Struggling to cope caring for husband with anxiety

For issues specific to caring for someone with mental ill health.

I'm new to the forums and this is the first time I've posted, but I am really beginning to struggle with helping my husband and need some advice or words of wisdom.

My husband has begun to suffer with insomnia and anxiety since September. It comes and goes, he can have a really good week and then two weeks with no sleep and extreme anxiety about small things. He has had this once before about six years ago and we thought it may have been seasonal depression, but this is so much worse than it was before.

I am currently four months pregnant with our second child, I have a two year old, I am a childminder so have a fairly physical job and I am looking after the house and doing all the chores completely on my own. I am exhausted and beginning to feel really down myself.

My house is becoming a very unhappy place and I don't even want to think about how this affecting my son. I worry about leaving my son with my husband to take some time out because of his frame of mind, so I get no time to myself. And I'm aware that in five months time, I'm going to have a new born as well.

I am trying to help him, but at the moment I am so exhausted and fed up that I am becoming a version of myself that I don't like and I am beginning to resent everything I have to, which is so selfish. Any help or advice would be really appreciated.

Thanks x
Hi and welcome. Caring for someone with MH can be the worst of all - with physical illness you still have the person 'there' so to speak, but for MH you are dealing with 'not the person you once knew' etc etc.

Firstly, do you have any idea why the MH hit him first time around, and whether he identified any factors (other than the seasonal one which forgive me but why would it affect him one year and not since?). Remember men are HABITUALLY inhibited from 'admitting problems, weakness, stress' etc etc, so getting at what is bothering him can be REALLY hard.

The obvious 'explanation' for his current bout is, of course, that you are pregnant again! That said, his MH now pre-dates hyour getting pregnant, but maybe you were trying for a child and he wasn't keen, etc etc?

Obviously, having another child will be hugely stressful just because it is for everyone! (You won't need me to tell you that), and maybe he is 'dreading' it, however much he is also 'looking forward' to it?

Is he worried about money? I can vividly remember my first NCT meeting and the mums had to huddle and come up with the 'top three things we're worried about' (it was pain in labour, pain in labour and pain in labour ha ha!), but for the blokes it was ALL' money'. They were really worried that a working wife would stop work and all the finances would be on THEM, plus with a child to keep, etc.

Never underestimate the 'man the provider' pressure that blokes feel under!

He may also have bad memories of you as a first time mum (er, no sex for ages ???!!!) and general PND or whatever, and be 'dreading' it next time around.

But that's only the 'obvious' possibly causes. Has anything else been going on (eg, fear of redundancy, parental ill health etc etc). SOMETHING must have kicked this off, and it's time to discover it, assess it and then sort it (possibly back in his child hood? Becoming a father/mother often 'dis-inters' ghosts from our own childhoods....)

Do bear in mind that even if he won't talk to you, he might talk to a counsellor!
Hi Natalie
You've made no mention of doctors. His first port of call must be GP. You ( and he) cannot deal with this alone.
I' like to focus on you. You are doing too much! I was very fit when I had my children, but my hormones sent me to sleep, anywhere. I even fell asleep curled up on some canvas sheets at a steam rally, when the rally was in full swing. Please don't jeopardise you baby or your marriage by trying to work more than your body wants you too. Making a new life takes a lot from a woman's body, and you have a 2 year old as well. Time to give up child minding, snuggle down in bed with your son for story time and an afternoon nap, and ENJOY this pregnancy. It's supposed to be a really happy time for a family, and if you are happier, hopefully some of it will rub off on your OH.