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Join the online community Community rules Coping during the Coronavirus outbreak

Topic: Struggling

24 posts, 0 answered
  1. jsm1974
    jsm1974 avatar
    58 posts
    26 August 2021

    I'm new to the forums, despite the fact that I probably should have been on here years ago.

    The pandemic has been hard on everyone, myself included. I have lost my job at a University, where I have been a casual, but with consistent work, for 8 years. I had been planning to change career paths, but that plan, as well as every other plan collapsed this week with my wife and best friend saying that she wants to separate. I know that living with someone with depression and anxiety can be difficult, but she always assured me that she loved me and would always stand by me. I'm sure she meant it at the time, but even then I knew on some level that eventually she would get tired of it.

    I have been crying for three days with very little intermission. I have absolutely no support system, as I have no friends at all and I am estranged from my family. In a nutshell, the future I had been dreaming of is completely shattered. This would not be quite as distressing if I were still young, but I have just turned 47, so starting over, especially with debts, will not be easy at all. To make matters worse, I am struggling to see any point in starting over. I was pretty dissatisfied with the world before this, but always had my wife to remind me that it's not all bad. She didn't even have to say anything. Just knowing she was there was enough. Now she's not.

    I haven't eaten nor stopped crying for any real period of time in over 2 days and can't sleep without a lot of help from prescription drugs. I have always thought that I had the tools to deal with most issues that life sends my way, but this is so much worse than I ever could have imagined. I'm desperate for someone to talk to, but most therapists are booked out and the hotlines haven't been much help due to the short consultation times and the fact that I can't even see who I'm talking to. Keeping busy doesn't help, as reality just hits that much harder when I'm done with whatever I was doing.

    I wouldn't kill myself (at least in the short term) as I know how much it would hurt her, but I don't really see the point in living a pointless existence either, so I'm at an impass. Any advice (apart from calling the free counselling numbers, of course) would be welcome.

  2. HappyHelper88
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    HappyHelper88 avatar
    198 posts
    26 August 2021 in reply to jsm1974
    Hi JSM im glad your here and its never too late! Thankyou for sharing, usually nothing goes to plan......and then the pandemic makes things even harder! I have lost my job 3 times in the past year due to Covid!!!! Added pressure from the pandemic has broken up many once happy relationships and caused a massive strain on everyone.
    Its good to cry and let things out because you have had a massive life change occur, feeling like you dont have a support system is a lonely feeling but you are never alone. As hard as it is, there is nothing wrong with starting over, it seems like alot at the start but start with small steps piece by piece and things will get easier.
    Please be careful with presciption Drugs and please eat something, your body needs foods to function. This feeling will pass be kind to yourself
    Im so glad to hear that you wouldnt hurt yourself because there is always support here, especially on the forum we are a big family. My advice is to be kind to yourself and your body, have hot showers, watch movies and eat your favourite foods do whatever you feel that you need to get through this. Things will get better, they always do in time'
    I Hope this helps, stay strong
    1 person found this helpful
  3. Croix
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    Croix avatar
    11065 posts
    26 August 2021 in reply to jsm1974

    Dear Jsm1974~

    Welcome here to the Forum. It is a good move to come as you can talk with lots of people (you may have to browse and visit their threads as well as remain here in your own). That way you can receive support and have no time limit

    I agree that at times support lines are not much help, it depends a lot on circumstances.

    Yes, it is exceptionally hard for you at the moment, and if you are like I was, you may be blinded to all the things in life except your current circumstances - no job - separation - loneliness and seeing everything as pointless.

    Coping with all this on your own is horrible. People help. You did say you had no one, even though you are estranged from your family do you think that applies to all, or might there be one to talk with who would care? A person elsewhere, perhaps from your old job? The hardest part of course is reestablishing the old contact, however it can be worth it

    Talking of people is there any activity you can do that let you mix with others? Anything from the Gym to volunteering?

    You has said you were thinking of changing jobs, would you like to say what held your interest?

    While we are at it may I ask what in the past you have enjoyed, or has given you a lift? Exercise, reading, pets, podcasts .... You would know, these are just guesses. Mine: books & old TV Shows & movies.

    I remarried around you age, whch was pretty amazing as this was after I'd been invalided out of my job, with not prospects, plus PTSD, bouts of depression and anxiety, not to mention being suicidal.

    It all worked out, we are still together 20+ years later. I'm a different person nowadays.

    One of the things have found to be very useful when becoming overwhelmed, hopeless and frightened of what I might do is a safety plan. No thinking, just grab it. I use this free one for the phone

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/beyondnow-suicide-safety-planning

    It's called BeyondNow and is not totally what you might expect. It has the normal quick dial settings for an emergency, but also has a great deal of space to list those things I was talking about earlier, the ones you have enjoyed or given you a lift.

    It can be hard to fill those things in by oneself. I found I was bad at remembering good things, but persevered and now have a lot, YouTube clips - to places to go - or imagine. The secret is to be specific, not "listen to music" but "listen to Paolo Conte's Via Con Me" or wahtever you fancy

    I hpe to talk with you again

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  4. jsm1974
    jsm1974 avatar
    58 posts
    26 August 2021

    Thank you so much for your responses. It means a lot just to feel heard.

    I have been wracking my brain trying to think of someone I can talk to, but I only have acquaintances, not friends. My wife was never really good at this sort of thing (partly because she has her own issues), but it never mattered. Just feeling that she loved me was always enough to get me over bad days.

    I would love to find tv shows, movies....whatever...to distract me, but there is nothing that I can do that doesn't make me think of what I'm losing. I'm not a big fan of food to begin with, but I can't even bring myself to eat. Everything that I used to care about at all now seems meaningless. I think about my life moving forward and there is no goal or destination that I can think of that doesn't feel completely hollow.

    I genuinely wish that I could go back in time and undo my marriage. Every good memory is now torture, and the bad ones are all regrets.

  5. Petal22
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    26 August 2021 in reply to jsm1974

    Hi jsm1974,

    Wellcome to our forums!

    Sorry you are feeling this way, I understand the pandemic has been hard.

    Im sorry that your wife has asked to separate.. this must feel very distressing…… did your wife give you an explanation why……..

    I highly recommend that you make an appointment with gp and let them know how you are feeling………. You could do a mental health plan together this will enable you to see a psychologist.

    Please know you aren’t alone and we are here as a community to support you.

  6. jsm1974
    jsm1974 avatar
    58 posts
    26 August 2021 in reply to Petal22

    Thanks for responding. I'm on mental health care plan and have been for some time. I was actually in the process of finding a therapist (I had put it off forever) when this situation happened.

    She hasn't really given a clear explanation, only that she feels like she needs to be alone. She also said that she feels like we were kind of enabling each other and bringing each other down. I agree with her, but I also feel like that can be reversed and we can pull each other up.

    She says she is confused, but I don't actually think she is. Based on our conversations and certain aspects of her behavior lately, I know she wants out. I know this on a rational level, but I can't stop giving myself false hope, which is what is killing me. Those conflicting forces are torture.

    The worst part is that I know that my depression and anxiety are the cause of this and that she is, justifiably, tired of it.

    I appreciate people on the forum saying I'm not alone, but the reality is that I am. I have nobody who genuinely cares about me. Feeling very trapped in this life , and unfortunately this has been a recurring theme for most of my life.

  7. Doolhof
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    Doolhof avatar
    8853 posts
    26 August 2021 in reply to jsm1974

    hi jsm1974,

    I too welcome you to this community. I know we are all anonymous here, but many people here care deeply for others. I hope you are able to gain some sense of acknowledgement and acceptance here.

    You mentioned you haven't found the help lines all that supportive, I have phoned them multiple times when I have really been struggling. There were times when I phoned one after the other just so I had someone to talk to. I desperately hoped the person on the other end of the phone had some amazing solution that would make life better.

    That feeling of being alone is daunting. It has been for me.

    Do you have the opportunity to ask your GP if you can have a couple of days in hospital to rest and have someone else look after you for a while? I'm not sure if that is something you may consider.

    When we don't have the strength to care for ourselves, this could be an option if it is available.

    Please know my comments here are just suggestions. I don't like going through the tough times in life either.

    Is there one thing you can do today that might momentarily help you feel a little better?

    Regards to you from Dools

  8. jsm1974
    jsm1974 avatar
    58 posts
    26 August 2021 in reply to Doolhof

    It certainly does provide some comfort getting that acknowledgement from people like you on here and it is also good to have an outlet for these feelings. I guess what is missing is the feeling that there is at least one person who really knows me and who I can just hang out with. A hug wouldn't go astray either.

    Nothing provides me with any solace at all. In fact, everything around me that I even remotely enjoyed has become like a burning spear in my side. Sounds dramatic, but that is how it feels. I'm even struggling to give any attention to my cat, who I've always adored, because he reminds me of the life I had up until recently. I can only go on so many walks; eventually I have to return here to be constantly tormented. Doesn't really help that I know the final axe is coming but I have to wait for it, as my wife is staying with friends for the weekend.

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Petal22
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    27 August 2021 in reply to jsm1974

    Hi jsm1974,

    Please go back to the gp you did your mental health care plan with and ask them to refer you to a psychologist…. Please tell your gp how you are currently feeling.. please do this ASAP… it will help you to move forward..

    I understand you mentioned prescription drugs …. Depending on what they are some can be addictive so please be careful .

    Just give your wife some time, we don’t truly know what someone else is thinking so just give her time and let things settle.

    You really can learn to manage your depression and anxiety with the correct help from health professionals…….

    I had severe anxiety OCD and have now recovered thanks to the help of health professionals….. there is HOPE that you can learn to manage your anxiety and depression..

    Please let me know how you go with your gp and please know you aren't alone you have us on this forum who do genuinely care about you..

    here to chat

    1 person found this helpful
  10. jsm1974
    jsm1974 avatar
    58 posts
    27 August 2021 in reply to Petal22

    I talked to my garage this morning, but there doesn't seem to be much he can do.

    Thankfully I also spoke to the team from the local hospital. Just talking about it to a face I could see was comforting. The counselor also booked me in with a psychiatrist and arranged for support over the weekend.

    The only problem is that I still feel like while suicide is not an option for me in the short term, it is inevitable in the medium or long term, however long it takes for my wife to forget about me. I've been fixated on death most of my life, but this is far more intense.

  11. Petal22
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    27 August 2021 in reply to jsm1974

    Hi jsm1974,

    Thats great you have spoken to the team at the hospital! and that you will be seeing a psychiatrist…

    Thats great that you have support over the weekend…

    Just give your wife time ….

    Please stay in contact over the weekend to let us know how you are going……..

    jsm1974, you could be in this head space now but just give yourself time things will change for the better…

    Darkness is not permanent, light must come. Believe

  12. jsm1974
    jsm1974 avatar
    58 posts
    27 August 2021 in reply to Petal22

    Thanks so much for the encouragement. I've talked with the NSW Mental Health hotline (yet again). I've been interested in trying ECT due to the ineffectiveness of every antidepressant on the market as well and even antipsychotics, and they said this could be an option and could happen as soon as next week if I admit myself to the emergency department (or even if I wait until my scheduled appointment Tues.

    Has anyone here had any experience with ECT? I know there is a risk of memory loss, but I think that would not really be a bad thing at the moment. In fact, I'm hoping by "short-term memory" they mean memories from the last ten years or so. 47 years worth of memory loss would work too. Can't say I've ever done anything that is really worth remembering (without pain, at least).

  13. Petal22
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    27 August 2021 in reply to jsm1974

    That’s ok jsm1974 😊 happy to support you…

    Thats great you have spoken to the mental health hot line.

    I don’t know much about ECT but Beyond Blue have some information on it……

    Electroconvulsive therapy ( ECT) Beyond Blue

    ( you could google this if you want to)

    Maybe someone in our community has experience with it?

    Does a psychiatrist usually see you before a procedure like this?

    Im here to chat

  14. jsm1974
    jsm1974 avatar
    58 posts
    27 August 2021 in reply to Petal22
    Yeah, so apparently it can be done outpatient, but at least the first time you need to stay overnight. They do a full psych assessment and physical before making the decision. So far the feedback that I've found online has been positive, with some people saying that the results were immediate, or at least fast, and considerable. An 80% success rate. There are some patients who did not have a good experience, but I haven't had a good experience with anything else, so might as well give it a go. If I can, that is. Otherwise, I'm very nearly completely out of options.
  15. jsm1974
    jsm1974 avatar
    58 posts
    27 August 2021

    If anyone has any tips on how to deal with crisis when alone, I'd love to hear them.

    I'm finding it impossible to distract myself with anything. My thoughts go between thinking about my wife and wondering what she is thinking and how I hope she's missing me, then to the fact that rationally I know that she isn't missing me and she is going to leave me, to the fact that my future was bleak before but is now completely empty, and finally to the fact that to continue living would be roughly the same as sitting through a horrible movie just to do it. I have tried everything I can think of, but nothing seems to break that cycle.

    Still can't eat, can't sleep...not that either of these are, under normal circumstances, my go-to activities for comfort, but in this case they would be far better than the alternatives, like watching movies or series (as I associate this with my wife). Can't seem to find anything at all that doesn't remind me of her, how incredibly much I miss her and how much my life is suddenly changing for the worse.

  16. Croix
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    Croix avatar
    11065 posts
    27 August 2021 in reply to jsm1974

    Dear JSM1974~

    I guess one thing that might be a little comfort -it was for me, is realizing you are surviving the hardest thing you will ever have to do. Future crises will be bad, but not as bad, and you will know you have coped with worse.

    Now I know that's 's not that much comfort at this moment, it's something for the future. As you have pointed out yourself even talking to people is a help, doesn't matter if you do not talk about your circumstances, just talk helps.

    How you find people to talk to I'm not sure, you may have better ideas than me. Perhaps our 24/7 Help Line (1300 22 4636) might know of one in your area or else a drop in safe cafe or safe haven. (Yes a help line! But for a specific purpose, not general talk)

    You were wondering about ECT. Beyond Blue lists it on page 41 of this document:

    https://www.beyondblue.org.au/docs/default-source/resources/bl0556-what-works-for-depression-booklet_acc.pdf

    It's a little old and there may be fresh info.

    In addition I'd see what those on the forum have to say, as far as I can see opinion and results appear to be divided though overall possibly encouraging. To find them Google:

    ECT beyondblue forum

    You will get a lot of hits and need to wade though them

    One of the things depression, grief and loss does is shrink down your perspective of the world to a few seemingly insoluble problems and no hope.

    I try to combat this in two stages, the first being to use an exercise in the free App Smiling Mind

    https://www.smilingmind.com.au/smiling-mind-app

    (which takes a little practice to be effective) in order to break the chain of negative thoughts, then quickly conjure yourself in your mind's eve to a place not even remotely connected to the present, somewhere happier. It may only last a few fleeting moments but reminds me there is a bigger better world than I can currently see

    So I have a mental place in my mind I call up. It is from the happy part
    of my childhood and is a scene standing on sheep nibbled turf on a cliff, looking at grey
    windy seas, with squalls of rain approaching. It blows me till I stagger and a gull swoops past, carried on the wind with wings half-furled. The rain washes my face but from my face I'm dry and snug, dressed warmly

    I feel the largeness of the world, all the possibilities that are hidden from me now.

    Perhaps you to can think of something from well before -or imagine something you read or heard. Even a moment's respite has longer lasting effects than you might imagine

    Croix

  17. Petal22
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    27 August 2021 in reply to jsm1974

    Hi jsm1974,

    Thats great you have done some research in ECT, thats also great that you see a psychiatrist before…… maybe have a good chat to your psychiatrist about things……. Please let me know how you go…..

    Also in regards to dealing with crisis when alone……. you can always call the beyond blue hotline to talk to a trained councillor any time..

    Ive always found meditation to be helpful….. google a guided meditation for learning to watch your thoughts…….. it takes practice but once you get the hang of it meditation can teach you a lot…

    I learned through meditation that I’m not my thoughts but the watcher of my thoughts…….

    Mindfulness is great, when you realise you are in a thinking cycle bring your attention to something in the present moment like what can you see, what can you hear, what can you smell……. If washing the dishes practice this…..

    When you feel you are in a cycle of thinking stand up and walk into a different room…… this helps to shift your attention…..

    Try to practice positivity…. Look at things from a different perspective….. read positive affirmations……..

    here to chat

  18. jsm1974
    jsm1974 avatar
    58 posts
    27 August 2021

    Thanks once again for your replies. I have never felt so alone in my life (despite having been alone for much of it), so it means so much just to connect with someone, even someone I don't know.

    I've been trying to use Smiling Mind but I'm having difficulty even hearing (not in the physical sense) it because of the other thoughts that fill my mind. Bit of a catch 22, but I'll keep trying.

    I've spent the past couple of hours writing down everything (or almost everything) that I want to say to my wife. I don't think it will change her mind one way or another, but I feel like I need to say those things even if she doesn't read them. The process was full of mixed emotions. As I listed all of the reasons that our marriage is worth fighting for - there are a lot and I'm still adding to it - I was also reminded in clearer terms what I stand to lose, which still seems by far like the most likely outcome.

    I also talked about the fact that we have both fallen short in some areas, but that they are fixable with a change in perspective. i have already managed to secure a therapy session for Monday with a reputable therapist and have finally found a pathway to getting ECT (my normal psychiatrist is being too conservative with this). I'm hoping that the latter will give me the stability that I need to succeed in therapy, and that the therapy will, in turn, give me to the tools that I need to be a positive force in my wife's life, which is all I've ever wanted.

    As I've said before, even though on a rational level I know that she wants to split, I keep clinging to the 0.00001% chance that this will work out, That really makes me scared of how I'll feel when she tells me that it's over. I've already got Uber open so that I can go straight to the hospital, so at least I have a plan in that sense, but I fear that this will only delay the inevitable.

    I've kind of always known I would take my own life eventually, but I never thought it would be in a situation where I feel I have no other choice. Obviously I'll have to wait a bit so that she doesn't feel like it's her fault, but I still feel like it's inevitable within a year.

  19. Petal22
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    28 August 2021 in reply to jsm1974

    Hi jsm1974,

    Thats ok 😊 happy to support you…

    Thats great you are trying smiling mind in time you will learn to put your attention on what the meditation is telling you to do rather than on your own thoughts…. Keep practicing.

    Thats great you have been writing a list…. Maybe you could write a nice letter to your wife…….. think positive…….. we truly don’t know what someone else is thinking…..

    You could write a list of all the things you love about your wife

    or write a list of all the things you are grateful for……. This is great for renewing the mind……

    Thats great that you are seeing a therapist on Monday please let us know how you go..

    You have inner strength and a light inside you, you just need to believe it’s there…..

    Darkness has no power over those who hold light..

    jsm1974 you always have a choice in everything in your life ……. Stay positive keep moving forward…..

  20. jsm1974
    jsm1974 avatar
    58 posts
    28 August 2021 in reply to Petal22

    I have written an extremely long and, I think, positive letter talking about why we should fight to save our marriage. I included bullet point list of why we should stay together as well as one for what we should do to try to fix things. Your suggestion about listing the things I love about her will be so hard, but I think it would be good for her to know that even if she does want to leave, so I'll work on one bit by bit.

    Finding it hard to be grateful for anything. This is why I need treatment that works. I can't possibly be a positive force in her life while I feel this way, even if I am given the opportunity. I'm also not up for another round of some random antidepressant, so in a sense I'm giving whatever psychiatrist I see at the hospital an ultimatum.

    Support from the hotlines has been good up until today. I spoke to some social worker who seemed insistent on belittling what I'm going through, saying it's just "heartbreak" and talking about how I should call my bank so that she doesn't drain the account. As if that's what's on my mind. Didn't seem to acknowledge the multiple times that I said I also suffer from very long-term major depression and anxiety when I brought up the idea of ECT. My suicidal thoughts may have intensified as a result of my separation, but they certainly didn't originate there.

  21. Petal22
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    28 August 2021 in reply to jsm1974

    So sorry to hear what the social worker said to you that’s just horrible! If someone is not helpful that you are talking to maybe ask to be put through to someone else who is empathetic and wants to listen to you….

    That’s great you have written such a positive letter…. I understand it would be difficult to sometimes list the things you love about your wife because it can bring up emotions… but it’s ok to have emotions…. I can see how much you really love your wife…..

    All the best with your appointment, you have been very proactive in getting help / treatment for yourself and I applaud you for that…

    Please let us know how your appointment goes……

    here to chat

  22. Sophie_M
    Community Moderator
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    Sophie_M avatar
    6820 posts
    28 August 2021 in reply to jsm1974
    Dear Jsm1974

    We're sorry to hear about how bad you're feeling, and that your conversation with the counsellor was unhelpful. We can hear how much you love your wife through your posts. We hope that things work out for you. Please know that we are here to speak whenever you need. We're glad to hear that you've organised an appointment to see a mental health professional. It sounds like you're taking many steps to better your situation, which takes strength. Please try to be kind to yourself throughout this challenging time. 

    If your suicidal thoughts become worse, or if you begin to feel more overwhelmed, please remember that there are crisis services available, like Lifeline (13 11 14) or Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467). You said that helplines have generally been good up until this recent conversation, so we encourage you to give them another try should you need to. You do not need to be alone throughout this. 

    Please continue to post here and seek support as you see fit. 
  23. jsm1974
    jsm1974 avatar
    58 posts
    28 August 2021 in reply to Sophie_M

    Thanks Sophie and everyone else so much. Communities like this are so important and so comforting during a crisis like this, so all of you who post in support of others should be proud of yourselves. It doesn't fix the problem, but it makes a big difference in dealing with the pain.

    My wife has said that she wants to talk about things and try to save our marriage, which is awesome, but I'm already afraid of this happening again. Hopefully counselling will give me some tools and a better perspective to be a more positive force in my wife's life and to be able to deal with these feelings constructively in the case that this happens again.

    My battle with depression and anxiety is far from over....I wasn't even doing great before all of this happened...but at least I have a moment's respite from the worst of it. Finally ate something after 4 days, which seems like a good sign.

    Hopefully I can be as supportive to others (while I'm not in a crisis moment) as you guys have all been to me. I'll certainly try.

    1 person found this helpful
  24. Petal22
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    28 August 2021 in reply to jsm1974

    Hi jsm1974,

    That is wonderful news jsm1974, I am so happy for you that your wife wants to talk about things and try to save your marriage….. that is awesome!

    That is great that you ate something I think that’s a really positive step…

    Yes please go to your counseling and keep up with it, you will learn a lot of tools to help you to deal with your feelings and yes gain new perspectives…… 😊 it will be a very positive step for yourself to learn these tools and also in time after you have been able to practice and grow from learning these tools and perspectives, it will help your wife from the way that you will be able to grow within yourself….and move forward…….. just be positive…..

    When you have a negative thought flip it over and look at how you can turn it into a positive one from looking at it in a new perspective….

    Thank you jsm1974 I enjoy supporting you and helping you in anyway I can ….. along with all of our lovely community….. I’m so happy we have helped you in some way 😊

    Please know we are always here and you are never alone, please let us know how things go……. with your appointments…. I wish you all the best……..

    Remember you can learn how to manage your anxiety and depression just keep chipping away at it…. You will get there with the help of health professionals………

    I overcome severe anxiety OCD after professional help…….. there is HOPE that you too can learn to overcome/ manage yours……. Never loose hope and there is always someone here to listen to you and have a chat 😊

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