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Anxiety and Stress Disorders

Stress and Therapy

08/21/2007

Question:

I have written before. I have been a RN for 22 yrs but had to go on long term disability 2 yrs ago due to being dx`ed with a progressive neuromuscular disease. It has been very difficult adjusting to this as I loved my job.It also has meant a change financially etc. I still have times where I feel very sad. I recently saw a doctor that I worked with. After seeing and talking to him (I just happened to run into him)I cried all day. It brought back the memories of me working and made the loss fresh again. Also, in April , my LTD decided that after 2 yrs I was no longer disabled and could return to work. Even though my drs have documented decline. So, I have had to hire an attorney to appeal this but this will take until January 2008 to hopefully win the appeal. I also filed for SSDI 2 yrs ago and am waiting for this to go through. Sorry for the long post but my point is with the loss of my income, my husband has taken a 2nd job to help with the finances.He is becoming very discourage and tired from working 16-18 hrs /day 3-4 days per week. He told me last night ,he just can`t keep it up. I feel very guilty about this and try to make things as easy for him as possible -like making breakfast for him every morning,having supper ready for him and generally making sure I am doing whtever I can to make his needs are met. I don`t feel I can talk about how I am feeling physcially as far as my disease goes and my fatigue, weakness etc. I do not go to bed until he is home and in bed even if that means going to bed at midnight almost every night. I am overwhelmed with our situation and cannot stop the feelings of guilt that all of this is my fault that he is having to work 2 jobs to prevent financial disaster. He also gets aggravated with the fact I have to go to the different specialists (neuro,pulmo ,cardiologist etc) as my insurance is nothing like it used to be and my medical bills are quite expensive. Do you have any suggestions on anything I can do during this difficult time to get us through without causing more stress? I just don`t know what to do. I feel like I am walking on eggshells just to maintain some sense of peace.We have 2 children and this has been tough on them as well. Thank you.

Answer:

Your chronic health and employment problems have, not surprisingly, led to stressors in your personal relationships.  The most important thing you, and your spouse and family can do, is to begin (or restart or continue) counseling sessions with a skilled personal or family therapist.  Regardless of the specifics of the individual stressors, you and your spouse need to learn how to communicate and discuss not only the necessary mechanics of making difficult family, work and financial decisions, but also how to express and listen for the emotions and feelings.

Things will likely only get better if some counseling goes on in this family.  If your spouse and/or children refuse to go, then go yourself.  You can begin to learn how to communicate yourself.

Good Luck.

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Response by:

Nancy   Elder, MD Nancy Elder, MD
Associate Professor
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati