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When fighting a battle, there is always strength in numbers. But, having someone by your side sometimes comes with a cost. Superiority in numbers is something very different from strength in numbers, and, with anxiety, this can be a crucial difference. Late at night, when my anxiety found me alone in the dark and slowly pushed me over the edge into a panic attack, I used to think that everything would just be better if there was someone there with me. I think the isolation that the dark and quiet of night time is what made this the worst time for my anxiety. It was harder to distract myself when I was alone, and I didn't have the helpful distraction of trying to keep a strong mask in places for everyone around me so they would think I was fine. At night, there was nobody there to see me struggle, nobody I had to put energy into making believe I was fine. And, nobody to support me when I finally tipped into panic. I've been with my wife for five years now, and what I have come to discover is that no longer being alone may have helped me in some ways, but it has also presented challenges that I didn't expect. I don't get the night time panic that I used to get, and in some ways have better control over my anxiety than I ever have. But, I've also adopted my wife's struggle with anxiety, panic and depression. In some ways, that's been a tougher battle than the one I faced alone. I suppose I thought that addition would lead to subtraction; I thought that by adding a partner, I would be subtracting anxiety. In fact, adding a partner added their struggles and difficulties to my own. There's nothing simple about the arithmetic. Whenever you add, you add complexity. This is not to say that I have regrets. I guess this initial post is really just a recognition of the fact that a lot of us face what we feel is a solitary struggle, and sometimes we think the solution is out there for someone to simply gift us with it. We want the solutions to be simple. We want someone to take the problem away. But, the world is more complex than that, and the solutions are never simple. The strength we gain in numbers comes with the commitment we have to make to give back to that network of people to help them with their own troubles. My wife has helped me face a lot of my own problems with anxiety, but the struggle is still there and has taken on a new dimension because I, in turn, have to help her deal with her own. And, that's difficult. Just as it's difficult for us, as a community of similarly afflicted individuals separated by screens and distance, to share of ourselves while needing the sharing of others to keep moving forward. I'm here and willing to be your +1, of the occasion. But, can you be mine?
I am trying to type here, and nothing is showing up. Not sure what is wrong. Today I have been separated from my husband for three months by his choice not mine. He is deeply depressed, and we are just in limbo because he will no longer try counseling. We went to marriage counseling, and he had an appointment with his own counselor but he refused to go anymore. I recently found out that I have Apserger's on top of anxiety and sometimes panic attacks. I am lost and sad and lonely. I really have no one to talk to but my mother as I have no close friends. Being in limbo and not knowing what will eventually happen is scary. I am also worried about my husband, but I barely see him. I am seeing a therapist, and I take Klonopin but that doesn't help or change my situation. I can't work and have applied for disability. My two dogs are the only thing keeping me going. It is very stressful trying stretch money when we are living separately. I just wish I had someone else to talk to sometimes. My husband is/was my best friend but I am not sure if that person exists anymore. I have realized that many of his issues don't have to do with me, but that doesn't make me feel better. He never dealt with the c****r deaths of both his parents. He went to a grief group once, but he wouldn't talk because he was so upset. The counselor running the group stopped him when he left and told him she would see him separately but this has yet to happen. He called one and she wasn't in, and I don't think he has called back. I'm sorry if this seems to be rambling.
Hi folks. I'm Drew, a married 38-year-old man with 3 children from the midwest USA. I'm joining up because...well, because I'm pretty sure no else I know gives a crap about my problems, so I thought I'd seek the kindness of strangers. Or maybe I just thought company could alleviate misery. I guess we'll see. My main problem is sleep. I have been experiencing daytime sleep attacks since my freshman year of college (18 and 19 yrs old). It began to interfere with my professional life around 10 or 12 years ago. In 2008 I was diagnosed with sleep apnea, but was never tested for narcolepsy. I guess it was assumed the daytime sleepiness was caused by the apnea. However I've used a CPAP faithfully since then, and I still have daytime sleep attacks. This has been an issue of varying importance at my last 4 jobs (I'm a teacher by trade). Most recently I actually lost a job specifically due not only to falling asleep in the classroom in front of students, but also because one student took a picture of me and put it on Pinterest, from whence it was promptly shared with administrators, parents, and school board members. I don't actually know how many people or which people saw it, but I do know I was fired in January and now I can't get a job. I've applied for over 90 jobs since January, and only two interviews - and they were at insurance companies, in sales positions, where I'm pretty sure I wouldn't last 3 months. Being married? Well, that isn't helping. In fact, it's added to my problems. I'm an honest person who doesn't steal, doesn't cheat on his wife or his taxes, and gives his level best at work, but my wife is not well. She suffers from tachycardia, type 2 diabetes, and bipolar disorder. In 2011 our 3rd child was stillborn, full-term and unexpected. We have since had another child, making 3 at home, but one does not simply get over such an event. Her depression took over more or less permanently for two years. At the time I was teaching and so was she. I was laid off/fired in 2011, and got a new job. However, in 2012, my pay was cut due to budget cuts. I took a long-term sub job for more money, but didn't get hired on full-time (again due to sleep issues). In August 2013 she experienced an ectopic pregnancy and went into deep depression, then into partial commitment therapy. She emerged feeling much better but convinced she needed to quit her job, as the stress of being a public school teacher was proving too great for her to bear. I took over as her substitute, hoping I would get hired on as the full-time replacement. Then I started falling asleep during the day in front of students. They let me go at the semester and hired a replacement, who they fired after a month because he made drug-related comments on Facebook. They hired her back as a long-term sub (without benefits), because I was - and still am - unable to find work. So she is back at the job she can't stand, out of necessity for our family, because of me and my falling asleep. To this day, she blames me for being too weak to stay awake long enough to keep a job and keep her safe. The way she sees it, she handed me the job on a silver platter but I p***ed it away. She has also made it quite clear that she does not see herself ever forgiving me for putting her in that position. She points out that I've had sleep issues for years but didn't do enough to see to them, and that it's not a medical problem as far as she's concerned, just a matter of willpower. I never got further tests for narcolepsy, partly because I always felt like her health problems were more emergent, and I suppose also partly because part of me believed that it was just a matter of laziness or weakness of will. This sleep thing is bad. The only OTC solutions I haven't tried are things like Red Bull or other supermarket energy drinks, or caffeine pills. Those would have been my next step. Two bottles of Mountain Dew, four cups of coffee with a light lunch, 5-hour energy, half a bag of M&M's during the afternoon, extra-strong spiced chai mixed with mate, none of it even touches these sleep episodes, of which I'm only even aware about 10% of the time. When I do notice, I try standing up and walking around, but even that doesn't always help - I've fallen asleep standing up too. I told her I'd try caffeine pills, but she said that would be bad for my heart (I'm also overweight - 6'1", around 290 lbs). Issues that are my fault - I smoke about a pack of cigarettes a day; I'm overweight; I sleep from 5 to 7 hours a night, and not because I'm up working. I spend about an hour or two every night doing stuff I like to do - making music on my computer, surfing the web, playing video games, playing guitar, or watching or reading sci fi. If I had a job, I wouldn't be doing that stuff so much, but that's how I spend a lot of that time. During the day I hunt and apply for jobs, try and keep the house clean, watch the two-year old, and play music. I just want to keep my family together, and I can't even get a job. Tomorrow I'm seeing my doctor to talk about narcolepsy testing options and I'm scared, angry, and feeling very, very alone.