Monday, November 10, 2008

5 Milligrams is All It Takes...

Ya ever seen that Honey Bunches of Oats commercial? One spoonful is all it takes?

My husband and I can joke around about my postpartum depression now that it's under control. I remember one night a couple weeks after I started my ABPs - I was joking around and being my usual goofy self. Dennis said, "I love medicine!" And I said, in the same tone as the lady from the Honey Bunches of Oats commercial - "5 milligrams is all it takes!"

I know about postpartum depression. I'm a social worker. I talk to new moms at the hospital about it all the time. I know the signs and symptoms. But, I guess when it's happening to you, you somehow become blinded to what's really going on.

I've got a great support network of other moms online, and one day I told them that I was really irritable and stupid little things were really pissing me off. I told them that I'd cry really easily over stuff that never would have bothered me before. Postpartum depression was brought up. I shrugged it off and said - nope, not me, not depressed. I didn't feel sad. I didn't have trouble getting out of bed in the morning. I was not depressed.

But, two of these moms in particular kindly reminded me that you don't have to feel depressed to have depression, and that it can manifest itself in different ways like anger, irritability, etc. These two moms encouraged me to talk to my doctor, and shortly after their suggestion, I did.

I told the doc that I didn't feel like myself - that I felt like I was PMS-ing all the time. Then we had the talk, and she suggested an anti-depressant. It was hard to swallow (the diagnosis, not the pill - the pill is rather tiny, thankyouverymuch). Come on - we all know there's a stigma attached to PPD, and I didn't want that. But, I had to accept it. It was something I never expected to deal with, but it was - IS - a very real part of my postpartum life.

My doctor prescribed Lexapro and said she'd start me out on a "baby dose" - just 5 mg because she said it seemed like things weren't too out of hand yet. She explained that, without treatment, things could escalate. She said the Lexapro should start working within a week, and she was right. After 2 weeks Dennis and I noticed an even bigger difference.

Once I started feeling better, I finally realized just how bad it really was. I had forgotten what it was like to feel like myself, and that made me sad.

I have no shame in my diagnosis, or in the fact that I have to take medication to deal with it. Once I've been on the ABPs for 6 months, I'll go see my doctor again and we'll talk about discontinuing the meds. Heck, I'll be glad to not have to fork out 80 bucks a month anymore. But, I told Dennis that if I come off of them and find out that I go back to being an Ice Queen, I have no reservations about getting back on them. We'll wiggle something else around in the budget if need be - we know these pills work, and to us, 80 bucks is more than worth it.

I realize that in order to be a good mother, and a good wife, I've gotta take good care of myself. I don't want my daughter to remember me as a cranky mama, and I don't want my husband to have a cranky wife. Huh-uh. Not in this house.

Mel and Karrie, thanks. You have no idea how grateful to you I am. If Dennis knew you, he'd thank you a million times as well. Love you, girls.

Now you weigh in - did you ever struggle with PPD? What did it look like for you, and were you able to manage it? How did your family react? Talk to me.


Karrie said...

Love you too Sera!

Allie01979 said...

As a fond user of ABPs myself I couldn't agree with you more. You're awesome mama.

April said...

I was the same way. "I'm not depressed, just pissed." Finally, Hubby made me go to the doc and I also got put on Lexapro. LOVED IT. I wasn't weird or a zombe, just back to normal. I took it for 8 months and weened myself off of it. My doc was cool and gave me enough 'samples' for the 8 months.

Sera said...

April, thanks so much for what you said. I'm loving Lexapro, too, and like you said - it doesn't make you weird or zombie-ish-,just more back to normal. I wish my doctor would have had samples - the stuff's not cheap! I'm so glad it worked for you. Nothin' like feeling like yourself again.

Jenners said...

As I mentioned in my earlier comment, I had PPD too and they put me on Zoloft, which I am still on 4 years later. I keep trying to go off of it every year and the bitchiness comes back and my husband says "You've got to stay on it." I know there is nothing wrong with it but part of me feels like I might be on this forever. I guess it just "evens out" the crazies that were making me a nightmare as a new mother. I'm glad you got the help you need!

Summer said...

Oh girl! I had it bad after my first. I also went on what I call, "Lexi." She's awesome and I will forever take her. At least as long as I have kids. There is no price to put on happiness! ha ha!

Honey Mommy said...

I was not prepared for the way having my first son affected me. I expected to be blissfully happy and was not prepared for how hard it would be. I had major anxiety and it was BAD. It took me two months to realize that I should not be so unhappy and anxious. I went on Zoloft and finally returned to normal. After being on it for several months I was able to get off with no problems.

With my second son I went on right after he was born, and it went SO much better this time. I am already off the antidepressants (He's 10 months now) and feeling fine.