I haven't been honest.
I've been living this way for so long I don't remember when it began. The hardest part about realizing I should get help was because it's not that bad. When I compare my mental health to people I would describe as having "real problems" things seem fine. I'm not depressed; joyless; or detached from my boys. I don't have panic attacks that leave me in the fetal position on the floor. I'm not even necessarily unhappy, for lack of a better way to describe it... I'm just really pissed off.
I'm pissed off at myself more than anything. Why? I could be a better mother than I am. Every morning I wake up and tell myself that I will not raise my voice, I will encourage not threaten, I will not loose my cool. But every day I yell, threaten and loose my cool. I avoid calling and seeing my friends often because I'm afraid of how they will judge me, because I feel like a terrible failure of a mother. Also I find that I have to bite my tongue from yelling at friends, strangers on the street, dust mites.
Who parents in anger? Me. Apparently.
A month ago I decided enough is enough. I started meeting with an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) to talk about ... everything. We decided that my symptoms, though not nearly as serious as people with 'real' problems, were pervasive enough that medication would help. I mean, with stories about mothers who feel no attachment to their kids, harm themselves and/or their kids or who have persistent negative thoughts- my problems seemed silly.
I dragged my feet. Even me, with my enlightened view of mental health, hesitated to actually take medication (again) to solve a problem. Couldn't I just decide to change? Couldn't I just chill the heck out? Well then I read this blog and it spoke to me. I also read these blogs where women bravely share their stories. That was it, big or small I wanted help with my problems.
The first Psychiatrist I called didn't have an appointment till after Christmas. The second Psychiatrist told me that I needed to stop breastfeeding because and I quote "What is the benefit of breastfeeding?" Um, okay...
So when I got off the phone with them I called my midwives and ironically the lactation consultant answered the phone. We discussed Shrink #2's narrow world view and she made an appointment for me.
Within an hour the midwife who I was to see the following week called me from her personal cell to make sure I was okay and to tell me she was willing to write a script right now. Have I told you how awesome those midwives are? I picked up my generic 25mg of Zoloft (breastfeeding safe, thankyouverymuch) and took the first that evening. I could feel it when it hit my bloodstream, if you've ever taken Adderall or Benadryl or even Tylenol with Codeine you know how it feels when a medication first starts to metabolize. I felt a little loopy- but the tension in my shoulders almost immediately relaxed.
It's been 4 days and it's honestly incredible. It's like a veil is lifting. It's impossible to explain without using metaphor and hyperbole. Suffice it to say I feel much, much better... and this is just the beginning. The oddest 'side effect' is I was using my inhaler 3-4 times a day before I started the Zoloft and now I haven't used it in 3 days. Dare I say- I'm kinda excited?! I don't really freak out much anymore. I don't hardly see a need to yell. I feel so relived.