“Stop Taking Antidepressants Or Else!”

“My boyfriend says that if I keep taking my medications and seeing a therapist, he will break up with me.”

Our Elder advises: “Put yourself first and follow the advice of your mental health professional.”  


Dear EWC,

I am currently going to therapy and have been taking antidepressants and anxiety medication. My boyfriend  is super anti-therapy and anti-medication, saying that all they care about is money and they do nothing to actually help. Although I’m not the biggest fan of therapy either, at least I can see that it does help some people, and I feel like my therapist actually does care.

My boyfriend says there’s nothing wrong with me, and that he wants me to stop taking them. He has threatened to leave me if I don’t agree with him. 

I’ve stopped for about three days now, and I’m feeling depersonalized and foggy and I’m getting anxious again. I’ve told him what’s happening, but he just brushes it off, saying it’s just withdrawal symptoms and I’ll get over it. I’ve tried arguing that they actually do help me, but he keeps on saying that if I actually believe that stuff, he’ll leave me. 

I know this is super toxic, but I don’t want to leave him for a multitude of reasons, and I actually hope to convince him that some of the stuff he thinks is wrong. So here is my question: I don’t know if I should start taking the meds again, or just do as he demands and possibly make myself worse. I don’t want to tell my therapist about this, because I already know the answer she’s going to give me: don’t listen to him. And I know that’s probably the right thing, but is it the best option for me? What if my boyfriend breaks up with me?


GrannyJ Response

Rayne, I have read your letter and will be glad to offer some thoughts from my perspective. I do have to say that we elders are not allowed to give any kind of professional advice, so my advice comes from my own life experience and knowledge, having had many friends, acquaintances, and family members who have struggled with mental health issues. 

A large percentage of our population has misconceptions about mental health. Many people have the same viewpoint as your boyfriend’s—that mental health symptoms are “all in one’s head,” and that people can control their symptoms if they just try to “shake it off’ or “get over it.” That is simply not true.

It is well-known that many mental health disorders result from actual alterations in brain chemistry, and that medications such as the ones you have been taking are designed to help those brain chemicals get back to normal levels, thus helping to alleviate symptoms. Stopping medications abruptly can often make matters worse, causing a person to have a rebound effect. I saw this happen when my mother stopped taking her antidepressant and went into a profound depression. You seem to be experiencing something similar.

Your boyfriend is not a health professional, and is not qualified to tell you how to take your medications or how to manage your anxiety and depression. His advice, from what you wrote, actually seems to be harming you. In addition, your prescribing physician and your therapist have entered into a treatment agreement with you, and by opting to stop your medication without their knowledge, you have broken that agreement. 

You have given yourself a choice: either stay off the meds and risk getting worse, or start the meds and risk your boyfriend breaking up with you. My suggestion, Rayne, is to think carefully about what is really important to you. You know your own situation better than I. How will things go in the long run if you stay off your medications? Will your mental health continue to deteriorate? If so, is that what you want to happen? I imagine not. In my opinion, your boyfriend does not have the right to tell you how to manage your physical and mental health. That is your right, and yours alone. I hope you can find the will to stand up for what is best for YOU. 

I suggest starting back the medication before you get any worse. If you are struggling with this whole situation, do go see your therapist and be honest with what has been going on. At some point, please consider telling your boyfriend you will do what you feel is best for your health, and you hope he can find a way to support your decisions. If he doesn’t, maybe he is not the best partner for you.

Rayne, I hope this helps. You deserve to be healthy and happy. Please pursue only those things in life that help you toward that goal. I hope things all work out for you. Please write again if you need more advice. Take care, and good luck!

Best Regards,


Article #: 500193
Category: Dating/Relationship

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