I’m asking this about my mother, her information is what I filled out above. She has anxiety about work, and she rarely stops worrying about it. She says she has trouble sleeping and often dreams about work; also if she wakes up she will start thinking about it and not sleep for the rest of the night. She’s a doctor who owns her own practice, and the reason I’m asking this now is that recently she found out she no longer has a place to work as the company she rents from wont renew her lease. She recently spent 3 nights straight up all night, unable to sleep. On the fourth night she managed to sleep because of physical exhaustion. She tries to get a lot of exercise regularly so the physical exhaustion will help her sleep. I gave her medicine to help her sleep that she can take, an antihistamine, that I use while flying. She hasn’t taken it yet, but her anxiety has been disturbing her sleep for years, and recently it just got really bad. She hates using medicine when she doesn’t have to. Are there anythings she can try that aren’t medicinal before we send her to the doctor? (She constantly talks about work, and can’t disconnect. Even if we bring up something else, she goes back to the topic.) Does this sound bad enough that she should seek medical help? Lately she’s been sleeping more, but even with all the sleep she needs, it affects her entire life. (Her anxiety is mostly related to work, although she has divulged that whenever she sees an accident on the road, she always worries about her family and will often call. She also is worried about me when I travel without her, especially when she heard about the plane shot down over Ukraine because I was flying that day.) She enjoys a happy family life, and an active lifestyle, but her work gets in the way quite often.
A: To answer your question, yes, there are things she can do to help her anxiety and sleep issues that are not medicinal and the first one I would suggest is therapy. The difficulty is that she probably already knows lots of things that would help, but she isn’t doing them. Whether it be therapy, natural supplements, herbal teas, yoga, meditation, hypnosis, etc, etc, your mother should already be aware of these options. Chances are that she suggests many of them to her patients. The sad truth is that many “helping professionals” fall short when it comes to helping themselves.
Rather than you doing extensive research only to have her ignore or reject it, I would just suggest that you sit your mother down and have a serious heart to heart with her about your concerns. It may be even more powerful if you ask another family member or a trusted friend to join you. Be honest and direct and try to get her to agree to an action plan and I time line for completion. Hopefully, if you come from a place of love and respect, your mother will hear you and take some steps toward better self-care and healthier professional boundaries.
All the best,
Dr. Holly Counts