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Regaining emotion/waking up from taper

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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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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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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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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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