Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I need advice.

Here is something I have been pondering for several days.

Am I depressed?

My thoughts are so scattered and awkward that I can only express them to you in list form. So here is what I know.

  1. I have a heavy family history of anxiety/depression disorders. My paternal grandmother has been on anti-depressants for 15-20 years. My maternal grandmother was hospitalized more than once for anxiety attacks. And it doesn’t end there (aunts, great-grandparents, cousins, etc).
  2. I have been diagnosed with “major depression” by two therapists, each of whom I saw for a year before giving up on them, and neither of whom ever mentioned the idea of medication.
  3. I am not, currently, the person I want to be. I am an angry, upset, rude, unkind, pimply, tired version of her.
  4. I would rather stay home than go out into the world and inflict my negativity on people I care about.
  5. I don’t feel that I will ever be completely happy, and I never truly feel worthy of friendship or love.
  6. I can’t stop clenching my teeth at night. My jaw is always sore in the morning. This has been going on for about four months.
  7. I’m losing interest in things I used to love. I don’t want to teach or take yoga anymore, even though a year ago yoga was my life. I don’t read as much as I used to. I dread book club because I have to see my pregnant friend there. I make excuses not to go to the gym even though I love going.
  8. I’d rather stay home and watch Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix than do anything. This is partly because, seriously, it’s an awesome show, but also because it allows me to ignore the world and my problems. I am already terrified of what I will do when I’ve watched it all.
  9. I’m sick right now. So the past few days, of course I haven’t felt like doing anything. I’m also just getting over my latest BFN.
  10. I’m going through infertility. Isn’t it natural to be sad all the time? But at the same time…
  11. …When I look back on my life, I realize that I am sad or angry most of the time. There are a lot of photos of me on very happy days when I remember feeling completely exhausted or worried about something else. Not enjoying myself like I look.
  12. My husband says I am miserable more than I am happy.
So what’s the solution? I’m over therapy. It hasn’t helped and I have enough medical bills as it is. Do I tough it out or do I ask for anti-depressants? How do you ask for those? Can I just call up Dr. Lovely and tell her what I just told you and ask for a prescription? Are there any that are pregnancy-friendly? How hard is it to get off of them eventually? Any advice on this topic would be very helpful. My husband is ready for me to try medication. I don’t know if I’m ready.

How do I know when I’m ready?


Alex said...

I don't know how to tell if you're ready for medication, but it sounds like you might be ready to talk about it with a doctor. Any doctor can help you to determine if you should go on anti-depressants - your RE, a primary care physician, your gyno. And ask for something that is pregnancy-friendly. I know there are a few brands that are.

I have struggled with depression a lot in my life, I even ended up in the hospital at one point... It's not something to ignore, or hope it will get better on its own. One thing to warn you about medicine, is it takes awhile to work. So you have to give it time and my personal opinion is you need to go to therapy on top of the medication. I think the medication helps to even out the rough patches, but only through therapy can you figure out better ways to cope with stuff.

I really hope you make an appointment to see a doc soon. Do it for yourself, do it for your husband, and do it for your future baby. It's much better to figure out how to feel better now than later. Sending you a hug, I know this stuff is so very hard. And if you ever want to talk, please email me at, and I'll give you my cell. Or email me your number and I'll call you. Please, talk to someone - you're too important to live like this!

Denver Laura said...

Call your doctor, your regular one. Tell them your'e trying to get pregnant, having trouble and would like an anti-depressant to help you get through some of the low points.

I was on Prozac after my second failed IUI. I started off at 10 and then stayed on 20 for about 6 months. Once things in my life that I had no control over (getting pregnant, losing my job, etc.) leveled out a bit, I went off. You don't have to be on it forever. Therapy helps too, but I felt that Prozac just lifted me up enough so I was able to get through the day.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you are ready. One of the best descriptions I have heard of what depression feels like is "you feel like every day is a cloudy day and you just can't get the clouds to clear". Call your regular family practitioner. Tell him or her everything that you just listed out here. Then, let him or her help you. That is their job, and no one should bear the weight of depression/anxiety on their own.

Kerrik said...

It sounds like you are depressed, and probably should be seeking out a doctor to help you. It is normal to have ups and and downs on the IF roller coaster, but when every part of your life is affected, it is too important that you take some time to find help and to rebuild yourself and your relationships.

I've battled with depression and anxiety all my life, and have been on and off medication for much of it as well. I took a risk two years ago, and went off all meds when I started TTC - a decision that made going through infertility just that much harder. For me, it was something I felt I had to try, for myself and for my baby. Luckily, I was able to do it (though it is still a struggle even now that I'm pregnant), and I think it has only been possible because of other things I have been pushing myself to do like acupuncture and EMDR therapy as well as yoga, art therapy and a lot of meditation.

Medication can be a great help, especially as you start down the path of conquering your depression, but it usually isn't a cure, and I hope you will not give up on therapy just yet. I saw A LOT of different therapists and psychologists before I found the type of therapy that works for me - I prefer more active approaches to therapy, not psychoanalysis, and have worked with both a cognitive behavioral therapist and, for infertility, an EMDR/grief and loss counselor. It might be that you could benefit from an approach like this as well.

I think of it as learning coping skills. I haven't defeated the depression monster just yet, but I'm learning more and more not only how to recognize the thoughts that make me turn on myself, but also how to control them.

One more are doing a great thing for yourself just recognizing what is happening to you, and wanting to get better. Hold onto that, cause it will be what keeps you moving forward.

Still A Guest Room said...

I don't have any real advice, but I am thinking of you. I know you will make the right decision for yourself.

Marissa said...


I went on anti-depressants in December. It's made a huge difference for me.

Prozac and Zoloft (I think?) have been the most-studied for pregnancy and are safe. The newer drugs are probably safe as well, but haven't been studied as much. There is some evidence that newborns to moms on Lexapro in their 3rd trimesters have mild withdrawal symptoms...but there's also a *ton* of evidence that clinically depressed and/or anxious pregnant women's babies have emotional problems/attachment issues. Depression is chemical as well as situational, so it can actually cause problems.

For me, I decided to start and then re-evaluate once I make it to the 2nd trimester of a pregnancy.

foxy said...

You have some really great comments here. I really think that depression should be something that all fertility doctors discuss with their patients. It should be a part of the treatment protocol, because seriously, dealing with this kind of loss and grief for years on end will get anyone down, regardless of their genetics.

I met with my regular doctor and explained what we were dealing with and that I needed some medication to help me deal with it all. They prescribed me Lexapro, and later helped me adjust the dosage, and later added Klonopin to the mix. I really wish that I would have asked for help sooner. My RE preferred that I was not taking the depression meeds during the IVf cycle, but I talked with my regular dr about it, and we all decided that the risks outweighed the benefits. If the cycle had not been successful I really would have needed the support that the meds offered.

I'm not saying by any means that the medication made everything better. They just helped me keep going, like giving me some extra energy, and the will to keep at it. I went from crying nearly everyday, to crying when it really mattered. I felt like I was in control again.

I'm a little late in replying to this post, and hope that you've already made an appt, or maybe even seen your doc and started on a program. Just as Alex said, If you have any other specific questions or want to hear more about my experience, feel free to email and/or call. (foxypopcorn at gmail)

good for you for recognizing that you need some help, and taking the steps to ask for it.