I don't really know where to stop or end with this, but DH and I have had a very rough year since our LO2 was born. Our marriage has been rocked, and we kinda hit a breaking point in the past week, and came to some realizations that our problems are secondary and the root is since we became parents, for the past 3 years his anxiety has been building, issues with feeling like he isn't good at being a dad, thus causing fights with us if he withdrawals, then not feeling like good husband, more fighting, round and round we go. Before we had our 2nd we were able to build in more breaks.
Not to say that I don't have my own issues, but he started individual therapy last week and it seems they agree that he is experiencing depression/anxiety for first time in life do to the life transitions.
It has been really hard to co-parent lately, because let's face it, our kids cry and tantrum a lot, and within 5mi of disagreement, it's been triggering his anxiety/panic attacks.
Has anyone been through this? How do you manage your anxiety co-parenting when your spouse is having issues keeping him from operating at 100%? I've always gotten upset in the past, but I've adjusted my mindset to realize this isn't about me or the kids, and I'm trying to take on more and more until we get these issues sorted through. He's always been the rock in our relationship so this is new for me.
grape / 90 posts
There are times in my relationship with my husband that each of us has had to become the rock for the family and take on more during that time period. Yes, it's very hard, stressful, frustrating and exhausting, but it will pass. Remember that it's ok if you are not at 100% all the time either. It will pass. (hugs)
cherry / 174 posts
I have always been the rock in our relationship, but my husband is having to be the rock in our family right now. I am three months pregnant and my anxiety is absolutely through the roof, and I'm not allowed to take any of the meds that help. I have some good days, but more bad - days when I can barely crawl out of bed, where a shower is tremendous effort, and planning any little thing is completely overwhelming.
My husband is carrying the load of taking care of the house and caring for our toddler. We both know it's temporary, and I help out where I can. I know it can't be easy for him - both seeing me struggle, and having to bear the burden of every day life obstacles. And I absolutely hate that we're going through this. But this isn't our forever.
This isn't your forever, either. If he is being serious about therapy and possibly trying meds, if he's doing his best, then you can push through this a little longer to see him through the other side. You will come out stronger for it.
pomelo / 5298 posts
We went through this when my LO was about 2. It was hard. My husband also did therapy which wasn't working. He was very resistant to taking medication, but after several months of weekly therapy that wasn't making him feel like himself, he agreed to do medication with his therapist. After starting medication it was still a bit for him to regulate and it was so much better. He tried going off once and it was the same thing all over.
Unfortunately, now I'm the problem. I handle things differently than my DH and my anxiety is manifesting differently. But I'm working on it and taking steps to be better.
I did lots of encouraging, tell me what you need, get whatever help you need. But please everyday try to be part of our family. Try to engage with LO on some level. She was always Daddy's girl and we saw it change at this time. Because he was more withdrawn. This was all while we were trying for #2 as well. That made things SOOOOO hard.
cantaloupe / 6131 posts
I can only comment from the opposite side. DH got me through 2 rounds of PPA/PPD. My first child was a nightmare baby (severe reflux, extreme colic), but the second time was really hard because we had a 20 month old toddler AND a baby. DS2 was a way better baby, but he still had reflux and colic until 10-12 weeks.
From our experience with DS1, we prepped for the postpartum period with DS2 accordingly. We got our doctors in play early on to watch for the anxiety and depression, I had no qualms about going back of Zoloft at 6 weeks postpartum when I felt crazy, and DH just took over most of our toddler's care (got him up in the morning, dressed him, took him to school, picked him up, baths, bedtime). We lined up a regular babysitter/mommy's helper to come every Saturday morning from 8am-12pm. Once the baby went down for a nap and the toddler was occupied with the sitter at the park or something, I could just have some quiet time to nap or take a really long shower or just do some tasks to help me feel less anxious (finish off a to-do list, prep food, etc). DS1 would go down for his nap after the sitter left and DH would take over baby care and I could again get a break to sleep or go out of the house for a few hours. Just knowing that on Saturdays I could get a break between the sitter and DH made me feel SO much more relaxed. Sundays we went to church which was good for my spirit and just took it easy as a family, so that was another positive thing. We also usually had dinner guests on Saturday or Sunday evening and this was REALLY helpful for me (especially as an introvert), because it would force me to socialize, straighten up the house a little bit, shower, get dressed, and even if we were eating takeout, it helped me feel more human and have fun. It made me feel like I was capable enough to have a social life. BUT I didn't have to leave home and could feel comfortable.
What was super helpful for me was to build in a little bit of physical activity every day. Not a lot and it wasn't even "working out" but a 20-30 minute walk was enough to boost my seratonin levels and force me to drink some water and that REALLY helped keep the anxiety at bay. With my first child, I actually had 2 times of day when my anxiety would creep like clockwork, so I would plan a stroller walk at those times to counteract it and most of the time it worked. I would suggest that when your husband feels like something is being triggered to have a quick physical outlet - even if its just quickly doing jumping jacks or doing push ups or just chasing your kids around the house. A quick boost of physical activity really can help fend off a bad attack. DH would often make my walks a family thing and we'd throw the kids in the stroller and take them to the park and they would be happy while while we could chat a little and catch up.
DH and I also started doing lunch dates once a week while the kids were in daycare so that we could have some time to connect and check in and see what was going on with us. Its important to check in and communicate because depression and anxiety come in waves and responsibilities and household balance has to constantly be re-evaluated. Usually I can't function past like producing breast milk and putting food on the table for my toddler when the condition is bad, and during those times we lean a lot on takeout, housecleaners, a baby sitter, etc. But eventually that self-care and treatment kicks in and it gets better - and I can and WANT to do more because its actually helpful in keeping my condition in check. Its important as your husband gets better and he learns better coping mechanisms that he takes on more responsibilities too - not only because its fair to you, but because you enough stuff on your plate so you feel like a productive, contributing parent/spouse and don't fall into the guilt/withdrawal/denial spiral of I can't deal - I hate this - I am a bad father/husband/employee - My life is terrible.
The most helpful things my husband said to me in all this are:
1. This is not YOUR problem, this is OUR problem and WE need a constructive plan to deal with the situation.
2. Your health and well-being is VITAL to our family and for our children. Thus, you are priority #1 right now. It is the first priority as far as money, time, resources go - whatever you need to heal, do it. It is not selfish, it is not a luxury, it is medicine.
3. Do the best you can. I love you no matter what, so just do the best you can. Whatever you can't manage, I'll cover it. Whatever I can't manage, we'll contract out.
4. This is not forever.
You're doing such a great job trying to be supportive! All the positive thoughts with you and your family!
pear / 1593 posts
@babybunnylove: @magnoliamama42: thanks for the reminder that this isn't forever. I've been struggling with remembering that
@MamaG: we are so early with therapy I'm not sure where it will go, but I have high hopes.. I know he is definitely against meds though. that has been so hard seeing him pull away from the kids and me. we used to everything together as a family, and I've had to spend so much time alone with the kids. I'm lonely, and I miss the family time.
@gingerbebe: thank you! I'm going to try to remember these things! right now things are so raw, we have argued anytime I try to come up with action plans because he feels scared of being upset when things don't "go to plan" and going back into failure mode. I'm trying to realize my urge to talk it out isn't helping right now, and to make the action plans and just know them in my head, instead of laying them out with him.
cantaloupe / 6131 posts
@runnerd: I remember talking to my husband about going on meds the first time and again, he had to remind me that this wasn't medicine just for my body, but it was for our family - that if it could help me cope better and feel better then it was really important for our family and marriage. I know you said your husband is really anti-drugs, but hopefully a "family first" approach might help. Also, it doesn't have to be forever. There's nothing wrong if it IS forever, but I've battled depression several times in my life and drugs were SUPER important during those phases, but I personally did not have problems weaning off them when I got through that specific difficult period. During a particularly hard period in college, I did not try to stop taking antidepressants until I was really at my best - happy, had learned a lot of good coping mechanisms, had supportive friends, was eating healthy, working out, and just in a really good place to *try* and see if it would be okay to go off them. And even then, I wanted to see if I could do without them because of the expense!
With my two rounds of Zoloft for PPD/PPA, it literally cost pennies and I felt great, so I didn't feel pressured to go off the meds, but I felt so good before each kid turned a year old, I went off and felt totally normal.
I will say, these experiences have helped my marriage in the long run. Now, my husband is really proactive about looking at whether something would be too much or too stressful for me or can help try to fend things off pre-emptively. And I've learned to not feel like a wimp or a burden and just say "I'm feeling anxious" when something is stressing me out and DH will stop everything to see if we can quickly adjust a few things around to make me feel more calm and in control.
One big breakthrough I had was that there wasn't anything WRONG with me. Instead, I saw it as a consequence of who I was. I need adequate rest and I'm introvert who needs a lot of decompression time alone, but the flip side is that I am extremely detail oriented and multitasking and I am one of those people who is constantly looking at things simultaneously in the short term and long term. Things always look like a matrix or Venn diagrams in my head - I don't just have 1 single train of thought. That makes me very capable and comprehensive in my planning and execution of tasks, but it also just takes a toll in other ways. It makes me naturally more anxious, more stressed, more controlling. Add kids who are screaming and don't let you have a clear thought, a house that is dirty and distracting, a spouse who has their own needs and demands, constant illness from the kids picking up germs - its too much.
So, yeah, I would tell your husband that the family has his back, that they NEED him to get better at whatever cost, and that this isn't anything to be ashamed of and there's nothing wrong with him. You and the kids love ALL of him, and this depression/anxiety is just part of who he is.