A brief trip into med-free land

I ran out of meds Saturday night due to my propensity for procrastination (and a prescription that needs to be approved every single month). Quickly, my husband and I made a plan to get through the next day without anyone yelling or filing for divorce and I girded my loins for the challenge, secretly feeling like maybe we were overreacting. Life is good, man, and I’m so much better at everything than I was nine months ago, remember?

It was sad just how much energy it took to get through that day, just one day, med-free.

Suddenly I was the old me again, full of angst and yearning and neediness, cycling quickly from I love that so much I just wanted to eat it up to how many minutes until I can just lay down and sleep forever? I loved my son, but I loved him differently, less peacefully and contentedly and more in amazement and pressure-laden anxiety. Instead of feeling my love in here, I felt it out there, all scary and too-far-away-but-too-stiflingly-close at once.

My parenting suffered as I quickly found myself inappropriately on the edge of frustration over and over. My husband agreed to take my son to dinner with his parents for a few hours to give me a break and some fun time on my new sewing machine (yeeeeee! More on that later) and I was embarrassed by the relief I felt that they were both gone. I didn’t miss them. I wanted everything and everyone that might need something from me to go away.

I spent the day feeling like I’d time traveled back to, I don’t know, high school or some previous era of my life, and got to experience it with the newfound wisdom of more maturity. Except, well, I was time traveling back to any previous era of my life and the maturity was doing battle with everything I felt.

I wrote some pretty amazing blog posts in my head, but then purposely didn’t sit down to write them. If I couldn’t stop my thoughts from backsliding into then, I’d decided, I could stop my actions from doing so. My plan to get through was to do things differently, even if I couldn’t think them that way.

I couldn’t think about it then, but I am able to face this now: I might need to stay on anti-depression meds indefinitely.

I want to argue against the word “need.” I don’t need them. I choose to be on them. I could not be on them and I’d still live. Life, though, would be much more difficult. I’m amazed at how well I did before, to be honest. One day and I was completely exhausted from the effort to not sink into the grayness, like trying to outrun a quickly approaching storm.

So, bright sides: the writing mojo I thought I’d lost was a side effect of me-from-then and thus has been located and is no longer lost, technically; I was able to ask for help, make a plan, and get through without being overrun by feelings and impulses and exhaustion; I have made it through the ramp up back to meds and am okay now; the periodic boredom I’ve been surprised to feel over the past few months is a medication-related side effect of the dampening of the intensity of my constant thoughts… and something I now welcome as a good thing.

I am still processing the sadness I feel that I can’t be That Me But Content but I’m thankful that I can choose to do the things to be This Me and that’s okay. I am still in that head space where I wonder if I should prefer to be the version of me that feels things so much more deeply. I have to remind myself that the intensity of the feelings didn’t feel good, even when they were supposedly good kinds of feelings.

By today I’m more leveled out than yesterday when I was dealing with the effects of going back on meds (yowza, one skipped day and it takes two to get back to even). I debated not publishing this post because I didn’t want to scare anyone away who was debating asking for help with PPD and instead used this as evidence that what I had wasn’t just PPD, to which I say: if you are considering asking for help, do it. The worst that can happen is you get a prescription you discover you don’t need.

No, actually, the worst that can happen is that you don’t and live like that for another minute. Do it.


2 thoughts on “A brief trip into med-free land

  1. Do not be scared that you can’t go a day without meds right now. These types of medications are NOT meant to be stopped cold turkey. It is very possible your feelings and symptoms were even exaggerated because you didn’t dose down gently and wean yourself from them.
    You will know when you are ready to take these steps. It might be a long time from now and it might mean a very gradual step-down in dosage but when it is the right time your doctor will help you through it.

    This comes with love from someone who was on a very high dose of Zoloft for quite a while in college and has been med-free now for many years. I really appreciate your perspective on the topic of post-partum depression because of your honesty and because I wonder if I will return to needing medication after the birth of my first child this fall. Time will tell if I will, and I’m ok with that.

  2. That is such a wonderful post that I think people need to see. I feel like I may have had some of you symptoms and wonder if I suffered from PPD myself. I also look at them and know my friend has and is still suffering. I wish she could read something like this and feel free to really take stock of her situation. She went off her meds (assisted) for about 4 months and she did a number of things that really hurt me. Even knowing that she needs help.

    Thank you again for being so honest.

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