My Husband Suffers From Depression After His Father Died - and Is Hooked On Meds

My husband has been battling depression on a low level most of his life, but has been able to control it most of the time - when he was younger he "treated" it with drinking and drugging – not that he knew why he was doing that at the time – it just numbed his bad feelings and made him feel “better” - but eventually , on his own, quit both, even quite smoking cigarettes!  He has a will to improve and get a hold of his life.  He’s a very determined person and is quite smart, but when you are battling something that’s wrong in your own mind, using your own mind, it’s not an easy battle to win.  Anyhow, back to the story.  He had already been sober for at least 5 or 6 years before we even met.  We've been married for about 10 years now,  and we had been getting along relatively well. However, his father passed away 2 years ago and it dealt him such a blow (they were very close) that he sank very deeply and was diagnosed with major depression.  That's when things started to get very bad. But first let me give a little background:

His mother also suffers from depression, if not something a bit worse, along the lines of a mild form of schizophrenia and when in her late 30’s had what in those days was a nervous breakdown.  She complained about her husband non-stop and never gave him any affection no matter how hard he worked for her, it was never good enough, and she washed her hands of her son (my husband) and thought her household chores were a huge burden – before her “nervous breakdown” the house was immaculate and she was a relatively responsive person. In any case, all this to say,  genetics were are against my husband, as he inherited the depression /anxiety side of things.  Not to mention that she’s influenced him with her negative thinking his whole life, since he was closer to her than his father,  which she made sure of, by poisoning him against his father, until finally one day he “woke” up and saw she was the problem, not his dad, and started getting much closer to his father.

But alas, his father was pretty old at this point, and so my husband starting getting very anxious at the thought of losing him, when he wanted to make up for all the lost time.  In the midst of all this, his mother (who, by the way, had just been given a change in medications after almost 20 years on the same meds – a proven cause of rash and strange behaviour), decided to divorce his father (after threatening it for the last 35 or so years) at age 69!  In one of her letters she told his father that she didn’t want to have to pay for a taxi to drive to the hospital if he became sick again (he’d already had one heart attack by then).  Imagine! 

Anyhow, all this was very stressful on my husband, but he dedicated his life to taking care of his father and took care of the divorce legalities for his father, talked to him every single night (myself as well), and we visited every weekend.  The became as close as a father-son could get.  Then his dad died.  Now, we don’t live in a area where we know too many people, certainly no family or friends, so basically, I was his only support system.  His doctor started prescribing medications but they didn’t agree with him at all, either made him into a zombie or made him physically ill, neither of which was any good.  On top, his job contract ended at around that time and he was having trouble finding a job, which stressed him out to no end, plus gave him far too much time during the day to think, and gave him no structured daily routine to stick to, so he started staying up late at night, sleeping during the day, etc. .  He did realize he was slipping, but his psychiatrist wasn’t listening and didn’t have time to give him any real counselling (i.e. grief counselling would have really helped!!!) so my husband took matters into his own hands and started experimenting with prescription drugs on his own, desperate to feel his old self again, desperate to numb the pain of his grief.  I was (still am) working and also finishing graduate studies, so I was always busy and could not spend enough time with him, but I knew his fathers death was going to be a huge emotional blow for his so I steeled myself to try and lighten the blow as much as possible – my first thoughts when his dad died was : what can I do to make sure my husband was going to be ok?  I cried a bit at his father’s death – we were close too – but my overriding concern was for my husband – later on he told me he thought I was cold hearted and that if he’d seen me cry more like he did he’d have felt better.  But I can’t even grieve his father when my heart is focused solely on my own husband’s grief.   Believe me, I’m not cold hearted, I cry at commercials!  Not to mention I would crumble  if anything ever happened to my husband – but the fact is that I expected his father to die and I had been preparing myself to support my husband as soon as that happened and so my last thought was on grieving myself, and so I did not allow myself, in my mind at least, to feel grief when I knew I had to be there for my husband.  Anyhow.  So of course I was as comforting as I knew how, but my primary concern was that my husband make it through the arrangements/funeral without breaking down, etc. and I helped as much as possible, especially since he’s an only child and of course his mother had left and they were incommunicado.  But once all the public side of things died down, that’s when it finally hit him that his father was really gone and the pain he felt was unbearable.

And that’s when the experimentation with prescription drugs started to turn really nasty. He would take far too many of one thing, hoping it would cure him or numb him or do something – anything – but instead the drugs backfired and he started having psychotic episodes.  He mixed different things together: benzo’s mostly.   It took me until today to finally figure out why – at the time I was clueless and I thought it was “him” who turned it not this strange monster – then I figured out it was the drugs, then today (about 16 months later) I finally found out it’s not even the OD on the drugs, it’s the withdrawal from them right after.  All the symptoms fit:  the anger, the hallucinations, the extreme paranoia, the strange distancing, the suicidal thoughts ...
But the worst is that it brought out in him all the hidden resentment it turns out he harboured for me, mean and acidic comments that make me cry even as I write now, though I’ve heard them so much now you’d think I’d be used to them .. it’s as if someone took my loving, kind, funny husband and replaced him with a living-dead corpse that spewed mean and extremely vile things with not a twitch of his face and not a change in his tone.  He was completely disconnected – he talks about how our marriage is over – never really was there to being with, how he doesn’t care for me any more- doesn’t even hate me, doesn’t care what I do, how he has nothing to live for, and then goes on to describe in detail how he plans to kill himself.  Then tells me that’d be good cause then I’d get the house and all the money and I can find myself a good husband, and I keep telling him I love him and want him and why is he saying these things and he just continues on.  Then he goes into the “why don’t you go do your important work” and so on, as if I have a choice to quit my work to be with him – I don’t, I have to work, etc. etc. – it’s just ridiculous – I get that he feels bad because he’s not able to work and that he really wishes he was, but he has to realize I don’t in any way hold that against him – at ALL!  I try to do everything around the house to make it more comfortable – mess disturbs him so I cancel appointments and make sure I clean the house instead of doing my work – but he always finds fault with it – I don’t do it enough (of course not, I have to work too, I can only clean up every 2-3 days, and it’s only the two of us anyhow, not that big of a mess!).  I make him his favourite dinners even after I’m dead tired  from working all day, or more often, do take out, but still I make sure he’s taken care of, at least on a material level – I don’t deserve to be told I’m not doing a good enough job.  He does the laundry and takes out the garbage – that’s the way we’ve always divided the chores – but then feels sorry for himself for doing it and calls himself the F’ing “servant” and so on – again, i get that he feels he needs to feel justified in that he is needed, that he is contributing, that he feels his role to is to take care of me and not that other way around, so it’s coming out in these weird ways, but come on – why can’t he understand that I love him and always will and that I couldn’t care less if he worked, so long as he works on getting better, I can keep working, it’s fine by me – I just want to see him get better.  He hates himself and hates me so much, i guess the fact I work and am active and do work around the house and try to treat him with good food and smiles and hugs and so on ends up backfiring on me as it rubs in to him all the things he seems to have become incapable of doing –once he said to me “this would be a lot easier if you weren’t so nice” – which just broke my heart.

But here’s the worst part:  he comes OUT of these .. “spells”, for lack of a better word.  And he’s kind and affectionate and sweet and apologetic and everything he was during the majority of our marriage – and that’s the worst part because it throws me for a loop – because he then descends into hell again and it’s like I lose him all over again, literally in seconds sometimes, he goes from kind and affectionate to cruel and vile.  I am walking on eggshells all the time – when he’s normal he’s upset I don’t talk to him like I used to, but doesn’t realize that he’s like a bee that’s stung me too many times, i have to stay away to not get stung again .. though I still hug him and kiss him and tell him I love him ...  but if he “flips” back to the bad version of him while I’m doing that,  he just stares off into space as I am hugging him and then pushes me away, and tells me to go away, get out of his life, he wished he’d never met me  ... and I just crumble – I can’t take the yo-yoing anymore.  Of course he always uses concrete examples in his arguments, things that could indeed be construed as bad things on my part, but in the light of day, they are really not worth a divorce (ex. you take on too much work, no wonder you are burning out” or “I TOLD you to keep the oil topped up in your car, but you never check it, do you? – me:” yes, I do, I have an appointment next week to get it changed” – him “yes, but you don’t’ check it on your own, do you, like I TOLD you to?”, and so on until his voice reaches thundering level and it’s a HUGE deal and anything I say is wrong ...

It drives me crazy because if he was mean all the time, I could adapt, I could plan on moving out, whatever – but then his kind self appears and I melt all over again and even in his rage I can just imagine that if i left and he came out of his rage how lonely and upset and hurt he’d be and I can’t leave him to suffer like that so i stay ...  and it’s true, when he is back to his kind self, he tells me how he’d die if I weren’t there, if I were to leave him ...  he tells me to ignore him when he’s bad, that it’s just his “demons”.  Well, today I finally figured out it’s the withdrawal fromt eh meds .. but of course he keeps taking them again, after withdrawing, then stops, etc., so it’s a never ending cycle .. I’m glad I figured it out but not sure it will help, or how it can help ...

Very often he walks around the house, not knowing what he’s doing, some serious short term memory loss issues with these meds, and it frustrates him no end. In his paranoia he hides things (like his meds) then can’t find them, so he spends most of the time searching, endlessly, which in turn makes him very upset and anxious.  Then he start talking loudly even if I’m not in the same room (or even in the house), as if he’s talking to me, in very angry, obscene language, and keeps repeating things (you B***”, I hate you, you C***”, etc., etc.) , all night long, yelling, and I just cringe and hide, I’ve slept in the car outside in freezing weather since I just couldn’t stand hearing the things he was saying to me anymore – allt he while remembering from an earlier point, even in the same day, when he was sweet ... – it’s really that part which kills me. 

Then there are the hallucinations and the paranoia – he is sure someone is trying to break in – that our home is being targeted – I look outside and see no one- “but don’t you see- there are two men out there, in the dark – they’re hiding now but they’re there” and on and on.  So he goes and buys guns and locks and all sorts of things to protect the house.  He talks to people in the neighbourhood about it, and of course everyone has a story about some break-in, but in his mind this is justification and he takes it to the next level and repeats their stories over and over – he’s assigned himself this job now of protecting us .. I guess.  The problem is he’s called the police and told them of the things he saw, etc., and they of course investigate and find nothing – one day they will stop responding altogether.

But it got really bad a few weeks ago.  I called him out on something he was sure he’d seen I was sure he hadn’t, and it turned form friendly to angry again,  (I just couldn’t play along with his momentary hallucination anymore!) and anyhow, it escalated to the point he tried to hang himself, and when that failed, he locked himself in the bathroom with the water running and I knew he had a knife.  So of course I called 911.  And the cops came, coaxed him out, he only had hesitation marks, never really wanted to kill himself (said he through the door tot he cop “if I come out are you sure this won’t go on any record cause I’m trying to get a job?”  which I suppose is morbidly funny in some way).

Anyhow.   So since then, he’s called me a traitor for calling the cops on him.  Weekends are the worst, that’s when he misses his dad the most, so he overdoes the meds and of course suffers the withdrawal after – doesn’t sleep at all, for days sometimes.  Early this morning was the worst.  He wanted me to call the cops on him again, so that I could be a full traitor, he said, and then he could have justification to kill himself .. and for the first time ever, he finally threatened me too (never did before), since he thought that would spur me to call them.  I refused, so he came at me with a bat and broke a few things in the way and pretended to swing it at me.  I assured him I wasn’t calling the cops and he left, still convinced I was doing it behind his back, and retuned with a shovel and raised it above his head, and was talking about bashing my head in and how the blood would go everywhere and then he’d kill himself after.. This time I really did fear for my life, all the time my mind racing, trying to figure out how to help him , it’s true the cops won’t help, he’ll end up again, as last time, in a hospital bed and as soon as he’s not suicidal anymore they just let him go – thanks a lot. 

In his saner moments he kept telling me he wants to be institutionalized, and though I’ve been resisting the idea, after today I’m wondering- at least he won’t be able to OD and withdraw the way he’s been the past year ... the problem of course if our medical system where I live sucks and it’s really hard to actually do get him into any reasonable program (I know, it’s ridiculous, whatever, just take my word for it – that’s a whole other story, how long it even took for him to get his current doctor (went through 3, and the latest one is worse than them all, very young and inexperienced and has added to the med problem by taking him off one thing WAY too fast, even though all the literature was to wean off ...  obviously she didn’t graduate top of her class!) – Anyhow. 

Then he took some sleeping pills and he’s been sleeping the whole day – in his semi lucid moments when I go in to check on him he is kind again ... and I hope the withdrawal will happen while he is sleeping.

I read up on it and apparently the hallucinations, the aggression (which can be related to withdrawal seizures in the brain, of all things), the disconnectedness, it’s all related to withdrawal from benzo’s especially Xanax, which he’s been taking on his own (I guessing addicted, since he hides the pills form me so I don’t’ really know how much he takes ... but in one day he can take a lot! Then he’ll feel ok and realizes his problem so talks about quitting all the drugs and stopping all the nonsense .. and then – and again I only figured this out today, took me long enough – the withdrawal hits and voila, I have a madman husband ...  then, he takes Ritalin, again on his own accord, and it’s amazing how lucid he becomes on it – but, yes, you guessed it- he withdraws from it too (since he gets it under the table he is careful not to use it all the time or lese he’d run out) and apparently withdrawal from Ritalin causes suicidal thoughts.  Yep, sounds familiar ...

So there’s my story .. I’m living in the deepest darkest month of it right now ... I don’t know which husband I’ll see when he wakes up ... it’s affecting my own life, my work quality, my school work, everything ...  I don’t know what to do ...  he needs to get off those pills, he needs real counselling ...  I’ve never ever been afraid for my life with him before, ever ...  it’s like one strange nightmare i can’t wake up from, then I go to work and smile at everyone and have a “jolly” day ... i can’t live this dual life anymore ...
 

 

 

something1 something1
31-35
12 Responses Feb 8, 2009

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I am going through almost the exact thing right now. How is ur situation now? Any advice for me?

breastfeed him everyday, depression will go away

I always wonder on the EP site what happens when I read a dated story like the original... It sometimes comes down to perspective... one's own situation might not be as complicated in comparison...

Lori's Story ALL WHO EVER LOST SOMEONE TO SUICIDE SHOULD READ THIS STORY. IT MAY BRING CLOSURE AND GIVE YOU A BETTER IDEA OF WHY YOUR LOSS HAPPENED IN THE FIRST PLACE. I HOPE TO GIVE ATLEASE ONE PERSON OUT THERE THE GIFT OF CLOSURE..FOR MY FAMILY DID NOT HAVE THIS FOR DECADES! UNTIL NOW!<br />
www.Drugawareness.org/recentcases/suspicious-suicide-of-sister<br />
<br />
TRUE STORY. NOT ONLY DID SHE DIE..NO ONE EVER CAME TO US WITH THE TRUTH. LOOKING FOR MEDIA TO COVER MY STORY.<br />
PLEASE FORWARD TO ANYONE YOU THINK MAY BE ABLE TO HELP ME.<br />
IM DISGUSTED TO SAY THE LEAST.<br />
THANK YOU...<br />
LISA FROM NY

can you PM me with an email address? I can't seem to reply from within EP ...

let me send you an edited version that includes the info i have since learned, i.e. a better understanding of the role of the withdrawal from the imipramine, and the interaction with cipralex, since when I first wrote this, I hadn't yet realized the full extent of the role of these things, it took me months to wade through the events and the research, after writing the orginal entry and figuring it out. Especially now that he is "back to normal" I can see how out of place all those events were and I can see beyond a doubt how they are related to the drug withdrawal ...<br />
<br />
You know, he went off of imipramine cold turkey, as instructed by his doctor and that is when he started trying to compensate with benzo's. And within 1 week of cold trukey withdrawal is when he had the suicide attempt and a few days later is when he tried to harm me to force me to call the cops again so that, in his then illogical mind, he would have justification for killing himself ... imagine, his doctor instructing him to go cold turkey off of Imipramine, after all that is now "supposed" to be known ...

Would you mind if I copy and pasted your comment to me on <br />
the www.Drugawareness.org/recentcases/suspicious-suicide-of-sister<br />
<br />
under Lori's story?<br />
Let me know your thoughts..If you would rather not have your name included I understand.<br />
let me know..I think readers who connect with my story..will also connect with yours.

RipSister1981 - I read your story - what a horror, I am so sorry to hear about your pain. I had tears as I read, understanding where it was headed and the worst part of it, that this was all avoidable. The reality is that most poeple don't know, and worse, most physicians don't know. Certainly law enforcement officers don't know, when I read the report later describing when they came after I called 911, it read that he had stopped taking his medication of his own accord, even though it was his doctor who told him to stop the imipramine! I had told them he stopped taking it on advice of his doctor, but clearly this did not register with them. It irks me to this day that there is an official record out there that says this incorreclty. I have since obtained a letter from the doctor saying that she had instructed him to stop. I guess the next step is to take it to the police station and ask them to change the report. The worst part was that when they took him to the hospital, the took him in HANDCUFFS even though he was very "mellow" with them after they told the paramedics to go away - I keep thinking of trying to get some sensitization seminar thing going at the local police statio, but who kows what sort of dirt that will kick up if I do that now that they think he's "crazy" ... (he was very "lucid" with them, though, and very engaging - they kept me away from him since he was still verbally mean to me, so i was always near by but out of sight. But he was very "nice" to them, and certainly was not resisiting or anything - they stayed with him at the hospital until the drowned-rat of a doctor who was too busy napping to come look at him showed up a few hours later .... During that time, at the hospital, as they stayed with him until they could "hand him over to the docotr", my husband even had them laughing and enjoyig themselves, so much that a couple more guys showed up at the hospital to hear the stories he was telling, seemed a jolly good time was had by all except me).<br />
<br />
Anyhow, back to what I was saying: the travesty of all this is that he was actually withdrawing from imipramine, having stopped it COLD TURKEY ON THE ADVICE of his doctor - imagine, the year is 2009 and his sorry excuse for a doctor told him to stop the imiprime by cutting the dose in half in ONLY THREE DAYS after taking it for at least 6 months!!!!!! And she started him on Cipralex at the same time, but of course that takes at least a month to take effect. We have also since found out it interacts with imipramine! Going off the imipramine in only three days is akin to going off of it cold trukey. It goes against all the litterature that has since been published on such things. I spoke with the head of the clinic who was being very hostile about the whole thing and finally he had to admit that the particular doctor my husband had has done "such" things in the past and that some things (I presume "people") do slip through the cracks. But this doesn't change anything, I'd love to see his doctor lose her license completely. I can write more but bringing this all up is jsut emotionally exhausting ... I woudl love, tho, to support you in your eduction of more people, be it the ones taing the meds, or the ones prescribing it, or the ones, like law officers, who come face-to-face with its consequences ...

www.drugawareness.org/recentcases/suspicious-suicide-of-sister<br />
<br />
FINALLY SOLVED DECADES LATER..... JUST MONTHS AGO.<br />
<br />
FAMILY IS OUTRAGED SEEKING JUSTICE FOR LORI.

Thanks, SpringForward2k8 - I really appreciate your concern. I was very worried too, when I wrote this, and it's been a very hard few months, thoughts of leaving and hiding and so on .. but we made it through, so far, anyhow, somehow. I'm writing with a somewhat more positive update. First, he's realized that the meds are what were changing him so drastically, so that's helped him a lot in understanding his behaviour and trying to control it. He's apologized for those actions I described in this story and he still can't believe he acted that way, it's all spotty for him. he keeps asking me why i stayed and how can i forgive him, and I keep telling him i love him and that I never held it against him in the first place, so never needed to forgive him. But he feels enourmous guilt and that in itself is really hurting him, to think that he hurt me, so i keep trying to assure him I'm fine and so on, but he is very sensitive and it weighs on him no matter what I say/do. Sometimes he lashes out by trying to push me away again,almost a way to not having to deal with it if I'm not there, but of course I dont' fall for it and stay. still hurt, but I stay and I reamin kind and trying to get him to see that his anger is misplaced. So if we can jsut overcome that part, we'll be "ok". His normal kind caring self has been coming back more and more, as the meds subside. It's been a very hard journey for us, I've learned to stay in the background when it was necessary, and came to the foreground when he needed it and things were going out of control (often enough - damn meds!), but all throughout it all I stood by him, never gave up, and I think that's the one thing that's really helped him, he's told me as much. He's told me he still loves me, always has, all the way through, it's just that he is having such a tough time dealing with everything that things come out all wrong. So we have a lot of mending to do, he keeps trying everyday to control his anger that is a result of his grief and the meds and not direct it at me, though I can tell it's hard, as I'm the only one around. We had a decent relationship before, so that's pretty much the only thing that's carrying us through now, I think, in these really dark days ... I just try my best to be there for him and whatever happens, happens. Just one day at a time until we can start being "normal" again, whatever that means ... I have hope we'll make it through - certianly most people never have to deal with this in their whole lives, so after two years of this, if we make it through, we'll "really" make it ... so here's to hoping ... (though sometimes I wonder if I'm just a naive hopeless romantic holding on to a dead dream ... I guess time will tell ...)

Wow. I'm stunned at how things have been going for you. I'm very sorry to read all of that. My situation pales in comparison. You are right that it has escalated to the point of him having to be institutionalized and fast. If not, you need to get yourself out of there before something terrible happens. If he's mixing drugs, he could hurt or kill you and himself and not be in his "right mind" while doing it. I'm very afraid for you right now.<br />
<br />
I can only relate to the yo-yo life and the desire to be there for your spouse. Once it gets to the level it's at right now for you (the threats of violence), you have to move on this before it's too late.