . We see our father as our God , indestructible . He looked after us , raised us , was always there for us . Then when he is gone we question our beliefs . Another thing I have found just with myself is negative word association . I think or make a statement , my mind will automatically suggest the oposite , generally the opposite of a positive event . Now this has me perplexed . I will think something and them my mind will think the opposite , example I cared for my dad , my mind will say next I didn't ??? Is this OCD as well ?  This has me slightly confused , my sister told me to think of positive thoughts when the bad persisted , when I did this my mind generated a complete opposite thought ???
Is this part of it all , I've tried to research this and havnt come up with anything . Why would mind goes against years of good past experiences and generate an opposite negative thought . This has only began since the anxiety kicked in . This is the one thing which has done a number on me , anyway hi from Ireland and I'm enjoying this comments !
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Offline houndlvr1

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Re: Personality changes
« Reply #9 on: June 21, 2014, 07:25:49 AM »
Good morning from new jersey! Well you gave me an aha moment in pinning part of the problem on a god complex. I had not thought about that but it makes sense. I believe for me that my dad was my foundation. I was very close to him and am the oldest of three. I think that having him pass triggers so much angst such as now that his generation is almost gone I know my generation or possibly me will be next to pass. That makes me fear things I did not before and it has me often hear that proverbial clock ticking.as to reverse thoughts I think maybe you are questioning your own belief system.when you think for example I did all I could for my dad you may throw up a challenging thought such as..who am I kidding I couldn't save him and I can't even help myself right now etc. I believe yes that disconnected thinking is anxiety borne. I too do that and keeping positive is very difficult with that intrusive thinking pattern.sigh!
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