Thursday, January 5, 2017

Medication: A Personal Decision

Hey guys! You know what they say, another day another dollar! Kidding, I'm here for free. Though, it's hard to believe the sponsorships for my new and improved 3 day old blog haven't come rolling in yet...there's always next week. 😉 I again want to THANK everyone for reading! Because of all of your support, 2,000 of my closest friends know my deepest, darkest secrets...and I couldn't be happier! I've been in contact with the moms struggling who inspired me to keep writing, and the posts have brought them to tears. That is why I'm doing this. I used to Google OCD symptoms with tears streaming down my face, so relieved to have found an answer. I hadn't found a PERSON to connect with, but I had found a list of symptoms that described me to a "T" and that gave me the glimmer of hope I needed to keep going and keep fighting. Once you are able to see through the fear and recognize the problem, you will feel safe reaching out and getting help.

Please note: I LOVE the views, I APPRECIATE the shares, and I'm asking from the bottom of my heart for you to keep reading and keep sharing. Please, please "follow" my blog, "like" Delicate Change on Facebook. Please also comment or personal message me, if you have something to say about past or present struggles, this forum is a safe place for you! Help me get the message out. Admittedly, I've been stalking every possible "parenting" outlet on social media for the past few days trying to see if they'd be interested in doing a story about postpartum mental illness. I think a BIG problem is simply the wording here. Women may hear about postpartum depression and not know its them, because they aren't depressed. They're scared shitless, but not depressed. About a year ago, Hayden Panettiere was on Live! With Kelly talking about postpartum depression, I was so excited to hear someone like her talking about it, but then she said "I didn't have thoughts about hurting the baby or anything." And just like that, I was disappointed. NOT disappointed that her struggle was different, disappointed that I again felt like I had the BAD kind of mental illness. Like somehow on the postpartum mental illness totem pole I was at the bottom because I had "those" thoughts. So here I am, the black sheep of postpartum depression and I had those thoughts. I'm not trying to split hairs here, but they were really anxious thoughts, brought on by fear, anxiety, and the overwhelming need to protect, but whatever...

Moving on, I've got some big plans in the works! And by that I mean like 2 ideas I had during naptime yesterday (I wonder if some people plan out blogs before they go live). I'm gonna pull in some of the girls I've gotten to know over the years and have them share their struggles too. What's better than finding a blog about 1 lady who had postpartum OCD? Finding MANY moms who struggled hard and different. So, we're gonna try to work some stuff out and really reach as many women as possible.

As you all know by now, pictures make blogs better, so here's my favorite "throwback Thursday" picture of when my oldest son, Brayden, found out my third baby was going to be a girl. This picture has literally nothing to do with my message today, but it's SOO funny!

Now, down to business, I know you are all dying to know how I feel about medication so here it is! Again, these are my personal opinions and experiences. I have no professional training unless a Cosmetology License, Communications Degree, and almost two solid years of therapy count. I won't name specifics (feel free to message me if you want to know, I get it) because everyone is different so what works for me wont work for you necessarily. I will however share WHAT each particular medicine I took/take does for a point of reference (and in case you see a psychiatrist and want to mention trying something different.)

Alright, so obviously I DO take medication, and I went through some of that experience in my "Getting Help" post, but now I'll start from the beginning as far as medicine goes. I DIDN'T want to take medication. Until that point in my life, no one I knew had ever mentioned taking anxiety or depression medication. On top of that, I was breastfeeding. I thought, nah, I'll get through this naturally. Guys, I chugged gallons of water, lathered myself in essential oils, journaled, read the Bible, prayed (begged God for help), took melatonin, repeated positive mantras, watched/listened to pastors...the list goes on and on. I was in panic mode and literally tried EVERYTHING I could think of to get my mind to relax. I just couldn't do it. By this time, I had already worked myself up so much by convincing myself there was a problem and that I was the problem, that my mind would not simply "relax." After all, my children were in constant danger as long as I was near them, so around them I NEEDED to have crippling anxiety in order to make sure I kept my guard up and kept them safe.

I finally reached out and got a  low dose of a common depression medication. Now, it can be difficult to begin medications and I'm pretty sure they don't go into full effect for 6 weeks. By my second day of taking this medicine, I was in SHAMBLES. We had gone to the Mall of America with the kids that day and my anxiety was worse than ever. I wouldn't even eat at my favorite restaurant. When we got home, I went into my bathroom and had a full blown panic attack. Now, this has never happened to me before or since, but I honestly felt like I was going to die. I was crying on my bathroom floor, convinced no one else in the world had ever cried so hard or felt so low. I was honestly at a loss of what to do. I felt like I was in an impossible situation with no solution. My neighbors set up an outdoor movie for our kids that night, I stayed out until about 5 minutes past the previews then couldn't handle anymore social interaction. I then went  home to enjoy another night of hell-like insomnia.

I'm not sure if I took the pill again on Sunday. It was like choosing between bad and worse. What I do know though is that my husband had to leave town for work that night. I BEGGED him not to leave me. I cried and cried, asking him to stay. What kind of woman would beg the family's only breadwinner to never leave her alone with the children, you ask? A desperate one. The reason I really wanted him to stay was because I wanted to run to a hospital and stay there until I had some relief, but he had to go to work and I had to parent, so I did.

By Monday I had stopped the meds and was told my OB would no longer help me with this problem, so I spent some more time struggling (a week?) until I could not take it anymore. I actually did end up getting a small dose of a different depression medication from a family practice doctor a few days before my interview with the Mother Baby Program.

Now, let's talk The Mother Baby Program. It was a 3 week long outpatient program that me and Easton went to 4 days a week. I was VERY reluctant to do this program. I don't even remember why. I think it was a cross between "looking bad" and not having faith that it would work for me. Luckily, I had great neighbors (turned some of my best friends) who put their foot down and told me I NEEDED to go. They were right. I got offers to help with Brayden and was able to attend the program with my husband still able to work out of town.

At my first meeting with my psychiatrist, she upped the dose of the depression meds I was on. Over the course of the next 3 weeks she continued to increase it until we felt I was stabilizing. About 3 days into the program when I told them the intrusive thoughts were still overwhelming, they prescribed an additional "bump" medication that helped get rid of the thoughts more quickly while the depression medication had time to work into my system. During this time I was also given a third medication for "sudden panic." I finished the program and guess what, by the end my personality was coming back and my therapists agreed that I was indeed funny. 😄

It's important for me to add a couple extra things about the medication. I probably went through about 6 months of feeling "numb" emotionally, but that did eventually wear off. It also took time to retrain my brain to not NEED the thoughts. I had become so used to them I felt like I had to have them to keep my kids safe. Once the medication started making them go away and I was less affected by them, I got kind of upset because I thought that meant the thoughts didn't bother me anymore and if they didn't bother me anymore I must "agree" with them or think they're "good" now. I would take both of those adjustments over the hell of anxiety though. My only other "side effect" was about a 30 pound weight gain. Now I'm not sure if I gained the weight because I actually had an appetite again, like a normal person, or if the medicine actually does something that causes the body to gain weight.

I'm explaining my medication journey because, like everything else I went through that year, it was HARD. I went from not ever wanting medication to being on 3 different ones at once. Not everyone needs medication. Not everyone wants medication. But for me, I had no other choice. I'm not sure if you CAN actually die from anxiety, but I really felt like that was a definite possibility at the time. I don't regret the medication, I'm kind of bummed out I didn't find relief sooner. And, as long as we're all being honest here, I'm STILL on medication. I had my depression/anxiety medication switched when I decided I wanted to become pregnant again, but stayed on throughout pregnancy until now. I also have pills for sudden anxiety. A lot of people wean off medication at some point, but with an extensive family history of anxiety on both sides of my family (that I had no prior knowledge of) I think I'm going to stick with it for a while.

Once again, thanks for reading! Share my story, learn from my lessons! Feel free to comment, just so I'm not talkin to myself ; )

Chels

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