I mean it this time.

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.
Ive been here a thousand times before when I say I can't live like this and each time I say it I genuinely believe it's different from the last. I'm late twenties and recently moved in with my partner of 10 years who has acute anxiety and panic attacks. He also uses alcohol to cope which is the killer. During times of alcohol use things get worse for me although he sees it as a means to cope one that he is likely to do for as long as he has to. My life is like a yoyo, sometimes things are great and sometimes terrible. We moved in together because I lived with him and his parents for a while and it's natural progression. Having lived with him alone now I really see that I can't do this. Has anybody been in a similar situation? It's quarter to 4 and I can't get back to sleep for thinking. I'm at work in the morning.
If your not married and have no mortgage it may be better to walk away
Is he having any treatment for his anxiety and panic attacks (and I don't mean the alcohol?). Is he on 'tranquillisers' of any kind, and is he having 'talking therapy' of any kind?

It sounds, at the moment, as if he is simply 'coasting' in his life, accepting his anxiety/panic as 'normal' and just living with it, but 'blanking it' while and when he can with alcohol. Would that be a fair assessement?

It seems to me that one of THE most dangerous things about 'MH' is to 'accept' it - to think, well, that's just me, and there's nothing that can be done. It's 'incurable'.

Now, yes, I'm not saying that there aren't severe and substantial mental illnesses that are indeed 'incurable' as they are simply the way that brain is wired, and that therefore one must live one's life by 'managing' the condition in whatever way works best (or 'better than without the management').

BUT, if your partner is 'simply' suffering from anxiety and panic, is there any reason why that is essentially 'incurable'? In other words, is his MH 'learned' or 'acquired' rather than 'built in by his brain'?

What do you think caused/causes his MH? Is it life trauma (all too often!), or is there an 'abnormal setting' in his brain that prevents him having the 'normal' balance between emotions that is regarded as 'psychologically healthy'?

What I'm basically saying is that IF (and of course it's a big if!), there is no essential 'faulty wiring' in his brain then potentially his MH is, indeed, 'curable' - but to 'cure' it he has to be proactive about it, and patient, and do the right things and have the right attitude. That will probably take an awful lot of 'unlearning' of the original trauma (which might not be 'acute' trauma - eg, death of a parent in childhood or whatever)(triggering very understandable anxiety!), but it might be, say 'chronic trauma' - eg, a critical or over-anxious parent 'teaching' us to be anxious about 'everything'.

Whatever the cause of the 'trauma', I would surely say that talking therapy has to be part of his 'cure', as well as, probably, the (at least initial) use of meds to 'soothe' his very troubled mind, and give him the 'mental respite' from his anxiety so that he can start to identify the root causes, and then start to 'treat himself' by developing new understandings of why he is as he is, and how to train the mind out of that trap. (After all, his mind was 'trained into anxiety' in the first place, so can be 'trained out of anxiety' now, however tricky that might prove.)

But to do that he MUST confront the problem, believe that it is 'curable' (ie, identify it as 'not natual' in the first place!)(to him, being chronically anxious is probably 'normal' for him!), and realise that he has the rest of his life to live, and there is no reason, no reason on God's earth, for him to be so, so unhappy.....

All of the above, or course, is predicated on the assumption, which may be TOTALLY WRONG, that his MH is NOT 'wired in' to his brain. (If it is, meds may very well still help of course, to 'rebalence' the inside of his head 'artificially' so to speak!)
Hi anonano

Yes, have been in a very similar situation many years ago. It is very hard to get out, but maybe you should start to make plans.

The strain of living with a partner with such unpredictable moods/behaviour is intense. You may be risking your own health, as well as your ability to work.

Best wishes
Thank you for the replies. I feel like the only option is for me to move out. He's had difficulties for as long as I've know him but he did study, go out and work over the first couple of years of knowing him. He seemed to manage it but then things got worse. I can honestly say I don't know what's triggered it, there was a family death during childhood and he does have a general fear of dying. He has always however been described as an anxious child and I wonder whether his parents doing thing for him hasn't helped the situation. They have always been there picking up the pieces and then I came along and fell in to the same pattern of behaviour. It's almost like it was easier for him to avoid than to face it. I guess in a way the frustration of trying to help him to get better led us all to accept his mental health. It caused so much distress and arguements because nobody could accept it. I then was of the viewpoint that he may always have difficulties but they could be managed and can improve. Once people took that stance things got easier. He engaged with therapy but whenever he felt he was being pushed too much he stopped. He'll do anything to avoid a panic attack. I've suggested gp more recently for med increase, he won't it's always he has to do what he has to do and we ended up going along with that because you can't control someone, only advise and it doesn't matter what you say and how much you say it was always down to him. I just don't know anymore, I thought being here could help him, I'd want to stay and that's the other problem.. its always been about what I can do to help him which leads me to think I'm codependent. It's like I've got no self worth.
anonano wrote:Thank you for the replies. I feel like the only option is for me to move out. He's had difficulties for as long as I've know him but he did study, go out and work over the first couple of years of knowing him. He seemed to manage it but then things got worse. I can honestly say I don't know what's triggered it, there was a family death during childhood and he does have a general fear of dying. He has always however been described as an anxious child and I wonder whether his parents doing thing for him hasn't helped the situation. They have always been there picking up the pieces and then I came along and fell in to the same pattern of behaviour. It's almost like it was easier for him to avoid than to face it. I guess in a way the frustration of trying to help him to get better led us all to accept his mental health. It caused so much distress and arguements because nobody could accept it. I then was of the viewpoint that he may always have difficulties but they could be managed and can improve. Once people took that stance things got easier. He engaged with therapy but whenever he felt he was being pushed too much he stopped. He'll do anything to avoid a panic attack. I've suggested gp more recently for med increase, he won't it's always he has to do what he has to do and we ended up going along with that because you can't control someone, only advise and it doesn't matter what you say and how much you say it was always down to him. I just don't know anymore, I thought being here could help him, I'd want to stay and that's the other problem.. its always been about what I can do to help him which leads me to think I'm codependent. It's like I've got no self worth.
I've had problems with co-dependency issues over the years, anonano, so I do understand the situation you are in and in a way I think it's like any other sort of dependency, it's difficult to cope with whilst you are still in the situation - a bit like expecting an alcoholic to sit in a pub and not drink! Mine has always been tied to low self esteem. I am getting better at dealing with things now; I am a helpful person by nature, I think, but there does have to be a line between looking after others and looking after yourself as well as knowing the difference between helping and enabling, which I also found quite difficult to work out over the years.

I found counselling very helpful, particularly when my therapist pointed out that my jumping in to rescue people all the time was actually stopping them from learning how to look after themselves and take responsibility for their health/job/relationship or whatever it was so she put it to me that me not doing things for people was actually a good and ultimately more helpful thing to do, which helped me to change my behaviour a bit. I do still struggle a bit, I am a sucker for a sob story! And I do look after my son but I think looking after your kids is a different situation (plus he really does need the help and does as much as he can for himself anyway). I think if you are feeling that it's time to move on then it probably is the right thing to do, sometimes I think we already know but we sort of need someone else to give us a shove in the right direction?
Hi- INCREDBILY BRIEFLY (as I'm timed out for this morning!), just wanted to say that so glad you found Robin's thread, Cat, and I'm sure you'll find resonances. Robin 'comes and goes' here, and he's a very, VERY admirable young man, because he is shouldering so much, and is so determined not to let his own problems, and his partners, get the better of them.

Re-reading just now my earlier post on the subtle difference between 'support' and 'enablement' it does still ring true, which I'm glad of. It's such a fine line though, and therefore hard to tread. I'm sure all of us wobble off it, and support can slip back into enablement sometimes, but so long as we then recover, and get back to supporting, not enabling, we are still of use and moving forward.

Will write more on your own thread Cat, in a while. Don't give in and give up yet - but yes, taking a breather might be a good idea at this point??? The French have a saying 'Recueler pour mieux sauter' (sorry about spelling etc!, which translates as 'To take a step backwards in order to leap forward'....and that can be very true in such cricumstances as yours.

Kindest wishes, Jenny

PS - Robin, DO HOPE things are OK with you and your partner. If you're still on this forum, please do post again sometime. We are all rooting for you! (As you know, we go into MMM - Mass Mum Mode!!!!!!! :) :):) )