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David Baxter

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My Boyfriend Is on Zoloft
By Nando Pelusi Ph.D.
Psychology Today Online, 2 November 2007

When disclosure isn't forthcoming: Taking antidepressants is a sign of helping oneself.

I recently discovered my boyfriend is taking Zoloft, which is kind of scary for me. I'm worried that he is in a more sensitive state of mind and wonder whether I should be more careful about upsetting him? I also wonder if I should confront him about it. Would he even want to discuss it?

There's no reason for you to be scared. If anything, this is a sign that your boyfriend has sought attention for a difficult emotional challenge. Taking an antidepressant has advantages and disadvantages, and is a difficult decision that a doctor and patient must make together. The medication is most effective in ameliorating depression when combined with psychotherapy.

You might prefer your boyfriend to be totally honest about taking antidepressants, but confronting him is not the way to go. Let him disclose his decision on his own timetable. In the meantime, you might model openness by discussing your emotional issues when appropriate, such as talking about your concerns for the future. Depression usually results from a complex series of causes?situational, biological, and psychological.

You can work to provide a supportive but communicative environment in which he could feel safe to discuss his reasons for seeking treatment. If you believe that he is in a more sensitive emotional state, confrontation may only prompt him to feel dejected, defensive, and embarrassed. Showing acceptance of him while modeling self-acceptance by disclosing your own charming foibles, could increase the chances that he'll open up. But if he doesn't, you can still enjoy a relationship with a person who is doing what he can to help himself.

Some general guidelines for inviting disclosure:

  • Model self-acceptance in spite of your foibles.
  • Disclose your own struggles; take a risk and see what happens.
  • Don't confront; invite. Like any invitation, it may be turned down, and that's his prerogative.
  • Don't stigmatize a person on medication. After all, it only shows their willingness to help themselves.
 

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