In CategoryNavel Gazing

Remember how I said I was trying some new stuff to help with the Menopausey-ness of it all? Well, the gyno listened to my stories and said that we should try some hormone therapy, aka low dose birth control pills. So I took them for three months and then went back to the doc to talk about how we thought it was going. I said it seemed fine, that some days I thought it was helping with my mood swings and some days I didn’t –

well, actually, I put Jim in charge of paying attention to my emotional state because I feel like I have lost all sense of perception. Like, am I cranky? Or does everyone just need to stop pissing me off? Jim said sometimes I still seemed grouchy, and I was like they aren’t Stepford Wife Pills, JIM. I’m not SEDATED. Jeez.

– but that I had been having a lot more migraines lately and wondered if the pills had anything to do with it. She perked up at that and asked me a few more questions about the headaches and then said, “okay, you’re done. you can’t take them anymore, you could have a stroke.”  I blinked. “What? We aren’t even going to talk about it? Just no?” Right. Just no. And then she said stroke a few more times until finally I burst out, “STOP SAYING STROKE FOR SHIT’S SAKE I AM ONLY FORTY THREE!” and clapped my hand over my mouth in surprise. The doctor laughed and went on to tell me about the next step, which is basically antidepressants.

I have lots of mixed feelings about antidepressants. For one thing, I am not depressed. I am cranky. I don’t have any of the symptoms of depression, except being tired a lot, which I think is more about staying up late watching The Real Housewives. If antidepressants help the Terminally Crabby, why don’t they say that? Why don’t they call them AntiGrouchants? How come you never hear about celebrities with anger management issues being prescribed antidepressants and then never having another outburst? (coughAlecBaldwincough) Are they just throwing antidepressants at grouchy 40-somethings and hoping we go away? Or do they really help? I don’t see how being annoyed and being depressed are related, therefore I don’t see how antidepressants would help. Does that make sense? Plus also, being annoyed is surely sometimes NORMAL. I mean, other people are annoying! Is taking antidepressants for crankiness the old lady equivalent to drugging 6 year old boys because they don’t want to sit still for 8 hours a day? By which I mean, trying to drug away the normal? Do I really want to muck around in my brain? That’s scary. What if I turn into a zombie? What if I have some terrible reaction? What if I decide to go off them and have those horrible suicidal withdrawels you hear so much about? What if this is the beginning of some stupid endless roller coaster of doctor’s appointments and trying various medications that creates more problems than it solves? We have some new insurance that is impossible to deal with and makes me want to stab someone (in a normal way, obv).

ANYWAY. I have a lot of thoughts, as you can see. You guys have any thoughts?



13 Responses to “Update”

  1. Karen @ Living Unabridged Says:

    No thoughts. Just lots of prayers and good wishes headed your way. Let’s avoid all talk about possible strokes any more from now on.

    And when you get it all figured out, you can let me know, since I’m a few years behind you and if I’m this grouchy now…well.
    Karen @ Living Unabridged´s last blog post ..Happy New Year!

  2. Tressa Says:

    Well, I was thinking of writing about all mys stuff too. I don’t have an answer for you. I think those are valid questions, I think you have to ask yourself if the possible benefits are worth the risk. I asked myself the question “is it fair to my family that they have to be careful in order to keep me from getting anxious/nervous/cranky?” For me the answer was no. And now, I am going to start medication. Am I nervous? Yes.
    So now it is out there for the world to see.

    Love the picture!
    Tressa´s last blog post ..Start your Christmas savings account now.

  3. Connie Says:

    I think the answer is more wine.

    Connie´s last blog post ..RIP Elly May

  4. Shayne Says:

    For me, it’s a little crankiness, but then I think “all the Christmas STUFF needs to be put away!”, “Laundry!!”, “Floors with boot and paw prints!!”, “Fractions to be taught!” and I think who the hell wouldn’t be cranky? And then the guilt sets in because first world problems. And then I just feel tired… bone tired, never want to get up tired. It could be perimenopause, it could be depression. I’ll be reading to see what you and Tressa do and how it works out. I don’t know if it’s fair to subject my homeschooling kids to it every day 24/7… but maybe they’re causing it?? 🙂

  5. anymommy Says:

    I have lots of thoughts! I recently struggled with whether to take anti-depressants for anxiety and went through the exact same tumultuous thought process that you posted here. Why? Do they just throw these at every struggling 40-something woman? Will they help? If they will, why am I fighting it? Anyway, I get it. I haven’t taken one yet.
    anymommy´s last blog post ..My rugged heart

  6. Donna Says:

    Yes, I have thoughts, but I’m not partial to talking in public.

    That said .. those are good points in the last paragraph.

  7. BlestChick Says:

    Well I was going to hold off commenting but will throw in my $.02 worth:

    I’ve been on a very low dose for a while. It started with Post Partum Depression and then I was off for several years but life got pretty crazy on a permanent basis here so I went back on. Just a smidge. Just enough to take the edge off and make me feel like the real me again (I don’t get any side effects). It’s been a few years now and I’m still so glad I’m on them.

    A couple things to note:

    No shame – it’s a chemical imbalance brought on by hormones at times.

    Don’t be afraid to try a different medication if one doesn’t work for you. Some work better than others and everyone is different.
    Also don’t be afraid to tweak the dosage (with your doc of course). It can make a difference of just taking the edge off or feeling a bit
    too flat.

    It doesn’t have to be forever, can be just for a time.

    I don’t call it depression, I call it
    “can’t cope (and I’m irritable a lot) syndrome. Depression doesn’t have to mean sad or depressed.

    Keep the conversation and questions going. And you’re right about getting Jim’s opinion. When I went off them I didn’t tell my husband for a couple months. When I eventually did, he said he noticed when I hadn’t thought it made any difference at all. Perspective of loved ones around you is very helpful as part of any treatment.

    Good luck!

  8. Happy Elf Mom (Christine) Says:

    Throw away my “thought” if it doesn’t apply.

    Have you been gaining weight despite eating right? Feel tired and depressed? Maybe not pooping ok? Do get your thyroid levels checked. I wish I knew I was hypothyroid about ohhhh… 80 pounds ago.
    Happy Elf Mom (Christine)´s last blog post ..No-Wheat Spaghetti!

  9. Kimberly Says:

    When I turned 40 I started having panic attacks. Of course, I didn’t at first know what they were. But when I had four in 48 hours, I went sobbing to my doc. He gave me a sedative and a scrip for a therapist. Therapy helped immensely, giving me tools to short circuit the superhighway of anxiety in my brain. But I was still having a low level of anxiety all the time. Like driving down the street wondering if I were having a heart attack. Anything could bring it on, but mostly internal stuff (oh, that benign heart palipitation that my entire family has? Must be heart attack. Oh that super tight chest from walking in the cold without my inhaler? Must be heart attack.)

    Anyway, low-ish dose of Zoloft with a bump during the luteal phase of my cycle has really helped. I need less in the summer, more in the winter. Of course, my perimenopause is at the point when “Cycle” isn’t a helpful word. 50 days, then 28, 42, then 30. But, when my husband tells me that maybe I should check my calender, thats usually a good indication.

    My vote: try one that has been around for a while. The SSRI seems to work for me.

  10. Erin-The Usual Mayhem Says:

    While I love Ellie May’s take on it (more wine sounds great to me!), my doctor put me on a low dose of antidepressants for menopausal symptoms and I’ve found them helpful. I want to run people over a lot less and my kids don’t see the Evil Shrieking Woman much despite the fact that my 7 year old is singing a very loud and off-key monster-inspired version of Jingle Bells directly into my ear as I type this.

    The Zoloft was a no-go for me though – that was what landed me in hospital for most of May. If that’s what she prescribes, watch out for dizziness and heart palpitations in the first week or two and if so get off it fast!
    Erin-The Usual Mayhem´s last blog post ..Towards Minimalism: 5 Inspiring Posts

  11. Ingi Says:

    I’ve not heard of this approach, but hey, if it works! I can’t take hormones either because of the STROKE thing (high blood pressure and all), so I’m just cranky all the time too. So many things make me cranky. And tired – I can relate to the tired. So much responsibility – everything seems to come down to me. Sigh. Pass the anti-depressants…
    Ingi´s last blog post ..A tale of two lookouts!

  12. MJ @ Creative Madness Mama Says:

    While I’m not at the same point I do have thoughts. For me anti-depressants are always a fix for a few weeks and then I’m worse than before. What I actually discovered was that a combination vitamin fixed me and I haven’t tried another one of those other Rx since. My husband says he can tell when I miss a day, but all I’m taking is a combination vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid. Works better!

    And as to grouchy= depression. It’s actually one of the earlier signs than can lead toward other. My stuff would go from just real irritation at anything simple and then on to fierce anger (at nothing in particular). So in that saying, grumpy can be an extremely mild version of depression. It doesn’t mean you’re headed to “real” depression. However that’s why irritability can be prescribed ‘those’ pills. 😉

    FYI. I’m one of your lurker readers. Always reading. Hardly commenting.
    MJ @ Creative Madness Mama´s last blog post ..You’ll Get Through This by Max Lucado

  13. Dawn Says:

    What Connie said.

    But really, this is an issue for me, too. Mood swings galore. I’ll be interested to hear how this works out for you! Good luck!