Tag Archives: antidepressants

It’s time. I’m ready.

sleeping baby

Thank goodness the kid slept on the way home from Nashville! Cute, isn't he?

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.”

*Sigh*

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!

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Danger vs. truth (a PPD update)

Bobby isn’t sure that I’m ready to come off anti-depressants. If I’m being completely honest, I’m not entirely sure either, but I called my doctor yesterday to find out what steps I would need to take.

I’m not sure how to describe what I felt when I hung up the phone — sort of a mix excitement, anticipation, dread and fear. I know I don’t have to do this now if I’m not ready. But there’s also that little voice in the back of my head reminding me that I really don’t want to be on anti-depressants forever, that I can easily see a difference from now and six months ago.

And there’s a smaller, more dangerous voice whispering, “What’s wrong with you? Aren’t you better than this? Needing drugs to be normal?  If you were really as good as you think you are, you wouldn’t hesitate. You would just stop now and not even bother coming off gradually.”

That is really painful to admit because reading it here, actually on the screen, I see how incredibly terrible it sounds.

That little voice is what has caused me in the past six months to, on occasion, skip days of taking my meds, and it’s made me miserable. And I should be clear: This isn’t a new voice. It’s not a PPD voice, although I’m sure in this instance the PPD does play into it somewhat. It’s a voice that’s been with me for a long, long time.

So I’m afraid of heeding that little voice. I worry that I’m really not ready because I know the PPD is not something I have any control over. But the way I’ve felt recently has been different. I’ve felt more rational and more in control. And when I think about coming off my meds, the dominant voice is not that one that’s mocking me for starting them in the first place; it’s one that tells me that I can give it a try. That this isn’t something I can even fail at; it’s just something I need to take at my own pace.

I’ve found comfort in the medicine I’ve taken the past five months or so. It, along with the support of Bobby (who I can really never thank enough for dealing with all my PPD issues so incredibly graciously), brought me back from the darkest, most painful place I’ve ever been. It allowed me to love my son and learn how to be a mother.

Now I think it’s time for me to try those things on my own. It’s probably not going to be easy, but I think I am more prepared now than I was then. And if I need help, I am a big enough person to ask for and accept it.

So take that, little dangerous voice.

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.