My wife suffers from anxiety. Deep seated, long term anxiety, mixed with severe depression (probably associated with untreated post natal depression.)
The anxiety stems from a separation issue - she fears loss following the death of her father whilst he was working abroad and when she was just eleven years old - the fear of loss is fixated on me which makes life very difficult for both of us. For example - I have to work. I meet business owners on a day to day basis and often have to travel (drive) to their premises for these meetings. When Lesley knows I have a drive ahead of me she will do one of a number of things: 1)She will try to get me to rearrange the meeting. 2) She will ask me to feign illness. 3) She will feign illness herself. 4) She will decide to come with me to the meeting. Usually point number 4) above will win - despite my protestations - and she will sit in the car outside of my client's premises for as long as the meeting takes, or she will walk around the town I'm visiting until I collect her after my meeting. On the odd occasion where it is impossible for Lesley to come along, I will receive between ten and fifteen phone calls during a twenty minute journey. Sometimes in rural areas the phone signal isn't as strong and Lesley can't get through - she has been known to call my client, prior to my arrival, to ask if I've arrived or to get me to call her when I get there.
Lesley fears that I will die if she lets me go alone - this is heightened by the fact that we, as a family, are in exactly the same position as her family all those years ago. Mother, Father, one daughter - father goes out to work one day and returns in a box. She fears that history is about to repeat itself. The argument of "Well if you come with me and we both die in a crash, Emily will be an orphan!" holds no weight whatsoever. That scenario doesn't repeat her earlier life experience and so, in her mind, is unlikely to happen. Whereas she knows that the original scenario can happen - because it happened to her thirty years ago.
Her fears also extend to the weekends. She likes to go shopping in town with her Mother whilst I stay at home and look after Emily. Stay at home being the operative phrase. If I decide to take Emily to the park or any other venue all hell breaks loose. I have, in the past, ignored Lesley's pleas of "You will stay in, where it's safe, won't you?!" and taken Emily to the park anyway, for Emily's sake. I always take my phone and call Lesley to let her know - but it doesn't help her fears - it simply fuels them and in an hour long trip to the park she will call me four or five times to ask if I'm back home yet.
This illness puts an enormous strain on our relationship as you can imagine. It also affects Emily who picks up on the atmosphere and anxieties and tends to mirror certain fears.
Lesley has seen numerous doctors and been prescribed numerous courses of tablets - which she never takes because she also fears that she will be affected by the list of side effects on the infosheet. She was referred to the GP's Counselling service by her GP in May and is still waiting for her first appointment - she has been told recently that it may be as late as next year before she is seen.
I will write more on this subject in due course, and have been meaning to do so for some time, but for now I wanted to get the bare bones of the condition down on 'paper' for my own sake rather than as an interesting read for visitors.
I Spy With My Little Eye
4 hours ago