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Anxiety Disorders and their effect on relationships
Q. I had Panic Disorder and I never told anyone not even my wife. It made everything very difficult and our marriage suffered to the point we were separated. Although I didn't want to separate and I did miss my wife, my panic and anxiety eased up and almost disappeared. I finally told my wife about the Disorder and after some long heart to hearts we decided to give our marriage another chance. Now the panic and anxiety have returned almost back to what it was before. Thankfully my wife is very supportive, but I don't understand why it has come back.
A.It is not uncommon for people not to tell spouses of their Disorder. The problem with this is that it puts people under so much pressure to 'be normal' and the more pressure we are under the worse we get, so the pressure to be 'normal' increases and around and around we go. During the separation you were able to just be yourself without having to put on a 'front' all the time. This pressure was off and the anxiety/panic settled down. In many cases the anxiety and panic don't just disappear forever. There is a very strong possibility it would have returned even if you and your wife did not come back together. It is of course important that you do receive appropriate treatment so that you can learn to work effectively with the anxiety and panic. It is also important to be aware of how you are relating to your wife and the other people around you. Are you still trying to be 'normal'? Are you still putting yourself under pressure by trying to be 'normal'. And/or are you trying to be who you think your wife wants you to be, instead of simply being yourself?
When we try to be who we think others want us to be, our anxiety and panic can know no bounds. When we accpet ourselves as we are and we we can be ourselves our anxiety and panic diminish. You may also wish to consult a Relationship Counsellor so that you and your wife can work through any other problems you may be having.
Q. A few months
ago my 8 year old son started becoming hyper about situations with no warning.
I would walk him to a friends house and go to leave and he would panic and
insist I stay. If I did not stay, he would cry and become hysterical and
then leave with me. This was a complete personality reversal in a very outgoing
This panic comes whenever a change is introduced and there is no time for him to adjust. How can I better get him to cope. This behaviour is effecting his stomach. The doctor believes he is working on an ulcer. It has not as yet been confirmed by upper GI. But the symptoms are constant. He lives on Tums once the panic starts.
What can I do for him? What is the best form of
counselling if there is some avenue? I have a very intelligent child, very
athletic, usually very friendly, who is now starting to become a momma's
boy or worse a recluse.
A. Can we suggest you find a Cognitive Behavioural psychologist who specialises in Anxiety disorders in children. We have an article on our website with Ron Rapee which may be of help for you. Ron is one of the leading Child AD specialists here in Australia. If you are in the USA you may wish to visit the website http://www.cognitive therapy.com
Q. My daughter is finishing up her first year at college. She did not do too bad her first semester earning a 2.5 G.P.A.. My problem is even though she is studying more this second semester, her G.P.A. is dropping considerably ( possible 2.0). All she does is worry about tests and her G.P.A.. She even got so worked up over a history test that she developed a nosebleed while taking the test and could barely finish the test. Can you steer me to a book she can read over the summer so she can regroup for the next school year. Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
A. It is your daughter's thinking which would be causing her difficulties. The more she is worrying the more pressure she is placing her self under. We usually advise students to speak with a school counsellor about what is happening for them and we also advise people to learn to meditate. This really does help them to learn to relax and it can also help them to learn to work and manage their thinking. We don't advocate positive thinking because it doesn't help many people in the beginning stages.
We recommend people learn to see the connection between the way they think and how in turn this effects their feeling state. You may want to consider sending her to a psychologist so she can learn the necessary skills to manage her thoughts.
In reference to a book we are not sure of any specific books which address this problem. Many schools/colleges in Australia have purchased Bronwyn Fox's book, 'Power over Panic' and the cassette tape set, 'Taking back the Power' to assist their students, so you may want to consider buying these.
Q. Our 35 year old son has had several 'attacks' over a number of years which we believe are anxiety attacks. However, he does not see any real problem. He has had heart stress tests done recently following one episode. These revealed nothing abnormal, but he was admitted with an irregular heart beat. He also drinks too much. How can we encourage him to seek treatment for his disability? We are afraid for his well being as he has spoken of suicide on occasions. He is single, has a girlfriend, and has his own home. We, his parents, are become depressed thinking about him and being unable to help.
A. There is not much you can do to help your son. If he feels he hasn't got a problem then he may not want to listen. Many men don't want to admit to an anxiety disorder. They find it very embarrassing. This may be the problem.
You can perhaps tell him you are both worried about him, his drinking and his thoughts of suicide, and you were looking on the Net and found our site and after reading it wondered if he may be having panic attacks. You could perhaps print of some of the information about the Disorders/symptoms and ask him to read it.
You could also have a quiet word to his girlfriend and give her the information. She could speak with him and/or leave it leave it on the table etc.
We realise it is very difficult for you, but he does need to admit to himself he has a problem and needs treatment before much can be done in the way of helping him.
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