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How to Take Care of Yourself When Your Partner Has an Anxiety Disorder

by Mike · 362 comments

All couples have their share of challenges. 

But when one half of a couple has an Anxiety Disorder, partners face a whole new set of challenges. And the issues associated with Anxiety Disorders may exacerbate many of the normal issues that couples face.

One partner may not know how to help his or her significant other and becomes frustrated, angry, resentful or feel guilty, sad or hopeless about the situation. Over time, this will severely hamper your ability to care for your partner with a Anxiety Disorder.

It is important that you understand that you need to take care of yourself. Immersing yourself in your partner’s Anxiety Disorder can be debilitating, and you are not being selfish to want to have a break.

How can an Anxiety Disorder affect a couple’s relationship?

An Anxiety Disorder can take a major toll on a couple. A study done by the Anxiety Disorders Association America in 2004 reveals in great detail how a couple’s relationship is affected. Although it only studied people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), it likely holds true for people with other Anxiety Disorders. 

The study found that a couple’s relationship suffered the most compared to other personal relationships, such as friends and family. People with GAD were twice as likely to have at least one relationship problem, and three times more likely to avoid being intimate with their partner. In addition, 75 percent said that they felt their disorder impaired their ability to perform normal activities with their partner, such as going out and social activities.

How can you help yourself if your partner has an Anxiety Disorder?

Living with an Anxiety Disorder is associated with a great deal of personal distress. But it can be equally hard for a partner. The reality of living with a partner with an anxiety disorder is not how most people imagined their lives would turn out.

It is extremely important — and not selfish — for the partners of individuals with an Anxiety Disorder to take care of themselves as well as for their partner. Here are some tips to help you cope:

  • Don’t give up your own life and interests. Engaging in outside interests and hobbies can provide a much-needed break from the stress of your daily life. You will be more energized, happier, healthier and better prepared to face challenges. It is important to take this time for yourself and not become completely consumed with your partner’s disorder.
  • Have your own social life. Whether it’s going out to eat with a friend, singing in the church choir, or going to club meetings, it is essential that you get out and away from your partner from time to time.
  • Keep active and exercise. Regular exercise can help you feel more positive, and gives you energy and stamina. It will help you get out of the house and get your mind off your stressful situation. 
  • Eat healthy. Having a balanced diet will not only help the way you feel, but will help the way you think.
  • Maintain a support system. Having friends and family to confide in and count on — as well as assist you emotionally, financially and in other ways when your partner cannot — is vital for an individual whose partner has an Anxiety Disorder. You can feel isolated and overwhelmed by problems sometimes, and having someone to talk to helps greatly. There are support groups for caregivers in many communities.
  • Relax. Take the time to relax just for yourself. You may have a favorite activity such as reading, gardening or listening to music. Or you may just enjoy sitting and enjoying the scent of a candle. The important thing is that you regularly take time for yourself.
  • Express yourself. Our creativity often goes unnoticed, even by ourselves, much less given a regular outlet. Find a way to express your emotions and needs on a regular basis, such as journaling, blogging, painting, writing or some other method.
  • Set boundaries. Decide where your limits lie and inform your partner of those. These might be emotional, financial, physical, etc. For example, if your partner is not working and is not doing anything to try to become well such as seeking treatment, you may need to have a serious discussion about your expectations and how to move forward to improve the situation. Couples therapy can often help with this.
  • Seek out professional help for yourself if necessary. The recovery process can be stressful for partners of people with Anxiety Disorders. Your well-being is just as important as your partner’s. If you need someone to talk to, or you think you may be suffering from symptoms of anxiety or depression yourself, you should talk to your doctor or consider visiting a mental health care professional yourself.

What do you think?

If you are the partner of someone with Anxiety Disorder, you know how hard it can be sometimes. You should not feel guilty or selfish for regularly taking the time and energy to take care of yourself!

  • Are you the partner of someone with Anxiety Disorder or another mental disorder?
  • What have you learned about taking care of yourself?
  • Have you experienced emotions such as frustration, guilt or anger? How have you overcome them?

What can you do now?

Your comments are always welcome, and are important to this blog’s community! Leave a comment now.

You can find several related articles in the “Related Posts” list below. Click on the Categories tab at the top of the page for a complete list of all articles. And don’t forget the Google Custom Search field in the right sidebar, too!

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Resources used in this post:
Anxiety Disorders Association of America. (2004). New Survey Reveals How Generalized Anxiety Disorder Interferes with Ability to Maintain “Healthy” Relationships. Retrieved April 29, 2005 from Anxiety Disorders Association of America Web site: http://www.adaa.org/aboutADAA/newsletter/newsurvey04.htm

Anxiety Disorders Association of America. (2008). When Your Partner Has an Anxiety Disorder. Retrieved July 16, 2008 from Anxiety Disorders Association of America Web site: http://www.adaa.org/gettinghelp/MFarchives/MonthlyFeatures(june07).asp

Framingham, Jane. (2007, October 23). 10 Tips to Help Yourself. Retrieved June 27, 2008 from Psych Central Web site: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/10-tips-to-help-yourself/

Further reading:

Caregiver.com 

Strength for Caring  

Well Spouse Association   
©2008 Anxiety, Panic & Health. All rights reserved.

{ 359 comments… read them below or add one }

Gemma August 16, 2013 at 8:14 pm

My ex partner has anxiety blames me for giving him it he dropped me then said he would give it another go but when he stayed at my house he said his anxiety comes and he gets muscle spasms but when he’s not near me he doesn’t get it. I know the last time when we split up I said fateful things to him I didn’t mean none of it I was angry now I blame myself cause he blames me on it all we aren’t together an he’s the love of my life seems I’ve messed it up

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Elly September 10, 2013 at 3:24 am

I don’t think you should blame yourself at all. We all say things we don’t mean when we’re angry and upset. It’s possible he just attaches memories to locations and finds it hard to be somewhere where it wasn’t a good place for either of you. My partner has anxiety so I can relate, but I really don’t think he should be blaming you FOR the anxiety. It’s so much more than that and I feel like perhaps he’s just using that as a mask for the real issues.

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Aelissa Rodriquez October 7, 2013 at 12:23 am

Thank you. I needed new ways to deal with my boyfriends anxiety and your website really provided me with good information. I’m going to remain standing by his side and have faith in God because i know there will be brighter days. Once again id like to say thank you.

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Aelissa Rodriquez October 7, 2013 at 12:23 am

Thank you. I needed new ways to deal with my boyfriends anxiety and your website really provided me with good information. I’m going to remain standing by his side and have faith in God because i know there will be brighter days. Once again id like to say thank you.

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June November 15, 2014 at 10:39 pm

This website is a good start for me. My husband and I are in couples counseling now after years of resentment and anger have built up. He was just diagnosed from our counselor with social anxiety disorder. It has really been distructive in our marriage. I too play a role because I have been enabling him and not taking care of my own needs. We have a long road ahead… Not sure if I have the patience after years of resentment have built, but I’m hoping he gets the help he needs now.

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jen November 16, 2014 at 12:47 am

June, Thanks for your honesty. My husband suffers from anxiety and depression. Regarding the resentment in your relationship, I have two words for you: Terry Real. He’s a brilliant, expert couples counselor and expert on male depression and anxiety. Our therapists (individual and couples) are both trained in his technique and we just met Terry Real at a couples experimental workshop recently. He’s a miracle worker. After my personal therapist met my husband for the first time, she said “I have so much more sympathy for you. I couldn’t do it…” I know that was unprofessional but that’s how bad it is. He’s gotten miles and miles better since we starting reading Terry Real’s books and following his techniques. If you cannot go to one of his workshops try to see a specialist in your area and pick up a couple of his books. I wish you all the best.

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June November 17, 2014 at 9:38 pm

Thanks Jen, I’m going to look him up right now! I need all the help I can get too. Nice to know others have similar issues. I’ll let you know how it turns out

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Trish Collins May 14, 2015 at 1:57 pm

I have always tried to take time for myself. This is getting increasingly difficult, since my husband’s anxiety seems to center around me building a life without him. Now he wants to know were I am every second and wants to come with me everywhere. He wants me to constantly reassure him that I love him, but the clingier he gets, the less I feel it. I just got my son through MDD and acute anxiety, i don’t have the energy for this.

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L May 19, 2015 at 9:44 am

Trish, I am right where you are. It has been 12 years here of dealing with my husband’s health anxiety. our sex life is gone, I have NO desire.I have so much anger and resentment. He doesn’t get sex so feels more anxiety, he gets clingier and all I feel like doings one days is running away. I also have a son with OCD, and it is all I can do to take care of him and his mental health. My patience for the husband’s issues is GONE. He won’t see it, though.

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shaun July 6, 2015 at 10:46 pm

Hi my name is shaun. I need some help pls.my girl friend has panic disorder. We recently had an emotional outbreak. I always your eyes are more beautiful than all the stars in the galaxy, and coments like this to here. Today she found a old post to one of my ex gielfriends that had this on a picture witch I posted. She asked mebif she wasbthe one I saidbthis to and I said yes not remembering I used to say it to someone else. I understand why she is upset but don’t know what to do to fix it. I love her with all my heart and will always stand by her side and support her but I don’t know how I can if she dosnt trust in me. She told me she needs time to think. This has left me in a position wherr I feel like my whole world is falling apart around me. And I am lost. This is me tring to figure something out that I can and will do to prove my love and devotion to her. Any sugestions?

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Mike July 12, 2015 at 10:30 am

I have been with my girlfriend who has an anxiety disorder for 3 years now. I lover her and I genuinely want to be there to support her, I have tried as hard as I can to always be there when she needs me; sometimes stay up for hours in the night just trying to help her relax and fall asleep.
I do believe that she is amazing, because despite her disorder she actively is trying to get better and she doesn’t want to push all of her anxiety on me, even though she does have her hurtful outbursts at times.
The problem is that I can feel myself starting to feel resentment because it is getting to the point where I don’t feel as though I can depend on her. I don’t feel like I can depend on her to comfort me if I may be in need or even depend on her to do me a small favor for me while I’m at work because the stress of it is to much for her. It’s hard for me to still be there for her unconditionally while I don’t feel as though she is capable of being there for me. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if I am being selfish or if anyone has ideas of how I can talk to her about this. My worry is that my resentment will eventually keep growing and my love for her will fade so I would be grateful for any advice.

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Beate July 20, 2015 at 6:45 am

Mike, I have a partner who is suffering with panic attacks, and we’ve been together 3 years now. I understand what you’re going through, I have the same thoghts about him being unable to support me when I need it, he is the one who always needs support. I have my own problems with insomnia and I manage my problems by myself, and I feel his problems drag me down and make my problems worse. I am afraid I ‘n no strong enoght to be for him all the tme. There are also some other issues, like his teenage daughter from his previous marriage, who he is not capable to control, as he has problems with himself..
We think about buying a house together but I am afraid everything falls on me, his disease, his daughter, econony issues.. You are not being selfish, not everybody are strong eniught to deal with their parntnes disease.

I think the most important thing we can de is to encourage them to get treatment, both farmacological and in form of therapy.

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Christina July 20, 2015 at 2:41 am

I’m so glad I stumbled across this website! Knowing that other people are going through similar situations…I’m so glad I’m not alone!

My fiancé deals with anxiety, OCD, and depression. We’ve been together for over five years (with many ups and downs) and we got engaged this past year. I’m at a point where I don’t know what to do and have been reconsidering getting married. I find myself constantly apologizing for “rushing” him, cleaning cluttered rooms where he has “hoarder style” piles of things everywhere, and for accidentally interrupting him during his rituals…all of which result in longer rituals, counting, etc. He started to try taking medication this past year but is not consistent with taking it, doesn’t keep open communication with doctors, and generally hasn’t been committed to any kind of treatment/management. I’ve even tried helping him eat healthier and attempted joint exercise programs to, perhaps, better equip his body to handle/deal with stress, but I end up feeling like his “mother”, he becomes even more dependent, and all of it becomes “my effort”. I know this is his journey, and he has to decide that he wants to do something about his anxiety and OCD. I just don’t know that I can patiently wait while he decides to make this a priority. He is miserable and has said on several occasions, “I hate having to count…I hate feeling like this.” However, it doesn’t change the behaviors.

We have had discussions about this and he ends up getting very upset and defensive. When I think of the stressful demands of things in our future…buying a house, having and raising a family…I’m not positive that I can count on support from him, and I honestly feel like those situations will find him in a worse place because of the stresses that can occur. I have finally admitted to myself that I am resentful and it was that eureka moment that led me to look for confirmation that I wasn’t just being a selfish person. I’m not sure what the future holds but I know it can’t continue as it is. I apologize for the long story, but I feel that venting actually helped a little. Thank you for your article! Positive thoughts and support go out to everyone going through similar situations!

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August July 25, 2015 at 9:35 am

I feel the exact same way Christina. I’ve been with my fiance’ for 2 1/2 years and I resent that he didn’t disclose his anxiety to me. We set a date for next year, but often times I feel like giving up. I feel selfish in my thoughts, while other times I want to keep fighting and helping. All the while I’m feeling drained from sleepless nights of concern, while he’s in the house pacing and dealing with the threat someone is in the house to get him. I’ve been reading countless of articles and information on anxiety just so I can better understand and help the both of us deal.

This article and the comments brought more tears to my eyes, because it’s was encouraging to know that I’m not alone. So many suffer in silence, both the one dealing with anxiety and the spouse or significant other.

Sadly, after all my readings, I get the impression there isn’t a cure. You either take medication or find ways to cope and talk yourself through it, with the help of your supporters. :(

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Katherine July 25, 2015 at 2:30 pm

This website helped me a lot during the hardest parts of my husband’s anxiety, though this is the first time I’ve written – probably because I have something positive to say! It had been a very difficult 12 years of mood swings (I felt like I couldn’t say or do anything right, though it never ever did have to do with me), suicide fears, panic attacks, etc, but with medication combined with as needed counseling and group meetings, he is doing so much better. Not cured, of course, but not hating himself all the time. So I just wanted to share that it is worth it to keep helping and supporting, because they need it and deserve it.

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Shaun July 25, 2015 at 4:27 pm

Hi its shaun I posted on july 6.
Just looking for alittle support maybe some.opinions on how to work threw the hard times. Ok so here goes.
My rommate who is male can calm my girlfriend down when she is anxious. Its hard for me as I would like to be the one to be able to do it.
They spend more time together than me and her do and my thoughts wander sometimes. They go into his room and talk and when they come out she’s better but it makes me wonder I know that its nothing more than support but its the feelings I have. Just tring to sort threw them. Last night my roomate had his kids over we had a slumber party in the livimg room. I had to sleep on the couch as there was not enough room for everybody on the air matresses. So it was my girl him and his kids and her friend on the airmatresses and me alone on the couch. Witch kinda sucks. It buggs me cause he sleeps next to her when it should be me who is beside her. At about 4 am she got up and crawled into our bed in the room. I got up after she was sleeping in the room and went and laid on the floor in the room just incase she woke up so she knew.someone was there with her. I woke up this morni g and she was in his room with him talking again. My mind wandered again. Any sugestions or comment were br greatly apreciated so I can work through this as I love her with all my heart and soul.just need a little help to grt threw these feeling.
I know there’s nothing going on but my brain is playing wiyh my heart. Thank you for any support.

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Anne July 25, 2015 at 5:41 pm

Please don’t start a marriage with these feelings. Anxiety is
A long haul. Your fiancé was not up front with you
He sounds very entrenched in his disease. It does not get better
As the one suffering or the one suffering from watching
The anxiety riddled loved one try to deal. Just don’t go there
It is a hard and unhappy life. Especially when ustart a family because all
Those happy moments become difficult and encumbered with
The anxiety instead if the joy. Just please don’t marry someone
Knowing they suffer from anxiety and depression. It
Is sad and does sound selfish but protect yourself.
Good luck to you both.

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Mike July 26, 2015 at 9:33 pm

Beat,
Yeah, it sucks to feel like your partner can’t support you in need. I don’t really need much emotional support but the very few times that I did and I reached for her she wasn’t there to help me. I think that she thought that I was just doing it for attention because she told me that I was being whinny which really frustrated me because of all the times I have comforted her over absolutely nothing. But I did talk to her about it later and it made me feel better.

Moving is hard. We have moved twice, the first time she was great and help out a lot but the second time I felt like I did the majority of not all the work.
However, what helps me the most is reminding myself that sometimes she just can’t handle things but there are still many strengths that she does have that I can depend on her for. I know for a fact that she loves me and when she is not panicking she is always greatful for me being by herside. It helps me ALOT to talk to her afterwards about things that she did that bothered me but ALWAYS bringing it up in a nonjudgmental, non-angry, and non-defensive way. It always surprises me how understanding she is when a issue is brought up in the right circumstances and right way and how willing she is to at least try to change what she is doing. Maybe if you try doing these things it could help a little

Although, the teenager adds an entirely new element. I agree the best thing we can to is encourage and I’m doing my best without losing my patience. We have also gone to a counselor together a few times and it helps unbelievably! It may be something you guys could do, especially with the kid.

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You Can Do It! July 26, 2015 at 9:53 pm

Anne- I do see where you are coming from but I don’t think that anxiety should hold you back from being with someone who you love.

Everybody!- I have had many extreamly happy moment with my girlfriend and I know that there are many more to come. There are times that it sucks and where I have to pick her up and sacrifice things that I may not have to in a relationship without anxiety, which is why I need to vent sometimes, but her anxiety has also gotten us interested in new things and are always looking for things together to benefit her and also make me feel relaxed too, like going to cute tea shops, yoga classes, meditation classes, or couples messages. we even are planning to go to Thialand and to see the temples out there!

I strongly believe that if there is a will there is a way, I know that she will never be cured of her anxiety but I do believe that she will be able to get better in different ways as long she has a will to do it. She will always have her downs but she has already has been doing much better just by making small changes in her life. I hope that this will help encourage you guys to keep chugging along and enjoy the good times with your loved one. Only looking at the negatives will bring both of you down

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Huang July 29, 2015 at 7:43 pm

My husband has very serious anxiety. I don’t know how to deal with this anymore. I’m living in the condition that worry about if he feels happy or not everyday. Because he might come home with anger and talk to me in a very annoyed attitude. And he forgets things easily. He asks me the same things again and again and says he can’t remember. If I don’t wanna response to him he will get very mad and yell at me. The reason why I don’t want to response him is I know that we will have a big fight again. I really don’t know what to do. I really feel so depressed.
He always says I don’t have sympathy for his anxiety. But he never know that it is also very stressful to live with someone who has serious anxiety.
I was very happy and optimistic. But now I cry a lot. I really feel so alone. I don’t know who I can talk to. My husband never understands that I also feel depressed just like how he feels when he is having the bout.
(Sorry for my bad English. I’m not a English speaker.)

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no good July 30, 2015 at 1:14 am

I’m not a specialist or anything but that doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship. I would get out of there if I were you, it sounds like it could be borderline abusive and it will get worse if you stay. It’s not ever right to take all of his anger out on you and blame you for it, no matter how bad his anxiety is. Do you have friends, family or a counselor to talk to? You should at least get some type of support system

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Huang July 30, 2015 at 6:01 pm

Thank you for your reply. I don’t want my family or friends to worry about me. I also don’t think they can really understand what I’m going through that’s why I came here to see if there is anyone who also has similar situation like I do.
I didn’t know anything about anxiety until I met my husband. I want to know what kind of anxiety he is having.
He complains things almost everyday. He can’t sleep well everyday. Feeling tired everyday. Can’t remember things well that effect his work much. Easily to get angry if he is having the bout. BUT none of his friends notices this because he is very nice to friends.(like a pushover)
The thing I feel curious is how can a person who has anxiety only get mad at his wife while always being nice to his friends? What kind of anxiety is this?
I want to leave but I still care about him and I do have sympathy for him. I want to find a way to reduce the conflict. If I still can’t make things better then I will leave because he seems really can’t believe or care I’m suffering too.

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NH August 5, 2015 at 6:09 pm

Can I ask a question?
Living with a partner with anxiety…………..someone who wants me home at a certain time each day or he gets angry ththat i’I’m ‘late’…………..who doesn’t want me visiting my relatives (on my school holidays from work) daily even though it’s my time to spend how I wish surely? as he is at work and I am home alone………..who says I don’t understand his anxiety…………..I feel I need to set some boundaries so I can feel like me again, do some of the things I enjoyed before him, do things i want without letting him feel I don’t care about him/have abandoned …………..what boundaries have people found helped to set with their partners with anxiety? Any books to recommend?

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JT August 5, 2015 at 6:44 pm

I haven’t posted here for years but I thought I’d give an update to my current situation as it might help some of the more recent posters. My husband suffers from pretty bad anxiety and depression and probably some PTSD related to being raised by at least one (possibly two) depressed parents (untreated) that had borderline personality disorder. We’ve been together for 8 years and married for 5. Things “hit the fan” so to speak about 4 years ago after our first child was born. I commented on this forum a lot back then. Since then, we’ve been through about 3 couple’s therapists, have attended exactly two very expensive couples’ seminars, he’s had 3 or 4 individual therapists and is on his 2nd psychiatrist. One would think that after ALL of this, we would have given up. But I saw small improvements with each change – even with each session. We now how the perfect match – a couple’s therapist who treats my husband’s past trauma and “treats” our marriage alongside that therapy. He’s a trauma specialist. We have a psychiatrist who’s very attentive to his medicinal doses and makes tweaks when needed. We are incredibly happy and very stable. We are buying a new house and planning a second child.

He was NOT an easy case to treat but the last thing I wanted for our child was a broken family so I put everything I had into it. The last straw was when his previous therapist encouraged him to leave his family, quit his job and move to Ecuador to “follow his bliss” or some such nonsense. That’s when I got involved and essentially fired her (or I convinced my husband to switch to someone else which was no easy task… he trusted her but when I pointed out that she was not really licensed and had gone to an unaccredited school, he was convinced. Beware of quacks!) She was the last “bad” piece of the puzzle.

My husband is the kindest, sweetest, talented most brilliant person you’ll ever meet. He’s a catch. The catch was, unfortunately, he suffered from some mental illness. I do not agree with people who say “run as fast as you can…” from your spouse or fiance. These people suffer just like someone with Diabetes or Lupus. It just manifests itself in ways that are hard to separate from the person you love.

The thing that I’d say is most important is that YOU have to become an expert – as much as you can. I read books on depression, anxiety, BPD. I wasn’t trying to treat my husband but understand him so that I could respond better when his illness affected his behavior. Actually, I’d say that was the 2nd most important thing. The MOST important thing is to get the right treatment and medication. Find an accredited therapist, interview several until you find someone who feels like a good fit. Switch if you need to. Go to someone who won’t just treat your partner alone but will treat you as a couple while dealing with the illness. Part of our problem was that the therapists tried to treat him as an individual only, encouraging him to make decisions that were bad for the family thus pushing him deeper into depression (god, I wish I could sue her!). Or you get into to couple’s therapy and they don’t know the first thing about treating someone with depression and anxiety. Your partner MUST be willing to get treatment however, including medication. With the right treatment, therapy and support, I believe anyone can survive this.

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Huang August 5, 2015 at 7:02 pm

Thank you for sharing your experience. My husband is trying to see a psychiatrist soon. Your post reminded me of that.(We haven’t really made an appointment yet.) I asked my husband to read my post here. He can understand how I’m suffering now. We are trying to improve his anxiety and health. He is taking meditation classes and thinking about trying marijuana to calm him down too. Hope things will get better. Don’t let his anxiety to effect you is very important. This is one thing I really need to learn.

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Nikol August 11, 2015 at 3:28 pm

hi there,i am glad i found this opportunity to share my problem with you guys and i feel glad that i am not alone in this..Me and my boyfriend are together 3 years now and from the first day i knew that it wouldnt be easy.He is 37 years old and i am 35.He had a rough childhood due to the fact that his both parents died when he was 9 and 11 years old from cancer.He was raised by his aunt and her family and had a kind of normal childhood.The problem is that as a child he never discussed with a therapist because they thought that he was ok but his emotional pain and loss grew inside him..He went at the age of 25 to a therapist(he had anxiety,depression,panick attack) and had been taking medication ever since.Recently he decided to stop medication and i was fully supportive on his decision..Two months after the cut the big problems started..We live in Greece and as you know the economical situation is pretty difficult for all of us.He doesnt work now and he had to face some economical issues but not in a serious level.I tried to be supportive and discuss with him about everything to calm him down.Its useless..He cant sleep and eat and is always negative.Though i have my own problem of unemployment i am generally more open and optimistic as person and his attitude is just killing me…We have talked so much but i dont know what to do to make him smile..I know that in this period all the negative points off his life are triggered but i love him so much and i dont know what to do to help him..he recently started taking medication again and i believe that this just will cover up his problems and not solve them permanently.We rarely go out because his is never in a good mood,he is a always lost in his thoughts and when we meet with friends he always talks about problems.. i feel so angry and frustrated that we fight every day..He said that he loves me very much and he is feeling guilty that he makes me feel that way.I dont want to leave him but i have to find a way to be patient and deal with his anxiety…I really feel lost and alone..

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Jan August 26, 2015 at 6:55 am

My husband has suffered with mild anxiety over the years but has always managed to cope with it. 7 years ago he became self employed, unfortunately the business never really got off the ground, he had a good two years but then the work just stopped coming in, he then lost his Dad, which was made even more traumatic by my husband desperately trying to revive him but he had had a massive heart attack and even the paramedics said they would not have been able to save him. He had always suffered from mild claustrophobia too, he would not travel in lifts or visit very enclosed spaces etc, but this did not represent a problem in general. But over the months after his Dad died his behaviour changed and the symptoms of both the anxiety and claustrophobia got worse. My husband has always driven long distances in his work and shortly after his dad died he became very anxious about travelling to places he didn’t know, he worried he would get lost and would not be able to find his way home. He became almost obsessive about me travelling to London daily in my job, worrying that something bad was going to happen. I tried to reassure him that nothing bad would happen but he just got worse. Due to him not working finances became strained, relatives chipped in with money for food etc while i covered the bills, kids costs etc. At this point he was still telling me that he would get an employed job to support our family. He did get a job but within 2 months of being there he went on sick leave with anxiety after having a panic attack whilst driving. He went to the doctor who referred him for CBT counselling. They focused on his claustrophobia and said that the anxiety he was experiencing was making that condition worse. He gave up the counselling after about 6 sessions as he said he wasn’t learning anything he didn’t already know. He was eventually sacked after being off work for 4 months. This was two years ago and since then he has not worked. I feel very resentful of him because he won’t talk about how he feels he just keeps saying he feels ok and then cuts me off. I do not understand if he is ok why won’t he get a job. I have told him that it is no longer for financial reasons that I want him to get a job but for his own wellbeing. I suggested that maybe he does some voluntary work to start with he just keeps saying i’ll look into it but doesn’t. If he worked 2 hours a week i wouldn’t care at least he was doing something and getting out of the house. I feel resentful but sad for him at the same time. I’m trying to remain positive for our children but it is hard, I find myself doing more things on my own than with him as he is not up to it. We have been married for 21 years and I did not think at my age life would be like this. I find myself making future plans without him. I still love him but i’m not sure how much longer I can live with this. I keep telling myself that he must feel terrible and that he did not want his life to turn out like this either but he doesn’t seem to want to help himself.

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Terri August 31, 2015 at 8:42 pm

HELP!!! I started dating someone with severe anxiety and depression. He has been battling this for a decade. He told me he was on kolonopin for anxiety but it wasn’t a big deal. I wasn’t familiar with the medication. We were so into each other. He really wanted to try to make this work. I could feel it. But I started noticing patterns. We would make plans to hangout and he would often cancel early the days we were suppose to. He would say he had a list of chores he had to get to and was tired from work. He said lets just hangout out another day and we would. I tried to be understanding but it was hurtful since he kept doing it. We hung out for about 4 weeks. I fell for this man so quickly and so fast. He was such a sweet person and we had a strong connection. He recently sent me a text saying it wasn’t fair to be dating me because he is dealing with this and he can’t give me the attention I deserve. I’m devastated. I want to talk to him but he asked for space and told me he wasn’t doing well and maybe he could talk to me later when he is better. He said that I was a wonderful person and that this sucks. He said his therapist thought this was the best thing. I know it has only been a short time but I care about him so much. I sent him a beautiful card in the mail saying I hope you feel better soon. I wish he would trust me so that I can understand and be there for him. He deserves to be happy! What should I do? Can anyone dealing with this give me some advice. Should I wait to hear from him? Should I reach out to him? Or should I just move on. My heart is aching. :(

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Chance September 1, 2015 at 1:41 am

Hello all!! I’ve been reading through many of your posts and have noticed that there isn’t much feedback. I am not a professional but I can say there is hope! For both of you to live happy lives!

I really recommend that you all post your stories on http://depressionfallout.org/messageboard.php or at least read through other people’s posts. It is an amazing board where people really try to help you and there are even some therapists and doctors that post their knowledge to try. Oh and it’s free! Just a bunch of people dealing with the same kind of situation and trying to support each other through.

I know you guys are probably saying “my significant other doesn’t have depression, just anxiety” but Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is in fact a form of depression. I thought the same way about my partner until I started reading up and found this site, I realized that I had a TON in common with what they had to say. I actually bought the book ‘Depression Fallout’ by Anne Sheffield and it helped me understand and sympathize with my partner more when she was having her lows or panic attacks which DRASTICALLY helped our relationship on both ends.

Just want to say that you guys are all very strong for sticking with your partners, it is an extremely admirable thing to be able to do and not everyone is able or willing. I know how it is to feel like their illness is taking away your happiness and self esteem and yet you know that it isn’t their fault and you still love them and want to help them. I can say that my partner and I are very happy now because I know what to do and how to handle her. Hope this information helps!

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Chance September 1, 2015 at 1:45 am

Also! Try reading through this and see if you relate
http://depressionfallout.org/quiz.php

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