Post # 16
It’s crazy when you are in that state. I went to urgent care one time because i couldn’t breathe. The wait was long and the nurse brought one of those pulse ox things out to make sure I didn’t need to be seen immediately.
I went from, I can’t breathe, something is very wrong, to starting to calm down as she came out to check me. She put the thing on my finger and it was like I had stepped back into my body and I told her that I thought I was having a panic attack, that I thought I was actually ok.
They checked me anyway and I’ve learned a lot about it and catch it before it gets to that point, but you really lose control sometimes, it’s really scary
Post # 17
- Wedding: October 2019 - UK
I know exactly where you coming from. My Fiance and I have been together for 10 years, about five years ago his father suddenly went into hospital, was in a coma for two weeks and unfortunately passed away. It was a very difficult and traumatic time. I spoke to many people who lost a parent at a young age to get a feel for what I might expect he would go through and many told me that the real grief would come a few years latter. It did, about a year and a half later he got very depressed, lost all his selfesteam, he kept telling me that nothing interested him anymore, he lost all his passion for things he use to love and went from a very outgoing person to someone who ignored all his friends.
It took me a long time to convince him he should see a councilor, the problem is that a councilor only works if they are open for it so you have to slowly convince them that it will be good for them. I found it helped to talk to him about what he though a councilor might be able to do for him. Discus about what he would want to get out of it. For example he would not have gone because he was depressed (like your BF he did not want medication), but he was frustrated about that he lost his passion for thing so i suggested that be his starting point with the a councilor. To see why he had no passion, why nothing sparked interest for him. He was much more perceptive to this idea.
It sounds like your BF might have some traumatic issues from his fathers illness, talking to a councilor he can work on finding a way how to deal with these fears. So don’t approach the subject as, there is something wrong with you that someone need to fix it, but more like finding someone who can give him exercises in dealing with his anxiety. If there is a mental trick he can play when he feels these fears coming up. A councilor could do this, talk to him about how to deal with these emotions instead of suppressing them with medication. Maybe explain it to him like someone who has been on a plane that had very bad turbulence and is now afraid of flying, a councilor would try and guide them threw this pain and fear so that they could get back on a plane. The fear might never fully go away but they will know how to handle it and know what to do when they have to fly.
Once I convinced my Fiance that seeing a councilor might be worth a try we agreed he would just go a try it out for a few months. I made a list for him of local councelors who’s credentials I liked, I made a list of both female and male counselors because I did not know what he would prefer, and he chose a female councelor who sounded down to earth. Your BF should go have a first chat with the councilor to see if the two click. If for whatever reason he does not like the person just try another one, its very important he feels comfortable with his counciler.
My Fiance went to this woman first once a week, then after a few months twice a month, then once a month and now he stopped seeing her but if he has a relapse he can always call and make a appointment. He says it is the best thing he could have done. It has truly changed him for the better. He hasent seen her for a year now. The councilor gave him focus and a plan of attack. He was never on any medication and all they ever did is talk things through and she would advise him on how to approach things. She also gave him some books to read on grief.
I know that dealing with a partner who is suffering from something like this is really hard and it can put a real strain on the relationship. The worse thing is usually that because your seeing it from the outside your more aware of the change in their behavior that they are. Be strong and have patience.
Post # 18
As partners, I think our first instinct is always to help. Even when it’s unwanted. In this case, as in other hard cases such as addiction, you just have to wait for him hit rock bottom before he seeks help for himself. You can’t force him to go to therapy and you can’t force him to take medication.
That being said, I think the first step is therapy. Medication might help with some of the everyday feelings of anxiety but not all. It sounds like he’s just mentally stuck on some of his topics (death). Next time he’s having a really hard time, try to convince him to go just one session, commitment-free rather than spending countless hours trying to reassure him. Term it in other ways. Don’t bring up the fact that he needs help dealing with a mental health issue. Say that you don’t think you’re helping with his problem and that maybe an outsider perspective can.
Post # 19
Can I recommend listening to a guided meditiation together? I have high anxiety, and listening to Jon Kabat-Zinn has been a godsend for me!!
You mention his mind “racing a million miles a minute”, totally get that feeling. Through meditation I learned this analogy- your mind is like a river, where thoughts float in and out. Anxiety is like a fishing net, catching everything that floats through, in case it’s a fish, but it’s also catching every rock and weed floating down the stream, bogging down your mind and ability to actually catch a fish! Meditation has helped me learn to acknowledge that emotions are temporary, and negative thoughts will they float into my head. I tell myself they’re just thoughts, and release them “down the river”, so my mind doesn’t get bogged down with the “weeds” of negative thoughts.
Long, but listen to the first 10-20 mins:
Post # 20
What a tough situation. Acknowledging one is suffering from anxiety, or any psychological condition, can feel very shaming. Men, in my opinion, have it very, very tough. It sounds like he, like many men, are more comfortable expressing anger, defensiveness, “masculine” emotions. I’m curious — does he ever cry, present as sad/hopeless when he’s struggling with his anxiety?
You sound like such a compassionate person. And your boyfriend does too. Anxiety can make us into people who we are not at all proud of and propel us to act in ways that don’t represent our true character. If I were in your shoes, I would talk to my partner NOT when he is experiencing heightened anxiety but when he is in a calmer mood, when he is more “himself.”. It sounds like it’s more comfortable for him to deny the pain his anxiety causes him (and you) than acknowledge its severity. So I’d approach the conversation with him by expressing very clearly and calmly just how painful his anxiety is for you. Maybe he’s comfortable denying his own pain and suffering but will he deny yours? Has he already?
If he does continue to refuse counseling, I would get myself into individual counseling asap. If he asks why you’re going to a therapist, I’d explain calmly that his anxiety and refusal to seek help is causing you real pain and worry about your relationship. You love him, you want to be with him but you feel absolutely helpless. His anxiety controls the mood of your home and relationship, and this is not OK with you. You both deserve better.
I would also just be very sure that you don’t shame him for his anxiety (not saying you sound like you are, but there’s enough shame in our society, especially with men). But I would acknowledge that your disappointment comes not from the anxiety but from his absolute refusal to seek help. I would not wish severe anxiety on anyone. It is absolutely awful. I do hope he is able to look outside his pain and thoughts and see the pain he’s causing you. Hopefully that will be the incentive for him to get help and then as his anxiety lessens, he’ll continue seeking help for his own sake, too. Good luck, bee.
Post # 21
H has serious anxiety issues and is also very much against prescriptions to manage it. I have over the years gotten him to take St. John’s Wort on the worst days, to help him, and have gotten him used to some calming teas and exercise to help wear him out when I can get him to do it.
There are a few things you can look into – one may be that your BF could have a touch of a personality disorder that can lead to severe anxiety and panic attacks, and irrational insistence and obsessions. BPDfamily.com is a good place to read up on managing it and how you can help – even if your BF is not Borderline, the active listening exercises can help anyone.
Also, be cognizant of triggers – H realized a few years back when his blood sugar was low he would get incredibly cranky and irrational (he has since been diagnosed with diabetes, but he was super sensitive for years before I could get him to be checked out). I’m sure if your BF goes to the MD as often as you say, they may have checked, but still, look for patterns – it will help you in the long run. Also, food allergies, and poor nutrition can lead to anxiety and irrational behaviour. So look for that too.
You can’t MAKE him change his habits, but you can make sure to take time for yourself. Wearing yourself out for his sake just means your glass is empty when you feel you need to pour out more.
Post # 22
Can definitely relate, had a child with my ex who is manic and two different people sometimes, the worst parts is that sometimes he will believe the lies he tell him self, as well as being super parinod. Having relationships with illness is not a relationship. Building a relationship through hardships with those types is a disaster, have been absences for nearly four and half years and have not been in a Relationship for the last six years feel that all this time has put life Bd my idea of a relationship in perspective. Cleaning up the mess your life is really in takes longer then you think, I say if it’s getting worse then cut free and spend time alone. Unless there already someone else that you have already found something with.
Waiting for the downward spiral, and or for the depression to lift is like living in limbo. If he is not actively working on his depression needs then hanging around to work on it for him is just enabling, not to mention having a sexual relationship with major depression, is not a turn on. Which is why you have someone else that you spend time.
Post # 23
Thank you everyone for you kind words and perspectives! This is what I needed to hear. To clear some things up I saw being brought up. Yes He does show emotion and he does cry ( he’s actually really sensitive compared to most men). Not saying he cries all the time when things are hard, but when it’s appropriate he shows sadness and cries.
I have also brought up his issues when he is calm and we are in good moods. However that just triggers him and he just flips a switch and shuts down…totally ruins the day. So now I feel I can only talk about it when he is upset.
He doesn’t believe in therapy or pills. I think I need to tell him (like a lot of you mentioned) that he needs to at least try for a few sessions and see. I at least need to get help. He did mention last month ( shocked me) that he thinks we need to see a relationship counsellor. We haven’t brought it up since but I think now I should take him up on it. He says what we have is great, but why not take proper steps and make “us” better and sort out our issues. Maybe this is best step to show him therapy is a healthy and normal thing. As I write this I’m kicking myself for not jumping on this when HE brought it up. Great.
Post # 24
That’s wonderful that he suggested couples therapy! I would definitely take that step with him. To me, this means that he respects therapy/counseling enough to want to spend time, money and energy on it. Any decent therapist will pick up on your boyfriend’s anxiety and likely recommend individual therapy in addition to the couples counseling. If your boyfriend is able to build rapport and respect for the couples counselor, then perhaps he will take the therapist’s suggestion of individual counseling seriously. Good luck, bee. I think this will be a great first step.
Post # 25
Therapy, exercise, diet, sleep and a good naturopath. If that doesnt work, or the anxiety is preventing him from living a normal life and going to work, low dose medication as a short term trial. Low dose OCD meds will make it easier to break the cycle of thinking the same unhelpful thoughts over and over.
Post # 26
Medication is not something to be feared. It should be respected, and monitored by a dr, but it can be a real life changer.
My rock bottom was being terrified of going into any building I had never been before or the grocery store. I was absolutely petrified of the grocery store. I constantly thought I was going to be jumped when I was out of my car, it didn’t matter if it was mid day with people everywhere.
I was in a constant state of panic which resulted in a diagnosis of gad. The day my therapist told me that was the day my life changed forever. I wasn’t crazy, and most of all, I wasn’t alone and there was a fix for what was happening to me.
I started on maintenance doses of Xanax for a few years, I had to be calm enough to face my fears of going to the grocery store or going into new buildings or being surrounded by people who really weren’t out to hurt me.
When I got pregnant I had no choice but to go off of it, but I haven’t been back on it since I got pregnant at the end of 2014.
My medicine calmed me enough to face my fears and realize that I could live a normal life, and that I WANTED to live a normal life. I didn’t realize how much I was suffering until I started to feel better.
For me, it ended up being a temporary fix that completely changed my life.
Post # 27
Now that my life is stable, meditation, deep breathing, and exercise (specifically yoga or classes focussing on deep breathing) are enjoyable and key to calming me down during stressful times.
At my rock bottom, I needed medication to be able to get me to a place where I could find other ways to help myself, if that makes sense.
Post # 28
For everyone in this thread who is feeling guilty or pressured bc of their SO, a healthy relationship doesn’t involve denying help especially when it comes to mental health. Please try to seek a therapist or even talk to a friend for advice. Let your SO know that you are worrying for them and that their behavior is damaging not only to themselves, but to you. There’s nothing you can do for them if it’s just you trying to deal with their anxiety and mental health. They have to put in a concious effort to change too.
Post # 29
I feel for you be. My High school sweetheart had crippling anxiety. He was so smart, he knew so much about history and was great with math and computers. But he never finished high school because he would have panic attacks before every exam. He was more than capable of passing. He got a job working as a laborer with his brothers masonry company. He wanted to become a mason himself. But his anxiety kept him from the job site, and even his brother couldn’t help him keep the job.
Medication did mess with him, and it didn’t always help. It caused libido issues and made him feel like a zombie. He was on and off the medication all the time. And he still had panic attacks. He went to therapy, but that didn’t help. The doctors did advise him to spend a lot of time with me, because the anxiety was never as bad. I got good at coaching him out of panic attacks, learning techniques strategies with his mom. Still it got progressively worse. I changed my major so I could support both of us, but we had to do long distance. During the long distance, I realized how freeing it was not to have to deal with it. I could go to parties and not have to cancel because he was having a panic attack. I could focus more on my school. My trips to visit him where always so touch because I was just stuck with too much work.
I think if he had been like you BF, been able to keep a job and support himself, I might have stayed. He is one of them most caring, gentle, funny, smart men I’ve ever met. I’m not sure I would have been able to accomplish a lot of my life goals though. I’ve lived all over the country, might be moving to Europe in a few years for my FI’s work, and I think almost every activity I do would have given him a panic attack. But I think I would have been happy, if he could have just been able to take basic care of himself and not be so dependent on me. I always think about the “What if?”.
Maybe since he won’t go to therapy, you should. It takes a lot of work to be that emotional support, and you need care, and they can give you strategies you can implement at home to help him. And maybe if you start, and things work well for you, he will come around to the idea. Plus that self care will help you from becoming overwhelmed. I think that might have helped me, and maybe things could have worked.
Lots of hugs bee