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Re: Effexor, Prozac, Zoloft...HELP! jtc

Posted by zinya on July 1, 2003, at 11:59:31

In reply to Re: Effexor, Prozac, Zoloft...HELP!, posted by jtc on July 1, 2003, at 7:52:58

hi jtc!

well, once again: Gosh.

First, and not to get into your finances so you don't even have to answer this question, but have you taken advantage of refinancing your home at low rates? I do understand that money crunches are hard realities that are often even causes of tensions but certainly make them worse. And a certain amount of denial your husband might be in about being in a house that he "secretly" realizes is a source of pressure can be a part of his own stressors making him get volatile or erratic. And sometimes the responses can be precisely in the direction that makes things worse (like his bike-buying). There are so many signs here, which you already realize it seems, that -- as is always the case in any duo -- it's never just one person's problem nor one person's cause.

However, if he adamantly refuses to see a counselor, I think you must find a way to see one yourself, and hope that he may come to see differently and join you. If you could find a counselor you imagine he would ultimately relate to or feel comfortable with or at least respect as well ... or sometimes it's possible to find a husband-wife team of therapists where you might see the wife and hope eventually he would see the husband. But I hear you not only taking this -- or being told to take this -- all on yourself and that there's inevitable anger there is being told that you should deny your own senses of what is needed -- and then you, as you say, are turning that anger inward into getting more depressed. It may not even be as much a biochemical kind of depression as it is a very natural depression you are responding to based on the situation.

I certainly don't understand these things very well as I'm just now -- having about 6 false starts of trying anti-deps that i couldn't tolerate and also getting no relief -- This is the first time i'm taking the time to go so slowly and give every effort to see if indeed what i've been dealing with is biochemical, which i've started to think may have been the case all along.

But i also think biochemical ("clinical") depression is likely being over-diagnosed ... I read some on this website whose doctors seem to have turned them to anti-deps very readily in the face of what sound to me like crises of depression grounded in their domestic realities where it may be -- but what do i know? -- that it's not at base biochemical imbalance. HOWEVER, that said, i do have the sense that over time, a depressing domestic situation or a major grief of loss can probably also trigger biochemical changes and wind up leading to a real reason for anti-deps too. But i think if there is a clear everyday stressor -- and nothing more stressful than a communication gap -- I recall so vividly the psychic and emotional pain of feeling alone under our married roof, a much more painful feeling of aloneness than actually living alone, and the sharp disjunct of feeling that every day or feeling that it is so unpredictable, that it can flair at any moment, leads to that sense of lack of control over your own peace of mind, to suddenly be the target of attack, to being accused of things, feeling on the defensive, etc etc... It's the worst kind of stress. And the link to depression is inevitable. But, as with one particular married friends of mine, I've felt as long as i've known them, that all their flare-ups are based in "a failure to communicate" but that there is an underlying love and passion there that what is needed is really mostly learning to see how each one is communicating and learning new ways of doing so more "functionally" instead of dysfunctionally. And it's something that would still be a problem for each person outside the marriage, so leaving the marriage isn't a "solution." Hence, it's vital to try to come to terms with those ways of communicating -- i think personally usually the biggest problem is in learning how to listen... We all take listening for granted, no one ever teaches us "how to listen" as if it were innate, but it's not ... So often people listen with so many unseen agendas filtering how they listen and hearing things that aren't there, etc. etc...

Nothing is a more important gift to yourselves and your kids than recognizing that there's always more to learn about how we communicate and to make that commitment.

I realize you already know all this, but I'm just babbling here more about it with the hope of bolstering your inner voice that tells you this is a priority that is already overdue and needs to find a way, whether it means starting on your own to get to a therapist... Maybe getting a book -- Is he someone who would read a book at least? I personally found the books of Nathaniel Branden to be quite helpful as a starting place. When my marriage finally split, a book which was pretty pivotal to me and which my husband read and opened his eyes to at least see his need to go to therapy was Branden's book "The Disowned Self" .. . It includes a metaphor Branden makes which I think hits home with men in particular, at least i think it may have been key to what helped my ex-husband at least realize how dysfunctionally he had been dealing with his own emotional life: It was the "simple" metaphor of how to drive in a skid (like on ice) and how the only way (counter-intuitive) to keep control of the car is to drive INTO the skid, not to try to turn the wheel in the opposite direction. For Branden, that is symbolic of the hard lesson with our emotions, that if we don't turn the wheel in the direction of the emotions, where they're surfacing from but try to turn the wheel away from them, thinking that that will give us 'control', in fact it's a false illusion and we make ourselves more unstable and risk 'overturning the car'. Men even more than women, as a rule, are raised as little boys to think that emotions are to be avoided at all costs -- all the classic "Boys don't cry" "Don't be afraid" etc etc... but girls get a lot of those messages too -- plus girls more often too get "Don't be angry" "Don't you dare tell me x or y" and all kinds of early messages that teach us all more or less to think emotions should be suppress, the worst of all "shoulds" which are all red flags to our peril when we start living more and more a life of "shoulds" that wind up becoming huge sources of anger and depression.

Subsequently, I've taught family communication and used in teaching key portions of another, more recent book of Branden's called "The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem". And it's organized by chapters focusing on marital and parent-child, etc. etc. You can even approach it with your husband initially, if it helps him to "rationalize" it, by pointing to the need for thinking about your daughters' self-esteem.

I realize 'self-esteem' has become pop jargon, and unfortunately become a term too glibly tossed around and wrongly used by some who think it means "praising" people or just teaching kids to think they're great -- which is a totally superficial application of the real and solid and realistic bases of self-esteem. Branden was one of the first if not the first back in the 70's to stress the sources of self-esteem and very practical ways of understanding and communicating in marriages and parent-child dynamics to flush out some of the unseen ways that we undermine it in ourselves and others often unwittingly. These days I realize there are a zillion "self-help" books on these areas and maybe you've already read some. But for what it's worth, these are some ideas...

Well, i certainly don't want to come across as making this sound like there are "easy answers" or "prescriptions" for any of this, nor to make it sound like i'm overreacting. I hear you saying there's love and caring in your home too, but i do hear that, as in many many many families, it starts to become separate dyads or triads where mom and the kids have their own good relationship, dad and the kids have theirs, but mom and dad start turning to the kids for finding their sense of love because they feel a wall between the spouses ... and that's a huge warning sign.

As an article i always gave my class wisely pointed out, of all the gifts to a child's growth and self-esteem, the single most important is the marital model of how adults interact and respect. Kids need to feel -- counter to what many tell themselves -- that mom and dad are most important to each other, NOT that mom or dad looks to the kids as being most important. A child's greatest security is feeling mom and dad are 'solid'. And not the facade of solid, as often happens, cuz kids know the real thing or not. Bandaids, they see right through, "secretly." It's vital to think of it as the most important gift to your kids that you and your husband find the way to communicate that will give that security to your kids, so if your husband won't do it for you or for himself, you might even -- either by finding a book that resonates with you and leaving it lying around :)) where he might pick it up too, or by finding a way to get him to agree to join you -- convince him you need him to give "his side of the story" to help a therapist also help this communication process.

Sorry, I'm rambling on here forever. I hope i don't make any of this sound like "Here's the answer." I know none of this is easy.

But you have my wholehearted support, jtc, and i'm thinking of you with caring and sending a strong embrace,





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