Dear Abby: I have been married to my best friend, “Blake,” for two years. A year ago he started having panic attacks, so I made an appointment for him with his doctor. After checking him for everything, including heart failure, the doctor diagnosed him with anxiety.
Since his diagnosis, Blake is scared to leave the house. I have been working two jobs to make ends meet because he says he “can’t work.” This has taken a toll on our marriage. We have three kids and a lot of bills.
Blake is on meds and has tried many different ones, but they aren’t working. All he talks about is his anxiety and every little ache or pain. He thinks he’s going to have a heart attack.
I am fed up with it, while he says I just “don’t understand anxiety.” Sometimes I think he’s making his anxiety worse. I don’t know what to believe or what to do. Any suggestions?
Stressed in Virginia
Dear Stressed: Yes, I do have one. Your husband should be seen by a licensed mental health professional (psychologist) who works with a psychiatrist. He may need more than medication to help him beat his anxiety disorder. He might do better with a combination of talk therapy in addition to his meds.
Please urge your husband to do this because the aches, pains and anxiety he’s experiencing may seem like they’re all in his head to you, but they’re real to him. It could save your marriage.
Dear Abby: I hate funerals. My grandfather died when I was 6, and a relative held me over the casket and made me kiss his cold, dead face. It terrified me, and it’s all I can remember of my grandfather. I force myself to recall any of the good times we had together, but that event still taints the good memory.
Since then, every funeral I have been to has had the same poisoning effect, no matter what the service was. Funerals are for the living, and I understand that many people feel the need for closure and the sharing of grief to begin healing. But I need to keep my grief and my faith private in order to heal.
I’m sure some people think my not showing up at a service is a sign of disrespect or just not caring. Nothing could be further from the truth. I prefer to remember the good times with the loved one, not the passing. My way of honoring that person is to keep happy memories untainted.
Am I wrong? Weird, crazy? Selfish, lazy? Please let me know.
Keeping My Distance in Washington State
Dear Keeping Your Distance: You are none of the above. People grieve in different ways. An appropriate way to express your respect for the deceased and your support for the survivors would be to write a condolence letter expressing those feelings and sharing a happy memory with the grieving widow, widower or child. No rule of etiquette demands that you show up to a funeral — unless it happens to be your own.
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.