Friday, February 13, 2009


I've been thinking about doing a post about depression for some time. I am kind of in two minds about it.

First of all, who has more right to be depressed than someone who has had a child die? If I want to hole up in my bedroom and watch M*A*S*H reruns and eat nothing but peanut butter sandwiches who is to say I can't? (I lost about 25 pounds the month after Gabriel died. Do you know you can lose weight by sleeping all day? Well, you can)

But here is the other side of it. At some point I need to put the peanut butter down, turn off the TV and get out again. I can't tell you when it is the right time to do that. Or even that you should. But for me, I knew it was time.

My doctor had put me on Zoloft before I even left the hospital. With my history, he just wanted me to have something to take the edge off. To make the highs not so high, to make the lows not so low. Tell a mom grieving her baby that there is a way to make the "lows not so low." I was scared not to take it. You mean if I don't take meds I could feel even crappier than I do now? Is that even possible?

Meds didn't really do anything for me. I didn't take them very long.

I never did try therapy. Maybe I should have. I never went to a support meeting in real life. It seemed that I was trying to schedule my grief to fall into 'every other Thursday from 7-8:30 pm'. And to talk about it in real life was way way too sad.

Some people DO respond well to therapy. Fantastic! I'd love to hear how you find a therapist you trust and relate to. I know I don't seem it but I am actually a very private person. It is easier to blog about my feelings than to share them face to face.

Instead, I turned to SHARE. The internet. Reading as many books as possible as I could. Trying to feel better.

When you are depressed, it is important to get help SOMEWHERE. So many times it seems that depression is just in my head. That I should be able to 'think happy thoughts' and get over it.

I did quite a bit of research online. And you know what?

Depression is considered a disease. Every bit as 'legitimate' as any other disease or other medial issue. If someone had a broken leg would I tell them to 'think happy thoughts and try to get over it'. No, I'd get them the help they need.

So how do you know if you are depressed rather than just feeling sad? This is the checklist provided by web md

difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
fatigue and decreased energy
feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
irritability, restlessness
loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
overeating or appetite loss
persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Sound familiar? These are also the signs and mindset of someone grieving.

I know I am starting that slippery slide to depression by some other signs. They are a little more subtle.

I start hearing everything with a critical ear. My husband asks "What's for dinner?" and I take it as a criticism. My mom says "I haven't talked to you for awhile" and I take it as a criticism.

I start being 'less careful'. Like I don't buckle my seatbelt. I don't stop completely at stopsigns.

Honestly, I think if someone is questioning if they need help they probably do. Ask someone to help you get the help you need. Tell your spouse or your mom or your best friend. Call your family doctor or your OB.

If you are having thoughts of suicide PLEASE call someone asap- the suicide hotline in your city or a close friend.

You can get more info on depression at web md

I hope today is gentle for you.


Unknown said...

I started taking antidepressants just before I found out I was pregnant. I changed to something different when I was pregnant and it worked the same as the one before. After Kenner passed away, my husband said that i needed to go back to the dr to see what he can do. We decided to try another pill and it has been working better. Honestly i can tell when I have taken them and when i have not. I know it sounds crazy but, that is how I feel. My husband also can tell if i have or not. I love 15 pounds the month kenner passed away and I have gained it all back. :(
I still have my days where i just dont want to get out of bed. Normally its a day I have to work and so that helps me leave the house. something that I noticed really helps. My husband and I decided to go to cousiling and we have talked about dealing with grief in there and I feel it has really helped with the loss. We just go through LDS family services. When you call they ask you what you are going for to find you the best person to help you. Anyways You always know the best things to post when I need them, thank you for helping me through my grief.

Ter said...

I have never taken any antidepressants. My take on it is that I just want to feel WHATEVER I am going to feel, especially in relation to my daughter (and my husband). I *need* to feel whatever feelings I will feel because of what happened to them. What happened to me, loosing them. Because if I can't feel that, then what CAN I feel. I don't feel deserving of being happy or even "ok". I do have "ok" days but I won't deny myself the really bad days. Yes, they feel real sh*tty but lets face it, if you can feel the really bad days, the "just ok" days don't feel as blah. The really good days feel well, really good! (except the guilt for feeling good!)

I can't tell you the number of people (including fellow SHARE moms) who have told me I should see about having anti depressants. If it worked for them, then GREAT! But I did not (and do not) feel they are the answer for me. In fact, I think I would worry more about me taking them, than me not taking them.

Zil said...

Thank you for posting this!!!!

Depression is a real illness. My OB explained that when something like the loss of a child impacts a person, a physical change in seratonin can occur (as well as the whole hormonal change). This can trigger depression. It did with me - and I have no history of depression. My symptoms were as you described. I felt helpless, worthless, and generally crappy.

There is no "magic recipe" for depression - each person is different. It's important for people to know and recognize the symptoms so that they can seek treatment - whether it be traditional or Eastern medicine or blogging.

I go to therapy, and have been since Sept. I started blogging in Oct. I tried the pills and they were not enough. I started yoga a couple of weeks ago. I added acupuncture last week - and for the first time in months I got a good night's sleep. I'm hoping the combination of all of these things will help. I am certainly still depressed, but I feel some pregress has been made as I "put down the peanut butter."

I applaude you for calling attention to depression. As you said, it's a legitimate condition and one that should not be ignored.

Vickie said...

I was on Zoloff and stop taking it as well. My doctor told me it would take a couple of weeks to work. After a couple of days I just stopped taking it. At that moment I wanted to feel bad.

Now, I just kind of deal with my mood. It is not always sad. I just wish it was more happy days than feeling poopy days.

Erin said...

I just found your blog from SSB. I love it. My little girl Maeve was born in Aug. 2005 and passed away in Jan. 2006. I have a few posts about her on my blog but I havent been able to write her whole story yet. Its just hard, and I feel like I could write volumes. I am going to start working on it, but not chronologically. I will be doing it as short stories of the experiences before, during, and since her life.
When Maeve was born, my OB gave me a RX for Zoloft before I left the hospital. I think he had really good forsight on that because he knew how serious her condition was and saw what I was going through when I couldnt even recognize it yet. I really don't think I had depression after she was born, but her life was a rollercoaster and taking the Zoloft did not take away the pain, but I really think it helped me to keep my head above water a bit and stay rational. Our daughter was counting on us for life and death decisions every day and we I needed to be strong for her.
I only took it for two of the five months she was here. When she died, one of the NICU docs gave me a RX for a few days of sleeping pills and that really helped. I didnt get in bed and sleep out the pain of that week or anything, but I was able to actually go to sleep and stay asleep those nights so that I could handle all the arrangements, etc.
For a year after her death, I attended the grieving parents group once a month at UVRMC. That was perfect therapy for me. Its hard all the time when your baby is gone but I found it would get really hard right about the day before group. I would go, talk, laugh, cry, and it would kind of refill my tank so to speak and get me through another month. I sometimes miss the group but I don't seem to need it the way I did that first year. Well, sorry for the long comment, but I am glad I found this site because I will add it to my therapy regimen:).

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post.

I'm going through a funk lately. Maybe some depression creeping in, not sure.