Tuesday, May 19, 2009

My adventures in Post Partum Depression from A(nxiety) to Z(yprexa)

This is not an easy post to make. I'm not exactly proud of what I've been going through. But I feel that God gives us these experiences not only to make us stronger spiritually but also so that we can share them and possibly help someone else who might be going through the same thing. I'm trying not to be discouraged when I think about the fact that I'm worse today than I was two months ago. Still not able to fully care for my family or even myself. And the baby is two months old.

It started out as mild anxiety because I was worried about the cyst above the baby's eye. Then the tornadoes happened and it turned into a stronger anxiety. Then it was time for the Vandy appointments and I became a wreck, therefore developing mastitis again. By the time we had to take him in for surgery, I was a nut job. The day after that, I decided it was time to become obsessed with a new mole that had popped up on my back. I was convinced that it was melanoma. Even though the lady at the dermatologist's office insisted that it was not bad but we'd remove it for preventative purposes, I was still a wreck. It never occurred to me that I was going through a depression. Considering my history, you'd think I'd be very familiar with the signs and symptoms. Throughout all of this I was missing a lot of meals. My IBS had returned. My blood sugar was all wonky. I started having this vibrating in my body that would only go away if I ate a lot. And I wasn't hungry so that was really hard to do.

Finally, last week, I stopped sleeping. I'd notice that when I was about to fall asleep I would jerk back awake, have an adrenaline rush, and then get sick to my stomach. No amount of melatonin or calming tea would help me go to sleep and stay that way. After three nights of this, I went back to the walk in clinic where I was told to up my progesterone cream and to start taking Zoloft. Great. But I needed some sleep. I was going to lose my mind if I didn't get some and soon.

That night I took all kinds of "natural" things so that I might fall asleep. But I couldn't. The anxiety was through the roof. Finally, I got really sick, started trembling uncontrollably and eventually called 911. I was deluded. They came and took me to the hospital. They called in a psychiatrist from Nashville to come and evaluate me. He prescribed me Zyprexa. Yep, an anti psychotic. I never wanted to be in that boat again. But here I was, facing my "old" diagnosis of bi polar disorder. It tends to flare up in folks during their 30's and during times of great stress. So, maybe I really am bi polar. I don't know but I do know that it's humbling to be in that position.

I certainly got some sleep. I took it three times and decided that I didn't need it. The situation had been resolved... I'd be fine. But then I didn't sleep anymore after that. Three people had suggested to me that maybe I was having issues with my adrenals and cortisol levels. This scared the pee out of me because my mom had adrenal cancer when she died.

I started to pray. I asked for prayers in our class at church. I begged God to give me the answer. And then Sunday night I found an article explaining how blood sugar and adrenal stress can cause a cycle of sleeplessness. And of course anxiety is a huge factor in this unhealthy cycle. So, I've started taking something natural to support my adrenals and I've started taking something to regulate my blood sugar (despite being told three times that there is nothing wrong with my blood sugar). And I'm taking Natural Calm to help with my anxiety. And I'm sticking with the Zoloft and I will continue with a low dose of Zyprexa as well. I also think that I was eating too much protein and not enough complex carbohydrates. I had a HUGE bowl of popcorn before bed last night and I felt very calm and relaxed even before the meds kicked in!

Last night was a much better night. I feel good this morning. I slept nearly 12 hours. But I think that my body needed it. I feel hopeful. I feel humbled and vulnerable. My husband goes back to his other full time job today. So I'm trying not to also feel scared in addition to my other feelings.

I've yet again become a burden to my family. My husband has had to sacrifice so much in order to take care of all of us. We are looking in to food stamps and WIC. I'm not embarrassed by this but it hurts knowing that we probably wouldn't need government assistance if I wasn't a crazy person.

I realize that meds aren't the most natural or healthy thing for a person's body. But neither are nagging thoughts of death, constant anxiety, or chronic insomnia. I pray that this is only temporary and that, in time, my body will heal and start to work right on its own again. Either way, I'm clinging to my heavenly father in this time of great loneliness and strife.


  1. Don't be embarrased at all. You aren't crazy... or any crazier than any other mom of three. It's hard and you are doing all of the right things. So sorry for yoru sleepless nights. I know how hard that can be.

  2. I'm not a big fan of these drugs, but you know...sometimes you have to do what you have to do!!! Sometimes they ARE the answer.

    It sounds like things are REALLY tough for you right now. I hope they're getting better.

    I can relate to you feeling like a burden. I'm been going through some stuff right now and feel like I'm a burden. But I'm trying to push those thoughts away.

    I'm NOT a burden.

    You're NOT a burden.

    We all have our problems. And we need to be there for each other.

  3. Oh, I'm so sorry you've been suffering, Mandi! It's not your fault you've been sick, and there's nothing to be embarrassed about! You are doing the right thing by being proactive and TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF!

    I've had trouble with my blood sugar, too, even though my tests always come out normal. I know myself -- I know I am sensitive to changes that look normal on other people.

    Have you read "The Sugar Addict's Diet"? I hate the phrase "sugar addict," but she does talk about the relationship between food, brain chemicals and depression, and how seratonin is created in the brain. She believes in high protein meals three times a day, and then a potato (or similar complex carb snack) before bed. NO protein before bed, because your brain needs the sugar to create tryptophan out of the protein you ate at dinner. Something like that, I may have messed up the explanation. But it would correspond with what you experienced.

  4. {{{HUGS}}} It is good to see a post from you again, but I'm sorry it is such a somber one.

    Don't worry about the food stamps and WIC. Great help when you need them. You are not crazy. You are not crazy. you are not crazy. Repeat after me.....not crazy!

    Don't let the enemy beat you into thinking you are. You are a child of God, a praying princess of the King, and you have a beautiful family that loves you.

    Everyone has valleys. Hang in there. You'll be back on the mountain top again soon. :o) -Amy

  5. Hope you have had a better day.
    you have been in my prayers.:)

  6. So I know this is an old post but I wanted to say thank you for your honesty. It sounds alot like the place I found myself in 6 weeks ago. And I have been unofficially diagnosed with panic disorder. I just got a great workbook that my therapist recommended...just email if you are interested and I can send you the link :) I hope you are in a better place and that God has continued to heal you :)


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