New here, any other wives married to anxious husbands here?

Hi, my husband and I have been looking for a support group option for me as I seek to understand and empathize with his anxiety (GAD diagnosed years ago but recently with illness anxiety). He's had four ER visits in about eight weeks now. He didn't have major or regular panic attacks while we were dating, actually not even one. We've been married about six months now, and the anxiety has started to take over him/us over the last three months. I'm hoping to find encouragement and empathy here, and maybe even meet other wives who have gone through what I/we are experiencing. I've ordered a couple of books on loving partners with anxiety, and he and I are still able to talk through our issues head on. He's seeking therapy now, but it's a daily roller coaster of learning what's new. Walking on eggshells and learning what his triggers are has been a struggle. Mostly I'm looking for any insight from those of you who have seen anxiety through my perspective. I'm a genuinely happy, extroverted woman, I've never been depressed or suffered from anxiety. This is an entirely new view of the world for me, and it's hard for me to grasp what I've never known. My husband is hurting, so I'm hurting. I just don't know how to help.

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  • Hi and welcome to you.

    The mind site has a lot of info.

    Maybe some would help

    mind.org.uk/information-sup...

    Attaching a link , hope I'm ok to do that

    Best wishes x

    There's details on helping others on there...

  • Hi there! Sounds like you're more or less on the right track. (I just posted a rant the other day when my husband was in the thick of another round of anxiety...he has GAD, too.)

    A couple of thoughts, in addition to what the books might tell you:

    1. Because you're his wife, your husband may be seeking a lot of reassurance in a variety of ways about his fears. I have been instructed by my husband’s specialist to avoid reassuring him about his anxiety fears. Our specialist says that the more reassurance the anxiety sufferer gets, it makes things worse for the long term (although it might help for a very short while). Anxiety sufferers crave certainty in an uncertain world, but they want ever-increasing amounts of reassurance to get false certainty that doesn't last.

    Example: I could reassure my husband about a big fear, but I know from past experience it will help him feel better for maybe an hour. Then, he'll just start calling his friends and relatives, one by one, to get reassurance from them. (BTW, they usually tell him the EXACT SAME thing I just told him...which is kind of funny in hindsight but exasperating in the moment.)

    The way I interpreted this is to be realistic when discussing his fears. For example, my husband might be afraid he'll feel anxious about something and vomit. So, I will remind him that he might not, but then again, he might. He is free to kick me out of the bathroom if he feels the need to vomit. I also remind him that, although vomiting is often how he responds to anxiety *now,* he's learning about tools in therapy to help him with his responses to those anxious feelings. Then I go about my business as usual, and he often will, eventually, start practicing what he's learning in therapy. (He also recently started some medication, which has helped a bit.) I do not give him certainty about his feelings, but I do try to remind him of his therapy.

    Please understand that I'm not telling you to do what I do, because I can't guarantee I have it "right," so go with what your husband’s mental health professional recommends. I am just sharing a scenario and my response to it, which might help you consider your own situation from a new perspective.

    2. I wish when my own husband's GAD was diagnosed five years ago that I'd read "Loving Someone with Anxiety." It's a helpful book but was old news by the time I actually got it. I assume it's among the books you bought, but if not, I suggest adding it. It's a pretty quick read.

    I hope that helps!

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