“Mommy, I’m Sad and I Don’t Know Why”

Drawing from barnardos.org.uk

This is what Anne said to me last night as we were snuggling before she went to sleep.

And my heart dropped. Because she was voicing the same words I have been uttering to myself for years.

It has always been my fear that my children will struggle with depression the way I do. I worry about it often and watch them carefully for signs.

Anne has expressed this feeling of being sad to me more than once. It hasn’t been often enough to cause my husband and me to worry too much. We have simply talked about it with her and explained that everyone feels sad sometimes. It’s ok to feel that way, even if you don’t know why.

But if a pattern is emerging, I want to be on top of it. Because my parents weren’t aware  of what was going on with me. And if Anne shows more signs of sadness/depression – withdrawing from normal activities, tantruming again, seeming sad a lot of the time – we will take more action.

I am especially sensitive to Anne’s sadness right now.

Probably because I have been not doing well with my latest antidepressant. It has seemingly stopped working already. Or, more likely, it’s not the right one for me. Not only am I irritable again, but my anxiety level is skyrocketing – which is oddly, a side effect of this particular drug. And I am not sleeping well again.

And you know what? I’m fed up.

I’m tired of the carousel of medications. Tired of them making me feel normal again and then – poof – enter terrible side effects. Tired of not being able to lose weight because of them. Tired of not knowing – who am I, when I’m not medicated?

It’s always been my goal to get off antidepressants. My doc and therapist have said it’s a very reasonable goal, since my depression is situational and not very severe. I can always have an anti-anxiety pill on-hand to take as needed, instead of a daily dose of meds. And if the depression reoccurs, as it has in the past, I can try a daily med again.

So … I’m going for it. Under my doc’s supervision and my husband’s watchful eye, I am weaning off the meds. It’ll take a month to get off them. Today is the first day I cut my dose in half. And I feel good.

I am hoping that since I have changed my lifestyle – working less, eating better, working out, getting more alone time – that I will be successful with this next step.

So today I am full of hope. Hope that I am able to do this. And hope that my dear Anne won’t go through this herself one day. And if she does – well, at least I know what she’s dealing with and can help her through it.


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18 Replies to ““Mommy, I’m Sad and I Don’t Know Why””

  1. Wow, good luck! I know what you mean about being sick of meds. My doc wanted me to add in another medication, then another one in case that one had side effects. I said no thanks to both, preferring to stick with a single antidepressant.

    Good luck with your daughter. I really fear that my older son, the one who is so much like me, will end up with depression problems. My hope is that his being male will somehow help him (it turns out I also have PPDD). Your daughter is very lucky that you are so aware of it and watchful of symptoms and will help her get prompt treatment.

    Good luck with the “weaning”!

    1. Thanks, Julia. Cutting down my dose has been going really well. So well, that I wonder if I should stay on this teeny tiny dose I have been taking for two weeks now. I’m going to give it some time. But oh, how I’d love to get rid of all the side effects…..like weight gain…UGH!

    1. Thanks, Anna! It’s going really well so far. Maybe I am ready this time – I’ve tried this before and wasn’t ready. And it’ll be ok if I’m still not. But I feel like I need to know…

  2. For what it’s worth, I used to say that to my mom, too — “I feel like crying and I don’t know why.” She’d sit with me, let me cry and then I’d feel better. She never made me feel crazy for needing that time. Now as an adult, I still have occasions like that, but nothing that rises to the level of depression — and for that I am incredibly grateful.

    My mother knows depression all too well. She’s been on and off more medications in her lifetime than I can count. Having watched her struggle, I know a little of what you’re describing — although I don’t claim to know what it’s like to be in your shoes. My only advice (not that you asked) is to keep on your plan with your doctor. My mom tries to wean herself off the meds when she gets frustrated with the side effects or when she starts to feel better, but I’m not always sure she’s doing it with guidance from her doctor.

    1. Cyndi, when you first mentioned your mom a few months ago on another post, it really made me think. Because I don’t want my girls to deal with what you had to experience…

      Yes, my doc is 100% involved. I am keeping her in the loop. And my husband is also on top of things. It’s going really well so far… 🙂

  3. Good for you – I really hope the weaning continues to go well! And I feel for you as a mom; my 10yo son has said those same sorts of things to me, and it’s horrible to wonder if he’s going to share my struggles. It’s such a difficult balance with young kids, to make sure you address any issues they might have as soon as possible, but avoid planting ideas about depression in their heads (my son’s a worrier, so I always run the risk of saying too much and doing more harm than good). Keep it up, and focus on those positive changes!

    1. Thanks so much! Lizzie had her “well child” yearly checkup last week and I mentioned this all to her doc. She confirmed what I thought – it’s totally normal and okay as long as she seems fine in all other areas of her life. Which she does, thankfully! 🙂

  4. Just went off mine and Im fine but it’s scary. But I worry about people (not you) who go off meds because they feel better but they feel better because of meds snd it’s a cycle. Definitely only with other health strategies and support systems.

    1. Oh, I’m so glad to hear you are doing well! I am still on a teeny tiny dose and I feel great. Might stay on this dosage for a while, but man – do I want to see what it’s like to not be on meds. I’m so curious. But I am ok with it if I need to stay on them to feel normal. If I was diabetic, I’d need insulin, right? If I am struggling with depression, I need meds. I know depression can come and go – always has for me – so maybe I’m at a good point now but I will probably need meds again in the future. That’s just the way it goes. And I’m okay with that.

    1. Thanks, Meredith! I am happy to report Lizzie is doing great. And so am I. 🙂 Fingers crossed I am at a no-med point in my life again, and will be for a while. But if not, that’s okay, too…

  5. That’s great that your situation allows you to eventually completely stop your meds! And that you’re on your way there! *doing a happy dance for you*

    However, should you feel like you need to go back on them, please don’t hesitate to do so. Taking medication for a mental disorder is okay.

    Let’s say that you had diabetes and needed a daily intake of insulin. You would take it, no questions asked because it’s what your body needs in order to let you live a healthy life.

    Taking medicine for mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety or ADD should (when warranted) be viewed in the same way. For whatever reason, sometimes, the body needs that extra help to let you live a healthy life. Good mental health is essential to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

    Taking medication is not a sign of weakness. It means that you were brave enough to confront the problem and, with the help of trained professionals, are able to work towards a proper resolution.

    I know, I sound like one of those anti-depressant commercial. It’s just that I’ve been on the merry-go-round of depression since always. And I understand that feeling of “well, I don’t want to be on meds forever…”. But sometimes, forever is what you need. It seems that is not your case and that’s fantastic! Taking medication when you don’t need it is just as bad as not taking it when you do.

    I’m so happy for you that your goal of being med-free is within reach!

    p.s: hope I didn’t come across as a med pusher, not my intention. Just wanted to put some positive thoughts should you need to go back on them… so that you don’t feel like you didn’t succeed or anything like that.

    p.p.s: Great post! You are a really wonderful and attuned mom! Your girls are luck to have you as a parent.

    p.p.p.s: sorry for the ass-long comment. 🙁

    1. Karine, you are awesome. Thanks so much for the insight. Yes, I am 100% ok with it if I need meds. I have in the past and probably will in the future. It’s just the way it goes, and that’s fine. I have been thinking of you and hope you are feeling ok!

  6. I hope this step works out for you!. I have the same fear for my kids, especially my oldest. He is happy, but just such a sensitive kid. I worry about how the world will treat him.

  7. I am wondering what I would be like if I wasn't taken anti depressants. BUT I AM REALLY CONCERNED what damage to has been done after 25 YEARS of taking them. I really don't have a Dr that monitors me. I have been on the same med now for 10yrs! But on anti depressants for25. Any thoughts or facts?

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