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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a new member and I've got to say after reading through your forum for a couple of nights I think my problems are insignificant compared to what many are going through.

Still - we have issues and I am seeking clarity through new and diverse opinions.

I've seen a couple of posters who jump to responses like "Divorce him/her, it'll never work out"... but that isn't going to happen.

I'm just looking for ways to improve our marriage.


So... we have 2 young children (3 yrs and 19 months). My wife is a stay at home mum, immigrated to our country 4 years ago (so not many friends and no really close friends or family nearby). I am in a senior executive position, very demanding job - lots of direct reports and lots of responsibility, high income, all the perks - but I cut my travel to almost nothing (one or two overnight trips per year) when we married because I know being constantly away and being married doesn't work.

First thing I'd like to discuss is this... Sleep deprivation, the effects on our relationship and her refusal to give herself a break.

My wife considers herself to be a nightowl and will sit up watching movies, reading her birth country's news or skyping with friends until midnight or 12:30am every night.

Our children wake "early" - maybe 6am each morning. Most nights (or at least some nights), one or the other child might wake and need attention.

I know my wife is exhausted because when the kids get up in the morning she'll get them up, put cartoons on and sleep on the lounge for a few hours.

Breakfast for them usually comes around 8am or 9am (at the latest), but before then she is "catching up on sleep".

1. I don't like the kids watching so much TV
2. I know she's tired, so for the life of me I can't work out why she refuses to go to bed earlier
3. When she is tired, she's less than the ideal partner.

Anything I say is almost shouted down with claims I am trying to control her and that I "don't help enough", I don't understand, or ridiculous denials of some fairly basic truths...

Anyone been through similar things when children are very young?

How can I help her develop a more healthy sleep routine to improve ALL of our lives?

If you were experiencing the same thing, what would you do?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Some notes:

- I know she is bored

- She misses her past career

- She misses her friends and pre-marriage lifestyle

- It's hard for any immigrant, but I believe she is in a particularly demanding situation because of all the usual challenges of relocation + 2 young children

- I wasn't doing enough to help her during the week. I was focusing on getting home around 6pm-6:30pm every night then taking control of the eldest child to bath, dress, play, put to bed. Since our last big argument I've made a point of being home at 5pm-5:30pm and helping with both (as well as helping with other household chores). I leave for the office most mornings at 5:30am but have been able to work from home until 10am at least a few days a week of late.

- We almost never have sex, but she never says no if I initiate it. I'm just tired of initiating it.

- She'll go through phases (often) of being cold and unattentive to me... but then out of the blue will do some very sweet and loving things (a gift, a touch as she walks past, an unexpected kiss or grope, a compliment about me being a good husband/father, etc)

- When she is going through a bad phase she'll say the most nasty and hurtful things... and I feel like EXPLODING but always try to remember the children shouldn't see us arguing like that. Still, some of the insults are so way off reality I feel like sitting her down and giving her the blood and guts truth of some of the things in my past that would horrify her.

(Example, recently she said I am lucky to have her because no one else in my past ever agreed to marry and have children with me. We're 14 years apart in age. The truth is I was such a dreadful womaniser for 9 years after my first marriage and up until I met her that I avoided anything that looked like a serious relationship.

It hit home today at a BBQ at a friends house where one of my ex'es turned up with child in arm (my wife doesn't realise she's met several of my ex'es) and found an opportunity to tell me that we should have given it a better go when we were dating "back then". I ended that relationship because the girl was >15 yrs younger than me and while fun, it was going nowhere.

- At a point in my life I decided to change. I saw the circle of people I was in as being affluent losers, sure we/they had all of the financial freedom in the world but they/we were prisoners to our relationship dysfunction. Since those days I have tried to be a good husband and father - BUT I AM NOT PERFECT. All I want is for us both to take the positive steps we need to improve our lives/relationship.

How long can I go on being unhappy with the situation? Forever, for the sake of the children.

How long do I want it to continue in sub-standard marriage? Not a moment longer than we have to?

Do I think it'll change if I just sit tight and let the children grow and her to build new value in her life? Yes, probably, but why waste 5 yrs or 10 years when we could have so much freedom and happiness instead of a lethargic, sometimes boring and often very frustrating lifestyle?
 

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Welcome to TAM.

I spent nearly 20 years trying to make a marriage work with a "night owl". While I went to bed at 10 pm every night, my estranged husband would stay up to 12 to 2 in the morning playing games or surfing the net. He would then wake me up. It was hard to get back to sleep because I had to be up at 5 am anyway. He then had the nerve to complain about our sex life. :scratchhead: I never did find a solution.

As for your other problem.... Your wife is wrong about you needing to help more around the house. She is a SAHM. Therefore, the children and household are her responsibility. I was a SAHM for 10 years and took care of almost everything. My husband could focus 100% on work while at work and enjoy his family once he got home. Dinner was on the table when he got home and the children were bathed (and dressed for bed).

There may be other factors at work in your situation. For example, has depression been ruled out? Have you considered seeing a marriage counselor? That would be a good starting place before your small problems grow into much larger problems (like the ones we see a lot here on the forum).

Good luck!
 

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I am far away from my own country, so I understand the feeling of lonesome!

But as a responsible woman, she has to accept the fact that she is away from her own country, her own family, and her friends. She has to realize that you and your children are her family now! She has to settle down.

And as a responsible woman, she has to make sure everything at home is organized since her job is at home. She has to view it as a job, can't do it whatever she likes. She has to have good sleeping schedule, she'd better go to bed with you together, going to bed together is important to create intimacy for couples. She doesn't need to wake up at the same with you since you go to work early, but she has to make sure the kids are well taken care of.

She can't be too proud of herself. She can't take you and her life for granted. She has to realize life is always changing, if she doesn't work hard, her life is going to change to worse, she has to realize nothing lasts forever, your love doesn't stay forever. But if she works hard to improve herself, your life together is going to become better.

Good material life doesn't guarantee happiness, it is important for us to have spiritual life! We don't believe in super natural power, but at a certain age, we will start to question about our life, why are we like this, why are people like this, is there anything I can do to help myself understand life better? At that time it is time for us to search for spiritual life. Christianity, Buddhism, whatever works better for us, both of them are good!
 

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Has she always been a 'night owl'? I think some people just have natural rhythms that are different than others.

She sounds like she could be depressed - far away from home, not able to connect with others, small children at home all the time.

Does she have hobbies or other activities that she enjoys? Does she have the opportunity to get out of the house on her own sometimes? Are there volunteer activities that she could become part of?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Welcome to TAM.

I spent nearly 20 years trying to make a marriage work with a "night owl". While I went to bed at 10 pm every night, my estranged husband would stay up to 12 to 2 in the morning playing games or surfing the net. He would then wake me up. It was hard to get back to sleep because I had to be up at 5 am anyway. He then had the nerve to complain about our sex life. :scratchhead: I never did find a solution.

As for your other problem.... Your wife is wrong about you needing to help more around the house. She is a SAHM. Therefore, the children and household are her responsibility. I was a SAHM for 10 years and took care of almost everything. My husband could focus 100% on work while at work and enjoy his family once he got home. Dinner was on the table when he got home and the children were bathed (and dressed for bed).

There may be other factors at work in your situation. For example, has depression been ruled out? Have you considered seeing a marriage counselor? That would be a good starting place before your small problems grow into much larger problems (like the ones we see a lot here on the forum).

Good luck!
Thanks for the response...

I wouldn't mind her being such a nightowl if her tiredness wasn't having such an impact on everything else we do.

I appreciate your comments over the SAHM thing... ideally I'd be getting the royal treatment - but it's not happening... not anytime soon I think.

Sometimes I wonder if she is just selfish and things will never change. At times it seems the more she takes the more she wants (in emotional effort).

Finally, I wouldn't think she is depressed at the moment. Certainly at a point after the birth of our second son there was a time when I tried to encourage her to mentioned it to the doctor - she absolutely thought she was NOT depressed.

I raised counseling last weekend. The answer was "absolutely not - there is nothing wrong with our marriage."

I tried explaining there was something wrong... but she says I just turn small things into big things and I should stop talking about it.

I also then asked if she'd be prepared to talk to our Priest - even though we've stopped going to Church for the past 6 months (because she's too tired to get out of bed "early" on Sundays). At least I got a concession that she would make an effort to get up and going early enough for us to start attending Church every second week from now on.

Thanks for the input and ideas.
 

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I am far away from my own country, so I understand the feeling of lonesome!

But as a responsible woman, she has to accept the fact that she is away from her own country, her own family, and her friends. She has to realize that you and your children are her family now! She has to settle down.

And as a responsible woman, she has to make sure everything at home is organized since her job is at home. She has to view it as a job, can't do it whatever she likes. She has to have good sleeping schedule, she'd better go to bed with you together, going to bed together is important to create intimacy for couples. She doesn't need to wake up at the same with you since you go to work early, but she has to make sure the kids are well taken care of.

She can't be too proud of herself. She can't take you and her life for granted. She has to realize life is always changing, if she doesn't work hard, her life is going to change to worse, she has to realize nothing lasts forever, your love doesn't stay forever. But if she works hard to improve herself, your life together is going to become better.

Good material life doesn't guarantee happiness, it is important for us to have spiritual life! We don't believe in super natural power, but at a certain age, we will start to question about our life, why are we like this, why are people like this, is there anything I can do to help myself understand life better? At that time it is time for us to search for spiritual life. Christianity, Buddhism, whatever works better for us, both of them are good!
Thanks for the supportive comments. Makes me feel I'm not being totally unreasonable - though I feel I'm being unreasonable when I want to talk about the problems at times.

We have a strong Faith - hers is drifting because she is not as committed to our Faith as she is to being absorbed by the tiredness. Sounds unfair but I just cant get over the fact that if she went to bed at a reasonable time she would definitely feel better the next day.

As it is I come home at times and she'll sleep for an hour or two and then wake up around 8 with new energy and subsequently stay up later than usual.

It's frustrating - but I'm determined to get us back on track.
 

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Has she always been a 'night owl'? I think some people just have natural rhythms that are different than others.

She sounds like she could be depressed - far away from home, not able to connect with others, small children at home all the time.

Does she have hobbies or other activities that she enjoys? Does she have the opportunity to get out of the house on her own sometimes? Are there volunteer activities that she could become part of?
Thanks to you too for your comments.

Yes, she's always been a night-owl. When we first started dating I would stay over at her place and be surprised she would stay up after midnight every night and then still go to work the next day.

Of course back then without children she was able to have HUGE sleep-ins on the weekend to get herself together again...

She says she stays up late now because it's her only chance for "her time" because she's running after the kids all day. While I can accept that I can't help but thinking being less tired would make it easier to cope during the day - thus starting a new more healthy (emotionally) cycle.

She's getting a fair bit of "me" time over the past 4 months or so. She's started studying a few days a week and the kids go into daycare to give her a break. She isn't enjoying the study because she is more advanced than the course has ended up being but is continuing because it gives her something to do outside of the house.

also try to ensure I give her time on the weekends with the kids at home (by visiting family) but now she realises I'm happy to take them alone to family she is starting to insist she comes too.

She tries lots of different things... crafty type stuff. When she finds something she likes she hits it at full pace and then goes totally away from it after a while - sometimes a long while.

About 6 months ago she said she couldn't cope with the tiredness anymore and "demanded" we get an au pair. I had never considered it in the past but after some thinking (minutes, not hours or days) I thought it was a good idea too.

She went about finding one with gusto - but after a week or so had changed her mind because of the reduced privacy.

Last week after a big blow-up I said we needed to reconsider the au pair option as it would take some pressure off us and give us some extra couples time.

At first she disagreed, not wanting to give up some privacy (of having someone live in our home), then relented a bit, then showed complete apathy and the idea has effectively been quashed.

You might say I should just go ahead and organise it but I know her - she'd go along with it even if she didn't want it and then would cause a scene and end it for a crazy reason once we'd "given it a go".

Similar things have happened in the past when she disapproved of something I thought we'd agreed on. Her "strategy" seems to be "don't resist, just ruin it when the opportunity arises."

Honestly, she is a bit selfish at times but at other times she is incredibly giving and has been supportive in the past. I know she is not acting in her usual way because she is so constantly tired and run down.

I look back on photos from our time together and can see how drawn in the face she is at times whereas when we first met she was always full of vitality.

I just don't know how to get through to her that she NEEDS to rest more, or at more appropriate times and that has to start with her getting a decent nights sleep.

Lots more thinking to do I think...

Thanks to all for your input. it's been thought provoking.
 

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She sounds selfish and immature and at times, emotionally cruel to you (pointing out nobody else would marry you, etc.). Maybe she's hoping you will believe that (and maybe you do) so she can control you and do exactly what she wants.

I would skip the priest. Honestly, what the heck do they know about marriage? Nothing. They are single and celibate (supposedly).

I would see a counselor without her if she refuses to go with you. This marriage does not sound normal, healthy, or positive in any way. A responsible mother doesn't stay up late and then neglect her kids in the morning. A responsible SAHM doesn't demand that her husband be home at 5 or 5:30 to take care of the kids. That is just not reasonable.

To be honest, maybe she would be happier working. The kids might be better off in daycare, with other kids, and a teacher who will be interacting with them and doing activities with them instead of just sitting them in front of the tube. Why not give her that option? You could also explore having a babysitter come one or two mornings a week if she needs some free time. It sounds like this would be financially possible for you, so maybe that would help.

Your wife is incredibly lucky to have the option of staying at home, but it doesn't sound like she appreciates the fortunate position she's in.

I would sit down and discuss with her what your expectations are of her, and ask her what her expectations are of you. She shouldn't be your slave, nor should you be her meal ticket (unless you are okay with this). Both of you should be contributing the the marriage.
 

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It's time for counseling. At least go to individual counseling. You will need that to remain a strong, confident person. She's actually the one who most needs counseling, but she is in denial. Unfortunately, this is usually the case. I've been in that situation for a very long time. Individual counseling has given me the strength to face each difficult day though.

I still see depression as a possibility. She has a lot of the classic signs. All of the tiredness and the circumstances surrounding that is a red flag. Even if she does stay up late, she should be able to make up that sleep time when the children nap during the day. Depression effects everyone differently. Some people detach from loved ones, some people can't eat, some can't sleep. Yet other people sleep too much and over eat. Then, some people become confused, disoriented, agitated, sad, indecisive, unorganized, forgetful, etc. Many times it takes a trained professional to accurately diagnose the problem.

I really wish you well with all of this before things go beyond repair.
 

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She sounds selfish and immature and at times, emotionally cruel to you (pointing out nobody else would marry you, etc.). Maybe she's hoping you will believe that (and maybe you do) so she can control you and do exactly what she wants.
Selfish - Yes
Immature - At times
Emotionally cruel - Can be.

I would never believe the things she says in anger. I will always have many other options in front of me (women, relationships, etc) - but none of those options would include having my children living in a normal family environment with mother and father around.

I would skip the priest. Honestly, what the heck do they know about marriage? Nothing. They are single and celibate (supposedly).
We are Greek Orthodox so our Priests are married... Our priest has 8 children, a big beard and wonderful insight. :smthumbup: I think it'd be highly unlikely she'd want to speak to him because he would lay everything out bare and it would be too uncomfortable for her.

I would see a counselor without her if she refuses to go with you. This marriage does not sound normal, healthy, or positive in any way. A responsible mother doesn't stay up late and then neglect her kids in the morning. A responsible SAHM doesn't demand that her husband be home at 5 or 5:30 to take care of the kids. That is just not reasonable.
THIS is a good idea, and not something that has occurred to me yet. I guess by searching and finding this place I knew I needed to discuss things with someone but I'd not connected the need with the services before. thanks.

To be honest, maybe she would be happier working. The kids might be better off in daycare, with other kids, and a teacher who will be interacting with them and doing activities with them instead of just sitting them in front of the tube. Why not give her that option? You could also explore having a babysitter come one or two mornings a week if she needs some free time. It sounds like this would be financially possible for you, so maybe that would help.
I think she would be happier working - or at least it'd let her appreciate not having to work if she doesn't want to. Right now being a SAHM is like a sentence to her - not benefit.

I'm really committed to moving the au pair option forward as I think this would help - but she needs to buy-in to the section process or it'll fail.

I would sit down and discuss with her what your expectations are of her, and ask her what her expectations are of you. She shouldn't be your slave, nor should you be her meal ticket (unless you are okay with this). Both of you should be contributing the the marriage.
We've tried to talk about it many time but talking isn't working. There is always an argument "at the moment" and even if she has agreed with what I've said she'd never concede face to face - but often changes behaviour immediately without comment.



Thank you very much for your advice and ideas.
 

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I still see depression as a possibility. She has a lot of the classic signs. All of the tiredness and the circumstances surrounding that is a red flag. Even if she does stay up late, she should be able to make up that sleep time when the children nap during the day. Depression effects everyone differently. Some people detach from loved ones, some people can't eat, some can't sleep. Yet other people sleep too much and over eat. Then, some people become confused, disoriented, agitated, sad, indecisive, unorganized, forgetful, etc. Many times it takes a trained professional to accurately diagnose the problem.

I really wish you well with all of this before things go beyond repair.
I agree with the possible depression. Sounds like it to me. Part of her behavior is sleep deprivation but I bet a lot of it stems from depression. You're depressed, can't sleep right, depression gets worse from lack of sleep. Vicious cycle, KWIM? As a friend would say: "Been there, done that, got the t-shirt." :eek:

Also, I wouldn't skip the priest. Especially is she's not open to counseling. I had a short talk with my priest last weekend and it helped me to get a little more centered and the extra prayers can't hurt, right? If you're Catholic, see if she'll go to Confession. :)

I hope you can get her to see that continuing on this path is not cool. I know what it's like to crave me time. But sleep is so, so important to mental and physical well being. Sometimes me time has to be spent catching up on sleep.

ETA: I just read you are Greek Orthodox. I don't know if your religion has the Sacrament of Confession or not. If so, I think it's a good starting point.
 

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She needs a good scolding, you are not being controlling so never let that remark keep you from protecting the health of her family.

I suggest you stand up and let her know you will no longer tolorate her behavior. Your scared now b/c she called the "control" card on you, and yelled at you.

The next time she acts out like that I suggest you give a good spanking, if she acts like a child she gets treated like one.

There is no reason the both of you can't discuss the pros and cons of her behavior and negotiate some compramise. But until she can calmly talk this out with you, you have to show her that you diserve respect.

For me, I take my kids toys away when they don't listen. And its not about getting them to do something its about talking it out and listening and using there "inside voice".

Once they see the value in doing something and they still don't do it, then the spanking starts.

I let my wife walk all over me for years, and let me tell you there wasn't any respect left before I desided to change 17 month ago.
 

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Here's what I'm reading into all this.

She sounds young. So her being 14 years younger than you makes her how old?

She also sounds like she is totally committed to your marriage.

Maybe have a talk with her if doing the stay at home thing is right for her. Some people are totally not cut out for it at all (I'm in that boat). It sounds like if she's willing to stay with a class that's not providing a whole lot of benefit that external interests may be what she needs.

Also, if she's always been a night owl I'm not sure why you expected it to be different. If she used to need her weekend sleep in to recharge why not work something out so she can sleep in Saturday mornings to get the catchup she needs (you tend the kids or bring in childcare for then.

Just some ideas ... hope everything works out for you.
 

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She needs a good scolding, you are not being controlling so never let that remark keep you from protecting the health of her family.

I suggest you stand up and let her know you will no longer tolorate her behavior. Your scared now b/c she called the "control" card on you, and yelled at you.

The next time she acts out like that I suggest you give a good spanking, if she acts like a child she gets treated like one.

There is no reason the both of you can't discuss the pros and cons of her behavior and negotiate some compramise. But until she can calmly talk this out with you, you have to show her that you diserve respect.

For me, I take my kids toys away when they don't listen. And its not about getting them to do something its about talking it out and listening and using there "inside voice".

Once they see the value in doing something and they still don't do it, then the spanking starts.

I let my wife walk all over me for years, and let me tell you there wasn't any respect left before I desided to change 17 month ago.
I agree with TG!

Love her, but don't spoil her.

She has to understand the responsibility of being a wife and a mother, and she has to fulfill her duty! A good woman can handle a lot of things in life and she still gets everything organized.

She just needs to get into good habit, sleep when everybody is sleeping.
 

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Just an update - it must suck to have newbies come in here, ask a question, take advice and run...

So she has settled down a lot (again) and is back to doing sweet things (simple things, but sweet things). Everything is happy at home and you wouldn't know there were any issues at all.

When things are like this I usually might take the opportunity to talk about the past problem to try to have a calm conversation about what is happening but these are the times she claims I "like having arguments."

I know one of her failings is that she finds it impossible to have a discussion where anything negative about her behaviour might come up...

I'm not raising it this time - just no point in having another argument.. I'm tired, but sooner or later we will have to have "that discussion."

Something totally unexpected popped up yesterday though, which might confirm some of the suggestions earlier in this thread. Our kids play on our iPhones all the time and the little one brought me her iPhone because he was having trouble unlocking it. I swiped my finger to unlock it and immediately onscreen was her mail and the top message subject line read, "Dealing with depression."

I actually feel bad about seeing the message because I'm absolutely against snooping but I didn't mean to see her mail... but by coincidence it appears she's subscribed to someone online newsletter about depression.

Of course I didn't open the message (because then it would appear as "read") but at least now it's fair to surmise that she has identified a potential problem and is seeking out information on it.

So, those that advised to consider depression as a factor might have been absolutely right...

The question in my mind now though is how to help her deal with it - or should I just leave her to it?

I KNOW - I AM CERTAIN - I HAVE NO DOUBTS a contributor must be the constant tiredness she is feeling. She is at her worst when she is tired. One night this week she went to bed around 11pm but all other nights it's still been midnight or later. She refuses to go to bed earlier (as I said earlier) because she says she has always stayed up late - but to me when life changes and you have children then there is a responsibility to change our lifestyles to suit the current situation.

Anyone else been in this position? (i.e. a spouse sitting up very late and waking tired every day???)

Any suggestions on helping her change this behaviour?

Thanks for the previous advice - and thanks in anticipation of new valuable information.
 

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People become defensive when you mention something bad about them. Even though they know they have the problem, they don't like it that you tell them.

You manage people, you know that!

The best way is to point it out and let them figure it out!

Responsible people have no excuse not to do this or that! Instill that into her mind. You can tell her that in order to fulfill your responsibility for being a husband and a father, you are doing what you should do! She is a mother and a wife, she should understand what a wife's responsibility is, she should know what a mother's responsibility is, she has to fulfill her responsibilities. As human, we have responsibilities.

When a person is happy, she has a lot of energy. When a person is not happy, she just sits there and feels sorry for herself.

When I talk about spiritual life, it is not just going to church, it is studying life and people, it is understanding ourselves and our responsibilities as human.
 

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Would she be willing to exercise more? Maybe suggest family exercise activities you could do in the evenings. Or maybe she could go for a walk for her alone time. Exercise helps depression and it may help her regulate her sleep patterns if it isn't too late in the evening.

It's so hard to describe depression if you've never had it. Logically I know things are true and what I should do. I just can't get past the mental block to make them happen. It's so frustrating and as a result, it can worsen the depression. I think it's good she's trying to find some relief and things seem to be better.
 
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