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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 6058
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Wondering if wife has an anxiety disorder. We had great marriage

Resolved Question:

Wondering if wife has an anxiety disorder. We had great marriage until her hysterectomy about 5-6 years ago. Since then, she has withdraw affection from me. She gets anxious and emotional if I ask to talk about issues. She has thoughts of death, sometimes asking me to just smother her with pillow or shoot her. She says she prays she won't wake up.

In the past year or so, she said I intimidate her, and when I tried to get her to explain precisely why she is afraid of me, she recently, said she is afraid I will "snap" and kill her. For the record, I have never touched her violently or anything, or yelled at her, and I reminded her that SHE had always said that I don't have a temper. I asked her, that being the case, how could she think I could kill her. Her answer was, 'it's the quiet ones who snap'.

Anyway...she does have anxiety attacks best I can tell. Is there any kind of syndrome that would explain her irrational fear I might snap and kill her?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

DoctorZ :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern

DoctorZ :

I am so sorry that your wife has been exhibiting these symptoms, I can imagine how difficult this is for her and yourself.

DoctorZ :

You mentioned that you said she has anxiety attacks, can you describe these in more detail for me?

Customer:

Sometimes at night she says her heart is racing, chest pounding. Feelings of nauseau

DoctorZ :

So may I ask, even though she says that she is afraid that you will "snap" she still sleeps in the same bed with you?

Customer:

Yes....she still performs wifely duty...but she has withdrawn most affection....hand holding, saying I love you....

Customer:

I am at a loss...I have never touched her in violence, yelled above normal arguments, never spank the kids, etc.

DoctorZ :

It sounds like she developed a mix of depression and anxiety that may have caused some delusions that she thinks you will snap. But everything started with the anxiety and depression (by the way these two disorders co-occur 52-56 percent of the time, so it is common to see both of them), so if you treat those two conditions, she will get better

DoctorZ :

So an anti-depressant will help lessen her symptoms of anxiety and depression

DoctorZ :

Also cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) will help as well

Customer:

Have you heard of cases where a wife believes her husband might snap - although there is no rational basis?

Customer:

It really makes me sad.

DoctorZ :

I think she is depressed and hoping that you snap actually, remember she made verbal indications that she wanted to die

Customer:

You think she wants me to snap? Why? To prove her right?

Customer:

Yes...she did make those indications, usually in discussions where I try to get to bottom of why she fell out of love for me, and shows no affection. She avoids answering, but will talk about praying she doesn't wake up, etc.

Customer:

I did discover she also had an emotional affair during this period. Not sure how that factors into the anxiety if at all.

DoctorZ :

Depression can trigger anxiety because it depressed thoughts can cause worrying about the future, which makes you anxious

DoctorZ :

Do you think she would be willing to go to therapy to get help?

Customer:

Not sure....she resisted my suggestion she check with her doc about her symptom about anxiety - before I found out she thinks I could kill her. She thinks meds would change her personality....

DoctorZ :

Well medications will help her, but she does not have to try them if she does not want to. CBT therapy is very effective in helping individuals with these symptoms. The premise of CBT is that her negative thoughts are causing her symptoms, so by changing the thought process to be more positive then that will help lessen her symptoms

Customer:

When I pointed out the absurdity of worrying about me killing her when she herself had thoughts of wanting me to do it, she said "I never meant THAT when I said it."

Customer:

Meaning, she never meant the things she said about wanting me to shoot or smother her, etc.

DoctorZ :

Well this could be her delusions that are present because of the increased depression and anxiety

Customer:

I imagine a stupid question...but this would explain her loss of love and affection for me. Afterall, how can you love someone you think might "kill" you.?

DoctorZ :

That would explain it and so would the depression too, you lose interest in pleasurable activities when you are depressed. I think if she really thought you were going to hurt her, there is no way she would sleep in the same bed with you, she would be too afraid

Customer:

That's what I tell myself...hoping she is just being a drama queen.

DoctorZ :

I think she has severe mental health disorder that will require intensive therapy and possibly medication

DoctorZ :

Also if she does express a wish to die again, you can call the authorities and have her put on a 72 psychiatric hold for her safety where she will get treatment

Customer:

"Severe"...? Yikes. Wow. Would the hysterectomy have anything to do with this...ie hormones etc?

Customer:

Whoa...

Customer:

If she asks me to smother her....I could do that?

DoctorZ :

The hysterectomy could have provoked this because of the hormones, but that is unlikely. It could have caused a reaction where she felt that she is "less of a woman" because of the hysterectomy and this caused the initial depression that got worse with time.

DoctorZ :

Yes you can call the police, they are duty bound by law to help someone who wishes to hurt themselves

Customer:

She also had exhibited mid-life crisis type stuff....as if reexamining her life...eg wish she had had more fun, etc. Like I said, I discovered she had an emotional affair also in this period.

DoctorZ :

All of this points to depression that became severe over time because it was left untreated. Severe depression typically includes those delusional thoughts and sucideal ideations

Customer:

I couldn't have her put away. I don't believe she is suicidal. She doesn't talk about killing herself.

Customer:

We are seeing priest regarding our marital issues in the next few days. I plan to raise the mental health issues. What would be the proper term for this..."anxiety disorder"..something else?

DoctorZ :

I am only saying that as a last resort if she refuses to get treatment

DoctorZ :

You can say a mix of a depressive disorder and an anxiety disorder, that would be sufficient

Customer:

Okay...thanks.

DoctorZ :

I think that is a good idea to bring it up during counseling with the priest

DoctorZ :

Is there anything else I can help you with today?

Customer:

thanks for the help.

Customer:

Nope...thanks.

DoctorZ :

Anytime, I am always happy to help. If you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at anytime

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 6058
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Dr. Z
Dr. Z
Psychologist
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Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.