Thursday, July 14, 2005

Depression minus the Prozac

I have been watching the big Brook Shields vs Tom Cruise debacle recently. I find it extremely interesting, and very personal, as I have walked through major amounts of depression without medication.

So, everyone on the side of Scientology just stood up and cheered. Whoo! Hooo! Well, sit yourself down!

I didn't make a conscious choice in the beginning to avoid medication. I simply didn't know I was that bad! Okay, okay ... I knew I was bad, but I wouldn't ADMIT I was that bad. I just thought I was a bad mother, or maybe I wasn't being "spiritual" enough. Was I weak? Did everyone feel like this? The only thing I knew for sure, was that I woke up most mornings with tears already rolling down my face. I just wanted to pull the covers over my head and never leave the bed. Life itself was a big, dark cloud.

It wasn't for months and months that I finally heard of some people that received meds for their depression. Of course, they also went on and on about the side effects. So, I sat down and weighed the side effects against what I was experiencing. I talked to my husband about it. Things were beginning to lighten up, so instead of talking with the doctor we simplified our lives and I only focused on the baby and breathing (that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but it's how I viewed my situation). We pulled through it ... very slowly ... but by golly, we survived.

Now, in hind sight, I realize that I should have talked to someone. I just didn't want to be one of "those people" that pops a pill anytime the wind blows. I let a very skewed view of medicine keep me from seeking help at a time when I truly needed it. That's not to say I would have chosen medication ... and it's not to say that I'm a big fan of the FDA (I've got issues with them! I'll save that for another post.). Yet, I needed some counseling. I needed someone to help me understand that this wasn't "Christine as a mother," but it was "Christine with depression."

I can see it now. My husband can see it now. Our friends that knew us before kids and immediately after kids say, "Well, GEEZ ... YEAH! You were whacked out!"

So, the Brooke Shields side can stand up and cheer. Whoo! Hoo! She has helped a lot of women realize that something is wrong ... even if it doesn't cross from depression to psychosis. It exists, it is really scary, and it can happen to anyone.

I drive my friends crazy after they have babies. I'm always checking in on them with a stern voice and saying, "Are you feeling okay?" Perhaps I drive them nuts. But the day one of them is "pulling a Christine," and hiding their own dark cloud for fear that they're just a "bad mom," well, I'll be there to say,

(insert inflection of Monica from Friends here!)

"UH - ME TOO!"


Anonymous said...

I still deal with the issues of being a "bad mom". As long as I have teenagers, I guess I will deal with it. I have begun to realize that I cannot pattern my "mothering" to other women. We are all individuals.....were raised differently and will raise our own children differently.....and will deal with the depression differently. Unfortunately, when my oldest were babies, I did not know about anything for depression with the exception of tranquilizers, and they were just adictive. So my kids had to deal with my wasn't their fault, I was depressed. I am very grateful that there are drugs out there now that are not adictive and can help anyone who needs them.

ChrissyLou said...


I was dealing with depression just a few months ago. There is something to say for asking for help.. I put it off for so long... thinking I was awful... I actually DID have a bad reaction to Zoloft-- it evened out the depression but made me highly suicidal. Just be concience of what is normal and what isnt, if you choose to go the med route. I was abnormally obsessing... and it started with an anxious feeling right away.. but I was told that was normal and would get better... but by the time it was supposed to get better it had multiplied hugely.

BUT.... big BUT I felt so much better... so maybe there is a better one out there for me... just have to get the nerve to try again after that. I had a good experience with the Xanax after it all happened.

My advice is to NOT take a prescription from your Family Dr. See a psychiatrist. The Family Dr is supplied with Samples (which is what I started with) and are going to try those brands first rather than picking the best for you.

Great topic.

lifelonglearner said...
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The Cardboard Tube Knight said...

I have to say that this really worries me too because I know several women that have already had bouts with depression in the past andmay have to deal with again when they have children.

I think its very important that for the safety of the child they seek some kind of help. If your strong, like you were you can pull through it. But sometimes people may not even realize what's happening.

Unknown said...

I wouldn't say that I was strong. I was was just blessed that my situation didn't escalate.

I did have great support from my husband. That helps. I also found some ways to get myself out of the house, and that is important (as isolation can push you deeper into your hole). I was doing some things that were good, even though I didn't realize it!

I never had suicidal thoughts or considered harming my child, but I can see how your body could easily make that transition. My entire view of reality and life was so terribly blurred. I didn't think about ending my life, but I did want to end "the way it was."

So, strong, schmong! Watch your friends and be there for them if you start to see some definite signs of them sinking (look at the second post I did - the one on Ellen's book - you can read it online). Don't be afraid to talk with them about it.

It meant that world to me that my husband could not understand what was happening to me, but he held my hand through it, we talked about it all the time, and he never - ever held it against me.

The Cardboard Tube Knight said...

Yeah there's one friend in particular that I like more than a friend and she has these problems already. I already told her so many things that she never even realized she was doing.

She kept acting like she had to convince me she was good. And I just came right out and told her, I'm already here for you, there's nothing you have to convince me of.

Anonymous said...

someday i'll write about my ppd..but not on my blog. it's too painful. it was bad, very bad like brookes.. disconnection from child #2..while i felt very close to child #3.. it was odd..they are 11 months apart..i was already troubled after watching the father of my kids struggle with drug addiction for almost a year..and we were apart for 7 months..there was lots of outside factors.

but at the time i didn't see it and it grew much worse when i weaned #3 when she was two.

Those two years I know there are good memories and smiles on camera but i have a dark, dark side and felt like such a phoney and so unworthy of my kids.

I was abusive to them, myself, and my husband.