Thursday, December 18, 2008

Trials and Blessings

Sorry - I sorta' disappeared for a while. That last post threw me for a loop. I guess I was only mildly prepared for the comments I received. I knew that not everybody would agree with me. And that's ok. But what I was most unprepared for was the amazing support of my friends. It was so surreal to just sit back and watch them come to my defense. I feel so blessed and so lucky that I have such an incredible support system. I feel blessed to have "imperfect" friends - because I don't know that I would have had the courage to do any of the things I talked about without knowing that I was not alone. I feel like I've grown so much closer to so many people through this experience and I just feel so blessed.

So to update on my doctor/med status: I found a new doctor who was amazing. He listened to me and validated me. He diagnosed me with post-partum depression. He said it is very common to experience post-partum even this late (Anna being 11 months old). It is a very real disease and very treatable disease. He said that it is very common for women to require medication to help them through it. He prescribed Cymbalta (which is actually one of the most mild anti-depressants on the market - very few side effects, etc.) and said that it would help me get to a point where I can deal with the day-to-day and eventually get to a point where I can get up and exercise! I also got some very interesting information about the studies that were done on Cymbalta: out of 1200 patients in one study, 43% of those patients on Cymbalta were able to go off of it after only 8 weeks! Now, I am not setting a time limit for myself, but I feel confident that I am not going to need it forever. I feel like my therapy has helped me through so much already and the Cymbalta is only going to help me even more.

So, that's where I'm at. Thanks again to all my friends and family who displayed such an outpouring of love on my behalf. I don't think I even have words to express how grateful I am to you. It is so true that through our greatest trials come our greatest blessings.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Another Confession and a Soap Box

I've decided it is time to make another confession. I have not been doing well for a couple of months now. At first, I blamed my ditziness and my overall unhappiness on my lack of sleep. But then Anna started sleeping again and I still felt terrible. So I powered through it and hoped it would just get better. Well, it hasn't. I sometimes can see myself as a volcano - and the lava is boiling at about eye level - and at any minute, it could erupt straight out the top of my head and I'll completely lose it. The things that I have been appropriately frustrated with (i.e. Haylie's potty issues, etc.) now seem unbearable. I want to scream. I want to run. I want to crawl into a dark hole and never come out. So after talking with some friends, I began to realize that maybe I would benefit from seeing a therapist. The word "depression" hadn't entered my mind yet - but I thought if I talked to someone, I could figure out what I could do to make myself feel better, and therefore make myself a better wife and mother. I am usually a very confident person and I usually don't worry what other people think. But lately I second guess everything - and have been very down on myself. So anyway, the week before I met with my therapist I started to think that there was more to it - chemically. I would have the strangest mood swings and realized rather quickly that I was dealing with depression. Whether it is "post-partum" depression or what, I do not know. But what I do know is that my hormones are OUT OF WHACK! I just stopped nursing Anna and the BC pill I've been on is not the full dosage or whatever. the first week I met with my therapist, she suggested that I see my doctor because it was clear to her that I would benefit from 1) a new BC pill and 2) an anti-depressant to help me get back on track.

*Side note: I had the most amazing doctor. I've been going to him since we moved to Fresno - he just sent out letters to all his patients stating that he was switching to a new "concierge" system of doctoring. That means that to be a patient in his practice, you have to pay an extra fee on top of all your copays etc. He is doing that so he can be true to himself and the reason he became a doctor - to help each patient to the best of his ability and not to pack in as many patients as possible and provide mediocre care. So I support his decision to do that, but I am very sad because I cannot afford to be a part of his new practice.

So I tried to get in with a new doctor who came highly recommended but his practice is full, so his office recommended another doc in the same facility. So I went to him. Well, now I know why his practice is not full. It was a very upsetting and frustrating visit. Let me preface this by saying: I am not the type of person that thinks a pill will solve all my problems. I want to get to the root of the problem - that is why when I had bad headaches I started seeing a chiropractor instead of popping more pills. That is why I wanted to see a therapist before I decided to get on an anti-depressant. I think that so many of our physical / emotional issues stem from other issues. With that said, I know that I need a pill right now. I know that just talking about my problems is not enough right now. I know that my body is physically incapable of fixing itself right now. So I met with my new doctor and told him how I have been feeling. I informed him that my therapist recommended I see him for some additional help. His response (in a nutshell): "You need to exercise. If you exercise just 3 times a week for 30 minutes at a time you'll feel much better". Uh...right. Oh and he did say he would get me a new BC pill and that would help. But come on. Ok...I agree - I could use some exercise and it probably would help, but right now - there are days that it is a chore just to get out of bed...and you really expect me to get up and exercise? Did you hear a word I just said to you? He said that he doesn't like to just jump to the prescription pad whenever someone has a problem. MY THERAPIST...DID YOU HEAR ME??? I SAID THERAPIST...RECOMMENDED I SEE YOU. I AM NOT JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS HERE...I NEED HELP!!! It's not like I'm asking for some drug like Ritalin that I can abuse. I am asking for something to help me get ahold of myself!!! That is what I should have said. Instead I held back my tears and left his office quietly. I got in my car and bawled my eyes out feeling totally helpless and totally defeated. Then of course, I started second guessing myself again - maybe he's right...maybe I am just looking for an easy way out. So I called a friend and she helped me to remember that I need to trust my intuition. Some doctor I just met has no right to tell me what I do or don't need. I know what I need and I have a right to demand it. Needless to say, I'm on the hunt for another doctor.

I have discovered a lot of things recently: 1) I am not man-bashing here but it is impossible for a man to know what it is like to deal with the hormones that come with just plain being a woman, let alone a woman who has gone through pregnancy, a c-section, nursing, etc. 2) It is hard for someone who has never been depressed or experienced those feelings of depression to understand what it is like. It does not make you stupid or uncaring, it is just a feeling that cannot be understood until you're there. 3) There is still a stigma associated with depression and therapy that I do not understand. I have found myself, at times, feeling embarrassed, or wondering what people will think of me. That is why I decided to post this. I want that stigma to be gone. I don't want to feel embarrassed that I am in therapy - going to therapy, to me, means that I want to be better. I want to be the best I can be - and I can't do it on my own. How can that be viewed as anything but healthy?? Maybe there is somebody else out there who has felt the same way I do and is too embarrassed to do anything about it. This needs to be discussed and it needs to be OK. 4) If you think that So-and-So's family is perfect and they don't have problems - think again. Nobody is perfect. We all have issues. It is what we decide to do with those issues that is important. That is why we are here. To face trials, to overcome those trials and become more like Christ. None of us is there yet.

So that sort of turned into a little soap box speech. These are just things that I have been feeling very strongly lately. I did not write this blog so that people would feel sorry for me, or worry about me, or pity me. I wrote it so that if there is anyone out there that is feeling depressed and alone, you know that you are not. It is my hope that maybe I can help someone just as my friends have helped me.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Mean Tree

Yesterday we went to Woodward Park with Eric's sister and her family to take pictures. Both families needed pictures taken so we took them for each other. I'll be posting our picture here on the blog shortly, but first I wanted to post this picture of Haylie. Not 2 seconds after we were finished with our photo shoot, she saw a squirrel playing under a pine tree and decided to run after it. She ran under the tree to get it and BAM! She ran right into a branch that had been cut - so it was just a hard, round piece of branch. (Thank goodness this happened AFTER our photo shoot!! It was difficult enough to get her to smile without an injury!)

If she had hit the branch just a teeny tiny bit higher up on her face, I can only imagine what kind of damage that could have done to her eye. Whew! Even so, she got a scratch and it turned the bottom of her eye a little bit purple.

So after it happened she was talking about the squirrel and how she got hurt by the tree. I said, "What a mean tree!" So today she told her nursery teachers at church that a mean tree hurt her! I thought that was so cute.