Wednesday, February 03, 2010

PPD and Me (Part 5 - The Last Part)

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

(Yes, I've put off writing this conclusion because there really isn't a perfect little ending.)

Hi.  My name is Sarah and I take 20mg of Celexa a day.  For postpartum depression. 

So how old is my baby, you ask?

Oh, he's almost 5...

You see, looking back, and knowing what I know now, I certainly could have used the benefits of an SSRI after colicky Middle was born.  Instead, I just "toughed it out" and figured it was "normal" to feel the way I was feeling.  Anxious.  Frustrated.  On edge.  Unable to soothe my constantly crying newborn.

And then boom, I got into a fight with Hubby at a wedding (that had an open bar all night) and so we had make up sex (you know that's the best kind) blinked and was pregnant again.

So it was for the best that I wasn't taking an antidepressant at that time.  Everything happens for a reason, right?

But now, sometimes when I open the cabinet in the morning to take my multivitamin and my Happy Pill, I think to myself, "I should stop taking this" (and I'm not talking about the multivitamin).

I don't really have a good reason for wanting to stop.  Part of me thinks I *should* be able to handle my chaotic life without it, so the fact that I take it makes me feel weak.  And still, there's the stigma.  (Or is this just in my head?  Do YOU think there's a stigma attached to women who take antidepressants?)

I sorta think I NEED it.  It's kinda scary, actually.  Certainly, I have to think that my genetics play some part in this. 

So, to sound all cliche and trite, I'm kinda stuck between a rock and a hard place.

Thankfully, though, I am currently under the care of a wonderful certified nurse midwife.  When I saw her in January and spoke to her about possibly wanting to ease myself off it, she shrugged and said, "If that's what you want...but why?"


Why wouldn't I take something that makes me feel better?  Why wouldn't I take something that HELPS? 

It's not like taking it numbs me - not at all!  Just more....even keeled. 

I know I can't quit cold turkey though. I've tried.  Everything will be fine for about 3-5 days and then all of a sudden it literally feels like a black cloud is hanging over my head. And I'm angry. Pissed. Yet sad. For no apparent reason.

The best way to do it is to wean yourself off it. I've tried this as well (without medical supervision though). But then when all of a sudden I find myself WEEPING COPIOUSLY because Hubby bought the wrong amount of steak tips and I can't figure out how to adjust my recipe accordingly, I realize it's probably time to take a full dose again.


And then there's the whole weight issue. 

I have been told that taking an antidepressant doesn't necessarily make you gain weight, but it does make it harder to lose weight.  So there's that.  But I can't use that as an excuse, I know.  It just means I have to work harder to lose those stubborn 5 10 15 20 pounds.

So that's where I am today.  There's just no easy answer.  But for now, I am continuing to take my Happy Pill.  And am working on not being so hard on myself.  Because I'm lucky.  And blessed.  Life is good.


I know a few of you have already e-mailed me offline to share your stories and to let me know how much you identified with mine.  All I can say is, if you see yourself in anything I have shared, then you know you certainly are not alone.  Your feelings are valid because they're YOURS.  Call your doctor.  Make an appointment and talk to him/her.  What have you got to lose?


justme said...

this is such a great post. i too had a colicky child, she was my second (i might have commented already on prev parts), i too toughed it out and thought MAN i am a loser that i can not handle this, suck it up, get my effing act together - after a YEAR of seriously going insane i finally went to a therapist and my prim. doc and both recommended meds. i was shocked. really, but i am not depressed. not me. oh yes you have ppd, and you have major anxiety. so i took lexapro and holy shit why i suffered before i don't understand. it is a stigma, i truly feel that we feel we should be able to do it ALL with a smile on our face. i don't feel it makes me happy, it makes me be able to cope. i have been on it for since my younger one was one and she is 3. i have no desire to get off of it b/c it works for me. i see so many moms who i want to scream at to get on meds, you can just tell they are on edge and it ain't right. then again i just meet up with a bunch of my college roommies and found out that 2 were on the same pill as me and one of their i also think more people take soemthing than you realize but nobody likes to admit it. thanks sarah - excellent post.

Vodka Logic said...

thanks for sharing your story. Yes there is still a stigma of "disease"
"weakness" and it is can be as damaging as anything.

The way I look at it is, if you were diabetic you would take your meds the rest of your life and hopefully stay healthy. Yes diabetes is life threatening if not treated, but so can depression. Maybe not as noticable but who should have to live their life miserable when there are so many meds that can help.

Good luck

workout mommy said...

thank you for sharing your story with us! :)

J said...

I think you are absolutely amazing for sharing this. Life doesn't have perfect little endings but you are doing what is best for you and your family and that makes you a great mom.

Anonymous said...

This was a wonderful post! I have a similar story, with one less kid! My youngest is almost 4 1/2 and I started the depression treatment process about 2 years ago. I tried several medications before finding one that helped (Cymbalta). What a frustrating time that was! I felt all of the feelings you felt...overwhelmed, angry, sad...all at the same time! My poor husband! I do think there is still a stigma about antidepressants, but less so. I read Brook Shields' book and felt comforted that someone else was feeling as I was. Someone who seems to have it all...she's just like the rest of us. Oh, Tom Cruise is an idiot. Thank you for telling your story! I'm a new blogger and would love for you to check it out! Thanks again for your openess!


Christine said...

AMEN!!! Fabulous post...I hear you LOUD AND CLEAR. I can relate. I can identify. If it's not broken (now) don't try to fix it! ;o)

Kelli @ writing the waves said...

I think it's awesome that you've shared your story. It would be hard to know what to do. To wean or not to wean? I'm sure it would be an adjustment, but if you wanted to, I bet you could do it. Still, if your midwife is saying it's fine to stay on it, then why go through all of that? That's a tough one...

Jeannie, Jane, Angel, Mommy, etc.. said...

Great post. I think I am going to call the Dr. just to talk to him to see if we need to do anything. I don't know that I need something, but I feel the same frustration/anxious/sad/angry all at the same time most of the time and I KNOW I am being too short with the kids and the huz. Thanks for the insight.

Rebecca Jill said...

As someone who's taken anti-anxiety and anti-depression medicine without being married and without having children, like someone else said, if it's not broken, don't try to fix it. If you're fine with taking it, then all the more good.

Is there a stigma? Probably so to some extent. Should there be a stigma? No!

Natalie said...

If you need your happy pill, then by all means take it. For as long as you need to & don't feel guilty about it.
If you were diabetic, you wouldn't htink twice about needing insulin. Think of it as something your body needs, but doesn't make.

Jen said...

I think that they old saying, "If its not broke, don't fit it" goes pretty well here. The pills make you happy and able to cope with life. Why stop? There really is no need too.

debi9kids said...

What a wonderfully honest post! I will have to go back and read the other sections of this story. (I just recently started taking an herbal remedy for my...what-ever it is...)

Popping by from Bloggy Boot Camp ning :) I'm going to Baltimore and looking forward to hearing you speak & getting to know you!

:) Debi

amanda said...

i actually don't think there is a stigma attached anymore? but maybe that's just me? bc truly in my circle there are so many taking a happy pill each day - i think it is starting to become the norm. and i think that's ok too. you have to do what's best for you. the end.

Kim In Search of Me in Mommy said...

As many other commentors have stated - wonderful, wonderful post - your honesty is so refreshing! I can oh, so relate to much of your experience! I too have had similar struggles and when I asked my OB about going off, she said almost the exact same I too still take my happy pill - will I forever? I don't know...for now it works.


ps...Thanks for visiting my blog and being the first to make a comment. Being the dork that I am, I did a little happy dance... :)

Anonymous said...

i was on antidepressants from the age of 16 to 22 and was certain i'd get post partum depression but oddly enough i didn't. i think it had a lot to do with a supplement called travacor i took during pregnancy and continue to take. but there's never any shame in taking something that makes you a better you. the only things i was worried about when going on them was the possibility of not writing as well while on them. but i'm a writer...i'm a little off. :)

i think eating better also helped me. i'm a dietary vegan and i love the way i feel eating the way i do. you just have to make the changes that feel right for you and never ever beat yourself up over it.

it'll get better for all of us. it has to right?

Petunia Face said...

Hi, my name is Susannah and I also take 20mg of Celexa each day.

Although mine is for anxiety. I've tried various times in various ways to get off the Celexa, all with the same result: panic attacks.

My husband has type 1 diabetes so I've heard the "if you were diabetic" thing. But what really helped me is when my dad asked me what I would do if someone told me that if I ate one cookie each day I would be happier, less anxious, a better friend, wife & mother, would I do it? Of course I answered yes, and then he asked why one tiny pill is so different.

So I take my Celexa everyday and try very hard not to be ashamed of it.

And I also eat a cookie.

Unknown said...

I understand!

I finally took the step and made an appointment with my doctor in December and got a nice happy pill of my own. My anxiety was literally crippling me. It is so wonderful to finally feel like myself.

Suburb Sierra said...

Love that you shared all of that. I remember having panic attacks before I got married and running out of Malls in a sweat and pulling over on the highway wondering how I was going to get home because my hands wouldn't stop shaking.

Then it subsided and resurfaced when I got pregnant and I was away in NYC in a tiny hotel room. I sat in the bathroom panicking the anxiety was going to harm the baby but feeling unable to stop it.

I am not on medication now and haven't had an attack in years - but that said - you are so right in that everyone has their own story, their own situation, and their own solution.

Rock on girl with your Celexa and be proud you did something about it instead of ignoring it - stigma, schmigma. I love meds, and therapy, and self-help shows and herbal supplements, and wine :) It's all good.

Life As I Know It said...

thanks for posting your story and for your honesty.

Debbie said...

It is so wonderful that you shared this story. And I can see your dilemma. I'm just so glad you found something that helped you so much.

dogwooddiarist said...

Been a while since I visited -- a quite inviting post. Is there a stigma? Well, who ever has to know? But I suppose that it's in our nature to be hard on ourselves when we're our only judge.

I take an SSRI AND I drink, and every day I tell myself this isn't right. But I'm happy, or happier, and that's something.

Joie said...

I don't have post pardom (sp?) mostly cause I don't have kids... :) But I do take me some crazy pills! I think it's genetic cause my mom had depression, my aunt and my grandma as well.

I actually laugh about it. I mean, my head is broked. heh.

And why the hell would you want to be off of something that helps make you feel more "normal", whatever that is? I have gone through moments when I think I should be off of it, that I need to realize how great my life is...but then I end up wanting to curl up in the fetal position and bawl about not wanting to go do anything. Or breathe. I just want to sleep and be miserable.

And then the headaches. OMG. I feel like literally dying. It is so awful.

So I am staying on them. I like feeling more in control of myself. I like dealing with things more evenly.

I enjoy enjoying life.


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