I've been wanting to write down a few thoughts recently but seem to have really busy days and exhausted evenings. Now it's a rainy Sunday and I have a few minutes.  I have wanted another baby for several years now and Willie just came on board.  Pregnancy and post-pardum are hard times in our life, I could even describe them as dark times. Despite that, I find myself wanting another child.  There are a lot of reason and that's a post for another day but mostly I love Wyatt and Hank so much that the possibility of loving someone else like that makes me willing to go through the hard times just one more time.  With thoughts of getting pregnant again comes trying to get off my depression medication which leads me to this post.

I have struggles with depression.  I am very open about it and not ashamed.  I am not crazy.  I do not appreciate the stigma that comes along with metal illness.  It so unhelpful.  It's very old school.  If you had diabetes you would probably take insulin, right?  If your brain is not making enough serotonin or your own serotonin is not lasting long enough in your brain then you are depressed.  So you take synthetic serotonin or a drug that extends the life of your current serotonin, right?  I can't believe the crazy things I've heard related to depression, like "just be happy" or "all depression comes from sin" or "you just need more exercise".  You get the picture.  Lame. I have a friend who's fiance said he would not marry her unless she stopped taking anti-depressants. There are also a lot of myths about anti-depressants.  Here is a myth busting article if you are interested.   I have found anti-depressants to be such an answer to prayer for me.  I found a good SSRI with almost no side effects (but not being depressed) and there is a generic so it's about $10 a month.  This medication has returned me to myself.  I feel so balanced, I can feel a full range of emotion. I can cry but I can also stop crying at the appropriate time.  The drug I take, Zoloft, has also been linked to birth defects when taken during pregnancy.

After Wyatt was born I almost immediately fell into a dark depression.  Part of it may have been from the traumatic circumstances following his birth but it did not lift, even as his health improved.  I can seriously say that I barely remember those months after his birth.  I cried so much.  I felt so angry. I wanted to escape. I had horrible anxiety that included irrational fears about Wyatt's safety.  I eventually called the doctor and she had a list of questions she asked me and saw me immediately to treat my depression. After starting on medication my life started to get back to normal and I was happy.  That's when my memories start again.

I took medication for about a year and came off it fine.  After Hank was born everything came back but I started on my medication the week after he was born so I started to feel better in about a month.  I came off the mediation a year after Hank was born and after a few months realized I was not ready and wasn't emotionally coping.  Anyone who was present at the Stratford Christmas in Ephraim that year saw my rock bottom.  I started crying at one point and feel like I didn't stop for two days.  I tried supplements, saw a naturopath and drank fish oil, etc and could not get back to feeling normal.  I was very resistant to go back on the medication (a symptom of being depressed) because it meant that I was dealing with something more permanent than post-pardum depression.  I finally started back on the medication and have felt wonderful and really even ever since.

Last month I started to come off my medication again and about a week and a half after had a surge of sadness return.  The feelings are so familiar.  My temper starts to get short.  I'm irritated easily.  Then I start thinking my life is the worst (my life is so not the worst).  Then uncontrollable crying.  AFter meeting with my doctor there are a few things I have learned.  There is a period of evening out when coming off the medication, like a dip before my brain can get an equilibrium.  Also, if I can not function well without my medication he would recommend I take the risk of taking it in pregnancy.  The medication is a category C which is in the middle of 5 levels ranging from safe to extremely dangerous during pregnancy.

I'm on my way off the medication again and am coming up on two week and feel good. I will go a month before tapering the rest of the way off.  The other day I had the impression to spend time in the sun every day.  After researching it a little I learned that sunlight in your eyes is the best way to make your own serotonin.  Lucky for me we live in a very sunny place, almost all year round. On top of sun, sleep must be a priority (no midnight releases of twilight for me), good nutrition and fish oils and a multi.  Also, a major positive force for me is intense exercise.

I am not a missionary for anti-depresasnts and by all means if someone can find a natural way to feel better, then do it.  On the other hand, if someone is suffering from depression and their family is suffering because of it, I think meeting with a doctor and getting some help could really turn things around.

11 Comments:

  1. Kate said...
    Sally, I'm so glad you are in my life. You have a way of being completely open about things and I believe that because of that you will be able to help someone that might need to hear the things you have said. We all have our stuggles, this may be one of yours, but I'm glad you have found a way to deal with it. Even if it means no midnight movie. Love you girl and I hope that as your plan progresses we will be able to welcome a fuzzy haired baby!

    Kate
    Maria Petrova said...
    You beautiful, beautiful soul. Thank you so much for you honesty here. This is something so many people cope with, especially parents of young children. I myself was very depressed my first 2 years in the States (at Ricks College), but it lifted once I got to BYU and met more like minds. I've never been on SSRIs but very much support people in taking them, especially (very very much) after child birth or with a young child. It's very important to have that support in those difficult years, especially for someone who takes such good care of themselves as you do, Sally.

    From a BodyTalk point of view, the soul processes SO MUCH that we are totally unconscious of, especially as a young parent. There are so many new dynamics, such an expenditure of energy and time, and such an enormous shift in the body's operating system that it often happens that brain chemistry becomes imbalanced. The brain just can't catch up. There are so many factors in a depression that the dismissive statements you quoted are so deeply harmful and totally don't get it. There are so many subconscious factors that to say one needs more exercise is really hurtful. In my experience and study, crying is a beneficial process of moving emotions out of the body, and of moving trauma out, including the huge trauma of childbirth (on both mama & baby). In childbirth many genetic memories get activated, such as of women in our line dying in childbirth, and it can be that one of those pieces come alive without us being conscious of it at all, but it takes a bit hit on the body's energy system. We often have no idea why we're crying, but the body is just releasing trauma on many levels. It has its own wisdom and it's releasing what it needs to release. Frankly I really need to spend time just crying, there's been some trauma recently (breakup), but who has the time?

    I'm really in awe that you'd post this, Sally. Lots of us, especially lots of mommies, are right where you are. Bless you, dear soul!
    martine said...
    Sally. I so appreciate your honesty and open sharing. I too had ppd and experienced a very dark time after ezras birth. Your writings prompt me to continue the sharing and openess about these issues. You are very brave. Thank you! You make beautiful children..the world would be lucky go have one more!
    Travis said...
    Bravo, Sally.
    Elsha said...
    I love your honesty Sally. Depression is one of those subjects that people tend to shy away from, probably because of the stigma that goes along with it. I totally agree with you though, when your body needs a medication to help regulate a system that's not working right-- take the medication! And I know there are people who think everything can be solved "naturally," but just like not all diabetes can be controlled by diet, not all depression can be controlled without medication.

    Anyway, good luck with the quest for another fuzzy headed baby! I'll be thinking of you.
    Suzy www.savedbysuzy.blogspot.com said...
    Sally, I appreciate your honesty and I'm happy that you are having success in coming off the medication. However, I also wanted to let you know that I took antidepressants while pregnant and nursing with all three of my daughters. The girls seem to be fine and have not suffered any ill effects from the medication.
    Hilma Bellessa said...
    We're here to help in any way you need us. We love and admire you for your strength to meet this challenge/opportunity. We love your little fuzzy haired babies. In the end it is totally worth it.
    maryirene said...
    i appreciate your honesty too. we are very alike in this situation. my year in ny was my dark period. i was hesitant to go on anti-depressants again because i was wanting to get pregnant with number 3. luckily we moves to indiana and life got better and number 3 came along. i am now on medication and it keeps me even. i plan to stay on it for a while. i prefer being off it, but at times i need it and i've accepted that, but it took me a while to get to that acceptance. i wish you the best. you are not alone in this.
    lucy said...
    You are awesome, Sally. Lovely post.
    Business Networking Tips said...
    I love you Sally.
    JAALA said...
    I love this post. Everything about it. I too suffer from depression and anxiety... this is one of the reasons we moved back to Las Vegas... more sun and heat (my woes come in the form of Seasonal Affective Disorder... NO COLD OR DARK FOR ME PLEASE).
    Thanks for being so open about it. I love you so much more for talking about it.
    Good luck with your weaning off and trying for another bambino. You have a great support system... family, friends, church, colleagues.
    May the force be with you in your efforts.

    MUCH LOVE

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