Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Step in the Right Direction

There are so many things I want to blog about. From everything to how
fun/frustrating it is to shop for furniture that costs more than my
wedding ($4000) to why I feel like I look like Elaine from Seinfeld lately in my maxi dress/ Oxford combos. However, I feel most strongly that I should update you about some of
the latest developments in my ongoing struggle with PPD and motherhood.

Ever since I started dealing with PPD, I have thought and learned so
many things. Most important of which is: Be kind to myself (which for me meant, taking drugs, not being anxious to get off of them, and getting my husband on board with supporting me by attending therapy together). It's a lesson I have to relearn over and over again, but it's gotten easier.

I'm more than a year into my struggle and I can finally say I'm starting to learn life a little better. Things are not as chaotic as they were for awhile (I've been through 2 moves, a job change, and buying a house in that time) and routines with Double and my job are starting to stabilize.

I feel like I now have much insight into this disease. Like, one of the facets of the disease is that you really, really want to control it and make yourself better. Like if I was stronger I could deal with the sleep deprivation better or if I tried harder I could deal with the mess or enjoy my daughter more. Or once I took medication for a few weeks, I should be able to go off of it and be fine. But, alas, it wasn't until my life has stabilized AND the Zoloft kicked in that I really started to feel like myself again. At the time when I wanted to get off the meds, I had to force myself to stop that desire and truly go through the stages of denial and mourning and acceptance. At first I was in denial that I needed drugs. Once I was on them and felt as though I couldn't get off, I had to mourn the loss of being a "normal" mom. And once I mourned that, I finally accepted the meds. It helped that I hit rock bottom. I felt like I couldn't go on and I was willing to do ANYTHING--drugs, meds, whatever to feel better. Once I came to that conclusion things really got better for me. But that was 8 months post-partum.

For the last 2 months, I've been filtering in some normalcy. I've been watching slightly more scary TV shows (True Blood, I love you), which I had cut out for months due to my anxiety. I've started drinking caffeine again and occasionally even eating chocolate before bed. I've even had a little alcohol now and again. My thoughts about this go back to the freedom I feel in 1) being on the Zoloft and 2) knowing that if I EVER have any trouble sleeping with these things I can stop them AND take more sleeping medication/anti-anxiety medication. This is an enormous step for me and goes a long way to helping me feel like myself again.

And for the first time in 8 months I'm tapering down my sleep medication again. But this time SO MUCH SMARTER with medical advice. My Dr. advised me to wait until my life was calmer post-move. So I did. He advised me to take an even smaller step than I was taking (my first tapering experiences were .5 mg less, then .25 mg less, now 1/8 mg less!). And so far, I have successfully tapered down to 7/8 mg. I know it doesn't sound like much, but to me it's huge because it's happened without me having ANY trouble. No getting up in the middle of the night, feeling depressed and disheartened not being able to sleep while everyone else snoozes peacefully, waiting for the stronger doses to kick in. It's just enough that my body can sleep and still a little less than I was taking. I've had to shut out the voices of those around me who tell me maybe "I'm taking to much" and remember that they aren't medical experts. My Dr. is. I tried to do this on my own before and it didn't work. It was horrible, actually. If it takes me 16 weeks to get off the meds, I will be delighted. If it takes me 16 months, I'll still be delighted. At this point, I'm just grateful for sleep, medicated or otherwise. Sometimes I'm disappointed I can't "do it on my own" but then I remember how horrific it was to be sleep deprived and I'm thankful that drugs do exist for this purpose and that they work for me.

Anyway, it's a step in the right direction. :-)