Dear Maura: I fear anxiety without my dad

Solve your life dilemmas with expert advice from Maura O’Neill

Finding ways to deal with anxiety is important

Dear Maura: My mam is hopeless with me when I feel anxious. I’m 18 and have had anxiety since I was 15. My dad is so patient. Mam just thinks that I can shake off my worries if I do something to distract me. I got through my Leaving Cert with Covid and took this year out before going to college. I got a part-time job in a local nursing home and I like being with older people. I don’t feel under pressure with them. My dad has to go away with work and I’m really worried about that. I’ve asked if I could go with him and he thinks it’s a great idea but mam isn’t keen. She’s worried I’ll be on my own when he’s at work. I’ve looked up nursing homes near his office and I’ve applied for jobs. I won’t say anything until I hear something back. I’m determined to do this because the thought of dad being at the other end of the country is just too much. I’m sure I’ll be fine and I’ve felt good the past while but if he’s not here, it makes me feel insecure in case I get bad anxiety. He’ll be gone for three months. Answer: I think it’s wonderful you are making plans and thinking ahead. This shows how determined you are to find practical ways to deal with your anxiety. If your dad is in agreement, make sure to spend time together and keep an eye on your working hours. Your mam is hesitant because she realises you are leaving as you lack confidence in her support. Talk everything through. Both you and your dad should visit the nursing home where you’re planning to work and talk to the staff so he can get a feel for the place. You can always revise these plans. See how you feel from now until your dad is due to leave. You may feel strong enough to stay home after all.

My partner’s sister wants to move in

Dear Maura: My boyfriend’s sister wants to move in with us for the summer. It’s going to be a total disaster. He’s too afraid to say no and if I’m the one to put a stop to it she’ll never speak to me again. Even their mom thinks it’s crazy. She’s always jealous of us together because she’s the only one at home. She’s spoiled rotten and will be a nightmare when she realises she’ll have to do her own washing and cooking. We’ve worked hard to make the house cosy and the way we want it. I know there’ll be rows

and all because she thinks we’re having more fun than her. She’s 20 going on 11.

Answer: This is clearly not going to work for anyone, so somebody needs to take a stand and call a halt before

she gets through the front door. The reason I’m being a bit dramatic is because if she ends up living with you there will be a huge strain on your relationships which may never recover. I think it’s best

you and your boyfriend stay out of this. Get mom involved, dad too if she needs backup. Explain that you both need time living together but that you want to hang out with her over the summer. As the only one at home, she needs reassurance that you’ll be there for her.

Email your problems to Dr Angela Brokmann Maura O’Neill All pictures are posed by models

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