Please Help me help my spouse

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New Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 1
   Posted 7/17/2007 1:41 PM (GMT -6)   
about 4 weeks ago now, my husband started having severe panic attacks.  This is the third or fourth time in his life that he has had this happen and he can usually get it completely under control after a couple of weeks and get back to normal after a month or so.  However, this is the first time that it has happened since our two youngest were born, and with three kids, a house, and a full time job, taking away the help that he usually provides has me pretty much at the end of my rope!  Of course, the result is that I am not as understanding, loving, and compassionate towards him as I should be...even though I am trying.
So I have spent a good bit of time researching, and have found your forums very helpful in understanding...but I still am not sure what I should do to help.  If he starts to talk about his panic attacks, I listen, but if I try to respond to him or to have a discussion, he starts panting and saying that I am stressing him out...well, I didn't bring the topic up, I was just listening and responding.  I have tried very hard to keep the house clutter free, to keep the kids out from underfoot and quiet, to finish up tasks around the house that are bothering him, and to block stressors like phone calls and such...but sometimes I wonder whether there are other things I should be doing. I have also made an effort to be sure to hug him whenever he is looking stressed, or to tell all of the kids to hug him, and both of those seem to help quite a bit.
So I guess what I'm asking for from you is this:  if there is something that REALLY helps you that your spouse or children or friends do, what is it?  And if there is something that makes it worse every single time, what is that?  How can those of us with loved ones suffering from panic attacks support and promote the healing process???
Thanks in advance for any help!!!

Elite Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 32602
   Posted 7/17/2007 1:56 PM (GMT -6)   

Welcome to Healing Well. We are glad you found this wonderful site.

First of all I did not get any indication that he has had a check up with his physician, I would push for that and let a professional make a diagnosis and perhaps he needs medication?

As for spouses, I know my husband gets really tired of living with someone who may melt, but he usually handles it well. When he gets angry or sullen with me, I really feel bad.  I try to just withdraw and not bother him.  That just makes me feel all alone.

I don't think you should try to keep a nice quiet space for him.  Perhaps he can find his own quiet space to relax, do you have a den, office or someplace he can go to.

You cannot protect him 24/7 and this is putting a huge burden on you.

You can let him know you care.  The hugs are good.  You can understand if he has a panic attack that it is self limiting and try soothing him while he is having one.

You can understand that he is in pain when these attacks happen, no one wants to be like this.  It is an illness and deserves the same understanding as diabetes or arthritis.

It sounds to me that he is very lucky to have you as his spouse and I admire you for advocating for him and for yourself.

You are obviously a strong and loving wife and Mother.

Please stay with us and keep posting.

Gentle hugs to you. :)

Moderator Anxiety ~ Panic Disorders
*~* Not a mental health professional at all *~*

Dx: Anxiety/Panic, Depression 
"If you doubt you can accomplish something, then you can’t accomplish it. You have to have confidence in your ability, and then be tough enough to follow through.” 
~Rosalyn Carter

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