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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Mommy's Little (Pill) Helper

"You live you learn
You love you learn
You cry you learn
You lose you learn
You bleed you learn
You scream you learn"
You Learn - Alanis Morissette

On May 8 of this year, Mother’s Day, I started to take an antidepressant. It is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). In my case, what I believed to be postpartum anxiety.

What have I learned in the last few months on this medication?

First of all, I have learned that it makes me a better Mom, and that’s OK with me! Being on a medication like this has made my world less terrifying to live in. It has decreased my need to be over-critical and judgmental of my own thoughts and actions. It has lowered my constant tendency towards mommy-guilt. It has enabled me to better manage stressful situations, surroundings, circumstances and people in my life. It has helped me turn off my racing thoughts and get a good night’s sleep. And, most importantly, it has allowed me to stay calm and level-headed through emotional situations with the LO.

And, secondly, I have realized that I have always been this way! Ok, maybe not always, but certainly a lot longer than what I originally believed to be a postpartum effect. I truly believe that I have GAD and am exploring that with Billie and the psychiatrist. I would say that it has fluctuated over the years, but it is always there on some level. The difference is that I was previously extremely high functioning and mostly able to control when I would let GAD into my thoughts. Postpartum, I was no longer able to turn this on or off, largely due to the massive hormonal shift I believe (as well as a new baby, new experiences, lack of sleep, etc…).

Until a couple of weeks ago I was doing extremely well on this medication. But slowly, the anxiety has crept back in and this last week has been somewhat difficult. I couldn’t place my finger on why, and then it dawned on me. Aunt Flo. She also appeared about 2 weeks ago for the first time since before I was pregnant. Not to mention, the first time naturally (not triggered by medication) in years! I strongly believe that this has had something to do with everything and will discuss this when I see the psychiatrist next month. We had already intended to increase my dosage before returning to work even though I was skeptical, but now I see why it will be necessary.

And yes, I admit it. I think going back to work will make me an even better mom too! Once I get through the initial transition , that is… I am not looking forward to that!