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How to Help with Managing Anxiety

Discussion in 'Love, Relationships and Dating' started by sisselcakes, Jun 21, 2018.

  1. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    So this is gonna sound as though I’m wading into codependency territory because I’m going to ask for advice on how to help my boyfriend cope with anxiety; however, while I am concerned about him, it’s not altogether altruistic. I’m asking because it affects our relationship and it causes me anxiety.

    He has very limited insight, I would say; so I think he just suffers with it and doesn’t know how to get unstuck. I’ve struggled with anxiety myself so I know it can be paralyzing and just a terrible experience.

    As someone who is not very expressive, he hasn’t shared the extreme levels of anxiety he’s had over the last few weeks. I was completely oblivious.

    Without going into the nitty-gritty about the subject that caused a big blowout, it was related to some civil rights abuses that are going on in the United States now.

    It is something that has been distressing me greatly, and when I’ve spoken to him about it, his indifference just floored me. Suddenly I’m wondering who this stranger is that I’ve lived with for the last three years.

    That was last night. Fast forward to today and he reveals to me that he has been terrified because he found a tick on his ankle when he was in Montana. He hadn’t told me about this at all. And I don’t really understand why, because I am like the most empathetic person you could meet. But I think he doesn’t see me as helpful unless I can contribute to a solution.

    He had already gone to the doctor and gotten tested for Lyme‘s disease and it was negative. But all this had occurred without me knowing any of it. And he’s still worried about it.

    Now everything has fallen into place for me. I GET it because when you have such high levels of anxiety, you can’t sleep, you can only focus on yourself, and you’re just trying to survive. No wonder he seemed callous about the issue I was preoccupied with.

    I’m writing to ask if anyone has any suggestions with regard to reading material or natural remedies for anxiety because I really think he would benefit from psychotropic medication but he won’t touch them with a 10 foot pole; and if I don’t help him figure out a solution, he will just sit there freaking out inside and suffering. Like I said, he isn’t naturalyly inclined to looking inward and I think he’s too paralyzed to come up with a solution.

    I mentioned yoga and I think he may go for that. We did go to a counselor once, whom I noticed he did open up to so maybe I will suggest that, though I’m not sure he found it particularly helpful.

    Thanks.
     
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  2. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Have to say that I've been through this with my husband. He becomes concerned about things that might not connect whatsoever with what is going on in our relationship. The worry and anxiety frustrates the other person, leaving a void in an otherwise good relationship.

    It sounds as if he's distancing himself from you, so that he can be by himself and worry all alone. That's essentially the way it works. At different extremely difficult times in our lives I have done things to attempt to improve his mindset. My husband can be quite competitive, I've challenged him to games of chess. Dared him to go on a roller coaster, made him go horseback riding. Taught him to swim and use a canoe, taught him to skate. The only things that he's stayed with are cycling, chess and music.

    Perhaps it would work if you ask him to do things together, even if it's for a short while. It might distract and may be enjoyable for the both of you. I've dragged him on picnics to the park and he's liked those, after he gotten over the initial change in routine of it. At this very moment he's in the kitchen making pancakes, his favourite thing ever. Sometimes childhood foods help him to come out of a particular mindset.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2018
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  3. Fridgemagnetman

    Fridgemagnetman I only have one V.I.P Member

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    What's his position on it?
     
  4. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    It’s interesting that you propose the idea that my bf intentionally goes into himself to cope with anxiety where I have interpreted it as his having limited insight and not considering sharing info with me.

    Perhaps he does what he does by design and I can’t relate because talking helps me. I’ll have to ask him about that. It’s so much a guessing game when you feel this tension and have NO clue what’s going on. It’s so stressful.

    That’s an interesting idea you have. Sounds like getting someone out of their routine might be a good way of using distraction. I’ll have to see if that helps.

    I feel like I spin my wheels and often wind up in the same place over and over, not having learned anything from the last time. Maybe these things will stick at some point!

    Thanks.
     
  5. tree

    tree Blue/Green Staff Member V.I.P Member

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  6. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I’m on meds and from the day I told him, he’s been trying to convince me to get off them; yet I could not function without them.

    He thinks SSRI’s are responsible (or at least have contributed to) school shootings. He worries about the long term effects they could have on me- that I’m a guinea pig of sorts and there’s a profit motive involved within the industry (fair argument).

    I’ve talked to him about something like klonopin. He’s still hesitant to consider that. Having said that, he drinks too much sometimes which does relax you, but I consider it worse because of the effects on your liver!!!

    I just don’t see why someone should suffer when they have a legitimate treatable disorder, but we all have the right to self-determination so I won’t push too much.

    Good news! Just talked to him while writing back and he said he’d consider going to talk to the counselor we talked to in the past.
     
  7. Rayner

    Rayner Well-Known Member

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    I've got a question? In regard to these civil rights abuses here in the US. Why did it cause such a blow out with your boyfriend?

    When I experience a certain level of anxiety, I often retreat myself away from others until I'm capable of dealing with whatever it is that is causing the anxiety. Talking things out can be helpful for me, but not if I'm not in the mood to talk or not in the right frame of mind. I can see how your boyfriend and I have the potential to deal with stress similarly.


     
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  8. Mia

    Mia Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Talking helps me as well. Yet, I've discovered that two Aspies talking to one another rarely resolves anything. We tend to talk at one another, and in the past, we explored all of these things over and over to no avail it seemed at the time. Yet later on, it was as if an acceptable solution had been made, without discussion.

    That's not to say that real solutions cannot come of this. Only that your discussions will evolve over time. My own take on this, is that when my husband disappears into these pain-filled hours or days he is considering, deciding, thinking and replaying over and over his eventual solutions or decisions on whatever the matter might be. Then he will discuss it with me, if he decides I might be able to help. He gathers all the information he has and compiles it. If it's not brought up again, then neither of us will allude to it.

    Sometimes I think that we don't have to tell one another everything.
     
  9. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Emotion (mine) caused it, more than likely. I get very passionate about these issues and it was hard for me to see him be apathetic (my interpretation). Then when I understood he was obsessing about something, it calmed me down and I felt incredible empathy.

    He is having so much anxiety but he doesn’t verbalize it. Has a low threshold for frustration when anxious. I think everyone is like that but he doesn’t have skills to cope, I think.

    I’m like a creature with with antenna and can sense it a mile away, yet I won’t know the reason why. Understanding the reason helps me get it and decreases my worry.

    The best I can do is, when I sense he’s feeling a little better, ask him what he’s been ruminating about.

    Talked to him about it and he may be agreeable to see a counselor we went to, but he’s hesitant because he’s looking for solutions not just talk therapy. I think he liked the guy and I told him he just would need to tell the guy he’s looking for help with solutions.

    BTW your description about talking about something when your anxiety is lower- I think that’s my bf to a tee.
     
  10. paloftoon

    paloftoon Well-Known Member

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    One tip I got from a friend who used to have anxiety is that she was able to get hers under control because she chose to fight it. She was able to tell herself that these things are not likely to happen and she would also prepare herself of what she would do if the things she was anxious about actually happened. I hope that helps.
     
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  11. texkag

    texkag Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Talking from my own experience with anxiety, I suspect that two things are contributing to this. Firstly, he doesn't want to burden you with his suffering and may not wish to add to your anxiety and, secondly, he may to be capable of discussing his anxiety with you, he may not have the emotional language to explain how he feels. He may have alexithymia and not be able to identify the anxious feeling until they become so overwhelming it causes what you described as a 'blowout'.
    I can relate because, like your partner, I look for solutions when I'm suffering emotionally and not comfort or reassurance. I can wholeheartedly recommend Nick Dubin's book, 'Asperger Syndrome and Anxiety - A guide to Successful Stress Management.' In it he gives a good overview of the causes of anxiety and ways to overcome it for people on the spectrum. It may be a useful book for both of you and a positive step forward. Dubin gives sound advice for finding a suitable therapist which may be useful if your partner decides to explore that option.
    I wish you both the best and hope you find a way forward that helps.
     
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  12. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Oh wow. I hadn't thought about that at all - the alexithymia and you are soooo right. I'm sure that plays into it. I really appreciate you writing to me. I just found out a few days ago, that not only has he been dealing with extreme anxiety around this irrational fear and the fact he's gone to the doctor, not once but twice; I also suggested he take a cycle of antibiotics prophylactically to ease his mine, and he told me he already had!

    So, I think part of the reason he hadn't told me earlier is he is very solution-oriented and figured I couldn't help him find a solution, so why bother? Ironically enough, I am helping him find a solutions as I've researched mindfulness, natural remedies for anxiety, searched for additional information online, and will talk to my dad who is a physician. I work in the medical field and he isn't very literate in that area, so maybe didn't know where to start.

    It's funny how we are so different. What helps me with anxiety is talking it out. He says that doesn't help him at all, and part of the problem may be the inability to express it.

    Thanks again for your feedback and I will check out that book.
     
  13. texkag

    texkag Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    I'm glad I was able to help. For most of us on the spectrum anxiety and it's evil twin depression are a constant challenge. We can, fortunately, learn from each the best ways to knock them out for a while if not completely slay them.
     
  14. sisselcakes

    sisselcakes Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

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    Thank goodness, with some feedback from my dad who is a physician, my boyfriend’s anxiety about contracting Lyme disease seems to have subsided so the household is much more peaceful. Now if I could just get my dog to chill out! Lol