Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Year On from Post Natal / Partum Depression

On Saturday I took my last (half) pill of Zoloft. I felt like a band should start up and go past with a victory march. Instead my husband and I high fived in the kitchen and resumed cooking breakfast. I'm okay with that because a year ago cooking breakfast with my husband would have felt like the biggest achievement, not because he's hard to work with. Ha, not at all! But because a year ago I was down a deep, dark hole and struggling to cope with the basics of day to day life and my 5 month old.

This was me with my boy at a farm stay two weeks ago! Loving life to the max and totally present!
I remember driving home from the Dr's and pharmacy with my prescription of Zoloft on the seat beside me, and my husband on the hand's free. We both felt confused and torn about whether this was right for me, for our family. We both felt the stigma of anti-depressants and the label that brought with it. I think a year on we would both agree openly that we don't feel that stigma anymore and we could care less about the label. What we know now is that once-a-day little pill made us feel like the family we dreamed about before we ever got pregnant. What we know now is that taking Zoloft was taking a humble pill and a happy pill all at once. I had to throw out the pride to take it, and it made me feel like my old self again.

Months ago I wrote an article for a magazine on my struggle with Post Natal Depression, which I like to call (for myself) Post Natal Anxiety.  I then wrote a blog post about it where I read the article out in a 14 minute podcast. I didn't know then that baring my soul and opening my heart to friends, and strangers on the internet would have the a far reaching effect that it did. As a result I have been able to write private messages on FB to women in a PND support group and let them know they aren't alone. I've been able to help some women discover their son/daughter had lip or tongue tie, or explain baby silent reflux to others. I've been there for those who feel like they have failed because they can't breastfeed. I've had emails from friends with new baby's who are silently struggling every day and finding it hard to seek support or know where to turn. I'm not tooting my own horn here, I'm just wanting to encourage more of us to come forward who've shared these struggles. Helping them has been part of the healing process for me - BIG time. I'm so glad I came out about my dark days as a new mum.

Here I am in the shadows but NOT figuratively 
Who knows, next week my baby and I may come down with some sickness that makes us both cranky and sleep deprived, and maybe my anxiety will be triggered again. Maybe my boy will go through another phase I feel like I can't cope with. Right now I can't see that happening but I made a promise to myself that if I went off this medication (which has been a 2 month process) I would hop right back on it again if things started going south again. I have learned that me being better also means my family can be better too. 
Watching Charlie discovering new things about life is one of the great gifts of parenthood
Today I can honestly say I enjoy being a mum so much, and if I had known then (when baby was 5 months) what life could be like I wouldn't have hesitated taking the pills. I wouldn't have waited so long...
I love this face! He's so worth everything.

36 comments:

  1. Yay! Well done and congratulations on your achievement. I hope your balancing continues to improve. Enjoy. Laugh and have fun. V x

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  2. I am SO SO proud of you my dear sister. Sharing your story and helping other Mommas is just awesome. I'm so glad you found the help you needed and are using your journey to help others.
    Love you!!

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  3. Good on you for being brave enough to share your experience so that others can benefit. I'm really glad you've came through this and are at the other side x

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  4. You've been very brave and strong to come through this and very sensible to address the situation. I take my hat off to you; you should be proud xx

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  5. I've never met you Jess (till now - sort of!) but I'm so proud of you!! There is no shame in going on anti-depressants. SO many people have needed that helping hand at times - including me. The fact you are reaching out to others and helping them is inspirational. I wish you all the very best of luck off the zoloft and am so pleased you are prepared to go back on them if need be. BTW - your little boy is GORGEOUS!! ;-) xo

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  6. Well done on getting this far, you are the lovely, living proof that Mark Latham is a dick, and that is why your story is so important.
    Dani @ sand has no home

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  7. That's such great news that you're feeling great and off the medication. That's one of my biggest fears, coming off my medication and have been advised not to until after I have my second child. After being diagnosed with pnd a whole 19 months after having my son, I just don't want to go through it again. I wish you all the best and hope the depression and anxiety never returns.

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  8. Good on you, Jess for helping others out with PND. It sounds like you've come a long way in your journey and to hear you sound so positive (yet realistic) is reassuring and inspiring x

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  9. I was diagnosed when my youngest was 2. She's now 18 and I still take half a pill a day! It works and that's all that matters to me :-)

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  10. Good on you, Jess! That's great news. That photo of you and your son is full of sunshine and light. I think it's fantastic you've helped so many people. People need to know they are not alone.

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  11. @EssentiallyJess Good to know. Thanks for letting me know you've been there. I may have to write you at some point. I am prepared that if I have another baby it may need to happen. I just don't handle sleep deprivation at all

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  12. @Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me Thanks for celebrating with me. I am still amazed how many of my friends really do believe they are alone in this ...not true

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  13. @Janet aka Middle Aged Mama Really! That's great. I was so surprised when one of my really good friends told me she was on it and would probably be for the rest of her life, once I confided in her that I had to go on them. Reminds me of the Lily Allen song - Everyone's At It - "Why can't we all, all just be honest, admit to ourselves that everyone's on it"

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  14. Thanks @Grace Already had a dose of reality last night. Been getting little dizzy spells.

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  15. @Eva Lewis I've resigned myself that I will always have anxiety. I manage much better knowing what my triggers are. Sickness usually ends, but sleep deprivation just seemed like it would go on forever with a baby. Good on you for getting help too and being open about it here. I see all these smiley bloggers, and then hear them being so honest and it brings us all back to that wonderful level of humanity - we all suffer at some point. I think I may have to go back on them when I have another baby too. Coming off them hasn't been very hard at all Eva. Last night I got an emotional jolt, balled my eyes out for no reason than extra stress of feeding a toddler. That's definitely my body trying to balance itself off medication. We just need to keep being kind to ourselves, right!

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  16. @Dani Netherclift Thanks Dani. What's this about Mark Latham, what has he done :) please share

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  17. @writeofthemiddle Aww that means heaps. Thank you very much for taking the time to write that to me. You bless me heaps!

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  18. Yay. I think I've found my marching band in all you wonderful bloggers. Thank you!

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  19. Now I will definitely feel bad for calling you a shit mum yesterday! haha! Thank you so much. I hope I'm on the other side. I had moments of doubt last night, and dizzy feelings this morning but generally feeling very good, and hopeful.

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  20. YES! - LAUGH!!! @StyleOnV That's my favourite thing in the world. That's how my husband knew I was "better" He heard me laughing and cracking jokes, and cooking up a storm. ha! Thank you!

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  21. This is the offending piece http://www.afr.com/p/opinion/why_left_feminists_don_like_kids_zCbYWk9GxhdiLHnYdE3fsM

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  22. @Olivia Harris I thank God for you! I love you too

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  23. Good on you for pushing past the stigma. I'm glad that you are in a better place now.

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  24. @Dani Netherclift thanks Dani. Will go and read now

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  25. OH and now I'm fuming! May have to go read @HandbagMafia's blog all over again to calm down

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  26. I'm still on 100mg of zoloft, but I've been feeling like I could cope with starting to wean off them. I really should talk to my dr about it soon. Its been about a year for me now too. My mum has been on anti depressants for 18 years and has never successfully weaned off them but she had a massive breakdown so Im hoping to be able to wean off mine, but I also now know how much of a help they can be so I've changed my attitude towards them a lot.

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  27. Lara at This Charming MumNovember 28, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Well done for addressing the problem, seeking help when you needed it, and being happy to speak out about it so that others know it's perfectly normal to have these struggles. I hope it's onwards and upwards for your now :)

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  28. All of this an incredibly brave thing to do, and so admirable in helping others as well. I'm so glad your story has a positive outcome- I know from experience that so much negativity surrounding medications and their overuse can push those who could really benefit away from their relief or benefit. Best wishes to you and your little family. #teamIBOT

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  29. Yeah, I heard that can be part of the side effects. Just take it very easy and be good to yourself x

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  30. Oh I so know your pain/your joy. I had post natal depression with on of our sons, we had two reflux babies and it was hard work - the medication sure made a difference. As well as being kind to myself, along with a good nights sleep {which is hard to do with little ones}
    So glad you are feeling like you again, and yes I too had to wean myself off all medication, looking backing on that time {it was years ago} I am amazed we all survived and went on to have more kids.
    But I think that sharing your story is so very brave, letting others know that they are not alone ;)

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  31. Thanks so much for commenting @NewLifeOnTheRoad! So encouraging. I just met another mum today who had two reflux babies and she also got PND. As soon as I told her my struggle she also opened up. We all just need to be more open with each other and stop this silly stigma. Support, support, support! This week has been a tough one but I still think I want another - ha! Funny how that happens. Life does get better, that's for sure.

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  32. @TwitchyCorner Thank you so much. I've had moments this week where I have felt my body going "give me the drugs!" I have been so tired and dizzy. i'm hoping this will pass and in 4 weeks I'll be feeling a lot better.

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  33. @Lara at This Charming Mum Thanks so much for leaving me such an encouraging comment. All of these women's comments are so positive and make me want to keep being real!

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  34. @Toni My mum has been on them too Toni. My mum wasn't too encouraging about the weaning off situation since she did not handle it well. My pharmacist brother inlaw reminded me that post natal depression and clinical depression are different as one is situational. He said me that it may not be as difficult for me to come off them as it was for mum because my situation is different to hers. I was not expecting these crazy dizzy spells though. My friend calls them brain zaps. I'm glad I have a friend to ask about this stuff. Thank you for the encouraging comment and for being brave enough to leave it!

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  35. @TeganMC You are always such a mental health champion. I applaud you and thank you for being so open too!

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  36. Your little fella is so cute!


    www.simplydavelyn.com

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