Antidepressants: A Love Story

Cause cheap moscato and a discount bag of irregular truffles only fixes so much.

Cause cheap moscato and a discount bag of irregular truffles only fixes so much.

 

I began my on again, off again relationship with anti depressants my first year in college. I was about as awkward and lost as any other freshman and though I’d settled into the routine, I was often overwhelmed and so rattled by anxiety that I would just shut down and not even leave my dorm room. I had a few friends but soon they wrote me off as a slacker and our visits became few and far between. I retreated further into my own darkness as the semester drew to a close. I wasn’t even going to bother worrying about my grades because as far as classes went, I was rarely there. I remember crying while I packed for Winter Break — everyone else was packing to go home to visit and gush over their first adventures in college life. I was packing knowing I wouldn’t return — not anytime soon anyway.

 

Once the dust settled and my family and I worked to get to the bottom of things, I was placed on my first antidepressant. I knew to not expect any real changes for at least a few weeks and that there could be less than pleasant side effects. I started a low dose of Celexa and a few weeks in I was… disappointed. The small placebo effect it had had was gone and I was left in the darkness yet again. I wouldn’t know what a normal felt like for another six years.

 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to push drugs. But I will say Prozac. Changed. My Life… for a nice long while. It was so good to wake up and go to work and not be constantly run by emotions and anxieties. It was almost like a rebirth. I was able to find the pleasure in small things. I understood enjoying time with myself and with friends. People recognized my different outlook and that made me more likeable. The only problem was my fear of stigma. I was soooo ashamed to be on antidepressants. I was working in mental health so I knew the general consensus on mental health consumers. So, with that in my pocket and a Prozac prescription waning in effectiveness I bid goodbye to my “meds.” Even now I HATE THE TERM MEDS.

 

No matter how much I hate them, the truth is I may need them. Earlier this week I discussed how I’ve been struggling with things. All sorts of worries flood my mind and interrupt my sleep. These stresses eventually manifest themselves with physical illness when I’m not careful. Worse still, my children don’t get the benefit of a whole, happy mommy. After careful talks with my doctors and family, I have decided to love my antidepressants again. I know I will struggle with feeling inadequate for needing them from time to time. And I know that I will still be angry about the remarks made about people who depend on them. But stigma and pride be damned, I want my normal and my children deserve it. In 2012, The Huffington Post reported on a study that found stay-at-home moms were more depressed than moms who went to work. In my case, the issue was present prior to my having children. I will say that the conditions for a stay-at-home allow for more time to turn in towards self and isolate so I do believe the report’s findings. This isn’t to say that being a stay -at-home mom is a bad thing or that all SAHMs are depressed. I just see how it could happen.

 

In the end, working or not, mother or not, woman or not, if you are depressed and you know it, know that you don’t have to be. You are NOT alone. In fact, according to the CDC 1 in 10 adults suffer from depression. But these are only reported cases. So many people do not seek out help because of shame or because they cannot afford to. I refuse to be one of those people any longer. There is a life and I want to experience every part of it in the clearest and fullest of ways. Some people may think that makes me weak. There are times I may even think it makes me weak. But then I’ll remember how much weaker I am without it. And everything will be okay.

 

 

Signature

Things Every Stay at Home Mom Should Consider Before Going Back to Work

I am one of many women who has been fortunate enough to be able to stay home with my children through their infancy. I am blessed with a husband who was willing to give up some things he enjoyed and a family who also has made sacrifices so our children could have a lot of what our single income household could not provide. But as the children get older and more eager to socialize I have come to the conclusion that it is time for me to direct my efforts towards bringing home a little extra bacon. As we get birthday party invites and requests for dance lessons, I find myself biting my nails and pouring over the accounts. Raising happy, involved, well-rounded children can cost.

Going back to work is not something I take lightly. No one should; don’t think most people could… take it lightly, I mean. There’s a lot to think about before you send out that first flurry of resumes — personal feelings, finances, time management. Before you go diving headfirst into the daily grind, these are some things you want to consider.

Is it worth the money?
Yay, you’ll get a paycheck! Subtract sitter for kid(s), gas to get around, doubles of most necessities so the sitter has one as well, lunch for yourself on occasion (cause you didn’t have time to make it) and take out dinners on occasion (cause you didn’t have time to make that either). What’s left in your account after you do all that?! -$232.00? It could happen if you don’t think in terms of all the extra you’ll need versus what you’ll be getting. Make sure the ends justify the means.

Is it worth the stress?
Initially I was thinking, “I’m up anyway.” Truth is, I’m not up at 5:45 which is when I will have to wake up if I want to have myself work ready, my kids sitter ready, everyone fed and out the door by 7:15. And the typical time of getting off at 5 PM lost its luster when I thought of crawling through traffic, picking up kids, and getting home no earlier than 6… only to make dinner. If you are not the type of person who can go, go, go on a DAILY basis, consider that in your job hunt. Part time might be the better way to ease back in especially if handling stress and children isn’t your strong point.

Can you live with yourself?
I was surprised at how quickly the pang of guilt I was feeling dissipated. I was so sad to think of leaving my littles with someone else but I thought about it and realized it could very well make me a better mother. I may be a little more attentive when time is a commodity. I may be a little less stressed when there’s more in the pocketbook. I may be a little happier because I’m shaping MY life and shaping them. That is my reality. Yours may be different.

Can they live with you?
I have to admit my feelings were a bit hurt when my daughter told me she wouldn’t be sad if mommy went back to work. However, the greater part of me felt a relief. I know it seems silly to want a toddler’s blessing but her opinion and happiness matters to me. If I thought that she wasn’t ready for it or that her brother would suffer, I wouldn’t dream of doing it. But they seem as eager to go about their lives as I am to enhance my own. Again, this is my reality. Yours may be different. 

When all is said and done, only you can say when you are ready to get back to the rat-race. We do live in a society that affords all types of flexibility. Virtual work, writing, data entry are all ways to work from home. Telecommuting is a great option. There are also many workplaces that offer perks and assistance for employees with children. Weigh all your options and then step on out there. There’s still a world waiting for you.
*For great work-at-home job leads, I recommend visiting Workplace Like Home. They have solid advice and opportunities in the forums.

Signature

I Don’t Get No Respect! A Stay-at-Home-Mom’s Perspective

I don’t get up at 5:45 am and stagger into the kitchen in need of coffee. I don’t attempt to entertain a baby while curling my hair, applying make-up and playing tug of war with a one size too small pair of Spanx. I don’t dash out of the house only to get in the car and find I left my purse… or my coat… or my crying kid, waiting by the door. I don’t place her into the hands of a kind but “not really my family” type person and ride away feeling just as bad as my babe. I don’t go put in a full day in a cubicle and get stressed by deadlines and downsizing and corporate culture and the like. I don’t rush to the sitter to arrive 15 minutes late and end up writing a check for an additional $40.00 due to an overtime charge. I don’t rush up to my front door only to realize I left my purse, or my coat, or my crying kid sitting in the car.

I have nothing but respect for those that do… but I don’t, and I make no apologies for it.

First things first, that kind of rat-race routine was never my thing. Even before I had my daughter, I was the kind of person that felt dampened and dimmed in the confines of office walls. The life would literally drain from my body as I entered what felt like fluorescent filled daytombs. I could survive in that world — but I couldn’t thrive.

And then the economy happened which made getting work difficult… and then I was blessed with Addy. And while I know that the modern woman can do it all, I DON’T. And I’m not sure I could as I know myself and my limits. And I don’t think I should since the ends would not justify the means — breaking even to be exhausted and have no time for family is hardly “winning.” And I refuse to feel bad about it. And I’m so tired of being made to feel like I am inadequate, or lazy, or slacking. I mean, I’ve had my years of slacking don’t get me wrong, but the last two years do not, by any means, fall into that category. I have taken a little time to re-evaluate and replan. I am not sorry for taking pause to make sure I point myself in the RIGHT direction this time. It’s not just me anymore, after all.

I am GRATEFUL to have spent the first year with my daughter. I know that there are many that say they would have if they could have, but the truth of it is, a lot of women wouldn’t make it. There ARE sacrifices that are made when there is only one income. For example, going out and indulging in the little pleasures like manicures or movies (things that are already difficult with a child) becomes virtually impossible and happens only through miraculous acts of god. The walls DO start to close in and the park nearby does get boring… for both me and baby. I officially refer to smelly things as “tink-tink” and hum the theme song to every PBS show ever made while in the shower. I don’t remember what adult conversation is like. It does sometimes seem like Mama is all I am. I feel as though I am viewing the world from 2 feet tall all the time — and the world in return makes me feel about two inches high.

All I’m saying is show a stay at home mom a little respect. I don’t judge the working women of the world. I commend them and in many ways admire them. Sooo don’t judge me because I don’t do the 9 to 5 shuffle.. Whether you think so or not, I work damn hard. I wake up at work — go to bed at work. I get no pay or promotions and please know there is no union or guaranteed one hour lunches. My boss yells and screams at me and is never satisfied so she turns to a bottle. She never says thank you and probably won’t until she is headed out on her own. It’s a job I do strictly for the love but it doesn’t make me any less than any other woman, any other mom. If you think it does, then shame on YOU. It’s your problem. Not mine.

Lovesies,
Krissy

Signature