How can I support my husband who is suffering with anxiety attacks ?

My other half is suffering from chest pains attributed to stress, shaking,palpitations, dizziness sweating at various times but especially at night. He can't sleep and lies awake for hours in pain terrified he is going to die. We have seen his GP who has told him to do breathing exercises and that anxiety takes time to master but that my husband needs to think positive thoughts. I want to help but have no idea what to do other than help him calm his breathing, hold his hand, massage his chest and shoulders and talk about whats happening, Has anyone benefitted from Yoga ( my other half has a back injury which limits exercise ) ? Please help !

5 Replies

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  • hi Cherub

    Sorry to hear your husband is having such a hard time, and I'm sure it's difficult on you too. You sound as though you are extremely supportive and understanding, your husband is very lucky to have you!! Unfortunately anxiety does take time to master, I would definitely recommend yoga or pretty much any other form of gentle exercise, as well as avoiding caffiene and other stimulants. It's very common for anxiety sufferers to be terrified of sleeping, I have been there myself, too afraid to go to bed as I know I will wake up during the night panicking for no reason!! i would say you are doing the right thing for your husband at the moment, holding his hand and massaging his chest/shoulders, another method that works for me (which my other half is slowly getting the hang of!) is distraction. Sometimes he will randomly start telling me a story about something or ask me questions out of the blue and before I know it I've stopped panicking because I'm thinking about what he's told/asked me. Simple but it can really work... Hope things get better soon, keep posting as there are lots of lovely people on here who can help you. Good luck x

  • Thank you for your kind advice and ideas, I will definately try your distraction technique. It was a relief to find this site , I don't feel quite so alone now and I think my husband will benefit from logging on and taking a look. Thanks again

  • Hi,

    I'm male and suffering too, I just asked my wife, and she said, don't over crowd them, and make sure you pamper yourself as it can be exhausting too.

    I agree and would also say, try to be totally calm, and reasure them, so they can see where they want to go back to. When panicking we loose all sense of normality, because our minds are in fight or flight mode and cant think straight at that time.

    Don't over pamper, make them get their own cup of tea if they are ok, if there panicking, thens the right time to help with whatever they need. A cold flannel can sometimes help on the forehead, and other times a hot water bottle to cuddle, it depends.

    Knowing you will be there whatever happens, will help enormously in the recovery too. You will reap the rewards when they are better, as they will love you for ever :-)

    Has the doctors check his heart? as that should be standard proceedure.

    I would of thought some councilling/therapy should be on the cards to, so he can fully understand whats going on, and how to deal with the panics.

    I've been meaning to write something on second fear as well, so i'll have a go now, and you can let your husband have a read, hopefully it will help.

    Gentle exercise has enormous benefits, yoga definately, as he will get a lot of tension mainly in the neck area and headaches there too. Walking is my favourite, I have a damaged lower and neck spine, but this helps with core strength.

    I wii fit are great for home exercise and the family can join in and make it fun as well.

    Hope some of that helps to start with, now for the writing lol, not my forty, but i'll give it a go.

    Wishing you both well.

    B

    xxxx

  • In answer to your question about his heart it has been checked by our GP twice and in A&E with an ECG and its fine ( thank goodness although I sometimes think its his good heart that allows anxiety to creep in and take over). We have talked about counselling but weren't entirely sure how this was put in motion. I think it would help him to talk to someone on the outside , as I'm sure there are things he may not feel comfortable saying to me. He swims and finds the chest pain diminishes so I think gentle exercise could be something we could work on increasing. I have arranged a yoga 1-2-1 with a friend who teaches classes to work on his breathing and relaxation techniques. Thank you for your helpful advice and tips, it's less daunting when you know you're not all alone

  • Hello,

    it is unlikely that you will have the chance to get a referral from your GP as the mental health budget has been severely cut but it is worth asking. If the answer is no, then you have to find a therapist and pay for treatment yourself.

    There are many different types of counselling: psychoanalytic, humanistic, existential, integrative and so on. Therefore, you need to spend some time finding out which approach is best for you. However, it is now well accepted that Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective form of therapy to tackle the irrational thinking that underlines various anxiety disorders and phobias, thereby reducing symptoms quite effectively.

    The best way to find a counsellor or a therapist is to look for accredited professionals via their governing body. BABCP for CBT, UKCP and BACP for other forms of counselling and psychotherapy.

    Hope this helps BW

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