Jump to content
Mermaid17

Regaining emotion during taper - for romantic partner

Recommended Posts

Mermaid17

Hi everyone. I'm the spouse of someone who just began to taper off 20 mg. of Lexapro. My husband has been on and off SSRIs for more than 20 years, since he was in high school. Long story short, he doubled the Lexapro last spring and became a totally different person, which culminated in Sept. 2016 when he told me he no longer loved me. We had just had our third baby two weeks earlier. He moved out at Thanksgiving. He cannot see how the meds are the root for his emotional flatlining, as well as what was nearly a year of hypomanic behavior. LUCKILY he has been losing his hair, which is the only reason he is now tapering. He's clearly at a point of toxicity. 

 

What I'd like to hear from y'all about is the process of regaining emotions during taper, specifically, if possible, in regards to your romantic partner. We've been together more than 15 years, he's the love of my life, and this has been agony. I'm hopeful that once the meds begin to clear out he'll begin have feelings resurface. What might this be like? I know it's different for everyone, but hearing a few hopeful stories would be great. Did they come rushing back in a moment, like you were struck by lightening? Was it more gradual? Did it hurt? Did it take a while for you to understand what was happening? How was the connection made? I'd like to know if there's anything behavioral I might keep on my radar, since I'm very much trying to simply mirror back the engagement he is able to give me. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
brassmonkey

Hi Mermaid--  Yes they do come back.  I just recently quit paxil after a total of 25 years and can say it's been quite an emotional ride.  During the months leading up to my taper I had no feeling for anything what so ever, including my wife of, at the time 30 plus years.  It wasn't that the feelings weren't there, they were just inaccessible, locked away by the drugs.  This lead for many a "late night discussion".  Once I started my taper it took a while, but slowly the emotions were revealed.  Having been drugged for so long and well into tolerance when I started to taper it took a long time to undo the "damage".  It was probably two and a half years into the taper before I really started to notice the feelings returning, but once they started to show up there was no stopping them.  Today I'm more in love with her than ever before and probably drive her crazy telling her.

 

Your husband is in a very difficult place right now.  It's incredibly confusing and the drugs are constantly playing games with your mind.  However, if the relationship was strong and the emotions true then they will reemerge given time and taper.  Keep the lines of communication open and trust in what you had.  It can be a long bumpy road. 

Share this post


Link to post
Mermaid17

Thank you brass monkey this was very helpful and HOPEFUL. My husband was supposed to start tapering last week but I just learned this morning he hasn't. He filled the script but his doc is against it. Any suggestions for convincing him are welcome. He refuses to link his feelings disappearing with the meds. Was only motivated by hair loss.

Share this post


Link to post
brassmonkey

Any chance of getting him to come on here so we can help guide him with his taper?  Most doctors are against tapering and don't have a clue how to do it safely and effectively.  We do have a number of members dealing with the hair loss issue, which might be a talking point.

Share this post


Link to post
Mermaid17

That's a great suggestion. I sent him the link to this site but doubt he's looked at it. He has a long history of catatonic depression and needed 19 rounds of ECT three years ago. It was a miracle. The drugs have never given him longevity. He absolutely became hypomanic last spring after doubling the dose when his depression came back. He hated ECT. He cannot link the meds to his feelings but the hair loss and increased jaw pain seem to mean more, though he still won't taper. He seems less manic now and more rational but fears depression more than hair loss at this point.

Share this post


Link to post
Mermaid17

Oh can I ask if the time you spent with no feelings for your wife were you convinced you might have never really loved her? Or loved her less than you thought? Did you convince yourself she was terrible somehow? Blame her to rationalize it? How did you make the connection??? Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
brassmonkey

For some reason I was able to understand that deep inside I was still crazy for her and that the drugs were blocking all the feelings.  I slid into tolerance over a period of years, which caused two dose increases that only helped for a short time.  I could slowly feel all my emotions being drained away over that time, so I was able to "blame" a lot of stuff on the drugs.  It just took a long time to realize that they had become a problem and make the decision to do something about it.  In my eyes she was a saint for putting up with all the s*** , which proved to me that the feelings really were mutual.

 

ECT is nasty stuff, I'm sorry he had to go through that.  I have heard good results from it, but they don't last, especially where psych drugs are concerned.  Funny thing, depression is a major side effect of ADs, go think.  We have a lot of information here to help cope with depression and anxiety without drugs, it could be helpful.  Loss of emotions, loss of hair, weight gain three of the biggies we all get to fight with, but they all improve with tapering.  Problem is, he has to make the decision.  Once a person starts to get the information it will slowly sink in until one day there is an "ah ha" moment when it all becomes clear, I see it happen to some extent with every new member we get.

Share this post


Link to post
Mermaid17

He has been in a spellbound state for about a year now. I believe he spent the five years leading up to that emotionally blunted but never once made the connection with the meds. I pray he will come to a place where he's at least willing to try to taper and hope that this site proves to be an essential resource. I think you for all of your insight.

Share this post


Link to post
Findingmyidentity

I just recently started my taper. And let me tell you it is rough. I too have been on them a long time. Almost 12 years. Im at a 3/4 of my original dose, and my anxiety and depression have risen greatly.See if there is a way to he would be willing to go to therapy to address the original issues of anxiety? And then start his taper.

Share this post


Link to post
Mermaid17

Hi everyone. I've posted on SA before, but not here I think. My husband, the love of my life, has been on and off SSRIs for more than 20 years. He went from 10 mg. to 20 mg. Lexapro last spring and became an entirely different person. He left me within weeks of the birth of our third child. I can now see how he was emotionally blunted the last 7 years or so, the years he STOPPED going off the meds, but it was nothing compared to what happened last spring. Hypomanic, cold, apathetic . . . brutal nightmare. Thanks be to God, he started tapering, though not nearly slowly enough, a few months ago. I've noticed a few occasions since then where he was more engaged, more himself, but he's in a wave right now of this evil twin version of himself. He probably stopped the meds cold turkey 30 times or so since he was 15, so this is the first time he's "tapering." I'm just asking for your support, which I know you'll offer, and put my prayers out to everyone else struggling with the hell these meds cause to loving relationships. I will ask for prayers as well. I'm on the various FB support groups as well, and understand the nature of tapering, especially when done too quickly. Just hoping that even if he holds at 5 mg, his current dose, for a few months, some feelings will begin to surface. Thanks for listening. Any insight welcome, especially from folks who have withstood a successful taper and gotten their loves back. 

Edited by scallywag
split post and those below from July 2017 from marriage topic; we encourage people to discuss religion and spirituality in personal introductions or in topics in the Finding Meaning forum

Share this post


Link to post
ShakeyJerr

Hi Mermaid - 

 

I am so sorry that you and your husband and children are going through this. You have my prayers.

 

My marriage turned around when I got off of the meds. We went from a hellish contentious existence to a loving and caring one. So keep the faith and have hope! This will happen for you guys also. Just stay connected to each other and God. Practice long suffering and forgiveness. And nurture the times when they are good - and praise your husband every time that you can! It will actually help heal his limbic system - the place where emotions, memories, and biochemistry meet. By forming new good memories, the limbic system learns to calm down.

 

Hang in there!

 

SJ

Share this post


Link to post
Mermaid17

Thank you, SJ. This info is VERY helpful. I am as loving as I can be, but during these waves he seems almost irritated, agitated, by positive interactions from me. Like his system can't handle it. God has been the single biggest source of hope throughout this ordeal, so thank you for reiterating that as well. I'm trying to surrender to Him, while being actively hopeful. It's a paradox that's hard to sustain at times. My truth is simply that I love my husband. I love him I love him I love him. It feels nice to affirm that here. I love him. Sigh. I feel there is nothing to forgive, but the long suffering part is REAL. But as I said, I love him. Thank you again. 

Share this post


Link to post
powerback
13 hours ago, Mermaid17 said:

Thank you, SJ. This info is VERY helpful. I am as loving as I can be, but during these waves he seems almost irritated, agitated, by positive interactions from me. Like his system can't handle it. God has been the single biggest source of hope throughout this ordeal, so thank you for reiterating that as well. I'm trying to surrender to Him, while being actively hopeful. It's a paradox that's hard to sustain at times. My truth is simply that I love my husband. I love him I love him I love him. It feels nice to affirm that here. I love him. Sigh. I feel there is nothing to forgive, but the long suffering part is REAL. But as I said, I love him. Thank you again. 

HI mermaid sorry for the troubles brought to you by these disgusting drugs.the irritation from interaction you talk about ,I can relate to this so much,its a horrible part of withdrawl ,he is irritated but not by  you personally .my partner has a hard time understanding this .one thing is loosing libido but this is a whole different level of horrible .the brain gets lost with itself I reckon and it cant distinguish between all the interactions going on ,like a bomb going off in the brain I reckon .

 

Maybe learn when to stay away from him to give you a break ,its very hard being around us when like this .you got to take care of yourself first ,you cant end up with depression also .I stress this a lot with my partner .

take care

PB

Share this post


Link to post
Mermaid17

 It is just so hard to disregard the information he gives me when he looks like himself, sounds like himself, and appears like himself. I have to really remind myself just how different he is. He is completely insistant he will never want to live in our home again. It is unbearably painful. He has become a completely different man from the person I married but it was very gradual until it last spring. Then it was just a nightmare.   I pray that this crisis is gods way of getting him off the meds. Without it I don't think that it would be happening. He wants to act as if he's disregarding all the information I've given him the last year about the affect the meds have had, for he completely disagrees that his emotions have anything to do with the medication.  However the fact is he is now tapering and likely only because of the information I have given him. His hair loss seems to have been a major catalyst. That paired with the fact that he never wanted to be medicated the rest of his life. Still without this crisis I don't think our marriage would've survived a few more years anyways.  I had learned to live with this version of him because I love him so much, and came to peace with the fact that his illness has changed him but I would rather have a small part of him then none of him. But I think his feelings would have just been whittled away for me over time on the lower dose.  This could be the blessing in disguise that gives us a real future together. 

 

To my knowledge he dropped from 20 to 10 and then 10 to 5 with in the last three months. Very rapid taper. No wonder his feelings are still shut off. But it seems more likely than not that given time to heal even at 5 mg some of him should begin to surface again. At least that is what I pray for. Thank you again to everyone for your support. It is so helpful to have a place to talk about this. Otherwise his current actions can influence my thinking and I can lose hope. Thank you again.

Share this post


Link to post
ShakeyJerr

Stay strong in the Lord, Mermaid. Your husband will recover. It looks like his taper was too fast, which is certainly also affecting his personality. Just keep on loving him. Pray to be patient and show him the fruit of the Holy Spirit in everything you do. And get yourself some down/recharge time. Eat a healthy diet and get some exercise so that you are physically and mentally and emotionally empowered to deal with all of this.

 

Praying for you guys!

 

SJ

Share this post


Link to post
Mermaid17

You have no idea what your words mean to me, SJ. As someone of deep faith your encouragement feels so affirming. I will reread this post countless times to come. Thank you so much. 

Share this post


Link to post
Mermaid17

Hi everyone. I thought I would check in as I'm beginning to see some improvements in my husband . . . his personality seems to be returning, bit by bit, window by window, but he still has weeks of waves where he is withdrawn, etc. His baseline seems higher, as in warmer and friendlier, than before, however, which is nice. Even his "bad days" are probably better than what I would have called "good days" 6 months ago. And there is still no emotional intelligence when it comes to me, and even our children, in terms of understanding their sadness over his moving out. Still, as a friend who survived this with his wife said, he seems to have a "gradually increased tolerance" of me. Can be in the same room as me longer, stands closer to me, lets me walk next to him and even brush up against him without recoiling, better eye contact, warmer tone of voice. About 3-4 weeks ago he had a significant window where I was blown away by how THERE he seemed to be. Joking around, engaging me in conversation a lot, the familiarity of teasing one another came back a bit even. It was glorious, and lasted nearly a week. Again, no romantic inclinations at all still. 

 

Can anyone offer any insight? It just helps to much to hear others have followed the same pattern. As far as I know he's holding at 5 mg Lexapro, down from a rapid taper from 20 to 10, then 10 to 5, all probably starting around April or May, not sure how quickly he dropped the dose or held the new dosage. He won't tell me beyond that. Oh, and every month or so for about 3-4 months he has a few days where he's flu-like, and sometimes has GI issues. The pattern seems that he gets the most withdrawn around the time he is physically ill, but within a week or two surfaces again, each time a little better, a little longer. 

 

Looking for feedback, hopefully hopeful, that others can relate to this pattern of recovery and even offer me some tips. I stand by, mirror back what he gives, and am as loving as he'll tolerate. I pray and wait and that's about it, though I'm also trying to compliment him more. Someone said that would help restore his limbic system. Someone else said when she began to recover she was able to think about old memories and they reminded her of happy times . . . I showed my husband photos of our honeymoon in January and he said he felt NOTHING. Such evidence of derealization. If others can talk about their feelings returning for their romantic partners and what that was LIKE, I'd really appreciate it. Praying for everyone out there dealing with the aftermath these drugs cause. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Mermaid17

Is anyone there? Anyone who has been the drugged party and can tell me what to expect as my husband continues to withdraw from these terrible meds? I'm looking for any insight about regaining feelings for one's spouse/partner as the meds clear your system. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.