There have been a few phases of my life that have felt extremely dark and foggy. Phases that when I look back on them once the smoke has cleared, it’s hard to remember what actually happened then. Perhaps I’ve blocked some of these things out for fear of feeling that way again, or maybe it was just too dark to see. Right after my dad died; during graduate school; and the first trimester of this pregnancy.
I so desperately want this to be a bright and shiny time – and it is in lots of respects. You only have your first baby once, and I want to experience, enjoy, and plan every detail. I want to remember it.
So I shared before that I tapered off my Paxil as soon as I found out I was pregnant. Paxil is generally not safe to take during pregnancy, so I was completely off of it by the time I was six weeks along. The physical withdrawal was terrible, but I planned on seeing how I did mentally and emotionally without it. I was told repeatedly, Ohhhh so many people feel so GREAT with all of the pregnancy hormones!!! You probably will just be so focused on the baby and feel so GREAT you won’t need to take anything while you’re pregnant!!! *cue rainbows and butterflies*
Well. It became obvious about a week after my last pill that even though I was in such a great place mentally, I wasn’t quite ready to do it entirely on my own without the support of the medication. Severe depression symptoms returned quickly, along with mild anxiety. It all mixed in with the physical withdrawal symptoms of coming off the Paxil, and the nausea, exhaustion and general yuckiness of the first trimester. Honestly, for a while, it didn’t even occur to me that I was having morning sickness basically all day, every day, because I was so wrapped up in the other crazy things happening in my brain and body. Things started to get dark. Just keeping myself going the bare minimum was pushing me to my mental limits. That’s not what I want for the little fetus growing inside me. That’s not what I want for me. That’s just not what I want – period.
So, to keep a long story short (ha), I weighed the options and my midwife called in a script for Zoloft, my friend who happens to be a psychiatrist suggested a therapist that specializes in depression + pregnancy issues, and I hunkered down for another “recovery” period. I’m no where near where I was when I found out I was pregnant and was on Paxil, but I’m leaps and bounds above where I was a month ago. I’m finally into my second trimester and things have lightened up, but I’m still exhausted and feeling a bit emotionally lethargic (but maybe that’s just the pregnancy – it’s hard to tell).
So there are few morals to this story:
Mental wellness is such a journey. I really felt like I had reached a healthy, strong place (and I had – I have), but you never know what is coming next. Staying in touch with yourself and on top of it is so crucial to continued wellness.
The first trimester of pregnancy is super hard. I’m afraid my experience so far has been kind of rough – I’m not one of those people that loves being pregnant.
Call the doctor. Call your therapist. Call your trusted friend. You are not alone. You always have options❤