When I was in the psych ward (technically the Behavioral Science ward, I say semantics), one thing that was repeated over and over by a few other patients that I grew friendly with was: never go off your meds on your own. I took the advice of never going off my meds to heart. And I haven’t broken my daily regimen of meds, until yesterday, though it was accidental, not intentional.
I had no more refills on my prescriptions. Normally I’d call a week before I’m out to get a new prescription. However, life has been crazy in the past couple weeks. I went from having a permanent job to not having a permanent job, signing up with my former temp agency again, the daily adventures with my toddler (both good and bad and often in the same day), and my in-laws going on a weeklong vacation. So in the midst of all that I forgot to call in for a new prescription. Last night, I assured myself that I had one more dose of my sertraline, so I’d be fine. Well, wrong med. So today, unintentionally, I am without my sertraline.
**PLEASE LEARN FROM ME AND DO NOT GO OFF YOUR MEDS WITHOUT YOUR DOCTOR’S PERMISSION AND SUPERVISION.
I say this not to scare you into thinking you may always be on your meds. Depending on your situation, you may. But IF you want to get off your meds, discuss it with your doctor. I know there are too many cases of people with mental illness who need the medication and go off it because they feel good. That’s the medicine’s job, to help you feel better. While it may not be a crime, it’s a very bad situation to put yourself in. Even if the medication make you feel worse, or tired, or out of it, or apathetic, work with your doctor to find one or more medications in the right dosage that works. And keep in mind that some medications will take awhile to work. Others you may feel the effects right away. And if you feel your doctor doesn’t fully understand your situation, get a second opinion. Don’t try to find a doctor that thinks you’re fine and don’t need medication, that won’t help you. But find a doctor who knows the different drugs that are out there and how they can help you.**
Now frankly, I didn’t need to be told to never go off my meds. As much as I HATE (and anyone who knows me, will agree) taking ANY kind of medication, the Zoloft helped. Over the last few years, my medications and dosage have been changed, and they now seem to be at a stable spot. I’m currently on Sertraline (generic Zoloft) and Clomipramine (generic Anafranil). Sertraline took care of my symptoms for the most part, and the clomipramine gave that extra little boost I needed to keep myself in check. And a friend of mine, who has taken meds for years for OCD, even told me that the medication won’t make the problems go away, but they’ll make the emotional part easier to handle, which is true. Yes, when I’m around my triggers (I’m not generically afraid of door handles, for example), I notice my anxiety, but I’m able to use successful past experience and logic to keep myself from blowing a gasket.
Everything is related as well. There’s no one topic, in regards to postpartum depression, that’s not related to at least one other one. Breastfeeding/nursing has just come to mind, as well as the other medications out there. I know some women have been given Prozac (I think, I know it starts with a “P”), but it apparently can be habit forming, and women worried about it going through their breastmilk to their baby. Now, for me, I did try nursing. I wanted to do it for a lot of reasons, but that’s another post. Short version: my son had trouble latching on, so by the time I was going on medication (about 3 months later), he was already on formula, so I had no worries about my breast milk. Now I want to have another child (again, a post for another time). I’m going to have to decide, with my doctors, the pros and cons of staying on or going off my meds both while pregnant and breastfeeding. On the plus side, with my history, now, of postpartum anxiety/OCD, I’ll probably be monitored closely (by myself and the doctors). On the minus side, I don’t know if I’d get the same treatment if my previous pregnancy and postpartum period was just fine. Again, a whole other post.
So, I’m not going to dwell on my lack of meds today. I’m about halfway through, thus far *knock on wood*, so here’s hoping.