Depression is a real struggle that some people have to deal with. I was one of those people and it was awful. There were three phases in my life that I had to deal with it and I just wanted to share.
Depression phase #1
My first bout of it occurred in early 2010 when I was coming out of my anorexia phase. I hated my new body and myself. All I wanted was to not be on this earth anymore.
It was a horrible feeling. The rage I felt towards myself was an intense gnawing deep within me. I wanted to fly free from the life I felt that I was mistakenly stuck in.
I would not wish the feeling on anyone else. One day I decided to email my mother and pour out my feelings/emotions to her. It made her really upset to know that I felt that way and she suggested me going in to see my doctor.
I did not want to do that at first because I knew that he would probably have me go on anti-depressants. Those medications typically cause weight gain and that was the last thing I wanted. After a while, I decided that I needed to be on them anyway.
I had to be on a medication. I NEEDED to be on medication. The committing of suicide was nearing and I could not do that to my family or myself.
The doctor put me on Celexa. This anti-depressant is less likely to cause weight gain than some of the others (see here: https://www.healthline.com/health/antidepressants-that-cause-weight-gain#less-weight-gain ). This made me feel a little better about taking it.
I was on Celexa for a few months and did not gain any weight which was great. My depression lifted and I felt great. The side effects I experienced was a dry mouth at times as well as some sexual problems (TMI: goodbye orgasms!).
I decided to come off of Celexa because I wanted to see if I would feel better without it. I did! It really helped me get through my eating disorder recovery though and for that I am grateful.
Not every anti-depressant is good for everyone but I would highly recommend trying Celexa.
Depression phase #2
My second phase of depression was when I was 38 weeks pregnant. I know that this was due to my hormones though.
The fact that it was due to my hormones made it feel different than my first bout with depression. At least that is what I think. It was terrible nonetheless.
It felt like there was literally a black cloud hanging over me. Just like in the anti-depressant medication commercials. It was the strangest feeling ever.
My world became devoid of bright colors. Hopelessness seeped into the air and strangled me. That is how it felt anyways.
For whatever reason, during this time I decided to read a book about a man that was suffering from AIDS (see here: https://www.amazon.com/Borrowed-Time-Memoir-Paul-Monette/dp/0156005816). This made things even worse! It is a good book if you are not depressed though.
What kept me going was the idea that I was going to give birth to my miracle baby soon.
Depression Phase #3
Labor was horrible due to the fact that I have almost no tolerance for pain. When I got the epidural though, all became right in the world. There was no more pain!
I was so excited to see my son and was actually smiling through the pushing. It was not until about a year ago that my husband told me that I actually was bleeding a lot more than what is normal and the healthcare staff were getting worried. Obviously everything went fine after that.
After pushing out my little guy, for some reason I did not feel happy. My husband showed me a picture he took of him on the weight scale and I pushed the phone away.
I was supposed to be happy but all I felt was sadness. My son was here and I did not want anything to do with him. It kills me to admit that because I know that people won’t understand and think I am a horrible person.
What I was dealing with was called postpartum depression. It is a very real thing and affects a lot of women. There is more awareness of it these days and good medical professionals monitor women for it for months after giving birth just to be on the safe side.
When I had to stay in the hospital for a couple days after giving birth, I was so unbelievably sad. The nurses kept trying to help me breast feed him and I did not want him on my chest at all.
There was one afternoon where he kept crying while laying next to me in the hospital crib and I just stared at him. I did not want to pick him up. Then my husband took him into his arms which soothed our son enough for him to stop crying. I felt like a complete failure.
The next two months were like this. I did not feel connected to him as much as I wanted to be. What made things even worse was that I was having a hard time breast feeding despite trying to do it as much as possible.
I had heard and read all about how breast milk has so many benefits so the fact that I could only produce one ounce per day was a horrible feeling. After a while the sound the breast pump machine made drove me insane and I ended up throwing it on the floor.
I never told anyone around me how I was feeling during those two months. The last thing that I wanted to do was be on an anti-depressant and I had a feeling my family would highly suggest I do that.
All I wanted was to push through and start really enjoying motherhood. I was hoping that the depression would go away on its own. Thankfully, it did but I know that other women have it even worse than I did.
I feel for all mothers who had to go through or are going through postpartum depression. It sucks.
About that breastfeeding issue…
It was not until a year later that I learned that my difficulty to breast feed was due to me having tuberous/hypoplastic breasts (see here: https://kellymom.com/bf/got-milk/supply-worries/insufficient-glandular-tissue/). This means that my breasts have an inadequate amount of glandular tissue making it hard to produce milk.
I always knew there was something wrong with my breasts. They looked strange and ugly to me. No guys ever shamed me for them though which seems strange looking back on it.
There are worse cases than mine out there unfortunately and they cause tremendous self-esteem problems for women. A breast augmentation is something that a lot of us think about not only to look better but to fit better into bras. Wearing standard bras really hurt when you have this condition.
Just the fact that it is considered a “condition” and “deformity” makes it an even harder pill to swallow. It makes the cost of a breast augmentation even higher than the cost of a regular one where a woman has breasts that developed normally.
I often think about getting an augmentation but the cost and the possibility of looking worse than I already do, gives me pause. Once I get my finances in order I might look for surgeons near me that are experienced with doing breast augmentations for these types of breasts.
Currently on Lamictal
I was experiencing evening seizures about a year after giving birth. The doctor decided to prescribe me a medication called Lamictal and I have been on it ever since.
Lamictal is used in the treatment of seizures, bipolar disorder and depression. I take 200 mg of it each day. This is considered a dosage on the lower end for seizures and on the higher end if you are treating bipolar or depression with it.
It has been great for my mood and seizures. My PMS mood swings have decreased by a lot which has been good for the people around me during that time. I am also less rigid in my thoughts and actions as I was before.
In terms of side effects, I do have some. I have noticed my cognition is a little funny which is unfortunately normal for these types of medications. The cognitive issues I have include losing my keys a lot, leaving the last letter off of some words when I write things down and word-find issues when I speak.
These cognition side effects are annoying at times but I will not be coming off of the medication anytime soon. If I was planning on attending college, this would be worrisome as I would probably would not do very good!
Weight gain is something that I absolutely do not want from a medication. The great thing about Lamictal is that weight gain is really uncommon. Sexual side effects are also uncommon as well.
I would recommend talking to your doctor about trying Lamictal if you are wanting to start or switch a medication (for bipolar, depression and seizure conditions).