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Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Real Deal.

*Disclaimer- I am not writing this post to fish for pity. I'm writing to be open & honest about how I'm feeling & hopefully others may relate*

I've been debating for a while whether or not to write about this topic. I mean, it's not that I'm ashamed of it (anymore); it's just simply the fact that I know there are Judgy McJudgersons out there that could rip into me for writing about this-or maybe not. I'll take my chances.

Look, I really try to keep this blog a happy outlet for me & readers & try not to have too many negative things to write/whine about. But, my life isn't all puppies & rainbows & therefore this blog shouldn't be either. I want this blog to reflect my real life & not a fantasy-every body's- always- happy- life. So, with the suggestion & encouragement from my husband, I'm going to bring some difficult reality to this post...

Depression. I really hate that label/word. Unfortunately, it has been a letter in my vocabulary since I was a mere 12 years old. I remember the day I got diagnosed with it so vividly.

My best friend had just moved to a different state & for weeks following that huge event (remember, I was 12 people), I spiraled into a black hole. I cried. I didn't eat. I didn't sleep. I didn't leave my room for days on end. Finally, my mom had enough & took me to my doctor who decided I had depression & from that day on, I have been on anti-depressants.

It was something that I was so ashamed of, you guys. I didn't want to have to take a pill to make me happy & keep my emotions in check. But, that's the way it had to be.

Unfortunately, the big diagnoses was not a big surprise to my mom. Depression runs on both sides of my family. My dad is on anti-depressants, my mom, my sister & my brother. We all suffer from different levels of it. I actually think my mom & I have it the worst. We've spiraled into black holes more than once, been to therapists, tried different medications & so on.

I think when I was in high school was when I found just the right medication & dosage for me. Boy, was that a victory. It feels so good to find just the right medication that doesn't make you feel like you're going crazy. Needless to say, I've been on the same medication since.

Last August, when my husband & I decided to think about trying for a baby; I had the idea to try & wien off of my Lexapro. I knew that I didn't want to go off anti-depressants completely since that would not end well, so I decided to try & switch to Zoloft (a pregnancy safe anti-depressant). The first few days weren't so bad, but when the new medication got in my system, I spiraled, yet again; into a very deep, dark hole that I didn't think I would ever come out of.

I missed a week of work, a week of sleep, a week of eating- a week of my life. I was miserable. My mom had to come over & be with me while my husband was at work because I wasn't to be alone. I wanted to die. No, I never tried to commit suicide, I just wanted to disappear from the world. I didn't want to deal with my problems. I felt like a freak & I felt my husband & family thought I was too.

That week felt like years & that next Monday, I made an appointment with my O.B. & I'm so glad I did. I told him we wanted to try for a baby & asked him about my depression. He immediately told me not go change medications or try to stop taking them. With his suggestion, I was to remain on Lexapro when I did become pregnant. He felt the risks of me not being on that pill were greater than me being on it while pregnant. So, that's what I did & am still taking it. I know this is a debatable topic, but it's what is right for me.

Up until recently, I have felt that my Lexapro is still working. But within the past few weeks, I have been a basket case. Crying, feeling anxious, feeling guilty & clingy (all symptoms of depression). But, is is really my depression rearing it's ugly head back in? Or is it simply raging hormones from being pregnant & miserable. I don't know, but I don't like it. It scares me. If I'm like this now, how in the world am I going to be when my baby comes? Worse? Better? The same? The whole reason of staying of anti-depressants while pregnant is to lower my chances of getting PPD (post-partum depression). I am SCARED SHITLESS that I am going to have this. I can't fathom being in a black hole WITH A BABY.

I know the best thing to do, obviously, is to voice my concerns with my doctor (which I will), I just wanted to put all of this out there to share & hopefully find that there ARE other women dealing with this & that I'm not the only one feeling scared.

Depression is not something to mess with nor be ashamed of. All through school, I hid the fact that I was taking a pill to essentially make me happy. But since then, I've come to a realization that depression can affect anyone & it's just a natural chemical imbalance that causes it. There is nothing I can do about the fact that I have it. But I can control how I handle it. & that is why I am taking that one pill. For me. For my baby.

Thank God I have an amazing supportive husband who has lived through this with me since I was 15. He knows the struggles I have & makes sure I take my medication everyday & is always there when I'm feeling blue & to catch my tears (which is a lot lately). I really do have an amazing support system & do not know where I would be without them.

I'm sorry this post is INSANELY LONG but I feel much better putting it all out there. I am on anti-depressants & am not ashamed. There. I said it. I just hope it stays away from me when my baby arrives.

28 comments:

  1. Oh, no :( I'm so sorry that you are going through that, sweetie. Keep your chin up and positive thoughts flowing. We will be praying!

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  2. depression can be caused by a chemical imblance so no one should ever judge you for it. Thanks for posting this. I'm sure a lot of women going through the same thing will appreciate your honest perspective.

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  3. ::BIG HUGS!!:: I know exactly how you feel! I have been dealing with it also for years beyond years and my husband and I will be TTC in a few months. My doctors all said the same to me, to stay on the meds. Just make sure you tell your doctors everything, they are there to help you. Please keep us updated with how you are doing :) You're not alone in all of this!

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  4. Laur! Your amazing and you know that! Dall is too and you do have such a great support system keep doin yout thang girl your going to be one wonderful mama! Love ya!

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  5. How brave of you to share this with us!! I think people need to talk about it to take away the stigma. I'm sure you'll do great when Claire arrives because you know you're prone to PPD, know the signs and know what to do about it. Just reach out for help as soon as you need it (if you do)! Good luck! *hugs*

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  6. Don't be ashamed of this hun! So many people struggle...I once did as well. And no worries about your emotional, clingy self right now...I was the exact same way at the end of my pregnancy! Just the thought of my hubbs spending a night away from me totally freaked me out. Just voice your concerns to him...and you should both go through a PPD checklist so he can really watch for any symptoms. Hugs to you!!!

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  7. Hugs to you and thanks for sharing, I was terrified with my first to have PPD, I gave my husband the list to watch for as I knew if I knew the signs I would make myself believe I had it! Well luckily I got through those tough first weeks without having it, you will have a few days where you may literally just break down in tears over NOTHING, JUST CRY IT OUT! You will feel so much better and keep you lines of communication wide open with your husband and friends about it! You will be totally fine lady, your little girl will bring you lots of joy and if you do happen to get PPD you will make it through it! My thoughts and prayers are with you!

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  8. I can completely relate to you girl! Its rough and the hormones of pregnancy can make it even worse... Your doc knows you best-- so if he says to stay- I would do it! I switched to Zoloft when I got pregnant and I could totally tell a different... After I stopped nursing I immediately went back to the original meds.. Pregnancy and motherhood will give you more anxiety but it is worth it-- at least we've got the pills to chill us out a bit :) Good luck!!

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  9. Wow I just want to give you a big hug! Because everything you've said really hits close to home. I've had some symptoms of depression on and off for years now but haven't done anything about it. When I had cancer my dr. made me go on lexapro but I weened off it the second I was in remission because I didn't want to have to "take a pill" as you said. I was terrified of getting PPD and still am (I was pretty weepy that first week) but I've come to realize that it's definitely not something to be ashamed of! There is a solution out there and help if I need it, or if anyone else needs it, and that's reassuring. I'm glad you have that wonderful support system there for you, so don't (or try not to) worry too much about the future.

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  10. I really hope that no one would judge you for this. You're so strong for being honest about something that so many people deal with but not many can talk about. Depression also runs in my family and I've been to therapists my whole life and luckily have been able to get by with only Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Thanks for being so honest on your blog and with your readers/friends :) You are going to be a great mommy regardless of any struggle you may stumble upon.

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  11. How brave you are for sharing this with us! Maybe it will help someone else struggling with the same thing. I have suffered from depression a few times in my life...most recently when I was pregnant. I barely remember most of my pregnancy I was in such a whole. I too was very worried about post-partum depression. The crazy thing was, I never felt better in my whole life the first 6 weeks after my daughter was born. Those hormones worked great for me and I was on top of the world. Hope this ends up being the same for you!!

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  12. Awww I really hope you feel better! You will be an amaxing mom... dont ever doubt it!

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  13. Hang in there... :( Everyone is different. It is a possibility that the hormones and whatnot are just escalating everything and that is why you are feeling worse right now. Just remember that you have to do what is right for you and your baby!

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  14. Your post really hits home with me. I am 20 and have been dealing with depression for about 6 years. I finally found the rights medication about two years ago. Thank you for posting about this topic. It is something that so many people suffer from but are so afraid to talk about it!

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  15. gosh i know how you feel!
    im on prozac and have been since i was 15 i am 10 days away from my due date,but i feel horribly depressed and im so scared im going to get post partum depression ovbiously im going to talk to my doctor but im 100% sure its the pregnancy hormones making us feel this way just hang in there talk to your doctor,and we should be okay:)

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  16. big hugs. Thank you for being so brave and sharing this. No one should judge you for this. Please hang in there and keep doing what is best for you and your little one.

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  17. For many years I've been on Zoloft for OCD. My doctor also supported my staying on it...it being more beneficial for my health and the health of my baby than not taking it. It was a true struggle for me. I actually lowered my dose, on my own, taking half the recommended dose b/c I felt there would be less risk. My doctor supported my decision since I was doing ok on the lower dose. Throughout my pregnancy, I was closely monitored for heart defects and lung /breathing difficulties the medication could contribute to in my baby. As I neared 8, 9 months...hormones raged...I cried, wailed...to my family and friends of my inner struggles and guilt. September 1, 2007 I welcomed a beautiful, healthy, baby boy. Almost three years later, he has had no health issues related to the medication I took. I will be honest and say, when he was born...he was alert, but very relaxed (from the Zoloft..I believe), he barely cried...even as they bathed him and cleaned him up. He was very calm. About two weeks later...he appeared unusually fussy and cranky. I believe this was a withdrawal period for him. That is the only side-effect? I can even think of up to this point. It didn't occur to me until later on, that the withdrawal was likely the cause of his mood change. Overall, I do not regret my decision...I had to do what was best for my son, and that was taking care of me, his mommy,, so I could care for him as he grew big and strong inside me.

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  18. P.S. Not sure if your medication is expressed through breastmilk? Mine is...therefore, I made another difficult decision...to formula feed my son.

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  19. Delurking to say I think it was brave of you to write about this, and I'm glad you did. I don't have kids yet, but I have been on an SSRI for years and wonder about what to do when my husband and I do start a family. I wish more people blogged openly about mental health like this :) Congrats on your healthy pregnancy!

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  20. *hugs*
    I've had depression ever since I was a teenager. I stopped taking my medication when we started trying for a baby (October 09) and I've been miserable this whole pregnancy. Reading your post really gave me a wake up call though...I shouldnt have stopped taking my medication!! :(

    Just wanted to let you know you are not alone...

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  21. Girl.. we all have to do what is best for us... and it sounds like you are doing just that. Honestly, those last few weeks of pregnancy will cause every hormone in your body to mess with you. I cried all the time (even at happy things). I worried, I yelled, you name it. It's just part of the pregnancy.

    After you have the baby you very well could fall into PPD. Just talk to your Dr. They WILL help you. It's not the end of the world. Just remember though, that after that baby is here you will still be VERY hormonal and emotional. Don't confuse that with depression. However.. you will know when depression hits. You know the difference. :)

    I'll be praying for you. You will make it through. Sometimes the best way to look at things is this "This too shall pass". You don't want life to fly by, but at the same time, when you are in a rut, things DO get better.

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  22. I was depressed my entire pregnancy with my first child and was diagnosed with postpartum depression border line postpartum psychosis a few months after I gave birth. I also had struggled with depression my whole life and this was by far the worst I have EVER felt in my entire life. I was terrified. After months of medication and intense therapy I slowly began to get back to "normal." I am now pregnant with my second child and am taking steps to avoid having the same fate. I can't thank you enough for writing about something that is so common yet is considered taboo to talk about. No one knows how bad I was and I felt so alone. Thank you again for being so open to complete strangers. It means more than you will ever know to read this. I also HIGHLY recommend the book "Understanding Your Moods When You're Expecting" by Lucy J. Puryear, M.D. Of all the books I have read this was by far the best and I even had my husband read it as well!

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  23. I must say, i have no good advice on the depression topic (im sorry!) But the sudden urge of emotions you are feeling right now are all completely normal this far along in pregnancy. I was a basketcase.

    Ill be lucky if my husband wants to create another life with me, i was so bad.

    It goes away, once you hold that baby, nothing else will matter. Keep your chin up huns!!

    Xoxo - crystal

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  24. Laur, do not be afraid to post your true feelings on here! As you can see there are TONS of women who have been through the same thing so I hope that makes you feel better knowing that there ARE people who can relate to you.

    I love you so much & I told you need to call me whenever you are feeling sad! I had a mild case of "baby blues" for the first week Gianna was born, but nothing serious... I will be praying that you have it no worse than that. You will be fine I know it. When Claire is here you are going to be so happy!!!

    I LOVE YOU, LAUR!!!

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  25. oh girl! I can SO relate! I have been on Zoloft for years, and it has been amazing for me! I suffer from panic attacks, OCD, and mild depression...all of which were passed down to me! I have always been upset about people calling what I have depression..but you are so right...you cannot help it! You are so brave! Baby Claire is going to be so lucky to have such an awesome mommy!

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  26. The one thing a baby needs more than anything is a healthy mom!!! Kuddos for you for doing what you feel and know is right for your child. I started anti depressants three weeks before my daughter was conceived and stayed on them throughout the pregnancy. I was lucky that I did not suffer for PPD but at least you are aware that you could suffer and seem to have a support system to recognize the symptoms and help you if it does happen.

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  27. bravo momma! wonderful post that sheds light on a very important topic. i wish the best for your family!

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