Sunday, September 9, 2007

Stop the Ride, I Wanna Get Off

As I told you yesterday, I was on antidepressants for postpartum depression. Well, last week I quit them cold turkey, but not exactly on purpose.

I believe I mentioned before that the initial side effects of the meds sucked. I felt gross physically, but they certainly helped me mentally, so I kept taking them. A few weeks later I started feeling nauseous again, and really tired, too. I started to think I might be pregnant. That wouldn't have been the worst thing in the world, but if I were, it would have been nice to give my body a little bit of time to recover from pregnancy and breastfeeding. Heck, I would have liked to wean first! So I got myself a two-pack of home pregnancy tests just to make sure that wasn't why I was feeling so first trimester-y. Of course, both tests were negative, which led me to think that either it was the meds or something else.

I have to go off on a little tangent here. When I was debating what to do about my PPD, I asked the kids' pediatrician for a referral. I also told her who my OBGYN referred me to, and she made this face like "You really need to see anyone else in the world but them!" I should have listened to her. I liked the counselor I saw (twice), but her hours just didn't work for me. I didn't want to see her at 7:30am, and there was no way I wanted to go while my mother in law was watching the kids (I love her, no really, I do, but there are some boundary issues I have with her that would need to be discussed with any therapist I'd see). The psychiatrist who wrote my prescription was pretty much useless. I don't think he even listened to half of what I said during my first visit with him. The ped even said that people complain that the doctors at this psych practice don't listen, and boy howdy was she right. But enough about that.

The week before last, I decided that I had had enough of being exhausted after nine plus hours of sleep, unable to drag myself out of bed before 8am (I even asked the ped at Jack's three year checkup if I might be anemic; she suggested I go for a checkup since I haven't had one in about a year and a half). I thought I'd try taking my meds before bed and see if that helped. I took them for one night, then forgot to take it the next night, and the next, and so on. Since I had missed three or four days in a row, I decided to just bag taking them altogether. And then I started feeling really dizzy towards the end of last week. I thought it was because I had too much dairy in my diet, but the WebMD Symptom Checker clued me in to another possibility, something far more insidious than too much ice cream before bed: medication withdrawal. I did some more surfing and lo and behold it seems that, most likely, that is the cause of my dizziness. Damn you, sertraline!

It totally sucks that if I choose to take antidepressants in order to have better control of my emotions, I will be physically exhausted all the time. How is that supposed to help me be a better wife, mom, and person in general? I am going to call the psych tomorrow, but the last time I called asking about side effects, he acted like calling me back was such a major inconvenience and that I was distracting him from something amazingly important. At this point, I do not want to go back on the meds, because the cure is just about as bad as the disease, and coming off them totally sucks, too.

There has to be a better way to deal with PPD. I signed up for a course at the local high school called "Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom" and I hope that might have some answers. I much prefer the alternative/natural health route whenever possible. It's just trickier to do that now since I'm still breastfeeding. Oh, and I have an appointment with my GP for a checkup on Thursday. Hopefully he'll request some bloodwork to rule out anemia and/or a hormonal imbalance.

Stay tuned...

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