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Pnwrt: Any tips for spouses with partners on escitalopram?

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Hello there!  I tried to post this in the Relationships forum but apparently I need to post here first as I am a new user.


This website is like a lighthouse on a foggy beach.  My wife of almost 12 years has been taking Lexapro for the last 4+ years and I am slowly coming to realization that she has lost the self-awareness needed to change and I am honestly getting tired and run down dealing with her aftermath.  Looking at several of the posts on here they could have been written directly from my experiences:  The emotional blunting, lack of empathy, out of control spending, infidelity, constant fighting, drinking, laziness, etc, etc, etc.  


Our story:

We have been together for over 15 years, married for 12, with 2 young children ages 4 and 6.  I work in the air ambulance field and have been working in healthcare since I was 19 years old in one capacity or another.  We met in our mid 20's and had what I would call a happy, normal marriage; largely good times with common disagreements on finances, plans etc.  I loved to travel with her, we have been to Europe, Central America, all over the US.  Normal stuff.  We always talked things out and made pacts.  I am and have always been logical to a fault (Rational, science loving, atheist), but I am pragmatic and solution oriented, so almost every challenge was just another puzzle to be solved: We were able to move across the country and buy a house, paid off 175k+ in student loan debt that she had taken out, got me through RT school debt free and started working on growing our family.  We helped each other through several miscarriages.   Before we got married, she had helped me so much to make it through a couple of very rough years I had after my father's death by suicide.  I wouldn't have dreamed of talking to my other family or friends about something so personal, but my wife was 110% of the support I needed so I was fine.  She was so loving and supportive.  I had no desire to be with anyone else.


Shortly after the birth of our second child, she began to have anxiety while driving on the highway, like her mother and sisters do.  She went to her NP who put her on 20mg of Lexapro right off the bat and considered the problem 'solved'.  I was able to get her to do about 4 weeks of therapy right at the start, but once the meds started to take effect, she decided that she was done with that and on Lexapro for life.  Over the next year, she began to change dramatically: repeated blackout drinking (she had been a fun social drinker before), picking huge screaming fights with me over perceived or imagined slights or insults, absent from family events, lying about where she was or who she was with.  At the time I was working nights and barely catching myself coming and going with 2 children under age 3 so I wasn't thinking clearly about how much different things were with her.  All I knew was that date nights and vacations were becoming anxiety inducing for ME because I was always ready for her to blow up at the slightest thing or nothing at all.  We hadn't planned on staying in the big city after we got our careers and kiddos sorted out, so we started planning to move.  Up until this point, I was still thinking it was mostly our location or new friends of hers that were causing all of these changes, and I was so hopeful a relocation would give us a reset that we severely needed.  I remember thinking how much better things were going to get on moving day-  She had slept in until almost 10:00 and then left for 7 hours "to get her hair done" while I singlehandedly packed and loaded a 2500 square foot house into a U-Haul while I also cared for my 1 and 3 year olds.


I'm sure most people here will know where the story goes from this point.  The problem of course moved right along with us, it just found new 'friends' and hangout spots.  Since then, she has been fired from one job, cheated on me with a coworker, opened credit cards and purchased expensive jewelry on them in secret, assaulted me after getting drunk at a neighbor's child's birthday party (then told our kids that I was hitting her :( ) and many, many (sigh, many) other events.  She got blackout drunk once and had an Uber ride that should have taken 20 minutes last for 2.5 hours, so I worry that she may have been raped there, but she seems apathetic about it.  Some of these things make me mad at her, or sad for her, or disappointed in her; but she doesn't even seem to notice or care about any emotion from me.  She has been quick to bring up divorce whenever I comment on how she used to be more fun or caring or empathetic, so I honestly think that is what she wants but isn't brave enough to do it herself.  I think on some level she realizes how much work I put into keeping our lives running:  I handle everything with the kids- Dr appts, school registration, finding babysitters, discipline, etc.  I do 100% of the grocery shopping (she can't be trusted to not go on a spending spree), cook 95% of the meals when I'm home and generally keep up on the housework and chores as best I'm able.  I also put in 10-20 hours a week unpaid helping her to run a business which we started when she was getting burned out on her job (I was just supposed to set up the back office system and build the website, I figured she would do most of the day to day).  I am happy to help but I never planned on doing so much with it, and she will blame me non-stop if I can't keep it all caught up.  There are many nights where I am up for 24 hours straight with my real job and then if I don't keep up on the kids/home/business everything just falls apart.  She will sleep 10-14 hours a day if able and probably spends 10-15 hours each week window shopping on Amazon.  She was "so tired" after a half day of work a few weeks ago that she took a 5 hour nap and slept through picking up our son from school, so he had to walk home.  


The saddest part of the whole story for me is that we had a Come-to-Jesus talk on Christmas Day 2019.  She offered to stop taking Lexapro if we could dip into our life savings to buy her breast implants.  A dream for a dream, if you will.   I jumped on it like a $100 bill on a windy day.  She tapered off (faster than recommended here) but without problems and within a month it was like a new person.  She became the same loving caring person I had always known.  She started getting up early and working out like I hadn't seen in years.  Every aspect of our life improved.  Our kids stopped acting out just to get her attention, our sex life hit a level it had never been to before, we were open and honest about some things that I had never even had a clue about.  After 6 months clean (once she had paid for the surgery), and without any discussion, she began taking Lexapro again in secret.  4 weeks later, welcome back to Hell.  My blinders again kept me from seeing the change for what it was (although screaming the F word in Red Lobster kind of got my mind thinking), we had just started our business and I thought it was stress from that and lockdown and everything.  Of course the truth eventually comes out.  All of the sneaking around is infuriating, with the brain fog she gets caught almost instantly every time.  I literally think of her like a teenager now, at times surprisingly grown up, but mostly just a little kid in an adult human costume, more concerned about themselves and meaningless petty things rather than more mature life goals.  She has a complete and total lack of self-awareness, if you ask her I have become a completely different person.  I am actually the problem because I am trying to stop her living the Best Life Ever.  My friends and family don't agree. 


Now I feel like I am stuck in a dark spot.  My son has noticed that she is different but I try to downplay and redirect him because I don't want to (or even appear to) seem like I am turning him against her.  My daughter is still blissfully ignorant but I don't know what our future holds.  My kids are everything to me, it breaks my heart to know that they are feeling the emotional blunting and I know that my wife would never want to be that kind of mother to them.  I would literally cut off a body part to just have my fun, loving, energetic wife back so my family can be whole and happy again.       


Sorry, this got super long, heh.  I don't expect any silver bullets, but I would love to hear any words of encouragement or anything that someone heard or read that convinced them to make the change away from AD's.  Thanks for having this available, there is a complete lack of good information about the other side effects of all these psychoactive drugs.  I realize that many people are helped by them, but they have destroyed at least one (mostly) happy family and I am saddened by the rush to use them and deny the effects.  

Edited by PNWRT
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  • Shep changed the title to Pnwrt: Any tips for spouses with partners on escitalopram?
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On 2/25/2021 at 9:00 PM, Pnwrt said:

She tapered off (faster than recommended here) but without problems and within a month it was like a new person.  She became the same loving caring person I had always known.  She started getting up early and working out like I hadn't seen in years.  Every aspect of our life improved.  Our kids stopped acting out just to get her attention, our sex life hit a level it had never been to before, we were open and honest about some things that I had never even had a clue about.  After 6 months clean (once she had paid for the surgery), and without any discussion, she began taking Lexapro again in secret.  4 weeks later, welcome back to Hell. 


Hi, Pnwrt.


Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants. 


It sounds like your wife was hit with delayed withdrawal and that may have been why she went back on this drug. If so, she's likely dependent on it, so her next time withdrawing should be done very carefully and slowly. 


Unfortunately, she's going to have to want to come off the drug. It sounds like she has a classic case of "medication spellbinding." This is Dr. Peter Breggin's explanation of this phenomenon: 


What is Medication Spellbinding? Simple Truths in Psychiatry Video #3 video (13 minutes)


And the alcohol use is also something documented in the medical literature. This is an article off the Rxisk.org site:


Driven To Drink: Antidepressants and Cravings for Alcohol


We have a Relationship section that you may want to check out:


Relationships and social life


You may find this thread helpful in letting you know you're not alone in what you're going through:


Marriages destroyed by SSRI SNRI - Topix


And this thread is more for people going through withdrawal themselves, but may be helpful in providing context:


Helping family understand


We highly recommend this book, which explores these drugs in detail. 


Anatomy of an Epidemic


Scroll down and you'll find source documents linked, along with a few videos. Whitaker's work comes highly recommended here.


But again, until your wife is able to come to the realization that  her drug is her problem, there's not much this site can offer you besides general information on the dangers of these drugs. It sounds like you're already well aware of this. We're here if she ever reaches the point where she wants off this drug and we'll be glad to help her taper. 


But for now, I would take care of yourself and your children first so you don't get jammed up legally or end up bankrupt due to your wife's behavior. It's concerning that she's telling your children that you're assaulting her. Please take care of yourself and your children's physical and emotional needs first. 

Drug free May 22, 2015 after 30 years of neuroleptics, benzos, z-drugs, so-called "anti"-depressants, and amphetamines 


My Success Story:  Shep's Success: "Leaving Plato's Cave"


And what is good, Phaedrus, and what is not good — need we ask anyone to tell us these things? ~ Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

I am not a medical professional and this is not medical advice, but simply information based on my own experience, as well as other members who have survived these drugs.


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(moved topic to Relationship subforum, mmt)



Additional link that you might be interested in, Pnwrt: 

Common dynamic- how antidepressants destroy relationships  (some more information from a member, whose loved one was deeply changed by an AD(antidepressant))


Hugs, and best Pnwrt. 

Love, peace, healing, and growth,


Edited by manymoretodays
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Started with psycho meds/psychiatric care circa 1988.  In retrospect, and on contemplation, situational overwhelm.

Rounding up to 30 years of medications(30 medication trials, poly-pharmacy maximum was 3 at one time).

5/28/2015-off Adderal salts 2.5mg. (I had been on that since hospital 10/2014)

12/2015---just holding, holding, holding, with trileptal/oxcarb at 75 mg. 1/2 tab at hs.  My last psycho med ever!  Tapered @ 10% every 4 weeks, sometimes 2 weeks to

2016 Dec 16 medication free!!

Longer signature post here, with current supplements.

Herb and alcohol free since 5/15/2016. 

None of my posts are intended as medical advice.  Please discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical provider. manymoretodays


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