How can I help my chronically ill wife manage her stress?
My wife suffers from multimorbidity, meaning, she has multiple chronic conditions. The first one is stage IV deep infiltrating endometriosis, the other is fibromyalgia disorder. Both conditions cause her a lot of stress and anxiety, which in turn impacts my life. I needed to figure out how can I help my chronically ill wife manage her stress.
I needed to do it not only to help my wife with her struggles but also for myself. The chronic illness divorce rate is as high as 75%, meaning, that every 3 in 4 marriages end in divorce. I wanted to avoid that.
My wife asked me to divorce her for the sake of my own happiness on four separate occasions. She also tried to commit suicide because she felt like a burden to me, even though I never made her feel that way.
I needed to figure out how to help her, but also how to save our marriage because my wife had to wait for her therapy for over 9 months. She decided to wait because our National Health Service provides it free of charge and we couldn’t afford to pay for the private one.
Where do you start?
Trying to figure out how can I help my chronically ill wife manage her stress, I decided to do some research on stress and how it affects people with chronic illnesses. I learned that chronic stress can make my wife’s symptoms worse and can even lead to new health problems. I also learned that managing stress is essential to managing her chronic illness.
I talked to her about what I had learned and we came up with a plan to help her manage her stress. We decided that she would start by identifying her stressors and then finding ways to cope with them. She would also make sure to get regular exercise, eat a healthy diet, and get enough sleep.
In the meantime, whilst supporting my wife, I had to also think of my own mental well-being. I didn’t want to be impacted by her mood swings and emotional distress.
I decided to start a blog in order to express my own emotions. I didn’t want to overwhelm my wife with my worries and anxieties. I had to spell it out, I had to talk to someone. I found great relief in expressing how I felt, and I didn’t even think of people responding to it. But they did.
I began to realize that there were more people like us, especially guys. I realized how many men were in the same situation as I was, and how their lack of understanding of their partner’s struggles impacted their own relationships.
My blog began to angle towards male partners of women who suffer from endometriosis and fibromyalgia. Worry Head was born…
If you want to learn how to cope with your partner’s chronic illness, how to support her struggles, and manage a relationship with a chronic condition, I give away a FREE Chapter of my eBook: “Supporting a Chronically Ill Partner”.
This chapter alone has all the comprehensive information about acknowledging the struggles, including:
- A word to your partner.
- A word to you.
- Stepping on eggshells.
- Understanding her needs.
- How to acknowledge having a chronically ill partner?
- Acknowledging can be hard.
- 15 tips on how to do it!
Get the 1st Chapter FREE!
Chronic Illness for Partners
How did I help my chronically ill wife manage her stress?
Okay then, you’ve heard my story, but how did I help my chronically ill wife manage her stress?
Simply put, I was always there when she needed me the most.
The very first step I took, and I advise you to do the same, was to educate myself about her chronic conditions. For a guy, chronic illness can be very difficult to understand. Endometriosis is extremely hard to understand if you don’t suffer from it yourself, especially, if you are a man.
I could barely understand the word, let alone understand it. But I was determined. Understanding my wife’s chronic conditions was the very first step in order to helping my chronically ill wife manage the stress that comes along with being ill.
Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that is similar to the one that normally lines the inside of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside of it. This can cause pain, heavy periods, fatigue, and plenty of gastrointestinal problems.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes widespread pain, fatigue, and other symptoms such as IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), brain fog, cognitive difficulties, anxiety, and depression.
I also had to understand that my wife would never be “cured”.
There is no cure for either of her chronic conditions. This was a hard truth to accept, but it was a truth I needed to accept in order to help my chronically ill wife manage stress.
My wife’s chronic conditions are lifelong and will never go away. This is something we both had to accept.
Once I had educated myself about her conditions, it was time to educate myself about stress and how it can impact her chronic illness. I also asked my wife about how stress makes her symptoms worse, and she has explained to me that stress can make her pain worse, cause fatigue, and trigger IBS flare-ups.
So, to wrap this up, I educate the heck out of myself which was a milestone in finding ways to manage my own emotions, and how to support my wife better in her struggles with endometriosis and fibromyalgia.
How can you help your wife manage stress?
Stress is a huge problem for those with chronic illnesses. It can make symptoms worse, and it can even trigger flare-ups. So, it’s important to find ways to help your wife manage her stress.
Here are some ideas on how can you help your wife manage stress:
- Talk to her about what’s stressing her out. Just talking about what’s bothering her can help relieve some of the pressure she’s feeling.
- Help her develop a support network. Connecting with others who understand what she’s going through can be a huge help. She can vent to them, share tips, and feel less alone.
- Encourage her to exercise. Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. It can also help reduce stress levels.
- Help her stick to her treatment plan. This can be tough, but it’s important. Skipping medication or not following through with treatments can lead to more stress.
- Be there for her. Sometimes, just being a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on can make all the difference. Let her know that you’re there for her, no matter what.
These are my 5 little tips on how can you help your wife manage stress. But I am aware that your partner is a unique person, and may have a different condition, different triggers for stress, different environment, and different circumstances.
So, not knowing your partner’s situation, how can you help your chronically ill wife manage her stress?
Well, remember when I mentioned my wife’s long wait for her therapy?
I researched that too. Not only did I educate myself about the topic, read books on the subject, and attended my wife’s CBT sessions, but based on my knowledge and experience, I wrote an eBook dedicated to dealing with stress and anxiety based on Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy.
Soon, you will be able to access the first and second lessons for FREE by joining a fantastic bunch of people who read my emails, and who get emails with my top tips on chronic illness, and strategies on how to cope, support, and help your relationship blossom.
How can you help your wife manage her chronic illness?
How can you help your wife manage her chronic illness when she’s stressed out?
Well, here are 21 of my best tips:
- Be her cheerleader – let her know that you’re here for her and that you believe in her.
- Help with the household chores – take on some of the load so she can focus on resting and healing.
- Bring her meals in bed – or at least make sure she’s eating nutritious, balanced meals.
- Help her with self-care – give her a back massage, help her into a relaxing bath, etc.
- Do things to make her laugh – funny movies, stories, jokes, etc.
- Be a sounding board – listen to her vent and offer understanding and support.
- Take over some of her responsibilities – at work, at home, with the kids, etc.
- Give her space when she needs it – sometimes she just needs some time alone to unwind and de-stress.
- Be patient with her – she may not be able to keep up with the same pace as you, and that’s okay.
- Encourage her to seek professional help – if she’s struggling to cope, therapy can be a big help.
- Research her condition – learn as much as you can about what she’s going through so you can better understand and support her.
- Join a support group – there are often groups available for spouses/partners of people with chronic illnesses.
- Advocate for her – be her voice when she’s too tired or sick to speak up for herself.
- Connect her with other resources – whether it’s information, support groups, or anything else that might be helpful.
- Be positive – having a positive outlook can help her feel better and stay motivated.
- Pray for her – if you’re religious, send up some prayers for her healing and strength.
- Send her encouraging texts or notes – let her know you’re thinking of her and that you support her.
- Get the kids involved – involve them in helping out around the house or with taking care of their mom.
- Take turns taking care of each other – when one person is sick, the other should take on more responsibilities.
- Find ways to relax together – whether it’s watching a movie, reading, taking a walk, etc.
- Simply be there for her – sometimes all she needs is your presence and love.
If your wife is chronically ill, these tips can help you support her through the stress and difficulties. Be her cheerleader, help with household chores, make sure she’s eating well, and do things to make her laugh.
How not to feel helpless when your wife is in pain?
It can be incredibly isolating trying to find the right words to say when your wife is extremely sensitive to your suggestions because of her terrible flare-ups of pain and other symptoms. So, how not feel helpless when your wife is in pain?
There are 7 ways for you as her husband not to feel helpless:
- Firstly, educate yourself about her condition.
- Secondly, be patient and accept that there are some things you can’t fix.
- Next, show empathy by listening to her vent about her day.
- Fourthly, help with the housework and childcare.
- Fifth, be a positive voice during doctor’s appointments.
- Sixth, make sure she takes her medication and goes to her appointments.
- Finally, be a shoulder to cry on when things are tough.
All of these tips require patience, love, and understanding – but they’ll help you feel more connected to your wife and less helpless. These tips summarise how you can help your chronically ill wife manage her stress. If you have some of your own, don’t hesitate to share them with us.
Let’s meet in the comments section below and have a chat. Take care of one another!
Hi, I’m Lucjan! The reason why I decided to create this blog was my beautiful wife, who experienced a lot of pain in life, but also the lack of information about endometriosis and fibromyalgia for men…