I have been in a relationship for seven years with the same person (cohabiting for six), and I thought we were very open with each other. We have each other’s passwords and all of that jazz. I just found out (accidentally) that he has been prescribed Paxil. I wasn’t snooping to find out this information; he has his prescription information on my CVS online account, and he wondered if another prescription he needed was ready, so I checked. (I’ve ordered his prescriptions in the past, with his permission, while he was busy at work). I mentioned that his two prescriptions were ready, and he became really weird and quiet about it.
I feel so stupid because I didn’t realize that he had emotional issues. He said that his doctor prescribed them for some chest pain issues that he’s been having, but I don’t think he realizes that I recognized the name, since it was a generic. I don’t know how to bring this up. Is not saying anything the best plan? I had to seek counseling last year, which he knows about that, so I don’t think shame is the issue here. My first thought is that maybe he’s unhappy with me, because he’s pretty solid at work and his band is becoming more popular on a local level. He has no real stressor in his life at the moment, which makes me think I might be the problem.
Should I just pretend I never found out this information? I honestly don’t know what to do. I’m really afraid that he’s keeping something big from me. Another part of me wonders if the reason that he’s withholding this information from me is because he knows that I am very wary of anti-depressants because I know so many people who have fundamentally changed and lost all sex drive while on them. — Rx Blues
No, no, no — do not pretend like you never found out what you discovered. Communication is always the best policy. Because what you don’t know here is much scarier than what you do know and as long as you remain in the dark, the not knowing is going to eat away at you and your relationship. There are lots of possibilities for why your boyfriend is on Paxil and why he hasn’t told you. I’m not a doctor and don’t know much about that particular drug, but perhaps it truly was prescribed for something other than depression and anxiety. But even if he is taking the drug to treat psychological issues, it doesn’t mean that you are the cause for his problems.
You mention that your boyfriend has no stressors in his life, but in the same paragraph you say that he’s “solid” at work and that his band is taking off at a local level. What a lot of people aren’t aware of or don’t truly understand is that success can be just as nerve-wracking and stressful as failure. It’s true. With success and everything it entails — more work, a tighter schedule, less time for yourself, more pressure, more responsibility, more people counting on you — comes stress. Perhaps your boyfriend is feeling some of that. Or, maybe his issues are unrelated to his work. But that still doesn’t mean they are related to you. But even if they are — even if you and your relationship have somehow caused him to crack and seek help from a professional — don’t you think that’s something you ought to know about and discuss with him? And if he isn’t coming to you to talk, you need to go to him.
Don’t pussyfoot around this. Come right out and tell your boyfriend you know he has been prescribed Paxil and it’s your understanding that that’s a drug that treats psychological issues. Refrain from being accusatory. I’m sure he knows where you stand on anti-depressants and that’s part of the reason why he hasn’t openly discussed this with you yet. So don’t confirm his fears that you are someone who will judge him for needing help. And don’t make this about you. It’s not. This is about your boyfriend’s health, so approach it from that angle. Be compassionate and understanding. And keep your judgment about anti-depressants to yourself until you have a better idea why your boyfriend is taking them and what his plan for treatment is. And remember: There’s no shame in taking medication if it’s necessary to be well.