4.15.2012

Returning to Myself

The last month has been really hard for me.  I finally sucked up my pride and went to the doctor for some antidepressants.  I was exhausted and burnt out.  I had reached the point where I was nonfunctional and that wasn't helping anyone.  My morning routine was shot.  I quit making real breakfast and just ate cereal.  I stopped taking full showers every morning.  All I wanted to do after dropping Lil' Bit off at daycare was drive home and curl up under the covers.  I ate potato chips and Snickers bars for lunch.  I almost never ate dinner, and if I did, it was likely ice cream.

I always thought of myself as a strong capable person.  And, truth be told, I still am.  I was just dealt an extra heavy dose of life recently.  Still, I HATED having to get meds.  Nothing makes me feel weaker and less in control than having to medicate myself.  But none of that changes the fact that I needed it.

So, I go talk to my doctor and he prescribed me a mild, entry-level antidepressant.  It gave me nausea and insomnia the first week (not helping!), but those finally went away.  However, new and more problematic side effects started to occur and I ended up in the ER the Saturday before Easter (really not helping!).  I stopped that med immediately and when I went to my doctor last week he put me on a different class of anti-depressant.  This one has been amazing.  I felt better after two days.  I've even had a few bouts of baby fever--proving I'm feeling better!

In fact, yesterday I not only felt like my old self again, but I felt like I did before I had Lil' Bit.  I felt like a capable parent.  And as that awareness dawned on me, it occurred to me that maybe I had been dealing with depression longer than I thought.  See, I knew being a parent made you feel tired and overwhelmed, so when I felt that way after having Lil' Bit, I assumed it was just the lack of sleep.  I never felt sad or anything that I thought of as "depressed."  But, given how much better I feel now, I think I was suffering from mild postpartum depression.  Nothing huge, and nothing that wouldn't have gone away with time, EXCEPT for suddenly having all of Lil' Bit's medical issues to deal with, and a miscarriage, and, and, and.  Stress and grief piled up to create situational depression that exacerbated the postpartum depression I didn't know I had and *poof* the world was a horrible place that kept dumping on me and I just wanted to hide until it stopped.

Now that I have come out from under the clouds and feel so much better, I wish I had done this sooner.  I hate that my pride and stubbornness prevented me from seeking help.  But, rather than beat myself up about it, I can take pleasure in the fact that I did, eventually, do something about it, and now, I am loving being a parent again.  I *might* even consider doing it again.  But even if we ultimately decide not to try again, I feel like I'm in a better place to accept whatever we decision we make because it won't be made from what felt like a place of defeat or resignation, but from a place of comfort and acceptance.  I know this will sound crazy coming from a planner and control freak, but I'm finally looking forward to what lies ahead without knowing what it will be.  Who knew surrender could be so freeing?!  Oh, right...  Well, at least I finally got here.  Welcome to MWS 2.0 (Mommy, Wife, Self).  Let's take her out for a spin!

2 comments:

  1. So glad you are on the mend! So many people feel ashamed of taking medication for mental health, it's like a forbidden lifeline. If you had an infection, you wouldn't feel ashamed of taking antibiotics. If you had diabetes, you wouldn't feel ashamed of taking insulin. (Of course it would still suck that this disease was no letting you have more control over your own body... I get that). But hooray for taking care of yourself!

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  2. I think part of the problem is calling it "mental" illness. The truth is, it's a physical illness. That's why medication works. But, by calling it a mental illness, something inside us wants to believe we can simply think our way better.

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