friend on Twitter whom I have a lot of respect for told me a few days ago that taking care of myself is one of the biggest gifts I can give my daughter. Reading that really made me think. I’ve kind of put taking care of my mental health on the backburner since she was born, even going as far as letting an Rx run out before calling the pharmacy for a refill.
Yeah. I can’t do that anymore.
I can’t remember if I’ve said this before (and can’t be bothered to check, I’m typing this while the baby is napping and that is precious time that cannot be wasted), but just before I got pregnant, I finally found my “perfect brew” – two meds that worked together to treat all my problems perfectly. The second even canceled out the first’s worst side effect. My doctor had no idea how I got so lucky, considering #2 had none of the properties that normally take care of that side effect. But hey, I wasn’t gonna question it. I went through hell to find what helped me best, from trying out meds that made my anxiety level skyrocket (you really don’t want to know what that feels like), to being prescribed an MAOI, which come with a booklet of possible side effects and foods that MUST be avoided while you take it lest you die a horrible, horrible death (okay, I’m exaggerating a bit, but seriously. Death). Very close to the top of the BAD FOOOOOOD list was beer. That… that was the most terrible, horrible thing ever. EVER. (Not exaggerating.) But I digress – perfect brew. Of course, as luck would have it, #2 in that concoction comes with a big, definite, NO TAKING WHILE PREGNANCY sticker.
So taking care of myself while pregnant was hard. And taking myself afterwards was hard, too, but I was finally able to go back on my “perfect brew”. And she lived happily ever after. Actually, if that was true, there’d be no need to blog about it. Ha!
Yeah, it wasn’t so perfect anymore. The horrible, no-good, very bad side-effect #2 had countered before was back with a vengeance. And 0f course, the symptoms that had led me to start #2 to begin with were back too. Joy. We thought about upping the dosage (I was on the very low end), but considering I’m still nursing, the doctor didn’t recommend it. I’ve been prescribed a “new” #2 (we’ll call it #2.5 – and I’m still taking my #1, as it’s been proven that without it I’m pretty much a monster) and today is my first day on it. I have to take it in the morning because of what it does. It’s a completely different approach to my symptoms/issues/I-don’t-know-what-to-call-it and I’m a bit scared about what it’s going to do to me. On one hand, it looks perfect for the new symptoms that popped up after pregnancy (thanks, hormones). On the other hand, it comes with a possibility that it will make my anxiety skyrocket again, which is something I’d really like to not have to go through again. On the other other hand (yes, I have three), it too comes with a lengthy list of side-effects that I’ll have to watch out for. Gah. If it works, though, I might cry with joy. The new symptoms have caused a world of trouble and have been making me feel really… desperate and hopeless lately.
So why am I typing all of this? I need to start taking care of myself again, for Arya, and I’ve been thinking that a good way to do it is to talk to others about my bevy of mental issues and be able to share thoughts and hardships and just… have a support network for them. I don’t have an official diagnosis because frankly we’ve never been able to pin down exactly what my day-to-day symptoms are. Here’s what I can tell you: I initially went in for social anxiety, and that quickly evolved into mood swings, depression and lethargy, and… others. (It’s a long list.) It’s been hard – that makes me wonder if I’m just lazy, or looking for some way to excuse my shortcomings – but I know that’s not true. Well, I don’t know that, considering I struggle to convince myself of it every day, but… yeah. The “mental health” tag might become a regular on my blog, if only to chronicle my journey in finding my “perfect brew” (hold the NIN jokes – I picked “brew” for a reason), but hopefully as a place to invite discussion and maybe even encourage others to share and take some solace in knowing that they’re not alone (hi!). Particularly, I hope to reach out to moms who are going through the same thing. Dealing with your brain being unwell is no fun on your own, and I can’t imagine that others who have little ones find that part of it particularly fun. (I know I don’t.)
I’m going on a walk today (I am, damn it!) to hopefully give my brain a power-up (exercise is not a cure for depression or anxiety on its own, but it sure as hell helps, even if only a little bit). I’m looking forward to it, but I have a habit of backing out of things like that. There’ll be a lot of self-talk involved. Then again, there’s always a lot of self-talk involved.
On a happier note, I think I’m getting better at doing my own hair. (Whaaaaat? Impossible.)