A Place with No Name
Perhaps this is a blog post that belongs on my other blog, depression introspection, but this blog has been rather active so I prefer to post the following here.
My psychiatrist has added two more medications to my regimen. I was on Abilify and Prozac daily. I took Ativan as needed. Now, I’m on Abilify, Lamictal, and Prozac daily with Xanax as needed.
Here’s the deal: I’ve been having anxious thoughts, suicidal thoughts, obsessive thoughts, intrusive thoughts, scary thoughts—you name it. I had a 45-minute session with my psychiatrist—the longest session I’ve ever had with him—in which I detailed the “tapes” that play in my head on a loop:
- I’m a horrible mother/parent.
- Everyone would be better off without me.
- I can’t do this mothering thing.
- I just can’t deal.
Prozac (fluoxetine) is to help the anxiety and postpartum hormonal changes with Xanax (alprazolam) as needed to target the intense panic attacks. Abilify (aripiprazole) and Lamictal (lamotrigine) are mood stabilizers for my bipolar disorder to help prevent the excessive mood swings I experience. I’ve been on Lamictal before and experienced severe brain fog on higher doses, but my choices were to either go back on Lamictal or take lithium and Depakote that requires regular blood work to prevent drug toxicity. When I was in the behavioral hospital back in 2006, I saw what lithium and Depakote did to a patient there and that combination of drugs really freaks me out.
I’ve also been using essential oils, thanks to a dear friend, to add a more natural way of managing my moods in addition to my medication. She sells doTERRA essential oils, which so far have been very helpful. I have lavender, which helps my insomnia; an oil blend called Elevation, which helps elevate my mood; and another oil blend called Serenity, which helps me battle anxiety. I also have a sample of the oil blend Balance, which is supposed to help my mood swings, but I have a hard time remembering to use that oil (usually because I’m in such a dark place that I forget about things that could help me).
If I’m honest, sometimes I don’t want to climb out of that dark place. It may not be safe, but it feels comfortable and familiar. Postpartum depression, anxiety, and OCD is new to me, but bipolar depression and generalized anxiety are not. I have been in dark, lonely places before and I know what to expect. It’s so much more effort to try and pull myself out of a pit than to simply sit and wallow.
My story, My Journey Through Infertility and PPD: Fighting My Way Through New Motherhood, has been posted on the blog of Postpartum Progress, a non-profit organization that seeks to raise money and awareness for people who struggle with perinatal and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. I feel very blessed to share this ongoing story with a wider community of people, but I also feel like a bit of a fraud. I can’t hold the “I’m back” sign yet. I’m still fumbling through the dark, trying to shine a flashlight on the ground that illuminates my next step. And that light is very dim.
I don’t think of myself as a warrior mom, but I guess I am. I’m battling and waging war with this depressive and anxiety-inducing foe that seeks to take me down. And I have to fight. My family is depending on me. I don’t know how long I’ll last before I defeat it or it defeats me.