Can I be very personal here? I was diagnosed with severe depression in the summer of 2002. In all probability, I was depressed long before then – many years of putting too much pressure on myself to be better than my brother and a horrible high school experience will do that to a person. Add to that a rough roommate situation both freshman and sophomore year, twenty pounds of weight gain and a relationship that my parents were not entirely okay with and you get an emotional mess. I was prescribed Zoloft and was on that at increasing dosages for three or four years before I was switched to Lexapro. Neither was particularly effective, but I was functional. I didn’t have severe anxiety attacks and I didn’t spend all day everyday wanting to be in bed.
Fast forward a few years. Brian and I had just gotten married and I said to myself, I don’t want to be on drugs anymore. I just didn’t feel like myself so, without consulting with my doctor I just stopped taking them. I was off medication for a little more than a year and although I did occasionally have bad days, I attributed it mostly to my soul-crushing job at [redacted]. Unfortunately, within a three month period I had to spend a large amount of money I didn’t have to repair the roof of our house, our house was broken into and a lot of stuff of both monetary and sentimental value was stolen, I developed sciatica because of my job and then I got into a really bad car wreck and totaled my car. With Brian’s encouragement, I went to my doctor and after discussing the reasons why I quit taking drugs in the first place and why I thought they weren’t working for me, she prescribed a fairly new medication. For the next couple of months I actually felt almost normal. And then I got pregnant.
So. Because this was a new medication and not an SSRI (which is considered mostly safe to take while pregnant) I had to stop taking it immediately. Since I always list depression on my medical history, my OB at my first prenatal checkup told me that it would be best to take some sort of medication. Apparently the risks of being on medication are the same as having a depressed mother not on medication. Did that make sense? So back to Zoloft it was. A low dose, lower than I was taking before I switched. Okay. Things were going okay. Not great but mostly manageable.
Well. Let’s not forget the soul-crushing job. Even after I got pregnant and even after multiple requests, I was still scheduled to open the majority of the days I worked (3 or 4 times a week). That meant waking up at the ungodly hour of 3:45 in the morning. And then I was so rarely scheduled with anyone there to help me I would get so busy I would want to cry and walk out. Did I mention the horrible morning sickness, the insomnia and the return of my sciatica. I was stressed out. There were days when I would cry myself to sleep. Finally, I quit and started working full time at my other job. And while there are bad days there too, it is much less stressful for me most of the time.
I’m getting to the good part, I guess. I spent several weeks having regular panic attacks. If I was out in public somewhere and something went wrong or I wasn’t feeling well, I would just start crying. Uncontrollably. There were days I didn’t even want to leave the house I was so panicked. Brian took the initiative to call my doctor and she upped my dosage by a small amount. I’m doing better but, even so, if for whatever reason I happen to miss a day the next day will usually be a complete disaster.
All of this is a long way of saying that I struggle. A lot sometimes. And I have no idea how I will be able to handle all this come November. But I do have a really great husband and some pretty awesome friends who I can count on to make me feel better. So thank you.