On depression, fear and anxiety

I’m afraid to come off my anti-depression meds.

There. I said it.

If you’ve been reading my blog for the past few months, you may remember that I was diagnosed with post-partum depression and began taking anti-depressants as a result. And I’ve felt good for the most part. The meds really seem to do the trick. Yeah, I still have my down days, and I still get sad and feel normal emotions, but they are just that: Normal.

About a month ago, I went through a period like a lot of people probably go through when they are on anti-depressants; I thought I was over it and that I could just skip a few days here and there until I was ready to come off the medication completely.

That led to me sitting in my car at a gas station on the phone with Bobby crying and confessing that I had stopped taking the medicine, apologizing for being so terrible and moody and promising that I wouldn’t stop taking them again. I knew I had spent the days prior fussing at him, getting angry over the smallest thing and generally being little miss sunshine.

Since then I’ve been more consistent with taking them, and I feel … better. More balanced. Better than I felt before I even got pregnant.

Whoa. Hold the phone there.

Here is where I have begun to feel a little concern. I find myself thinking that I do feel less off-balance emotionally than I’ve ever felt. Things don’t bother me the same way. In some ways I feel more logical. And I don’t want to give it up.

I’ve always sort of suspected that I’d battled depression in the past, but it was the pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of fight. I’d never really given any thought to seeking treatment for it. I think at least part of that was because I knew my mother would frown upon it — even though I’m fairly certain now that she has had her own battle with depression for years.

The other thing that scares me is the anxious thoughts that creep in sometimes even now. I will start thinking about something terrible happening to Noah or Bobby or me, completely out of nowhere with no real foundation. I’m able to shrug the thoughts off and go about my business. But what if I wasn’t on anti-depressants?

One of the worst parts of my post-partum depression was the anxiety: being afraid to leave the house because I was afraid Bobby would be mad at me or lose his temper with the baby; being afraid to go in public with the baby in case I couldn’t get him to stop crying; being so terrified I wouldn’t wake up when Noah cried that I couldn’t sleep at all. If you’ve never had that type of gut-wrenching fear overcome you day in and day out, count yourself lucky.

I don’t want to have to go through that again. But I’m worried to continue using something that I could probably get through life without. I feel like I should want to stop using the anti-depressants, and right now, I really don’t want to stop using them.

My last refill on the medicine was this month, so I will have to have a discussion with my doctor about this regardless. She mentioned at my last appointment that she wanted me to stay on them for at least six months, which would mean beginning the transition off them at the end of October, but she also said I should consider continuing them through the holiday season since it’ll be the first Thanksgiving and Christmas without my dad.

I hope I can voice all these things to her. I’ve never had an easy time talking about this kind of thing.

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11 responses to “On depression, fear and anxiety

  1. Good Luck Misty! A friend of mine started taking yoga and that really helped her get off medication. It’s so scary how the line is so blurred between what are the ‘normal’ stresses if everyday life and what isn’t. I think that is a stuggle in and of itself. So many people reading this can relate. I cannot say that I have had ppd so I am not trying to sound like I know what’s up but I undestand the general anxiety moms face especially as a first time mom. It’s not easy. It sounds lilke you have a supportive husband! You are in my thoughts 🙂

    • Thanks, Kelly. I do have a great hubby, and we talked about this at length last night. He’s basically backing me up, whatever I decide. That helps so much.

      I’m actually considering starting yoga! One of the professors where I work teaches a Monday night beginners class and invited me to stop by.

  2. Thank you for your honesty! I wonder if some of the process of depression is putting the thought of feeling almost guilty maybe for taking the medication if you can get by without it.

    I suffer from depression all the time and have tried a break from medicine as well. I know that I can live my best life with medication. What’s the harm to my body? If we were talking about aspirin or other medication to prevent migraines for instance, I don’t think it would be that big of a deal. I try to remember that I have a chemical imbalance in my brain which doesn’t mean I’m crazy.

    Hope this encourages you!

    • Kim, it does encourage me. It’s tough for me, especially coming from a family that looks at depression as a crazy-person syndrome. When I told my mom I thought I was suffering from post-partum depression, she actually told me if I would be more involved with church it would get better and then asked if everything was OK in my marriage. Yeah, not helpful, Mom! My OB is who prescribed my current meds, and the prescription is up this month, so I’m going to see what she thinks and visit a mental health professional if I need to. It helps to know there are other people out there who have gone through similar stuff!

  3. I love you and am proud of you, no matter what. You’re the best and bravest woman I know. You did a great job of writing this and being honest about what you’re going through.

  4. I think the fears are normal. I think these things for my BFF’s baby all the time (not even my kid! ha!). What we do with our fears should tell us if we are having a larger problem.
    If you are feeling like a best version of you on meds, there is no shame in asking the doctor what she thinks your next step should be for a more long term treatment.

    And I don’t read your blog regularly, but have stopped in for the pinterest challenge and some of Noah’s milestones…so I don’t know if you do these things or not…but
    Journaling and meditating (together) would seem like a wonderful fit for you in particular.
    I pray you find the peace you need to talk to your doctor, and her the wisdom to see what the best path for your overall health will be.

  5. I hope you can discuss things with your Dr. soon. I took Zoloft for 7 months. When I got ready to come off of it, it took an additional 8 weeks because my Dr. advised me to take it very slowly. One week I would skip one day, the next week 2 days, and so on. It was a slow process and made me extremely nervous.

    Only you and your Dr. know what is best for you to do, but I promise you it does get better, with or without medication. Parenting is such an ongoing learning process. Things that made me extremely worried and nervous months ago don’t phase me now.

  6. hang in there!! i have been up and down emotionally {like way up and way down} and its been hard. we decided not to start anything for me but everytime i start thinking crazy and am not able to handle myself emotionally i try to surround myself with others or pray. if i am struggling with fear i just repeat scripture over and over and over. somedays it helps more than others but i think the Lord will bless it and will help me through it. it also helps me to shift my focus from my problem and focus on god…now that i am 12 months out, i am better but it aint been easy! you are normal, you are wonderful and you need to take care of yourself! bobby and noah need a healthy happy momma…my doc also told me that I could go to a low dose or could just take one every other day. i found too that my low low low days would hit when i was having issues with my cycle too. the doc told me that if i could pin point it to certain times of month that i could take it like the week before and then the meds would be in my system for the next week and i wouldnt struggle so bad…anyway, we opted not to go the meds route, but i figured i would share my experience 🙂 love you!

  7. From what I’ve been told about depression meds from my doctors, you’ll know when it’s time to come off them. That partly scares me cause I’ve never come to that point…but it also lets me give myself patience and grace until I come to that point. My two cents.

  8. Pingback: Speaking out on PPD |

  9. Pingback: Half a year, and the memories live on |

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