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KansasTherapist, LSCSW
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 566
Experience:  17 years experience with depression, abuse, and borderline.
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My wife has severe depression. Shes on 3 meds. Stay at home

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My wife has severe depression. She's on 3 meds. Stay at home mom of two girls. She takes Ativan for the calming affect and xanax at night. She also drinks 3-4 glasses of wine a night. She's got a master's in psych. We've been married only 2 years and she defends the mix of drugs/alcohol as something she's been doing for years. She restarted Rx for prozac and abilify within the last two years, gave it up during pregnancy and breastfeeding phase of our 3 year old. I think the alcohol and recent addition of xanax and ativan back in to her days is a bad mix, but I can't get her to consider other "therapy" for all the ugly stuff she thinks about in these long depressive bouts. Help!

KansasTherapist : Hello
KansasTherapist : I agree with you that mixing alcohol with her meds is a poor idea.
KansasTherapist : Not only is it a problem with the Ativan and the Xanax, it makes depression worse.

While she is well educated and intelligent, she refuses to admit that the blanket recommendations and warnings for xanax and ativan are impacting her thoughts and ability to get better.

KansasTherapist : Part of her refusal to try therapy may be the hopelessness that comes with depression.

I have read up on being supportive and trying other activities at night, after the kids go to bed, but she says she's fine to do things when she's not going through bad times. But the fact that she seems to be having bad days 6 out of 7 days a week makes it impossible to suggest "distractions".


I agree.



I also feel like her education in psychology and her years of experience as a behaviorial therapist (mostely CBT) makes it impossible to get her to consider alternate courses of therapy.


KansasTherapist : Does she get angry when you bring up the topic of therapy or drinking?






Accuses me of making this whole thing about me instead of empathizing with her.


KansasTherapist : That argument really shuts you out. What can you say after that.

Makes observations that she can see why people would attempt suicide, but in the same breath tells me she would never do that, mostly because of our two little girls.


KansasTherapist : Suicidal thoughs like this a pretty common with chronic depression.

She's a stay at home mom. She says she only wants me to help with the kids and household when she's going through her bad times. However, we spend hours on the back porch at night talking out her massive childhood problems.


KansasTherapist : At least she has you to talk to. That may help her. Is it hard for you to handle?

So we come to conclusions in conversation about how things aren't her fault, through logical analysis, etc. Then the depression kicks in again a week later, addled by alcohol almost every night, and she's right back to erasing every conclusion or affirmation that we reached before. It's like hitting a giant reset button on any progress, over and over again.


KansasTherapist : She may be in a cycle where she comes to the conclusion that she wasn't at fault, then feels her anger about the past, which turns into depression and self doubt.
KansasTherapist : Maybe it's time to stop talking and let things calm down a bit.

The frustrating part - knowing that I am married to a woman who has an IQ of 145 and a Master's degree who can put on a smile by day, flip a switch at night and become the most negative person I've ever met. Top that off with having hours upon hours of conversation where she can vent and talk and have her admit verbally that she is not to blame for her childhood and that her anxieties about her daughters are more fear based then rational.... only to have that blown away in one night of heavy drinking.



And then, when I try to suggest that the alcohol is in no way helping long term, have her become defensive and acuse me of being self-focused.



I literally don't want her to die in her sleep.


KansasTherapist : Would she be willing to not take the Xanax on the nights she drinks heavily?

And when I admit that I'm having hard time being supportive and knowing what to say and do, that I might need to get some support on my own, she gets mad "sure because this is all about you!"



She swears that she did this for years before we met and that it's not a problem.


KansasTherapist : Ack! Very frustrating.
KansasTherapist : I suggest you get the support anyway, even if she doesn't think you need it. Anyone in your position would need it.

I'm going to have to. Even sitting here talking to you has been re-energizing. She swears she was forward about her depression when we met, but I had no idea! This was about four years ago. Quick relationship - she had a kid from a previous (abusive) marriage and we decided to both settle down for the sake of stability for her kid. We had a second one together who will be 3 in September. I swear if it weren't for our two girls growing up having her as a single mother, I'd have left her already. I love her, but it feels like (and I know it is the depression to blame) that she doesn't want to get better.



Our girls aren't directly affected, although they both have anxiety issues (both tested high IQ) and I wonder if it is possible they are getting a vibe off their mother, despite her doing her best to hide it all from them.


KansasTherapist : A Mother's depression definatly effects children.
KansasTherapist : Depressed moms communicate less an, are less nurturing,

Then she wears the guilt, on top of everything else, that she is a horrible mother and has affected them. When Adele was an infant, we thought Cassie was going through postpartem, but realized after the fact that she was just unmedicated and suffering a major bout. Adele was definitely collicky. I spent hours at night rocking her back to sleep because her mom was at her wits' end.



She breastfeed her to about 18 months or so. Then gave it up slowly and went back on meds. Things have been a roller coaster ever since.


KansasTherapist : Many women who have chronic depression get worse after having a baby.



KansasTherapist : Land if the baby is hard to take care of, it has a huge emotional impact.

I wonder if it would be better to file for divorce and pursue custody of the kids. I know you can't make that recommendation, but I really don't want to have this affect me as a parent and ultimately spend the next 20 years trying to shield our daughters.


KansasTherapist : It also doesn't sound like the Prozac is really doing the job. Will she go to the doctor to have her meds reviewed?

I literally had no idea what I was getting in to with her depression. She is going this week to have her meds reviewed again. I plan on going, but I really just want to tell the doctor that it doesn't seem to help when Cassie drinks upwards of a bottle of wine every night.


KansasTherapist : It's a tough decision to figure out what is best for you, your wife, and the girls.




For better or for worse. If I managed to decide that it was better for my girls and I to leave, it would probably destroy her.


KansasTherapist : Good idea to go to the doc with her.

And, while this sounds sexist, we live in an area where the courts will largely side with the mother in custody issues, unless she's a drug addict or incarcerated.


KansasTherapist : I really encourage you to talk to a therapist before making a big decision like divorce.

I will


In person. I think I've worn out my $22 with you!


KansasTherapist : It depends on how good your lawyer is.
KansasTherapist : No problem.

I'm going to have to do the therapy thing, maybe group therapy.


Thanks again for all your comments and observations. The only therapist I've been exposed to in the past 4 years is the one I'm married to!


KansasTherapist : You're completely welcome.

I will rate you for excellent service. This has been encouraging, thanks for your time. I have to get going!


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