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The Mistake I Made as a Mom on Antidepressants

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Thirteen months ago, I reluctantly found myself at the doctor’s office, looking around and wondering why I was even there. There was no antibiotic or cream they could give me, and no X-ray would show the cause of my pain. Yet there I was. They called my name, and a few minutes later I left with my prescription: antidepressants.

They made me feel awful. I was so sick, could not sleep and felt distant from everything going on around me, which is not at all good when I have two children with significant extra needs. Something inside me told me I had to continue taking them, so I forced myself to keep going. Finally after a few weeks the sickness eased and I felt more connected.

Then, one of my children faced major medical challenges. It was a struggle, but with the help of the tablets and support from friends and family, we worked our way through it a day at a time. I am honest enough to admit that without the antidepressants, I am not sure I could have faced hearing he has a tumor on his optic nerve.

We had issues with challenging behavior. On the days he trashed the house and was aggressive, those tiny tablets helped steady me so I could better support him. We worked through that a bit at a time.

Then my daughter was diagnosed with an eating disorder, and my world was turned upside-down again. My heart broke, but my mental health thankfully remained fairly steady due to the meds I was taking. I needed that support while my heart broke.

Then for a while things settled. Summer ended and the children returned to school. My daughter was slowly eating small amounts, and we had professional support to help us with my son’s medical challenges and behavior. Times were happier, and some nights we even managed sleep.

So I figured I didn’t need those tablets anymore.

Without talking to my doctor, I made the mistake of slowly forgetting to take them. Sometimes it was just once in a while I would forget, and then it became a habit.

I made the mistake of thinking I could take them as and when required. I thought if things were good, I would be fine. If I had a tough day, I could take one and everything would be OK.

I was using them like painkillers to take for an ache now and again instead of taking them daily.

It was the biggest mistake ever!

I became worse than ever before. It was ugly. It was scary. It was upsetting for everyone.

I have now realized when things are stable, I still need those tablets. I need them when the forms pile up, the schools phone, when the hospital appointments take over life and when the children struggle. I need them when we aren’t stressed and school is good. I need them when the therapies are working and the children are making progress. My tablets help me cope when things are good and when things are not so good.

I may not be able to stop them any time soon, but I will never again make the mistake of using them “as and when required” — for my children’s sake and for mine.

I am a special needs mom and I struggle. If antidepressants help, then I will take them. It might not be how I thought it would be, but that is OK.

I made a mistake, but I won’t be making it again.

Editor’s note: This is based on one person’s experiences and should not be taken as medical advice. Consult a doctor or medical professional for any questions or concerns you have.

Image via Thinkstock.

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Originally published: October 26, 2016
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