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!