Getting Him There

I'm a spouse of a husband with generalized anxiety disorder and depression. I also have a step daughter with the same and an eating disorder. My mother in law lives with us and has the same anxiety with the addition of agoraphobia and OCD. My oldest son is ADHD and has ticks and picks at his scalp. This behavior comes and goes though.

I feel like I'm on an island of anxiety disorders and the deep waters that surround us may look frightening to everyone around me . I feel like I'm the only one willing to dive in an swim for help but, without a life saver I feel as if I will just sink to the bottom. I have been treading water and choking on the obstacles. Words like separation and divorce pop up in my thoughts because I feel as if I will never get my husband on board with counseling. He hasn't gotten my SD help and she needs it . His avoidance is attributed to his anxiety. I'm angry because as a step parent I can't legally take her to a therapist and her mother is not willing or has to co parent with me. I harbor negative feelings, guilt for feeling those feelings.

I've had depression on and off throughout my life. My mom is bipolar and we don't have a relationship today. My dad and I have a respectable and superficial relationship living in separate parts of the east coast. I don't have Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents or siblings to lean on.

Our finances are strained and housing situation is in a constant state of limbo due to the fact that we rent from my father n law who is not of sound mind. He is a very negative person who also suffers from bipolar behavior and hoarding . Is three adults and four children live in a three bedroom town house that has not central heating and air. There are plumbing problems, parts of the roof that leak and rotting windows that are drafty. Our rent is affordable. My husband is the main bread winner. I stay at home with our 2 month old and take the kids to school in the morning. My mom n law has health issues so having me home with her is helpful for her just as much as she is helpful to me with laundry and holding the baby for a time or two. We need more space.

I haven't a real grasp on budgeting our finances because my husband and I have spectate accounts . I pay a few bills in my name and he pays everything else. He gives me grocery money each week and I receive survivors benefits on behalf of my oldest son who's biological dad died three years ago. I am in no position to work outside the home. I was working up until a few months before the birth of our last child. I miss the money that gave me a feeling of more security .

Our sex life has always been mediocre and I attribute that to his sleep apnea and anxiety. He has white coat syndrome. Last year I helped him obtain and see a general doctor . That was a success! However when he went to have a sleep study done we canceled the appointment due to the cost . We sleep in separate rooms now mainly because of the baby but, if that wasn't a factor it would be solely because his snoring keeps me awake. I have fibromyalgia and tinitus . Sleep is essential for all humans . I'm sure the apnea does not help with his anxiety. Money is the only factor preventing a solution for that part of the problem.

Asking my husband to address his anxiety cause him anxiety. Asking him to discuss what we can do about our living situation gives him anxiety. Asking him for financial disclosure so we can figure out a budget and set goals for 1: getting into a better living space 2: paying off debt and 3: paying for therapy and doctor visits. Asking him to get our daughter started with therapy for her issues causes him anxiety. Asking him to help out with the kids as things that need to be done around the house gives him anxiety .

Help. How do I help us ? How do you lead a horse to water and not force him to drink ? I don't want to make him do anything and I'm not saying I want him to magically get better. There has to solutions.

5 Replies

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  • Hi read your post, I am a husband with all the symptoms of yours. Anxiety, main bread winner. Sounds like lots of stress, He could be like me not wanting to seek help due to white coat symptoms . Doctors just want to put you on drugs. When I go to the doctors it makes my blood pressure go up high. Sleep is one of my main cause of anxiety I did a sleep study. Everything checked out good insomnia was my problem due to anxiety. Try to get him that study! Try not to think about the future an money it could be a lot of stress right now for you an your husband. There is a saying LIVING IN THE FUTURE MAKES US ANXIOUS, LIVING IN THE PAST MAKES US DEPRESS, LIVE IN THE MOMENT! anxiety is tricky, he will get better. It took me time. I live in Hawaii a island, like you said a island of anxiety! For me ! Be strong sounds like a lot on your table. Focus on the kids, an help your husband get better. I was that horse that was lead to the water but never drink. Maybe find some positive things to read on how to manged stress anxiety. There is a lot that helped me .Best wishes to you an family. It gets worst before it gets better. Aloha

  • I am so sorry you are going through this. I have a step son who struggles with high anxiety and mild depression. He is 12 years old. I talked with my ss and ask if he wanted strategies to help him with his anxiety. I ask him when he feels the most worried and scared? Then I point out his aniexty when I see it and then we come up with coping strategy. I finally called a center with therapist who help people on a sliding scale. I told my husband I setup an appointment and told him the address. They evaluated my son for an hour and are picking a therapist based on his needs. I have a 5 year old daughter with ADHD and I have a needy 2 year old. I have a lot of girl friends who I get together once a week to talk about my struggles. It helps so much...

    I ask my husband what are the things he needs help with? I am sorry you feel alone. You can contact me anytime to talk. Hang in there girl

  • Hey there, I want to address a couple different things here. First, it sounds like you are really balancing a lot of plates at once. It is amazing that you're doing all that you're doing right now, and I hope you take credit for that. Please don't feel guilty for feeling the way you feel. I understand it 100%; you want to be supportive, and feeling frustrated can make it hard to be supportive. But feeling that way you do is completely understandable, and no one can judge you for that.

    I would recommend calling the social work center in your county. There are several things you've mentioned that you need assistance with: medical issues, psychiatric issues, childcare, housing, eldercare, etc. Social work is an incredible resource, and they can help lighten your load considerably. To help predict a few gaps, depending on how tight resources are, it's also worth considering options like WIC to make sure there's always food on the table, and in many states, like California, there's Section-8 or subsidized housing that might allow you some freedom from your unstable FIL.

    It's also worth asking social work about disability. If you're in no condition to work outside the home, and you meet a certain income threshold, disability can help pay the bills. Alternatively, social work might be able to recommend good jobs for moms with new babies, jobs that can be done at home, or people disabled by chronic pain.

    It sounds like it must be hard for your husband to go day-to-day with such severe anxiety- to the point where any kind of voluntary assistance must seem impossible. In this instance, you are in a tough position, and I want to acknowledge that. Please know that you may not like this last thing I'm about to say, and that's perfectly alright, as you don't have to accept it. But in my home state of New Jersey you can call a local mental hospital and ask for an individual to be evaluated by a professional screener. A lot of people who don't voluntarily allow for psychiatric assessment are admitted to treatment this way, and while they're very unhappy at the moment, it's often the only way they'll get help. Many, many people begin to improve this way.

    What does this involve? Well, should you choose to call, a screener will come to your home and evaluate your husband. If they feel he needs care, and I assume he will from the data you provide, he will be taken to the hospital voluntarily or involuntarily, where they can begin to work on his anxiety. Most people with a serious mental illness don't want to admit that they have a problem, and it's too much to ask for the family to proverbially hold them to a medication & treatment regimen. In this way, what seems cruel is a necessary means of being kind. After hospitalization, this is where many patients realize their need for psychiatric meds and services, and where they and their families can begin to expect some relief.

    I wish there was more I could do. I hope any little bit of this is able to help you. Wishing hope and opportunity as you keep working on these problems :)

  • Sounds to me, your hands are very full! You are doing an excellent job with your family❤️ Love One Another, and remember; you cannot make anyone else happy or healthy. Concentrate on being well and being a good example. Actions speak louder than words.

    Make sure to take care of yourself first.

  • Update! My husband came to me recently and asked me how we could get back on track . I suggested counseling for us both be it marriage or family . So we have an appointment with his psychiatrist who may refer us to the right councler if she is not a good fit . I'm relieved that he came to me so i woukdbt continue to feel so alone in our problems. Thank you for all the advice.

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