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Help! Antidepressants have made my wife too cheerful.

Dear Prudence,

I’m a man in his mid-40s who has been happily married for 10 years. I particularly enjoy my wife’s dry, some would say sarcastic, sense of humor. Her wit not only attracted me to her as a partner, but it was one of the things that got me through a difficult time in my career, enabling me to see the humor in absurd and uncomfortable situations.

About months ago, my wife’s passed away suddenly and my wife began seeing a counselor. After a few appointments, the counselor prescribed an antidepressant medication, Paxil, and my wife’s has been taking it ever since. As a result, my wife’s personality has changed. Not dramatically, but enough so that she has become a glass-half-full, constantly cheerful type of person. I have no idea if this is common or perhaps if she was always depressed and her dark humor existed for her to deal with it.

I’m glad she’s happy now but I thought we were happy before and frankly, I miss my old wife! The new rainbows-and-sunshine person I’m living with gives me a headache and I find myself less attracted to her. I feel like a jerk and don’t know what to do. Help!

I’ll get back to you with an answer in a few weeks, because now that my husband has seen your question I assume he’ll start slipping Paxil into my half-empty coffee cup hoping for a similar change in my disposition. I have had many letters from people desperate to get their annoying loved ones on some kind of medication to take the edge off of jagged personalities. But I’ve never received such a cri de coeur from someone who wants the old sarcastic, unmedicated person back. But as an old, sarcastic, unmedicated person myself I appreciate hearing that not everyone wants a partner who has the buoyant outlook of SpongeBob SquarePants.

You’re right, however, that telling your spouse her new cheerfulness has you wanting to get into bed, alone, and pull the covers over your head, is going to be a difficult, even baffling conversation. It’s best if you first broach this in the context of just checking in with her about the grief that propelled her to the therapist’s office. If she’s feeling more acceptance about her ’s death, you can ask if the therapy has moved on from that to deal with other aspects of her life. This will give you the opportunity to talk about whether she feels the medication is still necessary and why.

Depending on how that goes, you can say that you miss the sarcastic take she had on life. Tell her you don’t want to interfere with the treatment plan she has arrived at with her therapist, but as far as you’re concerned, her personality never needed any tweaking.—

Emily Yoffee


LiterateHiker 9 Jan 10

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Here is someone's proof that in reality we do change daily. Every cell, DNA etc. You are a completely new person every 7 years. She just needs to wait for him to either catch up to her or he needs to smoke some weed.


Relationships are the hardest thing in the world. But if she is happy, then so it may change her personality a little. My personality is totally different now than when I was in college. And don’t forget with meds - the DoSE is key. It can be adjusted


How about you start taking them too.




So you don't like a happy go lucky wife? So your saying that you would rather have the old depressed wife back?




I must say, when you have a spouse see a shrink, you do not know what you're going to get back. We have a friend, who saw a counselor who basically said , just do as you want and to hell with everyones else. You must protect you. Well that has lead to some unfortunate events. No one died, but a piece of the relationship did. And it can never grow back it is too far gone.

The use or drugs, can exacerbates issues, sometimes, and it is hard to know if it is a plus or a minus. The shrink goes home and really has an emotional detachment from the seeker.

I have spoken to a number of people who have seen shrinks, and they can be helpful, but they can trigger other issues. And as long as you pay them they will tell you what they think you should know, and they keep getting paid.

The only reason some of them care if you live or die, is the almighty paycheck. If you die, they must replace you to keep the revenue stream.

Before there was a WWW, there were groups for every imaginable thing, (remember alt.cereal...??) I was bored and joined a group. Soon I was speaking to many people who had many issues. 3 people were so taken by my words, they asked if I had room in my practice and asked if I accepted any insurance in my practice.

they all felt I had insite that got them through some severe issues in the family. I assured them I only spoke as a friend and I was not a shrink of any kind. I emailed them all for ~another 6 months. They all released me and thanked me, and two offered to buy me and SWMBO dinner and a show in NYC as my talking with them, kept them sane, in thanks.

And all I did was listen mostly and pointed out what it appeared (the issues) then how to bring them up and talk, w/o yelling screaming etc. And they needed to understand they may need to separate. You do not change FOR the other person, you must understand why you(or they) must stop doing certain things. How to let go at times and let the other fly a bit, even off tether!

but That is one person's opinion.

As far as this guy is concerned, if she stops medicating and still is like this then he must make a decision, do I stay or do I go. But they need to talk. Could be she wants to give up her old self, because she just can't do it anymore. Perhaps he needs to know this. It is never that you fall out of love, it is that you change. If you have been married say 30 years and dated for 3 think about it. You see each other a few hours a day, you (hopefully) have great sex, and maybe kids. Then one or both retire. Now all things that endeared you to each other are noticeable, there is no "Me Time" 24X7 X 365. There is no reflection time with drugs. They hit you and in days/weeks they change you. If you were a tyrant, and you are now a laid back person, it may get you a happy spouce, but fired on a job site.

ah well, again it is jest my opinion, you mileage will vary.


As someone who has lived with depression for 20+ years, I find this article extremely disturbing. He’d rather have his wife mentally unhealthy? What a shitty husband


I have been on AD for years. It’s the dose!!! I had to back my dose up because people thought I was doing cocaine or something


Where was the most important message - joint counseling.

Joint counseling might work get naked with wife, smoke a joint (or two) then talk.


It makes me wonder if sometimes the cure is not worse than the disease.


Product placement is depressing.


I get it. Those jolly people annoy the crap out of me too. Just like those born again Christians. (puke)


What's there to "gripe" about'?
Far, far better to have a home filled with laughter, joy, happiness, etc, etc, than one filled 24/4 with bitching, grumbling, sarcasm, etc, etc.
Seems to me that some people never know when they truly are better off.


My thoughts, exactly.


He shouldn't let the door hit him on the ass on the way out. She's trying at least. Maybe she went for therapy at his suggestion and he now doesn't like it? Even if he didn't suggest it, he can be kind.


This guy's wife's personality has changed because she's drugged. When she's not drugged she'll be more like the woman he knows again. Was that really so hard to figure out? If he doesn't want his wife's personality to change then he shouldn't be feeding her mood altering substances.


Jeez louise.


Ch ch ch changes.


every 10 years or so you become a slightly different person ,the jous of getting older,embrace and keep up with her and ask her how you have changed since you got married,you may be in for a surprise or two ,These things sneak up and you do see it happenning


So the sarcastic wifey got your motor going, and now she is going through a rough spell and you can't support her while it gets worked out? Sounds like you both need to see a counselor.


everyone changes. get over it or get wise or get gone.

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