The Couple Who Medicates Together
Could a pill be the key to marital bliss?
Writer Cathi Hanauer was racing a few years back to finish her first big book, The Bitch in the House, an essay collection about (how apropos) the hazards of navigating a dual-career life with children. She worried incessantly, suffered from insomnia, and yelled a lot: "I was the bitch in the house.” But “the most direct effect of feeling like shit,” she says, was to start "looking at my life, thinking, I have to change things. I obviously couldn't leave my kids, so I looked at my husband, who was easy to blame." She went on Celexa, off it for a time, and then—after realizing that her tendency toward mild anxious depression is chronic—got back on it.
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"My husband and I are very compatible; I know he's the right guy for me," she says. "But when the world felt gray and hopeless, it carried over to how I viewed my marriage. I'd think, Oh, I shouldn't be in this life! I need to get my own apartment!" On Celexa, she says, she feels calmer, more confident—and less trapped. Hanauer is so convinced that depression can distort husbands' and wives' perceptions of each other that it's a major theme of her new novel, Gone, out next month. "Like every marriage, mine goes up and down. But on medication, the downs feel like normal downs." Hanauer says she and her spouse are "natural" types who typically look askance at drug fixes, "but we're both pretty happy that I'm on this: It's good for me, so it's good for us."
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