weaning off PPD meds
the decision to start on medicine in the first place was a hard one for me. i didn't want to start meds. i thought if i could just be strong enough, i wouldn't need them. but struggling with post partum depression/anxiety is not a weakness. that's something my wise little brother reminded me of; bless him for that. and i needed help because i felt i had lost who i was and physically could not be the mom i wanted and needed to be to my sweet newborn baby girl.
so i got on generic lexapro. i started with just half a pill (5mg) every day for two weeks. then i transitioned to a full pill (10mg) every day. my obgyn suggested i stay on the meds for six months before trying to wean off just to make sure we had gotten past the depression/anxiety. apparently it likes to stick around for months and if you wean off to early, it can just come back.
it was tempting to get off the meds once i started feeling better. maybe i don't need these after all, i thought. i can do this on my own. but then i remembered my obgyn's caution, and that of the counselor i was seeing. don't be fooled when you start feeling better and get off the meds. a lot of people do that and then end up right back at square one. no, this was going to be a long process and i needed to accept that and stay the course. so i did.
i started the medicine in july, and i began weaning off of it four weeks ago. i took one pill every other day for two weeks, and then one pill every third day for another two weeks. saturday was my last pill. i was nervous about weaning off because right now things are very busy and stressful at work, and they will be through the end of april. i was concerned that the crippling anxiety would come back and that i would lose myself again. it's one thing to have that happen when i'm on maternity leave with my husband there to pick up the pieces and carry me and my daughter through it all. but, it's a whole other thing to have that happen when i'm in the busiest season of my job. he can't do my job for me and carry me and bina now. there's just no time for that!
i'm confident that things will be okay, whatever happens. i've made it through the last stressful month of work on a small dosage. this last week at work was probably the most stressful and i was on my second week of taking one pill every third day. so if i can work through that without a resurgance of depression/anxiety, chances are things are going to be a-okay. and if the depression and anxiety do come back for whatever reason, i know the signs and i know what i need to do and who i need to reach out to in order to get help.
last weekend i attended a support group meeting with other moms who share my struggle. all of our experiences look different, but we share in common that we've struggled, we love our babies something fierce, and we'll do whatever it takes to get better. one of the other moms was also weaning off of her medicine. it helps to know that i am not alone in this, that there are other mamas out there that have struggled and overcome. and it doesn't make us crazy to have struggled. it is what it is. and we all want other mamas to know that they are not alone either.
so, goodbye, generic lexapro. hopefully i won't be needing you in the future. another mom in the support group had her second baby three months ago and recognized the signs of post partum depression/anxiety that she hadn't been aware of after the birth of her first child. so she was being proactive this time and seeking out support as soon as she saw the signs. i do worry that i will face the same struggle again if we have a second baby. i like to worry about a lot of things, as you may have realized. ha. but again, i know the signs. i know to seek out help as soon as i see them. so i will hope for the best in the future, and know what to do if the worst is realized. that's life. it's messy. but it's all worth it for my little tub pooper (more on that later). i love my sweet babe and would do it all over again for another sweet babe. because it does come to an end. it doesn't last forever. there is hope.