Tuesday, August 05, 2008

anti-depressants?

i feel like a lot of women out there are on anti-depressants. or some other kind of medication. it seems to bond a lot of people when you blog about it, and how the relation can make you feel less alone (which is one of the many beautiful things about blogging and reading blogs).

but... i can't relate. *knocks on wood* and so while i can very strongly feel for you and what you're going through, i can truly only sit here and imagine what it must be like. i can empathize with you. i can feel pain for you. and i can hope with you that it gets better. and in all honesty, hope it never happens to me. i know that sounds bad, but what the fuck... am i supposed to hope i need to take anti-depressants one day to get through the day? i don't want that and i can't imagine that people who are depressed would wish the depression on others.

so now i need to talk about it a little bit, because in all honesty i'm a tad freaked out. i'm wondering if we women get this way with too many kids? or if that's a cause of it? because i can imagine the hormonal imbalance that could come out of having kids and stuff. and i have one kid (and a husband who really should count as kid #2, but for some reason doesn't) and i'm kind of thinking about what if having another kid not only makes me fat, but messes me up mentally?!? what if that kid pushes me over an edge that i don't even know i'm balancing on???? so i need to know if the depression or whatever issue ails you, was already pre-existing? did more kids, life, etc just exacerbate the issue? or did it just sprout up out of nowhere? one day you were a happy little jennster sprite and the next day you weren't? i need to know. fine, i don't need to know, but i'd like too. i want to understand. help me understand.

and please know that i'm not trying to be uncompassionate at all so i truly hope it's not coming off that way. and you're under no obligation to tell me anything (obviously). but thank you in advance to all who do choose to share.

35 comments:

Theresa said...

When I was going through my divorce I had to go on anti-depressants...I could not function. I was either crying or staring off into space. The medication made me feel normal, except that I couldn't laugh or cry anymore. After 3 months I didn't need it anymore. That's my only experience with anti-depressants. Being depressed, for me, felt like being in a dark cloud and not being able to find my way out to see anything else.

Elizabeth said...

I've been clinically depressed since Sophomore year of High School, but my parents refused to believe there was anything wrong with me and therefore I didn't even start anti-depressants until my early 20s. Even then I had to try several different kinds to find the one that made the fog that surrounded me lift, without taking away all my sex drive (someone of them made me actually feel numb down there, not good at all).

After Kaitlyn was born is when the anxiety attacks started, and when I posted about starting a second drug called Lexapro, I found out a whole lot of other bloggers took that one too.

Andie said...

Ster, sometimes I think you are reading my mind. I often wonder the very same thing!

Meg said...

Don't quote me on this, but I don't think having another child will make you have mental problems. I have had depression for many, many years, althought I wasn't diagnosed until 7 years ago. I, like Elizabeth, had to try many different medications until I found what worked for me. Sure, having Squeaks brought out the depression even more. It caused all kinds of horrible things to happen, but I got it under control again.

I guess I'm trying to say that anyone can feel emotionally overwhelmed with having kids, but I don't think it will cause you to have depression.

That being said, I also think a lot of people taking the meds don't need them. Hypocritical? Probably, but it's what I think.

Wifey said...

I am not someone that is depressed or has taken anti-depressants. But I have a few very close people in my life that have needed to take them. From watching them and being with it seems that it could kind of be either way. Meaning it is something that they have dealt with their entire life or something that hit them during a certain circumstance. My hubby used to take them and after 10 plus years of taking them he finally weaned himself off. He started taking them when he was having a very hard time in his life and I think now that he has stability and security in his life he doesn't feel the need for them. Hope that helps!

norcalgirl28 said...

Jenn, I'm actually glad I read this post and read Meg's post. She pointed out that feeling overwhelmed and being depressed are two different things which sometimes I think I have trouble differentiating. You know I only have one kid and you know where I live. Sometimes the cost of trying to keep a house, commuting to a job, bills and Drew and everything school that goes along with Drew, not to mention the husband, makes me think I can't even keep my head above water. I am not on anti-depressants and have never been diagnosed with depression, but I would love to know now what the difference is between being so overwhelmed you can't see straight and depression.

Denise said...

Sometimes I think that some women are simply overwhelmed by life rather than being depressed. I sometimes find myself pulled in so many directions by so many people that it can make your head spin. You have to deal with the feelings of guilt if you dare even THINK of doing something for yourself. It just simply adds up and one can go over the emotional edge.

I'm not saying that people can't get depressed, but I think that it's an easy diagnosis for one to make. Pills aren't always the answer, but rather a change in the way we deal with life.

Dana said...

I've been on the borderline before. It was not something I've ever felt comfortable sharing. Depression runs in my family, and thankfully I haven't experienced the worst. I've come close, but I think being educated about it and knowing how to watch for "the signs" has helped me. I can't say that's true for everyone. We're all so very different.

Kristin said...

Listen, I am only here because I am popular and therefore giving...

Ha! Ok, as for the crazy, I've been on anti depressants a couple of times, both following MAJOR stressers in life and was on each for about 6 months... just long enough for my brain/body to reset to "can cope".

Alison said...

I've never been on any medication but I can say that I started feeling way overwhelmed when I had my second child and went back to work. I am a perfectionist to the point of being obnoxious and I have a hard time leaving toys on the floor, clothes in the dryer, homework not checked in, tests not graded, etc., etc., etc. So, I always have this feeling that I have to do everything right.this.minute. I understand wny I got more overwhelmed with each child. I've also figured out that regular exercise is helpful. It makes me feel good about myself and of course relieves stress. :)

crazymumma said...

Okay.

I went on anti's after my second was weaned, so I was two years in. My doctor wrote a script for me without batting an eyelid.

I think they are for many, a bridge to get to a better place, hopefully without them. But I think for others, they are the worst possible solution. I stopped taking them, and found no difference at all.

In truth, and I may earn myself some enemies here, there are better solutions. And I think it can be an awful crutch.

crazymumma said...

shit. that said. those who have true and real depression deserve these drugs. for them it must be a wonderful help.

skulking away now.

crazymumma said...
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Issas Crazy World said...

It's one of those things that you can't completely understand until it happens that you need it. I was always like you were, I never quite understood. I've always been a happy, easy going person, who dealt with the crap that came up as it came up. I don't think I'd ever been depressed before.

Till I lost the baby. And I wish I could explain it, but I still can't. It just sent me over the edge. Like a switch was flipped and I never thought I'd ever be happy or even able to get out of bed again. It's been a long ass year, but I'm starting to feel like I'm okay again. I'm still on the meds, but they've lowered them and I'm okay. Hopefully I'll be off it soon.

I can't imagine being depressed for years, or worse, for a lifetime. I do feel like I understand how it must be for people, a bit more. But I also know that mine was situational, not the norm. I doubt you having a baby would do that too you...not that it couldn't, but I think that a lot of times a baby (or the hormones) sets it off in people when it's already there to begin with.

Lara said...

me? no kids. never had any kids. someday hope to have kids, but that day hasn't come yet.

and i'm on anti-depressants. my depression has been on and off since high school, when my father died. i also have family history.

so for me, it had nothing to do with kids. hope that helps you have another perspective...

carrie said...
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carrie said...

If having more than one kid is a marker for needing those "mommy's little helpers," than sign me up!

Seriously, I have no clue.

Meg said...

I'm commenting again, hoping to help some more. Or maybe I just like to "hear" myself talk.

I agree with a lot of you...there is a difference in being overwhelmed and being depressed. There are also degrees of depression. Some people can take meds for awhile and get better. Some can go to therapy, or a combination of both. And then there are some who just don't get better. I'm in the latter category. I've been on meds for 7 years. I've done therapy. I HATE taking pills, so I've worked with multiple doctors to try to "fix" myself, but I've been told across the board that I will always have to be on medication. I truly have that chemical imbalance that will never be right without a little help. And that's the hardest pill to swallow. Especially when I was told to stay on my meds when I was pregnant. I was so scared for my baby, but they told me that she and I would be in more danger if I wasn't (I wouldn't hurt either one of us physically, but my depression could cause me to lose the baby, etc.).

So yeah, some people find them to be a crutch. And I'm the one who desperately wants to be drug-free, but literally can't. There is a broad spectrum out there of "depressed" people and I think that's why we hear of so many people taking meds.

Chris said...

I've never taken them, but I guess if you need them to function, then it's all good. To each his own.
Great thinking post.

Kristabella said...

Clinical depression is a misfiring of your synapses in your brain. I am a believer that it is a pre-determined thing. Like family history, etc. make you more prone to it.

As someone who has been on anti-depressants, I know that it was CLEARLY depression. You know it. It isn't just being hormonal. There's a big difference. And usually it is a life-changing event that triggers it. Or burying things from your past coming to the surface finally.

The thing is, there is NOTHING wrong with going on the medicine. So if you're worried about it, you shouldn't be. If someone told you to take medicine for another ailment, would you question it?

jennster said...

everyone- THANK YOU. you guys are overwhelmingly honest and i this is why i love you. so much.

kristabella (whore)- i'm not scared to get on medication and i would most certainly do it if i needed to... i'm scared of needing too. :)

Piece of Work said...

These comments are really interesting. I'd love to add something here but I don't really have any experience with anti-depressants. Given my lack of experience, take this with a grain of salt, but I don't see having another child as something that would push you over the edge. Blake is so much older, he would be such a help, and you have done this before--I just don't see you being overwhelmed by one more kid. Not Jennster! ;)

Redneck Mommy said...

I grew up with a mom who popped antidepressants like they were Flinstone vitamins and I swore I would never take them.

And I was lucky that I never needed to take them. Blessed, I guess, not to have my mother's batshit crazy disposition.

Then Bug died, and suddenly I couldn't cope. I slunk into this deep depression and couldn't find my way out of it.

Those happy little pills, which I had mocked and derided for years, literally saved me and my family. They just balanced me. Suddenly, I could grieve and be sad without wanting to slit my wrists.

I went off of them after six months, and was fine, for about two months. And then it all went down hill again.

So I hopped back on that pill train and have been on them ever since.

I hope oneday to not need them. I work hard everyday at not needing them any more and one day I won't.

But until then, I'll just keep swallowing the little fackers and thanking God that I'm not lost in that abyss of depression anymore.

I don't think having a kids makes you crazy. But I can tell you with absolute certainty, that losing kids will.

Hope that helps.

Stefanie said...

I have a lot of experience with this so let me add my two cents. Although I'm sure I needed them earlier, I didn't go on an antidepressant until my first daughter was 14 months old. I had ppd bad but didn't know it. I think I've always been prone to anxiety but assumed that that was how everyone felt. I don't think I ever knew what it was like to feel "normal" until the Zoloft kicked in. It took the stress of my daughter being hospitalized to realize I needed help because I was always in a state of high alert. Although I am prone to depression (my father was bi-polar) I never felt the need to take a pill for it. And weirdly, being pregnant with my daughter actually balanced my hormones in such a way that I felt great! Then I delivered her and it all went to shit. I had no idea what was wrong with me though. So I went off the drugs when I found out I was pregnant again and did fine again during the pregnancy but once the twins were born and in the NICU I went back on Zoloft because I didn't want to risk being a basket case when I had now three children who needed me. I think, personally, I could function fine without them. But, with them, I just feel slightly less raw which helps when things get rough. If you've never felt depressed and you've had one child, chances are you will need no drugs just because you have another kid. Maybe just yoga.

Kristine said...

I've been dealing with depression since high school, but like another commenter, my parents didn't think I needed help. I finally got medication for it in my mid-twenties. Wow is all I can say.

So I've been on AD's for 15 years now. I was able to decrease my dose significantly while pregnant, but then had a pretty bad bout of PPD after the baby was born. Amazing how much better I felt within two weeks of getting back to my normal dose.

So, in my case, it is totally hereditary. My mother, her two brothers, and my grandmother have all been on AD's at some point. But not until after I finally got treated.

I think all our lives would have been drastically different had they been treated sooner. But, that wasn't really the question, was it.

Sounds to me like you are going to be just fine!

Petunia Face said...

Pre-existing. My grandparents had anxiety (although at the time people just called them eccentric). My mother has always had panic attacks. And now me. It started in my early 20's. The birth of my daughter did not affect it at all, other than I suddenly realized I did not have a choice in taking drugs. I have to, for her.

scarbie doll said...

OK, not even reading the other comment because they might affect what I have to say.

My first child made me batshit crazy. Having the second, with a completely different birth story, was cathartic for me. I did not go batshit crazy after weaning Luci like I did with Nate.

We're just rounding the end of the first year with two. It's been hard. HARD! So many times we said, "What the fuck have we done?" But now we see light at the end of the tunnel. It almost broke us, and then it didn't. You know?

You can read some of my slow evolution to crazy here. I was given the prescription, I chose not to take it. I got over it mostly through talking. There was a hormonal issue that we dealt with through homeopathy, which sounds like a fake medicine, but even if it's a placebo I don't give a fuck, it worked. And I didn't have to resort to it this time.

Immoral Matriarch said...

I took them for a bit, didn't really do me any good. Sometimes I want to test them out again to see if they'd work now.

I'd like a happy pill. And some vicodin. :D

Anissa Mayhew said...

I started taking anti-anxiety, not anti-depression, meds when my daughter was diagnosed with cancer. It wasn't so much that I was depressed as I just functioned on an edge that wasn't healthy for anyone in my family. I was emotional and overwhelmed and they were used to get me from one emotional place to another. When I stopped taking them, it was a weaning process because I didn't want to find that I DID still need them and I so appreciate the drugs that got me through the worst days of my life.

I do occassionally still take them, they aren't a constant prescription, just something now if I need to take the edge off a bad/emotional day. But I find that I need them less and less.

Great post and you have every right to ask they questions, and now you got some answers.

Greta said...

I've got a 14 year old daughter ( that I've raised by myself for the past 6 years with minimal contact w/ her sperm donor) that hasn't seen her dad in 2 years now deciding she wants to live with him. Apparently I'm the wicked witch of the west because I want her to stay in a stable environment. So yeah.... I think anti-depressants might be a solution in my case. I think they call this a "situational case". If that's not depressing I don't know what is.

Karen (miscmum) said...

I was prescribed anit-depressants in my teenage years. This was when I was anorexic, and really did nothering to 'heal' my inner problems.

Then I was precribed them again when I had a near emotional breakdown in the months leading up to my wedding. Again, they didn't really help.

I think, for me, my emotions needed to be worked on/out. It wasn't a chemical/hormonal imbalance, which is the main reason why many people certainly need them in the first place.

Wow - just spilled more then in nearly about two years of blogging at my own place ;) (well, kinda...:))

Izzy said...

I think for most people, the depression thing was an issue before they had children and of course, having questionable brain chemistry doesn't get any easier when you throw some crazy female hormones, or lack thereof, into the mix. Don't let other people's stories deter you if that's what you want to do. If you're fine now and always have been, you'll very likely be fine after having another baby.

Heather B. said...

The thing about being depressed is that you already have some sense of it before you're officially diagnosed. In fact, once you find out that something is really wrong with you and you aren't losing your fucking mind, you actually will breathe a sigh of relief. When I found out I was bipolar, I was actually grateful. I dealt with it - well, deal with it - and it isn't a big deal.

It's not like it's a cold or something and you catch it or once you start taking meds that you're eternally fucked up. It's just one minor thing and like any other illness; you take care of it and move on.

Now if you currently feel like something is 'off' or if you have a family history then I would be slightly worried but if not? Having a baby won't suddenly make it come out of nowhere. Do you get what I mean? Having kids will make you overwhelmed and shit. Not that I have personal experience but I know kids well enough to know that they're a lot of work, etc. So other than that, I think you'll be fine and I really wouldn't worry if I were you.

MontanaJen said...

No kids - but my third miscarriage put me over the edge.

I pushed and I pushed against my therapist and my husband when they suggested them. I refused. Until I heard myself say out loud that "it's just not worth it" and recognized that it was a suicidal-type sentiment.

I filled my script the next day.

And in about a month, it was as if a fog had lifted. I had absolutely no idea how dark my world was until I got some help lifting the shades.

And I do refer to the medicine as 'help' - not the cure - because for me I also needed to do a shit-ton of talk therapy, journaling, blogging, etc., to get through the horrific jungle that was the aftermath of the loss of our pregnancies.

Angelika said...

My depression was here since I was 13. I know now that it's a symptom of the MS.

My son actually helps my depression. Or, at least, he makes me NOT want to kill myself & go to the Dr. and stuff that would take to much energy if I were left to my own devices.

I think 2 kids would just make me insane and possibly homicidal. Especially if the other one wasn't as awesome as Evan.

But I don't think kids, by themselves, MAKE anyone depressed? Maybe the things that go along with kids (feeding them, clothing them, affording them, etc) can make someone anxious or something, but I don't think it would make anyone depressed.