Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Too Far

I have been dealing with depression for most of my life, and have been on some sort of anti-depressant for more than 20 years. For the most part I accept that this is who I am, and that if I want to have a happy life, or even function in the day to day, I am going to have to be on some sort of medication. Of course, then there are the times that I totally decide to mess with it. You know, like when I read a book that tells me if I want to get pregnant, I should probably go off the drugs.

When I first read the passage in "Making Babies" about getting rid of anti-depressants and other medications, I dismissed it. I knew from experience I couldn't go off my anti-depressants and be okay. I knew that it wouldn't be good for me, it wouldn't be good for my family, and it definitely wouldn't be good for any fetus that needed a safe place to incubate.

But I kept thinking about it. I kept wondering if, all these years, the key to getting pregnant was just getting rid of the meds. I started to get angry; feeling like my depression had already taken enough from me, and now it was taking my ability to have a child. I decided it was time to take control. I went off the meds.

The first few days were okay. I was a little lower, but not that bad. I told myself the supplements, and lack of wine, were probably balancing out the medications. I was sure I had found the magic bullet, and that everything would be fine.

Then I crashed.

I didn't just crash a little bit. I crashed hard. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING caused me to either burst into tears, convince myself I am a horrible person, or make me irrationally angry. On top of that I was dizzy and nauseous, and felt kind of out of touch with everything. It was like being a little bit tipsy, but without any of the fun. Despite all this, I thought if I just go through the physical withdrawal, I would be fine.

I finally returned to my senses on Friday. Ryan (my husband) came home, we were getting ready to go to dinner -- and I couldn't stop crying. I had no idea why I was crying, or what I needed to do to stop, or even if I ever wanted to stop. I was just crying. Ryan was very understanding when I told him what I had done, just asking if next time I made a decision that affects us all if I wouldn't mind consulting him first. He pointed out that the whole reason I wanted to take this approach instead of going back on hormones was that I wanted to remain sane, and do this on my own terms.

I'm back on the meds now.

It may be that my history of depression is contributing to my infertility. I have read studies that say the longer you are on anti-depressants, the more likely you are to have problems conceiving. I had been on them at least 15 years before I even thought about having a child. So, if that's the case, I am going to have to deal with it, and move on.

I just need to keep reminding myself that all children deserve to have the best parents possible. I am not the best parent I can be when I am crazy. I am not a good parent to my Meg, and wouldn't be a good parent to any child I would conceive.

So, let's hope the supplements, the diet change, the exercise, the acupuncture, and the visualization will balance out the pills.

I mean, doesn't it seem like they should?


  1. I have been on an anti-depressant for the last five years. When I've tried to go off, I end up in a mass of teary puddles. None of my family needs that.

    Ryan, Meg, and the baby you guys conceive need their Mama clear headed and not bawling.

    It totally should all balance out. You are getting stuck with needles for crying out loud, that should count for something.

  2. I went off my antidepressant two years ago. Sometimes I want to run screaming back to them. Usually in stressful situations. Like when my mom called me and told me that a cousin that I am close with died, and in the same breath asked me if i gotten something for my nieces birthday. That same day my father and my brother show up drunk on my doorstep. I was a mess for weeks. I seriously considered hopping back on them. I am still considering it.

  3. Meg and Ryan (and the hope baby) do deserve a sane mom/wife, but you also really deserve to not feel like you are plummeting off a cliff whenever your pencil breaks or, in the case of dinner out, for no reason at all. It will balance out... not only because it needs to, but because without the meds I'm sure you are flooded with cortisol and catecholemines, which are not good for conception either. So in that way, you are making your body a more hospitable place for the hope baby by being on antidepressants.

  4. You are not crazy Libby. You are a very brave mama. Sometimes with or without mess we cry for no reason or every reason. There are more with you than you know. Be good to yourself. You deserve it.

  5. I meant meds darling. Mess or meds. Either way.

  6. You have to take care of you first, beautiful. If you're broken, you can't help anyone else. I think you and Ryan made the right call.

  7. I agree -- you need to be sane, first and foremost. You, your husband, and your daughter all deserve that. I hope you feel on top of things soon!

  8. acupuncture is suppose to be amazing. And apparently it can work wonders for fertility issues. I've never tried it, but I've always wanted to. So, you go ahead and get stabbed with a fist full of needles first, and you let me know how it goes.

  9. Kudos to you for giving it a shot, Libby. I of course agree with you and everyone here -- you should stay on the meds. Lots of women get pregnant and have babies (and even breastfeed) while taking antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds, all on the advice of their doctors. This is what's best for you and your future child, for sure.

  10. Oh, Libby. Give all the other changes a chance first. You can't subject yourself to so many changes all at once! Maybe give the diet, exercise, etc, some time to work their magic, and if you're still not pregnant, look into decreasing your dose/coming off WITH YOUR DOCTOR'S SUPERVISION and Ryan's support?

  11. I call them my happy pills, but I should call them my "as close as I get to normal" pills. I went off them before and had the same thing happen. Hang in there!

  12. For me, as someone with Bipolar 2, being on the meds was the first time in my life that I had hope that I wouldn't die the Death Of Broken Glass. I didn't get diagnosed until I was well in my 30's and by that point I just needed some relief.

    I have only stopped meds once in that time, because I ran out of them in an unavoidable delay while away from home, and I knew immediately that it was Not Good.

    I am glad you are back.

  13. Hey Libby,
    I've suffered from depression and anxiety my entire life, and my second miscarriage is what actually pushed me to finally get on zoloft, and for that, I am eternally grateful. A good mother is a happy mother. I learned the hard way that the most important way to start your journey toward being a mother is to be good to yourself. So please continue to do that!

  14. I suffer from depression, anxiety and ADHD. Off my antidepressants i make everyone's life Hell. Nobody wants to be around me, I'm angry and nasty and either cry or rage over the slightest thing. It's awful. Things were going great for awhile, but my dovtor had me on samples of my drug and forgot to tell my pharmacy. I'm now SOL until my next appointment in two weeks. My poor boyfriend has to deal with it and I'm hurting his feelings daily without meaning to.