After my 3 months of weaning off of Effexor, I will admit it was quite difficult. Thankfully while I was experiencing it, it was okay. But only because I had motivation. I don’t want to lose another child to this poison. That was what got me through. But now what? It’s out of my system now, I have only a few withdrawal effects left. But I’m overwhelmed with the amount of emotion I am feeling now. I was put on the medication to make me normal again. Because apparently, as a woman and being pregnant and having a baby, it made me abnormal. How foolish was I to believe the silly words my doctor gave me. “Take these and in 3 weeks you’ll feel better.” Of course, over the next 3 weeks I started to grind my teeth so bad that my molars were wearing down and I eventually got fit with a braxin guard to protect them. The doctor told me it’s because of stress. Having a baby will do that. Hmm. Considering I loved being Emilie’s mommy. My head started to get a ‘floating’ feeling and reality started to feel just out of reach. But I was told it was temporary and it will eventually go away. And it did. Only it didn’t really go away. I just got used to it. That feeling of watching myself and feeling like an outsider became the complete norm for me. I became accustomed to blunted emotions. Sure, I still felt happy and sad and angry, but I grew used to them being just a blah form of the emotion. Well, except for anger. Anger seemed not to be affected by my medication other than worsening it. These medications to make me better made me snap at others, yell and stomp away. I had no problem walking away during happy times when it felt like I enjoyed it long enough. But during times I got angry, I could be angry for days.
Even the birth of my subsequent children I found joyous, but disconnected. I got a semi-happy feeling but also felt a lot of indifference. When we finally signed the adoption papers for our two oldest children, the social worker seemed happier than me. But again, this has been normal for me. I cried a couple of days after Matthew died then stopped. I just shut down. Then the anger kicked in. Since anger was my only real emotion, it got me determined. Determined to get rid of his murderer. I sufferred and cried through the horrible withdrawal. I stopped sleeping. My muscles started twitching like I was trying to fly. And the brain zapping is the worst. But I got through it while I prayed to Matthew to ask God to help me get through this. And I did. Now I feel. I never imagined how much I could love my children. Now when the little ones ramble out a silly story to me, I can listen and I’m excited and happy with them. On the drugs I just sat there with not much involvement. I almost cry with joy when an older brother helps out a little brother. When I read a bedtime story I will physically get involved with the story for them. I need to hug and kiss them goodnight. No more fleeting blown kisses on their way to bed. Hugs are like candy for me. When I laugh now, I mean it.
Of course with all these wonderful forgotten emotions that I’m experiencing again after 8 years comes the sadness. Oh the empty feeling I get when I think of Matthew. The nerve racking sobs that accompany me during my sleepless nights. The uncontrollable shaking that starts from the inside moving out that continue until all my tears for the evening are spent. Things that if I were to tell a councellor would have them suggest an antidepressant or antianxiety medication. But those are what got me where I am today. Luckily I have other women in my life with the same experience to share with me (unfortunately for them though). And from the ones who sufferred this horrible experience many years ago, I have learned that these feelings are NORMAL. And they even gave me a name for it. It’s called grief. Something that needs to be experienced and felt in order to move forward from a loss. Not something to medicate. A lot of life skills are learned by fully experiencing them. How does medication help? What helps is building your own support group. Finding other people you can talk to and lean on. I understand that in my mother’s and grandmothers day, they felt isolated and really were. My family comes from rural areas. But that is not an excuse today. There are so many groups for new mothers. Just look at community centers, newspapers and bulliten boards. Even tiny rural towns offer them. Most people own a cell phone so when you need someone you are available anywhere and at any time. Lots of moms have a computer with the internet where all they have to do is Google support for new mothers and pages upon pages appear with chat rooms and blogs where you can reach out or be reached to. There are no excuses anymore. I do believe that there are true cases where medication is required, but those people and the numbers of them are not as high as the pharmacy industry would like us to know.
Motherhood is an illness. Children are a disease. We are told from middle school or younger that we should drug our bodies to protect ourselves. It starts with birth control. You need to add chemicals to your body to stop it from doing what it does naturally. You’re body will react to those. Infertility rates and breast cancer are on the rise. But don’t worry. There are drugs for those too. Drugs to try to undo what was done in the first place. Drugs to help you cope. Drugs to help you sleep. Drugs to relax you. A drug for everything. So now I’m back where I started. Being a tired new mom who does not believe in birth control other than Natural Family Planning. I was told if I don’t take birth control I will “Pop” a baby out every year. I know that’s a farce since I know my body and it’s fertility well enough that every pregnancy I’ve had has been planned with my husband beforehand. But I had a lot of flack from many doctors and it frustrated me. So when Emilie was only 6 months old, he took my frustration at that and said he won’t offer birth control anymore, but he could offer something to help my frustration. I was given my first “happy” pill. But the irony to this story is that they took away my happy feelings and replaced them with indifference and anger. Physical problems, problems to my boys upon delivery and the subsequent death of Matthew. So where is this happy the drug company and doctors promised me? Why am I happier now than in the last 8 years? I am alive again because I no longer believe what the pharmaceutical industry has worked so hard to convince doctors and patients for so many years. Life is worth living and enjoying. And to do both, I don’t need a drug to do it. I just need to live my life and take what comes with it. Bad times will surely pass . And happy times linger for life.