This Post Is Not About Paint

Fair warning.

So as most of you know who have been reading this…business…for some time, a few years ago I had some issues with anxiety and depression and for awhile there, it got sort of bad, but along with help from my incredible readers, I hoisted myself out of it and I found a psychiatrist and some little white pills and for awhile there it was much much better.

When I got pregnant with Katherine, I couldn’t take that medicine anymore because what made me a little sick before somehow combined with the world’s worst morning sickness and I’d end up in the ER with an IV in my arm while I barfed my guts out every time I tried to take it.  But it wasn’t a huge deal because somehow when I am pregnant, I am oddly at my least crazy/depressive/anxious and anyway there wasn’t a lot I could do about it, so I worked it out, and after I was unpregnant I was doing pretty well there for awhile, unmedicated, but after awhile I just stared to feel sad.  So back to the Lexapro I went, and it was ok.  I felt fine.  Maybe not great, maybe it did not work quite as well as it did the first time, but I was  fine.

Then this summer we went to Vermont and I noticed that I was always sick.  Every single time I’d get in a car to go anywhere, I’d have to sit white knuckled through the entire thing until I could stagger from the car and think about vomiting in the bushes.  And I got really really tired of that really really fast, and I also couldn’t help but notice that any time I looked at cake, I’d gain 20 pounds, and while I was not excited about being depressed and anxious, I was also not excited that my SSRI was making me fat.  I do not require the willowy physique of a young Olsen twin but I’d rather not be gaining weight faster than I can buy new shorts at Old Navy.  And there was one other symptom that I am not really going to go into but I bet you can figure it out if you really think about it.  Let’s just say that my husband was not a big fan of that symptom.

So I quit taking the Lexapro and at first it was fine.  Mostly I was just really crabby and really bitchy and I figured that I would probably be kind of bitchy in the two weeks before I got my period and that was ok! I’d just try really hard not to be super bitchy and anyway I am kind of a crabby person and maybe my stupid husband should just learn to pick up his stupid flip flops for a change.  I told my doctor that  I wasn’t taking the Lexapro anymore but that it was totally ok! because I was just really crabby and not depressed at all and she said “Uh huh, that’s because the medicine is still in your system!” but I figured eh, what does she know.  Really, she’s just a professional with years of schooling and experience.

I came home with another prescription but after I dropped it off, Mr. E and I googled it a bit and it scared me, to be honest, mostly because when I googled it at no point did any of the results say “is guaranteed to  make you lose lots and lots of weight especially if you are going on a family vacation to the beach” and so I never picked up my prescription.

So I was struggling. I am not going to lie. I have been struggling.  But mostly I have been struggling with anger and irritability and those are things I can handle. I can lock those things down, because to be honest with you those feelings feel familiar and safe.  I am really good at feeling pissed off, and I have two small kids and a spacey  husband and so I feel sort of justified about feeling irritated regarding the state of my dining room floor. If I could just keep that dining room floor clean though, I bet I’d be a whole new person. You know?

And then I wrote something on the internet about breastfeeding and I got a few responses that I was not prepared for, and it really…set me back.  It made  me want to quit the whole internet actually, because for a brief time there I could not see the point of pouring myself into something only to get bad feelings back.  But still, I did not feel sad.  So I figured this meant I was hanging in there.  I was doing ok.

And then I went to go see a stupid romantic comedy with a friend of mine and after two hours watching Mila Kunis be cute and young and skinny and rich and live in a big cute apartment and have big cute sex with Justin Timerlake, something switched in my head and I came home to my dirty dining room floor and I…I don’t even know how to explain it.  I am not sure why but I have always been very susceptible to a certain type of Hollywood pipe dream, in fact I swear I blame the bad mood I was in for most of my early twenties on Good Will Hunting, and something about seeing this big fake magical life up there on the screen just pushed me plink! right over that edge, and I had to stand in my kitchen with my hands shaking and my joints heavy and I could literally feel sadness and upset and fear flood  into my muscles and fill me to my eyeballs and it was all I could do to take breaths in and take breaths out and to say “I don’t know. I have to do something. I don’t know. I am not doing ok. I am not doing ok.”

And Target refilled my unpicked up prescription and I took a deep breath and I took that first pill and I am feeling better.  I mopped my dining room floor and I finished a book I loved and I sent some email and I decided not to quit the internet, at least not today.

I am still scared.  I still am worried about being fat.  I still wish I didn’t feel emotionally devastated by a movie that should move in and out of my day like nothing.  I hate that I need these pills. I hate that I don’t know what they’ll do.  I hate that I am this way.  But I am determined to talk about it.  I wanted to tell you how I am feeling.  I am going to try to take more walks and eat more vegetables, and to wish less that everyone would just leave me alone. And I am very hopeful that things are on the upswing.

Thanks for listening. It means the world to me.


37 Responses

  1. E. You are loved. And most of us are just barely keeping our heads above water too. It’s ok to get help. Pills are ok. You are going to be ok.
    (Don’t quit the internet. I will be so sad if you do.)

  2. Damnit. I’m so sorry. I’m here if you want to ramble incoherent bullshit into an email that you don’t think anyone will understand. I will. I so will.
    I hate taking med’s too and I am on a HIGH dose of the lex now- and most days I think I could use even more and my 2x a month therapy isnt enough either. But I keep putting one foot infront of the other and hope that someday soon this will finally be under control. One day it will be and so will yours.Take care of yourself.

  3. Ain’t leaving you alone, just not gonna happen. I am going to drink margaritas with you and talk until 3am in less than three months. I will definitely do that.

    I love ya.

  4. I am sorry that I sent bad feelings towards you. That’s not what I intended to do by commenting.

    Also, I am hopeful that you have found a medication that is working for you right now. I’m on medication for PPD, which is different, I know, but I think medication is good.

    • It was totally not you – I just wasn’t in a place where I could handle hearing anything less than rah rah rah, which really, I had no business posting something like that if I wasn’t ready to hear some opposing points of view. Please know that it was just a symptom of something much greater, not your fault at all.

  5. Well, I hope the pills help, because none of us want you to quit the internet!

    And actually, I read your breast feeding post in google reader, but when I came over here to comment you had taken it down. I really liked it. Last summer I had a friend visit and while she was there I nursed my son (he was like 7 months) and it really surprised her that I nursed with no cover or anything in front of her. Now, this is a girl I lived with in college for like 2 years. Why wouldn’t I be comfortable enough to do that? But I guess that’s just what people expect anymore.

  6. Oh yes, I loved that breastfeeding post as well. I didn’t comment because usually I am a shy little flower most of the time. And yes, as everyone else said: pills = good. I may be on my way to get some right now.

  7. I hate that taking meds to help an illness is such a big fat stigma. I’m on Lexapro and Abilify and you know what? I need it – so what? What? Nothing, that’s what. In my book it’s no different than insulin for Diabetes – something is not getting produced in a part of my body and this here pill is going to help me out. It doesn’t make me – or you – any weaker of a person.

    Hang in there. I’m sending you hugs from Nebraska.

  8. Oh, sister! I’m so with you on this. I had to change my meds earlier this year because what I was taking just wasn’t doing the job, and it took me a couple months to realize that not only had I gained a few pounds, but ALL of my pounds had rearranged themselves on my body in a very unflattering way. I’m talking pooches and lumps and bulges in places they’d not been before. And then it took me another month or so to realize that it was the stupid medicine that had done it. Talk about unfair!

    I remember a couple of years ago when I realized that I was going to need medication for the rest of my life, it was really hard to accept. I hate that I have to take it, and I ask a lot of “why” questions to the man upstairs about it, but apparently it’s my lot in life. So I deal with it. Any time I cry about ANYTHING, I’m afraid I won’t be able to stop, that I won’t be able to pull myself back out of the hole. And sometimes it takes longer than others. I’m awful about asking for help when I’m down that low, even though I have friends & family that would be there in a heartbeat. I’m so glad you posted this today (or if you posted it before today, I’m glad I read it today!). I get so frustrated with myself about something that I can’t control as much as I’d like, and it’s nice to be reminded that I’m not the only one that feels that way.

  9. You are so amazing. I hope you feel better.

  10. Hang in there. I tried to go off the drugs too and that’s how it started, just a little more bitchy. But I was scared of that and went back on. At least you have two kids. I don’t even know how I feel about going off to be pregnant again and to be honest it’s kind of an excuse too but whatever this is about you not me and my how many kids to have whining.
    You are awesome and super and hella inspiring to me all the time. You are so crafty and I love your blog and your pinterest board and your fashion ideas. You are also REALLY NICE and COOL.
    Pills, whatever. Pooch, whatever. Staying afloat and being a happy mom and wife is the most important thing.
    Also, I have a spacey husband too – sometimes works in your favor but sometimes OMG so infuriating!!!!

  11. I am so glad you decided no to quit the internet.

    I hate that you are feeling this way, but I’m glad you are getting some help.

    If I can help, in any way, please email me. I will send brownies (low fat, even, if you are worried about that), Startbucks gift cards, music, books… Want you to there are people who care about you!

    Internet Hugs to you. Sending you strength and good thoughts.

  12. I have been in a place lately where I wonder if I shouldn’t be on some sort of pill but the fact that I am already ON so many pills that aren’t doing much of squat makes me think that if I have to take one freaking more pill and have it be anything short of miraculous? I might actually go right the fuck around the bend (sorry for the expletive but there is no other way for that phrase to be uttered).

    I am tired of being sick and “modern” medicine not being able to do much of anything to fix me and after all these years…I’m just frayed. Whenever I can get away and my head and allergies let up on me for a bit, I feel so renewed.

    I hope you get that feeling. *hug*

  13. I hate that I’m exactly the same way. You are not alone. Know that. And I take the Lexapro, too. So I get it.

  14. I have thought about your breastfeeding post over and over and over because it made me so happy that SOMEONE was putting those thoughts out there into the world. I didn’t comment because I was having one of those “I’m not a parent, so who cares what I have to say about parenting topics” sad infertile days. But there was lots of rah-rah-ing going on for you all the way from VA.
    And I’m rah-rah-ing you even more for this post because YOU’RE PUTTING IT OUT THERE! And you inspire me to put it all out there, too. Please don’t quit the internet, because I would miss my California friend.
    And I don’t know if it helps, but working in family practice, most days 50% of the patients I see are on something in the Lexapro family. And there’s another 10% that I wish would agree to take some Lexapro. It’s not their fault for needing it, it’s not your fault for needing it. The day they develop a test to prove to people that they have low serotonin… numbers to show people that it’s not their fault, it’s just the way they’re made… is the day my job becomes 100% easier.

  15. I really really really like reading posts like this. Such a relief to IDENTIFY. I’ve been thinking “not okay” for awhile, but I’m so discouraged from trying so many different things. So then I think fine, it doesn’t work—-but…then what? Be this way FOREVER??

  16. Have I told you before that your blog is one of my very very favorites? I just like you so much and everything you write just is brilliant. And I don’t say that lightly.

    Can’t wait to FINALLY meet you come October.

  17. I’m so sorry you have been struggling and so very glad that you have found something to help you move towards better. I love your writing and I love that you allow me to peek into this corner of your life.

  18. Thank you for this.

  19. I don’t have a lot to say other than I love you and I’m sorry you’re feeling not okay, and more sorry that I’ve been too busy to be a help and a listener.

  20. I’ve been there. It’s no fun. I’m sorry. Thinking of you.

  21. I really admire your honesty on the internet, on so many different topics. I recently started writing but am still in the mode of censoring myself, too afraid of…well, I don’t even know what.

    Anyway, I too did a trial off Zoloft and thought I was doing A!O!K! until suddenly I was so not okay. So I’m back on now, and life is good and lovely and I am such a nicer person to all those I love. So I think medicine is good, and I hope that this new one will work with fewer side effects for you. And for the record, gaining weight and feeling fat are legitimate complaints and you shouldn’t have to accept those as “the bad with the good.”

    Hang in there, and please keep writing. I know personally how dangerous it is to start moving too far inward.

    Hugs from a stranger

  22. You are awesome. Thank you for your honesty. So many times you say things here that I’ve thought a million times before. Hugs hugs hugs!!!!

  23. Just wanted to let you know that I’m thinking of you and know you will pull through.

  24. I’m sorry you have had such a struggle lately – but happy to hear that you have found something to help you. If it makes you feel any better, one of you aside comments in this post restored my faith in myself – a meltdown because of the life you see on a movie/TV show, or worse still a blog? Happens to me all the time. I constantly feel like I’m not doing enough or being enough and that other people are living this amazing glamorous life while I pick up dog poop in my yard. I’m not saying that either of us should feel this way, but it’s nice to know I’m not alone.

    So let’s make a promise to remember how awesome our lives are and can be. Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

  25. I’m sorry it took me a whole day to get to reading this entry. Pretty much everything you wrote up there had me nodding along. I know. I’ve been there. I felt that. I feel that every day sometimes.

    I’m currently unmedicated because I have to be off all meds for some diagnostic testing for a completely different medical problem, and I know that isn’t helping, but there also isn’t anything I can do about it. I try to exercise and eat right and be nice to myself but even that feels like just too damn much pressure. Add to that the fact that my therapist is moving across the country and I’m in the process of switching to a new therapist for the first time in four years…ug. I know. I know that struggle, that anger, that frustration. I know the feeling of watching a hollywood movie and having it push me down into a spiral of depression that those characters are so great and have lives and they matter and I will never matter that much and I’m so JEALOUS of them. Looking at other people’s Facebook streams does that to me, too, with all the happy pictures of people out having a good time or playing with their babies while I sit at home looking at sperm donors online wondering if I’ll ever be able to HAVE a baby.

    Sorry to use your comment section for such a rant. I didn’t set out for that. Mostly I just wanted to say I get it, I understand, and I live in real similar places, mentally-speaking. Things get worse sometimes, then better again, and I hope you’ll be on a “better again” swing up soon. You’re a good person. You deserve to feel it.

  26. It is ok to be not ok. And it is amazing to find the strength to reach out to others when you aren’t feeling ok.

    I have been there, I know the weight. I had to walk out of a movie and sit in the lobby alternating between sobbing and laughing hysterically because if I stopped making noise I wasn’t sure what would happen next… You are doing what you need to, to get better. And a bunch of random internetters are here with you too.

  27. Hi, this is awkward. I’ve read you for a couple of years and never commented, which is stupid, but I sort of felt like you have your crew here, yanno? So I’ve been content to watch from the sidelines. Until today. Because I know from that kind of struggling, and I can’t fix that for you but I empathize, and in the meantime, I LOVED what you wrote about breastfeeding. I loved it so much I linked to it on Friday, and I almost never do link posts. I just want you to know. Maybe that will help a tiny bit.

  28. Been there. Love you love you love you LOVE YOU for writing about this. Seriously.

  29. I hardly ever comment (sorry!) because am so not crafty & most of my comments would be along the lines of an inane “rah-rah, looks great!” but I WAS going comment on your nursing post (in a big YES YOU ARE SO RIGHT way) – it should be such a natural matter-of-fact thing but then because we’re a bunch of butting-in puritans it becomes an emotional minefield. Especially if it doesn’t go well (hi – me.) or you get flack from various quarters.

    But this… I am so sorry you have to deal with this. I’m thrilled you’re getting help. I have totally felt that plink! from left field & fell off the ledge into the murky depths. I’m happy you’re here & will keep writing and & hope you can gleen a bit of comfort knowing we’re all here cheering for you. Rah-rah!

  30. Having been commenting much lately, anywhere, but I have to now, to this post.

    I just wrote a piece for babble about finally medicating after over a year (or, maybe, possibly, my whole life) of struggling with depression that manifested as near constant impatience and irritation and frustration. I was sure I knew what depression was and I was sure I didn’t have it.

    Now I’m on medication and I can see so much more clearly. Every time someone posts about this, I sigh with relief.

    I hope you are sighing with relief, if only just a bit. Good luck and keep writing. I always look forward to reading you.

    • Thank you so much for this comment. I read your Babble piece and OH MY GOD! You said so many things I always think but am afraid to ask. And said it so beautifully. And you have described this feeling of sinking and then getting better so well, too, on your blog. It helps so much to see myself in others words, thank you.

  31. When I was first told to go on anti-depressants, I freaked the fuck out. I didn’t know why. I mean, I was in a bad place and if it could make me better, why not? And I finally figured out it was because I didn’t want to arbitrarily gain weight. I didn’t want to lose control of another thing.

    I told my doctor this at the time. And he said “you know what, we don’t like side effects. Our goal is to give you a medication with little or no side effects.”

    So he gave me Prozac because it had the lowest chance of weight gain as a side effect. And I’ve been on it since.

    So my advice is, if this doesn’t work and you don’t feel right taking it, try another medication. There are so many out there!

    It’s OK to be scared. Thank you for sharing!

  32. I just find you to be so brave. I’ve been thinking for the last 2 years or so that how I’m feeling just isn’t right- and just because I can’t explain it doesn’t mean I shouldn’t try to get help. But I haven’t. I haven’t even really talked to anyone about it. I’m pretty sure I’m depressed. I’m pretty sure I could be helped. But for whatever reason I haven’t had the guts to get something started and now I’m pregnant again and rather than feeling like I did with my first I’m just miserable and I feel so beyond guilty. I think after this baby is born I’m really going to need to do something. Anything.

    So, like I said, I think you’re so brave for taking care of yourself. Posts like this do wonders for people like me.

  33. This? “But mostly I have been struggling with anger and irritability and those are things I can handle. I can lock those things down, because to be honest with you those feelings feel familiar and safe. I am really good at feeling pissed off, and I have two small kids and a spacey husband and so I feel sort of justified about feeling irritated regarding the state of my dining room floor.”

    I get this. So.Much. I feel as though I’ve lived in a constant state of irritability for years now, so long that it’s almost my new normal. And I keep telling myself that it’s not depression, because I’ve been depressed (couldn’t get out of bed,depressed), and this isn’t that. But it’s not normal. I don’t HAVE to live like this. But it’s so freaking hard to face up to the process to change it.

    I had a therapist I really enjoyed talking to, but she left the practice to work for the VA. So, I wandered around, trying to talk with people I didn’t really care for, people who were kind of missing my point most of the time. Then, I got pregnant, and I, too, felt great–I think the extra rush of hormones actually brought my depleted levels up to normal!

    Then I had my beautiful, amazing son, and I crashed down with PPD HARD. And he’s one now, and I still feel like I’m pulling myself up from that wreckage. So I called my doctor’s office and said I needed to see someone, but they offered to let me see a doc I’ve already seen and not loved, and even then, it’ll take upwards of 5 weeks to be seen. Thanks, HMOs!

    All that to say, yes, I hear you. I’m listening, and I’m yelling back “YES, me TOO!” It’s a hard club to be a member of, and I’d gladly throw back my membership, if I could, but I really think I owe to my son, my husband, and yes, even me, to live better than this. And you do, too. You deserve it. We all do.

  34. I just started on ADs a few weeks ago and they have helped in so many areas, especially the anxiety – which I didn’t realize I even felt because I was so frustrated – and the anger. My son’s ADHD issues that made me nearly dislike him have become tolerable for me to accept and understand in a way I hadn’t before.

    But I hate the trade off on the weight gain, but even more is the utter lack of libido. Sure, I’m kinder to my husband in words but I miss the other stuff a lot.

  35. I think it only shows how brave you are to do everything you can to feel better. My ex struggled (sturggles) with bipolar disordr, and was always so sure he could handle it on his own. Our 13yo has recently been diagnosed as depressed, and while counseling alone is going well for now, I told him that in my opinion, it is like any other disease: You get all the treatment you can – meds, counseling,etc – becuase you are a wonderful person and you deserve to feel good. If there is a pill that helps you feel better than the side effects make you feel bad, then take the darn pills!!

    Just lending you support!

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