I had my first panic attack at age 12 while in Gatlinburg with my grandparents. I developed GAD in 1999 after my grandfather died, and since that time I have dealt with both, suffered from both.
I am 35 and married, We have no children, which I am thankful for, because worrying about me and my wife is enough for me to handle. I do not in any way handle stress well - I never have. My wife for the most part has always been supportive, but she does not suffer from either of these, and doesn't completely understand, which isnt her fault. It is what it is.
My wife is very independent and strong. I do my best to put on this strong exterior of "the man" ... and it is one of the hardest things I have to do, every day of my life.
It is hard being a man, and having mental disease. No matter how much we read, or are told that "its okay to show your feelings" the truth is that it isnt always. Women look at men differently when they appear weak, or get emotional. No woman wants her man to be like that. My wife tells me it is okay, but I can see in her face, just beyond the surface that it bothers her.
When I am feeling stressed, and at my breaking point, I take a shower, sit in the tub and sob. I do this, so my wife will not hear me.
We travel to London in 3 weeks, and I am terrified about the flight. That long, over nothing but water paralyzes me. When I have brought this up to friends, they look at me as if I am joking, or am being ridiculously silly. One has even said, "my 4 year old has flown with us to Germany, and she was fine." What a great thing to say to someone who has just confided in you about their fears.. tell them that a child handles it better than they do. If I were a woman, I feel like I would have all the support and comfort in the world. But because I am a man, I am expected to suck it up because.... well, I am man.