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Partner has anxiety and I need help!

Community Member

My gf and I have been together for almost 3 years now. During that time she develped pretty severe anxiety symptoms due to overworking herself. Now she struggles with managing it, and they come quite often with symptoms like hyperventilating, shaking, unattention, headaches, irritability, etc. I love her very much and want to support her the best I can but its difficult facing the verbal abuse that comes with the anxiety attacks and just brushing it away. She always feels very guilty afterwards so I know she dosent mean it and it's her anxiety causing her to act irrationally. I also understand that it's not her saying these things but it still hurts and I just have to keep silent and take it.

My way of coping is to have some space alone to recharge. We currently live in separate places so that is when I am back at my place. However, I get the feeling that she has become too dependant on using me as an emotional punching bag and whenever we go back to each others places, she gets very very upset and blames me for making her anxious. Just recently we had spend two days together and I told her i needed space and I would see her tomorrow and she blew up at me and and started crying and said dont even bother coming over.

I really want to help and support her but I also need space or I risk damaging my own mental health. We have tried speaking about boundaries before but my need for space always makes her upset and she says she dosent need space and wants to see me all the time. Basically she dosent accept my need for space and it feels suffocating. But I always feel guilty for asking for space because I feel like I am asking for a bad thing and she always gets upset. I don't know how to make her understand that I need space sometimes but that does not mean I care any less about her. I also want to let her know that although she yells and snaps at me when shes anxious and I understand that it's not really her talking, it still affects me and I want her to be more mindful (if she can)

I'm struggling to do it though because I am scared that she will get upset but I still really need to talk to her. I've spoken to her about therapy but she is unwilling to get professional help. Any advice is appreciated

3 Replies 3

Hi Kopiko, 

Thank you for posting on the forums and for sharing your story with us here today. Relationships can be tough to manage, especially when there is a mental health concern present. It sounds like you are doing you best to support your partner while they work out what is going to be best for them. We want to congratulate you for your ongoiing support for them, but also want to encrouage you to look after yourself as well. Its been said that you 'can't pour from an empty cup' and so we want to offer a few resources to find that support for you. 

We think that a call to our phoneline (1300 22 4636) could be a good place to seek support, the team are wonderful at providing advice and support and are a great place to start.
Relationships Australia also have a heap of great advice on their website and state-by-state phonelines you can call to get some specefic advice. They are brilliant. 

There is also some great info on how to 'Support yourself' on our website that might be what you are looking for. 

We hope there is something there for you. PLease feel free to check back in and let us know how you are feeling, if you feel comfortable doing so. 

Kind reagrds, 
Sophie M

Community Champion
Community Champion

hi and welcome to the forums.

I have a couple of thoughts about this and I look at this from the perspective of husband and child.It is also nice to hear how caring and supportive you are being. At the same time if you are being the person which another person is relying on, you can soak up the negative vibes and sucks you in. So it is also important to be able to find some way for yourself to have some sort of coping tools or life of your own to act as a balance.

I can tell my wife anything, or should. However I tend not to tell her too much of what goes on for the very reason listed below (next section).

Can I ask what sort of help your partner is getting at the moment?

I hope that if I tell you part of my story you might get something from it... i chat periodically with mum about things and life in general. At one of the times in my life when things were worse than today I was chatting about some dreams I was having. I did not get very far into it when mum stopped me from speaking. The reason was that she did not want to worry about me more than she "should" or already does. In that way we worked out a way we could communicate with each other without necessarily having to go into all the details. I also have own psychologist I see, so she gets all the gory details.

It is also helpful for anyone to have about 3 people they can turn to or talk to. So if you are not available for whatever reason, you partner might be able to talk to someone else. It is probably this reason that I do not tell my wife too much as I have some others I can chat with.

Lastly, this should be about you, but wonder what sort of the coping tools your partner has.

I hope to hear from you.

Community Member
I am in the same boat as you. To be honest i think I am myself falling into the mental health trap. My wife would lash at me for days at a time, is verbally abusive. I have tried various times to help her understand that even though it is not her talking, it hurts me as much as it would otherwise. I have 2 little ones and usually I am afraid that they will learn from her ( maybe its just a fear that I have ) . My wife does not allow space either, shes always complaining and is depressed about how I do not spend enough time with her so its really hard for me to get out. I am grateful that I have a full time job which gives me space to relax as we live togather. I feel for you and 1 tip I would give you is engaging a therapist for your self. I am currently taking therapy sessions. Even though they are not treating you, the insight they will provide you in relation to your partner would be amazing. Also it is healthy to vent and just for someone to listen. For me I feel like I just cant take it anymore and think about calling up her family and let them know of the situation I am dealing with. I hope my 2 cents are of some help to you.