My Struggles With Anxiety, Depression, And Being A Stay At Home Mom

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.

Depression anxiety chemistry
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.

Depression anxiety chemistry
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.

Depression anxiety chemistry
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,

Cuddle Fairy

The Stereotypes Of SAHMs

I have been a stay at home mom now for over 5 years and I have learned quite a lot about what that means to the common person.  In common I mean as those who have never been a stay at home mom.  As much as I hate to admit it, I used to be one of the “common” folk and if you would have asked me back then what was the first thing that came to my mind when thinking about a stay at home mom, the shit from my mouth might have been as follows…

They get to sleep in.  Let’s face it all babies and toddlers sleep well past the peak of dawn hours.  They never need a thing and can relatively take care of themselves from the time they are born.  Therefore leaving mom to wake when she feels rested and ready to bring on the day.  No coffee needed for she got a full 12 hours of sleep.

They wear pajamas all day.  With nothing to do and nowhere to go it’s only predictable that they must only wear pajamas.  All the kids live in their pajamas too.  It’s like one big pajama party!

They get to watch TV all day, everyday.  All the kids are so well behaved and never take part in any form of shenanigans.  Therefore, freeing up time for mom to pop her feet up and catch up on all her DVRed shows from the night before.  She doesn’t have time to watch TV at night cause she is too busy sleeeeeping.

They play on the internet…when they aren’t busy watching TV.  Without any interruption from the little people this allows mom to chat with friends on Facebook and work on her blog.  The information highway is at her fingertips and she intends to use every undisturbed thought from start to finish.

Stereotypes Of SAHM

How being a stay at home mom really plays out…

WTF is sleeping in?  If I am lucky my kids might sleep until 7am.  But that doesn’t mean that they have slept all night.  Sometimes they wake in the night for whatever reason whether it be a monster in the closet or their tummy hurts.  Often times all 3 of mine will wake at different intervals during the night and I have to tend to whatever is ailing them.  Last night one of them had to go poop in the middle of the night.  She decided to wake her sister so that they could both come in and wake me to inform me of the exciting event.  This was sometime about 2am.  I was woke again at 6am because same child had diarrhea.  Nothing like waking up to that.  It’s a glorious life.

Pajamas all day?  Now I will admit to doing this on occasion.  I justify it by cutting down on the laundry.  Do you know how many clothes 3 toddlers can go through?  But if it’s a school day or we have places to go then of course them and myself get dressed.  Mind you dressed for me sometimes is sweat or yoga pants which yes I have been known to sleep in but I at least put on a clean pair to leave the house in.

TV?  In the “spare” time that I do have I am usually doing something pertaining to blogging.  I have so many shows DVRed that I have had to weed through and delete stuff because it’s almost reached 100% storage capacity.  At night after I put the kids to bed I literally have to tape my eyes open to stay awake just so that I can get a couple hours to myself.  This is usually when I take a bath or shower, and try to catch up on some reading.  TV is always last on my list.  And then when I do crawl into bed I can’t fall asleep…I am exhausted but my mind is making lists of everything I need to do the next day.  And just as I close my eyes and drift off to dreamland there’s someone slapping me in the face saying, “Mommy! I….”

Internet?  Yes I am on the internet throughout the day.  Usually in the mornings when, soon, all 3 of my little monsters will be in school!  MONDAY! But who’s counting the days?…….ME, I AM!  Right now every train of thought is interrupted at least a dozen times by the asking of if it’s snack time yet!?!?  And then as soon as I pick them up from school the chaos of my day begins.  Lunch, cleaning at least a dozen messes, laundry, housework (the house isn’t self cleaning), breaking up battles, grocery shopping, making dinner, cleaning more messes, sports activities, baths, getting them ready for bed and the struggles that coincide with that.  It’s a busy life…and although I might not CONSTANTLY be moving I am however immersed in taking care of this household.  I made a choice to be a stay at home mom.  And I have never regretted that choice…well maybe that one time when one of my littles decided to decorate everything with his poop…

Proud To Be A SAHM,

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