I think that there are so many other mothers like me that have daily struggles with anxiety, depression and the challenges of being a stay at home mom. The problem is most of us aren’t talking about it. I think this is because in many ways we feel weak or that somehow it’s our fault that something isn’t right in our head.
People who don’t suffer from it don’t understand it. They think there’s just some kind of switch. And the most common stereotype are those who look at your life, the life where you have more than most do, and they say to themselves “What in the world does she have to be depressed about? She has everything!”
Everything except the correct chemical balance in the brain.
I was put on Zoloft after I had finished nursing my 3rd baby. I had an appointment with the doctor and I suggested to him that I hadn’t been feeling myself and he instantly just wrote me a prescription for the anti-depressant. I had read a lot about post natal depression and especially from dissolving breast feeding, so I really had no concern.
I was on Zoloft for 3 years. 200mg a day. And one day I realized I still wasn’t feeling myself.
So I decided to go off of it. My mood swings were horrible, I still didn’t feel like doing things most days *like getting out of bed*, and so as most people would do, I decided to make the decision to quit taking something that I felt wasn’t doing a damn thing.
After experiencing brain zaps, body twitches and any other withdrawal symptom, I was finally returning to what I felt was normal.
About 3 months passed.
One morning I woke up and I thought I was having some kind of heart attack or mini stroke only there was no pain in my chest. My heart was palpitating, I was shaking, my stomach felt like I needed to throw up, and I was dizzy and couldn’t focus on much of anything except trying to breathe.
Of course I didn’t go to the doctor. I looked up my symptoms on the internet and everything was telling me to meditate, take deep breaths, and try some yoga positions because I was having a panic attack.
After several hours I finally was able to calm myself down.
In the mornings remaining I would always wake up in a state of panic. Like feeling like the plane was going to crash, only I wasn’t on any plane. I was in bed and just waking up. But the feeling of dread was there. Like literally I felt plagued with it.
About a week later another panic attack occurrred and I went straight to the doctor. My blood pressure was through the roof and he confirmed what I already knew. He said that being on the Zoloft must have kept the panic attacks at bay and even though I had been off of it for 3 months my body was still adjusting.
He put me on Kolonopin, an anti-anxiety medication. I was to take it twice a day, morning and night. Haven’t had a panic attack since.
In the beginning of 2016 I decided it was going to be my year to finally get in shape. I started going to the gym, sometimes twice a day. I found a love for Zumba and watched 28 pounds melt away. I even got my Kolonopin down to once a day.
But even though I was feeling better, had more energy, and getting a good nights sleep, there were still days I was fighting with myself just to get out of bed.
The warm weather started to roll in and by end of May I couldn’t stand the temperature inside the Zumba room so I quit going. And then a few weeks later the kids were out of school and so there went going to the gym too.
Now I realize they were bad choices.
But we had a busy summer planned with camping, swimming, and hiking. But facts are facts and as the summer passed I felt myself feeling worse and worse. I also found myself “self-medicating” by consuming alcohol on almost a daily basis and justifying it with the fact I wasn’t getting drunk, just trying to wind down from the daily struggles of being a stay at home mom of 4 kids. Three of which were still very dependent on me every 2.5 seconds.
By the end of last year I started noticing that I had lost interest in everything that used to be important to me. I stopped blogging. I stopped being creative through my photography and designing. I started distancing myself from family and friends. I even stopped doing craft projects with my kids, which has always been a passion of mine. And instead I started binge watching TV…something I just don’t do on an everyday basis. Sometimes confining myself to my bedroom.
But yet the ambition to do any differently just wasn’t there. I did the bare minimum of what it took to be a mother and a wife.
I decided to go through a series of medical testing through my OB/GYN and my family doctor to see if there was anything that would be causing me to feel so fatigued everyday. I even started seeing a therapist hoping she would have some answers. All my tests came back normal, which was good but I knew that this also meant I was faced with the fact that I will probably have to spend the rest of my life on some kind of an anti-depressant.
Both my doctors and my therapist confirmed what I already knew. Only this time I was put on Wellbutrin at 150mg a day.
I’ve been on it a couple months now and have started getting back to the gym. I’ve even started keeping my alcohol comsumption to a minimal in order to give the meds a chance to work.
I quit going to the therapist as I felt completely drained upon leaving her office because she constantly wanted to drudge up a past that I buried long ago. And also because my insurance only paid for a certain amount of visits and in those 6 visits I felt like I was 20 steps behind from when I started.
Therapy isn’t for everyone. And it wasn’t for me.
I made a choice to try and work this out with the help of a medication I hate, but any person with a chemical imbalance feels that way. We think that when we start to feel better we don’t need it anymore.
This is the start of my journey and the end of me beating myself up over something that has, and never will be any fault of my own.
One Day At A Time,