anxiety

Medications and Weight

I’m feeling pretty down about my weight right now. I wanted to check in and share my experiences lately.

I was doing pretty good. I was to the point where I had 9 pounds to lose to get back to pre-Logan weight. I was feeling better about myself, even though it’s taken forever to even get to that point.

I’ve shared in the past about my experiences with depression and taking antidepressants and the unfortunately side effect: weight gain. Well I’m back to that spot again.

A few years ago I realized that my issues are more with anxiety than depression. Yes, depression was a big issue for me in my teens and twenties but in my 30’s it’s been anxiety. Like on a scale of 1-10, I’ve been holding steady at like a 7 for anxiety! I definitely had postpartum anxiety.

After I had Logan I was sleep deprived and anxious and because of my history I was super vigilant about looking for signs of postpartum depression…so much so that I totally missed the fact that I was suffering from PPA. Mostly because it wasn’t even on my radar. People talk so much about PPD but rarely PPA. I didn’t even know it was a thing until I started to feel like I was going insane.

I was so anxious all the time. The biggest thing for me was anxiety about SIDS. I had no reason to be anxious about it but I became obsessed. To the point where I wasn’t sleeping at all in those early months. It was not a healthy situation. I talked to my therapist and she eventually said it was time to go back on my medication. So when I stopped breastfeeding at 10 months PP, I went back on my Wellbutrin.

Wellbutrin has been my go-to medication for 20+ years. It’s the one that has worked best for me and THANKFULLY NO WEIGHT GAIN. It’s basically the only one out there that honestly does not cause weight gain.

Well, good news: no weight gain for me. Bad news: the medication that has always worked in the past suddenly didn’t work — instead, it super aggravated my anxiety. I was crushed. I went off the medication per my doctor and he suggested we try Prozac.

I was reluctant to try it because I couldn’t really find a lot of information about Prozac and weight gain. My doctor said it was usually “minimal.” But I decided to try because my anxiety was so bad. It was exhausting. I started the Prozac last November and once it started working, it was like a giant weight was lifted. Suddenly my anxiety was gone. I was able to think more clearly and manage the anxiety that came up. It was really eye-opening how bad my anxiety had been.

Fast forward about 4 or 5 months and my doctor decided it was time to increase the dosage a bit.

10 pounds. That’s how much I’ve gained since taking the Prozac. It was slow at first and then the dosage increase bumped it up pretty fast. I talked to my doctor and he said that 10 pounds sounds about right for that. He still called that “minimal.” I know 10 pounds is minimal to most but it’s A LOT to me. Especially in a short time.

I’m unhappy about this, I’m frustrated. Especially considering I’d been doing so well. And then on the flipside, I keep thinking “is losing weight worth the crippling anxiety?” Or is it better to just be like this and have my anxiety under control?

I talked to my doctor and he had a few suggestions:

  1. reduce the prozac back to the lower dose and see if that helps
  2. try Cymbalta instead (the side effects seem iffy to me)
  3. try Buspar (it’s an older medication and apparently doesn’t cause weight gain–but…..who knows)

I’m honestly not sure what the right decision is. It’s clear I need something to help manage the symptoms. But…at what cost?

So that’s the update right now. I still haven’t decided.

Self-Care, Anxiety and Post-Partum

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life. I’ve taken medications on and off, I’ve been in therapy. After years of therapy and reflection I believe that my issue is mainly anxiety, not depression. While they can go hand-in-hand, anxiety seems to be my biggest problem. I’ve had a lot of therapists over the years, and different types. I’ve gone years without therapy or medication. I know that exercise helps a LOT with the issues I have.

The most recent time I was seeing a counselor, I really liked her a lot. She’d also lost a lot of weight (like 80 pounds I think?) and for the first time I was able to work through some body issue stuff that most people, and most counselors, can’t relate to. She understood. She was great! Then she went out on maternity leave and I had the option to see someone else but decided not to. Of course, she decided not to come back so I couldn’t see her anymore anyways if she came back. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen a therapist and decided it was time to go back.

The search for someone new began.

This part sucks. Big time. Like I said, I’ve had dozens over the years. I moved, insurance changes, therapists leave, etc etc. So I am well-versed in the “find a new therapist, give them the cliffsnotes version and see if we’re a good match” routine. It still sucks. I hate starting over.

This time, I was on a mission. My focus was not going to be body issues or other issues I’ve discussed in therapy in the past. This time I had something very specific to discuss: post-partum depression (PPD).

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Knowing my history with anxiety and depression, being off medications for a year and a half, not knowing what it would be like after the baby arrives, I knew it was good to find someone to talk to NOW and make sure I’m on the right track. I felt like it was better to be prepared. Know the warning signs. Learn some coping skills NOW. Try and avoid what may (or may not) happen.

I know very little about PPD. And I find that in my reading, not a lot of people talk about it. I don’t know why. It seems like it’s a common occurrence.

“Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after having a baby.

The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to symptoms for depression, but they also include:

  • Trouble sleeping when your baby sleeps (more than the lack of sleep new moms usually get).
  • Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby.
  • Having scary or negative thoughts about the baby, like thinking someone will take your baby away or hurt your baby.
  • Worrying that you will hurt the baby.
  • Feeling guilty about not being a good mom, or ashamed that you cannot care for your baby.

According to a CDC survey, 8 to 19% of women reported having frequent postpartum depressive symptoms. (CDC)”

I’ve seen stats that are kind of all over the place but the general number seems to be between 11-20% of women suffer from PPD. Reading more into it, I feel like what *I* personally need to be more aware of is Post-Partum Anxiety. Considering that anxiety has been my biggest issue (far over depression), it stands to reason that this could become an issue.

Something that I’ve found disappointing with the blog world is the lack of disclosure and the sugar-coating of things. Blogs I loved to read…I ended up feeling disappointed because they’d have a baby and everything would be portrayed as rainbows and sunshine and everything was PERFECT. Then, sometimes (but not always), they’d share months later that things weren’t the perfect portrayal they presented. They struggled. Baby was tongue-tied and couldn’t breastfeed, everyone was suffering stress and exhaustion, mom suffered from PPD, etc etc.

I just wish there was more of a community, more transparency, more honesty. I feel like women are expected to be perfect, not complain about anything…when the reality might be very different and wouldn’t it be NICE to be surrounded by people that understand? And have been through it? Can relate? Can assist? Why isn’t there more of a community??

Anyways…I saw a new therapist and discussed my concerns with her. I really like the new person I’m seeing. She’s a behaviorist and with just a few sessions I already felt like I understood how to “fix” anxiety better with HER than any other therapists I’ve seen.

My post-partum plan:

Of course this is just a plan, it may or may not happen. But it’s my goal, at the very least.

  1. Take a shower and get dressed every day.
  2. When cleared by my doctor, get back to exercising when I can. I know myself and I know that physical activity helps with my anxiety. Even if it’s just taking the little boy and Bella outside for a walk every single day, I need to do something.
  3. Continue going to therapy and learn coping skills for my anxiety.
  4. Self-care!
  5. Get out of the house, see friends and family, do outings! I know myself and being cooped up in the house will make me a little crazy. 🙂 I get stir-crazy after being home sick with a cold for a few days!
  6. Learn to ask for help, and accept help when it’s offered.

 

I talked to a friend recently who suffers from debilitating anxiety. I understand that my anxiety is not a panic disorder (like hers is) and that I do already have SOME coping skills that help me with my anxiety. I’m doing okay–is my anxiety conquered? Not by a long shot. But I am managing it. Anyways, my friend is in cognitive behavioral therapy and she had a fabulous suggestion that she’s being doing for her anxiety. When the panic and anxiety starts to take hold, she closes her eyes and tries to name 5 sounds she hears in that moment. She said it’s really helpful to get her to focus on something else, calm down, take the rising panic out of the anxiety and try and re-focus her energy and mental thread. I’ve tried it and it works!

I really struggle with vague “just try to refocus your thoughts” kind of advice, which is why some therapists have just not worked for me before. I don’t do abstract. Don’t just tell me to be “mindful” tell me what that MEANS. Tell me what it LOOKS like to be “mindful.” So I tried my friend’s advice and I liked it. Trying to name 5 sounds I hear in the moment of anxiety is a good distraction.

self-care
Self-Care

Self-care is kind of a popular buzzword these days but it really is important. In the past self-care for me looked like this: spending time with friends, working out, treating myself to a pedicure, getting regular massages (thank you insurance!), having downtime to read and watch Netflix, cuddling with my fur-babies.

I’ve started keeping a list of things I want to do. Here are some ideas I found on self-care.

80+ Self-Care Ideas

Seven Types of Self-Care Activities for Coping with Stress

134 Activities to Add to Your Self-Care Plan

You Just Had a Baby

 

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I’m so excited about the baby’s arrival! I want to BE PREPARED the best I can so I can enjoy every second of this amazing journey we are about to go on.

Do you have any advice or can you relate to this? What helped you?