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my partner has a severe panic disorder and epilepsy

My boyfriend and I have been together 17 years, not married, and no children.  During this whole time he has been mostly unemployed (excepting about 3 years), and I have been working full time supporting him, this is not through lack of effort by him, he simply has had no luck with getting and keeping a job, the lack of employment has left him feeling depressed and anxious.

In the last three years the anxiety has taken over his life (and mine).  He now has multiple panic attacks a day and has been seeing a councellor on and off for around 2 years.  The councelling has not helped him whatsover, in fact the condition seems to have become worse since he started seeing the councellor. 

I should also mention here, that he has had epilepsy since he was a young child, though he only has seizures very rarely (about once a year).  He recently went on the public waiting list to see a neurologist, we have no idea how long the wait will be.

His doctor believes however that the attacks are likely to be physchological and probably not related to his epilepsy.

Due to the epilepsy he has not attempted to go on any medication for the anxiety, because he is worried it may have an effect on the medication he already takes.

I feel very exhausted all the time and we sleep very little, the panic attacks are becoming so frequent that he will have them when we go to bed at night, during the night, and in the morning before i go to work.  Often I find myself sleeping on the couch or in the spare bed in order to get any sleep.

I do not have much of a support network I can turn to, I have not spoken or written to any friends (i only have 2 friends) for over a year now and they live in another state anyway.  I have social anxiety and I don't talk to anyone much at work either.  I have tried to reach out to his family about the problems we are having, but i get the feeling they don't really believe me or they are not trying hard enough to understand what I am going through.

today i made a few phone calls to try and find some councelling for myself, but I am having no luck, because to get councelling I would have to take time off work, and I really can't do that when i am the sole breadwinner and I work 40 hours a week..

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6 REPLIES 6

Re: my partner has a severe panic disorder and epilepsy

Hi @30something,

From what you've written, it seems like there's a lot going on: being the sole breadwinner (and working 40 hour weeks), supporting your partner, not having many support,  and having little sleep - its no wonder you are feeling exhausted. 

Your partner's anxiety seems to be worsening with the panic attacks becoming more frequent. You mentioned that the counselling is not really helping. Does your partner have any thoughts on why? Sometimes it can be a matter of finding the right therapist and type of therapy. You mentioned that this has become consuming over the past three years. May I ask if something happened three years ago to trigger this? And is your partner looking into other ways that might help with his anxiety?

With so much going on @30something, it's imporant that you take care of your well-being too. It's great that you have thought about counselling. There may be counsellors  that do after hour appointments. Have you looked in to this. A service that you might want to get in contact with  is Mental Health Carers. They provide support to people who care for/about someone with a mental illness.

@Shaz51 has a partner who has depression, and finds it difficult to work. She might be able to give some advice. You may also find this thread started by @bekka1986 useful. She has/is experiencing a similar situation with a partner who mental illness has deterioated with frequent panic attacks. I wonder if @bekka1986 has some advice for you. 

 

Hope to hear from you soon,

CherryBomb

 

Re: my partner has a severe panic disorder and epilepsy

Hi @30something,

 

Wow you are going through so much. Your poor partner, and poor you! Anxiety and panic attacks can be so debilitating especially when they are frequent. The guys I care for are also prone to anxiety attacks among other things. My eldest son, in particular, suffers severe anxiety attacks every day. I have found that mental health professionals tend to not regard anxiety as the serious issue it is. This has been a huge frustration for me. I hope you will find otherwise. In the meantime, I thought I would share with you some of the things I do at home to help manage anxiety.

First, a drink of water while the attack is happening slows down the breathing and this does help. Second, rock salt lamps. Third, melatonin spray. Fourth, weighted blankets - for the men I go for heavy patchwork quilts. And fifth - a pedicure in a massage chair. Pedicures are incredibly relaxing and shiatsu massage does wonders. You've been dealing with this for a long time so you probably know most of these and others besides, but I thought I would mention them just in case. I hope you are able to soon get some help and relief. All the best.

 

Re: my partner has a severe panic disorder and epilepsy

Hello @30something

how are you and your partner today ??

you wrote --he simply has had no luck with getting and keeping a job, the lack of employment has left him feeling depressed and anxious.-- My husband is the same , we are self employed due to this , and my husband will be mowing and he will totally stop , he says he can`t move , he wants to go home

I have tried to reach out to his family about the problems we are having, but i get the feeling they don't really believe me , same here my friend

My husband wants me to be with him seems like all the time

councelling has not helped my husband , he is a mess before , during and after the meetings so he doesn`t go anymore

Is there something that your partner likes to do to relax , a hobby

Re: my partner has a severe panic disorder and epilepsy

Thanks for all the advice and suggestions.  It helps to have a forum like this because sometimes it feels there is nowhere to go to for things like this.  He has been slightly better the last two days.  I have no idea really why the attacks have been worse in the last few years, perhaps its an accumulation of lots of things and also because of his long term unemployement.  I have felt that the doctors in general don't seem to care much about anxiety, it took a very long time for him to get a referral in the first place to see anybody about it.  He does have hobbies and friends which is fortunate for him, however I don't, which makes it pretty hard for me sometimes. Luckily we have this forum. Smiley Happy

Re: my partner has a severe panic disorder and epilepsy

Hello @30something xx

how are you today ??

perhaps its an accumulation of lots of things --- yes , with my husband it is , by the time he has a panic attack  or a melt down , he does no know what the real problem was

I tell him, can you tell me what is worring you at the beginning instead of waiting until you have a breakdown

I don't, which makes it pretty hard for me sometimes -- you need some "me time too "" @30something, at the beginning when I joined the forum , I was the same , I am still learning

I find having little me times are better for me , like a cuppa on the front steps or reading a magazine ect , doing a jigsaw puzzles , it has taken me a while ,

you are not alone my friend , keep in touch

Re: my partner has a severe panic disorder and epilepsy

Hi @30something. From everything you've said, I'm inclined to agree Shaz. Your partner suffers epilepsy which can be scary for both of you, plus inability to find work can be worrying, that would cause anxiety, which in turn possibly triggers the epileptic seizures. You both are on quite a merry-go-round of conflicting emotions and with no support it makes it harder. Does your partner have any sort of professional background in any field that a potential employer would appreciate? I have a friend who is married to an epileptic who is an accountant by profession. He now works from home as the seizures have made it impossible for him to drive. My friend (his wife) teaches guitar, so between the two of them, they manage to live quite comfortably. Perhaps if you could look at some kind of volunteer or part -time employment, this would help alleviate some of your stress. I'm not trying to insinuate fault for his seizures, please don't misunderstand me. You mentioned you have no hobbies and I thought perhaps you may have been a carer who devotes herself to taking care of your partner to the extent that you have overlooked your own needs. Everyone needs 'time out' to recharge, even carers who are employed in homes taking care of mentally disabled people work in rotating shifts as it can become exhausting.

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