Spouse with anxiety, depression, PTSD - Anxiety and Depre...

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Spouse with anxiety, depression, PTSD


Would love some advice on dealing with a spouse who has anxiety, depression, and PTSD/panic attacks. He's 65, and just started antidepressant meds last year with little improvement. He has severe anxiety over doctor appointments, so has refused to try the CBT his nurse practitioner recommends. Self medicates with 5-6 beers a day. Has stopped doing the things he liked to do before. Has become a compulsive FB user, often spending hours online. It was a HUGE step to get him to start meds last year, but while it's reduced overall anxiety and number of panic attacks, it's not helping as much as we hoped.

I am trying to be supportive and continue to encourage him to try CBT self-help books/videos/tapes instead, but I am feeling angry and frustrated at this point with his resistance to trying anything besides the meds to help himself feel better. He will acknowledge my concerns, agree to try non-med strategies, agree to cut back on alcohol consumption, agree to reduce social media time, agree to eat healthier and get on a regular sleep schedule – then just keeps on doing the same thing. Change for him – even minor change – is very difficult, and is made at a glacial pace.

We have been together over 20 years, but at this point feel that the relationship is taking a severe toll on my own mental health and happiness. When is it time to throw in the towel? How do you stay happy and positive when the one you care about the most is negative, anxious and miserable? What do you do your partner says they would "end it all" if you're not there to "keep them from going totally mental?"

Lately I've started doing more things to increase my happiness, such as spending time with friends and family, going for hikes, going to the movies, etc. but it has also widened the gulf between us, as we are spending less time together.

Please share your advice and/or stories of how you handled being in a relationship/marriage with someone struggling with the same issues! Thank you!

5 Replies

Unfortunately Lynn, your husband is his own person and is going to continue to

do what he wants no matter how much you try to convince him. Mixing alcohol

with medication certainly isn't helping him get the full benefits of the drug.

I think at this time, it's got to be more about you. Without doing the things that

keep you afloat and happy, you will drown as well. It takes you being well enough

to take care of your spouse the best you can but not to the point in getting sick

yourself. When to throw in the towel?? That's something only you can answer.

Not sure what it will take, if anything, for your husband to decide to help himself.

I wish both of you well. Your husband in that he sees the light before it's too late

and for you to not just exist but to live each day to the fullest.

We are always here for each other and hopefully the support and understanding

you receive from the forum will help get you through those dark days. I'm glad

you are here :) xx

LynnM29 in reply to Agora1

Thank you so much for your encouragement and support! I will continue to encourage him, realizing that there's only so much I can do if he's not willing to do what it takes to get to a better place...and start focusing more on self care!



I am not married but wanted to mention something.

I've gone to cbt therapy quite a bit, and to me it is nothing like a doctor's visit. Initially, I was reluctant to go but in time I felt like I was visiting a friend, and starting looking forward to it.

Maybe your husband just needs a little time to get used to it.

I wish you both good health.

LynnM29 in reply to Hidden

Thank you for that insight on CBT! I will share your experience with my husband in hopes that it will help him take that first step to at least give it a try!

Oh my goodness....I seriously could have wrote this. I am trying to find people I can talk to that are going through something similar. I know this is an older post but please message me if you would like to chat.

Hope life has gotten a little better for you!

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