Actual Question

So, I’d love for someone to weigh in and tell me what to do.

I feel okay most of the time.  I am getting enough sleep (midnight till noon, basically).  We go for at least three walks a week, and leave the house every day, even if just to walk to the library or reservoir.  I generally visit with at least one friend a week.  I don’t cry every day – in fact, I rarely cry at all.  We read books and play ‘kiss your face’ and start mom&baby yoga this week.  The day to day stuff is fine, and as the baby gets older, she gets more fun.  Also, I bought a baby tracking app that, while making me look like that mother, has been super, SUPER helpful.  Jess needs to heading for sleep after being awake for 2 hours, and eats every 2-3 hours.  Knowing that she will fuss a bunch and then pass out at a predictable time is wonderful.

But.

I go in for one of my endless doctor’s appointments (and they’re now all about me – she’s flourishing) and within a minute of sitting down I start crying, and cry for the rest of the appointment.  Medication has been suggested, more than once.

So.  The quandary.  I feel mostly fine as long as I don’t go to the doctor’s office / talk about my feelings in any great detail.  So, does that mean I just stop going to the doctors appointments?  After all, they make me feel much worse than my day to day life does.

Or is that the depression talking?

This is an honest question.  I know that I can no longer see anything related to this clearly.

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11 responses to “Actual Question

  1. Without hearing every single detail, my gut impression is that this sounds pretty clearly like you have at least a component of post-partum depression going on. I think the meds are worth a try – after all, if you feel “mostly fine” w/o them, you might feel good (or, god forbid, great!) with them. I’m sure your doctor will tell you that SSRIs can take 6-8 wks to have maximal effect. An additional treatment you should look into is support groups for other new moms – after all, new parenthood is incredibly stressful and can be very isolating, even if you see a friend once a week. I would ask your OB if any such support groups exist.

    • Oh, it’s definitely PPD. The only real question is can I keep riding it out – everything is SO much better than it was before – or do I have to actual be more active in managing it. Because really, I only feel shitty when I go to the doctor. The rest of the time I feel fine.

  2. I’ve done the never-ending crying in the therapists office before, too, and I know how hard it is. In my brain I knew that my depression at the time was situational (job-related), but I didn’t know how to get through that situation because I couldn’t see an end or exit to the misery, so I took the meds. Eventually I felt okay enough to want to be able to drink wine and have an orgasm again (sorry, TMI), so I started to go off the meds. And then a miracle happened and my job-related situation totally resolved itself. I was on zoloft for about 3 months and tapered off without any problems.

    So, while the situation changed in the end, I’m glad I took the meds in-between. It helped me get past the hump, see things more clearly, not despair in the hopelessness of my job situation, and re-prioritize my personal life. I’m pregnant now and don’t have any post-baby perspective, but I see some similarities – perhaps the meds will help you get past your hump and give you some hope. Best wishes to you.

    • It’s so hard to tell. I feel okay most of the time – it’s just something about sitting in a doctor’s office than unhinges me. I can’t really tell if it’s a bad time, or just some very mild PTSD as a result of the shitty delivery and resulting medical experiences, or a depressive hole I can’t get myself out of. Also, the risks of medication in breast milk – including reduction of milk volume. So. I’m tempted just to avoid putting myself in the only situation that makes me actively unhappy: going to the doctors. But I can’t tell if that’s healthy thinking of it it’s my upbringing talking.

  3. I can’t remember if you’ve mentioned your doctor in any previous posts, or what your relationship is with them, but if this is someone whose only solution to ppd and ptsd is ‘medicate’, have you considered a second opinion? Is your physician sympathetic and caring, or focused solely on getting you BETTER rather than working out what’s best for you right now (sometimes, it’s taking your sweet assed time about getting better).
    I’ve been down the road of SSRIs for pretty severe depression, but the thing that really helped get me out of the hole, and has helped the most in the long term (5 years without major intervention and counting) was cognitive behavioural therapy. The thing with depression is that it’s NOT rational, but cbt helped me step out of myself enough to start making the changes I needed. Cutting yourself off from care will probably feel awesome in the short term, because you don’t have to confront anything uncomfortable, but do you think it will slow down or accelerate your recovery towards feeling more in control and like yourself again?

    • My actual doctor is wonderful – I go in once a month and we go through the depression score and talk and talk and talk. (And cry.) And she’s made it clear that medication is on the table if I want it, but after offering it once, has not mentioned it again. (It’s clear that if I go in and ask for it, that’s when we’ll have that discussion.) However, the Behavioural Health Consultant I met suggested it within the first few minutes, and brought it up a few more times. Said that CBT doesn’t really apply to me here. Mainly because this isn’t my first time at the therapy/depression rodeo, and I am doing all appropriate the self-care things already, and this is really a hormonal depression. I mean, I do get myself in to these occasional paranoid thought loops, but I know how to generally come to my senses really quickly, and to examine my thoughts and break the patterns.

      And really, the only times that I feel really depressed is after talking about it in detail. On days I just go about my day, I feel fine. Good even. I know that things aren’t perfect – I sleep too much, snack too much, have to force myself to make social plans, but, well, I can live like this for a while longer. I don’t know that I’d be living much differently if I wasn’t depressed – beyond booking social events for THIS week, instead of next week. (Somehow it’s easier to make future plans – immediate plans seem more exhausting.)

      • What is your definition of ‘too much’ though? Too much sleep is…infringing on other stuff you wanted/needed (not should’ve, I bet you know how terrible that word can be for the psyche!) to do that day, or too much sleep is you beating yourself up because you don’t believe you should be sleeping 12h a day?
        And the future plans thing makes absolute sense, I tend toward it when my mood is low because I have time to prepare myself for things, rather than having to switch gears quickly.

  4. Er, and on re-reading that, I realise that I come off as a bit anti-medication. I’m not, it helped, A LOT. But it wasn’t making me *better*, just controlling symptoms enough that I could function day-to-day, like getting out of bed and feeding myself and stuff.

    • No, I totally see what you mean, and I think it’s basically what I feel. I have been too depressed to function properly before, and I know what that feels like. This is not that. There’s a big difference between sleeping too much (ie, keeping the same hours at the baby) and not being able to get out of bed.

  5. Caveat: I am not a medical professional of any kind, I have no experience with PPD, any kind of clinical depression, or SSRIs.

    That said.

    When I was unemployed for 1+ years, I felt fine day to day. I wasn’t crying, I wasn’t sleeping all day, I got out of the house, saw friends, etc. I really enjoyed my life. EXCEPT when someone close to me would probe into how I was feeling, how my self-esteem was faring, the future, job prospects, what were my plans for my life? etc. Then I would lose it and spiral into a deep pit of self-loathing and negativity. I wondered which were my “true” feelings: despair, or contentedness?

    I decided, in the end, that my issue was more situational… and that it was okay to have bouts of that feeling, as long as it wasn’t taking over my life. As I told my husband, “as long as I don’t think about or discuss it, I’m happy, I feel good about life.” Which might sound like repressing the feelings, but it didn’t *feel* that way. It felt like needlessly dredging up stuff that was guaranteed to make me feel bad about something I couldn’t change.

    For me, once I got a job, the issue resolved itself. I know you’re dealing with something completely different, but just wanted to say I can kind of relate to feeling mostly FINE, except when probed, and then losing it and not knowing which feeling to trust. I also have this issue with my dad’s death… it’s not that I haven’t “dealt” with it; I have, many times (and I don’t feel like death of a loved one is something that you can resolve). But I know talking about it in detail will make me cry, no matter how many years removed from it I am. Sometimes I feel like crying about it, sometimes I’d rather not, but I don’t think either response is necessarily more correct or healthy

    I hope however you decide to deal with these feelings, you continue to feel better and better.

  6. I’m a lot with Maggie, and the others. My trick was I found someone I really trusted who had a good view of my life to check me if I wasn’t functional–a lot of outsiders thought I was being fake or callous when I was functioning well, and others thought I was falling apart if I showed sadness about something that was reasonable to show sadness over. The person who knew me and who I trusted could tell me “hey, you need to check yourself” or “you’re just fine, ignore them.”

    I wouldn’t stop going to your doctor, since it can be good to have that connection even if it’s hard. That way you’re not always having to check in with yourself or keep in touch with the hard stuff, the doctor will check that for you and you won’t have to wallow (that’s how it worked for me. I could focus on functioning daily and know that when I talked with the doc I could figure out where the deep dark stuff was.)

    You’re kicking serious ass, here. SERIOUS. You are a role model at self care and all that goes with it. I am majorly impressed.

    Also second the support for whatever you decide. Everyone is different and responds differently to different things. I trust you to know what’s best.

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