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. The 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. I think it is also important to be aware of 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 accept ourselves as we are and we can be ourselves our anxiety and panic diminish.
Gluck, S. (2008, October 4). Anxiety Disorders and Their Effect on Relationships, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, September 30 from https://www.healthyplace.com/anxiety-panic/articles/anxiety-disorders-and-their-effect-on-relationships