Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating and distressing this situation must be for you. On the one hand your husband has this problem. But on the other hand he has resisted help and you need his support for your own problems. And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. He does need to get help for his problems and we'll talk about that in a minute. But you also need your own support dealing with your grief on the tragic death of your son and depression.
I don't know if you are considering divorce and ending the marriage. If so, I would like you to wait for a little while. Why?
Because divorce will add one more layer of grief, separation, and difficulty in your life right now at a time when you need to focus on gathering your strength. You can make this decision in a few months. But until then, I would very much like you to focus on two other things.
First is support. Support means friends, activities, and perhaps support groups. I don't know if you belong to a church, but this might be a good time to choose a congregation that looks like it has a membership that is friendly and active, with lots of activities. And a warm and caring pastor or minister. It might be a time to volunteer and meet other volunteers. It might be time to find a support group in your area for parents of soldiers and parents of fallen soldiers.
For example, I would like you to check out TAPS (www.taps.org) that has support groups in some states. Here's their directory, but they have other services as well:
So support can mean many things for you. It could mean opening up to a friend at Starbucks a little. It might mean joining a yoga class for women at a spa or gym and meeting some people. But one thing for sure it means: you are creating your own positive movement in your life and not waiting for your husband to create momentum in his life first.
Because your son gave up his life for our country and our people so that we could live full and meaningful lives. That includes you. So please honor his memory and your grief by moving forward in these things I've been writing about.
And you need to see a therapist about your depression. I would like you to interview psychologists who have a more humanistic focus. For example, one therapy that might be very useful to you:
The therapy is called Focusing. It was founded by a great psychologist named Eugene Gendlin. I use these techniques in my practice often. Here is the link to the Focusing Institute:
Now on to your husband. I do not know if the phobia is an independent disorder or part of something more going on with him. But from what you write it is clear that you will have an easier time getting him to accept help if you describe what he's experiencing to him as simply that he's having social anxiety and that this phobia is very specific and has been treated successfully for many decades. He may balk at taking the kind of introspective and inner approach I am recommending to you and may be more comfortable with a straight Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) approach for anxiety disorders. The therapist directory I gave you above will have many therapists who use the CBT orientation and there will be a number that use both CBT and humanistic orientations. But don't have the same therapist for both of you unless you choose couples therapy. You each need your own therapist to form a strong relationship with.
Okay, I wish you the very, very best!
Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX