Larry's Wife - Spouse has Anxiety

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Larry's Wife
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 2/20/2010 6:40 PM (GMT -7)   
 Hello!  My husband is experiencing anxiety and panic attacks.  about 6 years ago he had a heart attack.   He had always been healthy and productive in his career.  This threw him for a loop....and things really changed afterwards.  He had his second heart attack August 2008, then had pancreatitis over Thanksgiving where they discovered - and fixed - a mild kidney problem.  After all that.....he was let go from his job, terminated in this economic turmoil, although his sales group was the ONLY one who had hit and exceeded their quota.  Although his plan had been to begin his own business, this was a bit sooner than planned.  After several months I found a job, with full health benefits - a pure blessing. 
 
However, that seemed to exascerbate the problem.  'Larry' began getting angry with me, jealous of the people at work - especially male co-workers.  I had tried to encourage him 2 years before to seek therapy, as the job was already stressful.  This was right before the second heart attack.  Anyway, after several months of him geting upset with me, he finally did consent to go to therapy.  He has been going for almost 3 months, along with taking Citalopram and Xanax.  It took quite a while for the medication to kick in.  Now that it has he is a 'bit' calmer.  We have been to 2 sessions together, along with me going to one on my own - which was very helpful.
 
I guess I searched out this site because I am feeling lost.  I don't see any progress in the way my husband feels towards me.  Part of his anxiety stems from the job loss; but, it also triggered memories long buried of his previous wife who cheated on him.  BTW - we've been married almost 30 years; I have always been faithful and we were best friends all this time.  However, he has major trust issues now.  Since I am at work now and he is at home, this has been most difficult for him.  For me it is just a turn around, as I stayed home most of those 30 years, while he was traveling for his job.  He doesn't see it this way.  He is lonely and resentful.  He says he doesn't feel like I love him anymore, or like him.  I have always liked reading and playing on the computer, while he watched TV at night to escape the work stress.  Now, he is angry that I am reading or on the computer, instead of being with him.  He gets very upset when I want to visit friends or communicate with family.
 
It seems I can do no right.  When I try to gently explain things to 'Larry' it is as though he doesn't want to hear what I am saying...he wants me to agree with him, or change my own thinking.  There seems to be no peace in this.  And, I know there is no peace for him.
 
Is there hope? 
 
Thanks for any and all replies.

SSCC1011
Regular Member


Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 37
   Posted 2/20/2010 11:50 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Larrys Wife & welcome to HealingWell! You have chosen a great site to come and post on the fourms and get advice and even vent if you have to. I understand what you are going through... my husband has unsolved anger issues. He has an appoinment with our family doctor on Monday for it though, so i'm hoping all goes well with that. I think there is hope for you guys...it seems like he realizes that he needs help and is going to counseling & taking his medicine to try and get better. 30 years is a long time to be married so congrats on that! you guys must have been doing something right! lol me and my husband will be celebrating our 4th anniversary this year and it seems like we've been together forever already, so i can imagine what it must feel like for you. I would just say to give him some slack but remind him how he's acting if you need to. The medicine should start helping even more over time...I imagine he has alot going on in his mind from everything you have said... I also think alot about medical stuff and end up having a panic attack thinking i'm about to die..it really sucks when that happens but the xanax works wonders for me when it does...well i hope things start to get better for you guys!! and you should stick around here its a great place for support!

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 2/21/2010 8:07 AM (GMT -7)   
Hello Larry's wife. Welcome to HealingWell. I am Kitt and I look forward to getting to know you better.

First of all, I am sorry you are going through this rough time but please remember you must take care of yourself and your own emotional health so no guilt. You are not in any way responsible for how your husband is feeling.

A tip that may help you in dealing with your husband's anger. Validate your husband's angry feelings. You should not dismiss his emotions just because you are not happy with how he is feeling. Of course, nobody enjoys it when the other person is feeling angry or frustrated, but telling someone that they shouldn't feel that way does nothing but fuel their anger. This is the best way you can offer him support but do not become the target of his anger and frustration. He needs to deal with his own feelings and therapy is a good way. Kudos for you for going to your own therapist.

Jealousy comes about because of the insecurity of the jealous person. I feel that this may be what is happening with your hubby second degree to the loss of his job, his new health issues and now watching you go to work which is a huge reversal in your roles.

For many people, jealousy has its roots in a fear of abandonment or vulnerability. This is particularly true when there is an imbalance of power -- whether it be economic, social, sexual, emotional -- in a relationship. The person who has less power may use suspicion and jealousy in an unconscious attempt to gain equality.

Take good care of yourself in every way--physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. You can't afford to lose yourself and become consumed by your husband's depression and anxiety.


It's very challenging to be around negative, pessimistic, depressive energy without starting to feel the same way. The only antidote is to stay balanced and centered by practicing good self-care behavior and doing things to nurture yourself.

Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, stay in close contact with your friends, participate in activities that bring you pleasure, and keep your spiritual connection strong. Take time for yourself so that you can read, listen to music, meditate, or whatever helps you stay centered.

Resist the urge to try to "fix" your husband's anxiety and depression. You'll only frustrate yourself. There's no one thing you can do to take the depression away by yourself and to make everything better.

The fact that your husband has emotional issues doesn't mean that you have failed in any way as a partner. You're not responsible for the depression/anxiety and you can't fix it. You can, however, be supportive and encouraging and follow the recommendations your husband's doctor and/or therapist may make.

I hope this helps you in some small way. We are here for you and please do stick with us. We understand how your feeling.

Gentle Hugs,

Kitt

Larry's Wife
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 2/25/2010 6:56 PM (GMT -7)   
Thank you, Haybugsmommy and Kitt, for your kind replies.
 
Kitt, the one thing the therapist told me, in a joint session, is that she believes I have tried for several years to 'solve' things; and, that is not my job.  A little hard to take, and when your spouse is unable to solve some of life's daily issues - like job, etc. - then it seems natural to 'just do it'.  However, this was good for Larry to hear, as he told me he knew I'd been doing this and that it was taking a toll on me.
 
He is away on a sales trip, about a 5 hour drive.  This is the first in a year.  He called and said he wished he hadn't gone, that his chest hurt and he was nauseous.  ;-(  Anyway, I told him how proud I was that he tried, and he should be proud of himself.
 
It is nice to know that others care.  Thank you both!!!

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 2/26/2010 10:04 AM (GMT -7)   
Hey Larry's wife,


Your therapist is a wise person and absolutely right, you cannot solve "things' and make things better. Taking care of yourself always has to be your priority. I think you are doing a awesome job of getting your feelings out with your therapist and taking the chance on coming to a peer support site. That really shows that you are on track.



I know from my own experience that we can so easily become the caretakers of the world and feel we must heal the world or at least anything that goes wrong in our own little world. You did the right thing when your husband called...............he needs to get past his fears and anxieties and you supported him without accepting that you must make him better. (((((((((((((Hugs))))))))))))))).



Do keep talking to us when you feel like it. We don't judge, we are here to help.



Fondly,



Kitt

Larry's Wife
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 3/30/2010 12:25 PM (GMT -7)   
"A tip that may help you in dealing with your husband's anger. Validate your husband's angry feelings. You should not dismiss his emotions just because you are not happy with how he is feeling. Of course, nobody enjoys it when the other person is feeling angry or frustrated, but telling someone that they shouldn't feel that way does nothing but fuel their anger. This is the best way you can offer him support but do not become the target of his anger and frustration. He needs to deal with his own feelings and therapy is a good way. Kudos for you for going to your own therapist.

Jealousy comes about because of the insecurity of the jealous person. I feel that this may be what is happening with your hubby second degree to the loss of his job, his new health issues and now watching you go to work which is a huge reversal in your roles.

For many people, jealousy has its roots in a fear of abandonment or vulnerability. This is particularly true when there is an imbalance of power -- whether it be economic, social, sexual, emotional -- in a relationship. The person who has less power may use suspicion and jealousy in an unconscious attempt to gain equality."

It's ba-ack. Sigh.....

Since last I wrote things had been settling down. Therapy was helping him, as well as the meds. But, the last week-and-a-half we (son and I) could feel my husband slipping down, again. I had a session with his therapist and she thinks perhaps upping his meds may help. He has been on the same dosage of Citalopram, 20mg, and Xanax, .25mg, since the start. The therapist believes the doctors are reticent to up his meds because he is a heart patient. Husband has an appt. on May 4th with cardiologist to see if A) any of his tiredness/nausea is 'heart' related and B) see is it's safe to up the meds.

Until then...how do I deal with the attacks? What I mean is, how do I handle when his 'I'm scared' isn't said as such; but, comes out as 'you are deceitful', you are having secrets, etc. - all which is untrue and that is backed by his therapist. I try to be supportive; but, when I answer, 'no darling, I do not have a boyfriend, and I do not wish to have one'.....he just keeps asking it as though he doesn't believe me. I frankly just want to walk away...

Any ideas on how to keep my calm when speaking with him? Should I just walk away and ignore him? It seems like no matter the tack I take....it isn't right.

Thanks for any insight.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 3/30/2010 3:01 PM (GMT -7)   
Hello Larry's Wife,


Sorry your husband is not doing as well as he was but this is not unusual. Anxiety has a habit of sneaking back up on us and before we know it things seem to be way to hard again.



Now that you have posted your husband has a heart condition I can see where that plays a big role in his anxieties. However your husband's health issues are not your fault and he must learn to work through his issues with or without you at his side. Don’t let his illness be the center of your life.



You are doing all the right things but perhaps you should start looking at a way to spend some time apart. You and your son should not be verbally abused because of your husband's disorder. Even though your husband has other health problems, he can still enjoy living a regular, active lifestyle with you and your son.



Allow yourself to enjoy life, without your spouse, without guilt. It is essential in order for you to be a better mate and caretaker. And if it gets to be to much for you know we are here and we understand you do what you have to do.



I wish You peace,



Kitt

Larry's Wife
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 3/31/2010 11:40 AM (GMT -7)   
Kitt,

Thank you for your reply. I am working on just that. I have a week long trip planned with my sisters this summer. He calls it one of the 'trains coming down the track' toward him....but, I have insisted I am going.

Can having anxiety wake you out of a sound sleep with your heart pounding? I guess the whole 'heart patient' issue mixes in with the anxiety, and it is hard for either one of us to tell which is which. He has had several episodes the past week where he awakens about 3-4am with his heart literally pounding.

Again, thank you for listening and responding. You are a very big help!

debaser
Veteran Member


Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 1745
   Posted 3/31/2010 4:12 PM (GMT -7)   
In his case it would be difficult to tell which is which and I certainly do not envy him. Yes, anxiety can cause a person to wake suddenly. I'm no expert but I tend to think this may have been caused by a bad dream which could have been caused by the anxiety. When I wake up like that it's always during or after a strange or bad dream. Something else that may cause a person to wake suddenly and with anxiety is sleep apnea.

There are probably other potential causes, too. Good luck.

stkitt
Forum Moderator


Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 4/1/2010 6:26 AM (GMT -7)   
Dear Larry's Wife,


I am so glad to hear you are going on a trip...........kudos to you and make sure you do not allow anyone to steal your thunder. You deserve happiness and if a trip with your sisters is what you want for yourself then go for it.



Do not feel guilty as guilt is a wasted emotion and staying home is not going to cure your husband, he must deal with his issues. You support him and that is the best you can do.



There is a condition known as nocturnal panic attacks.




Anxiety attacks that take place while sleeping, also called nocturnal panic attacks, occur less often than do panic attacks during the daytime, but affect about 40%-70% of those who suffer from daytime panic attacks. Nocturnal panic attacks tend to cause sufferers to wake suddenly from sleep in a state of sudden anxiety for no apparent reason and can have all the other symptoms of a panic attack. The duration of nocturnal panic attacks tends to be less than 10 minutes, but it can take much longer to fully calm down for those who experience them.

I do not know if this is what your husband is experiencing but more info re his heart condition would be helpful if your willing to share.



Stick with us and know we care.

Gentle Hugs,

Kitt

Larry's Wife
New Member


Date Joined Feb 2010
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 4/20/2010 12:37 PM (GMT -7)   

'I do not know if this is what your husband is experiencing but more info re his heart condition would be helpful if your willing to share.'

 Spouse had his first heart attack 6 years ago, at age 55.  Deep family heart history, smoking & work stress.  Was 'in heart attack' over an hour; came out with one stent.  2 days later they put in a defibrillator, as his heart's 'electric' was deemed erratic.  (He's never liked it, although it has never gone off; and, feels they put it in because 'we have good insurance'.  lol) 

Recovered, got a big promotion at work.  Still stressed.  Had second heart attack August 2008 on vacation.  Had angioplasty,  and told there were 2 more blockages from 50% - 70% in his right coronary - told to check in with home cardiologist.  2 weeks later heart doctor did second cath - said blockages were only 40%-50%.  Had abdomen pain off-and-on ever since, and by Thanksgiving went to the ER; diagnosed with pancreatitis.  Found also kidney problem, said he had since birth - solved with surgery in December.  Let go from job in March - told in February...at age 60 1/2.

Had son's wedding in April.  Was getting more and more tired; went to local ER.  Ordered nuclear stress test - showed 'dark' in the back.  Sent to cardiologist's hosp. for cath.  Cardiologist said all was fine....anomoly on stress test.  ??  Told he had 'unstable angina' episodes, hypertensive, and hyperlipidemic.

Downhill from there...especially when I got a job, as I'd been working at home, helping him out w/his job ever since his first heart attack.

UPDATE:  They doubled his citalaprolam and Xanax.  Big difference.  But....he says he's 'not sick' anymore.  He fixed himself.  Everyone else is/has been 'bothered' that he was sick, and we all don't have to be anymore.  Wants to stop therapy now.  Still not...right, in my opinion.  Time will tell, I guess.

(Always difficult to tell when something is 'heart' related and when it is anxiety/depression related...)

Going on that trip w/my sisters for a week this summer.  Spouse really bothered by that.  Really bothered.  Doesn't trust still; knows it's from his past..but, that doesn't help.  Tough...

Thanks for asking.  Larry's Wife


Howlyncat
Elite Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 24909
   Posted 4/20/2010 9:50 PM (GMT -7)   
HI THERE Kitt has given you great advice n support asi agree go ontrip n enjoy yourself completely
you need to get away from his acting out n behaviour imho and maybe it just might be all the better when you get home
have fun n keep us posted on whats happening
huggs
lyn
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