Today is my last day of taking antidepressants.
I think I’m ready.
I got a little bit of a reality check last weekend when we went to Nashville. We were visiting a home church community there, and we took Noah with us. And he cried. And cried. And cried. For basically the second half of the car ride. He also puked at lunch because I let him have a Chick-Fil-A fry, and he crammed the whole thing in his mouth.
Then came Opryland. Great idea in theory, but not so much with a cranky 8-month-old and a million people there looking at the Christmas lights. Bobby and I fought a bit because he wanted to sit down (he didn’t tell me until later that his gout was acting up), and I set off with Noah and the rest of the group without him.
I was barely holding it in at that point. Bad thought after bad thought after bad thought until I was at the point of tears.
The worst thought? “I can’t do this. I’m not ready to come off meds, and I’m never going to be. I just can’t handle motherhood.”
Thankfully my friend Natalie asked if I wanted to just take Noah and grab something to drink instead of walking around. Almost the whole Tuscaloosa group ended up catching back up with Bobby and sitting for a while. I think that saved me from a full-blown panic attack in the middle of the Opryland Hotel.
So then we end up with the whole group (there were probably at least 40 of us) at Cracker Barrel. Which is also excessively crowded. And noisy. And I have a hungry, cranky baby who hasn’t slept very much all day, and it’s already past his bedtime.
And then we end up at a table with six. other. kids.
Now this is not to complain about the kids, because they were actually all pretty well-behaved. But it was total A.D.D. time for Noah, which was not helpful while I was trying to feed him. Baby food EVERYWHERE. And I just kept getting more and more frazzled as I tried to keep him from grabbing silverware off the table or flinging pureed carrots into my hair by yanking the spoon I was feeding him with out of my hand.
And, of course, in the midst of all this, he has a poopy diaper and completely freaks out in the bathroom when I go to change him. (I don’t know what scares him so badly about public restrooms, but he screams and shakes like I’ve never seen.)
Poor Bobby wanted to help, but we were so packed in there that it was impossible to swap seats.
The pressure and the strain and the bad feelings just kept on building until I was really at the verge of a panic attack. Bobby saw it and kept reassuring me that it’s going to be OK, it’s going to be OK, it’s going to be OK. We ended up setting Noah on the table to finish feeding him, then I gave him bits and pieces off my plate, and he was completely content. No more fit-pitching. Grumpy baby, gone.
Bobby was right: It really was OK.
I approached the edge, and I didn’t go over it (with a little helpful tug back toward reality from Bobby). I didn’t have a panic attack in Cracker Barrel in front of a bunch of people I just met. Noah eventually got to bed that night and woke up the next day in a significantly better mood.
I woke up with a new perspective on me. Those fears from the night before about not being able to handle it? I. proved. them. wrong.
Motherhood isn’t ever going to be easy. And just because I’m coming off antidepressants doesn’t mean I’m completely over PPD and PPA. It just means I’m at a point where I can handle it.
I’m gaining back control of my life, and it’s a relief. It feels good. I’ll take that last little half-pill tonight, and I will close that particular chapter of my life.
Here’s to happy, med-free, messy, full-of-struggle-but-not-overwhelming days ahead.
Edited to add: I have been in the process of weaning off these meds for four weeks after having discussed it with my doctor. I followed her instructions for doing so. I definitely don’t recommend quitting antidepressants cold turkey! If you’re thinking of getting off your meds, make sure to talk to your doctor FIRST!