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Mermaid17

Need stories of hope for marriage

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Mermaid17

Hi everyone,

My husband, the love of my life, has been on SSRIs since he was 15. Last year at age 35 he told me he no longer loved me, hadn't for some time, and left me within weeks of the birth of our third baby. It has been agony. I've been researching this phenomenon for the last year and can see so CLEARLY the ways he became more and more emotionally disabled the longer he stayed on the meds. He became a TOTALLY different person spring 2016 when his dose of Lexapro was doubled from 10 to 20 mg. - hypomanic, cold, hostile. 

 

By the GRACE OF GOD he has reduced down to 5 mg, though too quickly. His personality is beginning to surface, the windows getting bigger, but the ability to feel his bond towards me remains asleep. I await the man I married to return to himself. For this uncaring thing he has become to wither and die. He has lived with such distortions for so long . . . my hurt and frustration and sometimes anger over his apathy, loss of affection, lack of participation in our LIFE has been viewed by him as unreasonable, overly emotional, bullying, controlling . . . Thanks to the resources on these forums I have understood it was not HIM doing this, and have facilitated him being as involved in our home, with our children, as much as he'll allow. He never bailed on the kids, though he has complete apathy for the pain he's caused them.

 

I would LOVE to hear stories of people, both spouses who were left and the drugged spouse who did the leaving, coming home to one another. What was the process like? How long did it take for the fog to lift and those romantic feelings to become accessible again? Was it like one morning you were back, or was it a more gradual process? I've read lots of stories like this, but would love to have MORE. I crave uplifting stories to help me as I wait. God has told me every day to have hope, and my love only grows stronger as the memories of past hurts from his apathy heal with the compassion I gain knowing what I now know about these terrible drugs. 

 

Thanks in advance for all that is shared. 

 

 

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hurtspouse

Hi Mermaid. I’ve been on both sides of this as I was on citalopram for 1 year. My partner was on Paxil for 4 years. He stopped them 2 and a half years ago now. During his time on the drugs he was so hostile to me and our children that we almost separated for good. I did ask him to move out for a while when I saw that he was still visiting dating websites in an effort to try to feel something maybe? It was absolutely heart breaking, I can still remember the emotional  pain I went through.  it was a truly horrible year as I discovered just how much the pills really had changed him gradually over the previous 4 years, and then on top of that we had his withdrawals to contend with. He became even worse for a while and I couldn’t shoulder everything on my own. I would break down and cry and he would just give me a blank stare, no care whatsoever. I had to raise 3 children and keep running a house alone, he was useless with any responsibilities (not his fault I know) 

 

After he’d been living with his parents for a few months, he slowly started moving his things back home (this was around 1 year off the pills), I didn’t push him to. But our daughter who was only 5 at the time was not doing very well without her daddy. I wasn’t coping well either to be honest, I believe I had a breakdown of sorts. I started getting intense anxiety attacks and insomnia. When he came back home I didn’t know how to be around him, this is not a normal situation!! There are no self help books covering anything like this! So I just kept myself busy doing my own things and left him to decide what to do. Because every time I tried to be affectionate or engage him in conversations he would back away. Then, Because he didn’t realise what he was being like he’d sometimes accuse me of being cold with him!! It is so, so frustrating! There is no one way to do this, but try to stay calm when they pick at your faults. They will realise eventually. My partner is still going through withdrawals. Some days he can be much warmer and affectionate  towards me now, then he can switch back to being cold and withdrawn.  He still doesn’t seem to have woken up completely and just sort of lives in his own world of withdrawal misery. I came on here today on a whim because I just had a miserable weekend with him and I was looking for some sort of... reassurance I guess, that I’m not alone in all this. 

 

Just know that you’re not alone in all this! Look after yourself and your children and stay strong!

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Mermaid17

Hurtspouse thank you for your kind words. I am so sorry you've had to endure this hell as well. Did he outwardly blame you initially? Did he become hostile, only able to see the bad, and distort much of the good into bad as well? My husband has become far more stable, but still completely shut off from romantic love. I read about people literally waking up one morning and having all of those feelings accessible again, and I believe this is what will happen. It's a matter of when, and enduring the process until it does. 

 

I am so glad your husband is home and that your marriage hasn't been claimed by this terrible drug. Keep fighting. Believe in love. Love heals. God is love. These are among my central truths, what get me through each day. Because you're right, there are no self-help books. And few friends and family even BELIEVE this is a thing that can actually happen. I have to try to protect my husband's reputation by insisting it's the meds, but I know many still doubt. Those who love me cannot see my agony and not want to blame HIM. It's like being married to a POW but without the support network and validation. It's torture. Just torture.

 

Thank you again for your response. It's about not feeling so alone. Hugs. 

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ChessieCat

Hi Mermaid,

 

Something that I thought about after reading your initial post is that because your husband has been on the drug and emotionally numbed by them since age 15, he may feel overwhelmed when the emotions do return.  And also because he was numbed, he most probably hasn't learned any non drug coping techniques.

 

This is important for you to know so that you don't have the expectation that things will just automatically be better once his feelings return.  He isn't just going to be learning how to be a husband and father but also how to be himself.  I hope that makes sense.

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Mermaid17

Thank you, ChessieCat it makes complete sense. Did you experience the returning of emotions? If so can you tell me about what that was like for you?

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cokemachineglow

ChessieCat,

That is a great point - you can`t just taper off the medications without learning about and starting to try other methods of coping! Sometimes I forget about this part because I have been on the meds for so long!!

 

Mermaid17,

As someone who is married, and tapering off of the medications I have to say that for a long time - at least 10 years I had little to no emotion about anything. Good things, horrible things, disasters on the news - nothing moved me. On a personal level, it is hard to look inward and find - nothing - no emotion when everyone around you is so excited or happy. I have found that it sometimes is the cause of fighting between me and my partner, and my family, and it sounds like this has been an issue for you too. People used to get upset with me because I wasn`t as excited or upset about something as they thought I should be, relative to the situation. 

 

As I taper off my medication, I can feel my emotions coming back. They are hard to control at times. Some days I am so tearful, and almost anything moves me to tears, while other days (and this has greatly reduced as I have slowed my taper) I feel so much rage and anger, and just want to punch everyone in the face (I don`t). Sometimes I feel happy, and grateful to be alive and breathing. It is taking a long time (1 year+) for us to work on these issues, and we continue to do so.

 

I have tried to communicate as much of this as possible to my partner, and to let him know that I`m sorry for my random angry moments, and to just leave me alone for a little while to cool off. I`ve found that physical exercise - even if it is walking around the neighbourhood for 10-15 minutes helps lessen the agitation and irrational anger. There is also a part of me that is scared - will my partner still love me after I taper off my medications - he has only ever known me medicated as we have been together 10 years. 

 

It sounds like it would be helpful to visit a marriage counselor, or someone at your church who could be an unbiased 3rd party and provide you with advice. My partner and I have done this - only a few sessions, but it was very helpful and gave us some communication tools that we try to use with one another when the going gets tough. He didn`t want to go at first, but I said, lets try it once, we don`t have anything to lose. I think it also helps to frame it as something to do for the both of you rather than making it that he needs help, as he might feel blamed, and will then not want to go or open up....

 

Good luck with your situation, and I hope that you are able to find the best solution for you and your family. 

 

 

Cokemachineglow.

 

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ChessieCat

I'm glad you understood what I was saying.

 

I'm not in a relationship but I have been on an AD for 25 years continuously.  I've been reducing for 2 years now and in May this year I bought a new car.  I was excited (on 25mg at the time) but recently I got really excited over a few more minor things and couldn't stop myself from jumping up and down (on 19mg).  It was then that I realised that the excitement when I got the car was a dulled excitement.  I'm also starting to realise how numb I was during much of the time my 2 daughters were growing up (they are now 32 and 30) and also after my husband died in 1999 after a long illness.  And there are a lot of gaps in my memory too so that is another thing to be aware of.

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Mermaid17

ChessieCat thank you for sharing. Hearing about your experience regaining emotional intelligence is so helpful to me because it validates what I have been living with, what my husband has been enduring, for so long. It is insidious and difficult to understand and very nuanced so being able to learn about it from other people really validates so much. And when I say emotional intelligence I hope that does not sound insulting. Perhaps saying emotional bandwidth or emotional breadth is more accurate. 

 

Cokemachineglow  I appreciate your feedback as well. His romantic connection is still so obliterated that there is absolutely no point in marriage counseling. In fact we had marriage counseling for a number of years during which I can now see he barely participated. He was also incredibly depressed at the time however and it was hard to know what the root of the problem was. It was like his boyfriend parts just vanished. That was one of the things that I wanted to work on while we were there. Also communication between us of course but I can now see how futile his efforts at improving communication Would be because his brain was simply not wired to participate. He could not even want to participate or will himself to participate. There are stories like ours all over these forums where the drugged partner simply loses all bond with his or her spouse or girlfriend or whoever. I am so glad that you have been able to have a romantic life even on the drugs. It is hell on earth. Except he feels no loss really. I am the one suffering even though he is the one the most compromised. He is anesthetized to the pain and there is mercy and that and I believe when he begins to wake up from this nightmare I will just ache for the pain that he will feel that what he is done to this family. And I want to be there for him and love him through that and there is nothing to forgive because I know he did not choose this and never would’ve chosen any of this to happen to us.

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