In case you missed it, here is Part One.
Our oldest child Jake VanDyck was born in September of 2000, when I was 22 years old. I went into labour with him when I was only 30 weeks pregnant so I was hospitalized for a week and put on bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy and of course, Jake ended up arriving a week after his due date.
The birth went smoothly, and everyone was so excited for our new addition. I couldn’t stop staring at his little face–I was so in love. I had gained 30 lb during my pregnancy, and had lost over 20 lb by the time I came home from the hospital. My boobs were huge, my belly was squishy, and my heart was full.
Then? All of a sudden, out of nowhere, I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t sleep because I knew that in 2-3 hours I would need to get up to nurse Jake and so my mind and body wouldn’t settle. I stayed awake until the next feeding, thinking I would for sure fall asleep after that one.
I didn’t. I stayed awake until the next one. And the next. And the next. I was awake for an entire weekend, pale and cold with anxiety levels so high that I felt like I was dying. My skin was cool and damp, and I had dropped 5 lb in three days.
I brought Jake to his checkup and my doctor took one look at me and made a phone call to the Reproductive Psychiatry Clinic at BC Women’s Hospital in Vancouver, and got me an emergency appointment.
My visit with the Psychiatrist went well. I was desperate for relief, and she wrote me a prescription for Ativan (short-term immediate relief from panic attacks) and Paxil (an anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication geared toward people with anxiety and OCD). It took a while for the Paxil to make a difference (on average, the first week of side effects are horrible but then just as they start to go away, the benefits of the medication start kicking in at around 3-4 weeks). I hung in there and only took an Ativan when I really needed it (but get this… I was too anxious to take the Ativan. HA!).
My weight was below my pre-pregnancy weight with all of this stress, but once my medication started to work I began to enjoy food again and my appetite leveled out. I so desperately needed the relief that the Paxil gave me, that I didn’t even care about the whole medication thing, or the stigma attached to it. I couldn’t give a shit. I needed it so damn bad.
I felt like Suzy again. I smiled more. I laughed my big laugh. I held Jake closer, breathed him in deeper, loved him larger. I was back. And then of course, I got pregnant with Freddy.
Has anyone else been on anti-depressants? What kind?
I’ve never been diagnosed with depression, only anxiety but anti-depressants work on both.
Are you a stress-eater or a stress-starver?
I can’t eat when I’m stressed out. The only thing I can choke down when I’m off-my-face stressed out are McDonald’s cheeseburgers. I wish I was kidding.