Crazed

In late January a few things happened in quick succession: I read this interview with the wife of singer Brandon Flowers; a friend told me she’d been taking anti-depressants to help with postpartum depression and that her life was vastly improved because of it; I got incredibly stressed, as usual, when Jarom and I went out of town overnight. And because of those things, I suddenly realized that my we-need-to-leave-the-house-and-everything-is-awful outbursts weren’t normal. Trying to convince Evan to put shoes on, getting our stuff together, even just the idea that we had to be somewhere at a certain time – it made me unbelievably stressed and frazzled. My reaction to the stress and frazzlement was anger. Lots of anger. Lots of shouting. I admit, also some childish tantrums on my part that involved throwing shoes or diapers or whatever happened to be handy. Anyway, it occurred to me that such behavior wasn’t quite normal. I self-diagnosed it as anxiety, bravely made an appointment with a doctor, described my symptoms, and got medication.

I also worked really, really hard on recognizing situations where I was likely to get anxious, and on exercising patience in those situations. And things got better. My follow-up appointment was the week after we found out Christian wouldn’t live, so in discussing it with the doctor, we decided to increase the dosage of my medication to help with whatever extra mental and emotional issues might arise. (I had conveniently been put on Zoloft, which treats both anxiety and depression.)

Earlier this week, I noticed I needed a refill and did nothing about it. I can’t explain why. All it would take is a quick trip to the pharmacy or, if I really wanted to avoid human interaction, an automated phone call and sending Jarom to the pharmacy. But I didn’t do either of those. It wasn’t exactly a conscious choice; when I woke up one morning and was out of pills, I went about my day and actually had a fantastic day. The next day was amazing, too. I was feeling great about life.

And then I used some iffy logic to conclude that my two really good days were good because I hadn’t taken anti-depressants. On some level I congratulated myself for having “cured” my anxiety and for being able to enjoy life, despite losing a baby, without the help of medication. By the third night I was feeling a familiar tension building up when it was time to put the kids in bed, but I reasoned that bedtime is a stressful time anyway and I was still okay without the Zoloft.

I mentioned to Jarom that I had run out, and he gave me countless opportunities to go get a refill. He offered to pick it up himself. He asked me why I kept saying no. But I never had an answer, at least not that I wanted to articulate. You see, deep down, I felt like needing medication meant I was crazy, and if I could get through things without medication, then I wouldn’t be crazy anymore. I don’t want to be crazy. Who does?

After dinner tonight I was showing strong signs of anxiety and stress and not-doing-okay-ness. I laid in bed with the blanket over my head and wished I could stop existing. I thought about sharp objects and car crashes and pill overdoses. I realized what I was thinking – and that I couldn’t leave Jarom with the expense of another funeral. Not that I couldn’t leave Jarom and Evan and June without me, without a wife and mother, but that making Jarom pay for another funeral was unfair.

Then I really realized what I was thinking. I went and took a scalding hot shower and cried and sobbed and prayed and pleaded. Why did my baby have to die? Why me? Why did this have to happen? Why do I have to be crazy without medication? Why do other people get to have normal brains and healthy babies? Why did my baby die? Why why why why why?

When the water stopped hurting I got out, dried off, got dressed and went to the pharmacy without saying anything to Jarom. I got a refill on my anti-depressants because I think I need it. I know I need it. I need help.

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12 Comments on “Crazed”

  1. Jim says:

    Such a clear, conscious choice to make, getting your refill. Not crazy. Having issues with anxiety doesn’t make you crazy any more than saying that having asthma makes someone an invalid. They are just different “health issues”, one mental, one physical. Love that you were able to have the clarity to know the right thing to do.

  2. Alex Hulme says:

    you are not crazy. my dad has been on anti depressants for years. he cannot function without them. and that is ok. there are alot of reasons for depression, and lets be honest, you have been through ALOT. any normal person would need help, not just a “crazy” person. dont be so hard on yourself, and way to go making the decision to get the help you need. twice.

  3. Jarom says:

    For what it is worth, I don’t think needing zoloft for anxiety is any different than needing ibuprofen for a headache.

  4. Mike R. says:

    Thank you for sharing everything so openly. “I felt like needing medication meant I was crazy, and if I could get through things without medication, then I wouldn’t be crazy anymore” is a great articulation of what has become a very familiar sentiment for me. SSRIs do wonderful things for my anxiety levels, but I always want to rejoin the ranks of what I perceive as “normal” people and stop taking them. When I do, I feel more like “myself” for a few days — maybe I’m cured — but then things fall apart, badly, and I have to humble myself and get back on the meds. It’s no fun, but it’s better than being anxious/depressed all the time.

    • Mika says:

      Although I understand that I’m using faulty logic, I STILL feel like I ought to be able to cope without medication and prove to myself that I’m not crazy.

  5. Sarah M says:

    When you miss taking an SSRI or other anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medication, it is normal to have an intense crash about the third day. I used to be on them, and it’s totally normal to go unusually nuts.

  6. Sarah M says:

    Also, the only reason I’m NOT on them anymore is because my depression and anxiety were caused by something else (sugar sensitivity), and it took me months to wean off of them. I started them the summer before BYU and got off of them (slowly!) when I got pregnant with Peter. Never drop an anti-depressant cold turkey, and for heaven’s sakes take it if you need it.

  7. Shawn Howell says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this. You are a strong person.

  8. Stephanie says:

    I totally understand the feeling. I have been on anti-depressants since after I had Charlie. 10 years later I still take them. I decided it does not matter what other people think or say about anti-depressants what matters is that I feel good. I take zoloft and I have added vitamin d. Also a very interesting book I recently read about parenting is The Child Whisperer by Carol Tuttle. It taught me a lot about myself and how to deal with my kids. I am not perfect at it but I can see where they are coming from now. Sending you lots of love!

  9. Alitha says:

    It doesn’t make you crazy at all. While I can’t sympathize with the loss of Christian, I can sympathize with the thoughts of overdoses, and other means of escaping this life. You aren’t crazy and drugs are sometimes needed. While I can’t promise the feelings and thoughts will leave, I can say it does get better and each day you can find the will to move. We love you and are here if you need to complain.

  10. Kendy says:

    When I was younger, and dealing with some of the worst of my mental health issues, lots of times I wanted to be ‘normal’. And my idea of the normal person I wanted to be was… you. One of the strange things about growing up is realizing that every person has their own problems to face, and almost everybody, at some point in their life, starts wishing they could be normal, too. It’s a realization that is sad and amazing and frightening and exhilarating all at the same time. So, out of all the things you worry about, try not to let ‘being normal’ be one of them. And know that I have been in some of those same dark places you are, and I am still here, and I love you. If you ever need to talk, I can listen.


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