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Dear Chump Lady, Did you take the drugs? Did they help?

Dearest Chump Lady,

I need your help.

First a little background….

I found out 2.5 years ago that my husband of 32 years had a lifetime girlfriend. I felt like someone was sucking out my guts with a vacuum. But I crawled to the phone and booked a marriage counseling appointment for both of us. With eyes wide open, I caught him in a lie within 2 days of that, and took to my couch or 4 days and 4 nights without sleeping or blinking. I got up and booked another appointment. Later that week, I caught him in another lie, and another, and another and another. I will spare you the song, because you already all know the lyrics, and after 7.5 months of his shit, I filed for divorce. Not easy, as we had an extraordinary life and were blessed with 4 daughters all in their 20s.

My ex-husband is the CEO of a major hospital that you know by name. The divorce involved lots of cash, lots more women coming forward, and lots of drama. (Main mistress was a married subordinate and was subpoenaed.) ExH got to keep his job, and the board worked overtime to keep it out of the press because, hey, that new heart center isn’t going to pay for itself. They wanted it kept quiet, and it was. (The “Smiths” had grown apart…) Although I wanted to explode on the news with the info, I buttoned it and for me and my kids’ sake. I instead took the very large monthly payment for the next 12 years and pray nightly that Karma will take the wheel on my behalf. (Btw, she hasn’t yet.)

All this is to say, I’ve been through some really, really dark days with all this, and I refused to take any drugs. It made no sense to me that I would mess my brain up because of an asshole’s fuckedupedness. No way. So I forged through without an aspirin or a Zoloft.

But here I am today. There is still drama with the hospital, the mistress, our daughters not wanting to see him, etc. and now we have our own first daughter getting married in November. She is having a traditional Catholic Mass, much like the one we had 32 years ago….

I am starting to lose it. The unity candle, the vows, the music, the dresses, the whole thing has me back on the couch staring into space. I am totally non-functioning thinking about our vows, and how seriously I took them at 23 years old, and how my sociopathic husband never did for one minute. Shit!! There’s not that many promises to remember! It’s basically be nice, and don’t screw around. I am so pissed, and so sad, and overwhelmed, and I am trying so hard to be “on” for my daughter. I am still not at meh, and spiraling down over this one day.

I ask you….
Should I start a drug? Will it help? Will it make me more nuts? Will I be able to feel the joy of the day for her? Will it hopefully prevent me from the godforsaken ugly cry during their vows? Will I get fat? Will I turn into a vegetable? Will I wish I had taken it sooner? Will I want to commit suicide when I get off it? Will I ever get off it? Is one name brand better than another? Can I drink on it without getting hammered? Will it stop the never-ending desire to punish him for what he did to me? Will it temporarily help, and then when I get off it, I’ll have to deal with everything all over again? Will I be going through life floating with cotton in my head?

I don’t want to hear anything from the doctors; I want to hear from you whom have walked this walk. Those of you who took (are taking) an antidepressant….did it help or hurt you? Did you hate it or you couldn’t have gotten through without it? I kind of feel like I got this far unaided….what’s a day in November? But, oh, the pain of planning your daughter’s wedding alone. Now is the time? Or keep fighting through it?

Thank you so very much!

Unmarried Mary

Dear Unmarried Mary,

You’re birthing a new life and it hurts like a motherfucker. You can do cleansing breathes, and Lamaze your way naturally through the contractions, or you can get a full spinal block and not feel your nether regions tear to shreds. It’s your choice. It’s not a contest. The new life comes either way.

You had four kids, run with my metaphor… For some people (agents of Satan), it’s a one-two push, no less painful than a bowel movement, and they zip up their skinny jeans the next day. For other people, it’s a high risk, three-day induction, and the new life comes backasswards and they go home with a catheter. (Ask me how I know…)

When it comes to pain and resiliency, we are not all created equal. If you feel like anti-depressants would help you, by all means, talk to a doctor and try it out. No one should judge you (isn’t half the world on Prozac?) and don’t judge yourself so harshly.

Look, you might get fat and feel like a suicidal vegetable without anti-depressants. Talk to a medical professional and weigh the risks and benefits. I can’t see the harm in trying it.  Last I heard, anti-depressants aren’t addictive. (Xanax is apparently, so you might want to think about that one carefully, but it’s an anti-anxiety med.)

I’m throwing this out to the chump collective. I didn’t take any kind of meds during my ordeal. But I didn’t lose a 32-year marriage either. What helped me to stave off depression was:

  • Reaching out to friends and family and not allowing myself to be isolated.
  • Working a steady job with deadlines that kept me focused.
  • Exercise.
  • Doing the daily work of being a single parent; I couldn’t afford the funk.
  • Sleep.

That isn’t to say I didn’t suffer PTSD — oh, I broke out in rashes, ground my teeth, had horrible nightmares, intrusive violent thoughts, nausea. I just didn’t take anti-depressants for it. In my case, I wasn’t against it, but I felt like I needed to feel everything in order to escape the marriage, if that makes any sense. I didn’t want to numb myself into a place of acceptance where I could live with the pain of living with him. I needed that agony to drive me to safety.

Here’s what’s different in your story — you got the divorce, you got the great settlement, you have ARRIVED at safety and this shit is still kicking your ass. So absolutely look at what else you can do.

Funny thing is often when we get to safety, when we battle through the divorce, and arrive at the other side, THEN we break down. Then the grief hits. When you’re fleeing, you can’t really process everything. You need some time and distance to do that.

And what you’re grieving is huge. Your entire marriage was a lie and he’s a fraud. It’s no surprise your daughter’s wedding would stir up your feelings. A) You have to see the idiot and B) What could be more triggery than a marriage?

How hard to celebrate a marriage when you are grieving a marriage. I wish I could give you comfort. The only thing I can say is not everyone is a sociopath. I’m not being flippant — seriously, it’s a disordered minority of freaks who can conduct a double life for 32 years. You didn’t have a run of the mill cheater — you had a freak. They exist, but they are not the norm. Chances are your daughter is marrying a truly nice man whom she loves and it will be a happy day, a solid marriage, and will result in lovely grandchildren down the line. (win! win!) All things to look forward to when you’re feeling up to it.

Your experience isn’t going to be her experience. But your strength — the way you navigated yourself through this shit storm with dignity — will model good things to all of your daughters, married, single, or divorced some day themselves. So what if you navigate this shit storm with Lexapro or Wellbutrin? More power to you.

You’re still mighty, Mary — with or without medication.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “Here’s what’s different in your story — you got the divorce, you got the great settlement, you have ARRIVED at safety and this shit is still kicking your ass.”
    This is key – I tried for years to get over everything on my own, without medication. I refused to take anything while I was pregnant. After I had my son, I was functioning, so I thought I must not be “that” depressed.

    I finally hit a wall where I realized I was just NOT getting over it. 4 years and way too much sleeping later I went to a psychiatrist and she said I should try one, give it at least 6 weeks, and see if it helped. Why not. So I did, and I’m Sooooo glad. It didn’t magically make me forget everything, I don’t always feel like I’m walking on sunshine, it just literally got me over that hill of not being able to stop thinking about it.

    Before I kept thinking if I could just exercise, and get out of the house, and eat better, that I’d be fine. The thing is I had no energy to do those things, I just wanted to lay around and be sad. The medicine gave me more energy to start to do those things. It “helped me help myself”, if you will.

    I drink 2 or 3 glasses of wine on the weekends, and it doesn’t affect me much. I actually have way less desire to drink anymore really.

    I’m a big fan of anti-depressants. I could kick myself for not sticking with them earlier (I tried one about 15 years ago but didn’t think I needed it and it made me nauseous so I quit after a couple of weeks). I say try and see. It won’t hurt and it could be exactly what you need to keep moving forward.

    • lale:

      What medication did you try if you feel comfortable posting? I am curious since it sounds like it made a huge difference for you and I get the question a lot about which ones to try over others, and I don’t really know what to tell people. I have heard stories like yours where it was like a night-and-day experience. Bruce Springsteen said that when he finally went on medication, he felt it right away and could not believe the change was that dramatic. He said that his energy soared and his depression lifted. Glad that you found relief!

      • I don’t mind at all Marie2 – the one I tried a long time ago was Cymbalta, it made me too sick to eat so I stopped taking it. Then this time I tried Fetzima (it’s new and very similar to Cymbalta). The psychiatrist actually suggested Cymbalta first, which made me feel better that of all the anti-D’s available, when told my concerns, both doctors I went to (15 years apart and in different cities) recommended the same one.

        The first couple of weeks I did have some dizziness. I made sure to eat first then take the medicine. When that went away is about when I started feeling better.

        Like I said, it wasn’t anything magical, I think I was really close to getting over the hump anyway – just for a very long time, I couldn’t and I definitely did with the medication. I told my dr., it may even have been psychosomatic, but whatever it was I’m glad I tried it.

        I think what works for you varies a lot between people. My mom used Wellbutrin a long time ago and had tried several others, that was the only one that worked for her. I’ve heard a lot of people recommend that one too.

  • Dear Mary,

    My heart aches for you and for your loss. I haven’t been in your exact shoes, but I did lose a husband to cancer, and I know how grief can take over your every moment, and what it feels like to wake up almost happy for a new day, then to think, “Oh yeah, that happened, didn’t it,” and go right back to the funk.

    I’d lost a lot of weight and was nearly sleepless during his illness, and one of the first things I did was to get a full physical. Must be SOP for the newly widowed to be prescribed anti-depressants, because the doc wrote out a script for Prozac without even asking if I wanted or needed it. So I took them for about 3 days. And ended up racing to the bathroom multiple times a night because, oh hey, it can actually make IBS worse. Doc switched me to Elavil, which works differently. Tried that for another 3 days until I realized that I felt horrible because I didn’t care about anything. No energy. All I wanted to do was sleep.

    So against all advise, I bought another house. We lived in a large house on an acreage, and I was going to have to go back to work full time (with young children to also care for), so to me it made sense to downsize to a manageable property. The new house needed a lot of updating, and I also hired a contractor to put on a fairly large addition. I peeled wallpaper and painted while blasting Celine Dion and wiping tears, but it made me happy to be DOING something and getting the tears out was therapeutic. I actually laughed while picking out new wallpaper (don’t hate, it was the 90’s!), thinking no one could tell me I couldn’t have flowers all over my walls if that’s what I wanted!

    Ended up never living in that house, as I got a job offer out of state. I even lost a bit of money when I sold it, but it was the best therapy I could have asked for, and worth every dime I lost. It made me feel engaged in life again, and I felt like I was doing something worthwhile.

    Point is… yes, lean on your friends and family. Feel the pain, it’s okay. You just went through hell, and no one goes through that and doesn’t get hurt. Try anti-depressants if you want to, it’s not a lifelong commitment if you don’t feel better.

    Do something for you. What makes you feel good? Get rid of or put away all the things that remind you daily of the life you no longer have. Wedding pictures? Attic. The crap he didn’t take? Get rid of it. Hell, burn it if you want! Is the house a constant reminder of what you lost? Sell it and buy yourself a place that makes you giggle with delight. Take up a new hobby. Do something that you find exciting, gets you off of the sofa and involves meeting new people. Take some time and imagine the person you wish you were, and take steps toward her life. If it helps to think this way, then do it because you are going to show that gigantic asshole that your life is far better without him in it. Show him what thriving looks like!

    Sure you’re going to see him at the wedding. Be so damn mighty that he’ll be too intimidated to get anywhere near you. Laugh, smile, be merry, and fake it if you have to. He doesn’t and never did, deserve you. Show that to the world.

    Hugs and mighty good wishes going your way!

  • Mary,
    I’m sending you big hugs. I did the medication route. I was on lexapro first at 10mg then 20mg. I started the meds about 6 months in and got off them in April of this year about 18 months of taking them. For me, it helped to numb everything. By everything, I do t just mean the pain of my ex douchebag’s actions, but even happy stuff too. I was pretty mellow on them. Going off them was a bitch. It felt like I was drunk and discombobulated for about a week. I had tried stopping the 10mg on my own and it was awful. I lasted 4 days. That’s when it was upped to 20mg. When I when off the 20 mg I was dating someone and I timed it to us spending a weekend together having sex….natural serotonin…. The withdrawal wasn’t nearly as bad because of the sex. I firmly believe that guy, also now an ex, was brought into my life to get me off the meds. It he difficult part of getting off them was having emotion return. I had the highs of happiness and the lows of sadness. It was weird because I hadn’t felt anything for a year
    The most helpful thing was finding an awesome counselor who doesn’t stand for bullshit and can help you of that. The first counselor wanted me to be friends with my cheater ex, accept what my faults were in the marriage (I forgot to remind exH he wanted a glass of wine, he lead a double life….we both messed up) it’s crap! The second counselor helped me see that with my faults they did not equate the pile of steaming shit I was served.
    The other big thing for me was EMDR therapy. I did 2 sessions and while draining emotionally on the day they occurred, the next day I felt so much lighter and happier.
    I gained weight on the lexapro. I, not sure how much of the weight gain was because of the meds and how much because I was in a full blown depressive state and ate like crap. Whatever you decide, make sure your team of doctors is on your side backing YOU and not the crap of ” both people were to blame”
    Wishing I could,d help you more!!

  • Unmarried Mary:

    I am so sorry that you are dealing with all of this. I agree that at least seeing a doctor would be a good start. You can always cancel the appointment or get a Rx and not fill it.

    I did not take any medication but I walked and sat outside as much as I could, alone, so that I could cry and not have to explain or discuss stuff with people. It saved me. It made me tired so that I could sleep and it felt good to be outside and in some cool air. I went through tons of shoes by wearing out their soles and dropped 3 jeans sizes which was nice, too. I also stayed away from toxic people as much as I could because I didn’t want to go off on them. My situation was not nearly anything like yours but I am just thinking about what helped me the most. More than a hobby or medication or conversations, I found that I desired walking. It was like I looked forward to moving and getting outside and I missed it when I didn’t do it. What I noticed was that it was just an escape from depressing thoughts but it was also a mood stabilizer and energizer plus it boosted my metabolism and helped me sleep. It felt like I was getting more of a benefit than from just suppressing depressing thoughts. I also took a vitamin B supplement which was told helps with depression. I also looked at my day in only a couple of hours at a time so that I could focus. I tried to stay away from thinking about next week or next month, etc. Just dealt with half a day or less at a time in my brain. Turned my cell phone off as much as I could if I needed to focus and not get interrupted, etc.

    One thing that my sister does which might be something to try is that she doesn’t take any medication except on the morning of a day when she knows it will be stressful. Her daughter recently got married and she took something for anxiety (have no idea which medication) on the day that she met her future son-in-law’s family, on the day that she went with her daughter to try on wedding gowns, on the day of the rehearsal dinner, and on the day of the wedding.

    I mention this because that could be an option for you if you do not want to take something daily and you want to take something to prevent being triggered on difficult days. My sister chose this route for her daughter’s wedding because previously, she would take something for anxiety on days that she would have to fly or on one day a year when she had to make a speech. It helped her to deal with those stressful days so she decided to do it for her daughter’s wedding days. I don’t know if that is a solution for you but it made sense to my sister to recognize the trigger days and just deal with those.

    I am not sure what the answer is for you but I do think that making an appointment couldn’t hurt. You could also check out some medications online to see if there would be some that you would not consider trying or some that you might want to discuss with your doctor. That way, if you do get a Rx from the doctor, you won’t get home and realize that it is for a med. that you don’t want to take. The other thing to think about with some medications is that there may be a while before you will notice the affect. Some are noticed more quickly and some take longer to see that there is a difference. Tapering off a medication is also important if you go on one; and then, after your daughter’s wedding, decide to discontinue it.

    Being comfortable with your choice is key. Take your peace and take some time to read the comments from others and to think about what looks right and what doesn’t look right for you. I think that the answer will reveal itself. You can always change your mind a bunch of times before you decide on what you want to do. Give yourself tons of grace now. It is a whirlwind that you just came out of and you are thinking about being the mom of your bride which is enough to cause confusion and grief. Whatever you can do to take care of yourself and not apologize for it is great. Self care of any kind that is healthy and that you enjoy really can lift a mood. Your daughter will also understand if you have bad days and you don’t have to feel like you need to be super strong everyday, all the time. Just do the best that you can and don’t lie on the couch not being able to sleep or not think about the past. Get moving or get your mind on something else if you can. It helps to get out of the fog.

  • I started taking Wellbutrin for depression after my 2nd miscarriage. It helped me through a child in the NICU for 84 days, it helped me get through the post-partum depression after my second child was born 10 months after the first (with a Mirena), and it is actively helping me through learning that I was married to a sociopath for 5 years.

    I’ve tried most of the SSRIs. They just numbed me. Wellbutrin is like sunshine in pill form for me. No numbing, just a little extra pep in my step.

  • Six months on Paxil with Xanax prn. Got one refill of the Xanax. Was in talk therapy for those 6 months. Was able to have a glass of wine or 2 without falling down, though it is not recommended. Chumplady is right about getting a routine to anchor your day. Don’t forget to breathe. It won’t be like this forever.

  • Mary, my story is different too, turns out my husband had a girlfriend while I was planning our daughters wedding. He went AWOL at the reception, yup. I spent the whole night alone, turns out he was so drunk he doesn’t remember a thing, wow. He’ll never get that night back. Funny thing was we both agreed not too drink too much so we could keep an eye on our guests and make sure everyone got home safely. When I found out about his girlfriend 9 months later I was in total shock! We had a catholic wedding 29 years before, I was also widowed 3 yrs before that, I was 26 at the time. We have two grown children. I couldn’t eat, sleep, lost weight and cried for three months. So I called my dr, he put me on lexapro 10mg, first time I took it I felt dizzy and had a headache, so I called the pharmacy to see if I can take it at night. The side effects stopped and I sleep better. It’s not magic but I was able to get my shit together and crawl out of bed. Started exercising again and I have my emotions better controlled, although, not always. I say it can’t hurt, might get you over the hump. Whatever you decide, sending you hugs and blessings in cyberspace!

  • Well, I don’t think anybody is going to tell you this stuff is easy, especially after 32 years. There’s the grief–for your marriage, who you thought you were, who you thought he was, and what you thought your family was– and there’s the trauma (betrayal, lies, gaslighting, and lack of apparent empathy from somebody you trusted), so it’s a lot to take in, that’s for sure.

    But remember you aren’t alone. Millions of people go through it every year, and who knows how many are going through it right now? Lots.

    And I totally get resolving to go through this without drugs, and then wondering if you can pull it off. I did the same thing. I said, “No way I am taking drugs to numb this down. I am going to get through this, and I am going to become more resilient from having done it”. “No pain, no gain”, I said. And then I really, really wondered if I could pull it off there for a few months, and I didn’t have 32 years of habit to recondition or a daughter having a wedding thrown into the mix.

    All I can say is that it helps if you have folks you can reach out to even if it’s just by phone, and it really helps in the long term if you can find something new to do that becomes a new routine as others have pointed out.

    There’s no shame either way. This crap is hard.

  • Mary,
    I can imagine what you are feeling throughout all of this. My douchy ex lived a double life for about 6 years with another teacher and I was as blindsided and devastated as you after realizing that my 25 year marriage meant everything to me (I got married at 24 – and like you – I meant the vows when I said them) and nothing to him.

    I struggled with the idea of medicating. I wondered if it would help me in those darkest days, but like Chump Lady – a part of me believed I needed to feel every moment of the truth in this shit storm I was in so that I’d never make the same mistake about someone again. I spoke with two or three friends who had all lost husbands either to divorce or death and who had gone on anti-depressants, and they swore by them. But……they also were STILL on them years afterward. Not addicted really, but I wondered if they’d become a crutch of some sort to just keep life from becoming too real again. They all talked about how the drugs took the edge of pain off – kind of “flattened” your mood. You were never low….but nor were you ever really high, either. At the end of the day – I decided to experience every miserable low and hope the highs found their way back because I’d rather feel than not. And I didn’t want to be on these things 10 years later just to keep me level. But that was a personal decision. If you cannot bear another moment of extreme hurt – maybe “level” would not be a bad thing.

    One thing – you said that you have been waiting for Karma to take the wheel and thus far – nothing. I disagree. Your daughters attitudes towards their sad excuse for a father is step one in karmic planning. Let me ask you – is your daughter planning to invite him to the wedding? Is she delighting in having him walk her down the aisle? God I hope not – what a cursed omen to put on a new life together if she has a man with NO respect for marriage or vows lead her down to that alter.

    If she is refusing to have him involved – for God’s sake take that as a beautiful karmic repercussion and don’t worry about what people say or – worse – what HE is feeling because of it. It’s her wedding. You are her parent – the good one who believed in family and marriage. YOU walk her down that aisle! And if you still feel you need to invite him because of social mores or niceties or whatever bullshit is used to excuse assholes and allow them to still participate in functions – put him at the “singles/kiddie” table far at the back. Though if I were you and your daughter agrees – I’d forbid his even attending and have a burly groomsman on guard duty to keep him away. He lost his privileges to attend social and family functions the minute he stepped out on you. He walked away from his family. Let him feel what life is like without it. Maybe he can get on anti-depression drugs instead! 🙂

    He’s a narcissist with money – mine was a narcissist who spent like we had money. There is no harm or shame or cruelty to cut a cancer like that out of your family life. Don’t invite him – don’t acknowledge him. And don’t let some Pollyanna type try to tell you that the “Godly thing” to do is forgive and be one big extended family. That’s bullshit of the first order. You can forgive without accepting him. My ex has nothing to do with any of my kids (their choice) or me and we feel like we have been breathing clean air for the first time in ages. That, Mary, is a little assist to Karma. Your ex spend 32 years building a reputation that pleased him – and that included all the trappings of wealth and a happy family life. Now he has no family. That’s karma – and more will come eventually. Because at the end of his miserable cankerous life – your ex will be alone with himself and have to face what all he’s done. It will come to him. I guarantee it.

    • (Me on chair waving pom-poms and cheering!!) 😀

      Yeah, Char!!!! AMEN & DOUBLE AMEN!!!! especially to:
      “He lost his privileges to attend social and family functions the minute he stepped out on you. He walked away from his family. Let him feel what life is like without it. ”
      “There is no harm or shame or cruelty to cut a cancer like that out of your family life. Don’t invite him – don’t acknowledge him. And don’t let some Pollyanna type try to tell you that the “Godly thing” to do is forgive and be one big extended family. That’s bullshit of the first order. ”

      So eloquently put! I am keeping your comments in my “Forever” folder! What you just stated should be enforceable by the laws of the land, as it would protect so many innocent lives from being destroyed.

      It is just common sense, but common sense is not so common any more, as all of us here at Chump Nation so well know!

      Thank all of you for your loving support as we all ForgeOn!!

    • Thank you, Char, for articulating the truth! The choices these narcs make need to come back on their own heads. It is bullshit to “come together” at these weddings and family celebrations when the choices these bastards made were “anti-family” to begin with. Once they had family, then they chose to be with the whores, now they have no family.

  • Mary

    So sorry you are going through all of this. It is truly heartbreaking.
    All I can say is that everyone is different and what suits one person does not suit another. I would talk to your doctor and explore the options. Some times it takes a while to find the one that suits you best, and the medications are not a quick fix – you have to give them time to work. Personally, I have found anti depressants work for me. They are not numbing at all and are certainly not ‘happy pills’, they just take the edge off the stomach churning anxiety, and help you to cope with the day to day. Think of them as a crutch to get you through this difficult time.
    In any case, do speak to your doctor and don’t try to struggle alone.
    You have made a great start contacting CL as there are so many wise words on these pages, as I have discovered since joining this ‘club’.
    Good luck and take good care of yourself. Hugs.

    • I’d never thought of ourselves as a club – but I like that! Obviously – not a club we’d ever have sought membership in….but those who are here have been tempered by fire and come through stronger. It’s the ultimate initiation, but once you are in – there is no better group to have your back!

      • Absolutely! I never thought I would be here, but in the circumstances there is nowhere better. Today’s post is so sad and I feel so desperately sorry for Mary, but other days , when I’m feeling really low and read some of the comments on here , they have me laughing out loud.
        It’s a great place to be – supportive, understanding and fun too.
        Thanks to all.

      • Thanks, Char. For some reason this really resonated today.

        Mary, so sorry you’re part of this club, but Char is right.

        32 years rings a bell with me since my cheating w and I had our 32nd anniversary a few months ago. Not much of a celebration for this one, to be sure. Lots of a lifetime, and it doesn’t fade to meh quickly. Hang in, please. You sound awfully mighty to me!

        • Mary is mighty as are we all! I always love how some pop psychologists and well meaning friend types always expect a lifetime long relationship to just be brushed under the rug and forgotten instantly. It DOES take a long time to get to “meh.” I heard the rule of thumb that it’s 1 year for every 5 of marriage. Sounds about right. But we in Chump Nation are tough as nails and can do it. Mary’s story breaks my heart mainly because it’s another echo of all of ours. Seriously – why don’t these a-hole cheating spouses EVER get a different playbook? They all must be stamped out of the same shoddy material. Every story is a variation on the same behavioral theme.

  • Mary, I found out in the past year since my D-Day that my ex, too, was conducting a double life. I agree with Chumplady that it’s only natural that this is kicking your ass. I have found that the things that have helped me the most are close friends (after realizing that some ‘friends’ were not truly my friends); family – keeping close with my grown children from my 1st marriage; therapy with a very good therapist; and reminding myself every day how very grateful I am that I dodged a bullet by this OW “stealing” from me a lifelong committed LIAR, whose narcissism and mental illness would have stolen my true authentic life from me, had I not found out about the double life.

    Nonetheless, it is jarring and a year later I still wake up every morning asking “how did this happen to me? why didn’t I know?” the answer to the second question is that I was a good, trusting, generous person… I’ll run with that!

  • Mary, when I read your story my heart ached so badly for you…I am glad you were able to get a settlement, so financially you are ok, but I so understand the emotional turmoil. 32 years? WOW! no wonder you feel the way you feel….Its still a fresh wound and this pain will subside in time and as far as taking any medication, its a personal choice. I for one didn’t take anything and yes there were times I wanted to numb the pain, but mostly for the extreme anger/rage that I felt towards my cheater. Why don’t you give it a try for couple of weeks and see how you feel, if it works for you then you can be on it until you don’t need it anymore. I don’t know what else to say but stay strong, hang in there and I promise eventually it will get better with time…. Big hugs from me Mary!

  • Hi Mary, I’m sorry you’ve become a member of our club.

    The short version of my story was I had three miscarriages, we’d moved on to fertility treatments, during the course of which (as I found out later) he “wasn’t feeling anything but didn’t want to cheat on me” so went to a body rub provider with whom he started a full on affair, which led to his rapid descent into alcoholism (which I knew about immediately). I asked him to leave home for a week to just figure out the drinking/what he wanted life to look like. Turns out he moved in with the Professional Masturbator. Cue the in and out of the home, pick me dancing, my hypervigilance, etc. Then he had to go to rehab. Then he relapsed, I sent him to his home state for a visit, during which he impregnated a 41 year old woman he had known for a matter of weeks. The child was born one week after the divorce was final and they used a name we had talked about.

    During the season of miscarriages and fertility treatments, I was deeply sad but wanted to become pregnant, so avoided anti-depressants. During the rehab/reconciliation/living with and loving an active alcoholic, I also “wanted to feel everything” and supported myself with Al Anon meetings, talk therapy, exercise, good nutrition. I was exploring every crevice of my psyche. But, there was not a lot of sleep during those days. Then, when I found out about my husband’s baby, the groove of sadness became worn into my brain and I experienced thoughts that were on replay in my brain (“how could he? What about our vows? Where’s my baby?”) Around that time, my therapist asked if I ever thought of harming myself. I answered “never. But, I wouldn’t necessarily care if I did not wake up tomorrow.” …and that is when I went on Lexapro, an anti-depressant which has an anti-anxiety helper too.

    All told, I was on the anti-depressant for a little over a year. I viewed it as a bridge to help me over the moat filled with snapping alligators and the scum who had destroyed my dreams. The seratonin filled in the groove of sadness and I am better today. It taught me what it feels like to feel unflappable, a feeling I had forgotten. It helped me survive a series of deeply traumatic events. I did gain a bit of weight, which was a bummer after the chump diet but it is coming off.

    I can’t tell you what to do, but that is my experience. I tried both ways. And, I am here to tell you, however you get there, life will get better.

    • I want to add that the doctor understood that I just wanted the anti-depressant to provide temporary help, not become a long term part of my health regimen. Her guidance was I could start to wean off them after six months with no symptoms (symptoms being things like the inability to get off the couch, asking “why, why” over and over, etc.).
      Please, everyone, take very good care of your mental health.

    • Precious Mary,
      The Nation has once again risen to the occasion!! So much good information for you to meditate on.

      I am still married to cheaterpants, (do not have the means to divorce) but have been separated for 1.5 yrs now. This year is 34 years of marriage for me, so I know the feeling of a long-tern marriage being shredded. And, our only child married right in the midst of the worst of the mess!! And the main OW was a family member!! And there have been many, many times through the years that I was depressed and/or suicidal. Have also dealt with long-term anxiety.

      So, with a basic summary of some of my experiences in mind, here’s my thoughts:

      I personally reject all pharmaceuticals and treat all of my issues naturally. I am so very much healthier, slimmer & younger-looking than a number of my friends of similar age, even younger, who chose the AMA route to deal with their situations. (That includes some who have experienced loss of long-term marriage & so on.) I firmly believe the main reason is because I avoid toxic pharmaceuticals. I also feel that keeping those substances out of my body allows my body to better deal with stress, as my organs and glands have not been damaged by drug side-effects.

      When I refer to “Natural” treatments, that includes what several have mentioned already: Hobbies / time outdoors / meaningful friendships / refurbishing a house (Wow! That was awesome!) / meditation / etc.

      Also, doing things that feed your soul such as writing & reading poetry, gardening (one of my personal favs), creating art and so on.

      I also volunteer for a cause that means the world to me and that really changes my focus!

      A therapy I started in January is biofeedback. I have commented on it here at CL several times already, as it has been of MAJOR benefit to me. The system that I receive my treatments with is called L.I.F.E. It has been life-changing for me, as it does what one really can not do on their own. You can research it a bit on-line.

      Neuro-feedback is similar, but the differences are enough that it is called by a different name, but seems to me that either one would benefit you dramatically. And remember, dear Mary, none of these things are a ‘stand-alone’ therapy! Depending on your life-style habits (food / drink / activity level) adjustments to healthier choices works to boost the benefits.

      There are many different natural supplements, treatments & products available now, so I recommend doing the research to see which things best match your symptoms as well as your budget. I also get chiropractic adjustments about twice a month. Key component of health care for me.

      I realize my situation is NO WHERE near as bad as many of my fellow chumps and so I understand there are times meds are needed.

      Forge on, Mary….ForgeOn, Nation….

      • PS: Should have made it clear that I am dramatically improved. Those issues are things I have treated successfully with natural methods and are, for the most part, behind me.

        VERY mild depression occasionally / Mild anxiety only rarely / not suicidal for about 3 years now. And when I do feel down or a bit anxious, it is usually for a very real, normal and discernible reason

        Therefore, my approach to my issues has work VERY well!

        • Mary,
          I agree with ForgeOn. If at all possible, go without meds.
          I have been through two divorces, first time from a 29 year marriage where I ignored the obvious evidence of affairs over the years. Why? Because he was a Fortune 500 exec making oodles, we had a great lifestyle, we bello ged to the best clubs, dinner parties and interesting friends galore, the kids were in good schools and doing well. I knew things behind the scenes in our marriage were drastically wrong – no sex life, no affection, I spent so many lonely hours being the good corporate wife. But silently I planned my jailbreak and took my leave at MY convenience, not his. Of course, like you, I was sickened by his not keeping his vows. Froghtened of losing my so-called social status. But none of it drove me to medicate myself, rather I exercised like mad and dreamed of my escape.

          Second time around was a rebound relationship, lots of sparkles but no substance. He too was a scumbag philanderer and in the end nearly murdered me. That was the lowest point of my life — wondering how I could have traded my safe but sad life for a very dangerous one. Still, my reaction has been to soldier on, accept the lows and cry it out, but I am terrified of ever becoming dependent on meds. I now love a simple life, but I choose my genuine friends, seek out interesting people and experiences, and moved to a new country at 51. I would not go back to my NYC lifestyle ever, not knowing what peace I have now.

          Meds may make you temporarily feel better, but is it not then another challenge to get off them? What are the health effects? I would think first trying talk therapy, good diet, and exercise are the best. Try to find an outlet for your anger and hurt that is cathartic. It’s a long hard road to meh, but you can do it. You will feel so liverwted when you do.

        • The drugs that are out there are used to treat clinical depression which is something completely different than being depressed over a traumatic life event. I wouldn’t put those things in my system, and risk doing more long-term harm than good, unless I felt like I was sinking into a clinical depression.

          The sad truth is that there is no pill out there that is going to make any of this go away or even take the edge off. The only way to the other side is to go through it, and it sucks the whole way.

          If you need something occasionally for anxiety, then ask for a prescription for Xanax. But depend on yourself and your faith in the future, not pills. A

  • Mary, I did not go through the medication route because my kids were small and I was afraid I might not wake up if they needed me – my boy (so young then) is type 1 diabetic and I was afraid I would not hear if he had a hypo. But my attitude is whatever gets you through the night is alright. Wedding are so emotional and you are right to anticipate how it might affect you. Are there any mild tranquillisers you could take temporarily just to get you through? I believe in getting your anger out and not suppressing it but there are occasions when that’s not possible.

    From reading your letter it struck me that your writing is very powerful and I wonder if long term, a creative writing course might be the thing to get it all out and channel your anger. I wish you well.

  • Hi Mary, There is a lot of great advice here. I’d suggest some frequent sessions with a really good therapist to do some role playing on how to deal with potential mine fields of the wedding day. I hope it ends up being a beautiful day for your daughter and you. Hugs

  • Hi Mary:

    I’m so sorry that you are part of this club. 32 years is a long time to be married to someone who turned out to be a living lie. You were smart to divorce him. I’m glad that you got the great settlement. That his daughters don’t want anything to do with him shows the karma bus is on the way. It is very likely that they sensed something was up. And a life-long girlfriend? And others? What a sociopathic personality disorder!

    What you didn’t mention was whether you’re currently in therapy. If not, you absolutely should be. You had 32 years of a mindfuck. Yes, there are good times you remember, but you also know there was one permanent Schmoopie and a whole train of others. That’s traumatic! What a huge breach of trust! You aren’t going to “get over it” simply by willing yourself to get stronger. You’re going to need some help.

    That help can include drugs. As CL and others have said, it’s your choice. Talk with a health care professional about your options and goals. You might want something to take the edge off of the very high-stress occasions. You might want something to take on a regular basis until you’ve worked through the crap of having lived 32 years of your life with a sociopath.

    Hugs to you for you are mighty! A lot of other people might have resigned themselves to the marriage, looking at their cozy income, their social standing, the trappings of material success. You chose to live authentically. That makes you mighty and awesome, and your daughters are lucky to have you as their mother.

  • Hi Mary,

    I was almost 30 years in when my husband told me he wanted a divorce so he could pursue a relationship with his college girlfriend. My first visit was to my doctor who prescribed the minimum does of Lexapro. I had been having panic attacks prior to my ex’s confession so I must have realized that something was unbalanced in my life.

    Anyway, the Lexapro has gotten me to a good state. I can actually be civil and friendly to my ex and I’m all there for my twenty-something daughters. I did see a marriage counselor who applauded my decision to take the Lexapro and eventually he told me that I was in a good place and didn’t need his services anymore (thank God, because I couldn’t afford it!) I’ve often thought about what it will be like when my girls marry so I can’t imagine having that day coming so soon while you are grieving.

    Make an appointment with your doctor. There’s no harm in being the best you that you can be. I take the Lexapro at bedtime so there’s no nausea and it doesn’t make me foggy or dizzy.

    Please know that we all are pushing our way through this same grief.

    Hugs to you,

  • I know the topic is medication but I just wanted to throw in: CBT. My therapist has been a godsend. I’ve been on anti-anxiety meds and comparatively, therapy works better and it doesn’t have negative side effects. I can walk out of my therapists’s office and have an entirely different perspective on my problems, which is sowmthing you can’t really achieve on meds. The analogy I’ve always liked is that SSRIs are needed if one feels like being stuck in a swamp and your feet can’t move, and you can’t get out of the murky waters. But if you can slowly extract your body from the mud with the help of drugs, you’re on your way out and gradually, you’re making progress. That’s the point.
    Here’s one tip on finding a therapist, for those who are interested in finding one: clinical psychologist is preferred to a social worker or god forbid marriage counsolor. It’s not so much the educational credentials, it’s their default place they work from. A marriage counselor will often approach it as a way to let you think what went wrong with the relationship and how you’ve contributed. A phd will simply tell you what’s wrong with the motherfucker and how to evaluate your picker. I prefer the latter.

  • Mary,
    My thought about you is: what are you still so afraid of? Face it head on.

    – You have your settlement
    – You and the rest of the wedding guests know the whole gory story already
    – Most if not all of the guests are very likely sympathetic with you
    – your Ex is a complete fake/liar/whatever else, but you will no change that

    – You are feeling sentimental, quite rightly
    – Your vision of your daughter’s wedding is not turning out as you planned long ago
    – You will have to face your Ex at the wedding
    – You likely feel stress from the public humiliation you feel you’ve endured

    If I were a wedding guest or family member, I would be wishing the very best for you, and admiring you for keeping it all together on the big day. Limit your face time with Bonzo. Plan breaks so you can disappear and have a sob in private if need be. Surround yourself with supportive friends who can usher you out quickly if you get overwhelmed.

    Mary, at the end of the day, it’s about deciding to be there being joyful for your daughter. It’s her day, she is not a repeat of your life. Be optimistic for her and try for one day to not dwell on poor you. I personally would not recommend medication that you have not had experience with. We all react differently to things.

    Your story is dramatic and so very sad. Don’t let it overshadow your daughter’s happiness.

    • Marci, you are spot on. Face it head on.

      I just went through this with my daughter’s wedding last week. My particular trick was to wring out the tears ahead of time by listening to the wedding song playlist my daughter had selected until I was bone dry. Something about a good cry has always done a reset of something in my brain. Or maybe the threshold of the triggers gets reset higher. Anyway, I did great. Kept my poker face on and did not feign any emotions that I wasn’t feeling, like being happy to see the ex’s back stabbing sisters. Scorched earth divorces burn a lot of bridges also, and I just don’t care about these people anymore.

      The ex was not so lucky. Always easily sentimental, nostalgic and quick to feel self pity, he never saw it coming. Here is the song my daughter picked out for the father/daughter dance: Ah, she got him with that one. She grew up listening to that as we drove around the country from horse event to horse event as a young family. This was not how we envisioned her wedding being, and it’s all on him.

      The Owife was there too, since the little half brother was ring bearer. She is an obnoxious, officious, brazen hussy who was constantly snapping at the ex and the kid. I had great heaps of Schadenfreude for dinner, and then cut myself some extra to have with the cake!

  • Reaching out to my chump community… as I’m very upset this morning. Ex sent a scathing email last night saying he thinks I’ve got aspergers because he thinks I talk to much and don’t pick up on social cues. What the fuck? I spent the whole night tossing and turning wondering if there’s something wrong with me because I do: 1)talk a lot, but not obnoxiously and 2)I do have social anxiety and low self-esteem
    So I take one of those Internet are you autistic tests and it shows I’ve got less than 10% of being one. But I don’t feel better. I feel like this asshole has a major way to get inside of my head and fuck with it because he knows I’m an extremely sensitive person and will take any of it to heart. He knows that if he gives enough factual information like that I am a little socially awkward then he can call me autistic and I will worry and drive myself crazy with worry. Why do I let this bother me anyone knows? Like I said it has enough impact on me that now I wonder if I am autistic because piece of shit serial cheater thinks so. Help.

    • Lizzie – why in God’s name are you giving ANY weight or creedence to that “piece of shit?” You are taking tests and jumping to his mindfuckery in even considering this! He is PLAYING you!! Ignore him and go NC! You are letting him control you.

      • Because he has the ability to get into me in ways I can’t control… Yes, I’ve spent half the night taking aspergers tests online trying to figure out if he’s right. What’s wrong with me?

      • What Char said. If he told you you were a purple-horned Martian, would you believe him? Don’t measure yourself by what he says. He’s ONE idiot. One. And a cheater. Nuff said.

      • Yes, you need to be no contact with this person. You can always get an email account dedicated only to necessary contact re: the kids and get a third party to screen (unbeknownst to your X).

    • Lizzie, NC NC NC NC NC NC NC NC NC NC NC NC NC NC NC NC !!!!!!! Really. It helps tremendously. Don’t let him play games with your head. That’s what they do best.. MINDFUCKERY. He did that on purpose, hit you where he knew it would cause the exact reaction it did. You my dear are FINE. He is a mind fucking asshat. As the saying goes here on CL, let him hear crickets. I can tell you, it is driving my Stbx NUTS that have a permanent order of protection and he can’t fuck with me because he will go to JAIL. So you take control Lizzie. Don’t even open his emails.block him, change your email. Don’t let him have even one more second of your time, or space in your head. Begone MFPOS.


    • Lizzie, your ex is a liar. Why do you think his email was the truth? I noticed with my ex that whatever he accused me of is what HE was doing. Is there any chance your ex has Aspergers?

      • you mean he’s projecting? It crossed my mind. I always thought he was just a loner, with skewed worldviews and narrow interests and no friends… but somehow it was normal as he didn’t exhibit any off the charts behavior. I on other hand have always had booming social life and I work in sales- not exactly a career for someone with autism. So maybe he’s realizing he has it but wants me to have it? I don’t know. But in addition to being a social person I am also very very sensitive to comments and criticism so obviously he knows this would bother me. Which by the way no offense to anyone on here with aspergers. Bill gates has it and many wonderful people I know. The issue isn’t that its a horrible thing to have because it isn’t, the issue is why he would say it and why it bothers me:

        • Lizzie–Now that I’ve come clean to my family about STBX’s adultery, they’ve been wonderfully supportive. One thing they all say is that I am very much better than I have been in years–more confident, more focused–a lot like the kb of old. I’d lost that kb.

          Here at Chump Nation, we’re always telling each other that part of losing the cheater is gaining a life. In many cases, that means reclaiming our awesome. You were a sales person. Sales people are confident, poised, and have wonderful social skills because you can’t make it in sales without social skills.

          Your POS XH is flat-out jealous. He measures his success by your failure. That you can be better without him galls him. He is the one with the anxiety. He wants you to be worse off so that he feels he’s better.

          Reclaim your life.

          Go No Contact. Get the new email address. Send a note to the people on your contact list (and NOT X) that you now have a new email. Add X to your spam blocker, so he goes directly into your junk mail. You will experience some peace of mind.

          And of course, if you feel insecure, remember that you lived with someone who excelled at mindfuckery. Maybe get some therapy to work through that. Especially you will want to work through the old habit of caring what he thinks. We Chumps are nice people who do give a damn about our fellow humans, and sick cheaters like your X will manipulate you.

          Going NC means that you’ll care less about what he thinks. You’ll have more space to be you and to exercise your awesomeness. Then, when your paths to happen to cross, and he says something that’s clearly meant to make you feel small, you’ll recognize it for what it is and laugh at it.

          He won’t know what hit him. 🙂

        • He is not competent to diagnose Asperger’s or other conditions on the autism scale. Or anything else. Why would he do this? He want to undermine your confidence, keep you low and unhappy. It bothers you because you care about what he thinks.
          Put those two together: if you know he wants to hurt and undermine you, stop caring about what he thinks because 1) he’s trying to hurt you; 2) he’s an ignorant jackass; 3) he lies; and 4) you do not need your confidence and trust in yourself undermined.

        • Everyone has given good advice, NC. Why can he get to you? Because you still care about him, you have not yet lost your respect for him, you need to get pissed off and realize he really is an asshole and his opinion will lose it’s impact. NC until you get there. Jedi hugs Lizzie grace!

    • Dear Lizzie grace,

      First, “DITTO” what the other chumps & CL commented to you.

      Loose that email address, get a new one he doesn’t know about. My cheaterpants does not have my email & I will never give it to him. He is not savvy enough to search and find it, either.

      You also claimed: “Because he has the ability to get into me in ways I can’t control… ”

      My dear, I call BS on that statement! Yes, you can control!!! What?! Your e-mail does not have a “DELETE” or “SPAM” feature?! {Consider this a “B____ Slap” (lovingly applied!) in an attempt to wake you up & save your life!}

      Take your power back, Woman! There are many resources on-line that can help you empower yourself! Check into Mindvalley, for instance. Also, Byron Katie. And read Dr. George Simon’s books, if you have not done so. His blog on his web-site, Manipulative People, is a must-read for all us chumps. (IMHO)

      Also, some of the suggestions given to Mary may help you, as well…….

      {{{{{{{BIG, BIG HUGS!!}}}}}}}

    • W is incredibly adept at taking a tiny kernal of truth and growing it into an entire theme. She is very charming, articulate, and persuasive; and if one did not know the overall situation, it would seem like plain, unvarnished truth. I tend to take personal criticism a bit to heart so this is a very effective way to get me going down the path of, “Gee, maybe it really is my problem, not hers.”

      I have to consciously fight this and not engage when this type of dialogue gets started. There is a certain malevolent genius in being able to do this form of manipulation. If you try to explain why they are wrong or exaggerating, you are immediately on the defensive and have conceded the premise. No possible way to win. Therapist has also helped me realize that “No, Chumpguy, you are OK; your wife is ill, she is most definitely not OK.”

      Sounds like there is some of this going on with the tendency to talk a lot somehow morphing into you having Aspergers.

      The crap they do…

      • The mindfuckery!

        Don’t engage. I still have the creep under the same roof for now. Those moments I slip and he gains access into my head are the times I lose ground.

        Don’t engage.

        • I’m living with my STBX while the divorce countdown clock ticks. It helps when I see him as a housemate, a warm body who helps pay the mortgage. I know that he still thinks of me as his wife, i.e. the chief kibble dispenser in the form of chief cook and major domo. I tell myself that I know he’s lying when he opens his mouth. That said, he’s putting on a good show right now. I tell myself that I need to maintain my cool so that he can stay in his little fantasy world with Schmoopie. I tell myself that by maintaining my cool, he is free to try to show me what a nice guy he is–see how he put the garbage out?–and won’t I miss him when he’s gone.

          He’s not love-bombing me, but he’s tried to be more helpful since I told him I was filing.

      • Before my ex escalated to violence when he would make some comment meant to make me defend myself, criticize me or engage in a right/wrong “discussion”, I would say to him. “I’m not interested in discussing this and walk out of the room” calmly. If your cheater isn’t violent, this works.

    • Lizzie, my ex said something similar! He suggested I might have autism/aspergers because of my social anxiety. He also had went to a therapist to see how we might both feel about ending this marriage and he told me the therapist suggested I had social anxiety and OCD and maybe something else that my ex couldn’t remember. I have felt for so long like something is wrong with me and suffered so much for it. MY therapist NEVER diagnosed me with autism or aspergers or the ‘something else’ that made me so unlovable and worth cheating on. She said I’m shy and introverted and there’s nothing wrong with that and someone else might love everything about me. It’s time we stopped suffering! Since when do our exes know anything about good mental health anyway?

  • Hi, Mary, so sorry you’re having to experience all of this — and glad you’re here with us.

    The advice everyone is giving is fantastic and I’m sure will give you much food for thought. Here are my own feelings about using meds to get through. I’m no expert, but I’m a woman whose been anxious and depressed most of my life and have been on many meds for many years.

    First, anti-depressants do seem to affect people differently. They generally do make me gain considerable weight. If you are prone to weight gain and nervous about that, you’ll need to be extra vigilant about eating healthy and moving your body more. The exception to that is Wellbutrin, which is not an SSRI, but can cause some people to have a little anxiety.

    After many, many years of what I consider weight gaining anti-depressants, I am now on a high dose of Wellbutrin. I could not afford to get any fatter!

    When I do have a really awful day or simply cannot sleep due to intrusive thoughts, I have a small prescription for anti-anxiety meds, which work beautifully AND are highly addictive. My prescription is for 15 pills a month (Lorazepam) and if I’m lucky I’m only using half that to get by. (I only get the 15 pill limit because I have a history of suicide attempts and this is what they felt safe in giving me.)

    Keep in mind that all the anti-depressant drugs need time to work, sometimes up to two months time! So you may have a rough period in the beginning with them. And, depending on how long you’re on them and how high the dose is, you must wean yourself off of them to avoid feeling very uncomfortable. So that would take time as well. Be aware of that so that you’re not feeling dizzy or out of sorts due to the medication while at your daughter’s wedding.

    Do consider asking for a prescription for an anti-anxiety medication, but be aware that they are addictive so tell yourself they are to be used for a “break glass in case of emergency” situation.

    For me, more than any medication, physical activity has been what gets me through. In my most painful time I began to swim at my local pool and even though I was fat and out of shape, I swam for 1.5 hours a day. Thanks to my efforts and the Cheaters Diet I am now 70 pounds lighter and doing everything I can to not gain it back. (It’s hard!)

    The bottom line is this is your personal decision and no one should judge you on your choice. You need to do what you must to get through the next few months. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

  • Oh please be kind to yourself and talk to your doctor about medication. I was married a month less than 33 years. That was three years ago. I’ve since remarried a man who is so kind and cares about me! I have been in counseling for the last year and a half. I had been on meds and feeling much better. Thought I could go off of them. Big mistake! Back on them now and am grateful for my counselor who told me that I needed them.

    I had four children and ALWAYS tell women not to be martyrs in childbirth, but to take the drugs! I saw the same thing now. They are there to ease your transitions in life. There isn’t anything wrong with responsibly taking medication.

    You are facing a difficult time, Mary. Again, be kind to yourself. Hugs to you.

    • “I had four children and ALWAYS tell women not to be martyrs in childbirth, but to take the drugs!”
      Amen to that.

  • I have been on Prozac for years, and it definitely helped me get through the trauma. I am a believer in these meds, and there is no shame in taking them. I would also advise, like many have already, talk therapy…I think this is simply a must…You have to express yourself to a neutral party and gain insight into what has happened to you. My STBXW only lived a double life with multiple partners for 5 of our 10 year marriage and the trauma has been unbearable, I can’t imagine 32 years. Please talk to someone at the bear minimum. It will help…I promise! Also, continue to read here as it is empowering, and kind of fun, to see just how unoriginal and similar all cheaters are, which helps you understand how you had nothing to do with their behavior!

  • Mary,

    After D-Day, I was emotionally devastated. What kept me from just staying in my bed with the curtains drawn was that I had two young DCs to take care of and a job to go to, so I had no choice but to get up and somehow function throughout the day, though I understand you might not have those responsibilities. Although I was emotionally in a lot of pain, I think what kept me from being clinically depressed was that I was fighting–first, I was fighting and giving it all to save my marriage, and, then, I was fighting to ensure custody of my kids. (My XH didn’t have a strong case for primary physical custody, but he made multiple threats, over months, of taking the kids from me.)

    It took almost a year after I filed for custody to be settled. At first I was elated and relieved, but I noticed after a few weeks that I became to feel sort of down and empty, especially during the weekends my XH had the kids. I also felt down because of how someone I considered a close friend was treating me–implying that I caused my XH’s infidelity. (Funny, when I was doing the pick-me-dance, she was very supportive and tried to help me find ways I could be a “better” wife, but when I decided to leave him, she started to criticize me for not owning my role in the breakdown of my marriage and for being “judgmental” of her lifestyle (a never-married, childless woman in her 40s who seems to have a lot of “hook-ups”). She had been complaining to me about how she was unhappy in her love life, and I merely suggested to her that maybe she shouldn’t have sex people you have met only once or twice, but I digress.) I realized had to go NC with this friend and had to truly rebuild my life.

    I know this sounds cliched, but, looking back during, most of my life, I think I let myself be mistreated by XH, ex-ILs and my friend and others because I truly didn’t love myself. I’ve recently read “Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It” and started reading “Love Yourself and Let the Other Person Have It Your Way,” which have helped me get out of my funk. If anyone has any other tips or books to read, please let me know!

    You say: “Although I wanted to explode on the news with the info, I buttoned it and for me and my kids’ sake.” Perhaps keeping the truth inside you and bottling up your feelings are contributing to your depression. I think what also helped me–and I’m usually a pretty private, reserved person–is that I told people what was going in my life (except for some people at work, because I didn’t want to be treated differently by my supervisors, but I will probably tell at some point), when they asked. I just felt like I needed to be authentic, and I would sometimes cry when people would innocently ask me “How are you doing?” or “Where is XH?” Also, I just couldn’t fake that everything was fine. And telling other people helps you get the emotional support you need and feel like you’re not alone. Even hearing someone say that her sister went through something similar and is glad to be rid of her X, or that her husband’s dad also abandoned his kids for an affair and the kids turned out okay, helped me a lot.

  • Mary, years ago a psychologist diagnosed me with “something” and I tried two different drugs that work on on the spectrum of depression and anxiety. I say “something” because I came to discover that I had been in a state of depression for as long as I could remember, even back into childhood. The anxiety was more situation. I tried one drug that literally made me insane–I couldn’t stop crying. The next drug, Desyrel (trazodone), changed my life. I was on it for 6 months and it literally raised my level of emotional functioning out of a seemingly ingrained depressed state. I took it for 6 months, saw the world go from black and white to technicolor, went off of it, and didn’t need it again. I have a friend who has done Prozac off and on and seems to get help from that, too.

    The first thing I would say is find a doctor who is skilled in matching your emotional situation and a medication. I was very fortunate to have a doctor who didn’t just write “Prozac” for every patient. You can also ask for a drug that isn’t addictive and has minimal side effects. To that end, you should look for the very best therapist, who may be a medical doctor or may be a psychologist who can guide you through the referral process. Talk therapy is no fast and easy cure-all, and you can read here about how many chumps have been abused first by a cheater and second by a quack “counselor.” But–a good therapist is a priceless addition to your recovery team as you reconstruct not just your day-to-day life but your understanding of the past 32 years. I’m nearly 63 and to find out your whole adult life has been lived with a liar and a con man (or as CL calls him, a freak) is highly disorienting. On top of the cheating and the divorce, you had this most personal experience exposed to others, not of your own volition. So it’s no surprise that you are having some issues with PTSD, depression and spiraling downward over planning a wedding. You haven’t recovered yet. And that is just where you are right now. I look forward to my sessions with my therapist even now (having arrived at meh on Tuesday) but she helped me through the terrible pain and the loss. She also encourages me to rebuild other relationships and figure out who I am and what makes me happy.

    For me as a reader, the most poignant words in your moving letter are “we had an extraordinary life.” Think what those words say–for you, as part of that marriage, “you had an extraordinary life”; for your con artist, freak cheater, he had a double extraordinary life, and not in a good way. Your task now is to get to the point where you can say that YOU NOW have an extraordinary life that is authentic and joyful, that includes your memories of that cherished marriage, the experience of betrayal but is not controlled by those experiences. I didn’t use drugs to get to that point myself, but I did use:

    In addition to therapy, I did a LOT of exercise and used the initial betrayal weight loss to get me to a healthy goal weight. I got strong and fit. I changed my diet to get rid of foods that I used in place of drugs to medicate myself. You have a few months to use exercise to get yourself feeling as good physically as you can. And a good friend divorced from a cheater found an absolutely beautiful and stunning gown to wear to the wedding. She found that dress was a real boost to her confidence. So perhaps the wedding can provide a framework for getting your full. glowing confidence as a woman back. With all that has happened to you, and now a wedding to plan, I wonder how much attention you have paid to you. That’s the gift of betrayal, in a way: it’s a chance to refocus your attention and your energy on you, who you are, what you want to be.

    And finally, I think the karma bus had definitely rolled over your X. It might not seem so, but because he is still employed in the wonderful job, he can pay you the “very large monthly payment.” While you have lost a great deal, you have been given the resources you need not only to survive, but to build a new life. Meanwhile, he is dealing with a mistress, lots of drama, and a professional life full of people who know he’s a liar and an asshole. His daughters know he’s a liar and a cheat who broke up their family. It doesn’t matter how much money he makes, how great his vacations are, what kind of cars he owns, or how sparkly his mistress. He’s a hollow freak who will never know what he threw away, who will never be able to give the love to ANYONE that you gave him and your children. You’ve made it this far. Now this wedding gives you a chance to start building your awesome life that is not measured by money or things, but by authenticity, love and service to others.

  • Sorry for the sentence fragment–I was interrupted in the middle of writing and lost track of where I was.

  • Mary

    ChumpLady gave you great, brilliant advice. I hope you listen to her. I can’t add anymore to it. I do know about meds.

    OK I didn’t want to take meds either. I wanted to feel the pain and the grief. I’ve never abused drugs and can count on one hand how many times I smoked pot! I don’t even drink that much. I took 5 mill of WellButrin and 5 mill of Clonazapan (ugh spelling?). Before I found my psychiatrist I had some Xanax and was popping them like TicTacs. The anxiety was out of this world. I would go to bed at night and felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest. I felt like I was running a marathon in my bed. It was awful. So I amped up the Xanax. Xanax is for temporary anxiety like if you’re scared to fly, take a Xanax. The relief is immediate but so is the let down so you have to keep taking it.

    When I finally got on on the Clonazapan is when I finally evened out. Yes I drank but not much. The Clonazapan was the best thing I did. I was up and down and it kept me even.

    Look Mary you have a big event coming up and you can’t be an emotional buffoon!! Take the drug it will help. Also when I went off the drugs after about a year, it was very easy with no side effects at all. No your head won’t feel like it’s filled with cotton.

    Do it. You’ll know when you need to get off it.

    • Tryinghard, I’m glad you didn’t have a problem going off anti-anxiety meds but I fear that might be rare. In my experience in the past, using them daily, going off of them proved to be quite a challenge with many, many withdrawal symptoms. I do have a prescription for Klonopin (Lorazepam) now, but I do not take very many of them per month.

      “Anti-anxiety medications including popular benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Klonopin, Valium, and Ativan are meant for short-term use. However, many people take anti-anxiety drugs for long periods of time. This is risky because, when taken regularly, benzodiazepines quickly lead to physical dependence.”

      This is not to say that anti-anxiety drugs aren’t exactly what Mary needs to get through her daughter’s wedding (I think they would be helpful for her), but she must be very aware of their addiction potential and use them wisely.

      • Moving Liquid

        I agree a lot of people have a hard time getting off them. I think had I stayed on Xanax that would have been the case.

        I went off them over a period of time. Last thing I needed was a crash so I took about 3 weeks to ween myself off them. Also I was on a very low dose.

        I’m glad to took them though rather than the up and down of Xanax and I found relief from all the anxiety and it’s many forms within around a week of taking the drug. I don’t think WellButrin is a big deal at all.

        I think if you go into using a meds like these with the idea that it’s temporary getting off them is pretty easy but I’ve never had a problem with addiction except for coffee and chocolate 🙂

        • This discussion is why I think the first, necessary step is a thorough evaluation but someone skilled at diagnosis and matching meds to the patient.

      • Benzos are highly physically addictive, I found that out the hard way, if you take Xanax or atavan, any benzo, never take it more than a day or two in a row or you will have withdrawals. This ain’t about will power or being an addict. Use benzos with care. Xanax really helps me but I have to be very careful how I use it.

        • Me too, Datdamwuf. I probably use three pills a month! I have been through the withdrawal from benzo thing before and it’s awful! None of my doctors told me about the withdrawal part. Geez.

  • I didn’t take any medication, but I did go into therapy almost immediately (for the first time). I opened up to friends and family and made sure to build in down time if I needed it. I spent a lot of time trying to help my body relax by taking baths and drinking teas to help me sleep. Did a lot of walking. And the most important thing I did was listen to what I needed. If I needed to stay home and cry for a day, I didn’t fight that. If I needed to go sit in the shower and sob to get it all out for an hour, I did that. I always, always, always felt better afterwards.

    I also buried myself in work when I just didn’t feel like I wanted to have to process anything. That also helped a ton.

    After about 6 months, I stopped crying everyday. After about a year, I stopped waking up thinking about him first thing. Now I think about him maybe once or twice a day. (I’m about 14 months past DDay now). Mostly I just worry about myself and I don’t give him the mental space.

    I stayed in therapy for about 14 months (just ended it less than a month ago because I moved for a new job). I think therapy, coupled with the stuff above, really saved me. I have a job where I can’t be zonked out, so I feared medication. I’m glad I never went on it, but that’s a personal choice.

    It’s a LONG and hard road to get past the initial pain of this. Your reality has been shattered and you don’t bounce back from that. I’m still not dating or anything, but I know to give myself time. It requires a lot of patience and kindness towards yourself. And you have to accept that it’s just unfair (unfortunately).

    Best of luck to you.

  • Unmarried,
    I’m so sorry for what you are going through. It’s a pain like no other and it’s not going away anytime soon. The life you thought you had was a fraud and you will need therapy. Lots of it. But know this, you will get through it and there will be light at the end of the tunnel. I too was married for a long time (21 years) and he was having affairs off and on during that time. Almost two years ago, he left me for the high school slut he knew. A woman (if you can call her that) he always made fun of because she had so many guys. Talk about me feeling insecure and worthless. But, then again, if he left me for a pretty model I still would feel the same. It’s a no win situation. He divorced me for her and people keep telling me to stop being bitter. I have the right to be bitter and you do too! We had a business together that I put a lot of work into and a home. Does he care? No. He left it all behind. We don’t have any children so I’m lucky concerning that. I still suffer from depression even though I take Zoloft. It’s only 25 mg. so I assume I don’t have enough in my system. I guess I should increase it. I read somewhere that for every 5 years you were married, it will take one year of grieving. But, I do think it’s different for everyone and that’s probably just an average. No matter what we say here, you will still hurt. But, Chump Lady and Chump Nation can help you along the way. Everyone here cares and are suffing too. You can talk to any of them anytime.

    • I started with 25, went up to 50 then down to 25 and finally off completely. The 50 helped during the worst of dealing with my cheating lying crapweasle. Give 50 a try. That actually is the recommended dose as far as I know.

  • Frankly, I resisted meds for year. I have PTSD and chronic anxiety. I finally tried zoloft and it was a miracle. I took it for about 18 months. I was worried that if I stopped taking things would go back to the way they were. Well, I’m off zoloft now and everything is great. I think it helped reset my brain.

    Try it. If it works, great. If not, try something else. In the short term it can help you navigate the craziness.

    • I agree with the “reset.” That is what my psychologist said desyrel did–reset my brain. Whatever–it was a miracle, for sure.

  • p.s. meds can’t do it all. Exercise, talk therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy are good things to do in addition to meds.

    • Exercise is the best and cheapest anti-depressant. I also think diet is important, especially eating fruits and veggies rather than processed food.

  • A big thing that helped me deal with my divorce was a divorce support group. I don’t think I could have survived without it. It was good to talk to others who were going thru the same thing I was. They were more sympathetic than my friends and family could ever be. And incredibly supportive because they had all been thru something similar. They became friends who I could call anytime night or day when something would happen to set me off. The one I went to was Divorce Care which is a national program and is Christian-based (you can google them to find one in your area). I am sure there are other ones also.

  • Nobody’s mentioned this yet, so I’ll throw it out there for consideration – valerian capsules. It’s an herbal product available at your grocery store. It’s subtle – it just subtracts anxiety. It may not be strong enough for what you’re going through now though. I still use it, especially when I know I’m going to have a difficult day. Sending you big hugs… I was once a good little innocent Catholic wife too. Naively believed it would be forever. But you can do this. There’s an ass-kicking superhero in there. I know it. 🙂

      • So can taking care of yourself in general. Just keeping yourself physically well is SO important to the emotional healing.

        The only pharmaceutical I would recommend would be something to help you sleep. It’s crucial to get good rest, and sleeping isn’t something that comes easy during this kind of trauma.

        And support groups like this one, which allow you to validate, vent, heal and GROW.

  • Unmarried Mary, I was married for 25 years before the wheels fell off. I understand what it’s like to realize that the person you thought you married doesn’t really exist. For me, meds have been a lifesaver. Truly. I was on anti-depressants during the marriage because he became emotionally abusive. If not for my kids and my meds I may have committed suicide. After the divorce, I went off medication because I figured I was so much happier and I wouldn’t need them any more. After a year or so, I realized that, for me, antidepressants are a permanent thing. Yes, I can drink while taking them. No, I don’t feel disconnected from my emotions.

    I’d strongly suggest going to an excellent doctor (I’m sure you have connections) and trying something. For some people 12-18 months of AD combined with talk therapy fixes the problem and they go on to have a perfectly happy, medication-free life. For other people, the stress causes a permanent chemical imbalance in the brain and they need medication for a lifetime.

    • “I’d strongly suggest going to an excellent doctor (I’m sure you have connections) and trying something. For some people 12-18 months of AD combined with talk therapy fixes the problem and they go on to have a perfectly happy, medication-free life. For other people, the stress causes a permanent chemical imbalance in the brain and they need medication for a lifetime.” All true and very well said.

  • I got some benefit from taking Lexapro for about 4 months. It definitely took a while to take effect, and I had enough side effects (digestive problems) that were I to do it again, I’d ask for a different drug.

    I tapered off it when I had some traveling to do, and didn’t want to deal with the side effects. You definitely don’t want to just stop taking one of those. When I stepped the dose down from 100% to 75%, I got the first and only migraine I’ve ever had in my life. I maintained the mood improvement, so I’d have to call it a success.

    If the problem you’re having is more one of thoughts racing than depression per se, you might consider an anti-anxiety drug. It’s true that it’s fairly easy to develop a dependency on them. My doctor gave me a Xanax prescription, and explained that if I only made occasional use of it, I wouldn’t build up a dependency. What worked for me was to take it only as needed, in the evening before trying to go to sleep. I could get a good night’s sleep that I otherwise wouldn’t, and the residual calming effect would help me get through the following day.

  • All great advice and Mary, your story is my story only it was a funeral, not a marriage. I too was married to the CEO of his own very large company and the divorce was a nightmare. Two months after the divorce was final, his brother and business partner dropped dead of a heart attack. His brother had also divorced his wife at the same time we got divorced. They used the same divorce attorney, how cozy. I was faced with a funeral and facing the entire family who had dumped me after 24 years of marriage, 3 children and knowing them since I was 13. They had once been my family too. My nerves were raw.

    I freaked about the funeral. I would look bad whether I went or not. My sister in law, a physician, strongly suggested I take Xanax. Like you, I am drug phobic. No way, no how. So I took 1/2 of a pill (lowest dose) a few days before the funeral at my daughters softball game, knowing I would see the entire family. I got through the game with a smile on my face. No one there mattered, I was stress free. I was meh…

    So I did it again at the funeral. I took 1/2 a pill. I hugged the OW! I smiled, I walked up to family members as though they were my best friends! I have no idea how the drug works and I have never taken it again. But I got through the funeral with ease and grace. It was almost enjoyable, without sounding trite.

    In hindsight, I wish I had taken something to help me get through. I had a small nervous breakdown due to stress and lack of sleep. It was a very dark period in my life that I think medication would have helped me process in less time. I will never know because I didn’t do it. I don’t condone drugs and think they are a major crutch in our society. But divorce is tragic and hard to deal with for us “normal” folk. If you aren’t addictive, maybe you could talk to a trusted person and see what may help you get through the wedding with some possibility of enjoying the day.

    Good luck, sending kind thoughts:)

    • Mel, just wondering: Why did you feel like you needed to go to your ex-BIL’s funeral? Why not go NC with your ex-ILs, too? If you felt it was important for your children to attend the funeral, perhaps someone else could have taken them?

      • Hi young, Good question. I struggled with it for a long time. I went for my kids and my niece and nephew. I am very close to my SIL and we both just got divorced from as$#ole brothers who wanted to run off into a field of daisies holding their girlfriends hands. Not really, that’s my image. Theirs is a bj in a 4-star hotel room. I digress… I was there for my SIL and family. Quite honestly, staying calm and showing up boosted my ego.

  • Hello Mary. First I would like to say I’m sorry you have had to go through this experience but I am glad you found CL and what is sure to be some good advice. My doc pushed and pushed for me to start Celexa for anxiety. I hated it. I felt dull, fuzzy and a little off. What works much better for me is a healthy diet and exercise–dance class, walking the dogs, yard work, housekeeping–anything that expends my nervous energy! I try to keep my mind occupied and I have a friend or two on speed dial when I am feeling especially emotional and on edge. I also post here on a near daily basis as well as in the general forum when I need to vent. Try different things until you find what works best for you! And remember…if you decide to try medication and absolutely hate it then your doc can taper you off.

  • Mary,
    I had so much success with a therapeutic process called EMDR. The experience of discovering your marriage was a big lie is traumatic and EMDR helps address this trauma and other traumas that may of occurred in your life. It can help eliminate the sensitivity and or reactions to the triggers that “take you off your feet and onto the couch” EMDR and No Contact are powerful tools. These things are worth trying before you mess with you brain chemistry.

  • Mary, thank you for sharing. I was waiting for this post because I wanted to know what all chumps were doing to get to the other side. I went a little overboard and did everything EXCEPT the drugs. I didn´t have the time or money for it and I was sort of scared of them (my two daughters were born natural childbirth with no drugs..I used hypnosis and waterbirthing..fabulous) but I did the talk therapy with anyone who would listen to me (including random people at a bank, taxi, supermarket) and it was amazing how much great advice or just sharing similar stories people have to offer. It really helped me a lot! I also did a 10 week internet therapy for victims of narcissistic abuse which was awesome (I still do it when I feel a bit down). It sounds a bit new agey, but the meditation part and consciousness clearing has an incredible physical impact as well. You go back through your whole life and do mental cleaning and shifting until you don´t feel the pain anymore and you begin to realize that the “experience” of being married to a narc had the purpose of you learnng about your self and beginning to love yourself again. It opens you up and enlightens you.

    I have also done pilates, yoga, running, biking, weight lifting, etc…all which have proven effects similar to what drugs do but without the negative consequences. Journaling and meditation have also helped me a lot and I joined an online community called which has great programs for self improvement which I listen to all the time and have been very helpful.

    I changed my diet so that I don´t eat any processed foods or animal products and this has radically helped my physical body but also my mental state. I also try to consume foods that have proven mood improving effects (like cocoa or berries).

    Finally, I have done several makeovers: to my home (can´t sell it but I am getting rid of everything that reminds me of him or past bad relationships—discovered that I hung on to too many objects that trigger bad memories from the past) ; to my relationships- started dumping toxic friends and I don´t let anyone abuse my generosity anymore, and finally to my face: yes, I had the facelift that I had been wanting for years because of drooping eyelids that made me look older. Everyone says I look at least 10 years younger, while my STBX is getting fatter and balder by the second…)

    So, those are my drugs of choice. I sometimes think I may need a “real” one, but so far these have worked for me though I can´t say I am at “meh” yet and the thought of having to divide our household items in the following weeks brings me a great deal of anxiety. Which brings me to my final comment: No Contact is really the best drug of all…I have to still deal with my STBX directly because of our daughters, but I have felt the best when I don´t hear his voice or have to answer an email of his. ….It would be great for you if you can NC him for the wedding. I agree with others here: ask your daughter to not invite him, explain to her why, you will see how instantly better you will feel and how that day will be a celebration of your mightiness and your daughters happiness!

    • SAchump,
      Can you guide me toward the 10 week internet therapy for victims of narcissistic abuse? I have been unable to find anything like that and I am trying to leave my disordered husband. It has left me feeling overwhelmed by what has to be done before I can sell this house, and dealing with him has me feeling insane. My search for counseling has not rendered much in the way of the subject. I cannot seem to locate a therapist who gets what I’ve been through and what I’ve had to realize (also 32 years). I am trying to avoid medication but have been tempted many times to write CL and ask Chump Nation for input simply because I feel paralyzed. All of this comes at a very good time and I thank CL and everybody here for their input. I am truly interested in that ten week internet therapy, if you’re willing to share.

  • Mary, I hear you about your concerns about taking meds. When my D-day happened, I got in to a great therapist and she said that I would probably need a mild anti-depressant. I told her I really wanted to avoid that if possible but if she thought I needed to then I would take them.
    As it turned out, I didn’t need them. I went to therapy a lot, exercised a lot and cried a lot. My main challenge was not being able to sleep so I did get a scrip for xanax. I take a tiny dose before bed only on the days I feel really anxious. The therapist said that they are very addictive and can be horrible to withdraw from. She said that I won’t have a problem on my tiny dose and my intermittent use.
    The xanax knocks me out into a fabulous, long sleep. I don’t feel groggy in the morning and the mind-relaxing carries into the next day. It gives me a break from my own head.
    I look forward to the time I won’t need it at all.
    Also, the health food stores carry herbal sleep remedies that really do work. Valerian and Lemon Balm and Hops have worked for me. Sometimes I take those instead of the xanax just to switch it up. Sometimes they leave me a little dizzy in the morning, but not bad.
    I think the important thing is to get in to a mental health professional who can help you understand your options and also provide some talk therapy.
    I avoid all drugs generally. I have to be really sick to take any drugs. However, there are times in life when some drugs are miracle drugs and can be taken temporarily.

    • I take a tiny dose of Xanax to sleep too, .25 to .5, if you take it for more tan 3 days you will experience withdrawal symptoms, benzos are physically addictive from day one. I took that tiny dose foe a while, it was the only thing that let me sleep. And getting off was painful. Unfortunately none of the othe drugs for insomnia did jack shit for me so I’m kinda stuck. Dr just gave me atavan to try but it is just as addictive as the Xanax. I’d cut off my little finger if it meant I could sleep every night drug free!

  • Dealt with in on my own for the first 2 years after I found out. Still not over the hill so I went to a psychiatrist and have been on Lexapro for 2 weeks now. My “natural” gas just gave out, so I sought help. I’m happy I did. This shit changes us. Hang in there!

  • Dear Mary– I feel for you, you are in such a painful place. But you have already done so much! Look at what you have achieved to move forward. So mighty! Don’t discount that.

    As far as the meds question, as always, the crowd here has buckets of wisdom and many good points of view. I’ve been terribly depressed for years, even prior to D-da (gee-wonder why??) so I’ve tried a gamut of SSRis (serotonin reuptake inhibitors, like Zoloft or Celexa), and moved to SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors–now I’m on Cymbalta, which has the added benefit of addressing the neurological pain I have from a serious spinal condition). Both work, in my kindergarten understanding, by preventing the brain from too rapidly reabsorbing the chemicals you need to feel stable, optimistic, balanced and so forth.

    They’re not “happy ” pills–it’s not snorting coke! It’s more like as one of us said above, they get you to a place where you can help your self, where you’re not immobilized by the depression (pain, anguish, guilt).

    Anti anxiety meds like ativan (lorazepam) do different things altogether– ativan being part of the benzodiazepam family has the potential to be addictive, but it is also very, very effective.

    I’m on diazepam (Valium) for sleeping & muscle spasms. I had nearly tapered off, when my Ex dropped his shit bomb. They say it’s harder than heroin to get off of, so now I get to detox myself a second time. wheee. But I want to emphasize that this is extremely different than a typical antidepressant–in fact its. not one at all.

    There are also non-benzo anti anxiety meds.

    All of which is to say, find a good consulting psychiatric meds doc, and let her/him know what’s going on with you. You want one who will talk to you for a little while (often the older ones are more trained to do that in my experience). And they will be very sympathetic. It’s what they are there for! And you can tell them you don’t want to be on for long etc. If the doc is non responsive to that, find another. You can do it–it’s a pain, but you are mighty!

    Congratulations to you on the wedding of your lovely daughter. I wish you the best of all possible mother of the bride times –Remember, no on can take that away from you. You’ll always be the Mother of the Bride.

    • Mary

      I should also add that I had a psychiatrist AND a therapist to talk to while taking the meds. The support there was invaluable. So if you are going to do meds find a good therapist as well. They go hand in hand. Like someone else said, I’m sure you have good connections to find a great therapist. Just maybe not one from the hospital where you ex would be their boss :/

  • Hi Mary

    I have been where you are right now. While my circumstances were different, I too had to be part of other people’s celebrations like weddings and babies (and a few funerals). And I had a set back like the one you describe and was back on the couch and not coping.

    What helped me was to change my mindset.

    It was (and sometimes still is) so incredibly difficult — so unbelievably difficult. If you can, try to move ahead in your thinking — from what you feel is loss, humiliation and betrayal to what is a blessing (i.e., I am so proud of my daughter, I am so blessed with 4 beautiful girls, I am so lucky that I don’t need to worry about money to pay for this amazing wedding).

    In my case, I had to accept that I would never have kids and see what I was gaining — specifically a niece and a nephew. Wow, blessings.

    Listen, everyone knows about your ex’s character. EVERYONE. What they don’t know is your character and how strong you really are.

    So you won’t dance with your ex during the wedding – so what. Guess how many other people you will be dancing with. Guess how busy you will be during that night. Guess how freaking proud you will be of the fantastic family you have. Guess how many people will say they admire your tenacity and class. Guess who will be glowing with pride. You.

    Yes you will cry because all Mom’s cry at weddings. But you will cry out of joy.

    What you are going through is so hard. I used to feel like I was in a boat alone — sometimes without oars, sometimes in rough seas, sometimes I could not see the horizon. Utterly out of control. But you have control. Repeat, you have control. Repeat, you are now in control of your life.

    I did not take drugs. What helped me mostly was therapy. Followed by: exercise, work, walking in nature, eating good foods, taking care of myself, reiki, and letting myself feel & really grieve (after not feeling anything for years).

    I echo everyone. If you feel the need for drugs, talk to a professional. No one will judge you for it. Follow you gut.

    I know you can’t believe this now but it gets better. Your life is already extraordinarily better. I hated people telling me this because it did not make me feel any better — but darn, it is true.

    Forget about karma, Mary. It takes its sweet a** time but it does come. Focus on you right now.

    P.S. I really wish that I had found this site when I was going through my divorce 7 years ago. I can’t believe they similarity of the stories and how utterly flawed cheaters are. Thank you Chump Lady!!!

    • You bring to mind another idea. Why not ask one or more male relatives or friends (not a “date”) to be your dance partner at the wedding? My divorced friend whose daughter married this summer did not have ANY relatives at her table. She surrounded herself with her friends! And then her brothers and nephews danced the night away with her. It was wonderful. So if you are doing the planning–think outside the box so that you are surrounded by loving friends and relatives!

  • My MD put me on Celexa, ramping up from 5 to 10 to 20 to 40 mg. Her diagnosis was situational depression and anxiety. Understatement. Considering what an utter wreck I was it didn’t really matter what I think about drugs or not or worry about dependency. I was already addicted to an emotionally abusive cheater and kicking that habit hurts like f@#$. The point was to get functional again, I had kids, a job and a divorce to plan. But I also trusted the MD — I’m certainly not the first patient she’s had come in asking for STD tests and something to get me back on my feet.

    They did make me sleepy at first, I didn’t have the weight gain problem — following the DDays I dropped far too much weight and looked awful. The first thing I noticed was that I was able to sleep (though I also got some Ambien just in case). Then after about three weeks, I noticed the edge was off — I could focus on things that needed to be done rather than being paralyzed. I still felt depressed but not immobilized or having panic attacks with every trigger – I think the drugs helped me through the pain but they certainly did not hide or erase it. 5 months later I have gone back down to 20mg. At some point I’ll see how I do without, but right now is not the time.

    She also had me start taking a B complex and calcium/magnesium/zinc complex vitamins, Omega3s and eating more protein. I saw a therapist and tried a support group. I felt the support group was very helpful, more so than the therapist. I also try to get to the gym on a regular basis and every night I take the dog for a 30 minute walk. The irony of all this is how badly I had neglected myself for almost 15 years in catering to the soul-sucking black hole of my cheater’s needs.

    • Considering what an utter wreck I was it didn’t really matter what I think about drugs or not or worry about dependency. I was already addicted to an emotionally abusive cheater and kicking that habit hurts like f@#$.

      ^ LOL! oh my gosh, I needed that laugh. I can SO relate.

    • Oh, yes. I did 2000 mg of fish oil and 1000 mg of Vitamin C. I used (and still do) a very good protein powder and added fruit for a breakfast shake. I was scared that the inability to sleep and keep down solid food would lead me to get sick on top of it all but I didn’t have so much as a cold.

  • Mary,

    I have taken meds and thought I would answer some of your specific questions, as they related to my experience. Others may have a different experience, of course. Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, so this is not official medical advice, just my opinions based on my experiences.

    By way of background, my husband of 24 years died suddenly of a heart problem. I tried to not take any meds, and made it about a year, then started having panic attacks. At that point, I decided meds were preferable to feeling like I was going to die several times per day. I took them for a few years, then tapered off with no bad side effects. The trick to going off these meds is to do it gradually. If you try to go “cold turkey” you will feel all kinds of awful side effects like dizziness, headaches, and “twitchiness” (I know because I tried it once.) After about 6 years, I started dating again, and got involved with a guy who turned out to be a liar, deceiver and cheater, so I can relate to what those on this site have gone through, but not to the same degree since we weren’t married. I also took the meds to help get over the craziness of that relationship, then went off them again.

    You ask: Should I start a drug?
    This is a personal decision, of course, but my advice is to try it. Take it to get you through the wedding, then decide if you want to continue based on how you feel. If you want to get off, just taper down the dosage over the course of several weeks.

    You ask: Will it help?
    The amount of help will depend on your body chemistry and how it reacts to the med prescribed. You may have to try more than one. I tried Zoloft, but it made me dizzy, so got prescribed Lexapro and it worked fine. I felt “normal.”

    You ask: Will it make me more nuts?
    No, if you take a drug that works with your body chemistry it should not make you nuts. The goal of taking the med is to feel “normal.” If you do not feel normal, go back to your doctor and get a different prescription.

    You ask: Will I be able to feel the joy of the day for her?
    Again, if you get the right drug, you should be able to feel happiness. My experience is that it dampens the emotions a bit, leveling them off, so it may not be an ecstatic high. I was able to feel the emotions. When I first started taking them, I had to get the right dose. If you take too strong a dose, it can interfere with the feeling of emotions, so again, the goal is to get a med and dose that helps you feel “normal” – like your old self.

    You ask: Will it hopefully prevent me from the godforsaken ugly cry during their vows?
    Yes, I believe so based on my experience. While you may not feel the ecstatic high, you will also not feel the sever lows, either.

    You ask: Will I get fat?
    I gained a bit of weight on Lexapro (about 10 pounds) which came off right away once I went off the med. I thought it preferable to gain 10 pounds than feel like I was going to die. I took Prozac to get over the cheater and it had no effect on my weight at all. I think this varies based on the person and the med/dosage.

    You ask: Will I turn into a vegetable?
    If you are taking the right dosage, you will not turn into a vegetable. If you feel like that, go back to your doctor and get a different med or lower dosage.

    You ask: Will I wish I had taken it sooner?
    I did, but I’m sure each person will have a different perspective.

    You ask: Will I want to commit suicide when I get off it?
    There are warnings that some people (mainly young people as in teens) can sometimes experience suicidal thoughts when going ON the med. When you get off it, if you taper down, you should not feel like you want to commit suicide unless you are suffering from severe depression anyway (in which case you could benefit from continuing the meds – ask your doctor if you have depression).

    You ask: Will I ever get off it?
    Yes, you can get off. As I said, tapering works. I’ve done it more than once with no severe side effects.

    You ask: Is one name brand better than another?
    Each person is different and it depends on your body chemistry. Try one and if it makes you feel weird, go back and get something different.

    You ask: Can I drink on it without getting hammered?
    Yes, in moderation, although it is not recommended. My experience was that I could drink one or two glasses of wine. The main reason they don’t recommend it is that if you are depressed, drinking will worsen the depression, and sometimes there are interactions (depending on the med) with alcohol, so read all the warnings when you get the prescription. An added benefit for me is that I didn’t even WANT to drink while taking it, so I am now a non-drinker even after going off the meds. I count this as a benefit but others may see it differently.

    You ask: Will it stop the never-ending desire to punish him for what he did to me?
    It will help likely dampen these feelings, but maybe not eliminate them if you are at the right dosage. If you are taking a higher dosage, it might eliminate them, but I would say some amount of anger in this regard is normal and natural. Just try to get a dose that helps you avoid the extremes.

    You ask: Will it temporarily help, and then when I get off it, I’ll have to deal with everything all over again?
    It’s possible, but in my experience the passage of time helped not to go back to square one. When I got off (both times) I didn’t go back into the grief/depression/anger cycle. I felt much better and happier with life in general.

    You ask: Will I be going through life floating with cotton in my head?
    Again, the goal is to feel normal. If you have cotton in your head, you are probably either taking the wrong med and/or wrong dosage.

    You ask: Did you hate it or you couldn’t have gotten through without it?
    I felt it helped. I may have been able to “tough it out” like I normally do on so many things, but I was glad to have some help getting over the toughest times.

    You ask: Now is the time? Or keep fighting through it?
    I say try it. You can always go off it (by tapering) if you don’t like how you feel.

    Wishing you the best no matter what you decide! Hang in there!

  • Oh Mary, I am so sorry for what you had to endure. As soon as I read your ex is CEO of large hospital, I was not surprised. I believe that a large percentage of those at the top in business, entertainment, politics and sports are disordered — sociopaths or narcissists. They wouldn’t have made it to the top in those cut-throat fields otherwise.

    I did go on antidepressants for awhile after my marriage blew apart. I was unable to sleep, lost 30 pounds in a month, was having muscle spasms and could not think. I went on Zoloft, which I had taken in the past. I also had Klonipin to take as needed for extreme anxiety attacks. You might want to look into Klonipin if you feel you really only need the med to get through the wedding. It works great for quick relief of anxiety, but if you take it long term, it is addictive.

    Zoloft was quite helpful for my depression, but I eventually stopped taking it because it made my hands shake, I gained a lot of weight (drs don’t tend to tell you this, but almost all antidepressants cause you to gain weight. Wellbutrin is an exception to that, though.) and I started to feel that although it helped with depression, it made anxiety worse.

    I think antidepressants are great for a person who really is suffering and needs to get through a rough time. It IS trial-and-error though to find the one right for you — everyone reacts differently, and you might have to try several meds before finding the one that helps more than it hurts. Be aware that almost all can cause fatigue, dizziness, dry mouth, constipation and shakiness, at least during the first week or two. Sometimes these side effects go away as you adjust to the med, sometimes not.

    Also, it is really important to know that it is NOT easy to go off antidepressants, and this is something else drs don’t warn you about. You CANNOT just go cold turkey. You have to wean off them slowly, and it can be an awful process. I felt really lousy when I went off Zoloft, it took a few weeks to feel better.

    I’ve also been on Lexapro, which made me anxious; Wellbutrin, which made me feel very angry and riled up; and a bunch of others I forget that all either made me horribly constipated or exhausted. Like I said, it’s trial-and-error to find the right med for you.

    Good luck, Mary, and keep reading here. This site is a lifesaver.

    • Glad Its Over

      LOL I was on WellButrin and I didn’t notice it made me angrier than I should have been. Besides once I got angry is when things changed so may the anger part was a good side affect ?

    • Glad, I do agree that people at the top of their professions are more likely to become involved in affairs. Their power attracts others to them, and they often enjoy being told how great they are. I definitely believed this attitude played a part in my ex’s affair with his married grad student. She just worshipped him, fed his ego, etc.

      • Yes, same here. I really loved him, and would have had him back if he had done genuine remorse.
        But had to go through learning he was a narcissist and that we never really had the relationship I thought.

  • Mary- you’ve come to the right place for support. Having a community of support is crucial regardless of the circumstance, medicated or unmedicated. One of my thoughts reading what you wrote is that it sounds like you’ve been putting up a strong front for some time. You don’t have to put up a front. Let yourself be real. Your kids are grown, they were hurt in the process too and you wrote that they don’t want to see him. Can you have a cry fest with them? You share a very similar pain and it would probably help all of you.

    You wrote: “All this is to say, I’ve been through some really, really dark days with all this, and I refused to take any drugs. It made no sense to me that I would mess my brain up because of an asshole’s fuckedupedness. No way. So I forged through without an aspirin or a Zoloft…I kind of feel like I got this far unaided….what’s a day in November?” Do you realize the MIGHTINESS you’ve already demonstrated in writing this?! Damn girl!! There is a TON of weight and worth in how far you’ve already come. Revel in your mightiness, the success you’ve already had. Holy cow lady you’ve got quite an arsenal full of it!! He’s your EX! You finished that process! It may not feel like it but holy buckets you’ve got a lot power in you!!!

    We never know how far our strength goes until we think we have no more. I’ve never taken any of those meds, never had a reason to. I don’t speak from personal experience there. Correct me if I’m wrong, but from what you wrote, I’m going to put it out there that it doesn’t sound like you really want to take the meds. It seems off to me to say “It made no sense to me that I would mess my brain up because of an asshole’s fuckedupedness. No way.” and then turn right around when it gets hard again and take the meds. It’s your own choice if you take them. Based on what you wrote, it sounds like you want a one-day, quick fix. No drug has zero side effects, there’s always a give and take somewhere and anti-depressants aren’t like the 3 day course of antibiotics you’d take for a UTI. There is no one-day dose to quick fix things when it comes to anti-anxiety and anti-depression. You will find a quick fix that has much longer lasting benefits from exercising, eating right and getting enough sleep. Be open and honest with your daughter. I’ll be blown over if she isn’t concerned about how you’ll do on her wedding. Not the “I want everything picture perfect” concern but the legitimate, “she’s my mother and she’s been through hell how can I support her” concern. If she doesn’t want him there, then don’t let him come in. Period.

    You are MIGHTY Mary. My goodness you are MIGHTY!!!!

    Focus on how you made it through the dark valleys you’ve already lived through. You made it through them, you’re still standing, maybe a little more worn and torn up but you made it through. Regardless of how scratched up you are, you did something that worked and got you through it. What did you do? You made a big jump from going from eyes constantly open on the couch for 4 days to filing for divorce. If you read the comments in these posts you’ll see dozens of them that took years to file and for you it was 7.5 months! There’s a VERY big difference there.

    I echo what someone else said, it seems you write well. Write out all the hateful, spiteful, things-you’re-ashamed-to-admit-you’re-actually-thinking things in a notebook or word doc or whatever. Get it out of your system. Burn it when you’re done if you want or lock it up somewhere. Or find someone that will let you be real and either won’t be shocked or will get over any shock at what you say. You need to be allowed to be real. That probably means you’ll wish him dead (and you’ve probably already wished that anyway), or that maybe you’re quietly, secretly hoping he gets a little too close to those alter boy candles and catches fire. By all means wish away, none of us can say we’ve never-ever thought anything like that, that’s part of being real, admit you’re actually thinking it, get it out of your system. It sucks waiting for Karma but it will come. Knowing the professional position he’s currently in, when he falls, he’s going to fall long and hard.

    You’ve been put through hell, you have a right to be angry. Let yourself be angry, find a safe anger passage that works for you (aka don’t do anything stupid, like hiring a hit man-as satisfyingly tempting as that may sound at times, don’t do it ha. If he’s in the Mafia then let the Mafia take care of that). Cry if you want to cry.

  • Try the meds… here is my totally unscientific reasoning… your brain, like your body just gets worn out when you go through such a horrific experience. Your brain has used up all of its naturally produced happy juice, it is just plum tuckered out, it needs a bit of help. If you are not a naturally depressed sort of person, then take the meds. You will find that they help, with the thoughts and help with the sleep. Once you have some control over both of these things you will find that you don’t need the meds quite as much and you can come off them. I have been in this place twice with my barely human xh. Twice they have brought me back to my old perky happy self. much love.

    • Love your explanation. I know the scientific one, but yours is really good and not so far of the official one 🙂

  • Mary, take the drugs.

    If someone hit you with a car, you wouldn’t just expect time to help you heal the physical scars.

    Your heart is broken! (mine is too). Medicine for my brain is helping heal my broken heart. And I’m nursing a baby too.

  • Dear Unmarried Mary,

    First learn this: Depression is a DISEASE, just like diabetes. The right drug won’t mess with your brain, it will help your brain to function normally. Some people (like my mother) can control it only with the right diet, because the malfunction of her body is only partial. Some people like my father has to take drugs or he would die. That’s because the malfunction is much more extensive. Depression is THE SAME. At some point, you can get better with little changes in your life (exercise, go out with friends, meditation, etc), BUT (a big BUT) sometimes you can’t. And there is NO SHAME in that.

    I was once (7 year ago actually) like you. I will not share my history off sadness because is not important (they are all practically the same) but my history of recovery.

    I didn’t want to take drugs. I went to work every day. I cried at least 3 times in the day while at work, i just went to the bathroom, cried, wash my face and kept working. I went home (move back with my parents), ate something, and cry myself to sleep again. It was like that for a year until a friend told me that he was going to take an hour for me with a psychiatrist and he was going to pay for it if necessary. I went to that guy and 2 more (one woman in the middle). They were arrogants jerks, the drugs didn’t work on me, and it felt like a waste of time. But my people didn’t let me leave the therapy. And it was all dark until ONE DAY i met the RIGHT THERAPIST. This was a guy who was used to treat cancer patients, tortured victims, etc. This was not an arrogant prick, but he wasn’t sweet either. He force me to face the TRUTH: the man that i was grieving didn’t exist. The man that a thought i love was a coward, and a strong woman like me, would never be in love with a coward, so the only explanation was that i was still in love with a fantasy. He is a psychologist, and in my country they can’t give drugs, so he took me to a psychiatrist, a wonderful woman who listened to me and gave me the drugs i needed.

    Depression is a disease, just like diabetes. The right drug won’t mess with your brain, it will help your brain to function normally.

    My advice? PLEASE, PLEASE search for a REALLY GOOD therapist, and get help. They are expensive (my psychiatrist it’s the most expensive one in my city, but also THE BEST) but been able to enjoy the sun again, to feel the fresh air in the morning, to laugh with all your body…it’s gonna be the best investment i promise.

    Don’t try to be strong for other be strong FOR YOU. Don’t try to be “a good woman” try to become a HAPPY one.

    PS: I apologize for any fault in grammar or orthography. English is not my first language

    • What a wonderful post. What a wonderful testimony to the determination not only to recover, but to find the right people to help you thrive. And from the perspective of a writing teacher, you are a fine writer in English.

    • Pame, I, too, appreciated your post. Especially:

      “…face the TRUTH: the man that i was grieving didn’t exist. The man that a thought i love was a coward, and a strong woman like me, would never be in love with a coward, so the only explanation was that i was still in love with a fantasy.”

      I am in the same predicament. Trying to get over someone who never really existed at all.

  • Mary, I am so sorry for what you have gone through. It was so unfair and inexcusable and let’s face it, rotten of your ex to do these things to you. It might even feel more unfair and more abhorrent since it sounds like it was fairly public and he is continuing to fight you in his effort to justify his inexcusable actions. I too am not far on the other side of a hostile divorce and a downright nightmare of post-divorce actions, legal posturing and thousands upon thousands of dollars of legal fees because of my ex’s need to look good in public. But this is not about my divorce, it’s about you.

    I have worked in disability for more than 25 years. I daily deal with everything from mild to severe mental health diagnoses, as well as a host of other medical conditions, and how they affect people’s ability to function. I have also personally dealt with severe depression and understand some of the overwhelming abyss you may be feeling. And my parents are clinical psychologists. So I’d like to share a few words from my observations and experiences. He treated you like sh*%. You didn’t deserve it. I would venture to guess he’s still treating you like sh*% in order to make himself look and feel better. Truth: it isn’t working. But you can’t control him and believe me, I’ve tried. So what’s your job? To keep moving forward, pick yourself up: daily, hourly, heck, every 10 minutes if it’s that bad, and keep going. You have support. GOOD. USE IT.

    Regarding medications – please don’t be afraid of them. Is there hype? Yep. Is it based on any fact? Perhaps in some cases. But do you want to rely on hype and non-medical professionals to make your medical decisions? And let’s be clear on this – what you are describing has lasted longer than any period of adjustment into a medical issue. Is that bad? Nope. Good news – it can be helped. So let’s take your questions – should you start a drug? Maybe. Will it help? Most likely. Will it make you more nuts? Very unlikely, and the good news is that if it does, there are others to try. Will it prevent you from becoming unglued at the wedding? Probably not, but will you be more “glued” if you aren’t taking it? Will you get fat? Probably not, but some of them do cause a little weight gain. You will not turn into a vegetable unless you’re over medicated and if you stick with what your medical provider tells you to do, you greatly lessen your chances of anything like that. Are there side effects? Yep, sometimes, and you know what? They often dissipate after a while. It is unlikely you would have to stay on it for a long period of time, and as long as you stop taking it AS DIRECTED (hint: do NOT stop cold turkey), it should be fine. Again, trust the medical professional. That’s why they’re there. Ask them all your questions. And trust them to select the best one for you. Please don’t go in insisting on a specific one. The one that was a miracle for someone else may not be the best one for you.

    Here’s the thing – barring something unfortunate (like death), you are going to get through this, even when it doesn’t feel like it. How do I know? Because I keep waking up and have found my parents and the few friends he left me with were right about that even when I didn’t believe them. So the question is, do you keep trying to force yourself to make it through it without meds or do you make it through with them? I can’t answer that for you, but I promise you this: at the end of this journey, whenever you reach “meh,” there is no medal or special prize for making the journey drug-free. Hear that? No medal. You’re through it. Look at it like childbirth – some people are bound and determined to have a natural childbirth with no drugs and heaven forbid, no cesarean section, but you know what happens to those who do have to go that route? Yep, they have a baby. Are they a better mother because their circumstances were such that they didn’t need that medical intervention? Nope. They’re still a mom and there is still a baby. Have you ever seen any medals for people who make it through horrific births without medical intervention? Nope, me either. So look at the possibility of taking an antidepressant or maybe even an anti-anxiety drug like that. You know all the hype right now about the stigma of mental illness because of Robin Williams’ suicide? Well don’t let the fear of meds cause you to buy into that stigma. Maybe you need them, maybe you don’t. PLEASE talk to your doctor, a psychiatrist or even a psychiatric nurse practitioner. You know what? Taking meds doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t make you less of a person. Experiencing more of the pain and devastation doesn’t cause you to be better. You’re going to still feel it, still have to deal with your crappy ex, and still go through this. But it can be a tool to help you. And seriously – if there is the slightest chance you can lessen any of the feeling of not being able to cope and turn it into knowing you CAN cope, wouldn’t it be nice to take that chance? And whether this helps your reading this post or not, I’ve been on one for a long time. Pre-divorce. Although when looking back in writing this post, I realize I started after a year of horrible things my ex was doing to me and our marriage a long time ago (yeah, I know). Has being on it make me feel less of the pain of the divorce and aftermath? God I hope so. Because it’s been horrific even with meds. But my experience has not resulted in any of your worries (except I have chosen to stay on at this time), so it can happen. And know this: you are not alone, and you will get through this.

  • Dear Mary,
    ME TOO! Married 24 years this November. My dday was this May.(he has a girlfriend at work.. blah blah blah.. doesn’t know what he wants to do- said he is sorry but can’t fix it. WTF) Our daughter is getting married this OCTOBER! I am planning a wedding and trying to cope with asshole. I asked him to move out at the end of June. Have not seen him since.. he will not return calls and will only text or email me. JERK. . My daughter is having anxiety and panic attacks and is falling apart.. yes, this should be the happiest time of our life.(I took her to talk to a dr today about short term lexapro and xanax- and finally she agreed to go to counseling, too) I am trying to hold it together but fall apart here and there. It’s ugly. I take Lexapro daily at bed time.. 20mg. I feel fine on it. I have emotions and cry and laugh and have good days and bad days. I never feel zoned out on it. I do drink here and there and don’t seem to have a problem. Lexapro helps me get up and do my day. I can get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other. I feel it helps me NOT OVER react or do things that would be BAD for everyone. It gives me more control over myself. I have Xanax for EXTREMELY bad days.. like a panic attack or to sleep thru the night only if I REALLY need it. I did here and there at fist in June. Xanax just makes me zone out and I can not function on it. It does calm me down when I can not calm myself down. I have learned to do that on my own now. I go to counseling, walk miles and miles, talk to friends, work, pray, journal, paint. When I need to cry I go for it.. and let ‘er rip! I don’t cry as long and as hard now as I used to. Crying is good! I am slowly ,slowly getting to OK. I have not divorced dumb ass yet. I really want to get thru the wedding. I have talked to an attorney, know my rights in my state, started to fill out the paper work where I can. I visit Chump Lady DAILY! AND read her book.. it is excellent!!!
    I am dreading the wedding cuz I will have to see jackwagon there. I have a fab dress.. great sparkly shoes, and awesome jewelry. I will keep on walking and losing weight while he just keeps drinking himself fatter and dumber. IDIOT!
    My kids and I are a united front. We love each other. They think their dad is an ass and an alcoholic. My son is helping with wedding things and helps me take care of the house. He is awesome! My daughter is considering NOT having her father walk her down the isle. IT is her choice. Whatever she wants – it’s her wedding.
    So long story short, YOU are not alone in this situation.. SUCKS!!! I am right here in the same situation!! There are many of us out here. Talk with your dr.. look things up on the web. I did try Effexor (SP) – zoned me way out- quit that one; I tried Zoloft but I felt dizzy and zoned out on that one, too. I have done well with Lexapro.
    BIG mamma bear hugs to you.. I am sorry we are going thru this shit.. Karma is coming to him.. just stand back and out of the way.. !!
    Hang tough,

  • Think of the meds like training wheels – they keep you upright until you’re ready to pedal on your own again.

    Now, for me – I’m probably on them for life, and was on them before I got involved with XW. My balance sucks 🙂

    • I know people whose lives are livable, thanks to meds. If your body doesn’t make the right chemicals in the right balance, then you’re going to need meds. I’m happy the meds exist.

  • Dear Mary
    I think I went through some of what you are going through – the words having your guts sucked out with a vacuum really resonated with me. I know what it feels like to still have it kicking me years later. I think the first year I was just thankful to be out of the situation but I was more focused on just surviving than I realized. I had been divorced before when I was young and I didn’t realize that being cheated on was a totally different experience. So I went to my doctor in the second year after DDay and told her I didn’t know why I wasn’t moving on, and I felt like I had lost all my passion and energy for life and for anything I had previously loved. I refused her offer of anti-depressants (I too thought I can power through this, after all I’d been left before) but I did take her up on her offer of a counsellor in the same clinic. This counsellor said it was obvious that I didn’t want to get better, that I enjoyed being stuck. I left, went home sobbing, and never went back. My gut was telling me that this just wasn’t true, but I didn’t know the truth and I didn’t know how to tell anyone. I told a close relative and several close friends what I was going through and that I thought that maybe I had depression. Their response was initial concern, but then indifference (they actually said things like ‘well you seemed fine at Christmas dinner?!’) Yes I could hold it together for one day! I was also at a brand new job that I had started 3 days before the big DDay blowup and in the middle of an intense 10-month training program for the job, and my boss and coworkers never suspected a thing. My response was to isolate myself, and I was too anxious and embarrassed to go back to my doctor as well, knowing that the counsellor had given my records to her. So I spent more than a year with what I now know was depression and PTSD. I didn’t have the words to describe what I had gone through. It wasn’t until I found Chump Lady and Chump Nation that I learned the words ‘abuse’ and ‘gaslighting’. I needed to accept those words, accept that my ex actually didn’t care about me and actually did those things to me. I was so concerned with staying in control and not letting anyone see that I was dying inside that I think it took me way longer than necessary to get to ‘meh’ (I think I mostly there, there are more ‘meh’ days than not now, almost 4 years later). Would I have gotten help and gotten through this sooner either with drugs or therapy or friends or support if I hadn’t tried so hard to hold it together and put up a ‘normal’ in-control front? That’s what I’m hearing in your letter, the fact that you are trying so hard to be there for your family and to keep everything together. Which is wonderful and right, but so very hard on you. Please let yourself feel what you’re feeling, accept what you’ve been through, and please ask for help in whatever form you decide is right for you whether that be pills or therapy or anything. Please just ask for help. My prayers are with you, things will get better, on a Tuesday, I know that from experience.

    • And your post is a powerful reminder that when doctors and counselors don’t listen or make us feel worse about ourselves. That is not to say that therapy is easy or that there aren’t days when I walk out of therapy shaken after having confronted something painful. But the journey out of betrayal and life with a cheater is also a journey about recognizing when ANYONE (spouse, therapist, boss) is abusing us.

  • Mary, I am so sorry for what you are going through. Consider yourself thoroughly hugged. I am one year from D-Day but only 2 months from the day I found my cheating, lying, all-around horrible human being, narcissist, sociopath STBX planning a Hawaiian vacation with his girlfriend. Which he denied – both the girlfriend and the vacation – claiming I ‘misunderstood’ what I read. Which they leave on tomorrow so I am not entirely sure which part of it I misunderstood. I kicked him out that day and have never looked back.

    It was a long marriage (21 years) and we have two daughters. I thought I had it all – though deep down I think I knew I really didn’t. Long story short, he put me through two relentless years of abuse – gaslighting, raging, blaming, projecting, women “friends” I was not allowed to meet, driving my friends and family away…you get the picture. There was almost nothing left of me by the time I finally made him leave. I thought I was going to die. Literally. I have never experienced pain like that in my entire life. If I wasn’t catatonic, I was crying and if I wasn’t crying, I was throwing up. He took everything I believed in and made it a lie. I did not know how I was going to survive much less help my kids survive. I did start taking an antidepressant and it has been a tremendous help to me. I take Wellbutrin and the only side effect I suffered was headaches for the first week or so. I don’t feel numb. I don’t feel like any of my emotions are blunted. In fact, I would describe it as helping me be more me. It took the edge off in a way that let me get up off the floor and start moving forward. I was still in a lot of pain but it took that extreme sadness away enough for me to fully process my grief. It helped me stop crying all day. I am also in therapy – something I highly recommend. Together those things have been invaluable tools in my journey back to myself. I would not presume to tell anyone else what to do but I would suggest that you talk with people you trust about it. It was my best friend who helped me decide to talk to my doctor (a doctor who knows me well) and my doctor who helped me decide to try the medication. My therapist was also very helpful and supportive.

    I cannot imagine how difficult your daughter’s wedding will be. Actually, I can. It will suck. Big time. I hope there is someone who can be there to support you – who’s only job is to hold your hand so you can hold your head up. Don’t let that piece of shit take anything else from you. Go to the wedding and focus on your daughter and her happiness and the grandbabies and the future. And if you need it, get some Xanax. I have a prescription for the lowest possible dose and it’s gotten me through face to face meetings with him and his bitch lawyer. Because, yes, I agreed to “collaborate” our divorce. Because I’m a super-chump. I wanted it over and he convinced me the best way to do that was to sit down and work it out. Terrific idea when you are dealing with a remorseless, conscience-less, liar. Anyway, I don’t take the Xanax lightly as it is addictive. I’ve taken it only a few times and then only a half dose. I was having panic attacks that made it impossible for me to deal with him – once that physical response is triggered it’s impossible to stop it. The Xanax keeps it from triggering in the first place. Again, this is something you should discuss with your doctor and be very careful with. It could steady you enough to smile through the wedding. But I am also not ashamed of needing it or the antidepressant. If you have diabetes you aren’t ashamed of taking insulin so if you have depression why would you be ashamed of taking an antidepressant? As Chump Lady said, we all deal with this in our own way and as best we can under the worst of circumstances. Medication is a tool I am happy to have and to use.

    As far as the never-ending desire to hurt and punish him, well no pill is going to stop that. I hate him so much some times I can barely breathe. If he knew the varied and gruesome ways I imagine him (and her) dying, they’d have nightmares for the next decade. They might hire a bodyguard. Only time eases that. Time and getting on with your life. The greatest tool I know of for getting to “meh” is to focus, focus, focus on making your own life fabulous. After selling our home (closing is tomorrow and I am praying I don’t cry) I am in a rental with my kids. I am laser focused on making this a home for them. Whenever I think of the ass and the slut I force myself to come back to what’s going on with my life. What am I doing, what do I want to be doing? It gets easier every time you do it. The best punishment you can dish out is to not care any more – to get to “meh.” Assholes freaking hate that. 🙂

    Hang in there, Mary. You are not alone!

  • Zoloft worked for me. Different anti-depressants work for other people.

    Everyone, please be VERY careful with xanax, valium or other types of drugs like that which are addictive or highly addictive. Please. They are for short term use and you should be carefully monitored while taking them.

    lorazepam has major long term/permanent side effects when used for long periods. Please be extremely careful with that one too. It should only be used for very short periods of time.

    Google is your friend when it comes to researching meds an MD prescribes.

    MAOI and SSRI are not addictive. They help regulate brain chemistry.

    Be informed, do research, listen to your body.

  • I will make this short.

    I was hospitalized twice on suicide watch and have spent the past 4 years on major medication, including long-term therapy with a social worker.

    I did not have a choice – without all of that I would have killed myself to stop the pain. I couldn’t even ask the question or think about waiting for an answer. Diet, exercise, and everything else wasn’t even possible because I was so traumatized.

    Like previous writers – everyone is different.

    If you need it, get help. I can feel happiness, can lower the dose and am PROUD to say I got the help I needed.

    Nurse-practitioners can prescribe meds at a much lower cost per visit than a psychiatrist, but they require you be in therapy.

    There is a cheek-swab test test to determine the right medication:
    It worked immediately for me and other I know, it may not work for everyone. $200 per test. Affordable, covered by insurance or they charge a sliding scale.

    Try EMDR (didn’t work for me)

    Look into a therapist that specialized is CBT and DBT. They are best for dealing with this kind of trauma.

    Ask CL to give you my email address if you want more information.

    • Wow, the cheek swab thing is wonderful news. I didn’t know that. I did know they are using such tests to figure out cancer treatments in some patients.

  • I went on anti depressants for a few months and came off them BEFORE I discovered the adultery. I was on them because despite my best efforts, life with him was crap.

    Anyway, for me, I don’t want them now, even though on DDay he ‘advised’ me it might be as well to take some – cheek of the bastard!

    Only you know what it is you want to get out of meds. Take the edge off a little? Short term, medium term? Just take the pain away or make you actually feel happy?

    Have a chat with your doc, and also think about other non-drug treatments, there are so many even if for some people they might be a bit too ‘out there’. Counselling obviously, meditation, hypnotherapy, NLP…..I bet something will resonate with you, and that would be the place to start. Whatever gets you through the night.

    Whatever you do, big hugs from me, you have already coped with such a lot I think you are flippin’ awesome.

    Elle x

  • Unmarried Mary, I was also married 32 years when I found out my ex was having a long term affair with his married grad student. I can so relate to what you’re going through! When D-day happened my youngest son had just gotten engaged. The last thing in the world I wanted to think about was a wedding, I felt exactly like you do — paralyzed. It seemed everyone was frustrated that I wasn’t bursting with joy at the thoughts of planning a wedding in the middle of such terrible grief. That was tough because it added guilt on top of a lot of other emotions I was dealing with.

    Luckily my son decided to put the wedding off for another year which bought some time to work through the divorce, sell our home and buy a place of my own. A year later I was in a better place but still hyperventilating at the thought of going through such an emotional event with the man who ripped my heart out of my chest and ground it into the floor as he left. I was determined not to be miserable at the wedding.

    I’ll tell you what I did. I got some Xanax. My main concern was overwhelming anxiety at the thought of seeing my ex for the first time in a year and bursting into tears. I experimented with the Xanax to figure out what dose made me feel calm but not drugged. The day of the wedding I took a half pill mid morning, and another half right before the rehearsal dinner when I knew I would have to see my ex. When I walked in I felt very calm and in control. Sure enough my ex came in behind us, so I walked up to him and gave him a hug. He said “good to see you” but I said nothing. I just smiled and walked to other side of the church and sat down. He, on the other hand, had tears in his eyes, was shaking, and looked generally like a basket case. Once I realize he was in worse shape emotionally than me, I was finally able to relax. In fact I started watching him because every time he looked my way he got more nervous. Anyway, Xanax really helped and kept me from bursting into tears or being overly emotional at our son’s wedding. The last thing I wanted to do was create more drama in his life. I even danced with my ex a few times towards the end of the reception. Taking the Xanax definitely helped me get through the event.

    • Lyn

      That is an awesome story. I’m sure when he looked at you and you were so calm and dignified only drove home the point of how he had fucked up. Ah Karma at it’s finest!

      I first used Xanax for my mother’s funeral. My mother was the first person I had ever lost and we were very close. I admired her on so many levels. Still do. Anyway I didn’t know how I would get through her funeral in the dignified manner that I wanted to and I knew she would want me to so I heard about Xanax and tried it. I did the same as you. Experimented with doses. I never needed much. Just enough to keep my emotions in and not faint. LOL I’m fainter when I get stressed. It’s awful and I sure as hell didn’t want to do it at her funeral.

      If I were in Mary’s shoes that’s the least I would do is take a little Xanax from time to time. It does seem as if she’s been through the worst but the day of the wedding could be totally overwhelming for her.

      Xanax worked for the short term for me but during the aftermath of DDay I need something that was systematic and didn’t have the highs and lows. I had no problem being on Clonazapan and had no problems getting off it.

      Why suffer if you don’t have to. The ordeal is suffering enough.

      • I agree. The Xanax also helped with the horrendous panic attacks I’d have when I first woke up in the mornings after he left. It was such a gift to be able to open my eyes and not feel like I was going to drown in pain. My doctor did warn me Xanax was addictive and said to only take it on the worst days, but not to hesitate to take it when needed. I don’t think I even used a full bottle, but it was a lifesaver in the early days and during family events. It also helped with the very bizarre symptoms of dissociation (A sense of being detached from yourself. A perception of the people and things around you as distorted and unreal).

  • Mary,

    May I say how much I feel for you at this incredibly difficult time.
    Recently divorced after a 20 year marriage, 15 of which my XH spent cheating with various AP.

    Regardless of your choice to take meds or not (there are some very good ones out there), a regimen of omega 3 (fish oil), vitamines (B complex and D) and probiotics (helps to balance out the gut and calm anxiety) have all been incredibly helpful for me.
    Please find yourself a kickass, no holds barred therapist – one who calls bullshit, BULLSHIT.
    And may I give a shout out for Chump Lady’s Survival Guide. Made me laugh, cry, really excellent therapy.

    You’ll get through this, promise. Character is forged in adversity.

    • Mary- Chiropractic care can also work if you’re looking for more natural routes without meds. There are many success stories of people getting off of meds after their spine and nerves are in proper alignment.

  • I thought of something to add that helped me keep a little perspective. I don’t know if it will help or not but whenever It’s a given your are going to grieve things, but whenever I began to feel especially sorry for myself and wonder things like “How could she do this?” (unstated… “to me, etc”), I reminded myself that there are over 7 billion people on the planet, and among the horrible things that are happening to some of them, I am pretty sure there was somebody smarter, better looking, kinder, and more together than myself that had somebody cheat on them and walk out of their with no remorse life after turning it all upside down; meanwhile, somebody else was hanging on desperately to somebody who treats them even more cruelly, so… it really wasn’t about me. Worse happens to people who are even less deserving.

    The cheating and such wasn’t about you, and it says nothing about you.

    • “I am pretty sure there was somebody smarter, better looking, kinder, and more together than myself that had somebody cheat on them and walk out of their with no remorse life after turning it all upside down.”

      Oh, yeah. That was me.
      😉 (Kidding, of course.)

  • Lots of love to you, Mary. I started anti-depressants shortly after my that wife told me about her affair with her boss because I was having suicidal thoughts. They did go away, though it’s hard for me to say if the meds were responsible — I’m on my third medication, as the thoughts came back with the previous two. I have still found it very hard to live life normally and productively — there are things going on other than the adultery which have a bad impact on my mood. Maybe I’m just weak. I tire of getting up and being alive.
    I suggest you talk to a doctor and see what he or she has to say.

    • ANR, I am so very, very sorry for your pain. I know what it is to be suicidal, to be to the point that it seems the only way to make the pain stop is to die. You aren’t weak! You are mighty because you are STILL HERE. I hope that the new med helps and that the other problems in your life ease. I hope that one day you can wake up and not be tired of living. I hope there are people who love you and you can hold on to that until it get’s better. I hope it helps to know that you are not walking this road alone – we’ve all been there to some degree or other. Take care of yourself.

      • Thank-you, Lissa. I do have people who love me — my sons, most notably. If I didn’t have them I wouldn’t bother, I don’t think.

        • You’re a help to a lot of people on this board, me included. I am sure there are others in your “real life” who value who you are and what you do. Hang in there.

    • ANR

      You aren’t weak. You hurt and that’s a horrible feeling. I know exactly what you’re saying though. I’m glad you have something to keep you going, your sons and they need you.

      Your wife was a selfish pig. Do not let that selfish pig take away your value as a lovable person. There’s plenty of love in this world and we all need to go out and find it and believe that it doesn’t have to come from one person, our mates or ex mates.

      Lots of hugs to you and good positive thoughts as well. Hang in there friend.

      • thanks, tryinghard! maybe my wife was a a selfish pig, but maybe she was a selfish pig who saw and see how little value I actually have. I don’t know. Anyhow, I don’t want to hijack this thread. But thanks for your kind words

        • ANR,
          I know how you feel.. thought those thoughts myself! STOP. your family needs YOU. YOU Have value.. you are strong! You have not given up.. you are NOT weak. IT HURTS LIKE HELL! We have all hurt on here. Keep trying meds.. exercise like crazy if you can. Walk , talk to your friends and counselor. You are not a quitter!! Don’t let the selfish pig win! SHE IS AN IDIOT! MOVE ON! HEAD UP! CHIN UP! CHEST OUT! ONE TWO THREE! SMILE ! DAMN IT! Get out there and WIN THIS ONE!!! YOU may be down but you are NOT OUT!
          BIG HUG! now GO! BE AWESOME

          • ANR, you are not alone. No one can describe the hurt of having your love and your heart shoved in your face by someone who doesn’t value it.

            One thing that is really helping me, is the 12 steps programme (for co dependents). The little slogans sound so trite, but boy do they work. Take it easy. First things first. One day at a time. Serenity in accepting what you cannot control. Think. Believe in your higher power.
            I am so grateful. That, and Melanie Tonia Evans. (and Chump Lady, of course)!

    • ANR, thank you for your presence here and your thoughtful comments. I wish you continued healing and more and more bright moments in the coming weeks…

  • Hi Mary,

    I don’t have any experience with medication for depression or anxiety, though I do remember being in the midst of shock and grief, like you are now. It’s really awful — the worst, and I want you to know you’ve been heard and we get it.

    I didn’t medicate for all the reasons you described, but — that said — I don’t see anything wrong with getting help when you are stuck. If medication is what you need to get past this next ordeal, then do get it. Hell, if someone told me that digging in the dirt was the cure for the pain, I would have dug my way to China by now. You know yourself best: if you need the meds, get them.

    That said, I think all of the suggestions listed above are valid. Exercise helps me tremendously, as do writing and meditating. The pain also passes in time — remarkably — though you may not think so now. Time without being in contact with your sociopath ex will bring growth and peace — and even joy.

    So, given that you do not have a time machine, in the short run, do whatever you need to do to help yourself. We have your back.

  • Best of luck to you…..
    I have been managing without meds.
    Lots of meditation and therapy.
    I too lost a marriage of 27 years. Together for 30.
    I have three daughters and when my middle daughter moved to Canada 2 months after D day and got married two months after that. He went to the ceremony and I was unable to because of lack of funds and also for the fact that I could have never managed to survive being anywhere near the Man. Mine is also a sociopath. Life long cheater and who the hell knows what else. I am still married to the jerk but have not seen him since the day I threw him out. NC!!!!! except for texts having to do with the finances. I still live in the house with my oldest and 3 grandkids. It’s been almost 18 months and I am slowly gaining emotional ground. My oldest is also going through a Divorce. Her husband has an addiction problem that he refuses to acknowledge. My youngest lives with her boyfriend and we have an awkward relationship because of fucktard. Our family is shattered because of his behavior. My oldest has written him off and the other two rarely speak to him. I can totally understand why you can’t fathom a wedding. I missed out on my daughters wedding….she didn’t want him there, but wanted me to be there. But because he has the financial control and was able to finagle his way into convincing her he should be there, he won! If you need to take a medication to get through….by all means do! But like Tracy said, be a ware of the addiction possibilities with the anti anxiety meds. I was once dependant on them. they actually can make matters worse in the end. Best of luck to you!

    • Hi Mary, Oh my your post sure hit home for me, I planned a wedding pretending everything was o.k. and that I did not know about the OW. I also did not want to ruin this time for my daughter with divorce proceedings, and I needed to get my financial matters in order, I cried every single day and still do! It is a grieving process and it so painful. I will be filing in the next two weeks and am sure that will start the whole process over again. I cannot believe the things I have discovered about the man I am married to and I thought I knew. He still doesn’t know I know and I can’t wait til I can call him a liar to his face. I have been on antidepressants in the past for a period in my life when I was dealing with an addiction., took them for a year, went to therapy and then started exercising ( releases endorphins) and got off. I say see a Doctor tell him what you have told us and go from there, Do get therapy also though for that really helps. I too bought Chump ladys book and have reread it over and over just like I do the text messages my husband sent to his “friend” “asset’;, for i have been living in denial for years and cannot and will not fall back into that. This site has been a lifesaver helping me stay in reality. My heart goes out to you, but you can do this.

  • Hi Mary and I’m so very sorry this happened to you. I too know the utter devastation and heartbreak of this kind of betrayal like so many here. We’re here for you!

    I started taking Welbutrin and it has been a life saver and I’ve kept taking it for years. One time I decided to stop and weaned myself off of it and after a few months felt the sadz creeping back in so started it again and have decided I might be taking it for the rest of my life and if so, so be it. It’s not like I live in a euphoric state but it keeps me going. There was no weight gain, no interference with my ‘love’ life, no trouble sleeping and I can drink on it. I also had to get on some super strength Ambien for a couple of months but didn’t take them after that.

    I flew to a friend’s wedding in Reno right after dday and that was the craziest thing I could have done. I had some kind of breakdown in the motel room the day after and couldn’t catch a plane home until the next day. I don’t what the hell I was thinking going to a wedding I didn’t need to be at. Nothing like going insane at Circus Circus. Ha!

    • Ha. Yeah a wedding after D-Day is not thrilling. I remember driving past Copley Square in Boston the week after my first D-Day, seeing a bride and groom smiling for a camera, and fighting the urge to roll down my window and shout “Don’t do it! It’s a sham! The whole thing is a sham!”

      • Yeah, really LilyBart…what the hell was I thinking?? A few years later I was in Maui with a friend and I saw a lovely couple getting married on the beach and I remarked wryly to my friend ‘yeah, it’s all fun and games until one of them cheats.’ Too bad but I am seriously that ‘crusty.’

      • Yep, my niece got married last fall (a year and 9 months after D-Day) and I just had to bow out. Had to fight the temptation to find a card that said, “yeah, Good luck with that!”

      • A dear friend was in a wedding and when the bride stepped out of the limo, a passerby yelled, “Don’t do it.” My friend thought it was funny. I thought it was sound advice.

    • I was a bridesmaid in a wedding 6 weeks after dday. And we went dress shopping for bridesmaids dresses the week after dday. Thankfully we just got dresses at the mall. A traditional store would have been much harder to handle. But that was still rough because I spent the whole time trying not to break down in tears.

      I wish I could have celebrated my friend and her marriage as enthusiastically as I had hoped to, and I truly was happy for them, but the pain was so very raw that my goal was just to not vomit at the wedding. I don’t know how I made it through without crying (for myself) or worse, to be honest, but somehow I did. I still feel bad though that my awful life experience cast sadness on what should have been such a joyful time for her.

      There was a hurtful comment said by an unthinking friend of the couple at a pre-wedding party. The bride had briefly left the party to get something from her car and someone made a joke about runaway brides. Then another person (who knew what I was going through!) said that if someone left their partner that suddenly, there had to be major problems in the marriage. (My ex left right after dday and never looked back, and he had never given any indications of anything other than happiness in the marriage.) I left a few minutes after that comment. I think I cried the whole drive home.

      But somehow I survived that and the actual wedding. Maybe because I was so busy with bridesmaid’s duties I couldn’t pause to actually process any emotions? Whatever it was, I am grateful.

      Weddings are tough. And for those of you who are planning (or planned) your children’s weddings after dday, and also with the presence of your ex being a factor too… Wow. You are indeed incredibly mighty.

  • P.S. Wouldn’t it be AWESOME if Chump Nation could come and be with you at your daughter’s wedding and hold you up!? We can be there with you in spirit! Let us know the day.

    • Oh, Syringa!!! Yeah, I agree!! Super idea! Where do I sign up?! And, ‘if only in spirit’ is what we all can do, yes, please do let us know the date—Please…..

      I actually still love weddings. Been to a few since my multiple d-days and still find myself happy for the couple each time. Why? Because I know that, in spite of many situations such as us chumps have endured, there are nearly as many that turn out fine!

      Besides, the weddings I have been privileged to attend have involved some really precious people, some I have known for years, who are living kind, loving, genuine, authentic lives. Gotta love and support that!

      Forge on…….

  • I married a freak too.

    20 yrs, 4 kids and infidelity pretty much the entire time, culminating with the decade long fuckfest of the MOW.

    I’m pretty sensitive to OTC and prescriptions meds, so I opted not to take them. However, you are smack in the middle of an enormous trigger. Talk to your MD and your therapist about a workable solution. If my oldest were getting married, I also would want the ability to focus on his happiness and his wedding. I would feel as you do. Explore your options.

  • Mary, I posted earlier this morning. Forgot to say I’ve been in therapy too since I started the lexapro. I think it’s a good combination if you can find a caring therapist to see. Hope you have found some inspiration here today. CL printed my letter a few months ago and I was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support. XO

  • Mary, I struggled for so long (a year and 3 months) and all was doing was crying and crying and I couldn’t stop. I feared for myself and my 3 kids (12, 16 and 21) and my ability to take responsibility for them. So I went on Effexor, and it’s made all the difference. I am not numbed….just level. So, I can handle all the stuff I have to do to get through each day…for me and for them. As time passes, and you realize that you were the better person, you gain the strength to value yourself and your own aspirations, tastes, values and dreams. Try to do something different….I took up rowing and kick(ass)boxing! And build a good relationship with your kids. I just took a vacation with them (something we NEVER were able to do because of narcissist’s overspending…) and am just taking pleasure in the time we spend together…building postive memories. But if I imagine myself beyond that…(without the kids) then I would be travelling, taking classes… building experiences with NEW people, that don’t involve HIM.

    • And by the way, yes, I was starting to gain weight, but I found TWO really helpful tools online – and…one for exercise and one for tracking your calories and foods and activities…they have been immensely helpful!

  • Short synopsis: husband of almost 28 years left me for another woman – much to my, and everyone else’s surprise. Everyone, including me, thought we had a great marriage. I am still grieving over it, but gtting better every day. I never took drugs. But, I had a demanding job (my haven really). I bought a house that needsed a lot of work (I am still working on it – much of it by myself). Even when I lost my job, I had plenty to do between finding another job and continuing work on my house.

    I dread the day that most of what is wrong with the house is fixed. What will I focus on then? at that point, I may come to the point that the best solution is to take medication for a while. For now, I am lucky in that I have so much to keep my mind from imploding too much, or too often.

    It is not a sign of weakness to need help, whether it be meds, counseling or other means. Better you recognize what needs to be done now, instead of slide too far to be able to understand the ramifications if you don’t.

    Whatever you decide to do will be best for you – don’t let anyone else tell you what that “best” is!

    • ah, bogie–the house will never be fixed! You can start on the yard or build a potting shed or put in a pool! 🙂

      • Yeah – you hit that nail square on the head 🙂

        The yard is next on the list (put in lots of flowers, perennials and shrubs), add another raised bed for an herb garden, widen the driveway, put on a deck.

        I like the idea of a potting shed, maybe with a small greenhouse too.

  • Take the drug. Do what you have to in order to get you through.
    After trying many, many, many different meds and after suffering a severe depressive episode- bad enough to check myself in to respite care, Wellbutrin saved my life.

    Don’t know what will work for you. But if a drug will help you, take the drug.

    (legal stuff, of course. not that I’m judging. )

    • pghxx (from another pgh-er), your last comment points us to the fact that most of us find ways to “medicate” ourselves. We have too much wine or eat compulsively or eat sugar and carbs or exercise compulsively or watch hours of Law and Order on TV (guilty). Music. Some people take the illegal stuff, from marijuana to meth to alter mood and/or brain chemistry. Some people just reach for a cookie or a glass of wine when we’re depressed once in a while. The trick is, I think, to be conscious of what we are doing to alter our brains and mood, to be conscious of when and how often we do it, and to be vigilant about whether all of our choices make our lives better–or not. We can get numbed out on a bag of Oreos or a bag of those Hershey Miniatures or a case of beer or a joint. It’s not what we take; it’s whether we are numbing out without thought, every day, as a long term strategy to avoid feeling things we need to process, we are using that substance or activity addictively. In the immediate aftermath of DDay, if we didn’t have “pain management,” we could end up with more problems at work or at home. So glad you had the courage to get help and back on your feet.

      • Don’t want to offend anyone. I would never take SSRI’s (that just me), but cannabis has been a lifesaver, in more ways than one as I’m a breast cancer survivor. Never joined the Cheech and Chong Club, but a toke at night sure helped me sleep. It can be medically prescribed in 17 states and definitely eases anxiety, without pharmaceutical side effects. Again, not for everyone, but it sure helped me.

  • Mary,
    I have a sensitive system when it comes to drugs, but I took the anti depressants and was so glad I did. In my case, I took one that put me to sleep–I got much needed sleep. The thing that helped me–finding a dr that I could talk to and who believed me. That’s the first hurdle. When you’re hurting, finding the right professional can be a challenge and trauma itself. Hope this helps, and isn’t a repeat of what others have said. Sorry, didn’t have time to read all of the comments.

  • I have lifelong problems with depression and have been on and off medication for about a decade. I take 50mg of Zoloft daily. The effects aren’t dramatic. I still have strong feelings, but they don’t spiral out of control. This combined with therapy has helped me immensely, particularly during my marriage breakdown.

    There is a period of withdrawal when you stop taking these things, which can be managed by tapering the dose as per your doctor’s instructions.

    I feel like myself, if that makes sense.

    The only side effect for me has been a very slight drop in libido. It feels negligible and is quite easy to manage.

    Take care. You are in a tough situation and there is no shame in getting the help you need. It’s important that you are able to make clear decisions, as much as possible.

    • I wonder, as I read your post and think back to others (and to my own experience), if a tendency toward depression or prior PTSD makes us targets for cheaters and other freaks. Or that living with these people makes us sick even before we catch them cheating.

      • Lovedajackass, you may well have something there. My ma was completely impaired and never gave me what I needed no matter how hard I tried. It is possible that I’ve had low grade depression all my life. Then when I met him, the love-bombing felt so great I went right for it. Months later, the honeymoon was over and I was again trying to get what I needed from another impaired individual. It just felt normal to me until I woke up six years ago.

  • My ob/gyn put me on Pristiq right after DDay because I was going to need surgery (adultery= the gift that keeps on giving!) and wasn’t sleeping, was loosing weight rapidly and generally was a mess. She said I needed to be in a better place to be able to manage the surgery. What she didn’t tell me and I found out a year later was that there is no easy way to get off the damn drug. It took me three tries, over six months, and I ended up consulting with three doctors over that time. If you are just really worried about one or two days, perhaps some other strategies might work for you. Chump Nation has given you several and I will throw a couple more out there: acupuncture, massage therapy, Xanax, a close friend who agrees to be there for you. In the end of weaning off the Pristiq, I went to acupuncture on the days that I was not medicated and it really helped me a lot with the withdrawal symptoms. One other unfortunate side effect of the extended withdrawal process was renewed rage that I was now dealing with this new problem as a direct result of his crappy choices…

  • Hugging You Tight Unmarried Mary. No one deserves what was served up to you and I am sending you my love and support.

    This shit is HARD. The death of my mother didn’t put me down like this experience.

    I so appreciate reading your letter today because it mirrors my struggle. I talked to my therapist about it, telling her there were times I felt like I might benefit from some pharmaceutical therapy. I have always been one of those stalwart, “I’ve got coping skills” type of person. I’ve always been the one giving the pep talk. I have been struggling with my emotional and mental health since this happened. On the days I feel overwhelmed, I have seriously consider requesting medication, but so far I have used the walking/exercise, eating healthy, IC and the support from fellow Chumps to get me through. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have been feeling really low and have come to this site and it turned my mood and thoughts around.

    My therapist said I’ve made a lot of progress, particularly since when I first came to her I had already planned and was preparing to carry out my own suicide. When you described your feelings, I felt everything you said because they reflected so much of my own feelings. I’m the type of person that doesn’t even like to take aspirin, so for me to even be considering pharmaceutical therapy is huge.

    My advice is that it doesn’t say anything about you as person to accept whatever help you need when you need it. It doesn’t make you weak or less than because you might need medication to get you through a rough patch. This stuff we have been through is traumatic and prolonged trauma is known to alter brain chemistry. If you were born with a brain disorder and medication could assist you in leading a normal life, wouldn’t you take it? I’m definitely considering taking something prior to going to court to finalize the divorce. I don’t know if I’m doing it for my own well-being and protection or the protection of the STBX.

    Do whatever you need to do to make things go well for you. You are MIGHTY and you are a warrior. Taking medication if you need it will not reduce you to anything less. Good luck to you and congratulations to your daughter on her upcoming marriage.

  • Mary, please give yourself permission to do what you need to do to feel better. I could not take prescriptions (hyper sensitive constitution) so I took natural remedies to feel better. The book that I used was The Mood Cure by Julia Ross. I worked with my naturopath to get the proper dosage. It worked very, very well for me. The other thing that finally helped me get to meh was meditation. It’s the gift that keeps on giving. Books by Jon Kabat-Zinn are very helpful. Watching him on YouTube helped me, too. In the end, the disciplined practice was (and still is) helping me tremendously. And lastly, coming to this site continues to be a blessing.

    You’ve been through hell. I can promise you that you will get better. I’d like to think of you not as “Unmarried Mary” but rather “Unencumbered Mary.” You’re free of the cheater. You now have a chance to have an authentic life.

  • Hi Mary,

    There are so many good comments, I will just add that I tried Effexor, which did not help me feel very different then Prozac which made me feel very dizzy and giddy. I did not give medications a chance because I had such demanding work with children I could not afford to feel dizzy and giggly all the time while feeling like hell underneath.

    That is JUST me.

    I ended up going off of them and eating extremely healthily—juices with ginger, brown rice, kale—that kind of thing, letting myself cry when I need to and being radically gentle with myself. The anger and despair is the hardest because I had been fucked over in so many ways (like all of us) I am still struggling, but it is getting better for sure. I have my mind back during the day for the most part and my nightmares and panic attacks have lessened. I actually had a couple of good dreams this week.

    One thing to keep in mind: You may want to start meds with ample time before the wedding to get your body acclimated a bit so you get used to the feeling and are not struggling with side effects at the wedding. Or you may want to check into something like a valium just to get yourself through this tough wedding period.

    Also, if I were you I would have all my good good friends and family surround me at all times. Tell them you need them to be a fortress for you to keep your absolute shit cheater away. You do not need to interact with him anymore. You are a woman of means and you have a lot to do to reinvent yourself without that horror show. I would tell my friends to surround me, look and talk to me and follow me around–steer me away from cheater. Pretend you are Lady Gaga and trying to shield yourself from the Paparazzi. Make a list of all of your trusted friends, people who make you laugh and feel good, old dear friends that remind you of your rich life and the beloved person you are. Get a great dress and breathe through this ordeal.

    Medication is what it is. It can really help you or not so much. You know yourself best. Trust your gut about the meds and make a protective plan.

    I am rooting for you and sending you my best. I know exactly how you feel. It is so hard to live when everything is an association to your hell and horror. Put the blood back in your arteries by taking good good care of yourself.

    • I like the friend shield idea. When I knew I would see my ex and the OW at an event 6 weeks after dday, I found a friend to go with me and stay by my side the entire time. (Even when I went to the bathroom, because I was worried I could run into OW in the restroom!) Knowing I would not be alone made all the difference. She was not even one of my closest friends, but she was a friend who stepped up amazingly during my time of deepest crisis. So thankful for those friends and I hope everyone here has one or more of those kind of people in their lives…

  • I will also add the Effexor is VERY hard to get off of. It gave me migranes and nausea when I went off of it and did not do me much good when I was on it. If a doctor prescribes Effexor I would get a second opinion. Prozac is much easier to ween off of.

  • Sorry I didn’t have time to read through all of the responses, so my apologies if someone already suggested this. I don’t want to be on regular medication, but there are times when I can’t really handle the stress. My doctor prescribed clonazepam (Klonopin), an anti anxiety med. I take just a half if I need to go somewhere. A whole makes me too tired. I have only taken it about five times in six months, but it was really helpful at just calming me. I plan to have it on hand at my daughter’s wedding next summer too. Best of luck to you. He deeply sucks and you rock.

  • Mary,
    I absolutely refused medication even though I probably needed it. Instead I went to my (excellent) therapist every week, had as many remedial massages as I could afford and took copious amounts of vitamins and minerals (magnesium/potassium combo is magic for stress). I got through it, but it really is up to the individual. Whatever you decide, know that you have finally disposed of the philandering, narcissistic piece of shit and without that human toxin in your personal space, life can only get better. Just be kind and patient with yourself because it will hurt like hell for a while.

  • Mary – I’m so sorry for all that you’re going through. Apologies in advance if my post is full of redundancies. I came to the party rather late.

    It is easy to discredit, because we read it so very often, but enough good things just cannot be said for exercise. No, really. It can’t be overrated. Do it, even if you only do simple stretching that you make up your own routine.

    The other easy-breezy, but oh-so helpful thing is plain old water. Again, really. If you aren’t drinking 8 glasses daily, you are toxic. So, do that too.

    Now, about the meds. I didn’t. I’m an RN, and very leary of numbing the pain. I’d rather work through my grief than shut it down. I grieved hard and fast, and I got to meh pretty quickly. I was on Wellbutrin once as a smoking cessation aide. Whoa! Suffice it to say that for me, it was not friendly.

    For you, however, at 2.5 years, it might be time to get some help. Now, having said that, there are caveats. I would advise you to research any drug your doc suggests before you accept anything blindly. For example, your doc says she wants to start you on Cymbalta, you go home and Google it. Then you go back and tell her a definitive “No, thank you.” Cymbalta, for many, is the devil. Just sayin. Some drugs are OK. Some, not so much.

    You might want to try Valerian Root, a natural calming agent; and Melatonin, a natural sleep agent. Just throwing that out there.

  • Mary,

    What do you want? And what can medications deliver? I think those are two very important questions to ask yourself and someone qualified to answer the second.

    Personally, I chose not to take anti-depressants even though I am not opposed to using medications morally. My ex-wife is a LMFT, and she tried to get me medicated. I am glad that I did not go that route due to the headache it would have caused me for my professional career as a chaplain. You may not have such/similar concerns.

  • Oh Mary, what an awful story.
    I want to get to the point of this post. I am a nurse who has lots of experience with drugs, antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds. Personally & with patients.
    My point of view may be different than others, but I feel THIS is what these drugs are for!! When you fall into an unexpected pit, and you are barely getting through the smorgasbord of emotions, making your life unrecognizable. All that you thought was real wasn’t, the anger of an adult lifetime of betrayal is impossible to subdue, and the confusion of what do you want now, how to regroup after feeling humiliated and demeaned, how to start crawling out of this awful hole your were tossed into by no choice of your own.
    Wellbutrin and Effexor are from the same group. Wellbutrin gives energy, but can be counter to great sleep. The SSRI group is larger & started with the Paxil & Prozac and has had many to follow that are a variation of these originals with new twists your doctor will know about.
    I have been on antidepressants 3 times in my life, each time I got off of them when I wanted to. Twice for about 6 mos. when I encountered mental ditches, and once (cheater) for 18 months. I had NO problem getting off them. I am talking no effect of getting off. I went to every other day, 3 times a week, and weaned myself off. I did not speak to a doctor about it, but would have if I had a problem. SSRI’s seem to work better for the rumination, a big problem for us Cheater Survivors. They have sexual side effects and there can be weight gain (SSRI’s). Wellbutrin group better for energy, but not as good for rumination. I would recommend a Lexapro or one your doctor recommends that may be a newer rendition that has improvements. You can start with a smaller dose & work your way up if needed. Most people do not feel the effects of antidepressants for AT LEAST 2 weeks, often 4 or 5 weeks.
    I got a prescription for the generic of Klonopin & would break off a corner if I had a churning stomach, or difficulty sleeping. It is an anti-anxiety drug. Worked like a charm. I believe it was .5mg.
    I had to work and managed to do this.
    I do not feel weak, guilty, or judgmental of myself at all. I saw it as an act of love to myself to help myself through the pain of a lifetime.
    I do not abuse drugs, but I will use them.
    I know people that live on pizza, beer & garbage, but take an aspirin–that is where they draw the line. I say WTF???
    Many people feel strange about anti-depressants. In our parents time, depression was considered a metal illness no one wanted to admit to. These views are outdated. Modern life is complex & stressful.
    I had a glass of wine if I wanted one too. This is especially not recommended for bi-polar mediation, but we are talking about anti-depressants. I would say let your body/mental state be your guide. Just don’t overdo any of it.
    Hope this helps.
    PS Also hope the snake rots in hell!

    • I disagree wholeheartedly, Regina. No offense. Wellbutrin doesn’t give me energy but makes me calmer. Ive lost 20 pounds on it. It’s not a cure for all but it works for me. I think you should understand that making generalized statements about antidepressants never works because they all have very different effect on everyone. Case in point Lexapro that was so great for you was a nightmare to get off of for me. I had dizzy spells, I kept yawning all day, I once almost drove off the road from the lethargy Lexapro. But I wouldn’t say I can’t recommend it because I know many other people benefit from it. One thing I do understand is that most doctors want you on drugs forever because that’s how they make money. Period. Show me a doctor who isntn profit driven and I’d say he’s an anomaly. Or about to retire. They all want us to keep taking them because big pharma has convinced them that there’s no Other way and that’s bullshit.

  • “Pro-Social” Psychopaths hide in plain sight. They have subtle habits that go unchecked. Notice a pattern of hot-cold-hot-cold-hot attraction and attention to you. When they give you the cold shoulder, they leave you inwardly begging for more attention. When they finally bring the heat back, you experience maximum elation and feel high from the boost of dopamine (the “love” chemical) and endorphins. They manipulate you into pretty much being addicted to them, so you repeatedly forgive whatever transgressions they perpetrated against you.

    Wellbutrin is one of the antidepressants that regulates dopamine. There are natural alternatives: Dopamine Diet, and Foods high in Phenylalanine

    I found that direct supplementation with (PEA) Phenylethylamine works for me – Now I am in love with life.

    Good Luck, Mary

  • Also wanted to say I did not feel it numbed my pain, it made it bearable. No one gets a pain free card on this ride, I don’t care if you have Morphine
    I went through 36 hours of labor to have my daughter 8 hours of it with Pitocin inducing labor without pain meds. Then it was an emergency C-section & I was put under. What did I prove? If I could do it over, I would take advantage of the pluses of the modern world. (There sure are plenty of minuses!)

  • Although I have not been on medication myself, sometimes I wonder if I should have…I am a supporter of treating depression in any healthy way (including medicine). Ironically, I was the one who suggested my STBX to visit a therapist when he left us, he found one that that “told” him to “do what made him happy” and another one who prescribed him an antidepressant. I wonder if that is making him happy? But I also wonder how a cheater can be depressed?

  • I am overwhelmed by the kindness and helpfulness of this most amazing Chump Nation. As surely as the cheaters are all the same, we—the betrayed—are all sisters and brothers. The cheaters all go through their lives lying and gas lighting. But each of you are the same also: you go through your lives with integrity and compassion for others. I read it in every one of your posts. And I want you all there at the wedding with me! It is November 1. I want to hug each one of you, and look you in the eyes and tell you that reading your posts tonight have helped me more than you will ever know.

    I am taking your thoughtful advice and seeing my doctor next week. He is a kindly older man in his 70s who has seen it all. He knows my ex well, and when I went in and told him what was going on, he got visibly choked up and sat down, looked at the floor, and said, “If I had to line up 1000 people according to whether or not they would have an affair, I would have put your husband dead last.” I replied, “Me too.” He suggested an antidepressant then, but I turned him down. I will go back and see what he would recommend, after I research them all first. I am seeing a counselor, who is nice enough, but not sure she is really helping. I have great girlfriends and two sisters and a sister-in-law (who was my former roommate), so I have got the girl-power support. And sometimes I think I get more from any one of them then I do from the therapist. What keeps me returning to her is that I started seeing her right after D-day. So she has been through it all with me, the spousal support negotiations, the surprise-other women, etc., I dread starting all over from the beginning with someone new. But your comments have made me realize that the right counselor is invaluable, so I will start looking for someone else. FYI, the advice you all gave me tonight is 100x more helpful than anything she has ever told me. She is really just a very good listener….

    The votes for exercise and a cleaner diet is an excellent reminder that I need to make them as much a part of my life as brushing my teeth. Just has to be done. Every day. Can’t miss one day without feeling gross. I’ll do it.

    I love the thought of being in complete control at the wedding, and surrounding myself with a fortress of my friends is an awesome idea!

    I agree with you Chump Princess, that this is even more difficult than losing my sweet mom. We were extremely close, but somehow, we learn early in childhood, that our parents are probably going to die first. Never, ever did I think my husband, my buddy, my best friend would betray me in such a blatant, not-give-a-shit way. I met him in college. He came from nothing. I didn’t come from a lot either. But we worked really hard, and we moved up in our careers, and eventually I quit mine to stay home with 4 babies and totally supported his rise to the top. We’d lay in bed, and night after night I’d say to him, “How did two dumb kids like us find each other in the campus mailroom, and figure out at such an early age that we were made for each other, and build the life that we have from nothing but student loans, and been given the most beautiful girls we have, and this house, and our families…and…. And I’d never run out of things I was grateful for. And (now) knowing he was screwing all kinds of women during the times of those conversations, he never once got squeamish, or had to leave the room, or have a fitful night’s sleep. He would just squeeze my hand and say, “I know. You’re so right.”

    I am completely blown away by this site and you Chumps. In your worst hours, you find it in your hearts to help someone else, a stranger, who might benefit from your pain. Do you know how amazing that is? All of you. I think a documentary should be done about this place.

    And tonight, in bed, I will ask this question out loud, “How did a mom who spent her life devoted to a narcissistic sociopath end up finding a healing website (hosted by a creative, compassionate genius) filled with the most loving, helpful, insightful people who have had the shit kicked out them, yet crawl to their keyboards every day to help someone else? I am so grateful to you all. I am calmer tonight then I have been in weeks. You could be my new meds…..


    • Mary?? You are mighty.

      Goodness gracious, YOU are MIGHTY. You are highly intelligent and compassionate and kind.

      I love this: “I love the thought of being in complete control at the wedding, and surrounding myself with a fortress of my friends is an awesome idea!”

      It IS a great idea!

      Because I imagine this–the horror of seeing some female tag-along on ex’s arm at the wedding. She might be smug, who knows? But lemme tell you (I don’t have to tell you) that there is NOTHING more powerful against an immoral outsider parasite interloping female than a band of girlfriends surrounding you with love and solidarity. EVERY woman knows this–friendship, REAL, powerful, strong, hilarious friendship is intimidating as shit. She won’t last. She will bolt. He might, as well. Hopefully he will not be the center of attention at the wedding, your daughter’s day.

      You got this.

      I agree that the champs here are awesome. Remember that helping others who want help, and who are struggling to help themselves, helps ourselves. Helping you is very therapeutic.

    • Mary,

      You are a class act sister!!! You are going to be so good. Better than good, you’re going to be great. You’re going to have the time of your life at the wedding and you will shine brilliantly.

      November 1 huh? Well I, and I hope the rest of Chump Nation, will all meditate, lift a glass, toke a j, pray, meditate, whatever it is all of us do to cope, and send a huge, electric, good will energy your way starting on Oct 31 and into Nov 1. Just feel the love and compassion this group of people share for each and everyone of us who pretty much suffer in silence. You just keep holding your classy head up and know you did nothing wrong.

      I don’t know if you’ve bought Chump Lady’s book available on Amazon yet, but it is great and brilliantly written. I’ve read many books and her’s by far is at the top of the list. She gives very good advice. So much so I’m going to read it again. If you haven’t I suggest doing it.

      Good luck to you sister and remember COURAGE!

    • Unmarried Mary, Jedi hugs! Glad you are going to check out some help, and research the drugs before trying. I’m always warning about how addictive benzos like Xanax are but as long as you are careful I’m betting the smallest dose will be all you need to calm at the wedding itself. Of course if you find an antidepressant before hand that works for you, probably won’t need it. It may not feel like it right now but you’ve been rockin it, setbacks can be common. I agree too, it seems you need a better therapist. If your mind replays shit I’d recommend EMDR. I had pretty severe PTSD and it was the only thing that really helped me. CBT & others help but I couldn’t find a therapist that actually practiced the methodologies they put on their resumes so I gave up on CBT.

    • “How did a mom who spent her life devoted to a narcissistic sociopath end up finding a healing website (hosted by a creative, compassionate genius) filled with the most loving, helpful, insightful people who have had the shit kicked out them, yet crawl to their keyboards every day to help someone else?”

      The reason for this – is because it is proof that there are still compassionate and loving people in society these days, among the ‘entitlement culture’ which is rampant. Your doctor is another example of one of those compassionate and caring types, too.

      You are beyond mighty in all that you have dealt with and experienced, to wallow through all that crap and still be standing, is incredible power.

      If your counsellor is not helping, ditch her. Some of them are not of the ‘caring’ variety, or worse, will make you try to take partial (or full) blame for the shitty situations which are NOT your fault.

      When you attend the wedding, use that power as a cloak around yourself, to clearly express ‘Don’t mess. I’ve been through hell and back and there’s nothing you can do to bring me down.’ Especially if your XH is there with Skankasaurus Rex.

      To answer your question – if you need the meds to get you over the ‘hump’, so be it. Anyone who thinks less of you for managing the cesspool of screwed-up, is someone not worth being in your life.

  • My therapy was walking 4 miles most nights, right after dark, with my dogs, and a can of pepper spray, even in the rain. I’ve been thinking about why I like walking in the dark so much, and I think it’s the anonymity of it. There’s something so unsettling about realizing there’s a voyeur in your life–the AP. OW knew about me–much more than I wanted her to know about me–way before I ever found out about her. It’s traumatizing to realize that–you have to go back in time and re-create every scene that you can, to remember it with the hindsight of the AP looming in the background. It’s a huge invasion of privacy. It made me mad, it made me sad, it preoccupied all my thoughts. And when I walk in the dark, nobody sees me scowl, nobody sees me cry. Nobody sees me speaking my thoughts. Nobody spies on me–nobody sees me. It’s liberating. And walking solves a whole lot of problems.

    I never realized I was depressed–the weight loss, the nearly unbearable loneliness, the cynicism that crept into my sunshine were not signs. I suppose they were overshadowed by urgency: to get divorced, to prop my kids up, to buy the ex out of my house, and on and on and on…. I took a break from walking for a while, and quickly noticed an increase in apathy and dark thoughts. So now, the fear of depression is a powerful motivator to walk. Also flabby thighs. Hahah!

    I know a thing or two about medications, thanks to my profession, and I declined the Ambien-type sleep medications, out of concerns over sleep-walking, eating, etc. I have seen people lose themselves to Xanax preoccupation, so that was off the table for me. I took a couple of its cousin, Ativan (I always take generic versions of any medication, by the way.) I absolutely know that driving is unsafe on these medications, and did not desire to lose my driving nor professional licenses, nor to hole up in my home–so those drugs were off the table. I have to work–no time to lay around all sedated. Further, I think it’s unhealthy to take sleep medication every night, and so wanted to spare myself a bad habit. I didn’t think I needed an antidepressant. They can be very difficult for some people to discontinue (one of the posters here alluded to withdrawal symptoms of discontinuation–it’s no joke.) Soooo, what I did rely on was something very non-traditional, and that is a beta-blocker. In my case I used metoprolol, but propranolol is widely known to have beneficial effects on anxiety (it is used by people before public speaking, to calm the shakes and racing heart, for example), and it can also be used for PTSD. Beta blockers are not addicting, and are fairly short-acting. I would take a metoprolol 25 mg tablet an hour before any event where I was likely to run into the ex, who used to make me shake. I never had any side effects, but certainly low blood pressure could be a concern (not for me when I’m stressed out!) I believe beta blockers are very underutilized for stress. They are most often appropriately used for treatment of high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and to help the heart rest after a heart attack.

    I would say that my job was the biggest part of my therapy. I love my job. I also love not going to my job, but the responsibility, deadlines, kinship, and thinking of people/things other than myself were a tremendous boost to my self esteem, a distraction from my worries, and a reliable source of income. It was an outlet of creativity. It’s MINE. It’s ME. I made it. I am proud of it. I am a BIG believer in the therapy of work. Everyone needs to work.

    Being a mom is a job–my kids kept me busy and laughing. Helping at their school also gave me kinship and good feedback–people appreciated my assistance, and I appreciated the company. I went on field trips (to Europe and Central America!) and helped with fundraisers and snack-shack sales. I laughed with other parents and admired the great kids in my community. My dogs keep me company, too. The ex hates dogs. OW has two–that’s some karma. I have the most annoying rescue dogs, but I’m giving them a good life, and I feel really good about that. If I could save all rescue animals I would….

    My house is a work in progress. Someone posted here that you need your own space. You do–you need projects. You need to plan and create and learn to DIY–check Youtube and endless blogs, Pinterest and Houzz. I read the book Journey from Abandonment to Healing. There’s an exercise in it that totally magically made me feel better–it’s the one in which you imagine your dream house. Well, having your own house to decorate helps the same way. I live in the house my ex and I owned together, but I’ve totally made it MINE and my children’s. I bought inexpensive furniture (Craig’s list and Ikea are awesome.) I bought so many tools (or got them as Christmas presents) and I use them. None of them were expensive. I get SO MUCH JOY out of finding the right tool in my toolbox for whatever project I have! I have painted almost every wall in my house in a color I love (I usually have to re-paint another color after the first one I choose, but I eventually get it right!) I post my pics on FB for my friends to encourage me. I am really handy, it turns out. I built a fence. I installed vents in my roof. I hung Ikea cabinets on the wall above my desk and in the laundry room. I get lost in my plans–I am going to replace all the interior doors in my house and put down a new kitchen floor, and tile my backsplash. You can do this. You really can. My goal is to get the house all fixed up so that I can just relax and entertain in it for the first time in my adult life, if you can believe that. When I was married, my house was a dump, thanks to my ex’s withholding, begrudging character. I wanted to be financially responsible–no regrets there. But I am finally creating a space I am comfortable in, one that I’m not ashamed of.

    What is yours? What do you do? Who are you? Have you thought about this? What mark will you leave on the earth? Were you too wrapped up in being Mrs. CEO, and now that was taken from you? Well, this is your chance to reclaim you–to build a life all on your own. You can do it! You can DO IT!!

    Your ex is a dick. I hope his falls off.

    • Thanks, Miss Sunshine. Do you know my ex? He is a dick.

      I love to walk. I need to get back into it. I have a rescue mutt too. She’s middle-aged and getting lazy but will keep up with me.

      I do have lots of projects. I kept the house, but it is unrecognizable now. I changed everything about it. I know the OW was in here, so I would have preferred to burn it down, but chose to keep it because at the time two of my girls (now just one) were still in college, and I couldn’t bear for them to return to a different house after the devastation of the divorce. Their friends live in our neighborhood too, so that would have been a hard adjustment also. The house was white with back shutters. Now it’s yellow with cream shutters. The dining room is now an office. The living room is now a massive dinning room with the fireplace and a long hearth table that seats 12–so all the kids’ friends can come over and eat together. Bedrooms repainted and old bathroom ripped out and a new shower put in where a tub was.. I could go on, but you are so right that those projects have kept me busy. I will sell this house as soon as #4 graduates this May. I may move away. Too many memories and too much gossip. Time will tell.

      Who am I? Good question! I have no clue. I was Mrs. CEO and a mom. I was also a daughter and a sister. And although I still freelanced from time to time, I really did lose myself in my family, and I don’t have any idea what I even like to do, besides hang out with my kids and family and friends. I really want to go back to work. But I want to love what I do. This is not going to be easy to find myself again. I started dating my ex when I was 19 years old….
      Thank you for your help. Much to think about.

      • You sound like an amazing woman–absolutely admirable. You will thrive and be strong and vital well into your years. Your ex will no doubt suffer as his lifestyle catches up to him. I promise that one day you will actually almost pity him–he’ll seem so pathetic to you, if he doesn’t already.

        I cannot tell you how much I HATE that the OW was in your family home. These trolls are empty, and nothing is beneath them. Ugh. Just vile trash, they are.

        • Yes, the OW was in my home too. Admiring pictures of my happy, smiling innocent kids, and then going and fucking their father in one of their beds. She would spend the night with her head on my pillow….

          One kid now has anorexia, and the other has just bombed his high school grades that he needed to get into engineering.

          It is just the gift that keeps on giving. I wish people who caused this much harm could be jailed, or stoned or something. Both of them.

        • Thank you, Miss Sunshine. And although I can’t stand the OW, and she is everything evil walking around in a body, I took no vow with her. It was my husband who brought her in. She didn’t walk in by herself. He brought her, or gave her a key, or the code? Through his actions, he said to her: “my marriage, my home, my children, my wife, they don’t mean shit to me, and I’ll prove it to you by letting you come into their sacred world and have sex with me in their beds, or on our sofa where my kids have curled up night after night watching movies and giggling or sleeping after they had their wisdom teeth removed.”

          I wish the OW nothing but misery for the pain she has caused my daughters. But for a father to cause that pain to his own daughters? What a selfish bastard.

      • Mary, your story is so similar to mine. I met my ex at 16, and had really put my own career aspirations on the back burner until our kids were grown. My ex’s job was very demanding and he was often traveling. Someone had to be home to take care of the kids. I completely lost myself too.

      • I met mine when I was in my early 20s.

        I know that the OW was in the home. I have a picture of her sitting in our sun room, wearing STBX’s wedding ring, his leather outback hat, and smoking a cigar. I can tell when she’s been around since he washes the mattress padding. In all the years prior to this, he never, ever washed the mattress padding.

        In my case, I’m hoping that STBX keeps the house not because OW has been there, but because it’s too much house for me to afford at this point. Also, since STBX is so OCD about certain household chores to the exclusion of things like basic household maintenance projects, the household will likely take some actual money to whip into sellable shape. I’m projecting that he takes a net loss. 😉

        • I couldn’t get out of our house fast enough. It was much too large for me to maintain alone, and isolated in the country. I moved in with a friend. Started feeling much better getting away from him and the house.

  • I was seeing a psychologist (who I felt did a good job, and was real, in touch, and decent) after a suicide attempt. I saw her for about a year, off and on. The last time I spoke with her, I mentioned that I was worse, about two years after Dday, than I had been at any stage of the journey thus far, and there were tears, etc. She gently told me that she felt I needed to see a psychiatrist – NOT because I was crazy, or doing anything abnormal, but that I might need some chemical help now. So, I went to talk to this absolutely lovely man, a forensic psychiatrist who was incredibly sensitive and understanding. He started me on small doses of the usual and told me to wait at least two weeks for some mild relief. None, in fact, I was spiralling down fast, and woke every morning thinking, “today, I wonder if today I might feel a little better.” So he doubled the dose. Still nothing. Trebled it, added anti-anxieties and sleeping pills (gulp, I HATE meds – can barely bring myself to take paracetamol) and the sleeping pills made me feel sleepy all day and all night (hell, I have three kids, a business to run, and another job, I could barely function) also a bad metallic taste in my mouth, 24/7 for days after taking them. I stopped after two of those. The anti-anxieties made me MORE anxious (mind over matter???) so we swapped them for something different – they made me extremely shaky. I gave up on the anti-anxieties. We tried a different family of anti-d’s and the same process – no result, bigger dose, and then a bigger dose again. Naddah. Then he said, “right, I am going to try you on old-fashioned tricyclics.” I put on 9kg in three weeks – same exercise, same diet. I had lost 18kg in the five weeks post Dday, and kept it off for two years. I was devastated, and wept in his office, while he told me to try to realise that we would get the weight under control after we had my depression under control, upping the dose yet again. I continued to gain weight, and eventually gained the whole lot back. I went off the meds seven months after starting them. They did not work, even a little bit for me, and I gained 16 kgs. I didn’t even need to really “wean” myself off them, I didn’t spiral downwards, despite being on a pretty high dose. That says to me that they did nothing. I tried to tell the shrinks that I didn’t think I had classic depression, but instead was dealing with drawn out grief for all I lost.

    For some people, I know they have been life savers, and they need them, absolutely – and there is no weakness in this, your brain just needs support, as they all tell you, would you refuse insulin if you were diabetic? Your brain may well need the serotonin boost, or some other chemical support. But you don’t know until you try them if they are right for you.

    • Thank you for your kind, thought-filled response. And again, thank all of you for sharing your experiences. It is enormously helpful in so many ways.

    • Aw, saw this months ago Miss Sunshine, before DDay.

      I loved it then but it means more to me now. I understand what it is about on a deeper level after what has happened.

      The joy and peace that chump would feel is completely unattainable to narcissist cheaters eveywhere.

      But us chumps – yeah, we are all capable of true authenticity, and an understanding of the real value of our lives. x

  • I am not sure if this has been mentioned, but I think that many of us who have been gaslighted and abused by our cheaters all these years have been standing on a shakey emotional foundation for a long time. Then when bomb drop happens, we go even lower….and we have a really hard time getting back up (and understandably so!).

    Personally, I started to go on Zoloft over 10 years ago, which was less than 2 years after his around-the-world-international hooker habit started. I don’t think the start of the Zoloft was a coincidence.

    In any case, when the “I’m leaving” bomb drop hit… then the tricking of truth for months (hookers and other women)….then all the blame on me (I took it!)…then the pick-me dance (ugh)…then the final discard (boof!)…I was almost DEAD. I was an emotional beaten down shell of a person and couldn’t care less if i lived or died.

    I had lost 65 pounds, became very anemic, lost a lot of hair, got shingles, was battling wicked uterine infections and many gyne issues. I slept 14 hours a night, and had two or three naps daily. My poor dear son got peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast and lunch for almost two years. Thank goodness I was a SAHM and didn’t have to worry about working, or I wouldn’t have been able to cope.

    Thankfully, I had seen a psychiatrist right away and he helped me with an increase in the Zoloft antidepressant, added a sleep med (Imovane), and an anti anxiety (Xanax). He watched me closely and even added some augmentation along the way. I am not sure I’d made it if he hadn’t — I was THAT bad.

    And before all THIS, I was a very confident and well adjusted person. I came from a great FOO and had my own career and great job before deciding to stay home with kiddies to homeschool them. The staying home, I think, was an isolation technique of the cheater.

    As time goes on, I feel more and more normal especially as my physical health is improving mainly due to getting that infected/inflammed/diseased uterus out of me last year. Yep, he often had unprotected sex with hookers, and brought it all home to me.

    I think I will always have some level of c-PTSD and will probably be taking meds for a while yet, or perhaps for life. Which is fine by me…. because I don’t want to go BACK to that horrible place.

    • “In any case, when the “I’m leaving” bomb drop hit… then the trickling of truth for months (hookers and other women)….then all the blame on me (I took it!)…then the pick-me dance (ugh)…then the final discard (boof!)…I was almost DEAD. I was an emotional beaten down shell of a person and couldn’t care less if i lived or died.”

      Wow, that’s exactly how it felt to me too. Thanks for putting it into words! Reading your description helps me understand why I felt like jumping off my balcony to end the pain by the time he left. I also felt like a walking zombie and had a terrible longing to join a convent where I could remove myself from the world.

    • ChattyCat,
      Oh for sure, my staying at home was an isolation technique. He never wanted me to even volunteer at the hospital….never understood that one. Now I do. Thanks for your sharing your experience with drugs.

  • Mary, you are grieving. Be especially kind to yourself. It is a journey. It will take a while to recover from a marriage that has died, and in circumstances such as ours. Each one of us heals at our own pace. What helped me: Focusing on my children and on myself for the first time in many years. Allowing myself time to grieve, and to feel. I think I was really angry for three years but it truly helped me and propelled me forward. I cried (and threw up). I talked with everybody, and recognized that was my therapy. I listened to music and went to concerts. I walked an hour every day, and swam in my lake every day too. Exercise was my best drug. I spent time alone. I chose to live with more intentionality. I read everything, anything I thought could help ME. I was not interested in saving a marriage. I joined a Divorce Care class. I did more of what I loved. Discovered hulu and Netflix. OD’d on television shows. Spent time with the kids doing new things -my divorce coincided with my children finishing HS and entering college, so for many of us we’re divorcing at a time when we are becoming empty nesters or looking at retirement. No easy transitions here 😉 -gardened, painted, and threw myself into work. Spent more time with my close friends. Traveled to places I’d never been. Then stumbled onto CL, and discovered kindred spirits who knew exactly what I’d gone through. Mary, the loss will hurt, but know there is a new and better life waiting.

    • Love your rising from the ashes story. Thank you. I’m not there yet, but I want to have a story just like yours.

  • Hi, I went on Cymbalta because it was that, or be admitted I was in such a mess.

    The way it helped, was that I would have a trigger thought, start reacting and getting ramped up… and then the thought would just slide away from the intense emotion. So it really did help.

    However, I got HUGE craving for food, and put on a lot of weight, reversing the Shock And Grief diet.
    The other thing that happened, is that my sexual response went to pot and still is. Either no orgasm, or (as now), I come too soon.
    Lastly, coming off them is a bit of a trial. I got these ‘brain shocks’ for about two years. Eventually I learned to ‘go into them’ and trigger them off, so the ‘shock’ didn’t build up too much. Just something you have to go through.

    So I can’t tell you anything other than my experience. I wonder if Wellbutrin would have been better.
    So sorry for your pain, I too took my sacred vow seriously, and that that meant nothing to him was one of my hugest pains. Hugs, we got you here.

  • About the karma train – it hasn’t been that long. Meanwhile, he has lost the love of his wife and the respect of his children, His kids aren’t speaking to him. The other women may not be pleased with him or at least may be mad at him in the future.

    OW#1 had to testify in court so that now her husband knows as well as any colleagues or bosses that didn’t know and maybe kids, if she has them. While the hospital board may have wanted to keep things quiet for your husband and fund-raising, they may not care as much about here. If things turn sour between her and your ex someday, she will be up the creek without a paddle.

    OW#1 has also found out about many other OW and this may have upset her. If they are still together, it can’t be that great. She’s someone who was willing to stick with him for many years while you had a great life with him and kids, etc. Remember, he never left you for her, you dumped him and now she has to deal with a liar who doesn’t really love her. He gets a woman who isn’t a great person instead of someone who like you.

    It sucks that the hospital covered things over for him, but on the other hand, the people who count know. If he pulls this again, he’s in trouble. It sounds like he’s been pulling it over and over.

    Also, if he lied so much to you, he may be lying elsewhere in his life. That is going to eventually hurt him at work.

    As it is, maybe it’s just as well that they’re keeping him on so he can pay you for the next few years. Maybe it’s best if the karma bus waits a bit.

    Just a thought – can you get a really, really big lump sum from him instead of large monthly payments? It might be better for you in the long run.

  • I wonder if one thing that is making this harder for you to deal with is the hospital making you button your lip. Talking to people about your life can be incredibly therapeutic.

    • I was wondering that too. Silencing someone from being able to speak the truth of their life is cruel. Being denied the right to honestly tell your own story must be so difficult to work through.

      Mary, I wish you all the best and continued healing and the smoothest journey possible through this season of your daughter’s wedding. I will be thinking of you on Nov. 1. I put it on my calendar to make sure I don’t forgot.

  • What Mary may really need here is Xanax or Klonopin or something similar. It helps people get over a one-time stressful event.

    I am a nervous flyer, and I have to fly about once a month for work. I used to get on a plane dizzy with anxiety, sweat pouring off my body, and sit in white-knuckled anxiety through the whole ride. It would half spoil vacations.

    I got prescriptions at various times for Xanax and Klonopin. They work great. The anxiety almost entirely goes away and I’m able to function as a reasonable human being throughout. I can read a book, talk to people, or go to sleep. I don’t feel entirely myself, but I’m not myself when I’m trembling in fear anyway.

    I would take something like that a day before the wedding and wedding day if I were Mary. You’re still you, you’ll be able to experience the day, but the anxious edge will come off. It’s better of course to be sober and in full control, but much worse would be feeling anxious the whole time. I would say, let the medicine help.

    You’re not going to become addicted to Xanax or Klonopin after a couple days’ use. Like I said, I use one of these about once a month, they’re great for taking the edge off flying, but it’s not like I start craving it when I’m not getting on an airplane.

  • Mary I feel I am in the same boat as you. Married 32 years known him for 34. So I was 24 when I married him. It has only been 5 months for me. I keep hoping this will get better without me having to take anything. But the thoughts of him and her and me alone at my age keep circling around and around. I have done a lot in the short 5 mths. Wont be as well off as you when the mediation is finished. But I also have a wedding coming up in Cuba next June. He will be there not for a day a whole freakn weak with OW if they are still together which I am sure they will be. He has no friends and needs her like he needed me for 34 years. sigh I am walking and eating properly, been out with friends and single friends took back my house but not sure now that I am totally alone in it that I want to be here now. It wasnt the house my daughter grew up in but the second house that we wanted to retire in. sigh. I havent been to see anyone yet because I am still on his medical plan until the divorce and I dont want to have to go through him to get the OK to actually get a dr to perscribe something so here I wait for Meh or Tuesday which ever comes first and it better hurry up. But I am trying. Its the thoughts going round and round sweep sweep sweep them out of there and the wind or a trigger blows them back in. So you see you are not alone but reading about others who are making it through helps. Maybe its just tooooo early for us yet

  • Dear Mary – I am so sorry for you and what you must endure – My ex left walked out for a college girlfriend he rekindled an adulterous relationship with WHILE accepting the role of best man in our son’s wedding. My ex (to whom I had been married 36 years) paraded and charaded as a victim while more and more lies surfaced – including that he was only going to Paris with his friend to see her warehouse (chuckle) of antiques – oh, that’s what they call it?

    When it comes to medication perhaps it would be helpful to think in these terms: “Fair doesn’t mean everyone gets the same thing. Fair means you get what you need.” If, in fact, you needed glasses for poorer eyesight or an epi-pen for allergies, it doesn’t mean everyone has to wear them or carry one. You wouldn’t deny yourself a sling or a cast if you were injured.

    Take care of and think of yourself and what you need to create the best day for you and your daughter as you witness her marriage. Get what you need, if needed.

  • Mary, I still think your kind heart, commitment to your children and integrity will win in the end. There will be trouble for them because of their dishonest start. Just because something appears good does not mean much! We are all aware of this fact!

  • Dear Mary,
    I feel very bad for you, that is how long we were married when I heard he this was just something he had to do. And I didn’t take meds for a very long time and was half out of my mind. I was not sleeping, eating, was staring like you, it continued and continued and started to eat away at me. There was a marriage in there of one of our kids which I have no idea how I made it through that. And I figured I would start feeling better, but it started getting worse if you can believe that. So, I started Prozac, I am amazed at how I am feeling. I can clearly think, I can see what I have to do, and I am detached enough to take steps and not back down. Ok, also, unfortunately I don’t care if I snack, but, the detached thing also works to stay on my diet also. I kind of like it. I was thinking this morning when I took my pill if I would be able to get off it one day, but it really beats the heart ripping painful really painful life I was daily in refusing to take meds. I mean, this is the toughest thing to deal with, give yourself a break ok.

    He is also a dog, so sorry this happened to you.

  • I found out a year ago that my husband was cheating on me, and it tore me apart in just about every way you can think of. I went to my primary care physician about 6 weeks if sheer hell–not eating, not sleeping, major fits of crying, and some self harm. She got me right on celexa, which takes a while to kick in, so I had some klonopin to help with the anxiety until the celexa began working.
    I’ve been anti-meds my whole life, but these meds helped me to heal and find my strength by first and foremost, allowing me to sleep and eat. I wasn’t foggy or numbed. I was just a smudge closer to even, and that helped me get better for me.
    You need your strength. You need to be at your best for you and your daughters. See your doctor and tell him/her your concerns. They can prescribe something to suit your needs and concerns– there are so many different kinds of anti anxiety medications that there could be a perfect fit.
    Good luck to you, and congratulations to you and your daughter. What a wonderful moment for you both.

  • I took meds for postpartum depression. I finally weaned myself off of them a few months before DDay. Perfect timing! I held out as long as I could, but I finally had to go back on them when I started getting panic attacks daily.

    I was getting through it, until I learned how deviant he is. Now I wonder if my kids are safe around him, and it’s kicking my ass. I went back on meds so I can prepare for a battle I never thought I’d be in.

  • I think that writing about your experience as you have here is far, far better than any drug. That’s what people do here. It’s the release of sharing your own experience with sympathetic others.
    I found that talking to a therapist also certainly helped me understand what happened in my former marriage where initially things were confused and incomprehensible. The best things I learned from this were the issues related to personality disorder and the effects of emotional abuse.
    But eventually I needed to stop the counselling because of the unpleasant memories it evoked. It was distressing and I needed to move on.
    Drugs can help where there are severe psychological effects, particularly with depression, but make sure if you do take drugs you monitor their use closely with your doctor or psychiatrist.

  • Took it, regret it. Destroyed my thyroid and now have multiple health problems because of it. You don’t need it. The doctors give it out like candy and when you ask to be taken off they don’t know how to do it correctly. You’ll have horrible withdrawals and they’ll say you’re having a return a symptoms. NO, it’s withdrawal!

    They *all* disrupt the normal chemical and electrical signaling between your nerves that send the messages from your brain to all the functions in your body. They mess up the receptor sites or destroy them all together. They are poison to the body.

    Don’t destroy your body and mind because of him!

  • You have my sympathy for your situation. The term heartbreak is really descriptive of how you must feel. Something you might consider. One hour of vigorous exercise a day has very much the same effect as SSRI’s. The long term rewards and lasting benefits far outweigh what drugs can offer. The hard part is getting off the couch. If you have the means, perhaps you can hire someone to chivvie you to exercise. It may be brutal at first.

  • I too ache for you. My story is somewhat similar but I was told weeks before our 50th anniversary that he cheated most of our life. Oh he lied and lied some more, it took months to know what I know now and who knows what is true? The therapist said she would not see him again, he needed way more help than she was capable of and she thought the character disorder he obviously has can not be helped, he’s had it his entire life and he’s 70+ years old. Besides he has no remorse, guilt, or desire to make amends. I was wondering the same as as you. How the hell do you live for one more day? What is the point? I’ve heard all the ” reach out to people” but when I do they very plainly say in words and deeds ” get over it” ” either be who you pretended to be or go away. ” I am alone.

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