Post # 1
Regular bee going anon for obvious reasons.
Psychologist bees, I need some guidance. My husband has a long history of depression and anxiety. He’s gotten treatment in the past when it reached a breaking point. That treatment (talk + meds) was enough to get him through the immediate crisis, but nothing more…he was functioning, but it didn’t help his depression or anxiety, and it caused him to gain a lot of weight, which made him hate himself even more.
So he stopped, and was actually doing better. But over the last 9 months or so, he’s been doing much worse. Days or weeks of constant near-panic and actual panic attacks, followed by a few weeks where it’s not *quite* as bad. Then the panic hits again. Over the last few days it’s just been hell; he’s barely able to keep functioning at his job.
So, here’s the issue – we both know he needs help. Desperately. But for whatever reason, the prospect of having to call up strangers on the phone to make an appointment terrifies him. Would a therapist accept him if *I* made the appointment? With his permission, of course? Or is that frowned upon? (It wouldn’t be the same person he saw last time, for various reasons.)
Also, should he see a psychiatrist or a psychologist first? I do think he needs both talk and drugs, in my non-professional opinion.
Finally, any words of support would be welcome. This is taking a huge toll on me and on us, and I can’t really talk to my normal support system about it.
Post # 3
I am so sorry you’re going through this. My SO has depression and anxiety issues as well – couple that with looking for his first new job in over 20 years, and well, let me say – it hasn’t been very fun the last few weeks. 🙁
I wish we had resources for him to speak to someone. I think it would help him – and us – a great deal. I wish I could just touch his brain and make it all go away for him, I see it in his eyes when he panics and it scares the crap out of me and saddens me at the same time. It’s so difficult to see him go through this, and it takes a toll on me as well. It’s not easy living with someone who feels as if they are losing their mind each and every day. 🙁
Post # 4
@mrs_pudding_pop: I’m so sorry you’re going through this too. :'( I love my husband with all my heart, and I knew what I was getting into when I married him. But at the same time, it’s just so freaking hard, and it’s not what you dream about marriage being like.
It’s not their fault, of course, but it’s also not something as obvious and understandable to the rest of the world as a physical illness. Which makes it even harder, in some ways. If he had something wrong with his kidney or something, he could tell people at work; I could talk to my friends and family, and we’d get all kinds of support. But when it’s something that still has some stigma attached to it, and that my Darling Husband is deeply ashamed about, it’s not that simple.
HUGE hugs, and thank you so much for your empathy. Sending prayers and good wishes to you and your SO.
Post # 5
I think its totally okay if you make the appointment for him. I think its really supportive of you to do so. I used to work in an MD office and many wives would make appointments for their spouses. Regarding psychiatrist vs psychologist, I would recommend seeing a psychiatrist (MD) first. The doctor can always refer him to a psychologist if he/she recommends 1:1 counseling, but I think in your husband’s case, he needs to be seen by an MD based on your description.
Post # 6
I worked in an anxiety clinic for two years before I started my PhD and at least for us, we were happy to chat with the spouse or family member of a prospective patient, but we also screened for a study and would need to speak with the recipient of therapy directly before we could make an appointment. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you making the call, paving the pathway, and being there to support him if he does need to spend time on the phone – that’s very supportive 🙂
I can’t really speak to whether he would need to start drugs first because I worked in a psychologist’s office (so we took both medicated and non-medicated people and just worked with what we got), but I’d check out CBT-style treatment rather than just talk. It can do a lot to help reorganize anxious thinking. And some studies show that medication and therapy work best in conjunction with each other anyway, so exploring both options is smart.
Good luck and good for you for being so involved and supportive in his care!
Post # 7
@brownbutter: Exactly – I would love to be able to vent to friends and family, but everyone thinks we’re the perfect couple. :-/ I also don’t want to embarrass him by bringing this out into the open. I have a friend or two I have confided in, one who has anxiety and depression issues herself, so that has helped some.
I think it’s wonderful of you to make him the appointment. Please keep us updated. I am really hoping that the stress of looking for work is what’s caused this trigger and once he gets settled into a new routine it gets better. He’s usually a very positive person, and he worked through a minor bout this winter, which I was so proud of him for. I hope he can do it again.
Post # 8
@brownbutter: I’m sorry to hear that you are going through this.
I would suggest that you make the appointments for him (this is not frowned upon).
And realistically, he should be seeing both a psychologist and a psychiatrist. So I would make both appointments.
My professional suggestion, is that he enter therapy (with a psychologist), while maintaining contact, and being treated by a psychiatrist. Not just until he can function again (this is a common mistake). He needs long term treatment. This can be costly, and time consuming, but will have much better results, and hopefully prevent these unfunctional lows which keep reoccuring, and will continue to reoccur without proper long term treatment.
I also suggest that yyou talk to apsychologist as well (although for ethical reasons, it will have to be someone different than your husband is seeing). This will help you with the stress, and emotional struggles you are going through during this time, and in my opinion will help to prevent any resentment from occuring in the future.
Good Luck, Wishing you all the best.
Post # 9
Hey OP, I have a lot of personal experience in this, so please feel free to PM me.
Post # 10
Big hugs. My Fiance suffers hardcore from depression and anxiety. I do, too, but not nearly the extent that he does. Unfortunately, medication for depression/anxiety is a giant game of trial and error. The last medication he tried left him completely numb–he had no lows, but he had no highs, and he was miserable. His aunt is a therapist and suggested fish oil, vitamin B, and I believe Wellbutrin? St. John’s wort is good, too.
Post # 11
Sorry, I don’t have a lot to offer in the way of “Professional Advice”… but I did want to leave you a message of support.
I think what you are doing is FABULOUS !!
My life went severely “off the rails” as my 20+ Year Marriage broke down, fell apart, and the subsequent Horrible Divorce… I sooo wish that I had had a family member or friend looking out for me (ya sometimes can’t see the forest for the trees… when you are in this dark place called depression).
Sadly, because of the stigma surrounding mental illness (and even the way society sees us as all needing to be “super human”… so that just not being able to cope in general is now a bad thing) I suffered for too long with years of feeling immense sadness, and being in a “dreadfilled funk” that I couldn’t seem to get out of… (it is truly like being in the midst of a maze… a never-ending maze that your mind can’t comprehend WHY let alone HOW)
Anyways… I send you ~~ Good Vibes ~~ and heartfelt (( HUGS )) in hopes that BOTH your Hubby and you can find some much needed peace and brighter days.
PS… Ya know even if he doesn’t say it… he’ll probably appreciate you taking the first steps to help him figure it all out. Sometimes just getting started can be the hardest bit (between the mind not being able to think clearly being so overwhelmed and the stigma… but yet again)
Post # 12
@vorpalette: My SO is on a few supplements, including fish oil, as well. He also takes valerian root and says it helps.
Big hugs to all the bees going though this. I think it helps knowing we are not the only ones with SO with these issues.
Post # 13
I’m by no means a professional, but as someone who is being treated for depression and anxiety, I highly recommend him see both a psychologist and a psychiatrist. He needs long term treatment so this doesn’t happen again. I have accepted that I will be on anti-depressants and be in therapy for the rest of my life. Right now, things are going great, so I only see my therapist once a month. When I first started I was having terrible issues, so I saw her weekly. If I ever did get to a point where it was bad again, I would start seeing her more frequently. It can be costly, but I swear, being happy is worth EVERY PENNY! Some people just have imbalances in their brains that require this sort of thing. I definitely think it’s okay that you make the appointment. I almost had my Fiance make the appointment for me a few years ago when it was getting really bad. It’s great that you’re being so supportive, but you can only sustain being his only support for so long. Good luck to you both.
Post # 14
so sorry hun 🙁 You can definitely make the appointment for him – and I’d ask him if he’d be okay going with you. Poor thing, anxiety can be incredibly painful and debilitation for everyone involved.
Post # 15
As PPs said, go ahead and make the calls. If i were you i would ask when i made the 1st appointment who they would reccomend for talk therapy/psychiatry so you can go ahead & make the other appt right away for less wait time. Also, if he has a PCP and you are getting long waiting times, call your PCP, tell them how desperate he is, and ask for help getting an earlier appointment. I would also stay away from naturopathy at this point bc some herbs interact with psych meds and could delay him starting meds. Finally, i have found acupuncture can help me feel some relief by opening up an emotional release so it might be something to try in the meantime. Acupuncturists are used to a lot of patients including non-psych ones breaking down on the table from relief.
Post # 16
Thank you all SO MUCH. This is why I love the Bee so much. I seriously can’t thank you enough for all your kind and helpful words.
@LindyLu: Thank you, it’s good to know that this is not uncommonly done.
@MrsWrangler: Thank you – it’s so frustrating that one of the ways his anxiety manifests is that he finds it nearly crippling to have to talk about these issues over the phone. I wish more clinicians had online appointment systems for people who find it hard to make the call in person.
@Ms.Meghann: Thank you – I agree with you about long-term treatment; I think the issue for him was one of fit. The last time this happened, he continued seeing his therapist for almost two years, but after the first three months or so, there was just no change. He wasn’t having a breakdown constantly, but he was still depressed and anxious most of the time. That’s why I think he’ll try someone else this time around. And I appreciate your suggestion that I see someone. I’ve been lucky enough to have a fantastic therapist the last few years, but unfortunately I had to stop seeing her recently for bureaucratic reasons.
@This Time Round:
To all of you going through this yourselves, or with your partners – HUGE hugs. Thank you for sharing your experiences and your suggestions. And this has really reassured me that it’s ok to make the appointments for him, which is a great relief.