Moms on medications- not a negative!

I know it is hard for a lot of women to begin taking medication. I never wanted to. It was given to me as a backup and I never intended to take it. But one night, I just took a half, then worked up from there. Finally, i found something to help me; but it took such a long time.

I currently take Zoloft, something I have since I began taking medications in 2016. I also take Wellbutrin, I find that this medication really helps with my motivation. This was a quick one for me. I felt it within the first few days.

Another issue for me was moods. I had insane mood swings. I mean crying, angry, scared of myself mood swings. I sat in the shower crying for a long time several days a week. I cried ALL THE TIME. Usually over thoughts of me being a bad mom, being hard on myself, being disappointed. A medication that really helped me with this and still does, is lamotrigine. It is a medication that is used for bipolar patients, and I do not have a diagnosis of bipolar, but it helps to keep me on an even keel and stop me from being so impulsive with decisions.

I am a huge believer in self management. One thing Ive learned is that a pill will not change your life. You still need to set up good coping mechanisms for yourself. You need to learn a lot about yourself, and practice these mechanisms. For example, who cant say no? ME! I literally had to learn to stop myself before I agreed to do extra things. I had to learn to stop cleaning and rest. I had to learn how to control myself so I wouldn’t loose my shit. This took a long time and I still learn daily.

So, to my fellow moms, I am one in seven, I take medications (several) to help me. I have been in a hospitalization program because my depression became so bad. Ive wanted to kill myself, Ive felt like the worst mother, Ive struggled to get out of bed, to get to school, to get the kids bathed. Ive been exhausted. Ive been stressed. Ive gotten lost in the grocery store, Ive had no concentration, Ive been overwhelmed.

IVE BEEN THERE. And I’m ok. And you will be too 🙂

Advertisements

A new hope for moms

A new drug has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of Postpartum depression. What great progress for future moms! The new medication is called brexanolone, and will be marketed as Zulresso. It does have a few limitations…it is delivered over 60 hours and requires a medical stay. Supervision is required in case of the mother becoming dizzy or faint as was seen in several patients during clinical trials. The drug is also expensive, but no amount of money should affect a mom suffering form depression denial for treatment.

This is a great alternative to traditional medication therapy because the drug is fast acting. Improvements can be seen within 48 hours, where as with antidepressants it can take 4-6 weeks to see improvements. Of course, it is a last resort to oral medications that have not been effective.

I always like to see it through the eyes of my previous self- a mom, postpartum depression survivor, in the midst of my second bout after my second baby. This time around was twice hard for me; and for some reason, Zoloft was just not doing the trick. I was tried on multiple medications- lexapro, Zoloft, Ativan, buspar. They all pretty much did nothing for me. I believe my lowest was during Christmas time of 2016. I had pretty much given up, and stopped all medications on my own (NEVER DO THIS!). Of course, had I been in the right state of mind at the time, I probably would not have. No, i can definitely say I WOULD HAVE NOT STOPPED. I had severe withdrawal symptoms for weeks. I really messed myself up. I had hallucinations one night. The next day, I was at the doctor AGAIN. Looking for answers AGAIN. I wish this had been an option for me. I would have so been up for trying it. I would have done anything to feel the slightest bit normal. Maybe I would have been able to stay out of the day stay hospitalization programI had to attend that summer. Maybe I wouldn’t have become suicidal and planning to run away from home.

We are lucky to live in a time where there is such improvements taken. Hopefully the importance of all the perinatal mood disorders stay a primary concern, and new advancements continue to be made.

Future is looking bright moms.

Apology

When it is all said and done, and the dust settles, Im left with regret. In the whirlwind, in the moment, Ive lost so much. Ive lost memories, Ive ruined close moments, Ive been too busy to be able to bother. Ive had way to much on my mind to keep up with what matters most. This part hurts more than any other part I have survived through. I survived the crushing mornings, the anxiety filled moments, the sadness, the physical symptoms, the lack of sleep, always being last. But now, when I am finally able to think back, I realize I have so very few moments of happiness from my baby’s first year.

See, when your lost in the dark, you never think about what will happen when the light shines again. Your just so focused on getting the light to shine again, you forget. Then, you have to live with whats left.

Unfortunatley, this has become a real issue to my healing the past few weeks. My first baby was born May 4, 2012. Today is May 26, 2017. 5 years. 5 years ago, life had changed. 5 years ago, I had just survived the most traumatizing experience of my life. Then, I was sent home and expected to thrive. I was expected to take care of myself, a newborn, breastfeed, be a wife, plan to go back to work, it goes on and on. Well, I was unable to do almost any of those things, except lay on the couch while the baby was in her swing and pray she didnt cry. That was about it. I never enjoyed having a baby! I missed out on so many moments that I wish I could now go back and change.

Spring is the time of year it especially bothers me. The new warmth, the green on the trees, but mostly because it becomes light outside so early. I can remember being up most of the night, and watching the sunrise while I took care of the baby. The moments sit in my head. They wont go away. So, in my mind, I apologize to that baby. Im sorry that I wasn’t the mom I would have wanted my baby to have. Not the quiet mom who sits with her baby in the rocking chair. Who runs to the baby’s room at the first cries. Who smiles and talks to her baby all the time.

Fortunatley, my daughter wont remember those times. But I always will. they haunt me. They always come back; and it leaves me with a pit in the bottom of my stomach. It’s why I’m so attached to certain things related to my babies. Their crib, changing table, swing, rocking chair; I cannot seem to let go of any of it. It sits in my basement, and sometimes I see them in passing, but they are to good feelings. So why do I keep them?

When my second baby was born in Feb 2016; I remember thinking that she was my second chance. She was my opportunity to do this again- right. Because I was aware of this, I was able to constantly remind myself as she was growing, she was my second chance. Don’t mess this up. You got this.

Just when I think im better, bang- something else turns up. I was having much better days, and the past few weeks Ive been battling this. But this will pass too. I will go back to having good days again. I need to. I wont go back to the way I was. I am a forever changed me. And I need to learn how that new me works. It has taken a lot of practice to become this version of me. And it continues to be a daily thing I am aware of. Sure, I look like I have it all together, but I constantly feel like a hot mess. Ive just learned to be okay with it.

A whole new me- “Mommy”

“Behind on life, can’t get anything done. Everything is expected of her and she’s drowning. She lost herself taking care of others.” These powerful words I read in article of another amazing mommy willing to share her story and she hit home head on.

I’ve felt this. I used to feel this everyday. Now I try so hard to make sure it doesn’t creep back in. I always used to say “I struggled to get through the day”. I was barley surviving. My anxiety had me in fits of rage and frustration. It had me in a panic of what would happen next, tomorrow, in 10 years and so on. My depression had me exhausted, worthless, and foggy.

I couldn’t get my kids to school without “loosing my sh*t” as I called it. Heck, I couldn’t leave the house! The idea of packing up the kids, having all their stuff, in the car, out of the car, and back in the car had me insane! I was loosing things; and I normally was very organized. I couldn’t grocery shop. Trying to plan for a week of meals, making sure I got it all so. I wouldn’t have to make another trip back, the money, all of it. I wasn’t able take care of myself. I put myself last for everything. My kids were bathed and fed. I showered every 2-3 days and ate cereal.

Becoming a mommy has so many expectations! Think about it! When I was making my baby shower list, motherhood looked so great! All the pictures had the mommy and baby smiling. Her house was spotless, she was fully dress with hair and makeup. It looked wonderful. Add to it all the talk about having a baby and how wonderful it is…way too much pressure, way too many expectations that are not real. Giving birth was a great experience and breastfeeding came so naturally….it was all LIES (well maybe for some people). We are expected to be fully Pinterest ready; prepare healthy organic meals, have clean homes, play dates and on and on. Mommy can loose herself in all this. I did. Not being able to keep up with it all lead to feelings of worthlessness and guilt. Add that to anxiety and I was a mess.

I was a 25 year old girl, fresh out of nursing school, recently married. I was always doing my hair, makeup, shopping, dressed nice, went out with friends, worked, etc. Within months of my first baby, I had became a shell of my former self. To be honest, I don’t even know who I am today.. I’m a fully changed person. Mom took over my life. I had to fight to get parts of it back.; but there have been some positive changes… I’ve learned to let things go…cleaning, laundry, its not important like spending time with the girls the girls is. I’ve come to accept a few things…its ok to be late, its ok to not be perfect, its ok to make a mistake and not totally kick yourself for it. I live in the moment and try not to worry too much about things that are out of my control or haven’t happened yet. I take time for myself each day. Even if that means going to hide in my car for 30 min. Because now I’m mom, and technically its a whole new me and I’m still learning every day 🙂

Another year gone by

Another year has almost come full circle. Last year at this time I was struggling and falling deeper and deeper into a dark place that I almost didn’t get out alive. It was summer, kids out of school, trigger 1. In the summer, there’s all this pressure on moms to do activities, take the kids to the beach, the library, outside, day trips. This may sound easy to some, it for me, a mommy who could barley get out of bed in the morning, it seemed impossible. I lived with mommy guilt all summer. I wasn’t doing enough for my kids, they weren’t having a fun summer, I was a bad mom, I was missing out on precious time with my babies.

I remember telling my husband I was going to leave. It sounds silly now, but at the time it made perfect sense. I wanted to move down to Florida, near the beach, get a job waitressing or bartending, hang out all day, play all night. I wanted to disappear so badly. I didn’t want to take care of myself, let alone my kids. I had a few days my husband came home from work and I hadn’t fed the kids all day. Yes, they snacked on junk all day, but not an actual meal. They hadn’t been bathed, I hadn’t taken a shower sometimes for days at a time. Everything was exhausting. I believe last summer was the point my anxiety had turned into true depression. In late July, I wanted to kill myself. I would be in the kitchen making dinner, and looking at the knife made me want to slit my wrists. I wanted to drive into a telephone pole, or off a bridge. The only thing that kept me alive were my girls. I didn’t want them growing up without mommy. It would kill them more than it killed me. I told myself I must love them, because I was worried about hurting them. But otherwise, I couldn’t stand them. They were constantly all over me, wanting to go here and there, do this and that, I just couldn’t keep up.

There were times I would just come home and go sit in the shower with all my clothes on. I didn’t have the energy to take my clothes off. I would just sit and cry until the water was too cold to stand. My husband always came and got me out, changed me, and put me to bed. He was my rock. He held me when I cried, he has seen me at my worst. Times I felt crazy, times I cried, times I lost my shit, he always made me stop and think or I would have gone over the edge.

The first few weeks of August were hell. I finally called my psychiatrist and told her I was done. I didn’t know if I should go to the ER or what, but I was done. She suggested an outpatient hospitalization program, where others with depression and anxiety go every day for a whole day and participate. At first, I was very nervous. But I quickly began to actually enjoy it. Listening to the others stories, participating in groups, quiet alone time. I learned a lot and I came out better than I had been. I had support from others for the first time in a long time. People who understood how I felt. How difficult things had become.

I had a moment during this time I was cooking and burnt my arm badly in the oven. It got infected and had to be wrapped and taken care of. I remember in my program people asking me if I was a cutter. The scar is still here to this day and it reminds me of that dark time. A part of my past is always with me.

Things had finally started to feel better, the fog began to lift. Since then, I still fight these monsters in my head daily. I get up everyday and take care of my kids, some days are harder than others, and I find myself looking forward to the end of the day when bedtime and quiet comes and I can have some peace.

I truly believe we Mamas who fight this PPD are the strongest people in the world. We have been through so much, not just in general, but in our minds too. We have been to hell and back and all alone. So many of us suffer in silence. We need to speak up, to help future mamas learn and be prepared. We are not alone

Climb out of the darkness

On June 24, 2017; I was honored to participate in Climb out of the Darkness 2017. This is such an awesome way I could participate in something that meant so much to me and was so close to my heart. Climb out of the darkness is a walk done in all parts of the world to raise money for PPD and other maternal mental health disorders. It is done on the longest day of the year (or closest to the longest day of the year) to represent light being brought into the dark. It has taken me a couple weeks to put this all together and write this entry.

Since there was not a climb near me, I packed up my kids and drove to Concord Ma. Almost a 2 hour drive away. This is not an easy task with my anxiety. First of all, it was raining. So the idea of driving, with 2 children in the car, under the age of 5, 2 hours, in the rain; doesn’t sound too appeasing. Now, normally, I usually back out of these situations and just say “I’m not going.” But this was a very special event to me, being that I myself have suffered from these conditions, and I don’t know many women like me, I wanted to go to meet other moms and participate. So, I packed up my kids, packed the snacks, umbrellas, diapers, wipes, changes of clothes, and began driving. The drive down was okay. My 16 month old was fussy towards the end. BUT I MADE IT!

Unloading the car is always a task. 2 kids to get out, seatbelts, bags, had to change the baby, shoes. Then we head down to the walk. We immediately meet a few of the moms. They were so welcoming and open. As soon as I meet a few moms, I feel more comfortable. And we begin the walk. I wear my baby in the carrier, and my 5 year old walks with me. She chatters the whole way through about all the things she sees. I’m not one to venture out a whole lot, especially outdoors, so we’ve never been on a hike. This walk is 1.5 miles around a pond. I’m feeling proud that I have been able to bring my girls to this.

After we complete the walk, my girls want to take off their shoes and wade in the pond. So, my first thought is “what a mess this will make”. But, I decide that it didn’t matter that day. So, the kids took off their shoes and played in the pond. Until it began to pour. So, mom (me) grabbed everything (including the baby), and ran back to the car. I get everyone changed (again) into clean clothes, and begin the drive home praying everyone will fall asleep:).

As we drive home, the clouds clear and the sun begins to come out. And I thought, what a great sign. Just like the weather today, the climb out of the darkness relates so well. The day began dark and gloomy, then it poured, and the sun shined so beautifully at the end.

Climb out of the darkness, much like my personal battle with PPD and anxiety. I cant say the sun shines strong everyday. I have definitely had my cloudy days, I’ve had days when it has poured. And I see days sometimes when the sun comes out. I wish it could be more sun than anything, but I am not there yet. The climb was an amazing experience, one I hope to have every year, and even hope to host one soon.

I am one in seven xoxo Jessica

 

 

Walking Dead

Walking Dead….yes one of my favorite TV shows these days….also one of the best ways to describe how I feel these days…

You think walking dead…going through the motions, no feeling, no being, loss of self.

Thats ME. I feel like I never win. I feel like I cant do anything right. I feel dead inside. I dont really care…I wake up in the morning, have shit to get done, and do my best to actually get it done. I dont look forward to anything, its usually just the opposite. Did I shower yesterday? Do I need to shower today? Showering and doing hair and makeup is something I used to enjoy. Now its a chore. Especially when your trying to get 3 kids out the door in the morning. Some days its a struggle, some days go pretty well and I think, “Jessica’s back”. Some days I wonder what the hell is wrong with me. Sometimes, I am able to get out the door, do my stuff, get home, rest a bit. This is a good day for me. Not a GREAT day. But a good day.

Since last writing, a lot has changed. My anxiety has become so bad that I now have a tremor in my right arm. Oh, yes, it’s lovely. When I get upset, my arm shakes so bad. right now I have to concentrate to keep it from shaking away. A million things run through my head, and its time to go to sleep.

I also have a a lot of guilt…Guilt that breaks my heart. I have never bonded with my first baby like I am doing with my second. At least, I dont remember feeling this way about her. All I remember about my first baby is the sleepless nights, the frustration, the struggle of day to day life. I wish I had a better experience to report, but now its something I need to live with. Im not even sure if this all makes sense.

I am afraid I will have to live life this way now. THIS IS what life will be. A slew of good days with bad days scattered in and a bunch of worrying when a bad day will actually happen! That’s no way to live life; preparing yourself for the bad days. I have been explained that when a person experiences a major depressive episode, it lingers, its kind of always there. But I dont want it to be. I want to start over. Try this pregnancy/baby thing all over again. Maybe the second time around I will be better and more equipped to handle it? Then I think its my type that is affected, so no matter what life, I AM just affected. Keep fighting mommies.