anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day - 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 23 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

My wife of 31 years is suffering from anxiety and probably depression. So many 'little' and big things send her into high anxiety mode and she drifts off into rumination and/or total meltdowns (sitting on floor crying her eyes out because she can't decide between two different bathroom sinks).

When I find her like this, I sit with her, putting my arm around her shoulders and just try to comfort her without talking about solving the problem. But when she gets in the 'crazy' mode while not being so vulnerable in tears, I have very little patience with it. She says things like 'I hate the person I am sometimes' so of course, it's hard for her to be happy with me.

I would say we've had a happy marriage - raised two kids to adulthood who are very happy productive people, and now have been enjoying empty nesting for a few years with less financial pressure than we've ever had before. I just want us to have fun, be chill about the small stuff, have sex a couple times a week. I tease her sometimes saying 'this is why I married a cheerleader - too vain to let themselves go as they get older'. It's meant as a compliment because quite honestly, she is pretty smokin' and only gets more attractive with age. I am extremely attracted to her

But now she will let weeks pass by showing me no physical interest - I am a very active person, in the best shape of my life physically and my sex drive is very strong. She has read proper care and feeding because I gave it to her about 10 years ago or so when we hit a real lull in intimacy.

Simple truth - I need our sex life to be vibrant or I don't feel as close to her. I worry about her worsening anxiety, and I feel like I am starting to envision what it may be like if we were apart. I don't want that. I love our family but she is making it so hard to live with her at times. We argue a lot because I try to logic my way into solving the little things she gets all worked up about - unless of course she is in meltdown mode. She has no self confidence anymore and she is less and less interested in me in general.

I don't know what to do. She has tried therapy a couple of times but quit it, saying she didn't think it was helping. She tried a couple drugs too (prescribed) but quit those too because they made her feel tired.

So why am I here on this forum? I have no idea what I expect to get from writing this and I don't have a specific question. If you read it, thanks. I guess it just helps to say some things 'out loud' for me. I'm just bummed out that the love of my life isn't able to love herself anymore, so letting me love her is even harder.

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 10:46 AM
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Re: anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

What meds did she try and for how long?

You will find a lot of help here

The key is to find the right meds that work for her. You don't give up after trying two. There are many others to try.

I take zoloft. Wife takes Wellbutrin and lexapro. She had been on others.

When has she had her last complete physical example? The tiredness could be do to something unrelated.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 10:48 AM
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anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

I Double posted by mistake

Last edited by blueinbr; 02-16-2017 at 05:57 AM.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 03:07 PM Thread Starter
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Re: anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

Thanks for your reply! I apologize if I double posted somehow. I've had the hardest time getting this site to accept my login. I've had to change my password each time I've tried to log in. For the record - I am very comfortable with computers. Something going on weird for me...

I don't know the answers to your questions regarding the meds. She does do annual physicals and is in good overall health. She is postmenopausal and the anxiety seemed to kick in during the menopause years. Seems like the chemical soup got a bit off balance by those changes. The tiredness came on with the meds and back off again when she stopped them, so pretty sure they were related.

I think at times I am in a co-dependent kind of role/relationship here with her anxiety. Which is what led me to some internet searches and how I landed here. How I deal with her during these times has a lot of impact on our relationship, but I cannot 'fix' her issues. Not sure how I am supposed to act when she is off the deep end. I need to learn some skills but also don't want to be spending our time from now on coping or sympathizing. I want it to get better!
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-14-2017, 03:19 PM
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Re: anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

Is she spiritual at all?

Would she be willing to take some meditation or yoga classes?
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 06:21 AM Thread Starter
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Re: anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

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Is she spiritual at all?

Would she be willing to take some meditation or yoga classes?
I know this is a good suggestion and one that I have tried to get her to do. I bought her a book about using a 7 minute meditation technique to calm her mind and settle each day. She tried it a few times, but quit that too.

She also had a workbook given to her by one of her therapists from the few sessions that she attended. For a month or so, she would take some time out now and then and sit with the workbook, but that didn't last long enough to have long-term effects either.

Seems to be quite a pattern here as I type these things out! I can't help but interpret all the quitting as a lack of concern about us. How selfish is that? Am I normal to feel that way or just focusing on my own needs for 'us' to be healthy too much??

And by the way, it would appear we were on a nice track for some intimacy on valentine's day yesterday: I bought her flowers and gave her a nice card with a hand-written note telling her she is the love of my life... went out to lunch at a nice little Italian neighborhood restaurant, we later enjoyed a nice home-cooked meal that she prepared for us, we sat and cuddled on the couch for a couple hours in the evening watching a couple of shows that we enjoy, but when it was time for bed, she threw on her frumpy old PJs and showed no interest in sexual intimacy. Again. And it makes me sad and kind of mad at the same time. But I just let her fall asleep without *****ing about it but I hate going to sleep feeling resentment and frustration like that. It lingers and affects us in a negative way when either of us do that.

**And once again I've had to reset my password to log in to this site. Hope I didn't double post again. :-/
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 06:37 AM
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Re: anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

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Originally Posted by KCBlues View Post
My wife of 31 years is suffering from anxiety and probably depression. So many 'little' and big things send her into high anxiety mode and she drifts off into rumination and/or total meltdowns (sitting on floor crying her eyes out because she can't decide between two different bathroom sinks).

When I find her like this, I sit with her, putting my arm around her shoulders and just try to comfort her without talking about solving the problem. But when she gets in the 'crazy' mode while not being so vulnerable in tears, I have very little patience with it. She says things like 'I hate the person I am sometimes' so of course, it's hard for her to be happy with me.

I would say we've had a happy marriage - raised two kids to adulthood who are very happy productive people, and now have been enjoying empty nesting for a few years with less financial pressure than we've ever had before. I just want us to have fun, be chill about the small stuff, have sex a couple times a week. I tease her sometimes saying 'this is why I married a cheerleader - too vain to let themselves go as they get older'. It's meant as a compliment because quite honestly, she is pretty smokin' and only gets more attractive with age. I am extremely attracted to her

But now she will let weeks pass by showing me no physical interest - I am a very active person, in the best shape of my life physically and my sex drive is very strong. She has read proper care and feeding because I gave it to her about 10 years ago or so when we hit a real lull in intimacy.

Simple truth - I need our sex life to be vibrant or I don't feel as close to her. I worry about her worsening anxiety, and I feel like I am starting to envision what it may be like if we were apart. I don't want that. I love our family but she is making it so hard to live with her at times. We argue a lot because I try to logic my way into solving the little things she gets all worked up about - unless of course she is in meltdown mode. She has no self confidence anymore and she is less and less interested in me in general.

I don't know what to do. She has tried therapy a couple of times but quit it, saying she didn't think it was helping. She tried a couple drugs too (prescribed) but quit those too because they made her feel tired.

So why am I here on this forum? I have no idea what I expect to get from writing this and I don't have a specific question. If you read it, thanks. I guess it just helps to say some things 'out loud' for me. I'm just bummed out that the love of my life isn't able to love herself anymore, so letting me love her is even harder.
How old is she?
It could be hormonal (menopause), have her full hormones checked; oestrogen, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, etc. it will cost you but it will be worth it.
Then consider Bioidenticals for balance. Be careful as many doctors only treat the symptoms with Xanax, Prozac, etc, this just makes things worse and dull the senses while not treating the root cause.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 07:53 AM Thread Starter
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Re: anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

Thank you for your reply aine. I think you did not see what I wrote about her being postmenopausal. I didn't mention this, but she is taking several meds that were prescribed by her doc in recognition of the menopause changes she was going through. The doses have been adjusted at least a couple times over the past couple of years. I know she is on estrogen, progesterone and testosterone and maybe a thing or two more. She is 54 years old.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 09:00 AM
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Re: anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

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Originally Posted by KCBlues View Post
I know this is a good suggestion and one that I have tried to get her to do. I bought her a book about using a 7 minute meditation technique to calm her mind and settle each day. She tried it a few times, but quit that too.

She also had a workbook given to her by one of her therapists from the few sessions that she attended. For a month or so, she would take some time out now and then and sit with the workbook, but that didn't last long enough to have long-term effects either.

Seems to be quite a pattern here as I type these things out! I can't help but interpret all the quitting as a lack of concern about us. How selfish is that? Am I normal to feel that way or just focusing on my own needs for 'us' to be healthy too much??

And by the way, it would appear we were on a nice track for some intimacy on valentine's day yesterday: I bought her flowers and gave her a nice card with a hand-written note telling her she is the love of my life... went out to lunch at a nice little Italian neighborhood restaurant, we later enjoyed a nice home-cooked meal that she prepared for us, we sat and cuddled on the couch for a couple hours in the evening watching a couple of shows that we enjoy, but when it was time for bed, she threw on her frumpy old PJs and showed no interest in sexual intimacy. Again. And it makes me sad and kind of mad at the same time. But I just let her fall asleep without *****ing about it but I hate going to sleep feeling resentment and frustration like that. It lingers and affects us in a negative way when either of us do that.

**And once again I've had to reset my password to log in to this site. Hope I didn't double post again. :-/
So how about calming techniques for you?

Before/During/After menopausal is something I wouldn't wish on anyone, yet here we are human as ever living through one of the guaranteed impermanences life bestows on the female gender. My wife's libido nosedived during this, and she was a tad older than I was (10 years) so hers in the early 50's with me in the early 40's proved a wee challenging. Perhaps timing is everything, but I was embarking on a different path that brought great focus to calming myself and looking at life differently and doing so, saw her challenges differently as well.

Controlling her will not happen for either physical or emotional desire... you are going to have to practice letting go a bit. No it's not fun and it's not fair, but holding on to the resentments that are being created from it are hurting you.

Change that.

Is she selfish? Is she unmotivated? Is she unconcerned?

Perhaps she is, but is your judgement interfering with the way you are looking at it?

At 31 years, you have been through many changes, this is one more that you simply dislike and I get it, boy do I get it.

You are normal to feel that way and you are just focusing on your own needs for the two of you to be healthy, and it may be too much if it is hurting you.

EB2 used to dress up sexy on her own in her pre-days... "during" days would if I asked, post days says she feels like a clown in such attire and absolutely will not. Her activity habits have changed as well... I could fight it or accept it, guess which one worked best? We went to 2-3 times weekly to once weekly to once monthly during the change, now back to weekly or maybe even every 2 weeks depending on what life throws at us but you know what?

It's the quality I enjoy most, and I won't get that with negativity.

Will you?




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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Re: anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

EB - thank you for the very thoughtful and insightful reply. I guess I am here because I am somehow exploring what I can do to help change this situation. If that has to be my perspective, reactions, actions, etc., then maybe so be it. I know I am not happy as things stand right now, and she seems incapable of making meaningful changes to address our dying intimacy. But sometimes I wish I wasn't so attracted to her because maybe then it wouldn't bother me so much? But to me, life together without a healthy sex life seems like we are on diverging paths away from each other. Probably a hole somewhere in my heart that requires physical intimacy to stay patched - I don't know, but when we go through dry spells, it makes everything seem different between us.

I am sympathetic to her chemical drivers and changes - I had a major health issue that left me with a totally jacked up endocrine system about 6 years ago. It is amazing to me how much my chemistry affected the way I felt physically and emotionally. With some corrections, I could more clearly see how it was affecting me for some time before we discovered it. We tend to think of ourselves as the souls within our body shells, but in fact our 'souls' are partly what I was referring to as the chemical soup, and sometimes the smallest changes in the recipe make the whole world seem different.

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post #11 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-15-2017, 12:47 PM
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Re: anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

I understand you KCB... btw, this happened to me 10 years ago, I am now 54 and wife 64 and I am at peace where we have landed today. Touch and affirmation are my love languages (dormant and hidden for many years), so menopause did what felt like kicked me square in the unmindful... good thing I was on the right path.

In fact, this morning as we were getting dressed and she was standing there putting on lotion after her shower and whoa-Nelly did I smile!

I told her how did she expect me to be answering emails with her standing there like that and better yet, I went over and gave her a kiss on the shoulder and told her I was in fact objectifying her and I felt no guilt.

Today I got a wink out of it... up to 3 years ago a snarl would have been there.

I'd call that progress.

When you get the snarl... understand the reaction ends with you. Smile and go to a quiet place and get your calm-groove back with some breathing (inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, release slowly for 7 seconds) for a few minutes focusing on nothing but breathing... then as the calm begins, clear you mind of the frustrations in your way with another minute of being aware how breathing has supplanted those stressed feelings.

This is prep for meditation... how you take the next step is all you because there is no one right way to do it. I have a couple of guides I use... a very simple one "Buddha in Blue Jeans" free from Amazon as an eBook and another that covers what most meditation books don't teach by Blon Lee. Both are fantastic if you are interested.

Then I go for a walk, run, or a Tai Chi round... awareness enhanced.

Finish with a shower then walk up to her, look into her eyes with your hands gently cupping her face, give her the nicest kiss the way she likes, then walk off with a smile and be happy.

Just an idea... your mileage may vary but EB2 absorbed the calm in those moments like a sponge. What does one call "positive codependency"? I'm not sure there is without some thought... all I know is that she witnesses vulnerability without fear or frustration, and that is a very good thing.

Peace be with you my friend.
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post #12 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 05:42 AM
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Re: anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

This is a difficult time for most females and their husbands! You have to arm yourself with as much knowledge about this as possible. This is difficult for you but if your understand where she is coming from you may be able to ride out the 'storm' to get to a place or normality.
There are many links in the internet and many books that look at the impact of menopause on marriage.

e.g.
A Man's Guide to Menopause - Menopause Center - Everyday Health

There are no quick and easy answers, your understanding is probably one of the biggest things I'm afraid and open discussion.
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post #13 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 06:10 AM
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anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

OP,

I still suggest you revisit the meds idea. Anti anxiety meds work with serotonin while antidepressants work with dopamine. As a generic rule antidepressants should give you more energy not less, but your wife may be the exception.

The trick is to find the right med in the right dosage that works for her.

I am not suggesting doping her up. The meds can be short term or a booster to other things. Exercise helps but if she is too depressed to exercise the meds might give enough push to jump start her.

If you can post or private message me what meds she tried i can help further. I spent years in pharmaceutical business and although i am not a medical professional i know a lot on the subject.

I take meds but also exercise and diet and try other relaxation techniques.

My wife is like yours so I understand what you are going through.
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post #14 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 10:27 AM Thread Starter
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Re: anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

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I understand you KCB... btw, this happened to me 10 years ago, I am now 54 and wife 64 and I am at peace where we have landed today. Touch and affirmation are my love languages (dormant and hidden for many years), so menopause did what felt like kicked me square in the unmindful... good thing I was on the right path.

In fact, this morning as we were getting dressed and she was standing there putting on lotion after her shower and whoa-Nelly did I smile!

I told her how did she expect me to be answering emails with her standing there like that and better yet, I went over and gave her a kiss on the shoulder and told her I was in fact objectifying her and I felt no guilt.

Today I got a wink out of it... up to 3 years ago a snarl would have been there.

I'd call that progress.

When you get the snarl... understand the reaction ends with you. Smile and go to a quiet place and get your calm-groove back with some breathing (inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 3 seconds, release slowly for 7 seconds) for a few minutes focusing on nothing but breathing... then as the calm begins, clear you mind of the frustrations in your way with another minute of being aware how breathing has supplanted those stressed feelings.

This is prep for meditation... how you take the next step is all you because there is no one right way to do it. I have a couple of guides I use... a very simple one "Buddha in Blue Jeans" free from Amazon as an eBook and another that covers what most meditation books don't teach by Blon Lee. Both are fantastic if you are interested.

Then I go for a walk, run, or a Tai Chi round... awareness enhanced.

Finish with a shower then walk up to her, look into her eyes with your hands gently cupping her face, give her the nicest kiss the way she likes, then walk off with a smile and be happy.

Just an idea... your mileage may vary but EB2 absorbed the calm in those moments like a sponge. What does one call "positive codependency"? I'm not sure there is without some thought... all I know is that she witnesses vulnerability without fear or frustration, and that is a very good thing.

Peace be with you my friend.
You are very kind to take the time to write this out. I read the BJB this morning. If only I could wave a magic wand and have those skills and abilities on demand! But i will work on it - nothing wrong with any of those suggestions in my book!
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post #15 of 23 (permalink) Old 02-16-2017, 10:44 AM Thread Starter
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Re: anxiety tearing us apart a little more each day

Quote:
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This is a difficult time for most females and their husbands! You have to arm yourself with as much knowledge about this as possible. This is difficult for you but if your understand where she is coming from you may be able to ride out the 'storm' to get to a place or normality.
There are many links in the internet and many books that look at the impact of menopause on marriage.

e.g.
A Man's Guide to Menopause - Menopause Center - Everyday Health

There are no quick and easy answers, your understanding is probably one of the biggest things I'm afraid and open discussion.
Thanks again aine. I believe she is 'officially' post-menopausal now. She does suffer from dryness and discomfort during sex but tried to give it a go anyway, which of course was not good for either of us so we stopped trying to do that when she was particularly sensitive. She is now using an estrogen cream this past several weeks and the doc told her it may take a couple of months for it to work. She started using it a few months ago but quit after a couple weeks or was very sporadic - if you read my earlier posts you would see that the quitting is a pattern that left me feeling it must not be very important to her. She is now on about 3 weeks of continuous (2x per week as prescribed) application so hopefully she sticks with it and it makes a difference.

I tell her every single day that I love her and I give her many nice compliments on how beautiful she is on a regular basis. She is a perfectionist about a lot of things, and she complains that she can't lose 7 pounds so that she would be at her ideal weight. 7 pounds!! Sometimes 5!! Ugh... I tell her all the time that is completely unimportant to me and that I find her extremely sexy and attractive, and I prove that to her every chance I get! But still, she thinks she needs to lose those few pounds before she will feel sexy to herself. It makes me crazy sometimes. I tell her look around at her peer group and find a single one of them that looks even close to how fit she looks, but that doesn't work either. She goes to the gym about 2 to 3 times per week as she has for about 15 years now. She's got a very feminine figure (i.e., does NOT look like a gym rat as I call it) but yeah, she has that few extra pounds but hey - she is 54 and cannot and need not look like she is 25. *sigh* I happen to be very fit and she says "you don't have an ounce of fat on your body!" and sometimes seems resentful about that. I am fit because I play tennis 3 to 4x a week and it is a natural by-product of that. It's not a vanity effort by me but something that helps keep me sane and healthy. So this too becomes added pressure on her to "keep up" with me.

I think the perfectionism stems back to the deeper issues she has related to having to be perfect so her parents won't break up as they did when she was young. She was completely unsupported by them when it happened. Little to no checking on her, seeing how she was handling everything, and like a good little soldier she swallowed it all up inside and put on a happy face and carried on with her young teenage life. I think it's catching up to her now as she gets older. This is what I hope some therapy can get to the root of, and allow her to process all of that pain and learn that she is NOT to blame. Nothing she could have done could have kept her family together and she needs to believe that and allow herself some imperfections.

So that's a lot I dumped out on here now, huh? You folks are all very kind and I am finding this to be helpful and encouraging. We've both got some work to do.
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