Saturday, April 1, 2023
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My partner’s reaction to my diagnosis

I was diagnosed today with anxiety and persistent depressive disorder. The next step is meeting with a psychiatrist and hearing my options for medication. I called my partner to explain this over the phone and ask their opinion because I am concerned they will view me differently or be turned off by my diagnosis (they are totally mentally well/ stable). They said the diagnosis is not at all surprising as we’ve been dating for almost a year and they’ve seen these symptoms in me. However they essentially said they don’t think medication is needed in my case. And they are concerned that if I take medication it could alter my personality. They said they started dating me as I am now and what if once I start medication I become a different person. This is also a concern of mine and why I’ve never tried medications before so I can understand that. But then they also mentioned their friend who took antidepressants lost their sex drive and wasn’t able to cum…. This just seemed insensitive to mention. I asked are you saying if I started medication and wasn’t as horny you would break up with me, and they said no that’s not what they were implying. But regardless the fact they mentioned that as a possibility at all is a bit striking. I’m wondering if anyone else has dealt with this.

TLDR: I told my partner that I’m considering trying medication for anxiety and depression and they expressed concerns my personality and sex drive would change.

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  1. I would say that I didn’t start medication until this past summer, age 33, and I wish I had started way sooner. If you change, you’re changing for the better. I know that because my life has just gotten so much better since I got on medication. The weight of depression and anxiety are lifted off of you bit by bit and you’re allowed to shine without all the guilt and negative self talk. No regrets. I wouldn’t go back. I was always of the mind “the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t.” and please allow me to tell you I was wrong. The devils of depression and anxiety are not better. Just because you’ve been doing it this whole time doesn’t mean you need to cope under this burden. Please listen to your doctor. Take the leap for better. It’s certainly an adjustment and a process that will take support and he sounds not supportive. If the first medication you try isn’t a good fit will he freak out against all medication? You might not get it right and have side effects for a bit. He doesn’t sound supportive at all. He may be a speed bump in your wellness journey. Don’t let him hold you back. As far as sex drive goes, I enjoy sex just as much as before, which is great because I enjoy sex a lot. I am a woman. Feel free to DM me if you want but if I’m being honest, the problem here seems to be him and not medication. I’m on 25mg of generic Zoloft and have been since July. Life. Changing.

  2. Your bf is speaking from fear. Leave it alone. Get your evaluations done and go on your meds.

    Start a journal to record your thoughts, feelings and reactions to the drugs as they are often ‘tweaked’ based on how you respond to them.

    Dosages will likely change from initial prescription. Drug itself might change if it doesn’t work for you.

  3. Medication does *not* change who you are. Taking an antidepressant for depression is the same thing in principle as taking Tylenol for a migraine. Sure there are side effects which may come up as is true for all medication, but that’s why you keep in contact with your doctor and adjust dosages/change drugs as needed. Depression and anxiety are hard to live with and you should not be made to feel insecure about taking medication because for many people it has helped them regain control of their lives.

  4. I was diagnosed with anxiety, OCD, and depression at 16. I put off medication until I was 22. retroactively when do I wish I started medication? 16.

    i am definitely a different person on medication. I’m still funny, smart, empathetic, sarcastic and dry, but I’m not longer irritable, suicidal, or angry. i wasted 6 years of my life (arguably the most important years of my adult life) being miserable because i was scared of being on medication

  5. >They said they started dating me as I am now and what if once I start medication I become a different person

    When choosing to date someone, you should expect that they will change in some ways. Nobody stays the same forever. Expecting someone to stay exactly as they were when you starting dating is unrealistic, whether they start taking meds or not. The effects of medication won’t change who YOU truly are (your values, beliefs, etc) significantly, and those are the things that I think a deep connection with someone should be based on.

    I think you need to have more communication. Speak with understanding of their concerns, and help them understand your perspective, and educate them more about what this means for you. If they’re still not supportive, then you may have a bigger decision to make whether they are the right person for you. I’m sure this might be a difficult situation for you (regarding the diagnosis and medication), so you’re probably going to want people around you who are fully supportive.

    This challenge is an opportunity to either strengthen your relationship with your partner, or to find clarity that they might not be the one.

  6. You never know how drugs will affect you until you try them. Alcohol makes some people angry, others lighthearted and fun. Weed makes some people sleepy and relaxed, while it causes an anxiety attacks in others.

    Your sex drive might lower, or it might not. You could feel way better, or if you happen to have as yet undiagnosed bipolar disorder, SSRIs could induce a manic episode.

    The best part of drugs is that if you don’t like the effect they have on you, you can choose to not take them and you’ll return to normal.

    Caveat: If you do start taking antidepressants and stay on them for a few weeks but decide against it, slowly taper off, don’t go cold turkey.

  7. I would always listen to your doctor because they are trained in this field. If your doctor thinks medication can help you, then that may be the best route.

    Your partner isn’t supportive of your health needs. Your partner’s reaction is “all about me”

  8. When I found the right medication it didn’t make me a different person, it made me the best version of the person I already was. If someone is happy with you feeling miserable and stuck because it makes them feel safe/comfortable, they aren’t a good partner. A good partner would be all for you trying whatever it takes to make you feel better… side effects can be handled when/if they come up.

  9. He’s putting the cart before the horse. You might have negative side effects – or the effects may be quite positive. You’re not going to know until you try it out. What you do know is that you’re not in a good place right now. This might help.

  10. You have anxiety and depression. A professional has recommended you seek treatment for these conditions. Your partner responds by reaffirming your anxiety, suggests avoiding treatment for one or both conditions and then says the quiet part of loud about their own selfish motivation. He’s trash. You deserve better.

  11. Lol since everyone is throwing out medication anecdotes here. I tried 4 different antidepressants/anti-anxiety meds, and they did change my personality, for the worse. I became a zombie and was ultimately more depressed until I got off them. I’m doing SO much better today, pharmaceutical-free, and wish I’d never gone down that route.

  12. I’ve taken a couple different SSRI’s and it didn’t change my personality or libido. The first like 3 months on one I couldn’t come, but I still wanted sex as much as I always do. For me, the meds I’ve tried just made it easier to identify when I’m being illogical and/or deal with my depression without feeling suicidal. I’ve explained it to others as like on meds I can identify when I’d normally be feeling really low, but instead of drowning in that feeling, I can recognize that it’s just a feeling and that I’m ok and I can move on from those feelings. Hope that helps, medication can be SO helpful.

  13. I agree with the people who are telling you that you should think of what is best for yourself, but I also have experienced what he mentioned. My wife went on an antidepressant for migraines some years back and completely lost her desire for sex, and interest in daily activities to the point where she would lay around and do nothing all day rather than go out and see friends the way she used to. For her, this was a reason to find other options for medication. You just have to find what is right for you.

  14. The diagnosis just describes what you’ve been dealing with. That was the only thing that your partner got right. Naming the thing doesn’t change the thing. What it does do is give you a clear path to a happier and healthier life through treatment.

    The stigma associated with psychiatric medication is some real bullshit. This causes people to choose to suffer in silence. Don’t be concerned with the possible side effects of the medication. If one drug doesn’t work for you, your physician will work with you to find one that does. The notion that people who take these meds are somehow transformed into inauthentic versions of themselves is not only scientifically inaccurate it’s dangerous. Diabetics who control their blood sugar with medication aren’t living a lie. These meds will regulate your brain chemistry allowing you to be the best version of yourself. Illness is not a personality trait.

    I don’t like your partner’s reaction at all. They are not being supportive. They are actively fighting against your health and happiness. I can’t think of a bigger red flag, or a more selfish one. I’d be concerned that they want you to remain sick and more dependent on them. Do they see a more independent healthier version of yourself as threat to their place in your life? You should keep an eye on that.

  15. I know several people who are now on medications that people tend to worry will change them, a couple of these people I know quite well. And not one of them has changed considerably.

    The only changes I’ve seen are one person lost some weight she has been fighting with for multiple decades, another started actually being on time for things after constantly running late before, a couple people’s grades improved, and a several people were noticably less anxious to varying degrees.

    One of them started feeling like she was changing too much (not in a noticeable way to anyone else, just her own feelings,) and talked to her doctor, who tweaked her dosage and then she felt more like herself. The rest never had that issue in the first place. So don’t be afraid of talking to your doctor if there are side effects you don’t like.

    About your partner, is this kind of insensitivity part of a pattern with him, or did he just stick his foot in his mouth this once? Because if it’s a one time thing, communicating why it isn’t okay could be enough. But if it’s a pattern, you deserve better.

  16. Whether or not you dump your partner is up to you. (I think you should)

    You should be prepared for your personality to change (especially until they get the dosage and medication correct for you), for your energy levels to change, for your sex drive to change, for your attitude/ability to deal with people to change.

    The types of medication you will be on change the balance of chemicals etc in your body, or how your body deals with them, so change is going to happen.

    Someone who loves and cares about you should be prepared to help you with these changes. Does this mean that if things drastically change that they should put their happiness on hold and continue with the relationship, no, but unless it gets to that stage they should be supportive of whatever you decide to do.

  17. I have a few mental health issues that started when I was a kid but really started in on me in my early 20s. Your partner is not a doctor and the new person you would become is theoretically not depressed or anxious so how can that be an issue even? Its invalidating to have someone act like you aren’t “severe enough” to need meds and you sure as hell dont wanna start getting help once you become suicidal..

    My ex felt the same way. That I dont need meds, that I’m a pill popper for taking them, that they make you into a different person, that all of them have horrible effects, that I’m not batshit so I should just deal etc. After years of taking them and cold turkey quitting them many times, he now asks whether I’ve taken my meds when I seem upset or depressed. Because he now knows I need them I’m guessing….

    I hope you make it to this part because it’s most important…each brain is different which means each med effects you different. If your mental is causing you problems it’s worth it to stick it out and keep trying meds till you get one that works. Stay completely open and honest with your docs. You arent required to remain on a med that isnt working or causes side effects. There are 100s of anti depressant and many anxiety meds. Most people have trial and error before finding what works this is normal .

  18. I’m willing to bet he is /mostly/ concerned with the sex drive thing. Lots of meds decrease sex drive… why is it that only people with depression are discouraged from taking their medicine for this reason? People don’t take the disorder seriously as a real health condition. Keep being sad and anxious so we can have more sex! It’s not like you’re gonna DIE right?

    It’s probably way less callous than that on your partner’s side, but that’s kind of the take home message. Meds and therapy don’t change your personality. When used correctly, and when you find the right ones (and this can be a hard process) they have the potential to knock the rust off the parts of you that ought to shine, and to calm or redirect the parts of you that hold you back. Your partner’s fears may be valid but they’re based in ignorance. People are allowed to have private fears but should be 100% in favor of you taking all the steps that might make you feel better.

  19. All i can say is be very careful of anxiety medication.

    It fucked me up.really bad and i have massive regrets.

    Sometimes its best to have some life altering experiances vs meds.

    Tour europe or climb a mountain, vs the 2 page list of side effects some have.

  20. I mean, we all have to be realistic when it comes to sex. We all know a healthy sex life is necessary in a relationship. Yes it was wrong timing to say that as a concern, but can’t fault them for being direct about it.

    I would also venture to say they did say they had an idea and prefer you for who you are. Definitely something you should commend when many wouldn’t want to deal with it. I dated someone who was diagnosed with depression, anxiety and other medical challenges and I admit, I struggled because I don’t suffer from those. It caused a lot of arguments because I didn’t know how to approach someone with those diagnoses. They are aware, they’ve been working with it so I would venture to say that you’re focusing on the wrong aspect when you should be looking at the bigger picture that they want you for who you are

  21. I’m 21 so fairly young I’ve been on antidepressants and other mental health meds since I was 16. Yes they can alter how you are as a person and navigating the doses can be a touch harder depending, my fiancé and I have known each other a long time like going on 9 years and we’ve been together for almost 2, he’s known me before meds and after. He’s told me multiple times since me being on meds he think that who I am since being on them is the same person just better in some ways. If medications can help you function better as a person it might be the better option. I could go into a huge explanation myself but it would be a longer paragraph that it already is.

  22. I had those same concerns when trying out meds. That it would change me, my sex drive would be low, id feel like a zombie, etc. (BTW none of these are normal and you should contact your doctor if this is the case!!) And when I asked my partner about it he told me that WE will figure it out. He kept a close eye on me and when he noticed changes in my behavior he (kindly) made me very aware and asked if it was okay for him to call the doctor on my behalf.

    Partners are supposed to be committed to you, in sickness and in health doesn’t magically become a thing when you say them in your wedding vows.

  23. He’s scared, immature, and needs to get his shit together.

    If you can shake him into reality and stick up for yourself I can believe this relationship is salvageable. I can see him apologizing. I can see him no longer making deeply personal vulnerability all about him. Next time. Maybe. So at least there’s that.

    I get it. I would never say it but I get it. He’s scared. He loves you. In a toxic way, but he doesn’t know it.

    I hope the meds work well. They do so much for me, and honestly they cranked up my libido.

    Don’t give this dude the time of day if he won’t support this unconditionally.

  24. Question: how old are you two??

    When you enter a relationship, there is one thing you can always bet on. Over the years, through the experiences of life, your partner will change. Not necessarily for the better, but no one stays the exact same through the years.

    You sound young. And your partner seems to not care about you at all. This post reads as “My partner doesn’t want be to treat my mental health because he’s scared I’ll lose my sex drive and not be as fun for him anymore.”

    This isn’t a valid reaction to you tending to your health, and it is a bad sign for the entire relationship. Good luck.

  25. Just some food for thought: I would think critically about some of these comments. The psychiatrists I’ve spoken with (not as a patient) are very open about how little we actually know about how antidepressants work. I spent 6 years on SSRIs after a concussion during adolescence that was poorly managed by my doctor. I was absolutely a different person, and it turns out my body can’t handle SSRIs. My current SO absolutely would not have been with that version of me, because quite frankly I was very irrational.

    Your original post (and many on this sub by nature) doesn’t really give commenters enough info to make informed judgements on the dynamic or communication standards between you and your SO. His statements could be a red flag, or poorly organized ideas born out of emotional impulse. Neither is great but they imply different things. We just don’t know. Honestly my main comment is to provide an alternative view to the blanket statements about meds. I would proceed with caution.

  26. I’ve been married for 49 years to a depressive that took nearly 14 years to diagnose (GP’s don’t look for zebras). Medication saved our marriage and the sanity of both of us.

    ‘they don’t think medication is needed in my case’ May I ask your bf’s medical qualifications and experience in this highly complex matter? If the answer is ‘none’ may I suggest you tell him to fuck off and mind his own business?

    Look after yourself – the road to the correct medication can sometimes be a long and bumpy one, but the end is definitely worth it. Best of luck.

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