Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It’s Nice to Meet You, Celexa.

Everything changes after kids. Everything. I mean how it can NOT be different. I expected that my body would be different after carrying two human beings. I expected that I would be watching a fair amount of children’s programming. I expected that I would be running around taking The Babes to doctor’s appointments and social activities.

What I did not expect is the change of the intensity of PMS. Before The Babes, I would get a little bluesy, a little cranky, maybe even shed a few tears. After the Babes, I became a maniac. In May, I told my doctor, and she said that I may want to look into taking an antidepressant for the week before my period. But she told me to chart my mood for the next couple of months first to make sure it was hormones.

Around day 10, it would start with anxiety, proceed with extreme agitation, and conclude with full on meltdowns. And then, poof, it all went away the nanosecond I started my period. I would spend the next three weeks hating myself for the emotional outbursts and trauma I caused my loved ones.

In September, I remember just feeling like my moods were on this roller coaster, and I was out of control. I yelled at Marie for not getting in the car fast enough. She cried. I cried. I am totally ashamed of myself. I waited to make sure I started my period, and then called my doctor ASAP. I did it because I knew I couldn’t control it. I remember telling the nurse that I need help or I fear that I may turn that occasional glass of wine to a weeklong bender to get through this week. Clearly, white-knuckling it was not working out.

My doctor gave me a script for Celexa. I didn’t take it the first time because I was going to Vancouver and didn’t want to introduce a new drug into my system while on a business trip while 3,000+ miles away from my doctor.

I almost didn’t take it the next month. But there I was, sobbing that Harrington didn’t understand me. I was cranky with The Babes for no reason. And I looked at their sweet, innocent faces and knew they didn’t deserve this.

I went in the bathroom, opened the bottle of medicine, and took a pill. I didn’t care if it would make me tired. I didn’t care if I couldn’t have drink on my birthday. I didn’t care what anyone thought, especially for those who don’t think medication is necessary. I didn’t want my Babes to see me unraveled, thinking they had done something to deserve being yelled at. I didn’t want them walking on egg shells because Mommy might freak the fcku out. That’s no way for anyone to live.

The first day, I felt like I was taking a vacation from myself. I felt free. Free from anxiety. I never thought it possible to feel so relaxed during a regular day. It was like I had a nice, warm blanket on the inside. My muscles and stomach slowly became unclenched. This sensation kind of reminded me of that warm sensation of the epidural after having such strong contractions with Thomas.

I also noticed a change in my daily thoughts and reactions. When I had to pack the diaper bag, I didn’t have the usual trail of thoughts racing through my head:

Did I pack snacks? If don’t pack snacks, then The Babes will get hungry. If there are no snacks and they get hungry, I’ll be a bad mom. I don’t want to be a bad mom. So I better pack the snacks. Hey, why do I always have to pack the diaper bag? It’s not fair that I have to think of everything. Harrington’s here. Why can’t HE pack the snacks? No one’s going to judge him for forgetting snacks. Seriously, I think my head is going to explode that I have to think of EVERYTHING. EVERYTHING!! Now where the hell are those damn snacks already?! Shit, now we are going to be late because I still have to pack the snacks.


I just got the snacks and that was it. It was liberating not to be pulled down by those thoughts.

Through that week, I found that I slept better. I was too tired to stay up and be productive until 10:30 p.m. at night. I didn’t move at the speed of light to get everything done. Because if it didn’t get done, that was alright, too.

When I started my period and put the Celexa down, I did notice that my anxiety was coming back. So I think it’s safe to say that I am hardwired for anxiety. But I also realized that I could be making better choices to lessen that anxiety. For example, I need to get off the computer by 9:30 if I am going to have restful sleep.

I also realized that I let the moods of others slither across my personal boundaries and effect me more than they should. I need to build better personal boundaries to protect my sanity. I guess this is something I already know, but have realized on a much deeper level.

So thank you, Celexa, for showing me what life can be like without anxiety. I look forward to your assistance next month.

So, Friends, do you have any advice on strengthening personal boundaries? Any books or resources you recommend before I scour the internet and library?

65 comments:

Fiorella said...

I don't have advice for you - just want to commiserate. I have been dealing with a shift in my PMS symptoms of late as well. I genuinely never felt like I suffered from irritability caused by hormonal changes - not until about two years ago, I mean. Now I have started feeling not only irritable, but a feeling that I call impending doom. Like everything is caving in all around me, the week leading to me period. It's awful. The doctor gave me a prescription, which I have yet to take two years later because it causes drowsiness. I am a busy working Mom who cannot afford to be sleeping at work or behind the wheel - and even non-drowsy Claritin knocks me out so what will this stuff do? Anyway, loved your post, and I may ask my doctor about Celexa if it really lifts that heavy feeling off you.

Mommy on the Spot said...

Fiorella, I almost didn't take it because I was afraid to be tired. The first day knocked me on my ass. Later, I was tired, but not cranky tired. I was able to do what I needed to do without being drained.

It totally lifted that feeling of impending doom.

I feel for you, Fiorella!!

Mom et al said...

As someone who has been thinking that I may need to go on antidepressants but have been too afraid to take the plunge and talk to my doctor, thank you for this. You described so much of what my life has been like for months. Maybe I don't have to feel this way.

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

I have been looking forward to reading this after it came through email last week.

I never got PMS until after I had Sarah. Seriously. No mood swings, no emotion. I just craved fatty food and that is it. (And felt fat)

Then after Sarah I noticed the week before my period I would snap like a twig at the slightest thing and I was EXTREMELY anxious. You know about my panic attacks, but that one week they would come back in full force.

Once I realized it was PMS, then I marked it on the calendar and just tried to condition myself to be aware that it isn't "me." Then I felt better. I seriously say to myself, oh, it is PMS. I am seriously drug phobic so I don't use pills.

I also try to not make any major decisions that week either. it is like I can't think clear!

The one single best bok that has helped me throughout my life is by Dale Carnegie: "How to stop worrying and start living" It is unbelievable how powerful your mind is and how it can be so self destructive. I have found it to be very enlightening.

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

With reference to my previous comment, today it hit. All I had to do was drive 2 little miles to preschool to pick up Sarah when major anxiety/panic set in. I wasn't sure I was going to make it.

Are there awful side effects to the pills? I just hate taking pills, but I also hate feeling like I won't be able to get Sarah!

Mommy on the Spot said...

Mom et al, I felt the same way; that this was the way I was just meant feel. It doesn't hurt to ask your doctor.

Mommy on the Spot said...

The Girl Next Door, I am totally going to check out that book.

I, too, am super afraid to take any meds for anything. There were all sorts of side effects listed: drowsiness, be careful when operating heavy machinery, feeling anti-sex. But my doctor said that they were not severe for how I was taking the meds (lowest dose and 7-10 days before my period).

At first I thought, "Drowsy?! Can I already feel more drowsy! Drowsy always makes me feel more anxious!" And the answer is yes. The meds made me a little drowsy. However, I didn't feel anxious when I was drowsy.

Also, the first time I took it, I felt a little warm and buzz-y. But then I just felt tired, but not agitated. It helped me focus on the moment instead of thinking 52 steps ahead. So although I was tired, I was getting stuff done without the agrevation.

Side effects are differenr for everyone, but I don't think it would hurt to talk about it with your doctor.

And if you try it, and you don't like it, you don't have to take it anymore. Nothing's set in stone.

Keep me posted!

Amy said...

This was eye opening to me. I struggle with so much anxiety all the time. I think it was probably always there just under the surface, but when you add a child, full time job, and husband into the picture, the anxiety is bound to get worse.

I never considered that PMS could be the cause of all this stress and moodiness; I kinda just chalked it up to life. But since reading this, I feel we have very similar situations.

I am going to have a talk with my doctor. Life is too short to be this miserable.

Mommy on the Spot said...

Amy, try charting your emotions for a couple of months to see if it happens around the same time. I wasan't paying attention and it just seemed I was anxious all the time at random times. But after 4 months, there was this totally obvious pattern.

I agree - life is too short to be miserable!!

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! Thank you for sharing your story. I am pretty sure I have had PMDD since I was a teenager (I'm in my thirties now) and only just recently went on prozac for it. It has changed my life and I wish someone would have told me about this when I was 15 or so. I could have written what you wrote above, especially the part about the racing thoughts and getting overwhelmed and feeling like everything was "so unfair." :) I was like you, very scared of taking meds and what people might think of me. I felt "weak" for needing help with this. But like you said, I realized my loved ones don't deserve to have to deal with me acting like that. Good luck to you, and thanks again for sharing your story.

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