Monday, May 30, 2005

Ask Mrs. Linklater Medicated Edition

Mrs. Linklater hasn't visited the advice columnists for awhile -- at the request of local law enforcement, but now that she's out on parole, what's the harm in sticking her nose where it ain't wanted while she's waiting for sentencing.

Ya know?

ASK AMY -- The Chicago Tribune
She's staying, but wistfully, with a sad man
Published May 30, 2005

Dear Amy: I am married to a good, kind man who loves me very much. Our children are married, so it is just the two of us. We are in our 50s and in good health, so these could be good years. He suffers from chronic depression and has been taking antidepressants, which have helped him. He goes to therapy and has done all he can to fight it, but it is something he will always have.

My husband was abused by clergy when he was a child, and severe depression also runs in his family. Remarkably, he is a kind and thoughtful father and husband, and a successful businessman. He is often sad; life doesn't put a sparkle in his eyes.

I love and respect my husband and will never leave him or stray from our marriage. We are no longer intimate because of the side effects of his medications, but we are still best friends. I'm thankful that he is in my life. I struggle with the fact he can never be happy.

Do you have any words of encouragement for those of us who know we have chosen the right path and will stay on it, but still have a persistent wistfulness that things could be different?

-- Wishing

Dear Wishing: For all of the people who contact me saying they want to leave their marriages because they aren't quite the trip to the moon on gossamer wings they'd expected, I offer up your story, which is one of love and devotion through sickness and health.

I appreciate it that you are seeking words of encouragement from me, but the true reward for you is in leading your life well and being a blessing and an example to your children and friends.

I hope that your family values you as much as you deserve to be valued, and that your husband and children adore you, as you deserve to be adored.

I will tell you this. Even those of us without the burdens you face feel a persistent wistfulness that things could be different. Persistent wistfulness goes along with late middle age, and I don't know a person in that stage of life who doesn't feel it.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is a national organization offering regular support meetings for victims of abuse and for loved ones. I read your letter to Barbara Blaine, an abuse survivor and now president of SNAP. She wants you to know that you and your husband are not alone, and that you could both benefit from meeting with other survivors and spouses. "We teacheach other coping skills. A lot of us have found hope and improvement in our lives through sharing with each other," she says.

To locate a local meeting, check the SNAP. Web site at, or call 877-762-7432.

Mrs. Linklater BUTTS IN, shouting and screaming like a woman over fifty who owns cats. [As a reminder, Mrs. L is over sixty and has no pets]


Stop with the platitudinous drivel. If the poor man is on medication AND in therapy, BUT he has no interest in sex [the medication is an excuse, trust me] and he's ALWAYS sad, he's still EXTREMELY depressed. 

Here's a clue to his problem -- the medication and therapy ARE NOT WORKING. And while we're at it, persistent wistfulness does not go along with middle age.

Dating younger men or sporting a combover is a sign of middle age.  Wistfulness on the other hand is NOT. Taking a deep breath and sighing all the time is a symptom of DEPRESSION, not middle age. So his wife is suffering too.

It's time to sound the alarm.

With all due respect for SNAP and the services they provide, this kind and gentle man is at risk for suicide. He needs to be completely re-evaluated. He should be put on different and perhaps more powerful medication to start.

But even more importantly, what kind of therapy is he getting? Is he doing weekly reports on self help books? Or having one on one sessions with an expert in PTSD?

Let's hope he's not wasting away in some kind of once a week group therapy with the "worried well" led by an emphathetic, but undertrained social worker, where he can hide his pain behind his kind and gentle demeanor.  

His wife needs a spousal support group for sure, but if something isn't done soon, she'll be in a survivors of suicide group instead. 

Sorry, Mrs. Linklater gets all wound up sometimes. This time she'll probably get slapped with a REAL restraining order.


queenbigo said...

When you're right, you're right.  Obviously, whatever meds he is taking is not working.  Whatever therapy he is getting is not working.  Find another answer.  Pronto.

artloner said...

Nah, you're right.

As I was reading the letter, I was struck with my own sort of wistfulness, at how screwed up we all are. Dang.

Obviously the med isn't working, and they need to shop for a new one.

Favorite new Linklateresque phrase: "worried well".



judithheartsong said...

couldn't agree more. judi

screaminremo303 said...

I think if he hubby found the abuser and put a baseball bat to his knees, he'd feel a lot better. Then they could go to Las Vegas.

Or they could do the professional help thingy.

swmpgrly said...

LOL I like your point of view much better.

gaboatman said...

It sounds to me like Ask Amy needs a dose of this medicine, too.  I hope Ask Amy gets the counseling SHE needs for her own persistent wistfulness.