My apathy is pissing me off. So I guess that’s an improvement.

Pssst – the Honest Voices linkup for bloggers is back! Get the skinny after the post…

ssris and apathyI keep starting this post. Then I erase what I wrote. I walk away. Sit down and try again. And my brain keeps hijacking me.

I feel foggy and tired and unfocused and unmotivated and just plain old apathetic about most stuff. And that makes it really tough to write.

I think it’s this new antidepressant – Luvox – that I’m on. But I’m pretty sure the last couple of SSRIs did this to me too, just not as severely. It’s hard to remember, really. I have to go back to my notes and my old blog posts about depression to remember.

Zoloft, Celexa, Zoloft again. And there has been Prozac and Viibryd and Lexapro and Luvox. One loses its effectiveness so we try another. Another has bad side effects, so let’s try another. On and on and on.

I’m tired of the SSRI merry-go-round and all the side effects. Trying something new, hoping it’ll work better. And then being disappointed. Again.

Now I’m in this weird, fuzzy place. I don’t feel sad or down or depressed, really. It’s not like I want to crawl into bed and avoid everything. I’m still doing everyday, normal things. Playing with my kids, taking them places, doing work and household tasks, and so on.

I just can’t seem to really care about anything that matters. I have a list of to-dos and some get done. Some don’t. Whatever.

Laundry piles up. Dishes pile up. Emails accumulate. Maybe I’ll get to them. Or maybe I’ll just get lost in Facebook or the TV or a magazine or some random task that suddenly becomes important. Or maybe I’ll take a 45-minute shower and not notice how long I took.

And then suddenly the day is over and I realize I wanted to get two specific things done today, and I didn’t. This would have panicked me in the past. Now I just shrug my shoulders and say, “meh.”

In a way, this sounds like a good thing, right? Not worrying so much, just kind of floating along and doing what I can. But it’s a terrible feeling. I don’t feel enough and it’s a terrible, terrible feeling. I know I’m not alone in this because I spent a lot of time last night Googling “SSRIs and apathy” – and I found out this isn’t totally unusual. But no one seems to know how to solve the problem.

What’s odd is if you saw me out and about, you wouldn’t notice how bizarro I’m feeling. I’m pretty good at hiding it. But I bet my good friends could tell if they spent some time with me, because I’m not following conversations very well. I have a sort of numb, drunken feeling that colors everything I do. I can’t focus. I feel drugged. And I HATE IT.

I need to achieve clarity again. I need to feel like ME again. This apathetic feeling is pissing me off! That’s a good thing, right?

So I’m playing phone tag with my doc. Chugging coffee and hoping it’ll clear my head a little. Or avoiding coffee and drinking green smoothies up the wazoo. Just trying something, ANYTHING, to feel normal. I’m trying to force myself to care enough to take charge of my health. Trying to figure out the key to clarity.

I’m wondering if I need to get off all meds and clear out my system. The last time I did that I did okay for a couple months. And then all the sadness and irritability came storming back, so back on the meds I went.

I don’t know what to do. Sometimes meds make me feel worse and then when I go off them, all is well. Sometimes meds are what make me feel like me again.

Right now I need to find that place between feeling too much and feeling too little. That normal place I used to know. Does it exist for me anymore? I think it does. It’s just really hard to find right now. But I’ll get there. I always believe I’ll get there. I have to, right?

Have you dealt with this weird, fuzzy, apathetic feeling from antidepressants? Did a different SSRI fix it? Or did going off antidepressants fix it? What about alternative therapies? Let’s hear your ideas and experiences. I know I’m not the only one looking for answers. Please comment with your thoughts after the linkup for bloggers below.

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It’s back!

Honest Voices linkup at HonestMom.com NEW

 

Hey bloggers! Welcome to Honest Voices, an every-other-week linkup at Honest Mom. I invite you to link up with a post of yours that you’re really proud of. One that shows off your blog’s voice and what it’s all about. Funny or serious, old or new, it doesn’t matter – just as long as your post is HONEST.

TWO SIMPLE RULES:

1) Visit and comment on the blog that linked right before you and one other blog post of your choice.

2) Promote the linkup at least once, but more is better. Tweet it, Facebook it, Pin it, whatever. Just remember – the more people you get to visit the linkup, the more people will discover you!

Now what are you waiting for? Let’s see your posts!

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photo credit: jenny downing via photopin cc

Why I’m in Vogue magazine this month – and hoping no one in my family reads it

JD Bailey Honest Mom VogueCould it be? Has Vogue magazine recognized the trend of “mommy chic”? Have regular, everyday moms finally graced the pages of the biggest fashion publication in the world?

Because really, that’s the only reason I could have seen me appearing in Vogue.

But there I am. In the July 2013 issue. However, as you may have guessed, it’s not for my impeccable sense of style. Yoga pants, LOFT t-shirts, and postpartum bellies have not been deemed as highly fashionable by Those Who Know Style.

The reason I’m in Vogue is much more important than fall fashion, in my humble, unstylish opinion.

Last year, the fabulous journalist and author Elizabeth Weil interviewed me for a story called “Tough Love” that she was writing about women, depression and … wait for it … the effects of antidepressants on libido.

Yes, I’m quoted in an article in Vogue about s-e-x.

You can see why I’m not exactly spreading the word to my in-laws.

But I’m telling you because Liz’s article is good and important and one you should read, especially if you take antidepressants. It talks about an uncomfortable issue we should be discussing more – because if we did, maybe the medical community would put more of a priority on solving this problem that’s invading the bedrooms of America.

How’d this all happen?
Liz found Honest Mom while doing research for her story, and we had a long chat about how SSRIs affect me and my desire. I was happy to vent about it, as the issue had been weighing on my mind for a while.

After the interview, I found the courage to write a candid blog post (one that Liz references in “Tough Love”). My post was called Motherhood + Antidepressants = Zero Libido. Sound Familiar? With lots of trepidation, I published it.

And BOOM. The comments started flying.

That post got the most comments of any post I’ve written. Partly because a guy jumped into the conversation and started a comment war. Mostly because this is something women really want to talk about with other women, and were so relieved to be able to vent about it on my blog.

However, I took the post down a few months back because even though Hubs was initially okay with me writing it, my frankness in the piece eventually made him uncomfortable. I don’t blame Hubs for feeling that way. Once my mom knew about my blog, I didn’t want her to read the post, either. I was embarrassed.

And of course, therein lies the problem.

This problem is WAY more common than you think
The zapping of desire is one of the worst side effects of antidepressants, and more common than first thought. According to Liz’s article, more than 1/3 of people on antidepressants suffer sexual dysfunction. And in 2011, a well-publicized study found that one in four American women are on mental-health medications.

From my research, I found there are roughly 158 million women in the US. And that means that 39.5 million are on mental-health meds. Which in turn means about 13 million women in the United States are dealing with sexual side effects from antidepressants.

13 MILLION women. But we’re too embarrassed to talk about it. And therefore? We’re suffering in silence.

So let’s get talking, ladies.
I get it that not everyone’s comfortable talking about this stuff. I mean, come on – I took down my posts about it. The thought of certain people knowing about this part of my life made me squeamish. And out of respect for my husband, I’m not going to delve into the nitty gritty details of this issue on my blog. Suffice it to say: I GET IT.

If you’re comfortable talking about it, let loose in the comments! So many women are in the same boat and it’s so nice to hear we are not alone in this. Use a fake name if that makes you more comfortable. Whatever works.

Either way, if you are on SSRIs and are dealing with a total lack of libido, talk to your doctor. You’re already talked about depression with her. This is almost certainly related, so don’t be afraid to bring it up. Some women find that adding Wellbutrin to their antidepressant can help, so that is something you could ask about. Ask about natural solutions, herbs, exercise, whatever. Just ASK.

In her article, Liz talks about what women are and aren’t doing to deal with their nonexistent libidos – and since Vogue isn’t putting the article online, be sure to grab a copy of the July issue the next time you’re at Target.

Yeah, you’ll get some great tips on fall fashion – but better yet, you’ll get some great tips for dealing with this VERY important problem. And until there is a true women’s Viagra out there, we need all the tips we can get, right?

Fess up: Do your mental-health medications affect your libido? What are you doing about it?

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Depressed? Or just an irritable, impatient mom?

Some mornings I wake up and I just really, really want to take a pill.

This morning was one of those mornings.

My eyes opened and I knew, I just knew, I was going to have a bad day.

And on mornings like this morning I wonder why I stopped taking antidepressants in the first place. But I also wonder if I’m just an irritable bitch who needs to get a grip.

Here’s the backstory…

Early in the summer, my depression seemed to lightening. I really wanted to see what JD sans meds was like. So under my doctor’s guidance, I gradually stopped taking antidepressants just over two months ago.

The first weeks completely off the SSRIs were really good. I felt so clear-headed and happy and normal.

But I’ve noticed since then that the lightness that I first felt when going off the antidepressants has been hard to attain again.

Anger, frustration, anxiety, and irritability started creeping back in pretty quickly. It’s been subtle, but it’s been there. I seem not as able to manage run-of-the-mill annoyances and frustrations. I get too irritated, too fast. Worse, some terrible, awful bad days have been occurring here and there, and these days are just truly dreadful.

So as a result I’ve been wondering: Do I still need antidepressants? Would I be better off?

But I’ve also been wondering: Am I looking for the easy way out? Had I actually been on antidepressants for so long that I no longer know how to cope with negative emotions?

I don’t know the answer. Honestly. I’m baffled.

What I do know is that my “bad days” aren’t an average person’s bad day. My bad days mean I am unreasonably irritable. Snapping at the kids. Being a mean person. Super anxious. Unable to concentrate. Not myself.

Those are the days when I want to take a pill. Reach over to my untouched stash of Lexapro and Ativan and take something to make everything better.

I have been fighting that urge. And it’s not because I am anti-SSRIs. Believe me, I am a big fan of antidepressants. Being able to take Zoloft when I had postpartum depression was an amazing thing. It made me feel normal again. It saved me.

But this urge to take a pill to make everything better doesn’t seem good. It doesn’t sit right with me. So I don’t.

Then there’s the underlying anxiety and irritability. I feel it almost all the time. But it’s mild. And honestly, I wonder if I feel that way simply because I’m an impatient, irritable person who needs to learn some coping mechanisms.

That doesn’t sound like me, though. At least, that doesn’t sound like me pre-PPD. Maybe my brain got rewired and that’s who I am now. Oh, that thought makes me shudder.

Because I hate the thought that that bastard, depression, may have changed the core of who I am. Is that possible? God, I hope not.

So here’s what I’m wondering…

If I kept having bad days over and over, that would tell me I might need meds again. But what’s really odd to me is that my bad days aren’t a consistent thing. Not even once a week. So is a bad day once every 10 days or so a reason to get back on the meds?

What about not being able to manage everyday annoyances and irritations? Is that a reason to take antidepressants?

I sure did handle life better on SSRIs. But the idea that maybe I just don’t know how to deal with negative emotions after being medicated for so long … well, that haunts me.

What’s the answer?

I don’t know.

Do you?

photo credit: Martina Rathgens via photopin cc

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Linking up with Shell’s Things I Can’t Say. Welcome, new readers!