Posts Tagged ‘ addiction ’

Losing My Mom: One Year Ago

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

A year ago today my mom died. I woke up this morning not sure how to feel. Glad she is out of her pain? Glad she is no longer a burden to me? Relieved that her tragic life ended so peacefully? And yet, I’m sad. It’s hard to know how to feel when your heart is so full of conflict. From my tween years on, she was an addict. For three decades I simultaneously loved, hated and worried about her. Months went by with no communication. Years went by where I didn’t see her. But towards the end, we were all with her. I was able to whisper my final goodbyes.

In those last days she and I made a pact. We would communicate through lilacs. When Phil and I moved to LA, I realized lilacs don’t grow as abundantly here. But a few weeks ago, we went to the Descanso Gardens.  I knew she would be waiting.

Phil played with Fia while I walked privately with Emmett.

I carried him up to the purple blossoms.

“Hi Mom. This is Emmett,” I whispered.

She reached out to us. I felt her smile. I felt her. God she would love him. She would be so happy that I had a son. She always talked about how my brother, her firstborn, was such an easy, good baby. How instant that love was. Mom, I know what you mean! I have so much to tell you. 

But as I start to think about what could be, I know in my heart what could never have been. Tethered to tubes in the hospital for a year, free of illicit drugs and alcohol, I got glimpses of the mom I had in the early years. I’ve written about it before–how she was the best of them. That is, before the demons took over.

So on this day, I feel a conflict between my head and my heart. Between what I know and how I feel. I say to the good mom, I wish you were here. To hold him. To smell him. To hug me. I say to the tormented mom, May you rest in peace.  

 

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Why Fall Foliage is Killing Me! Need Help!

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

This picture makes me want to sneeze

This picture makes me want to sneeze

Fall sucks. And it sucks that I think this season sucks. It’s not by choice. I would absolutely love it–the way the air turns crisp and the leaves turn vibrant. But sadly, I hate it right now. I think I’m the only New Yorker who is not enjoying this amazing weather.  I watch Lee Goldberg hoping he’ll say those magical words “the first freeze.”

It’s all because of my horrendous allergies. My face looks like a Staypuff marshmallow. My eyes look like I’m a drug addict in withdrawal. I’m 5 months pregnant and limited on what meds I can take. I get shots, so I wasn’t expecting this season to hit me like it has. I have tried the sinus rinse pots and my nose is so stuffed, the water has nowhere to go. So it just goes into my head and gives me a massive headache (it’s as if I sniffed water up my nose while swimming. Am I doing it wrong?) My throat is so itchy; it wakes me up in the night. Why can’t Xanax be a class A pregnancy drug? Then I could just make myself fall asleep and not know what is happening within my sinuses.

I’m now taking Zyrtec and am about to buy Benadryl.  So far everything else I’ve tried (Claritin, Chlor-Trimeton, Qdryl) isn’t helping. Does anyone out there have any suggestions that will give me immediate relief? (I dig homeopathic suggestions, but not in this case where it will take months to build up and work. I want instant results).

I’m making my husband close up all the windows at night. He is rightly annoyed, but it’s either that or my nose blowing like a trumpet in his ear while he’s trying to fall asleep. I seriously fear my nose is going to fall off my face and my eyes are going to swell shut. Help!

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My TV Addicted Toddler

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice Makes Perfect

I’m getting closer and closer to having an official television addict. Hope to have mission accomplished by our next flight in about 6 weeks. This last one showed great promise, ie: tantrums on takeoff and touchdown (when DVD players aren’t allowed). Once airborne, there were chunks of quiet time–mesmerized by Baby Einstein videos–followed by throwing objects when it ended.

Things that still need to be refined: teaching her to not take her headphones off. This will eliminate the meltdown that happens from lack of sound. Making her understand that the eject button is her worst enemy. When pressed it leads to reloading the whole DVD, which leads to great frustration when I can’t fast forward through the FBI copyright warning.

There are a few more, but all in all, I think she’s getting it. We’ll practice more in the coming weeks from home since I find feeding her is far easier when she is watching television. In 20 years she can blame me at her Video Anonymous meetings, but until then, I’m taking the road of least resistance.

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Antidepressants While Pregnant–Follow Up

Thursday, August 25th, 2011

Fi and me on beach

It was so reassuring to know I’m not alone in my conflict of staying on meds while pregnant. And even though I know I’m making the right decision for myself, I do worry at times. How could I not? Someone who read my blog recommended a Reproductive Psychiatrist at NYU. This is an extremely specialized department on the cutting edge of research.

I saw the psychiatrist this week and I wanted to pass along what she told me. Knowledge is power, right? I’m going to take another leap here and even include the actual meds and dosages I’m on. Here goes:

At conception, if you’re taking antidepressants, then the baby is exposed. As she put it, “Exposure is exposure.” Meaning, going off at 3, 6, 9 months etc. is not going to make a difference. It’s the first couple months that are the big development stages.

I asked her about the studies that say there’s a 1-2% chance of cardiovascular/pulmonary issues in your baby if you take an SSRI (like Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac, etc.). She said there is no conclusive evidence that those drugs cause higher risk under certain dosages. For example, the recommended maximum dosage for Lexapro while pregnant is 20-milligrams. (I’m currently on 5 mg, which I went down to on about the 3rd month of my pregnancy). She explained that those same risk percentages (1-2%) exist in the general population of pregnant women. Factors such as age, smoking, diet, etc can potentially elevate those risks. But not necessarily SSRI’s taken at the recommended dosages.

She also said to stay the course with what works mentally. You want to avoid huge ups and downs and being a human yoyo. It is better for you, but more importantly—the baby.

I’m also on Wellbutrin. The studies show there are no known or proven higher risks when taking while pregnant at the recommended maximum dosage. It is 300 milligrams or less on the extended release tablets. I’m on 150 milligrams.

Having said all this, studies have shown that the more drugs you’re on, the greater risk for some sort of issue/problem. That kind of follows logic, right? If she had met me before I got pregnant, she probably would have increased my Lexapro and taken me off Wellbutrin entirely. That way, I’d only be on one drug. But she assured me it’s really nothing to be concerned about. She’s had women with far more complicated drug combos than mine who have had beautiful babies.

When it comes to breastfeeding, the risks go down even more. The breasts act as a secondary filter (the body/blood being the first filter). She said tests were done with breastfeeding moms at a 20 mg dose of Lexapro and 300 mg of Wellbutrin. Those tests showed zero trace of the drugs in the baby.

And finally, bottom line: healthy, happy, anxiety-free mom = chances for the best baby. All the evidence supports that.

I thought this was some great information to have. If any of you have other information, I’d love to hear it.

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Dealing With Depression While Pregnant–Your Comments

Friday, August 19th, 2011

It’s almost the weekend and I’m just getting up to speed after having my computer crash. It crashed right after I posted my blog about taking antidepressants while pregnant. I was able to read all of your comments and then boom. I was in the dark. Until now.

I was so incredibly blown away by how much we all opened up to each other. The thoughtful, lengthy, heartfelt comments really touched me. Thank you for taking the time. For all of us who are struggling, let’s commend ourselves for having the courage to open up. We shouldn’t be living in a day and age where there is still a stigma attached to mental health issues.

Some of you are still battling the beast. Others have risen up to see the light after weeks and months spent in darkness.

Was curious to hear from @Meredith about what your doctor said in your follow up visit. You mentioned you were feeling pretty down again towards the end of your pregnancy and wanted to see if he/she offered any ideas.

@Heather actually gave me a name of an amazing reproductive psychiatrist at NYU who I’m going to see. I have taken my dose down in the past 2 months and I can feel the pull to the dark side. I can handle it at this level, but any lower, and I fear I’d be miserable.

@Mae—you and a few others made the excellent point that if you were diabetic during pregnancy you would take insulin; if you had a heart condition you would take medication. Why is treating depression any different? For those who haven’t experienced it before, I can tell you first hand it’s not a choice any of us make.

I would urge @Jessica to consider that analogy. Are you saying people who have depression and need meds shouldn’t have a baby? Remember, it’s a proven chemical imbalance. A problem that is treatable just like the examples above.

There were a few nasty comments, of course. It wouldn’t be a proper blog without. To those who have clearly never struggled with depression and said that if we take pills for it, then we shouldn’t have children, I’ll happily tell you my opinion: your judgment is incredibly small minded and cruel. Not to mention ignorant.  I’m not commenting any more than that, as I don’t think it’s worth wasting my energy on.

I’ll end with two comments from my readers. And @Liz you are welcome. It was an honor to put my story out there, especially when I discovered I have kindred spirits like all of you by my side. But for the grace of god, go I…

By Liz

Thank you for being a voice for those who may suffer in silence due to fear of the unknown. Going through a severe depression myself, which began, in early pregnancy I can totally relate. I would not have gotten through it without the help of medication. Depression is a serious illness that one can only truly understand if they have been through it themselves. The risk of what could have happened had to seriously be weighed against the risk of what my anxiety and depression could have done to my unborn child. And FYI she is a healthy happy baby girl.

By Emily

I was just reading in The Economist of all places about research showing that babies born to mothers who were depressed or under extreme emotional stress during their pregnancies have actual changes in their brains that make them more prone to anxiety and fearfulness. I don’t have the article handy now and can’t remember the exact scientific details, but the gist of it is that there is a STRONG argument to be made for treating depression and anxiety by any means necessary during pregnancy, not just for the moms’ relief and ability to function, but for the babies’ functioning later in life. I started Zoloft when my youngest was 18 months old, and my oldest was 3, and my only regret is why did I not start sooner? I was functioning more or less OK, but experiencing no joy in life. What kind of mom is that? So glad I got over my fear of side effects (which have actually been non-existent, as far as I can tell) and can now enjoy life!


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