Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Survival

One of the things that I've always tried to do here on the blog is be transparent. Good or bad, admirable or shameful, I've always wanted to share the truth of what I was feeling. What I was feeling may not always be the truth (perspective is a funny thing) but emotions are subject to logic or morality. They just are. Sometimes they're fun or happy, but often they're ugly and raw. Whether is was the bitterness over my infertility or the pain of my miscarriages, and into the frustration and exhaustion of a child with special needs, I have always tried to share what I was really feeling. I don't intend for that to change now.
So now I'm going to try to share what crazy feels like. And yes, I know crazy isn't very politically correct when it comes to mental illness. But I feel crazy. I don't think my outside matches how I feel on the inside, but if it did, people would shield their children from me in the streets. It's funny because I've lost so much weight and my skin still has the pregnancy glow so I look pretty good. Everyone keeps commenting on it. "Wow, how do you feel? You look fantastic!" It's nice to hear, but weird because the honest answer to that question is "awful. I just feel awful."

And I think adding to the feeling of craziness is that it is interspersed with these overwhelming feelings of love and joy. Little flashes. Robbie wanted me to play with him and his "rocketshit" tonight and I laughed a real, genuine laugh. There's something about a toddler accidentally saying shit that is beyond funny. And Charlotte smiled in her sleep earlier and I felt like it was a flash of God telling me "she's okay."

But 99% of the rest of the evening? Crazy. I took my first dose of lexapro and honestly, I think it made me feel worse, not better. I guess that's pretty common. I got really flushed and dizzy and blurry eyed. And of course, that's combined with my usual symptoms- trembling hands and legs, nausea, chest pain, irritability, panic, racing thoughts etc. It's a great combination.

I sat down tonight and I prayed loudly to God. I had spoken with a friend about how I felt like I had no words for God even though my faith is fine. She offered me some scripture to let me know that I was not alone. One particularly passage she shared spoke to me.
Romans 8:26, "In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."
She encouraged me to just speak what was in my heart, so that's what I did. It wasn't a long prayer, but it was a heartfelt one. I cried and thanked Him for the blessings that I can literally look around and count. The kids, of course, but also my husband and my dad and my mother-in-law, all of whom have been nothing but amazingly supportive. My friends, my blog readers, everyone who has sent an email or comment or text or call to say they're thinking of me. I am blessed beyond what any one person deserves. But still the panic comes.

David and I talked about it tonight. I've had trouble with an anxiety disorder in the past, but it's really been at least livable for more than a decade. David thinks this is different. He's seen me anxious, but he's never seen me like this. He (and I agree) believes this is postpartum chemical whackiness. And it's awful.

The thing is how to get through it? Hopefully tomorrow the lexapro won't send me into the spin it did tonight. Tonight was like nuclear anxiety. I wanted to scream, cry, throw things, run out into the freezing cold and just keep going. Just sitting down to nurse Charlotte, I felt like I was going to climb out of my skin.

I wondered to David earlier if this is how my mother felt before she left. (Trish history flashback: My mother left when I was 2. She called once when I was 27, but I haven't seen her at all since I was younger than Robbie is now.) Maybe she was mentally ill and didn't have the support that I do. There was no Lexapro then. And I know enough about her family back then to know she probably wouldn't have gotten the support that I have. David was less forgiving (and generally, so am I) but who really knows. What I do know is that this condition.. this disease.. this whatever.. it's not reasonable.

Don't mistake me- I'm in no way planning to leave my family. I DO have the support to get through this. But even with all of the support and resources that I have, I'm just barely keeping it together. If I didn't? I don't think that I would. If I didn't have the support I have and didn't love my kids to the depths of my soul, I'd probably have myself in an inpatient program somewhere.

I don't know what to do until things improve. I don't know how long that will take. I'm going to try to get through tomorrow, with David on stand-by at work if he needs to come home. And he will try to arrange things to maybe be off on Wednesday. I might see if my mother-in-law can come on Thursday and Friday. I feel like a failure to even ask. She has a job and has already taken off so much to be with us. If I knew someone to hire to be here particularly in the evening and late night, I'd do that, but I don't and can't find one through an agency as quickly as tomorrow. But we'll figure it out. Somehow.

Right now, I'm coming out of the crazy time. It's 2am and my mind is clearing. My hands are still shaking, my vision is still blurry, and I'm still sweating for no good reason at all. But I can think straight for the first time in hours. I just hope that tomorrow brings more lucidity. And the day after that even more.


In the mean time, prayers for survival and health are all I can do and ask for. They are more appreciated than you know. Fortunately my crazy doesn't preclude gratitude.

--Trish

13 comments:

Bridie said...

Trish, my heart breaks for you, but you will get through this! It might just take a while to find the right treatment.

This may be a totally whacky suggestion, but have you considered trying a yoga class? Like, a relaxing one, not a hard one. If it's something foreign, it may not be a good idea (more anxiety) but maybe finding a way to calm your body would also help calm your mind. We have an amazing yoga teacher that comes to our work twice a week, she always has a message and theme for the day. Somehow, no matter what I am going through, work stress, home stress, whatever, her message manages to speak right to me. Just a thought! Hope today is better than yesterday and that the tomorrows are better still.

Deep Thinker said...

{{{hugs}}} I have dealt with anxiety and depression all my life. It isn't easy. You should feel the lexapro helping in a couple of days. All I can say right now is to remember to breathe, think positive thoughts, and keep finding those things that make you laugh. Laughing ALWAYS helps. :) Praying for you.

Jennifer

Anthony and Ashleys Mommy said...

I took lexapro briefly a few years ago when i was going through a stressful time in my life (before I ever went throug infertility and losing a child, having a preemie) and it wasn't a good experience. I felt horrible on it. and one night i woke and i felt like i had no body! Like i was just a floating head!!! Yeah...... that was it for me. lol

The Blatchford Family said...

I am sorry you are going through this right now. I hope that it gets better quickly. Big hugs!!

michelle said...

I'm so sorry that you're struggling. It is a rough road but you're doing all the right things. I'm on Lexapro and have been for a while. It works wonders for me and I feel great on it BUT no one drug is right for everyone. Make sure you tell your dr how it's making you feel because there might be a medication much better suited for your chemistry. I really hope you get some relief soon. hugs.

Trish said...

Thanks guys. I ended up putting in a call to my OB about the side effects. I literally called and said "..this my daily call" I feel like such a fruit loop.
I don't remember having this effect when I was on zoloft or paxil years ago.. so hopefully this isn't absolutely necessary.

Claire said...

I really hope you find something that works for you. Maybe a temporary anti anxiety till the anti depressants have a chance to work?

I highly suggest you find an outlet during the day whether it be yoga or meditation or a work out group. It will really help with hormones and endorphins.

Anonymous said...

My heart breaks for you as well. Anxiety sucks! I have had it since I was a kid. I know you are doing everything you can to get better and you will. But please, hire some help. Ask a friend to ask a friend if they know someone you can pay to come in after hours. It will help soooooo much. And yes, I concur with the person who says that laughing helps. Put on a funny, silly, happy movie while you nurse or relax. It will help until the medicine kicks in. Meditation is good too.

Hugs!
Mandy

Becks said...

Praying for you - I know how much PPD sucks. You will get through it! You will! I really struggled after James was born (I was just convinced my baby hated me, and that having a baby was the worst thing that had ever happened to me). It took about two weeks, but I felt like this black cloud just started to lift off of me, one day at a time. Just be kind to yourself, as kind as you can be. We will keep praying for you and your little family!

Anonymous said...

I'm wondering why they didn't prescribe zoloft for you right off the bat - was it that lexapro has more of an impact on anxiety? Because basically - they're all SSRI's and if you've done well on Zoloft in the past - it seems it would make sense to go that route again. I'm on Celexa (similar to Lexapro) and can relate 1000 percent to what you're going through and I'm SO SORRY. It's AWFUL!! I do know that Celexa and Lexapro take 1 - 2 weeks to begin to make you feel better - and initially - it's not unusual to feel more anxious when first on the drug. Unpleasant - to say the least - when you're already feeling insanely anxious and crazy. Keep in touch with your doc and keep utilizing every support system at your disposal. You will get through this and it WON'T last forever - it is definitely post-partum related. HANG IN THERE!

~ Alicia

Trish said...

To those suggesting yoga- the trouble is getting out of the house to go do it. Charlotte is in quarantine so I can't take her out, David works full time (plus) and I'm nursing, so getting away from Charlotte for very long is challenging.

I do need to get some exercise at home, though, for sure.

The doctor's office pretty much said there wasn't much they could do to negate the side effects because I am nursing. But said they should ease after the 1st week.

I just took my 2nd dose so I'm waiting for the crazy to set in.

And Alicia- I actually didn't have a lot of luck with Zoloft in the past, I was on Paxil, but my doc said that she preferred lexapro because it tends to work a little faster. At the time, I thought "oh good, faster relief" but now I'm wishing maybe I'd gone the zoloft route.
But we'll see what happens.
I just need to be able to function, really.
Even after the crazies lifted a bit this afternoon, I feel pretty zombie like. I'm hoping that eases, too, but I'll take zombie like over tweaked out any day.

ggop said...

Trish - I remember browsing dooce.com's archives and reading her posts with depression label years ago. She wrote very frankly about her PPD and checkin into a medical facility, the different drugs and side effects. It seems like finding the right drug is really hard!

Hope you take it one day at a time and feel a little better each day. I leave this post from her for you :
http://dooce.com/archives/daily/11_19_2004.html

Adriane said...

Trish, I'm so sorry!! Your posts are bringing back a flood of memories. I peeked back on my own blog and it seems I posted five times in the girls first few months. Not good!! What I remember helping me was having people over. I didn't even need so much "help" with the girls as much as I needed someone to talk to. Do you have anyone that you can count on to stop by for an hour or two during the day - on a regular basis?