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My wife's anxiety. - Carers UK Forum

My wife's anxiety.

Share your ideas about the practical side of caring.
Thank you to all those people who replied to my earlier posts!
I followed most of the advice given. I now have Social Services assisting and have regular visits from carers!
A 'problem' that I am finding difficult to deal with is my wife's constant and acute anxiety/fear!
She has become quite paranoid, thinking that there is someone or some group of people "out there!" Who are constantly watching her, awaiting the opportunity to come and harm her! She won't let me sit or stand near the window in case "they" see me!
I don't know if anyone else has experienced this behaviour? If so and you have found a way of 'dealing with it,' I'd be very grateful to have your advice please!
Thank you!
Hi Snapper,

does sound rather as if your wife's problems have escalated since your last post - what does her GP say ? I have very little experience with mental health issues but maybe her meds need tweaking or changing now ? I remember that you have used 'distraction' techniques in the past but presume they aren't working now ?
Could you 'play her at her own game' and tell her that the people out there are actually undercover police agents who are both protecting her from the 'real' bad guys, and have successfully infiltrated the bad guy organisation though the bad guys don't know it yet. Tell her it's essential you stand by the window so the bad guys are fooled....

Or, just say you don't believe there are any bad guys and that's that.

It's difficult - if not impossible - to know how to deal with paranoia.

My mother had paranoid schizophrenia and I grew up taking it for granted that people were following us around, spying on us through the TV set, and bugging the house. I was a teenager before I twigged this wasn't true....

I would say, though, as a layperson, that paranoia is different from anxiety.

Anxiety is about things that are 'reasonable' in the world - eg, that we might become ill and die from germs picked up in the garden, ie, an 'unlikely but possible' exaggeration.

Paranoia, though, is just clearly way beyond that, into the realm of the so-unlikely-it-only-occurs-in-films etc ....it's conspiracy theory.

In common, though, is that neither can be 'persuaded down from'. You can't 'argue it away' or persuade the victim it isn't happening.

Personally, I expect I'd 'go tough' on them, because of my own experience as a child. I just think 'ignore it' and be done with it. Anything else is 'pandering' in my book! But then, as I say, I'm scarred from my own experiences!!

I wish you as well as may possibly be.....in the end, it may just come down to 'chemical calming' ....and in my own personal book I'd say, and why not?! If it helps make both your lives easier and less unenjoyable, go for it!
Hi Snapper
Because of your wife's complicated health history, I do think you should discuss this change with her doctor (s). It may well be something that could benefit from a change in medication.

Meanwhile MIND has useful tips to cope with various anxieties like this. This is just page, there are more
https://www.mind.org.uk/information-sup ... U_MRGjTW2c

Good luck
Thank you Susieq, Lucy and Mrs Average for taking the time to respond to my 'problem.'
It always amazes me that there are people like you who come up with such valuable comments!
I am trying to use all suggestions and am finding the 'link' provided by Mrs A, re Paranoia, to be quite fascinating. I downloaded the PDF file and am learning a lot. Thank you.
Best wishes to you all!
Sorry I wrote Lucy instead of Jenny!!
Hope you understand Jenny!
Shows where my mind is??
My wife had similar symptoms. Don't 'play at her own game's as this will only reinforce her ideas.
See her GP or psychiatrist and tell them the symptoms. My wife's changed her prescription slightly and improved things a lot.
No worries! Lucy is a very nice name! :)

Not sure if this applies at all, but if you think your wife is having 'panic attacks' at all in relation to her paranoia, maybe the following is useful.

I went through a period wher I had panic attacks. I could be sitting eating dinner and suddenly this feeling of acute fear and dread came over me, and I was convinced I was having a heart attack! I don't think there were any external reasons for this, other than a general concern about my level of heart disease (typically overweight, under exercised and both parents died of it but a long time ago and at a fairly good age, certainly older than I was at the time).

But the feeling of 'terror' was realliy acute. My husband used to have to take my hands, look me in the eye, and 'calm me down' by saying that it was unlikely I was starting a heart attack, that he would call an ambulance if I got worse, and that I should take deep breaths and gradually 'come down' from that level of terror. And in the end I usually did...

It took me a while to twig that, as I subsequently explained to my GP when I mentioned it to them, with their approval, it was the very symptoms of my 'panic attack' - ie, elevated heart rate, surge of adrenaline - that were CAUSING the panic attack in the first place! ie, it was the panic attack itself that made me feel I was starting a heart attack!

With your head you have to 'cut through' that constant feedback loop (ie, feeling panicy, your heart starts to race, adrenaline surges, you break out in sweat - all the 'symptoms' of an incipient heart attack - but in fact it's only caused by the panic attack, not a heart in crisis!), and 'ignore' the symptoms, and then, of course, once you are no longer 'believing' in the onset of a heart attack, the symptoms themselves die away, and you feel much better again.

Not sure if that helps at all, but just in case.

That link to Mind, Mrs A, was very good. I haven't read it all, ie, all the sections, but I thought it made sense for it to say that even if the 'danger' isn't real, the 'fear' is, so acknowledge the 'fear' even if you are reassuring about the 'danger'' (ie, that there isn't any).