I recently suffered a huge tragedy in which I can think of no worse fate. My wife was killed by SSRI's (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. Serotonin makes you happy and less agitated. They are known by names such as Citalopram(Celexa), Escitalopram (Lexapro), Fluoxetine (Prozac) (my personal favorite), Fluvoxamine (Luvox), Paroxetine (Paxil), and Sertraline (Zoloft).) She wasn't physically killed, her body is still living, breathing, and acting functional. My daughter is still at her disposal. Her very personality was removed from existence. Everything that she held as a value, has been extinguished. To start with I guess I should set up the scenario. I have been with my wife for 12 years. We have had a happy, committed, trusting, very loving relationship. Everyday the words "I love you" were uttered multiple times a day. I would get kisses on the forehead as she left for work even though she knew that I wouldn't even know it most of the time. We generally had fun and were best friends who were rarely seen apart when out.
This is really the shortened version. Now like every relationship on Earth, we would go through periods of discourse. Basically the same problems that plagued us that plagued many loving relationships. I had communications issues when something bothered me. I would clam up. She had anxiety issues and was a bit of an obsessive compulsive. These two issues really became a problem with the birth of our daughter. It got to the point that we each sought separate consoling. The marriage wasn't the problem, just our individual issues. If I had known then what I know now.
Almost immediately her doctor prescribed Prozac. "America's happiness in a bottle." It took a few months to kick in. But after a few months, my wife's "edginess" was gone. She was able to say, "Whatever, we'll get to it later" more often. Then the first sign appeared that should have been a red flag. Her godmother, whom she cared very much for, died. She complained to me that, "I can't cry. I can't feel anything. I know I should but I can't." This however preceded the greatest month of our relationship in February. That was despite the fact that Prozac causes libido issues. That month I was regularly being told, "you are the greatest husband a woman could ask for." "I couldn't imagine life without you." The libdo issues were way gone by early March as we were so happy; we started trying to have another kid. That fire flared fast. By mid march she had all the sudden grown distant and I grew suspicious. I did something that I had never done nor felt the need for in the whole 12 years. I checked up on her by checking her text messages. I found text messages that were just things a wife shouldn't be saying to another guy. It was on my daughter's second birthday, so I held on to it, (as I often do) for a few days. Then I dropped it in her lap like a bomb on the 30th of March. That cold silence for two days fueled her new found self esteem. Instead of her thinking "What's wrong" she thought, "How dare he?"
When I approached her about the text message, she transformed before my eyes. The snap that occurred when she was caught doing something that she had always called morally reprehensible. An immediate change came over that was surreal. She immediately told me "I don't deserve you". Then it turned to "I have never loved you." Then she turned on the emotional abuse. There was a hot tub party next door, she went there and I followed. She proceeded to throw herself at the 4 men and women at the party, and verbally berated me. You would not believe how out of character this was for my wife. I was just in a devastated state. This was nothing that appeared like my wife. The night ended with me locking her out of the house, she called the police to force me to let her in, and then in front of the police assaulted me. Never a single act of violence or verbal abuse had occurred in our 12 year relationship. Again, our biggest problem is that I would clam up when something was bothering me. She was arrested and spent the night in jail for domestic violence. I bailed her out the next day figuring it was just a drunken mishap. The anger never stopped. I was completely lost. I had no clue what had happened. I looked all over for the answer. I bought two "how to get you ex back" books that made suggestions that I couldn't use. The main one is to not speak for 30 days. We had a daughter we needed to trade off. I blamed myself for getting too comfortable and letting myself go. She had mentioned this in the run up to the event. But it was a suggestion that was coupled with great love making, so it was hard to take as immediately serious. I kept coming back to the Prozac as the major and unexplainable change. But everywhere I looked, these major mood swings of this nature were not mentioned. Then one day I stumbled upon this website
I found my story repeated a few dozen times over the course of 16 pages. The stories are told from both the ex SSRI users and their spouse. Now you can not imagine how devastating a marriage that is broken up in this fashion is to all of the people and families involved. I would rather somebody murdered her. Then I could bury a body, mourn, and move on. I was an intricate part of her family and was a daily staple. They are now also taken from me. We were the couple that walked into a room and lit the place up. Everybody knew we loved each other and we made sure they knew it. To break a bond like that came at a high rate of confusion and depression. What I didn't know when she started this was how mood altering these things can be and what the dangers were that we should avoid. I never even knew the name of the doctor that prescribed them to her. Nobody told me that alcohol and Prozac are a dangerous combination. My wife was a social alcoholic. In the past it didn't matter because I always took care of her and drove home. Her being drunk made me look really good. She is now a full blown alcoholic. Nobody asked if my wife showed signs of being bi-polar. During my quest, I certainly think it is a possibility. Nobody scheduled appointments with me and asked what I thought of her mood and personality. Nothing, she was just given these pills that feelings of guilt, remorse, love, or consequences for your actions. Imagine if your own relationship had to go through a rough time when your spouse was void of these emotions. Here is where it gets really frustrating. The patient comes in and says, "I have anxiety can you help?" So the Dr provides Prozac or some other SSRI. A few weeks later the patient comes back and says, "I feel great, no more anxiety and I feel my self esteem is the best it could be." The doctor thinks, "Wow it worked great!" Then a few weeks later, the patient comes back and says, "I realized I never loved my husband and it was because of my anxiety that I stayed with him for more then a decade." Never mind the evidence to the contrary. The doctor never sees the spouse so they assume they just allowed their patient to succeed. What they don't know is that this patient has decided that it is healthier to go out drinking every night, try to have as many sexual partners as they can, and feel nothing for their own offspring. The only thing my daughter is to my wife now seems to be a pawn. She can not wait to get her put down at her mom's house so she can go out drinking. My wife was one of the greatest and most caring mothers in the world. The problem for me was that her original anxiety made her too over protective.
So what you have is a patient that truly believes they are happier, a doctor who thinks they have a success case, and a patients family writing off the bazaar personality change as a result of the divorce situation. On the other side you have a spouse and a child who are devastated. I struggle to pay the attention to my daughter that she needs. It hurts so bad just to feel her love. There is a part of me that considers taking an SSRI just so I can make myself feel happy. Nobody will listen--they think i am being a hurt and angry ex-husband.
So please, anybody who is considering, or has a loved one considering taking these anti-depressants, do research and handle it with care. They are often used successfully. But they are not to be left unchecked. The only thing I can take from this tragedy is to share my story and hope it helps somebody else.