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OH anxiety, please talk me down

(58 Posts)
PassiveAgressiveQueen Mon 26-Oct-15 13:45:08

I have been with my OH for over 20 years, a couple of years after we got together he began having panic attacks about almost everything fun.
We didn't recognise them as this for quite a while but i spotted the pattern that he was sick on days when we were due to go out, he refused to agree for many years.
Once he did agree he went for a 6 week course of CBT, which honestly did bugger all, and he has been on pills ever since.
He has improved a lot we can now go to the cinema and out for meals, and if i introduce new people to him slowly after a while we can go out with them (well he still gets sick but ignores it).

I regularily ask him to go for help but he refuses, he has refused again today and i want to say, get help or get out. i have been considerate and caring for 18 years now I WANT A LIFE with my partner.

I am sick of doing so much stuff by myself as he is too ill (amazing how often he is ill days we have planned that involve new people, like my work collegues).

PassiveAgressiveQueen Mon 26-Oct-15 13:45:37

this might just be a rant, but if you could calm me down and offer sensible suggestions.

hellsbellsmelons Mon 26-Oct-15 14:29:29

I really can't offer any advice.
I've never had to deal with anxiety and I can only imagine how hard it is to live with. Especially after so many years.
I'm sure someone will be along soon with some advice.
For me though, I'd just go out on my own all the time and leave him home to be ill.
Might snap him out of it if you usually stay home with him.

PassiveAgressiveQueen Mon 26-Oct-15 14:33:15

thanks hells bells.

ImperialBlether Mon 26-Oct-15 14:33:51

Are you sure they are panic attacks and not excuses for not going out? What are his symptoms?

ImperialBlether Mon 26-Oct-15 14:34:40

What's he like when he's doing things he wants to do? Is he okay then?

Seeyounearertime Mon 26-Oct-15 14:35:19

I'd stop involving him, or even trying to involve him tbh.
Tell him once that you're going to stop inviting him, trying to involve him etc but that if he wants to join you at anytime he can. Then just go about doing what you like.

Pobspits Mon 26-Oct-15 14:36:53

Apart from taking pills is he doing anything to help?

I suffered from anxiety and it is truly terrifying going out of your comfort zone and tbh if I didn't have kids and a husband Id probably never have even tried.

When your illness is affecting others though you absolutely have to do everything in your power to make small steps towards recovery. If he isn't willing to do this, especially when you have been so supportive then I think he is being very unfair.

What meds is he on? Has he tried different ones?Has he tried CBT again? Mindfulness? Anything else?

Does he work?

CocktailQueen Mon 26-Oct-15 14:38:46

You can't 'snap out of' extreme anxiety, hells!

Op, sounds very difficult. Suggest your dh goes back to the gp for more advice. More CBT? Another talking therapy?

How is he with socialising with his own friends and family?

Not surprised you're fed up - it sounds very hard.

CocktailQueen Mon 26-Oct-15 14:39:23

Lots of x-posts!

RiceCrispieTreats Mon 26-Oct-15 14:43:54

CBT provides tools for dealing with thoughts and feelings in the moment, but it doesn't address the root cause of these thoughts and feelings.

He might need more traditional psychotherapy to understand why going out and meeting new people causes him such panic. What does he believe about himself and the world that make social events such a threat to him? Where did that belief originate in his past? How does it serve him to hold on to that belief now? He could examine these questions with a therapist.

This, however, is something for him to sort out, if he wants to.

You are the one looking for help here because you are at the end of your tether. You are entitled to do whatever seems best for you: whether that's going out without him, or leaving the marriage, or whatever else you think is the right course of action for you. But it doesn't sound like his social anxiety is going to change, or change very soon. Can you accept this and continue going out solo for the next 20 years? Or is that utterly unacceptable for you?

PassiveAgressiveQueen Mon 26-Oct-15 14:46:53

oh yes he works, he can stand in a packed hall and give a presentation on work, he can do everything but socialise.

His symptoms used to be whole system evacuation, but after he realised what it was and began ignoring that, he now just gets too tired to come out, he wouldn't be any fun, he is sure he is coming down with something.

I don't know what pills but they are pretty common ones. He has done fuck all except the 6 sessions of CBT, this morning he said "i don't need counselling work is being pretty stressful but I am leaving this contract soon"
i pointed out he has been ill for years and in this contract for only 1 year, there is never going to be a point in his life when he magically gets better, he hasn't replied since.

PassiveAgressiveQueen Mon 26-Oct-15 14:51:32

sorry that post took a long time to type...

This, however, is something for him to sort out, if he wants to.
I am not honestly sure he does want to.

How is he with socialising with his own friends and family?
he doesn't have any friends, and his family don't really socialise.

I love him so much when we are home together, i just want a social life together.

kittybiscuits Mon 26-Oct-15 14:54:39

Sounds like he is fine with the way things are. CBT would help with this problem - if he wanted to make changes. I would concentrate your efforts on yourself and working towards a way of life that you want.

SoloPolo Mon 26-Oct-15 15:31:38

Have you posted before about this? Does he have a hobby that involves being sociable?

Anxiety is really difficult to live with and treat. Obviously you can only live forward if it's something he wants too but it goes t sound as though he's that keen. Otherwise more CBT involving small steps and goals may help.

EnglishWeddingGuest Mon 26-Oct-15 15:37:13

You can't "snap out of it "
It's a mental illness
Start by educating Yourself and finding out as much as you can
Then gently explain without blame the effect his illness has on you and ask him to seek a basic level of help
You need help to cope also - seek counseling that can provide practical steps for you to take
The worst thing you can do here is minimize and blame - the best thing you can do is get professional help and guidance

PassiveAgressiveQueen Mon 26-Oct-15 15:46:01

I have mentioned it in another post this morning, which is what prompted me to start my own thread.
No his hobbies are completely solitary, actually that is a complete lie he went on photography courses and chatted to people, he went to an astrology evening, and chatted to people.

EnglishWeddingGuest
You can't "snap out of it " It's a mental illness
Was your post meant to be really atagonistic?

Have I asked him to snap out of it? please post the line you got that idea from.

NO I asked him to go for help, which he refuses to get.
I have lived with this 18 years in which time he has spent 6 HOURS getting proffesional help, which were at least 9 years ago.

Finola1step Mon 26-Oct-15 15:53:02

I have had anxiety difficulties in the past and my Dad had GAD. I'm certainly no expert, but I can empathise.

He can't just snap out of it, but you know that already. You have been a loyal and supportive partner for many years.

He can, if he wants to, learn strategies to help him in situations which are triggering. From your posts, it sounds like that such situations involve meeting new people when it is not on his terms. When he's not in control.

I am quite the introvert but have learnt over the years how to behave in new social situations. Things like questions to ask, conversation starters, showing interest in what others say and asking them a follow up question. These things may come natural to others, but not me.

The key here is that he actually sounds quite happy with the status quo. I wonder what he does he says he is not feeling well and declines to meet up with your friends. Does he slide into a comfy bed with a good book? Does he actually enjoy having the place to himself? I am not devaluing social anxiety but it does sound like he is unwilling to give up on a situation he finds security in.

ImperialBlether Mon 26-Oct-15 16:27:08

By 'full system evacuation' do you mean D&V?

You say "he now just gets too tired to come out, he wouldn't be any fun, he is sure he is coming down with something" - those are just excuses, OP. He could come out with you; he's choosing not to.

So the question is what are you going to do about it? Can you live the rest of your life like that?

PassiveAgressiveQueen Mon 26-Oct-15 16:56:52

By 'full system evacuation' do you mean D&V?
yes knew there was a polite term but couldn't remember it smile

They may be excuses but i know he really believes himself that he is to ill to come out.
what do I want to do? I don't know i don't want to leave him over this, if I did i would have left before the kids, not after.
I am just feeling whiny today as I tried to be romantic and silly yesterday and he had an attack in the middle and completely ruined the moment.

I will think more and come back later, but i need to do some paid work now

EnglishWeddingGuest Mon 26-Oct-15 19:41:02

Passive aggressivequeen - I was referring to hellsbellsmelon last line of post - as have other posters

I reiterate my advice that you need some professional support especially if he is resisting helping himself which is seems from your posts that he is - mental illness effects everyone in the house not just the person who has the disease - so you need real life support too but you likely already know that

PassiveAgressiveQueen Mon 26-Oct-15 20:37:35

Sorry i was gently whimpering today, not being fully useful

Helmetbymidnight Mon 26-Oct-15 20:41:32

I recognise and sympathise with your post. When we first met, dh was happy going out for dinner/cinema with me and fine mostly- I didn't notice how much he hated certain situations- mostly parties- and would happily drag him along. Then one night we were getting ready to go to a party and he was sweating, heart racing, had to lie down. Now he won't go to parties anymore.
He now sees a counsellor but I'm waiting to see the results...he kind of thinks parties/other people are crap anyway, so I can't see it changing radically.
I do get slightly jealous when I see my friends all go out/away as couples etc but as long as I can still go out and as long as he is working on himself (!) I don't really care.
How do you feel about going out without him?

pocketsaviour Mon 26-Oct-15 20:46:42

oh yes he works, he can stand in a packed hall and give a presentation on work, he can do everything but socialise.

Sounds like me. I'm fine when I'm being "Pockets at Work" but when I've taken that off, I'm unsociable as fuck and would rather poke my own eyes out than go somewhere where I've got to be with people I don't know.

I think you have to accept that he is an introvert and unsociable, with a degree of social anxiety. He has made changes, from what you have said, so that he is now able to go out for meals, to the cinema, with other people if he already knows them. He's never going to be an extroverted life of the party type. So if that's what you want, you're going to have to look elsewhere. But you've been with him 18 years! Do you go out without him?

PassiveAgressiveQueen Mon 26-Oct-15 21:38:13

Yes i do go out alone, but as someone says i just feel sorry for myself and jealous of the other people who's partners accompany them to parties.
With pestering today he has agreed he needs help but isn't sure just counselling will help, as apparently he has been to more than i can remember (my memory is very bad i forget loads of stuff so he isn't necessarily gas lighting me).

So what is the next level up...

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