Apr 7, 2010

Advice Please!

Musings of A Beautiful Mess
I need a little help, advice, or anything ANYONE has to offer. I'm at my wits end here!

Does anyone know anything about anxiety? Dirty has it and it seems to be getting worse. When he went to our local psychiatrist here in town for his evaluation from his dumbass move, the doctor said he doesn't have an anger problem. Which, we kind of figured, but it was good to get documentation of it. The doc did say that he has anxiety and therapy would be beneficial to him. Which is great, but not great because he put that in his paperwork for the courts and now Dirty HAS to go to therapy. Of course since it's court ordered, insurance won't cover it, which is a moot point, because we don't have insurance anyway. The problem is that Dirty's anxiety has gotten SO much worse as of late and I'm at a loss as to handle it. So therapy will help, but in the mean time, what do I do?

Here's what happened today and how he and I handled it. We went to the phone store to pay the bill and get my line transferred over, as I'm on a different plan than him and Nae. I see a phone I like and so does Dirty, we check around at a few other stores to see if we can find them cheaper and because there were a SHIT TON of people in there. We didn't find any other phone cheaper and went back to the store to buy those phones and get them switched over. So far, so good. It was a bit annoying to run to one end of town and back but not TOO much of a big deal. The guy starts on my phone and apparently isn't aware that we want both phones and starts on Dirty's as he's finishing up on mine, this is where the issues arise. It takes the phone guy FOREVER to get Dirty's phone to do whatever the hell it needs to do to work properly. I tell him I have class at 1:00 and need to leave the store by 12:45. Phone guy suggests I leave Dirty's old cell phone with him so we can work on transferring everything and we'll come back when I get out of class. I think this is a wonderful idea, Dirty on the other hand, not so much *sigh* He does not want phone guy to keep his phone and does not want to take my phone while I'm in class. At this point, Dirty is SUPER pissed off and frustrated and I'm at a loss as to what the hell to do. I go back into the store, get Dirty's phone and tell phone guy, we'll be back around 4 when I get out of class. We go back to the store, wait for an hour and STILL no luck with the phone.

By this time, my dad is bored, Zilla is antsy and Dirty's anxiety is through the roof! Dirty freaks fuck and wants to leave. Just leave! In order to not have a fight in the middle of the parking lot, in front of my dad and Zilla, I just do whatever he wants. I tell the guy we'll be back tomorrow or something and leave. Dirty drops all of us off at Nae's track meet, which we were late for, and goes home. I'm pissed, Dirty is pissed, my dad is confused, and Zilla is oblivious (thank God). We missed all of Nae's events because of this whole phone fiasco and because Dirty wouldn't just listen to me or any type of reason. He was beyond reasoning with at this point, anyway.

After the track meet, we all come home and Dirty is still reeling from everything that went on and I'm pissed off and hurt. I pretty much ignore him and go along with cooking dinner and such, while Dirty takes a nap. He ends up apologizing for his actions and says I did the right thing by just letting him be and cool down. The problem with this solution is that I hate doing it. I hate "pleasing" him until he's done with his freak out. It makes me feel like I'm being submissive to him, which I am SO not. I do, do certain things that would lead others to think the opposite, but I assure you that is not the case.

I was taught to stand up for myself and my rights and appeasing Dirty in this manner makes me feel like I'm not being true to myself. On the other hand if I tell him EXACTLY how I feel at that moment, I'll either say something I don't mean or we'll end up in a huge argument. I need to find some sort of middle ground, not sure if I found it or not; because Dirty just thanked me for letting him be so he can cool off. I guess I did the right thing and I feel fine about it now, but in the moment, I don't feel that way at all.

My questions or plea for advice is; there anything I can do when Dirty has these anxiety attacks or issues? Not sure if it's considered an "attack" per se, but it IS an issue. I think his anxiety being so high this week is the fact that his appointment is Thursday. He might be feeling anxiety BECAUSE of the appointment, but frankly, I have no idea. I know NOTHING about anxiety and have no idea what the hell to do or not to do. Does anyone have anxiety issues as well, or know anyone that does? What is the best course of action for me to take? I want to be supportive and not frustrated, but right now all I'm feeling is frustration and a little resentment. It's not right, I know, but it's how I'm feeling right now.

Any advice is MORE than welcome! Even if you don't know anyone who has anxiety or has dealt with this before, I'll take any thoughts you have. Please! Thank you so much!

17 friends have commented:

Stacie on April 7, 2010 at 11:48 PM said...

I don't have experience with anxiety, but I do have experience with a somewhat moody spouse. I have to say that I would have handled Is.aac the same way you handled Dirty, even though it goes against everything in my grain to not just tell him what I think at the moment.

We came up with a code word that lets him know that I am mad as hell and that I have loads to say and oh hell yes we'll be talking about this later, but I do give him a chance to retreat into his own thought because that is what he needs. He isn't the word warrior I am, so if I just went after him right at the moment, things get ugly--and ugly is never productive in our case. Anyway, the code word means that we will talk about the issue later (that day usually) and he needs to get himself together so we can. We both get our needs met in this compromise. He gets to just go and BE for a bit, and I still get the chance to talk. Does that make sense?

Hugs. I do hope the therapy helps Dirty...and you.

Mrs Bee on April 8, 2010 at 12:22 AM said...

I have sent you a msg on facebook wifey.

love lots.

Sheliza on April 8, 2010 at 5:05 AM said...

I went through this with Dwayne and it took medication for 6 years until he finally got into a good place in his life and he is all better now. Men really go through a lot balancing wife, kids, finances and it gets to be very overwhelming. I know that I am glad he did get the help he needed and was able to get off the meds and on with life. I wish you guys the best and know that it is VERY common!!

WiseGuy on April 8, 2010 at 7:15 AM said...

You did wonderfully by withdrawing temporarily. But I hope you did explain it to Dirty clearly that you did not like his behaviour. More importantly, it is not good for his own health to behave like this.

I have no idea about the medication part but possibly breathing deeply, or getting aware of the anxiety as soon as it starts clutching Dirty and taking care of it right there would help.

Wishing you peace.

CanadianMama on April 8, 2010 at 7:27 AM said...

Anxiety presents differently especially between the genders. I would look for some supports in your community. Is there a mental health outreach program? Is there a mental health awareness program? Any private agencies that offer services? Maybe a mental health support group? Also check online for supports. Maybe there is an online group he can access until he is in therapy?

In the mean time go to your local library and the two of you can do as much research as possible. The information out there wil help you to come up with a game plan. Hope that helps :)

Mrs. Gamgee on April 8, 2010 at 7:30 AM said...

I don't have experience with dealing with anxiety in my family, but I currently have two very good staff members who struggle with it.

As much as it isn't part of who you are, I think you did the right thing by just going along with him in the moment. Trying to be rational and calm him down could just escalate the situation. I really like the idea of the code word, so that he can know that you are just as emotionally invested in the situation as he is, but that you are recognizing that he isn't capable of handling your feedback right now.

I know that there are medications that can provide relief, and it may be time to talk to a medical doctor rather in conjunction with a therapist to get a prescription.

Whatever happens, I'm sending prayers for you and your family.

The Muser (aka Beautiful Mama) on April 8, 2010 at 9:17 AM said...

I used to have a lot of anxiety--now that I'm on zoloft it's pretty much gone. He might look into meds (which a regular doc or nurse practictioner can prescribe--no need to go to a psychiatrist). In terms of how you deal with it--when I'm in a funk nothing is more helpful to me than C. giving me space and letting me cool off. I think you did the right thing. You can always talk about it when he's in his right mind again. And if he's really doing something awful, I do think it's ok to say something like "this is not okay" or whatever and then remove yourself until he can get it back together. Sending you hugs!!!!

Kristin on April 8, 2010 at 9:52 AM said...

I've never dealt with anxiety but I want to wish you guys luck in dealing with this. {{{Hugs}}}

kate on April 8, 2010 at 11:03 AM said...

I have personal experience with anxiety, but mine doesn't present in the way that you describe Dirty's anxiety. I know that there are gender differences in the way that anxiety works, so I'm not saying that what Dirty is experiencing ISN'T driven by anxiety, but just that it's not a type of anxiety I am familiar with.

That said, I do have personal experience with that kind of behavior, and in my case, it's not driven by anxiety, but rather by a desire to control my environment. It's taken a LOT of work for me to stop acting like that when I'm dealing with stupid people (and yes, that's what it feels like when it happens, that the world is full of stupid people and I'm sick of being hassled by dealing with them). It's not anger, but it's also not textbook anxiety.

BUT, if anxiety is driving Dirty's need to control his environment (which I have heard can happen with men), I recommend seeking out behavior therapy or biofeedback therapy. My therapist has me set up with all kinds of little behavioral things I can do when I start to feel myself moving toward an anxious headspace. The simplest thing and the most effective thing for me so far has been deep breathing. And it sounds really stupid, but it's not, and it works. Breathe in for a count of 4, hold for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 4. Pause, and then repeat for a total of 10 times. Do this not only when you are feeling anxiety, but also just at random points throughout the day. The more you practice this, the less anxiety you have, and the easier it is to control it when it does pop up.

If by chance his behaviors aren't caused by anxiety, the only thing that really works for me in those situations where I'm pissed as hell and I want to get away from whatever moron is pissing me off, is when I make myself focus on what I can do to make the situation better. It has worked a few times to have H pull me aside and literally say to me, "What can we do to make the situation better right now?" And sometimes, I'm able to think of a rational solution, but if not, it forces me to say "there's nothing that can be done to fix this right now". And saying that out loud helps me calm down because I'm forced to acknowledge that the situation is out of my control, that it's pointless to get angry or fly off the handle or whatever.

So with Dirty, you might try pulling him aside someplace quiet, away from the other people you're with and away from whatever person is making him pissed-- just a semi-quiet corner away from where you were, and just ask him to breathe and then ask him what the two of you together can do to remedy the situation. But, if he's in a full-blown freak out, this may not work. It may also help him if you prepare him for the fact that a situation might be stressful by saying something like, "Dirty, the phone store is going to be really busy right now, but this is an errand we have to take care of. Be prepared for the fact that we're going to have to deal with that idiot sales person again, and it might make you upset, but I really want to try to get out of there without either of us raising our blood pressure." Or something like that, to prepare him before his feelings run out of control.

Just my assvice, of course. Feel free to dismiss it as necessary!

AnnaMarie on April 8, 2010 at 1:50 PM said...

I had anxiety for many years and have been receiving treatment for about 2 years. Therapy does help but I needed anti-anxiety medications to quiet down enough for therapy. And I was always anxious anticipating meeting a new therapist.

His reaction to the bad day you all had makes sense to me because I used to get very upset if things didn't go according to plan, (such as the phones taking too long), ok I still get upset but not as bad. Similar to Stacie I had a code but it was for me to signal that I was starting to freak out (my x and I would take a break from what we were doing to get a slushy or hot cocoa, depending on the season).

I wish both of you luck in finding a solution to this. Anxiety is very scary, and I can totally see why you would resent giving into his moods.

Remember that anxiety is treatable!

Dolli-Mama on April 8, 2010 at 5:08 PM said...

I don't have experience with anxiety, but I think it is important to let your spouse have some space if they need it. Even if you're mad as hell!

SS on April 8, 2010 at 6:26 PM said...

I do have experience with anxiety. it's awful. I think letting him cool off is good- he is having an issue right now, and you're not "pleasing" him, you're helping him cope and recognizing he is suffering from something out of his control. he is taking the steps to get better so just know that is what is important. My doctor told me it was critical to exercise every day, and also taught me to lie down and concentrate on my breathing. Caffeine was a no no, and I was supposed to eat very healthy. Then there were the meds- klonipin specifically, which I took as needed- honestly just knowing it was there if I needed it was key. He may want to try Vitamin D as well- I had deficiency and I think it contributed. Good luck, and sorry you all are going through this- it will get better with help from the doctor.

Alana on April 9, 2010 at 7:02 AM said...

Sorry I don't have words of wisdom to offer on this one.

I do like your "code word" idea so that he can let you know in a subtle way when he needs time to decompress about something.

Sorry, sweet gal! Hugs!

Anonymous said...

You are not being submissive, you’re being level headed. If you tell him to calm down when he is upset that won’t work. He has to learn how to calm down, deep breathing, thinking of flowers, or whatever works.

There is something that is triggering his anxiety. I hope he has a good therapist that will help him work though this.

I wouldn’t have left my cell phone at that store either. They could have lost them, or copied your information.

I can stand and wait better than my husband can. But those long lines are crazy, that store needs to hire more people.
Good Luck to both of you!


Mischief Maker on April 13, 2010 at 9:03 AM said...

Wow, when you texted your new # I had no idea it had been such an intense experience! Good luck.

Jamie on April 15, 2010 at 5:58 PM said...

I don't have any personal experience but from an outsider's perspective I think you did the right thing. And since it seems to work without escalating the situation I think I would stick with it until Dirty starts to see his therapist. Then they can give both you and Dirty some tools to help handle future situations.

Good luck! You'll be in my thoughts.

Phoebe on April 23, 2010 at 5:53 PM said...

Anxiety sucks, but know that it is a real physical imbalance in the brain. Life situations can bring it on, but it does change your brain chemistry. Read Dr. Amen's books on anxiety. He has lots of good suggestions on what to do, outside of therapy and meds. He has suggestions on supplements that can help. Has your DH ever considered meditation? I know it helps my DH's anxiety.

BTW, I think it's good you stood your ground, because yes, your DH needs to deal with his stuff. I hope the book recommendations help.

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