Anxiety / needing more support from my husband


#1

Hi All,

What I’m having trouble with is anxiety and panic attacks. I had one so severe recently that I had to leave work early. I work 2 days a week, 12 hour shifts and I love my job. I really don’t think it’s work that’s flaring my anxiety. Nevertheless, I struggle on a daily basis with it. Some days I have to skip on errands I was planning or cancel a play date because I’m not up for it. I’m on medication for this and am generally fine with the way it’s being managed… (I don’t want more medication).

What I really wish I had was my husband’s understanding. I feel like I don’t. I almost feel like he cringes anymore if I’m crying over anything- even a panic attack. He has seen me cry over the way I feel about other people- like if I’m worried that I hurt someone’s feelings or if I’m sentimental about the kids he shows a hint of caring and will say something here or there. He won’t usually full on reach out and embrace me or comfort me. I’m not someone who cries all the time either.

Like when I had the panic attack at work- there were several co-workers there (all female) who showed such caring and compassion- rubbing my shoulder while I tried to gain some composure, getting me a glass of water, finding me a comfortable place to rest. My husband came to pick me up from work because I didn’t feel I could drive home and anytime we were in front of someone, he would touch my shoulder as if to show he cared but in private did not touch me once. Then once we were home, left me with a house full of kids to run an errand and then came home and went to bed to take a nap. I made him get up out of bed, but honestly- he made me feel like he just can’t see me or realize what I’m going through.

Sometimes I think that the way I have to bottle things up for his sake worsens my tendency toward anxiety. Him and I have been to counseling about our communication before and I felt that it was worthless because he acted like a perfect, wonderful gentleman in front of the counselor.

Are his actions a sign that he doesn’t truly love me?


#2

[quote="kittery, post:1, topic:253258"]
Hi All,

What I'm having trouble with is anxiety and panic attacks. I had one so severe recently that I had to leave work early. I work 2 days a week, 12 hour shifts and I love my job. I really don't think it's work that's flaring my anxiety. Nevertheless, I struggle on a daily basis with it. Some days I have to skip on errands I was planning or cancel a play date because I'm not up for it. I'm on medication for this and am generally fine with the way it's being managed... (I don't want more medication).

What I really wish I had was my husband's understanding. I feel like I don't. I almost feel like he cringes anymore if I'm crying over anything- even a panic attack. He has seen me cry over the way I feel about other people- like if I'm worried that I hurt someone's feelings or if I'm sentimental about the kids he shows a hint of caring and will say something here or there. He won't usually full on reach out and embrace me or comfort me. I'm not someone who cries all the time either.

Like when I had the panic attack at work- there were several co-workers there (all female) who showed such caring and compassion- rubbing my shoulder while I tried to gain some composure, getting me a glass of water, finding me a comfortable place to rest. My husband came to pick me up from work because I didn't feel I could drive home and anytime we were in front of someone, he would touch my shoulder as if to show he cared but in private did not touch me once. Then once we were home, left me with a house full of kids to run an errand and then came home and went to bed to take a nap. I made him get up out of bed, but honestly- he made me feel like he just can't see me or realize what I'm going through.

Sometimes I think that the way I have to bottle things up for his sake worsens my tendency toward anxiety. Him and I have been to counseling about our communication before and I felt that it was worthless because he acted like a perfect, wonderful gentleman in front of the counselor.

Are his actions a sign that he doesn't truly love me?

[/quote]

Hey look. You'll be ok. Seriously. I know what you go through. I have panic attacks all the time. You can talk to me if you want. I sort have come to an understanding of what is going on when they are happening. Of course, you need to seek professional help. I am not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, but I will help however I can. I see a therapist and a psychiatrist myself, and there is no shame in doing that. So don't feel bad. We can continue talking about this, and I am sure others will chime in as well. Just sit back and relax a little. Everything is going to be fine. We'll all make sure of that. And God will play His important role too.


#3

I deal with family who haven’t understand, but they are getting better at it. So don’t worry about your husband. He does love you, and he will want to understand. So stick with him, because you are stuck with him.


#4

[quote="kittery, post:1, topic:253258"]
Hi All,

What I'm having trouble with is anxiety and panic attacks. I had one so severe recently that I had to leave work early. I work 2 days a week, 12 hour shifts and I love my job. I really don't think it's work that's flaring my anxiety. Nevertheless, I struggle on a daily basis with it. Some days I have to skip on errands I was planning or cancel a play date because I'm not up for it. I'm on medication for this and am generally fine with the way it's being managed... (I don't want more medication).

What I really wish I had was my husband's understanding. I feel like I don't. I almost feel like he cringes anymore if I'm crying over anything- even a panic attack. He has seen me cry over the way I feel about other people- like if I'm worried that I hurt someone's feelings or if I'm sentimental about the kids he shows a hint of caring and will say something here or there. He won't usually full on reach out and embrace me or comfort me. I'm not someone who cries all the time either.

Like when I had the panic attack at work- there were several co-workers there (all female) who showed such caring and compassion- rubbing my shoulder while I tried to gain some composure, getting me a glass of water, finding me a comfortable place to rest. My husband came to pick me up from work because I didn't feel I could drive home and anytime we were in front of someone, he would touch my shoulder as if to show he cared but in private did not touch me once. Then once we were home, left me with a house full of kids to run an errand and then came home and went to bed to take a nap. I made him get up out of bed, but honestly- he made me feel like he just can't see me or realize what I'm going through.

Sometimes I think that the way I have to bottle things up for his sake worsens my tendency toward anxiety. Him and I have been to counseling about our communication before and I felt that it was worthless because he acted like a perfect, wonderful gentleman in front of the counselor.

Are his actions a sign that he doesn't truly love me?

[/quote]

No, it's a sign that he is a man and that he is uncomfortable with dealing with your illness. He wishes that it would just "go away." He doesn't like feeling "out of control."

He might be thinking that your panic attacks are just a "weakness" or "female silliness" on your part and that if you would just "try harder" and "be more mature," that you would be fine. And then he feels terribly guilty because he knows (intellectually) that all this isn't true, that you truly do have an illness and that you can't help it.

So he tries to get away from you because he is so uncomfortable dealing with all these conflicts and feelings and guilty thoughts. He just wants some peace and normalcy.

Always remember that he's your husband, not your girlfriend. A man will usually not act like a woman, and that's a good thing.

I suggest that you talk to your doctor and recruit him/her to talk to your husband and reassure him that your panic attacks are an illness, not some "weakness" of your personality. Ask the doctor to train your husband how to use various techniques (such as therapeutic touch) to help you deal better with your illness. Having an "action plan" for your panic attacks will help your husband to feel more in control, and then he will be more supportive of you.


#5

I have to tell you that I have been suffering from PTS and had severe panick attacks on and off for 35 years. It is NOT a mental illness it is a behavioral problem that can be corrected. It is curable not a death sentence. You have to cure it with your mind not just with medecine. There are techniques that you can follow and will make you overcome your fears especially the fear of an attack coming on. This is the frightening part; if you can diffuse this early part of the attack you can eliminate it altogether.

I was about to have one a few minutes ago and used this technique and it works everytime. You have to believe it to make it work. As soon as you feel that forboding feeling growing in your chest and belly your instinct is to prepare yourself for the attack. All that does is heighten the emotions and makes it worse. You must learn to tell your mind that you are not afraid and that it cannot harm you.

Your mind cannot tell the difference between being excited in a good way or in the bad way because the same hormone is released in either of these states. You have to teach your mind to NOT BE AFRAID. As you gain control of your mind you will find that the intensity subsides and even goes away. At first it takes concentration but soon you will find that you have control of your mind and not the other way around.

I will provide this link so you can research further into the techniques; they work immediately when you apply it with conviction. DON’T LET YOUR FEAR CONTROL YOU. You are in control and believe that JESUS IS THERE FOR YOU. Say the Hail Mary too. She is always there for me. It brings me solace.

I am not a psychologist but there is an underlying reason why these things happen. It could be even reaction to certain foods, maybe allergies too. Check your diet and EXERCISE AND MEDITATE; this is very important. Avoid caffeine, sugar, and alcohol as much as possible. Also, your husband most likely feels threatened and hurt because he can’t help you. Don’t confuse this with being inconsiderate or unloving. Tell him to give you some time to heal. You WILL HEAL. BELIEVE IT AND PRAY.

panicaway.com/


#6

Many men are uncomfortable when a woman cries or gets upset because they can’t FIX it. So, they will try to avoid the emotional outburst at all cost. It has nothing to do with love. So, don’t worry on that score. I read a funny saying about this: “Going to a man for emotional support is like going to the hardware store to buy bread”. Now the hardware store is a perfectly good store and has lots of good items in stock. However, they just do not have any bread. When you want to talk about emotional issues, better look for your girlfriends or sisters.
I’m sorry you are having such a hard time, it must be awful to have such gripping fear. I will pray for your healing.


#7

Like others have said, it’s probably just a male issue. Men don’t like it when their wives come to them with problems that they can’t solve. Men generally aren’t good at listening and offering support. They want to fix it, and if they know they can’t, it’s just frustrating.

He probably also thinks that you ought to simply stop crying. Some people don’t understand psychological illnesses, especially when they can seem quite vague like anxiety. It seems like at the moment he is not accepting it as a legitimate illness. Have you included him in the process of your diagnosis and treatment? It may help if he hears about it from your doctor/therapist first hand so he can better understand this.


#8

Kittery:

I’m sorry you have Panic disorder, but the others are right when they tell you it’s not a mental illness and can be controlled. I’ve had panic disorder most of my life (am 59 now), and so as you can see panic hasn’t killed me yet. A psychologist dealing in panic disorder can teach you many good ways of handling the attacks, and of course saying the Rosary is wonderful.

I do disagree somehwat with the idea that your hubby backs away from you because he’s wired differently. This reasoning can be used for occasional upsets between a husband and a wife but when someone (you) suffers consistently from panic ( which is terrifying and can be like the worst hell on earth), and the husband sees this and refuses to offer solace then it reflects a lack of love and charity on his part.

My husband once dropped me off at a psych ward in the middle of a panic attack and drove away, leaving me alone. No one can tell me he did this because he’s wired differently – it was a lack of love, pure and simple. We get married to have support and compassion from our spouses, otherwise why get married?

Please tell your husband how this makes you feel before it builds resentment which will eat away at your marriage.

God Bless You


#9

Hello Kittery,

Please be assured of my prayers, it sounds like you are dealing with so much and that you are so sad.

It is difficult to discern whether your husband is simply uncomfortable with the situation; or whether he really is lacking some compassion for you and has grown a little bit cold over time. Perhaps a little of both?

Please try this...ask your husband to do something specific to help you. Please do not wait for him to think of little ways to comfort you on his own. Ask him to do something concrete as in "It really helps when I am anxious, for you to hold my hands and say three Hail Mary's with me" or "When I am upset it really helps for you to rub my shoulders for five minutes." Asking our spouses for "support" seems reasonable but when our husbands don't know exactly what we expect of them and our expectations are vague it can lead to problems.

Also please sit down with your husband and ask him what you can do for him. Tell him you want to be a better wife, tell him you want to be a source of comfort for him. Show him in many ways how you love and admire him. This may not solve all of your immediate concerns but bringing more love into the picture can't hurt. If your marriage problems go deeper then this and he has truely grown cold to you, you might need to seek counseling or outside help. Please be assured of my prayers. Take care as best as you can.


#10

[quote="kittery, post:1, topic:253258"]
Hi

Are his actions a sign that he doesn't truly love me?

[/quote]

not at all, any more than your actions when you are troubled this way are a sign you do not love him
rather they are a sign is feels helpless and does not know what to do or say to help you
whatever therapy you are getting has to include him so he has a game plan for how to handle crises when they arise


#11

Thank you for your thoughtful and most helpful response. This is very sound and practical advice, I will put it to great use. God bless you for your kindness, monicad. I think that telling him what I need at those times is not what I want to have to do, because I would like him to sense what I need- but clearly that is not an expectation that will be fulfilled. I see that now, and I’m not hurt by that realization at all.

Thank you most of all, for your prayers.


#12

[quote="Monicad, post:9, topic:253258"]
Hello Kittery,

Please be assured of my prayers, it sounds like you are dealing with so much and that you are so sad.

It is difficult to discern whether your husband is simply uncomfortable with the situation; or whether he really is lacking some compassion for you and has grown a little bit cold over time. Perhaps a little of both?

Please try this...ask your husband to do something specific to help you. Please do not wait for him to think of little ways to comfort you on his own. Ask him to do something concrete as in "It really helps when I am anxious, for you to hold my hands and say three Hail Mary's with me" or "When I am upset it really helps for you to rub my shoulders for five minutes." Asking our spouses for "support" seems reasonable but when our husbands don't know exactly what we expect of them and our expectations are vague it can lead to problems.

Also please sit down with your husband and ask him what you can do for him. Tell him you want to be a better wife, tell him you want to be a source of comfort for him. Show him in many ways how you love and admire him. This may not solve all of your immediate concerns but bringing more love into the picture can't hurt. If your marriage problems go deeper then this and he has truely grown cold to you, you might need to seek counseling or outside help. Please be assured of my prayers. Take care as best as you can.

[/quote]

[quote="nancymarie, post:8, topic:253258"]
Kittery:

I'm sorry you have Panic disorder, but the others are right when they tell you it's not a mental illness and can be controlled. I've had panic disorder most of my life (am 59 now), and so as you can see panic hasn't killed me yet. A psychologist dealing in panic disorder can teach you many good ways of handling the attacks, and of course saying the Rosary is wonderful.

I do disagree somehwat with the idea that your hubby backs away from you because he's wired differently. This reasoning can be used for occasional upsets between a husband and a wife but when someone (you) suffers consistently from panic ( which is terrifying and can be like the worst hell on earth), and the husband sees this and refuses to offer solace then it reflects a lack of love and charity on his part.

My husband once dropped me off at a psych ward in the middle of a panic attack and drove away, leaving me alone. No one can tell me he did this because he's wired differently -- it was a lack of love, pure and simple. We get married to have support and compassion from our spouses, otherwise why get married?

Please tell your husband how this makes you feel before it builds resentment which will eat away at your marriage.

God Bless You

[/quote]

Oh, goodness that is awful to be abandoned at a time like that- I am so sorry you were treated like that.

It's nice to hear someone say that men shouldn't necessarily just get a pass for every failure at emotional support because they're wired differently. I don't WANT my girlfriends to be the best at helping me through times like these. I want my husband to understand me best; girlfriends definitely have their place but this affects me to my core and I want hubby to know me that deeply. After all, when I'm having a day that is particularly difficult with anxiety- he is the one who sees it because I'm usually not up to hanging with anyone but who I'm most comfortable with- him and my kids. But because of his aloofness and his almost apathetic actions toward me I feel more and more isolated which drives the anxiety even harder.

I do plan on giving him some concrete things he can do- I told him after the last bad panic attack I had that I was just CRAVING human touch- I wanted him to hug me tight and make me feel secure. I didn't tell him during because I felt so out of my mind I couldn't articulate that feeling.


#13

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