Bring on the Meds! – by Kelly Seymour, the ‘Chelsea Handler’ of Special Needs Moms
October 22, 2012
September 11, 2012 is such a significant date. It reminds most people of the terrorists attacks 11 years ago. I too, still remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when the planes flew into the twin towers; I was standing in my bedroom in California with chills all over my body. And now, ironically for me; Sept 11, 2012 will have another significance…..it’s the day I FINALLY started taking an antidepressant! Yep, that’s right…I’m full of STIGMA now, but hell, “Stigma Frigma”…I feel so much better!!!! So here’s what led up to this inevitable decision:
We have one child with a very rare syndrome (Joubert’s Syndrome) and two children we adopted with emotional/other challenges. So 14 years ago Derek was born, but it took 2 ½ years for him to be diagnosed, then we adopted 2 boys (brothers) ages 10 months old and 2 years old when Derek was 6 years old. I look back now and think, ”What were we thinking….really??” And we actually called the social worker 2 weeks after they were with us to try to ask her what the hell was she thinking loading us up with 2 challenging kiddos on top of our already mind-blowing odyssey with Derek!!! Did she really think we could handle all of this???? Were we being “Punk’d”?? We wanted to give her a “piece of our minds”, but luckily the social worker didn’t answer (she probably had my phone number on caller ID and just avoided me!) Somehow we made it through…well sort of. I think I’ve been a raving lunatic for um….8 years! My mom would subtly mention at times,” Honey, you have so much on your plate, maybe you should consider taking an antidepressant” and I would stubbornly stare darts at her, saying,” I can handle it!” Once, my doctor even “offered” me a prescription for Xanax, but did I take it? Noooooo!!!!! Why???? Again…..”What was I thinking?????” I found out later that I could have made a fortune selling my prescriptions to other friends who were all too happy to pop every pill they could find! They thought I was nuts!!! Funny how I was the ONLY one who didn’t think I was NUTS! But listen, I have always been a fighter, and I wasn’t going to let 3 wild boys take me down!!! I kept exercising, and found that wine was a good replacement for the Xanax I stupidly refused! (I had NO IDEA what I was missing!) I pressed on year after year hoping things would get better, but I was starting to crack. My situation was remarkably similar to a hilarious story I was reading in Prevention magazine recently. It was written by a mom who was afraid she was drinking too much. Her doctor told her to try to eliminate the triggers that make her want to drink and she laughed and said, “How am I supposed to do that when MY FAMILY is my trigger?” I died laughing because my family is also my trigger! But I also realized that EVERYTHING had become a trigger!!!! I laughed so hard I almost pee’d my pants…but wait, I’ve already had surgery to fix that, so look at me….laughing with dry pants…..I’m sure any woman reading this will envy me now!
Now that it’s 2012 and I’m 44, I started having some female problems….periods were “out of whack”, I felt like I was walking in wet cement, could never finish anything, constantly felt defeated, etc. etc. I was basically falling apart. I could still get up every day, put a smile on my face (and make up of course!) and go to work and “fake it” and do a good job; but I would get home and lose my mind, and be so tired I could hardly move a muscle. Something just did not seem right and EVERYTHING annoyed me….literally EVERYTHING…Damon’s monotone voice, the way Darryl blows his nose, I couldn’t get my hair “just right”, I was always rushing and out of time, David’s sneakiness made me want to hang him from the balcony till he’d confess, and Derek’s overly loud voice shrieking like a Crow would send me over the edge every hour of every day!!!!!!! It’s like I always say,” I LIVE WITH THE CAST OF JACKASS” and there was nothing I could do about it!!! And I felt like I could cry at the drop of a hat! So I went through tons of tests, uterine biopsies, etc., to determine if I was in early menopause, only to find NOTHING! Thank goodness there were no major health concerns, but the questions still lingered. I finally said to the doctor, “Could it be depression? Am I depressed??” And the doctor said, “Yes, you could have depleted all your resources”. So, I made the inevitable decision to start taking an antidepressant. And I view this as temporary, not a lifelong answer. I realize this is somewhat embarrassing to admit, but I don’t really care anymore! If anyone could walk just ONE DAY in my shoes; they would go to the pharmacy and hold a gun to the Pharmacist’s head and tell him to, “LOAD THE BAG!!!” There has always been so many stigmas attached to antidepressants, but hell, I am someone who really really needs it! I should have done it a long time ago! I put it off as long as I could! And I want to reach out and tell other women in my shoes,” It’s okay”.
After I finally put my big girl pants on and decided to start taking a med, I called Darryl and said, “So I’ve finally decided to start taking an antidepressant, but I’m not sure insurance will cover it totally…”, and I barely finished my sentence before Darryl cut me off and said,” Doesn’t matter…we’re picking it up…I’m on my way to the pharmacy now”. Hmm…..I guess he felt it was a good idea. And honestly, so far it has been. I have found that I’m not the Zombie I feared I’d be; I’m just a little more of a calmer and more stable Kelly. And I kind of feel like the Bionic Woman…it’s like I’ve been re-built! I feel like telling the boys,” So you want to challenge me…go ahead, bring it! I’m medicated….LET’S DO THIS!” I feel like I can take on all the things I couldn’t before. I came home from work one day and made dinner, made the boys’ lunches, got some laundry done, helped them with their homework and still felt energetic! I couldn’t believe it! Could this really be happening? Could I put my brain in a calmer mode and get more done? It certainly seemed to be so!
I’m not saying that meds are for everyone, but once you start compiling binders and boxes full of medical information on your child’s condition, and a library of books regarding Reactive Attachment Disorder for your other child/children, etc, something has to give!!! People always say to me,” I don’t know how you do it!” and I was “doing it” and managing all of it for many many years……but, at a price! I was starting to really fall apart, and I’m proud of myself that I finally waved the white flag and said,” Help!” If you haven’t known me long, I am a type A person and I want to accomplish all things perfectly, and I don’t give up! But now that I’m in my 40s, I’ve started to realize that I don’t have to do things perfectly, and I don’t care what anyone thinks anymore! If I can just get through the day and do a better job “picking my battles” with my boys and with life, then that’s good enough for me. Excuse me while I put my brain on “Auto Pilot or Cruise Control” temporarily while I BEGIN TO ENJOY LIFE WITH MY FAMILY!!!!!!
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