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Need some insights from depression/anxiety sufferers

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Old 05-20-2009, 11:43 PM   #1
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Default Need some insights from depression/anxiety sufferers

Help! I am the wife of a wonderful man who is afflicted with the whole gammut of issues- depression, anxiety, OCD. I feel so bad for him and, at the same time, so proud of how he handles all of it.

He's under extra stress right now with work and is just coming off a bad flare up over the last year. What is the best thing I can do for him? I try and listen and empathize and I'm told over and over again that I just 'Can't understand'. I'm trying, I really am.

It's frustrating too because I have to be completely emotionally independent. He's so self- absorbed fighting the daily battle that he has nothing to give to me. God forbid *I* need the occassional pep talk from him. It's been a hard 2 years and I thought it was under control again (I get that it ebbs and flows) and now he's in the bathtub puking from stress.

What should/can I do? He is taking meds and has the right doctors etc. but I'm the only person he has/will confide in and I need to know what helps the most?
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1st goal- ONEDERLAND! Check!
2nd goal- Less than 194 (a number I've been stuck at before) CHECK!
3rd goal- Reach the 180's- haven't been there since 1999. CHECK!
4th goal- 180 which means hitting the 50 lbs. lost mark! Check!
5th goal- Switching to size goals now more than pounds goals. Goal is to make it to size 12, at whatever weight that happens. CHECK!
6th goal- Size 10! (can't even believe this is possible!)
7th goal- Size 8 and MAINTAIN!
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Old 05-21-2009, 01:01 AM   #2
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I suffer with some of the same problems. My anxiety is getting to where it is affecting my body. My one release is running and being outside. I get very depressed during the winter and beginning of spring. I live in Idaho and can't move away from my family; too hard emotionally. I am not sure where in Utah you live, but environment is a big part of my happiness. If it is really snowy and you live by Salt Lake or something and moving is an option, I say go for it. Some people love the winter though.

Maybe you should get counseling as well for the mental load that you are going through for yourself. Counseling has been great for me, as well as the Xanax. After being prescribed bipolar, anti-psychotic, and ADD meds, anti-anxiety has helped the most. Is he able to sleep? A lot of why I was getting really bad was because I wasn't sleeping. Sleep meds helped take care of that issue. I would love to quit them completely, but it is just not a viable option right now.

Depression and anxiety can be completely mortifying. Has he tried any group counseling? I guess my suggestions are physical exertion and just plain getting out there in the sun and seeking new environment to change things up. Your situation is hard and I have always felt bad for my other half for putting up with me.
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Old 05-21-2009, 01:56 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bindersbee View Post
He's under extra stress right now with work and is just coming off a bad flare up over the last year. What is the best thing I can do for him? I try and listen and empathize and I'm told over and over again that I just 'Can't understand'. I'm trying, I really am.
It's difficult for anyone to fully understand what another is going through, depression or otherwise. That is expected, and not much you can do about it. Listening is one of the best things, and empathizing can help. However I think it is important that you are not afraid to call him on anything. Don't be afraid to say things which you might consider to be confrontational. While it is nice to have someone to listen and be supportive, it is also important that someone "kick your ***" every once in a while. While dealing with depression is hard work, it should not be used an all-purpose excuse for not doing something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bindersbee View Post
It's frustrating too because I have to be completely emotionally independent. He's so self- absorbed fighting the daily battle that he has nothing to give to me. God forbid *I* need the occassional pep talk from him. It's been a hard 2 years and I thought it was under control again (I get that it ebbs and flows) and now he's in the bathtub puking from stress.

What should/can I do? He is taking meds and has the right doctors etc. but I'm the only person he has/will confide in and I need to know what helps the most?
Unfortunately depression does make one very self absorbed, or egocentric if you will. It is not intentional, just part of the mood disorder. It manages to cause more introspection which in turn leads to more negative thoughts, thereby exacerbating the depression. A vicious cycle. If he could be less self absorbed, he'd like jump at the chance, but it is very, very hard.

You have the complete right to do things for yourself, and it is important that you do them. A spa day? Take yourself out for a movie and some ice cream? Absolutely. Though your support of him is vital to the health of your relationship, supporting of your own mental wellbeing is equally - if not more - important. If you're allowed to cope with your own stress, you won't be in a position to cope with someone else's. And, quite frankly, you deserve to be able to live a life too.

Being on meds is good, so long as they are they right ones. Medication that works great for person A may be bad for person B, and meds that worked 3 years ago may not work now. Getting the right medication is a crap shoot and is extremely frustrating.

As important as drugs are, they are not a treatment (there is no 'cure' for depression), only something which can enhance treatment. Feeling comfortable with one's doctor, and able to use them as a vital resource, is the most important aspect of dealing with depression. If he has a doctor he is comfortable with, it can make a big difference. The type of therapy can play an important role. I've always been a big believer of cognitive behavior therapy.

If you can participate in some of his sessions with the doctor, it will help you get a better understanding of the support process.

Lastly, (if you've made it through my babbling) you deserve high marks for sticking with it. Some can't deal with it and walk away. Take it from me, commitment like yours does not go unnoticed, even though he might not say it.
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Old 05-22-2009, 02:04 AM   #4
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Thanks for the great advice ladies. Last night was a tough night (up for much of it) but we got through it together. I agree with you, mamaspank, that he'd feel much better if he exercised more. He's chosen to do that so I hope it helps as an outlet for the pent up anxiety and by producing some needed endorphins.

Toonces- he and I would both agree about the cognitive therapy thing. There is a WONDERFUL non-profit support group called Recovery (available all over the world for free) that we've been involved with off and on over the years. He and I have both learned some great coping skills there in a supportive environment. He has the right mental tools (which is a big part of why I'm so proud of him) but it is hard to keep applying them over and over without a mental break from it.

He was married years ago to someone who couldn't handle it. No kids, thank goodness, so she isn't in our lives. I'm so glad she was a weak person because otherwise he wouldn't be mine.

The good news is that now that he got some of the emotion out, he's felt much better today and more in control. I wish sometimes I could just carry that burden for him for awhile so he could rest but, as you all know much too well, this dang illness NEVER sleeps. It ebs and flows but never totally goes away, at least not for my spouse.

Thanks for finding the strength to lift me up. I get tired sometimes too but he's worth it. He's so worth it.
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230/178/155

1st goal- ONEDERLAND! Check!
2nd goal- Less than 194 (a number I've been stuck at before) CHECK!
3rd goal- Reach the 180's- haven't been there since 1999. CHECK!
4th goal- 180 which means hitting the 50 lbs. lost mark! Check!
5th goal- Switching to size goals now more than pounds goals. Goal is to make it to size 12, at whatever weight that happens. CHECK!
6th goal- Size 10! (can't even believe this is possible!)
7th goal- Size 8 and MAINTAIN!
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Old 05-23-2009, 05:31 PM   #5
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Hello,
I have anxiety disorder and severe OCD. I know what it is like to have those symptoms persist even though I am taking several different meds. Anti-anxiety pills like Xanax or Klonopin are very good for taking the edge off. Does your husband take one of these? Sometimes psych docs are leary about them because they can be addictive but these meds can be really helpful. Do you feel that his doctors understand the extent of your husband's problems and suffering? Perhaps his meds should be adjusted. I am sorry that I cannot be of more help. Good luck.
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:39 AM   #6
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Mental illness runs in my family and I have intense highs and lows. When I'm stuck in a deep depression, it's especially difficult for my husband... it's frustrating to see your partner in pain, and emotionally draining as well.

Your husband is lucky to have your love and support. I don't think you necessarily need to feel his pain to know that he is suffering, because you are suffering too as the witness to his illness. YOU are a victim of depression as well. His depression will lift, it always does. When he "comes back" he will be less self-absorbed, and have more to give you.

I agree with Toonces... it's okay to ask for what you need, be it a pep talk, a hug or listening to you rant about what you're going through. Right now you may be walking on eggshells so to speak... this will pass and soon enough you'll have your hubby back.

One more thing, have you looked into NAMI? (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill)... It's a support group for family members. My husband joined a few years ago and it has helped him a great deal. And take care of yourself. If you're not in therapy, that too can be a good source of support. It sounds like you really love your husband, he is very lucky. As someone who suffers from mental illness, to find someone who loves and supports you through thick and thin is a gift beyond measure.
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Old 05-29-2009, 06:28 PM   #7
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I am so sorry about hubby and its effect on you aswell

I have panic attaks they are no fun,I just found out I have adrenal fatigue from a naturopath,he might look into that....

I know that when I am in panic mode I feel so alone.The effects on your nervous system is really bad I shake all the time....Please check out adrenal Fatigue mine is from chronic stress....Is he taking b vitamins,minerals,a good multi,sibering ginsing?I am starting to feel a bit better stress wise but adrenals can take a long time to repair.Does he wake up feeling refreshed or groggy?

Blessings to you and your Hubby I hope hes health gets better,You sound like a wonderful wife
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