Whether it’s depression, anxiety, ADHD, ADD, bipolar, OCD or a plethora of other disorders…we just keep things quiet and swept under the rug. The conversation about mental health has started to happen but normal people, like you and I, need to be honest and open about our own issues. There’s no shame in admitting that Mom’s on Prozac and goes to therapy.
In 2002, I was a new bride but was not living with my groom due to military obligations. I had been told we would never be stationed together because we chose to be wed while stationed apart. At that same time, I was still adjusting to not having family nearby and having the responsibilities of active duty military service. I became very depressed and suicidal for a short time, but received mental health support and an anti-depressant. I only took the medication for a few weeks and then stopped taking it because I didn’t want to be on a medication for mental health issues.
Mental health is still taboo
In 2007, after the death of my daughter, Lahna, I was suicidal again. I sought help from the mental health clinic, and with the help of Mississippi Man I was thankfully able to pull through. I honestly can’t remember if I was on medication during that time, although it would make sense if I were. The fog of grief clouds my memory during that period, which might be a good thing.
I was seen several times over a decade, for depression and anxiety. Normally it was during the summer time, around the anniversary of Lahna’s death. I would receive antidepressants and take them until September or October. When the depression faded, I would cease taking the medication. I didn’t go to therapy during this time, although I did attend bereaved parents support group meetings.
I had eaten to medicate my entire life. What I mean by this is that I would eat to feel happy, comforted and calm. Food was my anchor, my hidden secret. Even though people saw me gaining weight, I felt it was somehow more socially acceptable for a young mother to gain weight than to take anti-depressant/anxiety medication.
Turning A corner…with prozac
I got my “normal” seasonal depression in the summer of 2016. I was tired of the up and downs of depression and decided that I would take the prescription long-term. Within two months I began to feel a lot more like myself…sans despair. I had also hit a wall with my health and was no longer willing to be over 100 pounds overweight and began my weight loss journey.
Part of that journey has been learning to turn away from food as a coping mechanism. I sought the help of a psychologist. She has been instrumental in my understanding of where my food issues originated, but more importantly how to move on from here. If you are in the San Antonio area and would like her name I would be happy to refer you to her.
As of right now I am still taking Prozac, which works wonderfully for me. I tried several other medications through the years and this one seems to have the least side effects for me. I see my psychologist every 2 weeks. That’s often enough that I wonder if it’s necessary but have a lot to discuss with her. It really has helped.
We say that as mothers we need to care for ourselves before we can care for our families. Why then are mothers so hesitant to seek mental health help? One mother told me, she feared they would take her children from her for having post partum depression. Are we worried that we will be seen as weak or unstable mothers?
Ask for help
I’m here to tell you friend, seeking help doesn’t make you weak. Children are not taken from mothers due to post partum or any other mental illness. Seeking help has strengthened me in ways I can’t fully describe. I no longer feel like I’m constantly fraying and bound to snap. Life is HARD and whatever your reason, chemical imbalance or temporary situation, if you need help please get it. It’s okay, and good even, if Mom’s on Prozac and goes to therapy.
There are several other blogs about the reality of being a Mom with mental illness. I’d like to refer you to a few that I found really amazing and I hope you’ll check them out. Tell them I sent you. 🙂
BiPolar Mom Life– Great writing, honest and uplifting
Pregnant Chicken– Great article about postpartum. Real talk from a friend!
The Better Mom– Very honest and smart advice from someone who gets it.
I have offered in other articles as well, but I have never been more serious than I am right now. If you need someone please contact me. I can be a listening post who doesn’t judge but has a quiet understanding of where you are coming from. I can comfort you during times of despair, or if help you find professional help.
If you are suicidal, please know I’ve been there and you are not alone. I’ve made it past that desperation twice, and you can too.
Call 1-800-273-8255 or 911 if you are in danger.