Helping Wife with Anxiety - Talk About Marriage
Physical & Mental Health Issues Marriage and relationships are difficult by themselves, but coping with physical or mental health problems can make things even more difficult.

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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-18-2016, 01:48 PM Thread Starter
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Helping Wife with Anxiety

We have been married for 7 years now, have two beautiful kids, both have good jobs, nice house and everything, but my wife has anxiety... and it is getting worse over the last year. I new she an anxiety issues before we got married, and really for the most part she has been great, but the last year or so it has gotten worse. We have had our ups and downs, and all and we have been working really hard to keep our communication open and honest. In the past he anxiety would only be bad briefly, maybe a week or so, and then she would come out of it and be he old self for the most part. This time around it is becoming toxic. I am going to guess for the last 6 month is has really started to become apparent she cannot get out of her own head. She has become distant, and our sex life has dropped off significantly (that is a whole other topic). We have talked about he not letting little things bother her, and she just says she can't, and not having anxiety make it hard for me to under stand. I have been trying to be supportive, but I feel like I am failing miserably. When I come home from work I talk to her about he day, and attempt to get her to voice her frustration, and make sure she is not replaying some minor incident over and over in her head, but she often said she is not feeling anxiety, or is not "in her head", but she has physical cues that tells me other wise, like biting her lower lip when watching a tv show. I have asked he to try and find outside help, be she refuses because she does not want to talk to a "stranger" about her problems.

I am just looking for some advice on how I can help the love of my life to deal with her anxiety...

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-18-2016, 02:51 PM
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Re: Helping Wife with Anxiety

Her symptoms can be the result of unhappiness with the marriage and her infatuation with another person.

Let's try the easier part first. Has she seen her primary care physician for an anti anxiety med such as zoloft?
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-18-2016, 03:28 PM
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Re: Helping Wife with Anxiety

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Originally Posted by Frozen001 View Post
We have talked about he not letting little things bother her, and she just says she can't, and not having anxiety make it hard for me to under stand. I have been trying to be supportive, but I feel like I am failing miserably. When I come home from work I talk to her about he day, and attempt to get her to voice her frustration, and make sure she is not replaying some minor incident over and over in her head, but she often said she is not feeling anxiety, or is not "in her head", but she has physical cues that tells me other wise, like biting her lower lip when watching a tv show. I have asked he to try and find outside help, be she refuses because she does not want to talk to a "stranger" about her problems.

I am just looking for some advice on how I can help the love of my life to deal with her anxiety...
Of course you don't understand - why should you? My husband does not understand my anxiety but he understands how it affects me and is there for me when I need him. And you are NOT failing miserably because you are there supporting her and although it may seem you don't get anywhere it takes time. You sound to be doing everything PERFECTLY. One cannot recover from anxiety overnight because it is a learned habitual response to potential threats that has been practiced and perfected for years before it even starts to debilitate our lives. Reverse that 'natural' response to threat I a long road.

Ruminating on small things is very difficult for the spouse because it makes no sense, but for the person who is experiencing anxiety it can trigger a connection of thoughts that completely get out of control to the point of getting physical symptoms like shortness of breath, palpitations, loss of appetite, panic attacks.

There are some great books nowadays that really help practically with anxiety.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Self-Help-Y...s=claire+weeks

https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/cka/Chang...3&keywords=cbt

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mindfulness...ds=mindfulness

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Power-Now-G...e+power+of+now

For me - the best thing I can do is recognise the triggers and avoid situations that create choas thinking, toxic situations etc. If I get to point in my day when I start ruminating I get busy - I don't stop until I have forgotten what I am worrying about. I make sure I get a good nights sleep because lack of sleep makes me so much worse (youtube has loads of sleep meditations that are a silver bullet).

I write long lists of things I plan to do for the day and I work hard to tick each thing off my list before I go to bed. It gives me a sense of achievement and well being.

I laugh a lot. I force myself to laugh. I watch comedy, I read funny books. I have a pinterest board full of things that have made me laugh and revisit it.

Helping others is extremely therapeutic and rewarding. My son attends a school for very special children who often die too young or battle debilitating diseases. Being among these children and the people who volunteer their time and freely give their talents to help others is hugely humbling. It also encourages to leave the house (the worst thing for anxiety is to stay indoors - it just gets worse).


Good luck!
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-18-2016, 04:04 PM
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Re: Helping Wife with Anxiety

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Originally Posted by Frozen001 View Post
We have been married for 7 years now, have two beautiful kids, both have good jobs, nice house and everything, but my wife has anxiety... and it is getting worse over the last year. I new she an anxiety issues before we got married, and really for the most part she has been great, but the last year or so it has gotten worse. We have had our ups and downs, and all and we have been working really hard to keep our communication open and honest. In the past he anxiety would only be bad briefly, maybe a week or so, and then she would come out of it and be he old self for the most part.
That was my experience. I fell to pieces for 1-4 days and then it would abate for 4+ weeks.

Quote:
This time around it is becoming toxic. I am going to guess for the last 6 month is has really started to become apparent she cannot get out of her own head. She has become distant, and our sex life has dropped off significantly (that is a whole other topic). We have talked about he not letting little things bother her, and she just says she can't, and not having anxiety make it hard for me to under stand. I have been trying to be supportive, but I feel like I am failing miserably.
That is too direct of an approach. She needs the skills. Imagine taking a bottom-up approach, wherein the individual skills are learned rather than the overarching skill of "not letting things bother her".

Quote:
When I come home from work I talk to her about he day, and attempt to get her to voice her frustration, and make sure she is not replaying some minor incident over and over in her head, but she often said she is not feeling anxiety, or is not "in her head", but she has physical cues that tells me other wise, like biting her lower lip when watching a tv show. I have asked he to try and find outside help, be she refuses because she does not want to talk to a "stranger" about her problems.

I am just looking for some advice on how I can help the love of my life to deal with her anxiety...
She doesn't want to be judged. She doesn't want it to be a problem for anyone else. In some ways, she will refuse to address it.

In women, mindfulness skills are proven to alleviate anxiety. Men and women differ in which particular skills help, in terms of the area and magnitude.

For women, focus on:

Describing: labeling thoughts and feelings
Non-judgment: taking a bystander approach by not self-criticizing. Non-judgment means this or that thought/feeling is not good or bad.

Ultimately, anxiety tends to be a simple problem to resolve. That said, it does require the effort. One must learn these skills and keep with them. With an indirect approach, one is less likely to avoid the work and the results flow into many areas of life.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-18-2016, 05:13 PM
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Re: Helping Wife with Anxiety

As a job counselor for people with disabilities -mental and emotional as well as physical - I have worked with a lot of people who suffer with debilitating anxiety. I highly suggest you talk to a therapist or counselor about something Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

I would add, a lot of the people I work with have mentioned that their anxiety has increased greatly over the past year because of the nastiness of the election cycle and all the negative things that have been happening in the US and around the world lately. If you're the kind of people who spend a lot of time watching the news, you might try taking a break from it for a while and see if it helps.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-18-2016, 11:43 PM
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Re: Helping Wife with Anxiety

Xanax is a very good relaxant ... anti anxiety med. She can start at a super low dosage.


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