October 4, 2011

Post Anti-Depressant Independence---UPDATE #1

As I'm sitting here typing, kicking back on a HUGE mug of hot chocolate (my long standing "coping" substance...since I don't drink or participate in illicit drugs), in an attempt to calm my nerves and still my wild heart after, yet again, another panic/anger attack, I can't help but plead for life to just slow down a bit.  Just enough so I can catch my breath.  That's not too much to ask, is it?

When I presented this thought to a dear friend the other day she lovingly reminded me that that is just how life is.  There is always going to be "something".  Life never slows down...it's always moves forward.  I sighed....holding back the tears....knowing she was right.  I just feel like I'm drowning.  

It's been...how many weeks?....almost 3 (tomorrow)....since I took my last anti-depressant/anti anxiety pill.  Gone are the side effects, gone are the withdrawal symptoms (which were horrendous by the way) and now I am living life...all on my lonesome...without the aid of mind slowing, mind numbing drugs.

And, I'll admit...it's been A LOT HARDER than I thought it would be.

Could some of the difficulty be mere timing?  (I asked my friend this too...she said (lovingly, of course), "Melanie, there is never going to be a "good" time.)

But I can't help thinking about these facts.  Could it be that I just got over the whole hormonal WHOOSH of a miscarriage?  Maybe that Roberto has been in the middle of fiscal year end closing and hasn't been around much?  Maybe it has something to do with being caught up in a whirlwind marketing scheme misunderstanding that has now taken me over a week to get my money back out of (or at least I hope so--they still have 24 hours to deliver before I hunt them down)? Or that looking at our finances we realize that our 5 year financial plan looks bleak, at best? Or that my once semi-dormant (aka barely surviving) family blog, Testosterone Overload, is now undergoing all sorts of renovations (because of said financial plan issues) in hopes of making a bit of $$ so that we don't end up on the streets (a bit of an exaggeration maybe...but not too far off) and because I am doing it all by myself (this is where the marketing scheme misunderstanding come into play) it is taking up a HUGE chunk of my time and energy and creativity and brain power?  Or..........?

Or maybe it's because all of a sudden I find myself dealing with a WIDE range of emotions I have not had to deal with on my own for a very VERY long time.  Maybe I only thought I was able to cope with life on my own and yet I really can't.  Maybe I still need some help.

When I first set out seeking independence from anti-depressants, all I knew was that I was on too much.  TOO MUCH!  And I still agree with that.  But then I had a thought...as long as I am coming down...I might as well come off, RIGHT?  RIGHT!  And I set my sights on that....instead of on the whole "coming DOWN" thing.

Was I wrong in doing that?  I don't know yet.  I really don't.

It hasn't been ALL bad.  It's just dealing with the varied and vast RANGE of emotions that has kicked me in the head.  It's exhausting.  I find myself crying over something that touches me, or makes me grateful, or makes me happy.  That's not bad (except that I hate to cry).

But when I find myself irritable and angry and frustrated almost ALL OF THE TIME (did I mention I have a LOT OF STRESS going on right now)....It's then I start to worry. 

I had my first fit of RAGE the other day.  Rob had been working hour after hour across three days that he "should have" had off.  I was left at home with the kids almost by myself for three days straight....plus dealing with the stress mentioned above.  I couldn't take it.  I was SO MAD.  Then, my eldest boy, who was upset with me because I was yelling at him (go figure) finally yelled back, "I HATE YOU!" (which he used to say to me all the time in dealing with his own anger/depression issues).

I snapped....Medusa could not have looked more "banshee" like than I did at that moment....I am sure.  I did, however, have the sense of mind not to physically harm him (instead I destroyed his sense of "mommy's no longer crazy" security).  PAT ON THE BACK FOR ME!  NOT!

Rob finally got home....I told him what had happened and said, "Please help me keep a watch on myself Rob.  I WILL NOT go back to that ugly place (diving)."

So...for now....I'm not sure what to do.  Really, I don't.  I am trying to utilize the "coping" techniques I have learned from my many years of counseling but it's so hard when I don't have the "pause" in my thoughts that the anti-depressants gave me.

Maybe I should go back to my BCE (Best Counselor Ever) Rick.

Maybe I should go back on the anti's.  Or would that be a cop out?

I don't know.

Please pray for me...pray for my family....pray that I will know what to do.

I'll say it again.  I WILL NOT go back to that deep dark place.  I just can't.  Even if it means being dependent on some form of "chemical something" for the rest of my life.

And one more question...where is the methylfolate in all of this?  Is it helping?  Would I be much WORSE off if I was NOT taking it?  Probably.  Maybe?  I don't know.  But I'm not about to go off that too just to see.

For now...I'm just trying to ride the waves....trying to figure out when enough is enough.   

In the meantime, I think I am going to try and tear myself away from the computer as soon as #1 get's home from school.  Maybe the kids and I will go collect some dead leaves.  Maybe the fall air and the fact that I am out, spending quality time with my children will lift my spirits.

P.S. I love to hear from you! Leave a comment or e-mail me at melaniesmethodicalmusings at gmail dot com

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Sheri said...

Oh Mel. That is such a HEAVY load. I will pray for you and your family for sure.
I wish I could offer advice from experience but I can't. All I can say is that after watching my mom and sister battle depression for years and years and seeing the benefits that came at different times from counselors, "True Hope" and anti-depressants is that they always seemed at their best when they were getting assistance in some form or another. The times that they were "Diving" and ultimately crashing is when they had abandoned all source of assistance. Maybe you should pray about which form of assistance you would benefit from at this time in your life and which forms you can do with out. There is nothing wrong with needing some help! Love ya lots.

Natalie J said...

Mel, I am sorry that it hasn't been as smooth a ride as you hoped. I think that a good part of the battle is being aware. You are soooo very aware....and strong. I believe you will not go back to that dark place. It is hard to remember in the day by day things. I also have occasional fits of rage. The other day, Ashton was messing with my guitar. I was in the middle of a messy hands moment, so I kindly asked him not to...a few times. All of the sudden, my guitar falls and scrapes against the wall. I went into a rage, screaming, swearing, red in the face. He is, of course, sobbing by the time I am done. Almost as quickly as it had started, it was over. I was also sobbing, not believing that I had just made my 4-yr-old son think that my guitar was more important than him. It is hard to remember in the moment, but I quickly hugged, kissed and apologized and told him that he was so much more important to me than the guitar and that I was really sorry that I got so mad. I THINK he has forgiven me. I pray that I can remember not to damage the soul and self-worth of my children...ever. But I know I am human.
Jason and I went to General Conference at the Conference Center on Sunday. We had to be in our seats before they started "Music and the Spoken Word". I was so grateful to be able to sit through that message. It was about forgiveness. We all have to work on forgiving others, but also forgiving ourselves. There was a quote at the bottom of the program. I have heard it before, and I love it. I think I am going to post it in big letters in our home. It is: "To err is human; to forgive, divine". We have to remember that whatever our choices, as we deal with our circumstances, our Heavenly Father loves us, knows our hearts, and can/will forgive us, if we seek his help. He loves you. I love you! So glad you are my sister!

Glapha Cox said...

I just started reading your blog so I don't know what you were like before. I know that I didn't stop taking my meds because I wanted the kids to have the best me they could have. However, my meds quit working on me and it took me a long time to figure that out. Maybe counseling would be good for you and maybe also for the whole family. Good luck!

Valerie said...

Please call me...

Me said...

Oh, Melanie- I'm not just praying for you, I'll add you in my meditations as well. It IS so hard, and your friend is very wise. Life is...life. Other's aren't going to change. Scams/schemes will happen, 8 year olds will rage (as will 7 year olds- I told mine to move out. Supermom HERE! Right) husbands will be gone (I straight up yelled at mine via facebook on Sunday)... And don't even talk to me about that horrible thing, money. I guess our choice is HOW we choose to cope: some take drugs, others drink, some over or under eat; there's exercise, meditation, prayer, and yes, antidepressants too. Only YOU can decide what's best- and I know enough from our exchanges that if you go back "on" you might feel disappointed in yourself- which is NOT how you're supposed to feel, by the way, but perfectionists die hard;) I wish I had sage words but man, do I feel your pain. In my recent meditation lessons ibegan to learn about "reprogramming" my brain-easier said than done- but one Important thing I learned is to stop my brain from going to "the dark side", and letting it snowball down as I think of one thing that sucks after another. 1. Recognize that it's happening 2. Tell yourself, firmly, CANCEL, CANCEL, CANCEL (the three times is important) 3. Take a deep breath and refocus. Not a perfect system but its something! Also, what about the 5-MTHF? Did you increase it to compensate for being off of the antidepressants? Not sure if it works that way, but might be worth exploring. You will be fine. Love from the east coast-jocelyn

Susie said...

Mel, I SO know the feeling of "PLEASE, can it just slow down so I can take a breath?" Maybe ask your counselor if he would recommend a lower dose of said meds instead of a full stop. I know from my sisters' experiences the chemical imbalances were increased after being thrown out of whack going off or changing meds like anti-depressants, anti-anxiety or mood stabilizers.

I love your blog. Thank you for continuing to let us know we're not the only ones out there who struggle, for whatever reasons. Love ya Mel! Keep your head high & looking up! (And if things get really bad, pretend you're in Rona's spin class & she's yelling at you to just shut up & ride...) :)

Melanie said...

Oh my goodness...such an outpouring of support and love. Thank you all.

Sheri-Thank you for your advise. It is sound and good...and I appreciate it. Pray---Rob said the same thing tonight.

Natalie-Oh...my little Ash. He knows you love him. You are a good mama. I love that quote. I think I will have to use it too.

Galpha Cox-yes, that's why I started med in the first place...because my kids and husband deserved MORE. I've heard of anti-depressants quitting out...that is SO NOT cool. I hope have found something that is working for you now.

Val---I'll call you.

Jocelyn--you are SO right about how I would feel going back on. That's why I am so hesitant to do it. But I will not give up on my family...I will put down my pride and go back for them if I need to.

Suz--I SO NEED RONA right now! She would beat it out of me (oh, and if I were still there going to spin I would NOT be 12 lbs heavier than I'd like to be right now. I'd also be in a better place mentally...I know that for sure.

Again, thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Keep them coming.

Celeste said...

Everyone else had such good advice! Boy are you loved ;) I don't have much since I don't totally know where your coming from. But I do have the rage thing too. I try so hard and tell myself I'll be calm and I end up raging anyway. My poor kids. I will agree with one two people's advice though. PRAY! He knows how you feel! He WILL help you. Love you Mel!

crth said...

Hi dearie -- I love your friends' advice and basically echoed a lot of it. Never forget that Heavenly Father knows and loves YOU and YOURS and will inspire you to do what is best for all of you -- and you can take "pride" in yourself if you do what he directs you to do, even if it is not what you might have chosen yourself. I have great confidence in you and your ability to discern the best thing for you to do and when to do it. Hang in there and know you are loved, not just by Heaven but by many friends and family here on earth.

Andrea said...

I've got nothing, but I am thinking about you and praying for you, I think that awareness is the key. Sending hugs!

Lessa said...

I love you mel. A lot! Lessa and I are praying for you guys. Your example means a lot to me and has helped me much in my own struggles.

Remember Psalms 23. "the Lord is [your] shepherd... and leadeth [you] beside the still waters...". As I've coped with my own anxieties and addiction that message has been a constant. In the moment, it is easy to either forget it or not feel it (I hate not being able to feel) but nevertheless, if I can break out of the moment and remember that "he restoreth my soul", it helps calm the raging storm. And remember that even if you lose a battle that "goodness and mercy shall follow [you]" and the Lords atonement can overcome it through repentance. We don't dwell on mistakes. We repent and move forward in an attitude of correction. Dwelling is toxic.

Keep it up! Growth by degrees! Rough stone rolling! The Lord supports righteous desires.... and your desires for the welfare of yourself and your family are among the finest.

I have confidence you can and will figure out what is best for you at this time.

If Lessa and I can do anything, let me know. Even if it means driving down and taking the kids for a daycation.

Love ya.

Rebecca (aka: Messy Musings) said...

Wow! Sooo many people loving and reaching out to you in a time of great need. What a blessing!!

Let me ask... if you have a physical need for daily medication (lets say for thyroid or diabetes)... would that be considered a bad thing? Other than the side effects (which I agree are not the best)... what is the difference between daily doses of something like insulin or an anti-depressant?

Because of a decades long history with depression, I already know that I will probably be on daily medication for it for the rest of my life... just like I take medication for my thyroid every single day. I have come to accept this as a reality - and NO, it wasn't easy!!

In the end you need to do what is BEST FOR YOU!! I agree with other comments... PRAY about it... and do NOT feel "depressed" over a possible return to anti's!!

Remember that God has His hands outstretched *always* to you!! He will NEVER give up... Who better to help you make it from the dark waters of all life can throw at you - and to the safety of the shore - than He who once walked on water?!!

Hang in there Mon Ami!!

Melanie said...

Such and outpouring of love and support. I am truly blessed to have you all in my life. My "butterflies".

Things have been looking up....update soon.

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