Sharing the picture of MY pill bottle with MY medication inside is much harder than I expected. I had postpartum depression and have been very vocal about it, but something about this picture makes it real and true? I feel exposed. As sad as it is, mental health stigma is real, even against myself. . .
UPDATE 2017: I originally hit publish on the post in 2014. I have BEAT postpartum depression! Much to my surprise I have had a second child, a sweet baby girl! BUT — I have continued Zoloft. It was a choice made by my body as I also have Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). Yay! I have an illness that is managed with medication. I don’t consider it a failure to NEED to treat my depression with medication because I am living a wonderfully happy fulfilled life, that I am able to fully participate in. A life that I did not think was possible. Just know that if medication is whats working for you. That is OK! You are winning!
Wow. Today is a day that I will never forget. I am 1 year 9 months and 26 days postpartum. I began treatment for Postpartum Depression & Anxiety in July of 2013.
Today, is the first day that I have not felt the “need” to take Sertraline (Zoloft).
Over the past 12-ish weeks I have become intensely in tune with my body. Possibly to a fault.
On week 9 of the 12 Week Body Transformation there was an undeniable shift. I just knew I was ready to move toward the next step of recovery from this beast and wean myself from medication.
I wont lie I did experience glimmers of fear. A bunch of “what if’s” flooded my mind, but just like I knew Ari was ready for Pre-School I just knew I was ready to take this BIG step as well.
How I Discontinued Zoloft
I admit — I did not consult my Psychiatrist, but we had discussed the possibility of discontinuation previously and how that would look. Also, being that in my past life I was a nurse I felt confident moving forward. 🙂
It’s no exact science
- I went a few days taking only 1 pill
- then 1/2 a pill
- then today…NO pill
Each morning I would evaluate how I felt and I was honest with myself. If I felt I needed that one pill or 1/2 pill I took it. No guilt.
I wasn’t evaluating whether I felt “depressed” or my “feelings” per se. The only way I know to put it is that I was evaluating my inner-self. Asking myself if I needed help that day.
I attempted to quit Zoloft in the past. Because I felt I SHOULD. Not because I felt my body was READY. This made all the difference.
How I Feel After Discontinuing Zoloft
I feel like a woman.
A good friend of mine who had a similar postpartum experience said, after she discontinued her medication that she had a “fuller range of emotions” and I agree. My edges aren’t as sharp and I LOVE it!
Hubby made me cry today (not on purpose)! At first I had a flashback to the many terror filled tears that poured from my eyes while my depression and anxiety were at their worse. But this felt different — I am emotional but not depressed and it was AMAZING. I actually thanked him for that experience. In that moment he thought I needed to reevaluate the decision to stop the meds. Ha!
Also I am sleeping like an adult! Meaning I’m getting DEEP sleep and I fall asleep quickly. The whole sleeping like a baby thing is a total lie … Babies don’t sleep! At least my baby didn’t sleep.
Zoloft Withdrawal Symptoms In Myself & My Nursling
- One interesting “side effect” I’ve noticed is numbness around my mouth only when I move quickly and only for a split second. It’s kind of that light-headed feeling you may experience if you stand too quickly but for me it’s a tingling around my mouth with an audible “woosh” sound?? They are referred to as “brain zaps” around the internet.
- The evening of the day that I was completely weaned, my toddler experienced nausea and vomiting. Only for that one evening. He had no fever and acted pretty normal. The the only thing I could think was that he was feeling the shift. Which of course upset me, as Zoloft is “supposed” to be one of the safest SSRI’s for nursing moms — especially since he is such a big boy (33 pounds at 1-year-old) the minuscule amounts that he would get via milk should have been negligible. Could it be a coincidence… of course but who really knows…
A few other symptoms I experience were:
- Bloating… like my pants feel uncomfortable and I feel fat.
- Hot Flashes
Even though I feel guilty that Ari was affected, the guilt doesn’t dig as deeply. Because I know that if it weren’t for this medication, he may not have a mommy at all.
On the other side of PPD
I beat that SOB…
I. Beat. It…
I am in no way AT ALL the woman I was before pregnancy. I am so much better. I have a story. I have depth…I see and approach the world in a whole new way. I have an un-measurable compassion for others… the world and MYSELF!
The Lord has absolutely SCHOOLED me over the last 2 plus years. I have been through it… and you know what? I would not change one second of misery and suffering I endured. It a purification of sorts.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. 4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. 5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
My New “Drugs” Of Choice. The Three F’s
Food, Fitness and Faith!
Fitness- It’s no accident that I felt the strength to wean from my anti-depressant while in the midst of a 12 Week Transformation. We all hear that exercise produces endorphins. Fitness HAS to be a part of my life, in order for me to have life.
Food- My Nutrition has greatly improved this year. We are now vegetarian and I’m a super-food junkie. I love Green Vibrance by Vibrant Health. I drink it every single day.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”
Faith- I make sure to get a full dose of God every single morning to start my day with love in my heart and on my mind. I have had the divine pleasure of stumbling upon “A Course In Miracles” and It has added such clarity and meaning to my life here on earth. My outlook on life really has immeasurable power.
“I am only here to be truly helpful. I am here to represent Him who sent me. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me. I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me. I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal.”
— Excerpted from A Course in Miracles
Mental Illness is Real & Medication Really Does Help
I will say this.
When I was in the pits I KNEW I needed help. When I started taking Zoloft I felt better almost immediately. Because my body NEEDED those chemicals to pull through.
Once my body began to heal, once I began ovulating again and my hormones “settled” a little I KNEW my body didn’t NEED them anymore and again I now feel even better almost immediately.
Once my son is done nursing my hormones will shift again and hopefully I feel even better!
Lets try to drop the judgement a guilt that comes with seeking help. Trust yourself, have compassion on yourself!
I have Climbed Out Of the Darkness. I am back! I am one emotional woman over here… for good reason! This video means so much!