Sunday, 7 September 2008

Depression and Anxiety.

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.


mrsnesbitt said...

I know about this Gary, and you know anytime you are over our way lesley is welcome here...will this help? probably not. Psychological illnesses are indeed deep routed and complicated. You have my sympathy. It is a shame Emily picks up the stress, bless.

Please thank Emily...I will e-mail her a special thank you.


CherryPie said...

It sounds an awful thing for you all to have to put up with. I do hope the counseling comes sooner rather than later.

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Gary, thank you for feeling confident enough to share this with your friends in blogland. I hope you will get some support out here.

Waiting for a counsellor on the NHS is useless. Could you not search elsewhere for someone to talk to? When I say you, of course I mean your wife and perhaps both of you at some point. It cannot be easy to carry on like this, it will only destroy your relationship which I am sure neither of you want at all. Lesley obviously loves you tremendously but perhaps she needs to take a step back and look at the wonderful life you have together, embracing your love and togetherness, rather than enticing an end.

You have a widget on your side bar stating how many days you have left - why? Life is a wonderful gift to be enjoyed each moment of each day.

If it is any consolation, my own dad passed when he was 58 years old and completely devastated the family due to it being a sudden passing. My husband turns 59 at the end of October and during his year of being 58 I have often thought that I would lose him too. Ridiculous as it sounds, we are all capable of such thoughts but we have to remember that there is so much more to life than death.

Do take care my friend.
I look forward to hearing more from you on this and will pray that it becomes more positive for you and your lovely wife.

CJ xx

babooshka said...

For one reason and another I know this all too well. I'm the manic one.
It is either happy happy happy, or deepest darkest hole. At least with me I get the highs. It must be soul destroying to have an never ending cycle of anxiety and despair. A friend has this constant depression, for which she knows not why, but it rules her life.

It really annoys me how this subject is not taken seriously. Next year is no good, help is needed now. I hope for all your sakes action is swift. You have my deepest empathy on this one.

Gary said...

Thank you all for your comments and kind words. We (Lesley more so) have been struggling with this for the past five years with no support whatsoever (unless through paid for treatment) - so your comments mean a lot.
I will be posting more on the subject soon.

CJ - Life is a wonderful gift, you're so right - the 'countdown to doom' is gone!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Always here when you need a shoulder. Take care,
CJ xx

Reluctant Blogger said...

This is my first visit here (via Mrs Nesbitt I think).

It was very brave of you to write about this. All too often people hide these things behind closed doors which just make them harder to handle. I do hope you find some help for your wife soon.

I suffer periodically from a mild form of agoraphobia and it is unpredictable and impossible to counter. It is not so extreme that I cannot deal with it. I refuse to have it "fixed" because I am afraid of taking any medication and because I just want to be me really.

You sound like a fantastically supportive husband - but it is hard to stay upbeat isn't it when dealing with something as difficult as this.

Bibi said...

Hello, Gary. I haven't been back here for a while, since tragedy struck our family. My husband, just 61, passed away very unexpectedly, and left us all shocked. In some related way, I can relate to what you are going through, and pray that you and your wife will resolve your problems. I'll be back reasonably soon.


you have a lot on your plate - and that summer (from your previous post) doesn't seem to help either