Chat Now!   Member Gallery    Anxiety Zone Wire    Games   Social Groups   AZ Member Blogs   Health News  Bored?

Author Topic: HELP! My wife has depression / Anxiety and I need Tips on how to Help  (Read 308 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline HusbandNeedsHelp

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Rec's: 1
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
Hey Everyone,

Hope all is well with everyone and their respective day to day situations.

I'm in need of some help here, I'm sure there is a plethora of information here and some searching will yield me helpful tips and tricks, but I need some immediate feedback while I do search around as I have some free time here and there.
Firstly I’ll explain the situation to help paint the picture of what we have on our plate. I met my wife five years ago and we immediately hit it off. We start dating and we were both looking for the same thing…someone to spend the rest of our lives with.
One day she calls me when I was away on work and told me she was taking depression medication and she wanted to be off of it. At this time (a few months into our relationship) all had been great and I didn’t really understand the whole depression thing other than she had been having troubles and needed help. So, of course, I wanted to be supportive and tell her I would be completely on board with her going off the meds as I wanted to be her happy place.

I’d say she has a Type A personality and I’m more passive and want to avoid the confrontation and let stuff roll off and say ‘meh’ with it and move on. So whenever we would have small bickering’s young into the relationship I’d let stuff roll off and we would get over it fine.

Well we get married a year into our relationship and a month later from that we are pregnant with our first kid.

The hormones from pregnancy put us through the ringer and we had arguments frequently from that up through until our first child was about one or a little older. Things got better and we wanted to go for a second child. A month or so after that we, again, got pregnant and everything rolls through again. The hormones  came to kick our butt again and now here we are. Kid one is 2, kid two is 8 months and we are fighting every day.

The love that was there, non-existent. Constant talks of divorce every other day. I tell her I want to be there for her and want to be supportive. But I am guilty of letting the things she say get to me and I’ll snap back at her.

She tells me she cannot control the things she says when she gets upset and she doesn’t mean it, but the stuff that comes out of her mouth can be very very hurtful and I don’t want to put up with it. I always told myself I’d never be involved in a relationship that was constant fighting, but I want to push though because I know she’s a good person and I want this to work out. She always says that I can’t let that get to me and that she is just going through stuff right now and needs me to be patient and she knows that stuff she says isn’t right and she’s not happy about it, but she can’t control it. But I think we may be getting to the point that’s past that because now she’s changed her focus on the fact that now I’m always in the wrong because I mishandle or make the wrong decision.

Once she gets up I can see her go from 0 to 100 quick and there is no pulling her back once she is started to prevent that.

My question is this:

Has anyone here ever been in a similar situation? Multiple kids and at a point where things are about as low as can they can.

How do I respond to my wife when she gets upset and starts firing off in anger so that the issue doesn’t carry over into other issues I thought we had ironed out in the past?

What the heck do I do period???
Bookmark and Share

Offline AcousticDad

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Rec's: 1
  • Gender: Male
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
Hi HusbandNeedsHelp.

I am new to this community, but I can completely sympathize with your situation.

I too had two young sons when I had only been married about 4 years.  I was always a Type A/B combo because of my parents, but could roll with the punches like you said.  My wife (now ex-wife but for different reasons), was a Type A.  She never let on how depressed she was feeling, but it worsened after our second son.  She was working part time and i was working full time.  I wanted to give her a break so I became a stay-at-home dad and let her work full time.  It was more money for us and she could get out of the house more.  This eventually became an issue too and we fought more and more right up til we divorced. But the divorce was her choice. I hung n there until the end.  It was the best choice for us and our sons.  Now we communicate better.

But back to your situation. I think feelings of depression or fighting are common once you have children.  They happen for lots of reasons and sometimes only last a short bit and other times seem to go on.  I think that a big question is whether your wife felt any of what she feels now before you were married or before you had a child.  Sometimes we are all good at hiding these feelings or ignoring them.  If that was not the case, and you both want the relationship to work, I have a couple ideas.  Not medical advice, but things that have helped in my second marriage.

1) Try to make some time for the two of you to be alone for a couple hours.  Maybe a babysitter can help and give you time to reconnect without all the craziness of young ones running around. A simple dinner at home, a movie, a walk outside.

2) Maybe both of you can write down topics or things that are bothering you.  Putting it in writing can provide clarity.  Then you can find a time to discuss one topic and work that out.

3) Try to diffuse a situation before it begins (be it depression-related or anger).  This works best if both people are aware of the signs of something not being right.  But one person can always back down or ask to step away and take a time out.

4) Finding ways to show each other that you are still in love and support each other.  Maybe a note hidden for the other to find.  A nice text message.  A simple hug.  Actions speak loudly.

Counseling is also helpful, but it works best when you both want to do it.

I hope that helps a bit.  Just don't give up.  There are lots of resources and you are not alone in your situation.
Bookmark and Share

Offline AnxiousAlexis

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Rec's: 1
  • Gender: Female
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
I think just joining this is such an amazing first step! A lot of men just can't handle even trying to work things out, so good for you, your wife is a lucky lady.

I don't have any kids so not sure how to help with anything involving that but my boyfriend does deal with my anxiety and anger so I will try to offer some insight from both of us.

For me, when I get really angry it is usually because I am nervous and upset and don't know how to handle it so what works best is if he acknowledges that I am probably upset and getting too emotional, it gives me some self awareness to try to pull myself together a bit. I also tell him to try hard not to take my anger to heart because sometimes I say stupid, hurtful things that I really do not mean but I just get so wound up. When I am having a panic attack, he usually asks me what he wants me to do, which is actually not that helpful because I don't know how to answer. I'm so hyped up I don't even know what I'm doing.

He says for panic attacks his best advice is to try and read the situation. "If it is something particular that is causing the anxiety that you know you can help with, constantly tell her that you can help and that you will make it better. Usually, they are just having a panic attack for no reason or because of life in general and that is hard for us to watch because we just want to make them happy and knowing there isn't anything we can do is the worst. I usually try to hold her if she'll let me and if not I sit as close as possible without crowding her and constantly say reassuring things. Remind her to breathe, tell her everything is ok. Especially remind her that the way she is feeling now is not her real life. It is just her brain messing up her emotions and that she will get through it. That's the biggest thing because when they are panicked, they think everything is wrong and aren't thinking straight so it's important to let them know you will still be there through this and when they've calmed down too."

We also both went to couples therapy for a few months and it helped so much. We had talked about breaking up and therapy helped us realize that we were just communicating really poorly. It provided us a space to talk with someone who could help us make sense of the things we were saying. We also learned sometimes it is best to say nothing.

Also, every day we take at least 5 minutes to just sit with each other and tell each other what we like about our life together. Even if we're angry we still try and find at least one thing and we write it down on a chalkboard that hangs in our house so when it feels too much, we look at it and we see all the nice, loving things and we remember that a fight is sometimes just a fight and a natural part of a relationship.
Bookmark and Share

Offline DiJoPa

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 154
  • Rec's: 2
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
My advice to you - Be a SOURCE OF COMFORT.
By that I mean, give her LOTS of HUGS.
And, be sure, to tell her I LOVE YOU, every day.

Don't try to "fix" the problem.
You can't "fix" her.
Only she can do that.

It WILL take time.
So, be patient.
Bookmark and Share

Offline Stressed Jumper

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 301
  • Country: us
  • Rec's: 10
  • Gender: Female
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
Hello!  As the GAD spouse (controlled with Zoloft) spouse of a combat veteran with PTSD here is my best advice...

When she becomes irrationally angry try to remember that it is irrational and not really her talking but her depression/anxiety.  My husband can be the same way, fine one minute and raging the next.  Any little thing can set him off and even though his episodes are infrequent they are also out of the blue.  What I do is try to let it roll off my back, lay low until it passes, and then talk it out when he is thinking clearly again.

Obviously his situation is different than your wife's but trying to confront either of them when they have a mad on seems counterproductive.  You can't reason with someone who is irrational, only wait until it passes.  That being said my hubby and I have known each other since we were kids and have very good communication.  He is aware that he has a problem and that allows us to talk about it in a nonconfrontational way.

I agree with the previous post that couples therapy may be a huge help for you guys but only if you are both committed to it.  I also applaud you for seeking help instead of just throwing in the towel.  I wish you all the best.  Hang in there!
Bookmark and Share

Offline HusbandNeedsHelp

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Rec's: 1
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
Thank you very much everyone for your help and insight. I've not had a chance to read the responses yet, I will tonight.

Just wanted to say thanks and I'll respond Monday with follow up questions or anything else when I go back to work and have the free time to sit down and give this my full attention. 
Bookmark and Share

Offline sacrificeislove

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 11
  • Rec's: 1
  • Gender: Female
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member

Hello friend,

I am the anxious wife in my marriage. It is challenging for my husband to deal with me a lot of times, but we have learned different ways for us to calm me down. While we do not have kids (I imagine this to be harder with kids), I think I can still give you a few pointers. Some of the things that calm me down from anxiety is to go grocery shopping together or go out and get a smoothie. This way we are surrounded by other people and I am focusing on the things around me rather than my negative and impulsive thoughts. I've also learned to sometimes go to bed and then calm myself down for a few minutes and then get back up and give my husband a hug. I know that my anxiety will be back, but these short term tricks cool down the living situation at home. It's whatever works for you guys to make her happier and feel loved.
Bookmark and Share

Offline tinam7

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2517
  • Country: us
  • Rec's: 76
  • Gender: Female
    • Poke This Member
Everyone here has made superlative posts. I am an old timer with a long marriage and 2 grown kids. Were things always perfect? Hardly. Do I take full credit for keeping it all together? YES. He can disagree. Of course, I come from different times, long before Women's Lib. I am of Betty Friedan's generation and her ground breaking book, The Feminine Mystique.

It is indeed very hard to keep it all going. Compromises are likely to be needed. But it is all worth it, esp. to maintain a peaceful, loving environment for you and your darling children.
Bookmark and Share

Offline HusbandNeedsHelp

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
  • Rec's: 1
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
Hey Everyone!!!!

Ok, let me start by saying, yes again, THANK YOU.

Things, of course, are not perfect. But this past weekend (not even weekend but multiple days in a rowq) was the best weekend we've had in god knows how long....months.

We started off Friday pretty good too, and both agreed to try to not fight over the weekend. Saturday we had a couple very small scuffles in the AM but we got through them well. I used everyone’s words of wisdom as strength to assess how I were to handle the situation and I've been able to adjust how I react and to use/not to use certain words.

Sunday I think we had an argument as well but we got over that one easy too...all in all it was a great weekend.

Monday we had a huge blow out in the afternoon and things spiraled out of control a little bit and this morning even was kind of bad. The saving grace following all of these recent arguments is that when the dust settles she acknowledges that she wishes she could control things better and that she hates the constant fighting and wishes it were better.

I know the constant fighting is really putting a toll on her (and me, but i can suck it up) and she’s struggling to figure out what to do/how to deal with it all.



AcousticDad - I like your suggestions.

1)Both of our kids are generally down and asleep by 730 (love having a schedule) and we go to the garage where we have some furniture and a tv to relax and unwind at the end of the night and we get ready and get to sleep at 10. So we do have the alone time, but it surely could be better utilized. Its usually spent silent, I’m on the phone playing some game unwinding from my day and she the same.

2) The writing down topics thing i foresee causing more issues and she does a great job at letting me know what she needs fixed on my end. I'm very low maintenance and can let (just about) anything roll off my back and all the issues I'd want her to fix are clearly things she cant control at the moment.

3) diffusing a situation - This I have a problem with (some have touched on this in their replies also already). I know exactly when she starts getting stressed and starts to loose her cool everything just rollercoasters out of control and there is no bringing her back in. She says "all you need to do is say sorry and it could be better" so I use that and say "sorry" right off the back, and its not the right thing to say at that time and I need to be more "real" with her. The big thing is i cant say "go take a break and we can talk about this at a later time when the dust settles" because of things in her past, she thinks that I'm dismissing her and walking away or trying to shut her up.

4) this is certainly needed I just have trouble finding new/original ideas. But i just need to boost this imagination.


Alexis - I really like your last point. I'm absolutely going to find some old dry erase board we have (somewhere) and hang it up and jot some notes and stuff down for her to see.

Also, send a big 'thank you' to your boyfriend for me. His words helped out this past weekend in some of our confrontations. The reminding that everything is ok and its not her fault, its her body doing this to her. The consoling her part is tricky. She’s gotten upset because I don’t hug her and show her love, yet the times I do decide to go in for the hug/affection she pushes away and says its not the time. I then get aggravated because at one time she says to show affection and others she pushes it away when I try....i must have really bad timing.

DiJoPa – Thanks…I’ll roll through it the best I can.

Jumper Firstly – Thank your husband for me for all he’s done. I did 6 Years in the military and have a CAM myself, however; luckily do not fight with PTSD.

I used your words this weekend too regarding the counter productivity regarding reasoning with someone who is being irrational. When I find myself trying to explain something it only makes it worse, so I do my best to answer what I need to, and hold off on everything else.

SacrificeIsLove Unfortunately, the quick getaways are not an option (as a couple anyway) due to the kiddo issue. And her form of relaxing is finding that quite place and cool down, which is cool with me. But I like your advice because it cements what was said by AcousticDad in his first point with the alone time and getting out of the situation.

Tinam7 I will compromise all day if needed and appreciated. I Love this woman and want to make it work because I know shes a great person, just struggling with some stuff she cant control. Looking forward to being in it for the long haul like you’ve been able to accomplish.


Additional Questions

1)   She she goes off in her anger and says all the small comments that she knows will get under my skin, she (like Alexis has said) says not to take it to heart and that she doesn’t mean it. But I feel like the stuff she says MUST has some truth to it. I cant understand why she would continuously repeat the things she says if there were not a shred of truth to it. I view it as being drunk and letting something slip out. You don’t mean to say it, but that truth is hidden there somewhere and you let it slip out. Is this a fair comparison or does she truly not mean it and just goes for anything she knows will upset me in her flair ups? 

….I knew I had other questions and should have written them down, I cant remember any others at this time.

The counseling things is on the table for me, just a matter of when she will want to commit. My job offers something like 6 sessions as a couple and a few individual counselling sessions free of charge for both me and my spouse, and then if we need extra we can get them discounted, all completely anonyms.  She’s skeptical of the anonymity of the sessions but I assure her that they are (as I am told and set up outside of my work as it is) and its free so who cares. That will come when it falls into place I suppose.

Again…thanks everyone and contribute any other insight you may have as well. You all have helped greatly and I’ll continue to ask away when something else comes up. And even see if there are some parts that I can help out others as well.
Bookmark and Share

Offline Stressed Jumper

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 301
  • Country: us
  • Rec's: 10
  • Gender: Female
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
I am glad we were able to help a bit!  Regarding the nasty comments she may be telling the truth...there might not be any truth to them...but perhaps she is using then to intentionally get under your skin.  Whether they are true or not they hurt you and if inflicting emotional pain is the goal then these little jibes are an effective weapon.

The better two people know each other the more "dirt" they have on each other.  Both my hubby and my be have known me for 20+ years and could cut my heart out in about three sentences.  They know my fears, my weaknesses, and my hopes and dreams...and I trust them not to turn these against me.  I don't have any great advice on how to get a his across to your wife but perhaps a therapist could help there. 

Until then try to remember that something doesn't have to be true to be used as a weapon...her words may hurt but in the end they are just lies.

Hang in there and keep us posted!
Bookmark and Share

Offline tinam7

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2517
  • Country: us
  • Rec's: 76
  • Gender: Female
    • Poke This Member
Great feedback. For the kiddos I'll fly to the moon. And so should you two. Lots of people disagree with me. We, the adults, come first. No, I say, the kiddies do. We bring them into this world. They only want to receive and give love.

When they're asleep, watch them together. Promise each other to not expect to be each other's shrink, but to be gentle, considerate, and only loving to each other. Be careful in your words, bear no grudges and start each day anew.
Bookmark and Share

Offline AcousticDad

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Rec's: 1
  • Gender: Male
  • Personal text
    • Poke This Member
Thanks for taking the time to reply to all of us. We're happy to hear of your progress and new questions.

Life is tough already.  Being married, having children, trying to find happiness each day is challenging.  By what you've written, it 's easy to see that you care about your wife and your family.  And it sounds like you are doing all you can do.  Do not get discouraged.  No matter what you may see, we all have to work at marriage or being parents.  There is no manual because every couple or parent is unique.

Try new things.  If your wife responds positively to one idea or you have a great few days, look at what you can do to replicate that. It's not easy, but see if you can figure out what is working.  If you have a rough patch, consider what is being said and if it shows any changes (since last time you argued).

Finally, if you feel that your wife is spiraling alot and you can't seem to slow or ease the anger that one or both of you feel, it may be time to consider if there is a hobby or cathartic way to release the tension. Some people like to run, others like to box, play tennis or racquet ball.  You may not have alot of time, but finding an activity that uses alot of aerobic energy can reduce some of these emotions.  Just something to consider.
Bookmark and Share

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
5 Replies
1949 Views
Last post May 14, 2011, 05:40:23 PM
by 1thingeveryday
3 Replies
2207 Views
Last post April 16, 2012, 03:32:21 PM
by EmmaLeighAnn
2 Replies
251 Views
Last post April 24, 2012, 04:43:34 PM
by hentr
4 Replies
461 Views
Last post December 27, 2012, 03:19:26 AM
by greenzebra
2 Replies
415 Views
Last post February 10, 2014, 11:02:01 AM
by sdd
2 Replies
387 Views
Last post February 26, 2014, 01:05:56 PM
by Stressed Jumper

anything