I’ve been mostly free of PND, depression and anxiety symptoms for a while now, I’d say for about 6 months or so, but I emphasise the word, MOSTLY.
Through my battle with the black dog, I’ve often felt that there’s a bit of misconception about the role of antidepressants and the thought that they ‘get rid’ of depression which is completely false and makes things more difficult for the person who is suffering. I have often felt that just because I seem better, happier and able to respond better to situations, that my depression and anxiety is gone. This is so far from the truth.
Antidepressants reduce your symptoms, not get rid of them.
Antidepressants don’t change personalities and they don’t make you feel happy all the time. I still have the odd depression or anxiety episodes even though I’m on antidepressant medication. Sometimes I’ll go through bouts of sadness or I’ll feel physical sickness and nervousness with my anxiety or I’ll have episodes of feeling worthless, but they aren’t as intense and I can use the exercises I have learnt during my psychologist sessions to help me to deal with these situations more effectively.
Even though I’m on antidepressants, I’m not always happy. They’re not happy drugs, they just help me to react more realistically to things that would have normally freaked me out or upset me. I can now wake up in the morning feeling decent, instead of waking up every morning with a nervous feeling in my gut and thinking about how on earth I was going to face the day or worrying about something that I had to do like meeting someone for coffee.
Antidepressants are not the only thing that is going to make me better. Antidepressants go hand in hand with psychology treatment and support from friends and family. My psychologist has shared some invaluable information with me that has helped me to think about things in a completely different light. You can read about them here and here.
Antidepressants may help reduce my symptoms, but they have side effects too. I have dizzy spells, I find I put on weight more easily than I used to and the worst of all, it affects my sex drive. It’s a catch 22 situation. I could have a sex drive but feel depressed and anxious all the time and let it rule my life (which would then likely kill my sex drive anyway), or I could be much happier and focussed and have a limited sex drive. I’m selecting the latter! I’d love to know what it’s like to have the best of both worlds but I also have to live with the fact that I may never be afforded this opportunity.
Will my anxiety and depression ever leave?
My worry is that this evil, depression and anxiety, is never going to leave me. I am thankful that I feel so much better than I did one year ago, I’ve been able to achieve so much more and live a more fulfilling life, but there’s always a fear hanging around me about this beast that still lives deep in my mind and can come out any time. It’s had too long an opportunity to shape me, to determine the path my life leads. It has affected my capability of being the Mum I wanted to be and I fear it will do it again if I decide to have another. I don’t want to lose early memories of another child or be the sorrowful, short tempered and incapable Mother that I once was. I want to be a Wife and a Mum that is happy, carefree and focused.
I know there are people that look at me and think how happy I look and that everything must be just fine and dandy, and yes, most of the time it is, but it doesn’t mean the black dog is gone, it’s just been put to bed for a while and when it comes out, it undergoes lots of obedience lessons, lessons it will keep receiving until the time where it can be trusted without the need for medication but I feel that time is still a while away.
I often think that if I picked up a shiny lamp and out came a genie who granted me three wishes; my first wish would be to be completely free of depression, stress and anxiety and to have the opportunity to reclaim the time and memories I have lost because of it.
I’m on anti-depressants too and I still have days where I feel shit, but they definitely help me deal with my anxiety. When she was little I was scared to even walk outside the house and at my worst I was waking up and the first thing I did was vomit because I was so worried about the day. Now its totally different. I watched my mum live on anti-depressants since she had her breakdown when I was younger and I swore Id never take them, but Ive totally changed my mind now. Im really hoping I don’t pass on my anxiety to my daughter like mum did to me.
I look at anti-depressants as something a little more clinical than helping me emotionally. I had side effects when I first started on them and gee, that was a dark 2 months but after that and until now, it’s all been pretty good.
I’ve just decided to accept my situation rather than wonder how I’m ever going to get over it. And doing other things like exercise, eating well, going to bed early (when you can!) also helps.
“I don’t want to lose early memories of another child or be the sorrowful, short tempered and incapable Mother that I once was. I want to be a Wife and a Mum that is happy, carefree and focused.” – Absolutely, I’ve been there and the anti-depressants have allowed me to actually play with my kids and enjoy spending time with them.
Thanks so much for writing about this. When I was first diagnosed I decided I wanted to tell my friends even though it wasn’t really ‘the thing’ to do. But it’s such a great eye-opener. Once you start talking to people about it they will often talk back. It’s truly astonishing how many people are dealing with the same issues.
Oh Eva!! Why am I reading this at 4pm when I really need a sugar fix! I actually have all of these ingredients at home now, so I am VERY tempted to go and make a batch. Love the combo of white choc and berries (goes well with a glass of wine too lol). Thank you so much for linking up with our Fabulous Foodie Fridays party! xx
I’ve accepted that I will be on anti-depressives for most of my life. I am simply better on them. Plus my antidepressant is also prescribed for all my problems: nerve pain, fatigue, anxiety. It is a great umbrella medication. That said I do tend to play with the amount, going up and down in my doses. Maybe you (and your doctor) need to play with your dose? I’m lucky in that my side effect is dry mouth so that I can easily tell if I’m taking too much for my body. I find other symptoms drop away (nausea, tiredness, brain fog) after a few days. Thank you so much for sharing this. I appreciate you honesty and openness on this subject. Really appreciate it.
Apricot Jam is my favourite and I will only eat my Mum’s homemade jam using apricots from trees in our backyard. Thank you for linking up with us for Fabulous Foodie Fridays!
Great post Eva, I am so lucky to not suffer or suffered from depression Post Natal or otherwise. I admire anyone who has to deal with this illness. It is in our family though so I have been told to be on the look out for it in my girls, fingers crossed. Thanks for linking up to Stumble Into The Weekend, Ive stumbled you, hope it helps 🙂
My mum used to make this but use strawberry jam, or I suppose whatever she had. I love it and should make it as often as she did. Thanks for reminding me of it.
Eva i know this flies in the face of how you feel at your low points, but sometimes, those parts of your life that you see as difficult, the crappy parts, also make up who you are as a mother, a wife, a woman. Sometimes in those crappy parts you also develop resilience, compassion, empathy for others. I know how hard it is to go through life when you are feellng low and fearful, but sometimes the things that make you radiate for who you are are born in the darker times – a bit like the process of diamonds.
I love this, simple but yum. Will definitely be making it, maybe with that jar of raspberry and vanilla bean jam I HAD to buy and haven’t opened yet.
Kim, I wholeheartedly agree with you and I definitely have built so much strength and confidence through my struggles. I’ve learned from the past too which is definitely a good thing and helps me to move forward. x
Thank you! Yes, mental illness is not fun but with the right support it’s definitely something that can be beaten and it’s also so important to look out for others that may be subject to it. x
Hi Sarah, it’s good to have someone understand where I’m coming from and I don’t mean to sound all serious and depressing, that is totally not my goal as I am quite happy and content, it’s all about educating people. I think I will speak to my Dr. about the dosage soon, I feel that I can probably drop it a little but as always, there’s that fear. x
I believe it is so important to open up and talk about this topic Rebecca, not only so others with it feel comfortable to talk about it but so others that may not realise they have PND or are to afraid to admit it and see a doctor, can receive the support they need.
I guess I’m not quite at that point to accept my situation as I know that deep down there will be a day where I will be able to manage and put everything that I’ve learned to work and not use anti-depressants, it’s a while off but anti-depressants have definitely given me the focus to work on things. Exercise and eating well are a huge factor and something I’m trying to focus on.
Yes, I hear you Toni. This is how I felt early on and couldn’t bring myself to attending various things, going to Mothers Group was exhausting and nerve wracking. I’m a big believer in that anxiety is something that can be passed on, I’m not sure how it is…perhaps it’s learned somehow and I worry about sending a bad message to Elliott in how I deal with things, but it’s definitely a process and a matter of learning your triggers and trying to catch them before they let loose.
Thanks so much Deb. I wish your husband well in coming off the meds, it’s a difficult thing and I’ve done it once before, probably too soon. It’s likely his symptoms may come back, but not as bad and it’s likely that he knows all to when what his triggers are and will be able to deal with them earlier. This is what I hope I’m able to do whenever it rears it’s ugly head again.
Thanks for this insight Eva, I have a few friends on them and haven’t really wanted to ask too much because I know some people feel they are being judged, although I’m pro anything that makes someone feel better about themselves x