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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Previous Q/A: April 26, 2013 10:28 PM EST I am at my wits

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April 26, 2013 10:28 PM EST
I am at my wits end. My normally very stable husband is having issues. He seems to be very paranoid and thinks his co-workers are out to get him. It all started 3 weeks ago. He called and said he made a mistake at work and he expected to be fired that day. But as he explained his mistake it was apparent people would have to actively put their jobs at risk to sabotage him. Just not realistic. He gave other examples and they all pretty much added up to the same thing. He had loved his job. We just moved here (VA) from Hawaii (for 2.5 years). He transferred here from a terrible boss. The HI job was pretty traumatic. He thinks the VA team has been working with the HI team to get him fired by sabotaging him when we moved here in AUG. Last night he even said he was scared they would try to sabotage my job. Just could not happen, I work with a completely different organization. He said they all had connections.

I tell him the truth: that it does not make sense to me and sounds paranoid. We went to his home in Oklahoma for a week last week. His father agreed and his step-mother explained that when his father was fired from a job he assumed he was going to be fired from every job after.

He wants to quit before this job can fire him. But I think he is not thinking clearly and should not make major decisions right now.

All his performance reports are excellent, in FEB they gave him a money and time off performance award, and he asked his supervisor last week how he was doing and he said just fine but he needed to relax. He has never been written up, fired, or even told his performance was below normal. But if this continues it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy as he pulls away from co-workers.

He is living in extreme stress and feels each day that they will fire him.

My emotions are in such turmoil. What if they are making a case against him at work? How can we make it financially if he quits, is he going crazy, am I not giving him the support and love he needs?

I have him applying to new jobs, this is giving him hope. We also signed up for the union and will see a lawyer. I am trying to ensure he has stress releiving activities everyday (exercise, down time, and meditation).

He had PTSD (undiagnosed) from Iraq and quit the Air Force instead of dealing with it in 2006. We moved to South Korea in 2007 and he had a mid-life crisis and cheated.

His grandmother had a “nervous breakdown” in her 40s and so did his mother. He keeps promising to go to therapy but puts it off. I think he is transposing his traumatic experiences from Hawaii to this job. But his paranoia is really freaking me out.

What should/can I do?
Elliott, LPCC, NCC : Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC : You must get him to see a psychiatrist as soon as possible.

My husband is now seeing a counselor and Psychologist and started taking meds for severe depression/anxiety (Lexapro and Xanax). He started his meds today.
This started around 1 April and had gotten truly scary by the time I contacted you 26 April. But after only a 3 counseling sessions (I attended two with him) he went from extreme anxiety, depression, and paranoia to being himself again. It was like a light switch being flipped. He said when he was explaining to the counselor what he had been thinking, he was embarrassed and knew it was not logical. He also said he felt like a visitor in his life after being gone for almost a month. He had two good days (WED and THUR). Now today (FRI) he is back to the anxiety, depression, and paranoia. I do need to also say he did not seem manic: he slept normal, talking at a normal speed, was not impulsive.
Is this normal with severe depression/anxiety to have the flip switch and have a couple of good days?
Should we go see his medical doctor too? Chad has had anxiety issues his whole life but this extreme decline is completely out of the ordinary. Should I see a neurologist of his family doctor to ensure there isn’t a medical cause?
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like you spoke with Elliot before. Are you interested in speaking with him again or is it ok if I address your question?

Thank you,
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Your help is absolutely welcome. Just want to ask anyone who might know.

Thank you! I just wanted to be sure.

It is good that your husband was willing to talk to a counselor and to try medications. However, if he just started his medications, it is going to take a while for them to start working for him, possibly a few weeks. So he may have symptoms for a while until the medications begin to work for him.

It is normal when someone is working on recovery to go back and forth, having good days and bad. Like any physical illness, trauma to the mind will react the same. He might be completely unreasonable one day only to seem much better the next. If he continues with his recovery, he should have many more good days than bad until he is fully recovered.

But what you are bringing up is actually a good sign. If your husband was severely depressed and had severe PTSD and anxiety, his symptoms would become chronic and you would not see any good days. It would be unrelenting. But as your husband is showing signs of insight (he admits he knows his thoughts are not realistic) and he is willing to try to get help plus he is having good days, those are all great signs he is doing well and can recover.

He can see his regular doctor just to rule out any physical causes. There are a number of physical issues that can mimic mental health symptoms so it is always a good idea to rule out physical causes, just in case. And his doctor can work with his counselors and psychiatrist if needed to help your husband recover faster.

He probably does not need to see a neurologist unless he is having physical symptoms that his doctor is concerned about. Any neurological issues are going to show up physically in some form or another along with psychological symptoms. So you might want to check with his doctor to get his response, but most likely your husband is fine unless he is showing physical signs of illness.

I hope this has helped you,
TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Thank you very much for the positive rating and bonus! I appreciate it.

My best to you and your husband,

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