The Question of Meds

I am finally beginning to admit to myself that this funk I am in is more than just a funk. I have known it, but assumed it would pass, as my funks usually do. I ride the trough for a while and let the wave lift me back up into the light. But for whatever reason I am still in the trough.
I was about to end a phone call with my mom the other day, when she said “are you sure you’re OK?” She knows my bottling habit and can quickly uncork it as she did with that one little innocent question.

I knew that once the book was written and the hubub died down, I would likely have a period of feeling lost. So much of my soul went into writing it, it could only be expected. But its been a year and I am still in a post book partum depression. I can no longer deny it.

My therapist began asking me questions when I raised it again with her yesterday:
Is your sleep being interrupted? Yup. Usually between 2:30 and 4:30am. But I have always blamed the dog.
Are you having trouble concentrating? Gosh, yes, ever since Arron died. Is that a symptom of depression? I thought it was just the grief.
Appetite issues? Nope. That’s been a pretty steady constant my whole life.
Lack of excitement about stuff? Yup. I call it apathy. Despite lists of things I need to do, I find I don’t do them. “I’m not in the mood right now for that” I think. Even when my book came out, I kept thinking “I should be way more excited about this than I am.” I was in this odd state of inevitability over it. It was meant to happen, meant to get published. It just was. It was almost like it wasn’t my accomplishment, but someone else’s.
My therapist asked, “When was the last time you took off just by yourself, without the kids? “Hmmm. Well? Does a bereavement conference in Ontario count?”
“No, I mean, where you go and just take time for yourself.”
“Ah, right. Well I went to a writing conference in Santa Fe for 4 days. That was about 3 years ago.”
“Well, its time to do it again. A week this time. You need to take some time for yourself.”
Tears teetered on the edge of my lids as she said “I think its a pretty clear case of clinical depression. And after all you have been through, that would be perfectly natural.”
Of course. It would. To other people. But me? Clinically depressed?

So meds. Meds! I have railed against them. I was given some kind of somethin-somethin right after Arron died, and doled them out to myself like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory eating one tiny piece of chocolate each night, so as to savor it. I held onto to those little pills and only allowed myself to take them on the really hard days. They lasted months and when they disappeared I didn’t refill them. I don’t know why Meds is like a dirty word to me. Is it that I fear what all the ads say? dry mouth, decrease in libido, addiction, headaches, heartburn, I don’t know what else. Cancer? Complete slide into something I can’t control anymore? Insanity?
I now have an appointment in a couple of weeks with a kind of doctor who can actually prescribe a med. Can recommend.

I have seen the incredible change they have made in my son, another mom-vow I broke. They changed his life, and in turn my life and Olivia’s life. Its not perfect, but we notice when he hasn’t had them. Will he take them for the rest of his life? Will they cause some other affliction?

Am I copping out by using meds?

But I am tired of wallowing away in this trough. My kids deserve to have a happy mom, something I don’t think I have been for a very long time. Not really.

Its time.

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  1. annie June 3, 2009 at 9:25 pm

    Despite what they say, there is really no time limit on grief. It works itself through in stop/start fits and nearly anything can distract us from it or ramp it into high gear.So you go to this doctor and let him/her evaluate and make his/her recommendation, and then you do whatever other research (or not) that you want and in the end, you do what you think is best for you. Can anyone expect more of themselves?

    Take care of you.

  2. Single Mom Seeking June 4, 2009 at 1:07 am

    Wow, such an honest, open post. Thank you.

    I used to have such strong feelings about meds — but after being with a man (child's father) who was manic depressive and stuck in a cycle… I often wondered if meds would have helped him.

    Fortunately, the stigma is going away. Posts like yours are doing that. Bravo.

  3. ANovelMenagerie June 4, 2009 at 1:54 am

    No matter what… don't look at any medication as a downfall. I did and that really set me back. If you have cancer does that mean that you shouldn't take the meds because you're stong and you can fight this on your own?

    I would really rather speak with you about this off-blog But, just know that you're going to need to do whatever you need to do to get those nuerons firing they way they should.

    In the interim, if you ever want to call me, please email me at I have EXTENSIVE knowledge in these meds and maybe I can afford you some wisdom on them.


  4. Supa Dupa Fresh June 4, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    OMG you are totally NOT copping out. Depression is not about happiness or sadness. This disease is like carrying a backpack full of bricks around, everywhere you go, in everything you do. What medication can do is help remove bricks or even the entire backpack.

    How great a parent will you be without that weight?
    How will you view the whole world and your own gifts when you are no longer carrying that weight?
    Don't you think you'll become stronger? You will, you know. That backpack was full of junk and it was supernaturally HEAVY.

    Yes, you will seem different, but will you be worse off? No, you will more to be the real you, the fulfilled you, plain YOU not depressed you.

    You deserve to give it a try.



  5. Abigail June 4, 2009 at 10:16 pm

    Thank you all. You are all basically saying what I want/need to hear. Funny the stigma and silence there is around the issue of meds. Perhaps the stigma is around depression. In this brave new world of positivity and spiritualism, depression is like the natty old uncle who refuses to leave the party.

    No one wants to talk about the dark side of happy.

    Thanks for the cheering.

  6. Mel June 7, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Good for you! I understand the Charlie & the Chocolate Factory approach because I did a similar thing when Greg died.

    I am very impressed by your openness and willingess to do what it takes to feel better. You are doing the right thing.

  7. Andrew July 18, 2009 at 12:39 am

    Nice information…

    Thank you very much…

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