How to help a partner in crisis?
February 24, 2013 7:28 AM Subscribe
About 6 months ago my partner told me he had stopped taking his Prozac. He was on a low 'maintenance dose' and had been feeling better. Now things have gone belly up and going back on the meds hasn't helped. He's drinking heavily and can barely function. How can I find him the help he needs and also help him myself with little money and no support network whilst looking after our young daughter?
posted by anonymous to health & fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
He had suffered from periods of extreme stress and anxiety previously both whilst off and on the medications, these periods usually lasted for a few weeks and ended with him quitting his job (which was part of the reason for the stress along with generalised feelings of anxiety and impostor syndrome). Once he had a few weeks to calm down he would find another job and go back to normal. He was working as an IT contractor so he could afford to do this especially whilst the economy was riding high.
A few months after stopping the pills he had to leave the country for a month to visit his sick father, and when he came back he felt the return of the anxiety and depression, all not helped by me having a miscarriage whilst he was away and the death of a close friend of ours a few months before. He went back on the pills but usually when he goes through this he has a period of a few weeks where he feels chronically depressed and shaky, anxious and drinks heavily before the pills kick in and he comes right again. This shakiness and anxiety seems to be a side effect of the pills but it's hard to separate the effects of the pills from the drinking and his mental state generally. This time things are worse. He is now 3 months into this and can barely function. The GP (we are in the UK) has prescribed Diazepam to help temporarily but this seems to have little effect, and I am worried that addiction may set in soon. He has been sent on a CBT course which he has completed and has a referral to the NHS mental health provider, but he has a long wait for actual therapy. Our finances are dire and we literally do not have the money to pay privately at the moment. I feel he needs to see a Psychiatrist to discuss changing his meds as it seems that the Prozac isn't working anymore but the GP refuses to refer him until he stops drinking. His drinking seems to be level at about 1 bottle of wine per night, plus a few beers over the weekends on top. He stopped drinking for a week cold turkey but this had no effect on his mood; I am not sure if it this is because it wasn't long enough or because the drinking is not the reason for the meds not working. Of course, drinking helps him function, but obviously he can't keep on like this, and he knows it. we both see that alcohol and his addictive personality is a major problem. He spends his time sitting in bed telling me he cannot cope and that he feels scared and destroyed whilst I feel shattered and try to cope with our child on our own.
I don't think he is suicidal but I am so worried about this spiral. I barely have the energy to look after our daughter and myself and am exhausted by this. We have no support network and no family to help. His primary concerns seem to be centred around our finances, his feelings of inadequacy, his lack of belief in his work ability, as well the usual existential stuff. He is able to function at work but barely and I am concerned that he is going to break down completely and then lose his job, and then we will be truly stuffed. I realise this isn't really a question as much as a long story of woe, but does anyone have any ideas how I can help him, what sort of professional help he needs and what I should be expecting from him, from his GP and from myself. How do other people cope with this without going crazy themselves?