Saturday, 9 May 2009

Advice for Relatives/Friends

Looking over the 'Stresspac' information that I was given from David i found something useful. At the back of the agoraphobia supplement there is a section called 'Advice for Relatives/Friends.

I haven't seen anything like this before and wish i had given this to Gerry before we set out on our many trips. I thought I would type it out for you and see what you think...

If you don't suffer from agoraphobia, it will be hard for you to understand how it is affecting your relative or friend (now referred to as 'partner'). Talk to them about it. Try to look at it from their point of view. Even if you still cant understand it, accept that it is real and is not going to clear up without a great deal of hard work. Your help will be of great use. You may find the following points of use.

  • It will usually be easier for your partner to go out with you rather than alone. At the start, this is very useful. So make yourself available.

  • Always do exactly what you have jointly planned. NEVER do anything the two of you have not planned. If you have agreed to meet at a certain place at a certain time, make sure you are there ahead of time.

  • You may have to cope with irritation, anger, criticism etc. from your partner. These are often signs of stress. Try not to react to this. At the same time, try to keep your own irritation, anger and criticism under control. It is very hard coping with a partner who has this problem so accept that this problem is putting you under a lot of stress as well.

  • If something goes wrong, don't criticise. Talk it over, work out why it didn't work and plan ways of coping next time.

  • Offer all the encouragement you can, especially after a setback. Pats on the back after success are crucial.

  • Remember that this is taking a lot of guts on the part of your partner to face these places which cause so much fear so make sure he/she knows that you are with them 100% of the way.

  • Make sure that as your partner improves, his/her dependence on you eases. Encourage your partner to take on challenges alone.

  • Accept that your own life will chance. You may have got into habits of paying bill, doing the shopping, making decisions. You will have to encourage your partner to share these tasks.

  • Always be there for your partner. Give him or her a shoulder to cry on when the going is bad.

  • Why not a rewards to show how you feel about the hard work and progress - a bottle of wine, chocolates etc


Robert said...

I think that this would have been useful to me before I became involved with my dearest wife...but it doesn't really give enough info. I haven't found anything that does.

Perhaps I should write someting like this myself?

diver said...

Sure, it's all good advice. I find punctuality and reliability especially important. Being kept waiting or getting stood up is a real anxiety provoker for me.

One thing the stress-pack didn't mention is what happens in a relationship when the agoraphobic starts making progress. Often the partner assumes that the agoraphobia has totally ended, like as though it were a cold or something. I don't think it works like that for most of us. The margin of our comfort zone has just become a little broader, I think. For me, after a few days of busy social outreaching I badly need time out (my 'own space') for a coupla days just to get my head together. If my wife keeps pushing and pushing the social envelope in that time ... well, I end up frazzled and usually very pissed off with her. My point is that partners could do themselves a favour by learning to recognise when we need our recovery time, that's all.

Lynn said...

Yeh Robert it is a bit vague but i still think its handy. It at least tells of the basics, my favourtie being... dont try aything that isnt already planned. I know i would agree with that one. Diver i completely agree with what you said. I noticed i do like my own company and after a few days of outings or socialising i really NEED time alone. So far this hasnt posed to much of a problem.

Brian said...

Hey Lynn,

My doctor used to tell my ex Wife that she should ignore my anxiety / phobia. Just pretend it doesn't exist. It was good advice because anxiety/panic/etc aren't bad for us. They're not dangerous. The more we face our agoraphobic situations, the more real time evidence we receive that our fears are not dangerous and we'll be more inclined to face that situation going forward.

It helped me :)


Louis said...

Re Brian,

With all the respect in the world i cannot agree with the idea of telling people that what a doctor says for one can be usefull for all. It may be usefull for some even for many but people like me who have subconscious triggers have a hard time ignoring the anxiety. you are right anxiety keeps us from playing in traffic and it is normal but for some people it cannot just be ignored or even conquered until you know why you have the anxious feelings. So I applaud your abiltity to overcome but I still encourage people to educate themselves to seek counseling and information. Knowledge is power. And congradulations on having a strong will and spouse.
I hope you understand this isn't a slam just a watchout for others what works great fror brian may not work at all for others not in the same situation.

Dr. President said...

Where'd you get that book from? I'd like to buy it.

AP said...

Good list, sending it to my husband :)