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Mermaid17

Regaining emotion/waking up from taper

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Mermaid17

Hello everyone,

 

I am the wife of someone who has been on SSRIs for more than 20 years. Two years ago he left me within weeks of the birth of our third baby. He had become unrecognizable to me about 6 months earlier when his dosage was doubled. I know the drill. I know it's the drugs. I also can now look back on the last 10 years he was consistently drugged and see how they stole his soul little by little. He still had enough humanity in him to stay, but the dosage doubling made his feelings for me, or the impact his leaving would have on our children, completely inaccessible. He, by the grace of God, is now down dow a very low dose, after 1.5 years of rapid tapering. 

 

I want to hear HOPEFUL STORIES of people waking up. What was it like to regain a sense of who you REALLY are, who you love? The more details the better. I'm desperate for some insight. I've read countless stories of the medicated partner waking up, as if out of a coma, horrified by what he or she did while drugged. I know it can happen any moment. What was it like???? Slow and gradual, or one morning it hit you like a train? Did anything help trigger access to those feelings? Smells, photos, the holidays? He is the love of my life. 

 

Thanks to all who reply, and prayers to all who suffer because of this poison.

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PapayaShake

Hi mermaid 👋

 

I'm in a very low dose right now too, less than 1mg. 

My feelings are starting to return but its very irregular. Just like waves and windows, but of feelings. The feelings are not that intense right now, and they only last a couple of days sometimes and a couple of minutes other times. Even I am confused myself. When I feel, I think about how lucky I am I didn't left my girlfriend. When I don't feel I struggle and ask myself if what I felt moments ago was real. Its like being love bipolar. But I'm definetly better than last year when I felt absolutely nothing, was agresive and totally numb. To me this is very gradual. Sometimes I don't believe myself, that my feelings are returning, because in a matter of hours I can feel I would fight the world for her, and then like nothing matters. But looking back I see things are changing for the better bit by bit

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TikkiTikki

Hi Mermaid,

 

I was on 40mg Citalopram for 10.5 years (with 2 rapid tapers and "relapses" in that time) before I started tapering 2 years ago. Through my 30s, basically. In that time I had 2 children.

I never experienced the more severe emotional numbing you describe, but I certainly slowly, slowly lost a sense of self and became more indifferent to my partner. He said it was like my empathy was shut off – I'd just decided 'enough' with his problems and feelings and wouldn't/ couldn't be compassionate or open to him. This was complicated by the fact that, because I was a new mother, he was sensitive to the natural shift in priorities I was experiencing (obviously a shift for both of us, but more pronounced for me). I think we would have seen this lack of empathy more starkly if we hadn't had children at this time (and if my partner was not such an empathetic, loving, supportive and insightful person himself!)

 

For the good news - since beginning the taper, I have been 'waking up' in lots of different ways. Some are obvious, like being moved to tears very easily, getting greater enjoyment out of books, films, concerts etc, and feeling much more eager to connect with people. Others are mort subtle, like a growing sense of connection to myself, so that I can make decisions about what I want to do much more effectively. This is a hard one to explain, but on ADs I felt some crucial connection had been severed, or at least blunted, so that a lot of what I did was guided by external factors, or just 'going through the motions', in a way that left me increasingly estranged from myself and the life I wanted to live. And no, I didn't become a Nazi skinhead or start gambling or anything, but over time I became more mainstream, more 'bland', more guided by the dominant culture around me than driven by an internal sense of desire.

 

It doesn't seem coincidental to me that drugs which kill your libido also have this effect on your inner 'life force' or more general desire - for connection, meaning, achievement, humanity. So as I have emerged, some things have made a lot more sense and become easier, like knowing what I like and don't like without that smeared window of indifference and vague anxiety about what I 'should' like obscuring my vision. It's still a confusing time, and I have a lot to work out, and I think I'm always going to be a person like that, but at least I have a fighting chance now with my 'inner compass' turned back on.

 

For me, sex stopped with ADs ( and I spent a lot of time feeling badly about this, thinking it was me), and started once I began lowering the dose. Opening up that kind of connection again was a HUGE part of reestablishing intimacy, empathy and sensitivity to my partner again. And vice versa, I suppose – feeling empathy and emotional intimacy made it possible to consider sex again. They obviously go hand-in-hand 😉 

 

My partner, who had considerable reservations about my beginning this taper after my previous 'crash and burn' efforts, has been kind of amazed at the changes in me and how connected we are now. And this is despite my increased irritability and anger, wild mood swings and not inconsiderable melancholy and anxiety. We both feel like we didn't know how different I was until I started to become myself again. And at my lowest points, when I sob to him that surely it was better when I was on the full dose, he still says no. He would understand and support if I wanted to increase the dose for greater stability, but he thinks the gains absolutely outweigh the difficulties of now.

 

And looking back, we fought about my lack of empathy a lot, and I can even remember him saying how desperate he felt and that 'things have to change' on more than one occasion. A different man would probably have left in that time, and not a bad man, either. My partner is more supportive, devoted and compassionate than most, and thank god I can now appreciate that again. I certainly didn't choose him in an AD fog!

 

I wish you all the best for your relationship, and hope that this has been some help? I know it's pretty different from your story, but maybe something gives some insight? I can't imagine how hard it must be for you watching someone you love change like that. I hope things change soon.

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Mermaid17

Thank you BOTH. This is ever so helpful. 

PapayaShake - I wish I knew if he has even had a FLICKER of feeling bonded, attached, or even in love with me in the last two years. If he has he has kept it to himself. I have read from others that their feelings will surface then slide away again, and when they are inaccessible it is hard to believe the feelings were ever there. Incredible. A few months ago he reminded me he was going to file for divorce soon, once the two year mark of him moving out came and I could no longer contest it. Then nothing was said for weeks, during which time he seemed more THERE. Then that window closed, a wave started, and he handed me documents he'd drafted with a lawyer to review. I tore them up and threw them away, will not look at them until I am required to by law. But what struck me was how during those three week of wellness he wasn't motivated to bring up divorce again. He had to be in a wave to do it. Still, it was traumatic. I brought the mail in today and nearly had a stroke when I noticed a large envelope. I dreaded seeing whether or not it was from his attorney. It wasn't. 

 

And TikiTiki - yes, your post helps SO, so much. I believe he lived in a very similar place to where you wound up for a number of years, most of our marriage, actually. You articulated so well that life with a pillow between you and yourself, your feelings, your heart. We have been together 17 years, married 12 . . . but has been steadily medicated about 10 years now and I can see how they just decimated his humanity little by little . . . then utterly with that major dosage increase. We had so many conversations where I couldn't grasp why he couldn't grasp the severity of our situation - how he needed to consider the impact of his health on others, namely ME. How his apathy and inability to follow through on anything, be it self care or affection towards me, was going to ruin us, our lives. But I hung in there, always blaming the DEPRESSION, never understanding it was the DRUGS. The more drugs he was on the more depressed he became. I knew he had a hard time connecting, and described it as his "boyfriend parts" had been weakened, but I never understood that he DIDN'T CARE that he didn't care. Every story helps illuminate the horror. I am so glad your marriage did not succumb. And no, he did not choose me in an AD go, though I think it's a miracle we happened at all now that I know their impact, for he was off and on them already for years by the time we met. I love that you can appreciate all your husband withstood . . . I tell the people who love me, who are TERRIFIED by my faith towards him, that this is simply love's response. There is no other path for me, my heart is bound. But lord do I SUFFER. I see him every day but it is not HIM, and it takes a LOT of work to remind my heart of that every day, even if my brain understands it completely. 

 

Did either of you somehow justify your perception by blaming your partner for things? His filter is so unloving. It's like we never existed. It's hell. It's like talking about your kids with someone who not only has never had children, but never wants children and doesn't even LIKE children. WE have become a foreign language. And WE were wonderful for so long. I am holding that truth steady within me as he heals. 

 

There have been moments the last 1.5 years as he as made these drastic reductions where his PERSON has revealed itself, and I cling to those windows. But he has tapered far to quickly and the WD is calling the shots still. He became very hostile on the 20 mg. Lexapro, manic really, and that has backed off a LOT, but he's still just so disconnected from ME . . . he's more sane, but still broken. I know the way he loves me, and I know how precious a love like ours is. Please pray for us. Thank you again!

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PapayaShake

Hello Mermaid

Sorry for the late reply, I didn’t notice your reply, maybe you can use tags so the system can send a notification.

 

You say you wish you knew if he has even had a Flicker of feeling bonded. I definitely can’t know if he has. But if you are looking for a relatable experience I Have had them. they last very little. Sometimes they are little flashes that last only minutes this are the tiny ‘’signs’’ that keep me going, they remind me what I’m fighting for in my relationship. If you see that sometimes he smiles of feels warmer, he probably has too. The thing is that when you are in this WD mental states you really forget about whatever might have been before. For example, I have felt love for my girlfriend, in the precise moment I feel like I could die for her, filled with love and warmth, but as soon as it fades I totally forget about how that felt. And question myself if I even felt that. Most of the time those feelings are not even that intense.

 

 I think one of the issues with ADs is that they block you from recalling your inner emotions, so you can’t even remember how your love felt, your first kiss, your first dates, it’s like it never happened emotionally, there is no feeling memory which is why some say things like `ì have never loved you’’. So even that little glimpse of love is hard to remember the next minute and you go back to feeling empty. So, its easy to deny those little glimpses even to oneself, he has probably had them, but it’s hard to even recall you had them so you sort of have no memory of having them, only if you are having one at the moment.

 

I felt for my girlfriend last night while we were in the movies, for a couple of minutes, and today I’m asking myself if that was real or just my imagination.

 

I’m so sad to hear about him bringing up again the divorce. Has he ever acknowledged this is the pills effect? The only thing that has kept me with my girlfriend is decision making. This days have been especially hard. Sometimes I feel like I should finally leave her because just her presence is annoying. She wants to be loving and kind, she wants kisses and to be near me, and I can’t stand her touch. I have been able to recognize this is all drug induced, and that’s why I’m trying so hard, fake it until you make it like they say. but if someone it’s not aware or does not accepts it’s the drugs, it’s easy for them to believe they don’t love you and want to go away and do things like filing for divorce.

 

Regarding the blaming question… In my mind, it is always everyone’s fault, and I also have to be aware that these pills distort my judgement. Everything is covered by negativisms and criticism. I Try not to act on this and don’t be always blaming, sometimes it comes out and I apologize. On the outside, I Try to act normal but inside I just see the world and every person in it flawed. Then when I’m in a window the world seems a better place and people worthy and thind tolerable and I can't see why was I so annoyed . This thing has sucked my empathy away literally. I also feel like I hate kids and don’t ever want to have them, my girlfriend brings up the topic and I hope I can be healed by the time we actually have them, I used to want a family and think how I was going to name my kids, now I can't stand the thought 

 

It’s really hard to keep up with relationships and self-image in this state, all you say about your husband looks a lot like what I’m going through and it is drug induced. I really hope your husband can heal soon and can feel for you again, I can’t see the day when I get my feelings back. In the meantime, if you need to ask anything feel free to message me

 
Edited by ChessieCat
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Mermaid17
Posted (edited)

Hi PapayaShake - and thank you! I'm not sure I know how to tag, if that's different from quoting you. So I quoted you . . . thank you for your response. It gives me hope. I know you cannot say for certain that my husband is regaining some attachment to me, but I have to say he has definitely shown signs of it, and your response is quite validating. I plan, at some point, to have him read this thread. Right now I don't think he's ready, though. He has absolutely had this mindset that other people are the problem. He's even shown this strange paranoia lately that the parents of our children's friends don't like him. I've never had a single problem getting to know any of them. But in a way this is progress - for him to even CARE about someone's opinion of him is progress. 

 

How are you able to know it's the drugs? Did you catch it early enough? Did your loss of attachment and love towards your girlfriend manifest upon a dosage increase, or too rapid a decrease? Your self awareness is a godsend. It's when the drugged person has no personal insight to his or her behavioral changes/emotional changes that the relationships are more doomed. Please stay hopeful. Have you found her emotions to be overwhelming, unwarranted, or inappropriate? Does she seem at times to be overemotional to you? Please keep fighting for your relationship. To be on the other end of this is hell. Pure hell. It's like he's dead, but not. I grieve but have hope. It's awful. But I know I love him in the purest, most incredible way. And I'd do this all over again for the chance to have him back. 

 

Please keep me posted on your RECOVERY. You ARE recovering. God bless. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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WakeMeUp
On 12/28/2018 at 10:55 AM, PapayaShake said:

 

Hello Mermaid

Sorry for the late reply, I didn’t notice your reply, maybe you can use tags so the system can send a notification.

 

You say you wish you knew if he has even had a Flicker of feeling bonded. I definitely can’t know if he has. But if you are looking for a relatable experience I Have had them. they last very little. Sometimes they are little flashes that last only minutes this are the tiny ‘’signs’’ that keep me going, they remind me what I’m fighting for in my relationship. If you see that sometimes he smiles of feels warmer, he probably has too. The thing is that when you are in this WD mental states you really forget about whatever might have been before. For example, I have felt love for my girlfriend, in the precise moment I feel like I could die for her, filled with love and warmth, but as soon as it fades I totally forget about how that felt. And question myself if I even felt that. Most of the time those feelings are not even that intense.

 

 I think one of the issues with ADs is that they block you from recalling your inner emotions, so you can’t even remember how your love felt, your first kiss, your first dates, it’s like it never happened emotionally, there is no feeling memory which is why some say things like `ì have never loved you’’. So even that little glimpse of love is hard to remember the next minute and you go back to feeling empty. So, its easy to deny those little glimpses even to oneself, he has probably had them, but it’s hard to even recall you had them so you sort of have no memory of having them, only if you are having one at the moment.

 

I felt for my girlfriend last night while we were in the movies, for a couple of minutes, and today I’m asking myself if that was real or just my imagination.

 

I’m so sad to hear about him bringing up again the divorce. Has he ever acknowledged this is the pills effect? The only thing that has kept me with my girlfriend is decision making. This days have been especially hard. Sometimes I feel like I should finally leave her because just her presence is annoying. She wants to be loving and kind, she wants kisses and to be near me, and I can’t stand her touch. I have been able to recognize this is all drug induced, and that’s why I’m trying so hard, fake it until you make it like they say. but if someone it’s not aware or does not accepts it’s the drugs, it’s easy for them to believe they don’t love you and want to go away and do things like filing for divorce.

 

Regarding the blaming question… In my mind, it is always everyone’s fault, and I also have to be aware that these pills distort my judgement. Everything is covered by negativisms and criticism. I Try not to act on this and don’t be always blaming, sometimes it comes out and I apologize. On the outside, I Try to act normal but inside I just see the world and every person in it flawed. Then when I’m in a window the world seems a better place and people worthy and thind tolerable and I can't see why was I so annoyed . This thing has sucked my empathy away literally. I also feel like I hate kids and don’t ever want to have them, my girlfriend brings up the topic and I hope I can be healed by the time we actually have them, I used to want a family and think how I was going to name my kids, now I can't stand the thought 

 

It’s really hard to keep up with relationships and self-image in this state, all you say about your husband looks a lot like what I’m going through and it is drug induced. I really hope your husband can heal soon and can feel for you again, I can’t see the day when I get my feelings back. In the meantime, if you need to ask anything feel free to message me

 

PappyShake thank you so much for this.

I can not tell you how much your post reminds me of an exact replica of my ex, and how I could watch him lose awareness of his feelings for me.  And watch his personality change right in front of me.  He was almost fighting his own brain on and off for about 3 weeks, because he would have connection with me and then it would disappear.  And when his increased dosage took full control, he removed me from his life.

 

But it is so validating reading what you posted because I watched this happen.  He does not believe it is the drugs and we currently do not have contact.  I know for many, it takes tapering and that actual "wake up" experience where the feelings come back significantly before they make connection between their feelings and the meds.  But the last time I spoke to him, like 4 months ago, he had not tapered and wasnt going to.

 

Thank you so much for sharing your experience.  It makes a HUGE difference to those of us who are still struggling with understanding.  I hope you continue to find healing through this, and perhaps your girlfriend can learn some things too about how your struggle is not necessarily about your true feelings but about the withdrawal and its impact day to day.  

 

There is light at the end of this because the brain DOES heal.

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PapayaShake

Hi @Mermaid17

 

You can use tags by writing the symbol @  followed by the username.

 

Getting paranoid is a big issue for me. Currently I’m in some kind of OCD fashion in which I get obsessed about stuff that didn’t really bothered me before. I’m not saying these things might not have some hint of reality but it seems like the mind in his state makes a big deal out of things that we would have otherwise just let go, or not given much tough al least.  

 

I Found out the pills were making changes in me at first because my libido and sexual functioning stopped working. That was the first thing I noticed and I told my PA, who never mentioned this could be a side effect before. Then she told me this was a side effect. I googled and found out that not only this was a side effect of ADs but also the loss of romantic feelings. My love feelings were already losing intensity but I still felt for her. Maybe if it wasn’t for this little research I wouldn’t have noticed the loss of feelings until much later. I Noticed that I had small waves of not feeling for her. It’s like what I go through now but backwards. I mostly felt for her but there were bizarre moments where I felt like I didn’t love her any more that lasted hours or minutes. I did a really fast tapper within a matter of weeks from 120 mg to 30mg per doctors advise. It was after the 30 mg mark that I felt a sudden change. I really couldn’t feel anymore. In my case it seems that the more I tapper the less I feel. I’ve had relatively more windows (very short lived) as I get closer to 0 (compared to 2 years ago where was numb practically the whole year). But also during these last waves I have felt more detached than ever before.

I Think I know it’s the drugs mainly because this is not the only area of my life in which I have changed.  I have lost love for everything and for everyone, for my family, for my hobbies, for friends.  My life has radically changed. I used to go to church, I would volunteer in children summer camps, some of them who were orphans, to teach and share about God. My love for God has gone too as if he was a person too that I don’t love anymore. I don’t feel empathy for kids anymore, or for anyone.

I am afraid of myself, I have turned into some kind of monster. I keep praying to God and trying to read a bit of the bible at least, but also based on just reason. I mention this because this was my most important relationship and it is now shattered as are all the others. This all happened in just a matter of months. This is not who I have been I can’t recognize myself and I struggle to stick to my values because I don’t really have any internal motivation.

Also I don't feel any sort of romantic feelings by watching romantic movies or by imagining being loved by someone else. Nothing moves me to love. Even sex scenes in movies wont turn me on🙈

 

Yes, her presence is utterly annoying sometimes, and this comes and goes in waves too. I Never tell her this because I don’t see the point in hurting her since this is drug induced. She sometimes tells me she loves me and instead of finding this as a kind gesture as a normal person would, it as if she had just said an insult and I have to contain myself form being rude to because I Will probably regret it later. I compare my feeling towards her a towards all I used to love and all of them are missing.

 

Your words have been very encouraging to me today. I’m so confused that I don’t know if it would be best for me to leave and let her find someone who can actually love her. I feel this is so unfair to her. I want to believe I am recovering and that I will be better for her, but this has left me so messed up.

 

I will keep you updated. Right now, I’m in an awful wave. But I hope some windows will come, so I will post when that happens. You can message me anytime you want, I’ll be glad to help if there’s anything I can do.

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jen84

@PapayaShake thank You so much for explaining what you're going through. I find what you're saying very relatable. This sounds just like what I'm going through. im Sorry to hear you're in such a bad wave and i hope you get some relief soon. 

 

My partner and I have been discussing some big life changes (house, baby, marriage) and I feel so lost at the moment. Part of me knows my bad thinking is just w/d, as my brain is foggy and my anxiety is still there. So long as I'm having those symptoms, I cannot let myself go down the rabbit hole of overthinking and worry. I'll Save it for when I'm not anxious, (or when im so anxious I can't control the thoughts). 

 

This has to be the worst part of this whole thing for me, questioning my true feelings. I used to know for certain that these thoughts were only anxiety, but I'm not so sure anymore. I am currently looking for a new counsellor and hopefully can start seeing one in a few weeks time. 

 

I'm glad this thread is here, as it makes me realize my thoughts and lack of feeling could be caused from w/d after all, and that gives me hope. 

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PapayaShake
Posted (edited)

Hi wake me up and Jen👋

 

@WakeMeUp

 

I'm really glad this is of some help to you. I can 100% say I have changed after the pills, I have also done things that I regret and would have never done if it wasn't for the effects this pills have had on me. I changed the most when I started reducing the dose, but I also changed while on the meds.

 

In most of the cases I have read, the people taking the ADs won't acknowledge or even realize it's the meds that are causing the personality change.

I know it must be really hard to understand, not even I can find the words to explain what it is to be like this and I get frustrated, and I know I have hurt people in the process. I usually push people away for reasons that are out of my control and it is awful, these drugs cause horrible effects on people's minds. I hope you can find peace after all you have been through and also thank you for your kind words.

 

@jen84

 

I totally get you about the big life changes. My girlfriend would talk so much about starting a family and I just couldn't wrap my mind around that. I even went on and told her I didn't want to have kids ever, when I wished for a family so bad before the pills, I regretted this so much, I also feel lost, my mind isn't working properly and I have to deal with lots of symptoms, I feel like I won’t be good for taking care of a family, all I want to do all the time is just rest. I question my true feelings all the time all that I ever was, was kind of wiped out from my soul.

 

Keep up the hope, I'm far from healing but I have seen success stories from people who recover from anhedonia and the emotional numbness, I think Aeroman is one of those, his story is in the success stories thread. I Have seen quite a few stories there where people stopped feeling for their partner for a period of time and they regained their feelings and are doing ok

 

Thank you both for the good wishes, this situation is really horrible, but and again if there is something I can do for you or for anyone reading this thread by at least answering questions I`ll be glad to do so.

 

As a quick update…

I’m feeling a little better for quite some time... 17 hours, which is more than any window/glimpse of feelings I’ve had in months. I even cuddled with my girlfriend and actually enjoyed it. When I feel good it is usually in the night and then when I wake up it sort of restarts back to negativity, but last night the feelings did not restart… And I have been feeling for her since last night. this windows and waves of feelings are crazy…

 

Edited by ChessieCat
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