Can He Help His Suffering Wife?

Q: I am married for nearly 30 years. I'm a freelance engineer and my wife has been a department director of a government office for over ten years. Things have been okay.

We have experienced ups and downs like any other families, but recently, something about my wife begins to worry me. It seems her work has met some snags and she cannot find a way out. I can see that she's getting hit from it and entwined with her menopause she cannot sleep well, is in a bitter mood, frequently falls into silence and so on. I suggested she see psychological doctors, but she won't. I am really worried that something worse would happen to her. What are your suggestions? — Lu Ning, 53

Dr. Susan: It seems that a thorough check-up with a regular doctor might be helpful. But as you suspect, something emotional and psychological is also going on. It would be ideal if she could feel safe enough to confide in you about her work concerns. I understand that government work can be stressful, and perhaps she needs someone she can trust to help her choose her best options. Trying to figure things out on her own is messing up her sleep and perhaps causing her depression and anxiety. The right medication might help, but she needs also to talk to someone who can help her puts her problems in perspective. That person can be you, a trusted friend, a lawyer, a therapist, a doctor, or anyone who will take her seriously.

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