Posts Tagged ‘zoloft’

Sunshiny Days

Friday, September 7th, 2012

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I stopped taking my Zoloft back in June simply because I ran out. I kept meaning to make a follow up appointment to talk to my doctor about a refill, but as each day went by I felt better and warmer and happier and decided it was as good a time as any to stop. It wasn’t necessarily a smart, well thought out, medically advised decision. There was just so much going on – so many adventures, so many trips, so much SUNSHINE – that I forgot to make the appointment and before I knew it I was too busy to feel sad and frustrated and angry all the time.

It wasn’t an act of God or a miracle that I felt better. My anxiety reached an all-time high when Caroline was about 15 months old, which was exactly when we began weaning. A few people reached out to tell me they had experienced the same crazy hormone fluctuations and depression when they had stopped breastfeeding. It turns out it’s an actual thing, although not something that’s extremely well known.

The Zoloft got me through weaning and over that hormonal bump that made me feel like I was losing my mind. It was like a key and a sliver of light under the door I was banging my head against, trying to figure out how to escape my frustration.

Besides the medication, I think the light (sunshine, brightness, longer days) made a huge difference. I used to roll my eyes at people who claimed Seasonal Affective Disorder with their sunlamps and their dread of winter. How can that be a real thing?

My apologies to everyone who I ever secretly thought was making it up, since there is no doubt in my mind that the short dark days played a huge part in my anxiety.

Maybe it’s an actual vitamin D deficiency or maybe it’s a feeling-the-sunshine-on-my-skin-makes-me-happy deficiency, but when the days warm up and we spend more time outside I am always better. A better mom, a better wife, a better person. The lightness makes me lighter.

With Labor Day weekend behind us the evenings getting shorter by the day and I’m starting to worry a little bit. September and October are beautiful, fun-filled months for us in New England. There’s still plenty of time to spend outside, plenty of apples to be picked, the perfect pumpkins to find for jack-o-lanterns, hay mazes to explore.

But beyond that, there’s winter. Cold. Dark. The stress of the holidays. Although December might be my very favorite month now (Caroline’s birthday AND Christmas!) there’s no doubt trying to split up family time and E’s crazy work schedule and weather-related delays and cancellations and ruined travel plans can crush my festive spirit pretty quickly. I’m feeling a little stressed just thinking about it. And the heating bill. And the snow. And now my eye is twitching.

I’m thinking I should probably go ahead and make an appointment now to talk to my doctor, rather than waiting until I get overwhelmed and the thought of adding one more thing to my plate makes me want to just curl up under the covers and cry. I don’t necessarily want to restart the Zoloft (or anything else) now. I’d like to be prescription free when we start trying for baby #3 if possible, although I’m also a little worried pregnancy could do what weaning did and things might get out of control again quickly. But I think it’s a good door to have open.

So for now I’m floating through the end of summer, mindful of what’s coming but not letting it overshadow these beautiful days. This weekend is the best weekend of the year around here (Greek Festival and Italian Food Festival within walking distance, town fair in our old town) and my biggest problem is we have too many friends to hang out with. It’s a pleasant kind of busy-ness, rather than the overwhelming kind. Let’s hope I can recognize the difference if and when it comes and know enough to ask for help.

I feel like this cat knows everything I wish I did about life.

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Happy Days Are Here Again

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

I forgot to take my Zoloft over the weekend – three days in a row total – and I started to feel pretty lousy. Not losing-my-mind crazy but irritable and anxious and unfocused. I thought maybe I was overreacting but decided it (probably) wouldn’t kill me to take an extra pill to get back on track. So on Monday I took one at noon and one at bedtime – which is when I usually take it. Oddly, if I take it in the mornings I have really vivid crazy house on fire naked Christmas farm animal Barry Manilow pregnant high school war opening night Hunger Games dreams. And that’s even if I DON’T read dystopian fantasy novels while I fall asleep. So I took two and hoped I wasn’t over medicating myself into a coma or a heart attack or something.

INSTEAD, I did ALL THE THINGS in the past two days. And in a good way, not a “I’M BORED, LETS CUT BANGS” way.  I finally dealt with the mountain of baby clothes in Caroline’s room and organized her summer wardrobe (because yeah, girl has too many outfits). I bought plastic totes and put away craft supplies and decorations from Evan’s birthday party that happened *ahem* more than a month ago. I steam mopped all the floors. But not only is the house clean, I’m competing in an imaginary contest for Mother of the Year Week. We did puzzles (I HATE puzzles) and put on boots to splash outside and blew a billion bubbles and went to the library and read the same books over and over and over and over and over and tracked down all the balls to all the toys and let the kids them jump all over me and sang songs loudly and let them ride the elevators even though we didn’t need to and let them eat the last giant marshmallow. Even when I was annoyed I calmly explained to Evan he needed to listen better or I would have to use my angry voice – and I KNOW, saying stuff like that sounds RIDICULOUS but when my 3 year old says “Mommy, I can’t want you use your angry voice and I can’t want use my angry voice so let’s have hugs and kisses” I dies of cuteness so I don’t care how ridiculous it sounds. Plus, it worked. He now recognizes my angry voice AND his angry voice and knows how to stop them.

(Extra bonus cuteness: Evan had to have a blood draw for his anemia test an he was REALLY sad – although again, I handled it a zillion times better than I normally would have – and afterwards I asked if he wanted a Happy Meal and he said “No Mommy, I need a Sad Meal”.)

(Double extra bonus cuteness: Evan has stopped calling Caroline “Baby Sister” and started calling her “Stinky Pants”…which, oops, but when he yells “COME BACK STINKY PANTS!” across Target I can’t stop laughing long enough to breathe let alone feel bad about the nickname.)

ANDPLUSALSO I gave myself an at-home hair treatment – honey and olive oil, which sounds like a crazy mistake but actually did wash out and made my ends softer – and finally tried no heat curls (my hair says “MEH”) and I’m feeling pretty good about myself in general, despite eating too many ice cream sandwiches.

So now I’m wondering if I should call my doctor and ask to raise my Zoloft dose or just blame my sudden productivity on the domino effect of accomplishment – you know, where you get that happy buzz from seeing an empty kitchen sink so you decide to wipe down the cabinets and then the floors and then BAM you’re suddenly hoping the UPS guy shows up just so you can be proud of your super clean house when you open the door. I don’t think two days is long enough to definitely say my medication is why I’m doing so well but with everything else still as stressful as it was last week (E hasn’t seen the kids since Sunday because he’s working such long hours, rainy days, Evan is still three) I am desperate to keep it up. I LIKE being productive and happy. It’s definitely preferable to anxious, grumpy, shouty and tired.

WHAT SHOULD I DO, INTERNETS? Please come over to discuss, so I can show you my spotless kitchen counters.

p.s. Anyone still interested in a home tour link-up/blog hop/whatever? I should show off this place before it all goes to crap again.

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Monday, February 13th, 2012

I finally scheduled a doctor’s appointment to get referrals – one for the scary mole on the back of my arm and one for the scary shouting I can’t seem to control. The appointment was at 9 am on a Thursday at the military healthcare building. On Wednesday, I realized my car didn’t have updated stickers and I couldn’t get on base without stickers.

I went to get new stickers.

I couldn’t get stickers because my ID had just expired, so the guy gave me a temporary pass to get to the ID office.

I went to get my ID.

I couldn’t get a new ID because my sponsor – my husband – has to be with me OR I needed a power of attorney OR he needed to come in and fill out a form.

I called my husband.

No, he couldn’t come. No, he had to be at work. No, he couldn’t do it on his lunch break. No, he couldn’t do it tonight. No, there is no way it could be done before my appointment tomorrow.

I started to cry.

“FINE!” I screamed into the phone, “I hope your job is REAL HAPPY when your wife goes FUCKING CRAZY because you couldn’t take TWO MINUTES to come sign a piece of paper. GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.” I hung up.

No stickers, no ID, no form, no appointment. No no no no no no no no no.

I watched the kids run back and forth in the grass outside the building and wondered if I was just imagining going crazy or if it was something that was actually happening. It was 55 degrees in January, after all. Maybe this wasn’t real life.

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 The next day I was really embarrassed about my temper tantrum, just like I always am. I calmly rescheduled my appointment and couldn’t figure out why it had felt SO URGENT only a few hours before. I should just stop overreacting and calm down. There’s no reason to be so angry. Good mothers don’t shout so much. I told myself I just suck at everything and need to get over it. Just like I said the time before, and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that… I kept my appointment.

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I talked to my doctor for a long time on Tuesday and filled out her questionnaires as honestly as possible. She said it sounded like anxiety – which I was just calling OVERREACTING TO ALL THE THINGS – with mild depression. I don’t know if it’s technically postpartum anything but when the doctor said “It’s OK, you’re not imagining things, I can help” I felt better than I have in months.

I took my first tiny Zoloft pill last Tuesday. I am still not sure how I feel about it. I am still not sure that it’s working. But I AM sure talking to my doctor was the right thing to do. I can’t believe I waited so long. I can’t believe I still feel so reluctant to share this. In my online life I know so many women who have dealt with or are fighting  or have overcome postpartum depression or anxiety or OCD or some other form of baby-related hormonal brain disease. Some days I wondered if I was crazy for NOT having postpartum depression. And then when things started to feel out of control I wondered if I was just exaggerating so I could fit in. Oh look, another mommy blogger on medication. What a cliche. Doesn’t she know Dooce already did that? It’s so 2009. Besides, my “baby” is 13 months old – didn’t my ticket to postpartum mental disorder town expire in December?

Although I know the internet is FULL of support, in my real life things like this are Not Talked About. The only person I’ve ever heard mention PPD was the sad, weepy, exhausted mom at breastfeeding support group who was so obviously depressed I wanted to bundle her into my car and drive her to a therapist myself. I’ve never felt like that. No one has ever said “You look like you’re struggling.” My husband has never taken the baby away from me and suggested I talk to someone.  I think my family is going to be really surprised to read this. I’m worried what they’re going to think. But hopefully soon, I won’t have to worry so much about what I think.

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