Jul 31, 2011

The Latest...

...involves drugs, or a lack thereof.

I've had a long & winding journey with depression, anxiety, and happy pills. I can't possibly do the whole thing justice within a blog post, so I'll summarize by saying that, over the past 10 years or so I've come to a place of pretty good health. I've learned the things I need to do to keep myself in a decent place--eating somewhat well, exercising (endorphins. Oh yes), positive self-talk, being as open & honest as possible in relationships, resolving issues instead of stuffing them down (resulting in emotional vomit later), blocks of therapy as needed, recognizing and dealing with my own personal triggers, and so on. Until recently, that has also included a small dose of some sort of antidepressant to help keep me on an even keel. Better living through chemistry, and all that.

On the one hand the drugs are no big deal--when I get to where my symptoms start interfering with my life (exhaustion, hopelessness, etc.), the drugs help me stay level so I can do my life in a healthier way. On the other hand...well, there are lots of differing opinions in Christian circles about depression and drugs. I could do a whole series of posts on that one. There are lots of factors to consider, but in summary I'll boil my views down to a few quick points--

--I love Jesus.
--I don't think asking for or accepting help is an indication of weak faith.
--Medicine of any sort can be useful, but you have to know what it can & cannot do.

Good? Good. Now, all that said, on the advice of my doc I have been weaning off the meds for a while now, the biggest reason being the impending arrival of Kiddo #3 next spring (yay!). The particular drug I'm on is relatively new, and the studies with regard to pregnancy just aren't there yet. Baby and I would probably be fine, but just to be extra-safe he recommended I try going off the drug, especially during the first and third trimesters.

Now generally I'm in favor of minimizing medicines as much as possible, so going off the drugs during pregnancy is a great idea for me in theory. In practice though, it is pretty daunting. I've had only a few episodes over the years where I needed a change or adjustment in meds, but during those times it has been incredibly evident that I do in fact benefit from them. So I was nervous about having to emotionally muscle my way through pregnancy without them, but I also reasoned that if it all hit the fan I could always try another drug that is older and more proven.

Thankfully, things have gone better than I expected thus far. Not that I expected them to go badly; I just wasn't sure what to expect. You take a neurotic, and then tell them to taper down their happy meds and keep track of how they feel, and you end up with me going, "So Skerrib, how do you feel? Pretty good; maybe a little tired. Maybe you need some veggies, or a nap or something," approximately every few seconds. And thus far veggies and a nap (or more accurately, going to bed at a decent hour, cuz if I take a nap then I get the insomnia in the middle of the night, and that's no fun. But I digress)--and a good amount of jogging--have actually gone a long way. So I'm quirky, but I'm also alright. I've always said my goal is to be able to be off the meds long-term, so this months-long experiment gives me hope. I'm trying not to plan too far in either direction--if I can keep healthy and deal with life and stay off the drugs, great. If, after the baby is born, I find the need to go back on them, that's OK too.

I have lots to be excited about, and lots to take with a grain of salt. Life is moving along a little more vividly these days. I'm more creative, more feeling-y, more socially awkward...just "more" overall, it seems. Except for my appropriateness-filter, which sadly is less. So if I seem a little weird, or if I come up asking you if we are "OK," it just means I'm trying to keep my perspective. Which I think is a good thing for anyone...


Kris said...

Continue excitement (expression and seeking) PID...limit grain of salt intake.
You have instinctive wisdom and love God -- you will be fine. ;)

Elizabeth said...

hey! That's awesome news that there is another skerrib-child on its (his? her?) way! You have a great outlook on the whole "what's right for you" part too... So important to voice that, I think. Hope you are feeling well in all ways : )

TulipGirl said...

I actually saw a reproductive psychiatrist before this baby was conceived. . . (Yes, there IS such a thing!) And after the consult, she said I was in a "good place" and gave the green light to another child and highly recommended I stay on my meds. Which I have. PPD triggered my general struggles with depression. . . So. . . yeah. . . I hear what you're saying.

I think that once we've had more experience (personally) with depression, it's easier to see the warning signs and easier to have a trial / a break off meds. Praying that things continue to go well for you. *huuuuug*