Okay, so taboo subjects really don’t bother me. I love the show Taboo on Discovery and I love having *respectful* debates where people can argue their point of view. The key THERE is the respectful part.
But one of the most taboo subjects-still-is mental health. And especially so when addressing mental health issues when you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, caring for children…ya know. However, pregnancy and the postpartum months are some of the times when things like depression and anxiety plague some women the worst.
I was diagnosed with depression way back in high school. I was also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. At different time, by the way–they never overlapped. I was medicated for awhile for both back in high school and again for depression in college. But the last time I was medicated seriously was…8 years ago?? Something like that. The exception was a 2.5 month period after Ryan was born and subsequently diagnosed with Angelmans. My family practitioner was convinced that I had postpartum depression and put me on Lexapro. First off-I didn’t have postpartum depression. I was stressed. I was 22 and had a new baby with special needs who had tons of doctors appointments. On top of that I also had family and friends breathing down my neck for medical information, pressure to get second opinions and just general parenting scrutiny. Secondly–I did NOT react well to Lexapro. It made me display symptoms of Bipolar disorder (which I don’t actually have). The kicker that truly sparked my stopping cold turkey (never a good idea, but in this situation it was the best solution) was the fact that I was bouncing off the walls, talking rapidly and without pause and…I tried to convince Mike to sex me up. Not a huge deal–we were married and of age and everything–but he was at lunch. At work. Yeah, not such a great idea.
Anyhoo-like I said, I haven’t needed to be medicated in years. The anxiety was honestly worse than the depression in the past 5 years or so, but it was possible to deal. Over the past few months however, things have gotten bad. Like really really bad.
I’m not saying it got to the “drown your kids in the bathtub” stage–nothing like that. But I do feel inadequate in almost every aspect of my life. I don’t feel like a good mom most of the time. I don’t feel like a good wife or a good housewife. I feel like everyone around me would be better off if I wasn’t here. And, logically, I know none of these things are true. But it doesn’t matter. It’s still there and it’s how I feel. After having finally come around to the idea of my depression possibly flaring up, I scrutinized the signs and symptoms. I can hardly sleep at night, even though I’m tired. I get so anxious ABOUT sleeping that I average at most 3 hours a night. I get anxious whenever I need to leave the house. I always had social anxiety to a degree, but this is actual panic inducing stress. It’s almost funny that it took me this long to figure it out.
So at my routine OB appointment today I talked to my doctor, and between her and Mike and myself, we decided that medication is the best course of action.
Some parts of me feels weak–that I shouldn’t NEED to be medicated since I really do have an awesome life and an awesome family. I feel like there is no reason that I should be feeling like this. But then the other part of me is proud of the fact that I’m not such a weak person that I’d shrink away from the glaringly obvious fact staring me in the face. There are alot of people out there who let the fear stop them.
The fear of what people will think, the fear of appearing weak…whatever fear they happen to hold onto. There are people who feel that seeing a shrink is an admission that there’s something fundamentally wrong with them.
But that’s not true. Just like some people are predisposed to have heart disease or diabetes or brown hair-admitting that you need help is not a weakness.
Admitting that you need help is actually one of the strongest things you can do. And I’m incredibly thankful that I’m strong enough to do that.
That makes me feel like I’m good enough for my family.