Tonight, I'm filled with cautious optimism.
We've been swimming around in some all-too-familiar water these days.
All of us know that when we're under a lot of stress, we don't exactly put our best foot forward.We have a shorter fuse, we're a bit more cranky and lot less willing to have a sense of humor about things.
For me, an overwhelming amount of stress can often mean that I lose much of my ability to cope in appropriate ways, so instead, I turn to things like yelling - real, actual yelling - at my loved ones, eating too much, being cranky and rude, and getting focused on being in a "funk."
That's been me lately. I definitely think I had some situational depression these past few weeks when Kaylee was so sick. You can only take so much of seeing your kid go from doctor appointment to doctor appointment, hospital to hospital, and being put on medication after medication, only for the same infections to remain for over a month.
Optimism and hope aren't so easy to come by.
Negativity, pessimism, and all-around crankybuttedness begin to dominate. You start to realize you're becoming someone you're not.
And for me, it made me realize that maybe I'm not as okay as I thought I was...
I was on anti-depressants for 6 months after being diagnosed with postpartum depression 3 months after I had Kaylee. The medication worked absolute wonders. At the 6 month mark, my doctor and I agreed that I could come off the meds because it appeared that my depression had been treated.
Since then, I've questioned whether or not that was really the case, and when I went to see my OB in June I told her I felt like my depression was coming back. The thing was, feelings of depression and changes in mood were a possible side effect of my birth control, so we decided to switch to something else to pinpoint what the precise cause was. She wanted me to give it a month and see how I felt.
After that time passed, Dennis and I noticed a huge difference, so we pretty much wrote off any depression, even though - from time to time - we'd see a symptom emerge here and there. I think we chose to ignore it for the most part because it really was a drastic change from where I had been before.
About the same time I talked to my OB, I talked to my new primary care doctor who said that, based on my symptoms, she thought that what I was describing sounded a lot more like anxiety than depression, and I agreed with her, although I was still having symptoms of both.
She recommended some lifestyle changes before getting back on any medication, so I implemented her ideas, and I continued to sail along with minor symptoms here and there, but they were small enough to write off as day-to-day crankiness - pretty minor stuff, it seemed.
But, one thing Dennis and I finally concluded a couple nights ago was that lifestyle does make a difference (eating healthy, exercising, getting outside, getting good sleep, etc.), but in my case, it seems that, since I had Kaylee, there's always been something underlying, whether it's irritability or anger, or a panic attack waiting to happen. Up until more recently, it was pretty much under the radar and tolerable. But, really stressful situations just seemed exacerbate the symptoms and show us the scarier side of what has really seemed to be there all along.
When I shared my story on postpartum depression, I wrote about how I reached a point where I'd forgotten what it felt like to be myself, and I'm bummed to say it, but that's where I'm at again.
Lately, it's just been crazy amounts of anger and irritability. Anger over the stupidest little things, and I told Dennis it frickin' sucks that I can't just get through a day without getting really mad about something. That is not. ME. At all. But, it's how I've been acting, so something needs to change.
And now, I finally realize it won't be a 6-month trial of the meds. I was on them before. They worked. Life was good. And now things are starting go to crap again. I've come to accept that things went a little haywire with my brain chemistry after Kaylee was born, and I'm not sure they'll be going to back to normal. Possibly ever. I've talked with several other moms (many fellow bloggers) who feel this same way.
So, I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm a bit whacked out, and I can unwhack what's whacked.
I need my trusty little pill to help me, and that's okay.
It's okay because I've been here before, and I know it doesn't have to be this way. I know that my life can get back to the way it was, and I will feel like myself again.
There is help, and I'm going to accept it. And if I still don't feel back to me with the medication alone, I'm going to find a counselor to talk to because my family and I deserve for me to be happy and healthy.
So tonight, I've got 5 milligrams down the hatch, and I'm more relieved than I can even describe, just knowing that it won't be long and I'll remember what it feels like to be me again.