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Anxiety and Depression Support
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Accepting Depression As Illness

One thing I am dealing with at the moment is getting my husband to accept depression and anxiety as an illness. We have been together for many years, and I told him I actually feel empowered knowing this is an illness and not something I am doing to myself. But he refuses to see it that way. He will not accept that I have an illness, but is very supportive when things are rough. I don't know if I really need him to accept this as an illness? If he does is there a real benefit to him understanding that aspect of this?

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I have been married 10 years and my husband just finally grasped the concept. He too was always supportive during rough periods but until the current phase I’m in hit, I’m pretty sure he thought I was just dramatic and over emotional. It has helped with him accepting it because now I can talk about it in a new way with him. It made me feel like I had like a sidekick helper to help get help lol. It also made me feel bad because I would catch him watching me knowing I was severely struggling and I know he was sad for me which in turn made me sad that I made him feel sad. The world has yet to understand this is not laziness or a choice or an overreaction. It’s just like an illness w inevitable side effects. You cannot will yourself to stop vomiting during the flu... just like most of us cannot will ourselves to feel diff during these attacks.

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Appreciate the reply, thanks. So you said, it made you sad when you saw he was sad for you. Did that change when he accepted it as an illness? There is more understanding it sounds like? I like the idea of a side kick. I would think he is more able to help you articulate to others what is going on? We have been married for 33 years he is a little old school and honestly still thinks its all in the head, not a medical condition. But, he is never hurtful or puts it that way. Any ideas how we can go from where we are to him accepting it? Strategies that got you there? Thanks

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A lot of times people have a hard time believing in something that they themselves have never experienced. They literally can’t imagine it, it’s beyond logic. I think how I got through was I took a huge step back and decided that if I was to ever make anyone else understand I needed to identify and understand myself ... I read and did tons of research ... I began categorizing my symptoms and feelings for each disorder I have and I thought really hard, so hard, to find a comparison that spoke in “normal” people language. I came up with descriptions and comparisons to scenarios and broke through.

For example: I described anxiety like this... I said... do you know when someone is about to give you the news that a loved one has died? And right before they actually say it, you can tell they’re about to say something horrific by the look on their face. That feeling right there in those seconds... where you sweat and wave hits you of horror ... that’s what anxiety feels like but that couple of seconds just turns into larger lengths of time. Ur stuck with this overwhelming horror of you don’t know what but you know it isn’t good. You’re trapped in that feeling in limbo.

So I put it into a scenario I knew he could relate to.

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That's helpful, thank you. We have been married for 33 years and not sure I can get him to change. But it sure would be nice to have him as an advocate who understands more. I agree with you though, it will be up to me to really understand myself and do the research.

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I hope he accepts it and I’m happy he’s still supporting you even though he doesn’t fully understand. What an amazing person it takes to be able to do that.

I did a ton of research and had 5 years of psychology in college. I feel I’m almost as armed as I can be at this point so I turned my education around and case studied my own self.

It helps to identify and pin point things and in turn allows you to have an opportunity to create a game plan. It takes an insane amount of mental discipline but I can honestly say it was the best thing I ever did for myself. We aren’t understood so we’re faced with helping others help us. I try to spread as much knowledge as i can to cut down the time and tediousness for others. I try to use myself to help others get a shortcut.

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Hi how about trying the Spoons Theory? It is online. A woman in a restaurant with her best friend suddenly realised by something her friend said that while supportive her friend didn't really understand her chronic illness (physical though the same applies to mental).

She on impulse just grabbed as many spoons as she could and holding them up said to her friend I have 12 spoons to see me through the day. It takes 1 spoon to get me out of bed, 2 spoons to get washed and dressed and another 2 to get breakfast and eat it. That's 5 spoons already.

You can see where this is going so I won't repeat it all. I hope it works for you. x

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Thank you for this, the more I learn the better I understand also!

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I don't think you need to persuade him, over time he'll learn to deal with it and you in that state but at the same time don'the expect him to be sympathetic on every occasion - I advise you keep your mouth shut and don'the argue with him about it

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Hmm, wondering if there was some sort of misunderstanding here. I am the one who suffers from depression and anxiety as does one of my daughters. His understanding and acceptance are important to us, as I have watched others with supportive partners who understand the illness stand beside, support and advocate for their depression stricken partners most effectively.

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I cannot believe this post. It's sickening to me to know that there is people in this world who don't believe depression is real. People who don't believe it's a real medical condition. Disgusting.......damn my parents are that way.

And they both had depression and anxiety too. They don't admit it and sweep it under the rug. I just don't get it y'all😡😤😭👎👎

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