Do motherhood and depression go hand in hand?

I thought I would write about something that is close to my heart, really close.  I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety issues 13 years ago after I had my second baby.   I call it a really horrible case of postpartum depression that never went away.  I get sad now when I think about going to my doctor for help all those years ago because he told me I had to stop breastfeeding my son because he was putting me on Prozac and Xanax.  I had to quit cold turkey nursing my beautiful son and it still hurts my heart.  Doctors just didn’t know what was safe for mothers and breastfed babies while taking certain medications thirteen years ago.  I understand but back then it totally broke my heart and it tugs at my heart now when I think about it.

My sanity was more important so I trusted my doctor and started the medication that was supposed to save my life.

They didn’t.  I started having major OCD issues and cleaning was my drug.  I found that my house had to be immaculate every day and I couldn’t rest or go to bed at night unless it was.  I also found myself in bed wondering if I’d locked the front door even though I vaguely remembered locking it.  I would have to go check the door so my mind would stop or just move onto another thought that was bothering me.

My depression and anxiety was my private prison that I had no explanation for and was unable to express to my family.

It turns out Prozac was not the drug to save my life, it made me a very angry person and I’m not an angry person so my doctor had to try drug number two.

It’s such a hush hush topic which I think is totally ridiculous.  Being depressed and having anxiety issues isn’t something to be ashamed of or a topic you feel you can cannot talk about or get help for.

Thirteen years ago when I hit rock bottom, no one understand around me.  They thought I just needed rest or to get out of the house.  But, I couldn’t get out of the house because I would go into full blown panic attacks and cry because I needed to be in the comfort of my home, my space with my things.   There is no logic explanation of certain systems or habits that a person with anxiety and depression may find themselves in.  It just happens and we really cannot express it to those that we love around us.

Over all these years I’ve weaned myself from my medications and there have been times that I have just quit turkey to have awful withdrawals.   Being foolish doing it my way only made me end up being put back on them.  I once had a good friend tell me, “Michelle, if you had a high blood pressure you’d take that medication to help you or you could die, would you feel guilt for taking that medicine?   Just like you need to take this medication to help you, for your sanity”.  He was right.  If I had other health issues that could make me very sick I’d have no problem taking medicine to help me and I began to think of my depression and anxiety medications that way.

Years ago I begin to think about my children seeing me go through the highs and lows of depression and anxiety and I worried that I was screwing them up somehow.  My kids are everything to me. I hate that have seen the highs and lows with my feelings. I have always been honest about when I am depressed. They know I have been and currently on medications. I didn’t think it should be some hidden secret that no one talks about. You don’t have to be ashamed that you are depressed.

So,

Hi, my name is Michelle and I have depression and anxiety issues which in turn makes me very OCD at certain times.  I am not ashamed to tell you this and I’m not ashamed that you know that I do take medications.  Depression and anxiety is nothing to be ashamed about and just know that you can get plenty of amazing help.

*My recent article for Parent Palace.*

8 comments:

Supermom said...

*moving comments over from Facebook*

Hi my name is Laurel & I have depression & anxiety too, and probably will until my 16yo moves out! ♥ you BUNCHES!!

Supermom said...

*moving comments over from Facebook*

Well written, Michelle! I'm right there with you! I FINALLY realized that if medication is what it takes to keep me on track, then that's what I'll do. Took me a LONG time to get there, though. Thanks for sharing! :)

Supermom said...

*moving comments over from Facebook*

You are an amazing woman for stepping out of the shadow to share your struggle with us. It's amazing how as wives and moms, we feel that it's weak to take medications that will - ultimately - help us become better. Thank you so much for sharing!

Danielle Franklin said...

Hi, I'm Danielle, and I have depression and anxiety. I had to learn recently that its ok to have it, and its ok to recieve help and medication for those. I'm not fond of anxiety attacks, but im learning to work through them.

Anonymous said...

Educating those around us is the key. You can't just "get out of the house," or crack a joke to "fix" someone with depression. My former bosses made fun of my depression on their Twitter feed - compassion, education, & letting those around us know that they are not alone is so important to detection and early intervention. You truly did a SUPER job in taking this stand, Michelle! You are my HERO today!

Supermom said...

Thanks everyone for their wonderful understanding comments to this post.

I just want everyone to know that it's not something you have to hide or be afraid to get help for.

**Hugs to you All**

Gina said...

I was diagnosed with depression when I was 19. Now the mother of three I worry about the same things as you. I did nurse my babies while on medication and i worry about that all the time. I hate that they have a mother who is depressed. However, I am infinitely grateful for modern medicine and that they will grow up with a medicated mom.

Katherine @ Postpartum Progress said...

You go girl. Way to put it out there!!