(Closed) Fiance with anxiety issues, advice/support appreciated

posted 6 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
Member
3369 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

I have a pretty hefty anxiety disorder and my wedding planning was difficult.  I have panic attacks too, so I really hope I can offer some empathy to your FI!  First, please know that it can and does get better.  My DH has been with me through the worst of it and we are so much stronger for the trust and communication we’ve learned to have as a result.  DH is truly one of the few people I feel relaxed with~ he may be the only person with whom I am able to show the full depth of my personality. 

When it came to wedding planning, as with most other situations, the idea of how it might be was worse than the reality.  I do better with spontaneous things than with anticipating upcoming things… even things like dr appts become difficult.  Meeting freinds and family for dinner is also dauting, but easier when it’s not planned in advance.  I’m saying this is how your FI is, but offering my situation in case it helps.

We talked about eloping and having a ceremony with just he and I.  I wish we had.  Our family was understanding and gave us their blessing to do this, but I really wanted to share it with them.  One option we came up with was to get married in Vegas and invite friends and family to view it on webcam.

I say cut-out anything that is too overwhelming for him.  Create something that is in tune with what he can handle.  A smaller guest list, a more intimate setting, no first dance.  It’s not really about those traditions but about honoring your partner. 

In the end, the moments leading up to walking down the aisle were the worst for me.  I have no idea how I actually made my legs work.  But… once I saw him, all the same reactions happened.  I lost my nerves and I was just happy.  Every moment from then on, even the first dance, the crowd, the cake cutting, were joyous.  I look back on it as one of the best nights of my life. 

I say try to reassure him as much as possible that his feelings are okay with you.  That you will do whatever he needs to feel comfortable… but add that this disorder tells us a lot of lies about what we can and can not handle, and it could well turn out much, much better than he could ever imagine.  Whatever you choose to do, remind him to stay in control of thoughts.  Thinking positive is not a hallmark of anxiety.  Don’t try to convince him he can handle it or try to be his cheerleader.  If he feels like his needs matter more than the wedding, he might be more willing to relinquish control. 

I’m not sure I’m making much sense… but I hope the best for you two.  It will get better hon.  It took years for me to recognize what was happening to me, and years to get better.  But a patient, loving, gentle partner made all the difference.

 

 

Post # 4
Member
415 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

My fiance is also very anxious about most aspects of the wedding.  Her anxiety is the reason we hired a coordinator πŸ™‚

She takes prozac and attivan.  It helps a lot.  If she doesn’t take it, she is just like your FI – really shuts down when talking about wedding stuff etc.  When she takes it, it works wonders and she calms down a lot. 

Has your FI seen a psychiatrist or family doc about the anxiety?

Post # 7
Member
1458 posts
Bumble bee

My SO also suffers from axiety disorder.  He was very upfront to me from the beginning about it (his is GAD so he doesn’t have as many panic attacks persay).  Anyway I think the key is just talking to him and asking him to be honest with you as far as what he can handle.  I’m still struggl ing to some degree to understand it all because like you said I haven’t experienced it.  I know SO sees someone to deal with this and I’m so proud of him for it.  I’m also encouraging him to talk with this counselor as well as me that’s what I’m here for.  Good luck!

Post # 8
Member
2018 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

I have a mild anxiety disorder (only one full-blown panic attach so far:) so I can relate to your FI. Unless you suffer from anxiety, you will never understand how he is feeling. Just being supportive, as you are now, is enough. I know you are excited about the wedding, the planning and the honeymoon, but if talking about those things is stressing him out, then I would stop.

I know you want him to be part of the process but if it is giving him anxiety, that is not fun for either of you. Talk to your friends and family, who I am sure will share your excitement and have fun with helping you plan. The fact that he wants to marry you is going to have to be enough for now. I am sure that he will be excited and happy once he is standing at the altar waiting for you.

Post # 9
Member
235 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

I can give some of the anxiety sided advice for sure. I’m the one with clinical anxiety, and FI has to put up with me!

I ran out of my medication and thought my refill got seized by customs (got it today…mom forgot to put down our house number!) and it has been so much more overwhelming to plan this wedding.

I have had mine for years and only needed medication after certain life events made it really, really bad – to the point where my body was attacking itself (gag reflex problems, IBS, etc, all triggered by the slighest bit of stress). It is strange to hear people say it gets better. I thought it would be the case for me, moving here to be with him, having a generally and genuinely sunshine fairytale happy romantic wonderful life of sunshine (…I’m actually not kidding, it’s really like that with him!), that maybe my anxiety would get better. It had little to no effect. I still need my medication, though it’s not so bad that I’m on the daily regimen, I’m still doing “take as needed”. My mental illnesses are likely a matter of genetics and brain chemistry and what have you…so I don’t think the chemical imbalances will ever just fix themselves (though insight on what I have done to conquer one of them is further on below)

Has he tried the generic version of Xanax? That’s what I’m on, .5mg tablets of Alprazolam. They don’t change me at all and there’s no weird moods or feelings (though everybody is different so I can’t say it would be the same for your FI). They just insta-chill me out when I’m starting to freak out. And if I need them to keep my body in check, I can take a few a day.

I would feel more inspired to get off them and all that if I weren’t already battling major depression with nothing but my brain, thanks to years of therapy, medication, hospitalization, and, it’s been revealed now by my sly doc, neuroplasticity. For years, I was able to manage both with just my coping strategies and learned techniques and what have you. But I just couldn’t handle both anymore. Life happens.They generally improve my quality of life so I don’t feel ashamed to be on them. I cannot imagine the strength it must take for him to be working without them!! Anxiety is a different beast than depression, so there isn’t really a way to “stabilize” on meds and learn coping strategies, they are a coping strategy. I hope that makes sense. I’ve been coming to terms with the fact I’ll probably always need some on hand.

It is important not to get sad about it, and for him to understand it’s not his fault he’s feeling this way, that it’s okay to feel this way! My FI has been such a blessing to me. I have been compeltely honest with him about my checkered mental health past and my acceptance that I’m a functioning member of society, but a “mentally ill” one. It took me a little while because in the past, men I’d been with had either used it against me in arguements, which just isn’t fair, or changed/been judgemental. It unfortunately carries a huge stigma, which is another issue entirely. But my FI has been so perfect about it.

Even when I’m insecure about it, and lament my “broken brain” he simply says “I love your brain.” “Even though it’s broken and not to be trusted?” “Yup. I love all of you, everything about you.” etc. It can really help to hear that when I’m feeling like a total nutcase!

Unfortunately, FI is out of town right now or I’d drag him in here to give you his persepetive as he’s the one in your shoes!

I do agree with the PPs above, those were lovely posts! It has actually made our bond even stronger, to get through these things together, and just seeing him and having him hold me when I’m freaking out bring so much relief, like a great big wave of calm! He is without a doubt my rock, and I am so grateful I found someone like him! I know I’m a lot to handle, and the fact he actually wants to handle me 24/7 for the rest of our lives means the world to me! I am teasing him already about how much fun pregnancy is gonna be…hormones and no Xanax for 9 months, get ready for that rollercoater! πŸ˜›

I would say be prepared for him to have to deal with his anxiety for a long time, possibly forever, but the absolute best thing you can do for him is to reassure him, and love him to bits, and let him know he can always be himself around you – even his freaking out, anxiety ridden self.

I hope this helps!

Post # 10
Member
1446 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2012

I suffer from pretty severe anxiety too (GAD with panic attacks) and what helps me is Propranolol. It’s a beta blocker that I only take when I know I’m going to be in anxiety-provoking situations and it’s changed my life. It’s a fairly safe drug and not habit-forming. It completely eliminates the physical symtoms of anxiety, although it does not help with the mental symptoms. For me, having these physical symptoms erased calms down my racing thoughts and makes these situations bearable. I’m not sure if this would be helpful in your FI’s situation, but thought I would throw in my two cents…good luck!

Post # 11
Member
963 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

My husband has anxiety and he has gone to a counselor and a hypnotist a few times and that has helped.  We work on breathing exercises and calming down when it gets bad.  If it gets really bad, he has xanax, but he only takes that if he knows it’s going to be too stressful for him (he’s really afraid of heights – so on airplanes and things like that). 

Post # 12
Member
389 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I suffer from GAD with panic attacks too, and I think it’s really great of you to support your fiance! I know I sometimes feel guilty when we had something planned and it doesn’t work out because I have an attack or when my fiance stays up with me all night to make me feel safe..

I don’t take any medication, but what has helped me sometimes is making a list of things that make me anxious. Just writing them down is sometimes enough to make me realise how irrational I am. If that’s not enough, you can talk about the situation, for example your first dance. Is he anxious because everyone is gonna look at him? Because he thinks he’s going to look bad in front of your guest? Reassure him that it’s your wedding, and the most important person is going to be right by his side and he can’t actually mess it up. Maybe you can twist up a few things so that he’s never alone in the spotlight, for example walking down the aisle with you instead of waiting at the altar? 

As the PPs said, your support and love is the best thing he can get right now! 

Post # 13
Member
3369 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

@SummerBride2Be:  So glad my huge post wasn’t too much!  πŸ™‚  I wouldn’t completely remove him from planning, b/c that would have made me feel worse.  It’s so tough to be on the outside of it, b/c it seems nothing works.  One is too much and the other not enough, so speak.  My family said deciding what to eat was a battle (exaggerated but illustrates the struggle).

I needed to know I would be taken seriously even though I was seen as “the irrational one”.  And medication made it worse for me too.  I still had anxiety, but I was numb and lost the wonderful parts of my personality along with it.  Someone mentioned breathing exercises and hypnotherapy… I agree.  Alternative therapies can be very helpful.  Accupuncture was hugely healing for me (but don’t get sucked into the extras). 

This may sound ridiculously simple, but I also started practicing positive thinking.  Every night, as I struggled to sleep, instead of rehashing worries, I would make myself say positive words.  Literally, I could not connect a positive thought to the days events (past, present or future) so I had to start at the basics and just think of a word.  I repeated positive words as quickly as I could think of them, even if I could only think of a few.  Like, “happy, calm, peaceful, good, kind, gentle, thoughtful…”  I believe this was the beginning of reprogramming my brain to accept “good things”.

Is he able to walk through scenarios with you?  We so quickly run a bad outcome through our minds, that we aren’t even aware we’ve made the conclusion.  We just accept it as the only ending.  Would he let you guide him through a few different outcomes?  What if… the ending was different?  What if… you were able to relax?  What if… everyone else was happy you were there?

I have a mantra on another thread that helped me throught the planning… I’ll search it down for you.

Knowing you have the anxiety makes the other fears all the more upsetting, b/c you know how much it changes you when it hits.  My heart goes out to you both!

Post # 14
Member
3316 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: October 2009

My son has Asperger’s, and one of the symptoms is hating public attention.  He talked to the rabbi and said he wanted the shortest possible ceremony, and she did that.  It might be worth discussing with your officiant ways to minimize the time your FI is up in front of everyone.

Also, your FI may want to get a prescription for Xanax.  He wouldn’t want to take it long term, because it can be addictive.  However, for a particularly anxiety-inducing day (like your wedding day), it can definitely bring down the anxiety to manageable levels.  I’d recommend having him take it some day before the wedding, to learn about its effects on him.  (He wants to take enough to control the anxiety, but not enough so he looks drunk even before the ceremony.)  He could then take it on the wedding day, and perhaps also for the flights during your honeymoon.

Post # 15
Member
235 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: November 2011

@2dBride: I use it long-term and without addiction – it really just depends on the person/personality type/ohysical makeup, what have you. I think it should be monitored with a licensed psychiatrist before prescribed long term, though. If her FI’s doctor is willing to try that one (assuming it’s not been disqualified already) I definitely think it’s worth a shot as well. I’ll probably need one of mine on wedding day as well. Definitely for the last week leading up to it too!

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