DH has become paranoid since his car accident

posted 9 months ago in Emotional
Post # 2
6401 posts
Bee Keeper

I’m sorry you’re going through this bee, but will give my 2 cents. I think your expectations are kind of unrealistic given that this only happened to him last month. My dad was in a horrible bike accident a few months ago – he is going to be fine, but he had a really awful concussion with a brain bleed, broke his back (luckily not in a place that causes paralysis), knocked out half of his teeth, and was just a huge mess for awhile. It’s been about four months and he still has short-term memory loss issues, has no sense of taste or smell (common side effects after a major concussion), and even though he’s back at work he’s just not really himself yet. These kinds of injuries take a huge toll both physically and psychologically…the doc said it could be 2 years before he’s totally back to normal.

My dad hasn’t really become any more paranoid about life that we’ve noticed since the accident, but my mom and i sure have. I am the one constantly texting Darling Husband now and panicking if he’s even 5 or 10 min late. I’m constantly worried that he’s going to get hit  by a bus or something crazy will just take him from me forever. It doesn’t help that Darling Husband had his own health scare a few weeks ago that put him in the hospital for a night (fortunately he is fine). I worry about  my parents too now, much more than I did before my dad’s accident. Goiing through something like this, everyone reacts differently, but for me it has really driven home how everything can be taken away from you in a split second. I’m less paranoid now four months after the accident than I was when it first happened, but this stuff is still on my mind all the time. It has 100% altered my outlook on life.

I think you need to be patient with your husband. He had serious injuries from his accident and it sounds like he was lucky to get off that easy, and he knows it. This is causing him to reevaluate everything that he once took for granted. Getting you a safer car is not a bad idea if you can afford it. 

Post # 3
278 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2017

I remember your original post where you were totally hyped up and wanted to do everything to ruin the teenager’s life even though she was clearly remorseful. So maybe you didn’t help your husband’s situation in calming things down.

I don’t know if you’ve been in a car accident but even a fender bender is scary. I’ve gone underneath an 18 wheeler and I still have post traumatic stress from it 8 years later. It will take him a while to get back to normal especially if he had a concussion and now suffers from headaches. Once he is able to be back more in his routine it will probably help effect his mood.

Post # 5
844 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2017

It will take him a while to recover emotionally, in the meantime I would just make sure to help relieve his anxiety when you can.  You don’t need to text him 5/10 minute updates but maybe make send him a text when you’re leaving. 

Post # 7
155 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: March 2018

While I don’t really have much to say to help out your day to day relationship, I think it was great that you wrote this up and got it off of your chest. This way you can talk to other people about it and get a wider perspective or help you to work with your husband on this. Good luck with getting back to normal!

Post # 8
98 posts
Worker bee

sunnierdaysahead2 : I think you know you probably gotta give him more time & deal with the smothering. This is not unusual AT ALL for people in serious accidents, especially just a month old. 

A coworker of mine recently resigned and a HUGE reason for his abrupt resignation was a car accident. A fairly minor car accident (he was rear ended but the airbags went off, car was totalled, he was OK though – no hospital) but it really freaked him out. We work in a small office and regularly we are left alone if we have to stay late. After his accident, he would ask me to let him know when I was leaving b/c he didn’t like to be left alone after accident. And he resigned and his reason was “I wasn’t happy and the accident made me realize that life is short, and too short to be unhappy 50 hours a week or traveling constantly”. 

I actually had a super minor fender bender back in January (no hospital, $200 of paint scraped from my car) but I find myself being really really really skittish while driving now. To the point where I always feel like people on highway are creeping over the line. It’s bad, even Darling Husband picked up on it. Can’t explain it. 

Maybe give him some more time and in another month or two if things don’t settle down, maybe urge him to talk to someone? 

You may even want to indulge him a little and send him texts when you get some place or if you’re running late, or just sporadic texts throughout the day to see how he’s doing and check in. I know it might seem overboard but it might help you feel less smothered.

Post # 9
4943 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I would suggest he speak to his Doctor and seek out a qualified therapist. I dealt with ptsd and cbt was life changing for me. Wishing you both well. 

Post # 10
3701 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

Have you guys thought about seeing someone who can help you work through trauma? This IS  a trauma, and I’m not saying your feelings are unhealthy, but it wouldn’t hurt to talk about some steps you can take to work through this.

Post # 11
5642 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2015

sunnierdaysahead2 :  I think your husband has really had a glimpse at his own mortality.  Even though he’s in the medical field, that’s always other people – they (often) have things they screwed up in that got them the way they are so it would be easy for a medical professional to brush it aside – well that person drank, that one ate poorly, that one is old and their time has come – it’s one thing to see someone else pass that one has no connection to and quite another to glimpse your own death.  Besides which, a doctor who can’t put his patients out of his mind won’t be a doctor all that long – far too stressful.

So on top of this sudden realization that he could have died, he’s gotten paranoid and I think legitimately.  Statistically he’s far safer being in an accident in an SUV (as proved by his own accident) and it’s sensible to change his car to one now that he’s seen the damage that could be done.  Where he’s carrying his paranoia too far is where he has started bothering you at work and changing how you normally communicate.  I think for the time being, you might be better off heading off his messages by sending one of your own now and then.  “hey hon, headed to the gym, should be home around 6” is easy enough to say.  And I can tell you that accident or not, I always appreciate my husband letting me know he’s on the way when he’s running weird hours.

The rest, of course, you will just have to be patient with until his body is able to heal.  If his behavior becomes more intense, I’d suggest that he meet with a counselor at his workplace and see if they can make recommendations to help him get past the PTSD aspect of his accident.

Post # 12
1195 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

Did you already resolve your claim with the driver’s insurance?  Or are they waiting for treatment to complete before paying the bills?  

At this point I don’t think it’s a bad idea to go to a lawyer as you might need someone to fight for more long-term treatment. Insurance companies are not just going to keep the claim open indefinitely and keep paying medical bills. They want to be one (lump-sum) and done but it sounds like this wreck might have lasting effects on your husband that you can’t predict. 

I am 100% no doctor, and your husband is, so get out your salt shaker. But in my ambulance-chaser days I had quite a few clients who have had a Traumatic Brain Injury.  Requires diagnosis by a neurologist. Symptoms vary from cognitive deficit to behavioral changes, sometimes severe.  It’s similar to the NFL concussion thing portrayed by that Will Smith movie.  

Sometimes it takes a while for the signs to show up or to get a diagnosis.  If you already took the insurance company’s money and then find out he needs more treatment, you wouldn’t be able to go back and ask the insurance company for anything else.  When my clients needed future medical care, that’s something I would have to get an expert to prove up and of course the insurance company will get their experts to fight it, etc. 

Post # 13
131 posts
Blushing bee

I would guess it takes a few months to start feeling normal again after any traumatic event, so give it some time. One thing: checking where you are makes his anxiety go away temporarily, but it’s not a real solution because we don’t always have that level of control. I would remind him that the feelings of anxiety are normal after his accident, but they don’t indicate real, imminent danger, and he should try other coping techniques like meditation or journaling. If the checking and attempting to control things doesn’t taper off over the next couple of months, I would encourage counselling.

Post # 14
706 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2015

100% it’s too soon to expect him to be better. I am stunned that he went back to his job after a week? I had 2 weeks off when I was an ED doctor following a laparoscopy, but maybe it’s a cultural thing. 

Just give him time. It’s easy to over medicalise everything, but what he is experiencing sounds like a natural reaction to a huge trauma.

Post # 15
2078 posts
Buzzing bee

I agree with PP to just try to adjust your expectations and be more patient.

Through no fault of my own, I hydroplaned in my early 20’s in an SUV. I can still remember time slowing down, gently pumping the brakes, doing everything correctly and just KNOWING I’d be able to regain control before the fender hit the embankment…. then I hit the embankment and FLIPPED OVER ONTO MY ROOF. In pouring rain. In the opposite lane of oncoming traffic just around a bend. 

I remember just sitting there, upside down, held in by my seatbelt and just KNOWING someone was about to come booking around the curve and slam into me before I could get out. I wasn’t paralyzed, but it felt like I couldn’t move because my brain was going so FAST that time seemed to have stopped. 

I was only going ~20 miles an hour and was driving very carefully because I’d already passed two other cars that had slid off the road into guardrails.

So it was a debilitating feeling, to know I did everything RIGHT, and the car just slid and flipped over anyways. None of it was under my control.

I couldn’t drive in ANY amount of rain for about a year afterward. If it was sprinkling, I slowed wayyy down to about ~20. Anything faster and my mind would keep thinking “what would happen if I starting sliding… NOW?” constantly. The thoughts/visions were very graphic and terrifying. If the rain picked up, I’d have to entirely pull off the road and put on my hazards until it stopped. 

Luckily, after about a year, I was able to drive without these constant flashbacks and intrusive thoughts, and I returned to normal. But it took a LOT longer than a month. And I wasn’t even injured. 

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