I haven’t been honest.
I’ve been living this way for so long I don’t remember when it began. The hardest part about realizing I should get help was because it’s not that bad. When I compare my mental health to people I would describe as having “real problems” things seem fine. I’m not depressed; joyless; or detached from my boys. I don’t have panic attacks that leave me in the fetal position on the floor. I’m not even necessarily unhappy, for lack of a better way to describe it… I’m just really pissed off.
I’m pissed off at myself more than anything. Why? I could be a better mother than I am. Every morning I wake up and tell myself that I will not raise my voice, I will encourage not threaten, I will not loose my cool. But every day I yell, threaten and loose my cool. I avoid calling and seeing my friends often because I’m afraid of how they will judge me, because I feel like a terrible failure of a mother. Also I find that I have to bite my tongue from yelling at friends, strangers on the street, dust mites.
Who parents in anger? Me. Apparently.
A month ago I decided enough is enough. I started meeting with an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) to talk about … everything. We decided that my symptoms, though not nearly as serious as people with ‘real’ problems, were pervasive enough that medication would help. I mean, with stories about mothers who feel no attachment to their kids, harm themselves and/or their kids or who have persistent negative thoughts- my problems seemed silly.
I dragged my feet. Even me, with my enlightened view of mental health, hesitated to actually take medication (again) to solve a problem. Couldn’t I just decide to change? Couldn’t I just chill the heck out? Well then I read this blog and it spoke to me. I also read these blogs where women bravely share their stories. That was it, big or small I wanted help with my problems.
The first Psychiatrist I called didn’t have an appointment till after Christmas. The second Psychiatrist told me that I needed to stop breastfeeding because and I quote “What is the benefit of breastfeeding?” Um, okay…
So when I got off the phone with them I called my midwives and ironically the lactation consultant answered the phone. We discussed Shrink #2’s narrow world view and she made an appointment for me.
Within an hour the midwife who I was to see the following week called me from her personal cell to make sure I was okay and to tell me she was willing to write a script right now. Have I told you how awesome those midwives are? I picked up my generic 25mg of Zoloft (breastfeeding safe, thankyouverymuch) and took the first that evening. I could feel it when it hit my bloodstream, if you’ve ever taken Adderall or Benadryl or even Tylenol with Codeine you know how it feels when a medication first starts to metabolize. I felt a little loopy- but the tension in my shoulders almost immediately relaxed.
It’s been 4 days and it’s honestly incredible. It’s like a veil is lifting. It’s impossible to explain without using metaphor and hyperbole. Suffice it to say I feel much, much better… and this is just the beginning. The oddest ‘side effect’ is I was using my inhaler 3-4 times a day before I started the Zoloft and now I haven’t used it in 3 days. Dare I say- I’m kinda excited?! I don’t really freak out much anymore. I don’t hardly see a need to yell. I feel so relived.