Laughing Through the Chaos - 5 milligrams is all it takes

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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.

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Submitted by genkimom on

I had PPD and didn't get any help for it. I climbed out all by myself, but it was a long and painful process and very hard to talk about for 5 years. i talk about it now because I think people should know it is more normal and common than they think. I hated my child and i hated myself for feeling that way. Once, i offered my husband every penny of savings in my bank account...10K...to just take the baby and leave the country. Obvoiusly, he didn't, but it alerted him to how severe it was getting. i hadn't showered in days, or changed my clothes, or left the house. my son was screaming in the next room and i couldn't bring myself to attend to him ( he ahs been fed and changed, so he was just screaming, I wasn't neglectful, ever, in my blearest days) and begged him to just take the child away and leave me in peace...forever.

What dark and hazy times those were for all of us. My family had all recently passed away, my friends were scattered aroudn the world, and I had no support. I look back at a video my husband took and you can hear my voice in the background, uttering jibberish...I wasn't even making sence.

it is a terrible thing to go through without any halp. I urge any women who think they might be feeling even a little down or irritated to get help, talk to a doctor, even if they don't have the money or health insurance. Don't let it escalate out of control. Don't be bothered with any stigma you may feel about it. Just get out of the house and get talking!