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.
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".
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.