You Gotta Keep ‘Em Medicated

Sorry for the bad Offspring reference, but it was the mid ’90s when that song began annoying the public and when I finally came out of the closet (to a select few). To what do I owe my crawl into the light? Well, to be as honest as I always try to be on this blog… Prozac. It was the mid-’90s! I was closeted and depressed. Did I really have a choice?!

The reason I share this blast from the past is because I have, as many, kept my anti-depressant/anti-anxiety drug taking under wraps, and I have recently found myself back on the prescriber’s couch. To what do I owe this rededication to medication, as it were? Postpartum anxiety. I’ll say it again… We’re told to take classes on childbirth, but no one and nothing prepares you for the postpartum experience. And similar to my days among my many hangered plaid flannel shirts, postpartum issues are never discussed. At least no one ever discussed them with me, and I was wholly unprepared.

So, to make a 17 year story of making Eli Lilly and Pfizer rich short, Prozac did wonders for me at 19 but pooped out by 30. I dabbled irresponsibly with other types of antidepressants and with taking myself off of them over the years, but I have been mostly medicated most of the time. When we were to begin trying to conceive those many years ago, I did the responsible thing and found a prescriber who specialized in pregnancy and nursing. She put me on Zoloft because it had the lowest rates of transference to the fetus and through breast milk. Once I found out I was pregnant those few years later, I took myself down 50mg with the totally made-up and statistically unsound notion that I would somehow reduce the risk of our baby having a cleft palate (by 25% anyway). I didn’t notice a difference because I was ridiculously nauseated throughout my entire pregnancy and miserable anyway.

Jump to the past 5 months. I’ve been one anxious mommy! I chalked it up to basic postpartum anxieties that surely every new mom experiences. But what I couldn’t see through the sleep deprived haze is that I was more than sufficiently anxious, which actually contributed to my lack of sleep. For example, K and I and Josie would be out at a restaurant. Josie would be all smiles, and I would be cursing the waiter under my breath because he was taking too long with our food, check, etc. Because I just knew at any moment Josie’s smiles would turn into guttural screams. We’d ruin all the other patrons’ dinners. So by worrying excessively about it, I got to ruin ours instead. Over and over. In diverse scenarios. I chalked this up to my being in pain and not wanting to have to bounce Josie until I was raw, but this made no sense since K was with me and doing the baby wearing.

What I learned from the prescriber is that I was in a spiral of fear and anxiety and sleep deprivation, and the best way for me (again, for me) to turn it around was to go back up on my Zoloft and take Adavan for sleep. I was extremely resistant to try this — resistant even going to see a professional. But my lovely K stuck to her guns (i.e., kindness and support) and got me in. If I have been a pill popper so long, why did I protest? Well, the irresponsible measures I mentioned earlier included going off and starting drugs via samples with no supervision. I had a few bad reactions that, to put it over-dramatically, killed off a bit of my soul each time. The last thing I wanted was to have a similar experience while living with a baby. Luckily, nothing of the wicked sort has occurred.

And now, my next installment of FOG (Funny or Gross)!
First, a FOGy declaration: I never thought I would be so tired that I’d happily curl up and try to get some sleep on the very spot where a human just peed. (Note: I made this human, but I’m not sure that changes anything.)
Second, a FOGy question: On a scale of “It ain’t no thang” to “Oh, that’s bad” — how much worse is it to appear in public with face hickeys than shoulder, collar bone or wrist hickeys (even if it’s abundantly clear that said hickeys were made by the human I made)?

3 Responses to “You Gotta Keep ‘Em Medicated”

  1. 1 Nuclear Mama May 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    I still remember holding Josie naked and belly-down during her 1st day outside the womb when she began to poop out a long trail of meconium onto my arm. “You’re amazing,” I whispered. “Mommy made you, and you can poop!” A little urine-soaked nap ain’t no big thang…and I’m sure it’s wasn’t your last one.

    For the public blog record, I love you medicated and not, but it makes me very happy to see you feeling a little happier. Also, damn you for getting The Offspring in my head. And a thousand thank yous for our offspring.

  2. 2 Becky Peterson June 4, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    I’m so glad I looked at your blog today–I actually just woke up this morning and realized that I’ve got some pp anxiety issues and need to up my Zoloft dose. I had assumed that because people always talk about pp depression, I would feel depressed if I had a problem–but I’ve been really agitated, irritable, and angry instead. Thanks for sharing your stories!
    In new-mom solidarity,

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