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Feel like a total bitch but need to say this somewhere

(18 Posts)
teawamutu Mon 08-Dec-14 10:18:13

I am TIRED of DH's health anxiety.

He's a fantastic man, amazing dad, loving husband, we're an equal partnership and I love the bones of him. He admits he has a problem with hypochondria (I think a lot of anxiety is manifesting as health worries) and is getting help to deal with it.

But. We've had some sort of health scare on the go for about the last year-symptoms are very real, tests are done, as yet nothing serious ever found. And I am just worn down with it all. I don't want to make light of it or dismiss him (especially if this really does turn out to be something!), but OTOH I am very stressed myself at the moment and I just WANT A BREAK FROM IT.

Aaarrrgggh.

<deep breaths>

CogitOIOIO Mon 08-Dec-14 10:38:06

That's the trouble with creaking gates. The post holding them up tends to crack first. I think you should tell him that you're struggling to cope then seek some help for yourself, see a doctor, get some TLC/treatment, some time away ... Do what he does, basically.

3littlefrogs Mon 08-Dec-14 10:45:25

Do you or he know what the underlying cause of his anxiety is?
Maybe getting to the bottom of that would help you both to find ways to cope with this.

My MIL has been the proverbial creaking gate for longer than the 30 odd years I have known her. Basically I think her problem is down to grief, and that allows me to have a bit of patience with her. However, nothing will convince me that coping with her was not the cause of the stroke my FIL had recently. I have no doubt that she will outlive him (and probably all of us, given the stress her health issues cause everyone else).

You need to give yourself a break. If you collapse he will be coping on his own.

mangoespadrille Mon 08-Dec-14 10:46:54

Not quite the same but DP's parents are complete hypochondriacs. They are constantly at the doctors and having tests/scans/moles removed etc. and it makes DP anxious as they are constantly waiting for results that always turn out to be nothing. He has, encouraged by them, ended up having a lot of unnecessary tests and procedures himself which has been stressful and can be a real problem when applying for things like life insurance. They are obsessed with healthy eating and currently cutting out wheat and sugar so goodness knows what we'll be eating on Christmas Day. They will often ring him to ask what he has eaten that day despite the fact that he is in his mid-thirties.

Unfortunately I have no advice to offer but your post resonated with me so much and I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone! I just try and think that one day one of these tests will turn out to be bad news which will be much worse than the irritation of the health anxiety, so I just try to get on with it. But it's easier said than done!

Annarose2014 Mon 08-Dec-14 10:57:12

My Dad is like this - very real symptoms, and some definate ongoing minor health issues. But nothing life threatening, and all managed by medication.

All massively exacerbated by anxiety, & a constant monologue every day about the Complaint of The Day.

At first you are as alarmed as they are. After several years (& dozens of CTs, MRIs, OGDs, Colonoscopies, Echocardiograms, Angiograms, Dopplers....) you realise the issues are minor & your sympathy starts to evaporate. Even though they do have some discomfort every day so its not as if its all in their head.

It turns you into an eye-roller. Which is terrible. But its just exhausting. Endless, endless.

And it becomes exhausting for the person, too. Their nerves become shredded. It starts to affect interaction on both sides.

All I can say is that the only thing that works on my Dad is Xanax. Obviously his symptoms still remain, but with the Xanax he a) believes they're from the minor complaint the Doctor diagnosed & he's not going to die, and b) is relaxed enough to have interest in other things besides himself.

People like this don't really change. Its not as if they become suddenly chilled out about their health. So they need other ways of managing the situation.

teawamutu Mon 08-Dec-14 10:59:44

Thank you, all of you. It feels a bit better knowing other people get it!

I should say, to be fair to DH, that he's not lying around fanning himself and demanding peeled grapes. He gets on with it, goes to work, looks after the kids, everything he'd do normally. There's just this constant cloud. And I don't know whether to be worrying about his mental health or his physical, because as mango says, one day it might be bad news...

I don't know for sure where it comes from. We're both quite anxious people, which normally works quite well because we can understand and support each other. ATM, I think the problem is we're BOTH stressed so trying to cope with ourselves as well as our OH.

And I can't really tell him I'm sick of living with something which I know for him is corrosive and real, even if he does know intellectually that it's likely nothing.

It's hard.

teawamutu Mon 08-Dec-14 11:02:49

Anna, x-posted with you. What you wrote brought tears to my eyes - nail on head, it is endless and exhausting and I AM a (secret) eye roller and I hate myself for it.

teawamutu Tue 09-Dec-14 17:15:44

Another symptom today. He's not making it up and he's not making a fuss, but aarrrgh.

Jan45 Tue 09-Dec-14 17:23:04

Well don't, you are coping with something not everyone could, life is hard enough without your OH and his health paranoia, you're basically having to suck it up, you don't have to you know, you could detach a bit and let him get on with it, I couldn't live this way myself but I think I'd be telling him how it affects me, does he not notice?

Morrigu Tue 09-Dec-14 17:29:27

Has he tried any sort of counselling or therapy for his health anxiety? CBT worked wonders for mine.

intlmanofmystery Tue 09-Dec-14 17:32:16

If he has a general anxiety disorder or mild depression, which can manifest itself in hypochondria, then there are plenty of meds out there that can help with this. Alternatively he could just be looking for attention/sympathy, do you think that he feels "neglected" due to family life?

Alternatively offer no support - simply tell him that there is nothing wrong with him, all the tests are negative so stop moaning the whole bloody time. Make him understand the impact that the low level grumbling has on you. This may sound a bit harsh but in the long run may help as when he is truly ill then you will take notice.

LegoAdventCalendar Tue 09-Dec-14 17:37:59

I couldn't be dealing with a hypochondriac or a hoarder.

Superworm Tue 09-Dec-14 17:39:15

Just thought us throw this in there - has coeliac disease been ruled out?

I had all sorts of ailments, tests and scans over the years before being diagnosed with coeliac disease. Autoimmune disorders can present that way, and cause anxiety/depression, so might be with looking into.

teawamutu Tue 09-Dec-14 17:42:31

Post got eaten grrr.

If I thought he was exaggerating or playing for sympathy, I'd absolutely go for brisk and brutal.

He's not, though, so I think my current plan is to wait for next test results, and if negative insist he looks into meds. Does that sound workable?

Lioninthesun Tue 09-Dec-14 17:45:32

DD's dad was like this - even when I went into labour he went off to get an x-ray on his foot hmm I should have listened when his mum said his medical folder was bigger than his three brothers' put together!
You need to make sure you are looking after yourself, you are caring for everyone and having to be strong all of the time. As suggested, explain you aren't able to cope with another 'thing' and he needs to be an adult for a little bit so you can breathe. He doesn't sound like he understands the pressure you are under. However you sound like you love him a lot so working on this may help both of you. He doesn't sound like he will do a runner if you show him how you need him to pull together with you rather than acting like a lone ranger. Good luck.

Lioninthesun Tue 09-Dec-14 17:49:26

Ah, just read your last post - not like DD's dad then (total hypochodria there tied in with some body issues - had leg broken in 3 places to gain 1cm as his legs were 'uneven' as are 90% of the populations, but hey!) - wait for the test results and if not suggest he needs some therapy or meds. Get some support too if you need it, he won't get better overnight smile

intlmanofmystery Tue 09-Dec-14 18:00:08

Yes sounds workable. You do sound pretty sympathetic towards him despite the general irritation! Just to warn you that many meds for anxiety/depression can cause extreme nausea during the first few weeks and he really will feel like crap. It is a well-known side effect of such meds (SSRIs) along with some other more "intimate" effects! But it will get better, as will his mood and outlook on life...

teawamutu Tue 09-Dec-14 18:31:45

Thanks. I am sympathetic because I do get that it's horrible being this way.

It's just, you know, sometimes is not much fun for me, either. I think I hit the wall a bit this week.

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