Forgive me if I repeat anything I’ve talked about before in this story but I just went through a rough experience and I want to be honest about it.
When I was in the hospital, due to the serious ppd I suffered with my first daughter, my OB wanted me to start back on Zoloft while before I even went home. Although I had my doubts because of the breast milk etc. I, in the end, decided that she was probably right. Before I was pregnant, I was on a fairly low dose of Zoloft and took Clonopin almost daily (again small dose) and it seemed to really keep my anxiety under control and let me live and write like a normal person.
My shrink whom I used to check in with once in awhile left my insurance group before I had my babies But before he left, when I first was pregnant, he said, naturally, NO CLONOPIN and no Zoloft while pregnant so I stopped everything immediately with no ill side effects. I had not a drink or drug through my whole pregnancy and felt mentally fine. But once I had both babies in the NICU and was sent home, I realized I would need something else for anxiety if I was ever to sleep again but I had no shrink anymore. So, with much research I found one who accepts Pacificare but he can’t see me until Feb 5th (in a few days). To tide me over, my OB prescribed Xanax and I took it in the same dose I took Clonnie. But I am a major procrastinator and pretty soon I ran out but hadn’t called for a refill. I felt okay, considering the circumstances, I wasn’t ready to do anything drastic like jump off a cliff or, you know, go to the gym. I figured that I didn’t really need the Xanax and could just wait until my shrink appointment and see if he thought I could just take Zoloft and still be fine as cherry wine.
A couple of days after no Xanax, mama found herself feeling wired for sound. Speedy, racing thoughts, all muscles feeling tense. I just chalked it up to being alone with three kids (which will do that with or without the help of a horse tranquilizer) and went on with my evening of juggling. But after E went to bed and babies were sleeping for an hour I realized I was getting even speedier.
If you read Sippy Cups you may remember that I went completely manic from taking ONE Lexapro so I’m very sensitive to medications. I figured maybe the Zoloft was causing this because I wasn’t taking any Xanax and decided I should probably stop taking it. I didn’t sleep at all that night. By the next morning, Jon sent me to bed and forbid me from watching TV or doing anything besides sleeping. Nice idea but I couldn’t sleep. In fact, the anxiety I was feeling got worse and worse. My phone was ringing incessantly but I couldn’t answer it. I couldn’t check my email. The thought of leaving the house started seeming like an impossibility. What was happening? Was this PPD kicking my ass like never before? I called my OB and left a message. “No, it’s not an emergency” I said, gritting my teeth and holding back the tears. After all, I didn’t want them to think I was “crazy.”
Over the next couple of hours it only got worse. I started crying for no reason. Which isn’t so unusual but my thoughts were dark. That’s when I decided that my babies don’t like me. “They never make eye contact with me,” I sobbed to my husband. “I think I may be a bad mom to Elby. I may overindulge her. I’ve been watching Wife Swap on our TiVo and the lax moms always seem to have precocious, bratty kids. Maybe I’m spoiling her! Oh and by the way, I think I’m starting to lose it” I threw in.
Jon, who has seen me this way before on something as mild as Sudafed told me that I definitely wasn’t seeing reality but that I was sleep deprived and delirious and maybe feeling the Zoloft since I hadn’t been taking any Xanax. It made sense in my head but I didn’t feel better. In fact, I started slowly feeling even worse.
I was still in my bathrobe sobbing off and on at noon. I tried not to make eye contact with my nanny who sweetly pretended like nothing was happening. Finally, I just took to my bed and watched continuous episodes of The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency (which, by the way is genius – seriously, I’m grateful that in my fucked up state I found this little pot of gold. Janice is crazy and doesn’t care who she fights with. Did you see the episode where she calls the bikini designer a “fucking parrot”? Good good stuff). I must say that no matter how out of control you may feel, Janice D will make you seem like a Buddist Monk in comparison.
I called my OB back and this time cried on the phone that she needed to call me back right away because my post partum was horrendous. Then I thought about what my family would do if I needed to check into a psych hospital for a few days. I hoped if I was committed it would be to the same one Britney Spears was in so we could totally hang out, commiserate about bad we’re doing with our mothering and not wear underwear together.
My OB called me back right away and after hearing my situation for ten seconds said “you are having Xanax withdrawl, sweetie.” “That’s not possible” I said defensively. I’ve been on and off of clonopin for years and never felt a moment’s discomfort. I’m not a drug addict. I take a dose in the morning and one before bed and only what’s prescribed. “Xanax is a much more addictive drug for some people than Clonopin and these are classic withdrawl symptoms. You should never ever quit a drug cold turkey.”
But I’d felt ashamed to need Xanax in the first place and once I felt better I wanted to believe I didn’t need it. So this was not a good time to be dependant on a drug but an even worse time to be feeling like a lunatic with twins and a three-year-old who wants to play Chutes and Ladders over and over.
My OB told me to take some Xanax and then if I want to stop taking it to go off of it slowly. This is embarrassing. Even though I don’t get high or even feel particularly mellow from Xanax, apparently I’m ADDICTED. So there you go. Lesson learned and I am tapering off. This is not to say that I’m against abusing drugs. Vicidon is awesome and were the percocets I got in the hospital. But those actually make you feel all druggy and mellow like you could cold call an ex-boyfriend from years ago to demand closure or write a screenplay over a long weekend. My Xanax gives me no such fun.
So wish me luck with my tapering although I’m in no big rush. I’m not a martyr and I don’t wish to feel like I want to crash my car into a wall. But soon I’m sure the only think I will be dependant on is Janice Dickenson’s Modeling Agency…and methampetamines. After all, I have fucking twins!