February 2013 Moms

Lets talk about anxiety (a bit long)

I'm going to try to keep this as concise as possible, so here's what you need to know

1) Depression runs in my family

2) For the women, it seems to be specifically related to our estrogen levels, meaning that pregnancy exasperates the problem

3) I have been on gradually increased doses of prozac since I was 16.

4) I had PPD after my son, and noticed the symptoms again this time.

So that's where we pick up. I was on 40mg of prozac and my doctor decided to try to up it to 60mg. My mood did not improve and since then I have experienced a feeling of being over-medicated (just sort of flat) along with heavily increased anxiety. I contacted my doctor about this and we are now switching me (gradually) from prozac to zoloft. Basically I am simultaneously lowering the prozac and increasing the zoloft. The anxiety is out of control. I can't focus. I can't sleep. I constantly have this terrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I'm not sleeping and I have very little appetite. I'm told that these symptoms could last up to about 6 weeks with the change in meds (I am seeing my doctor every 2 weeks during this process and have warned my family members about my transition, so I'm being heavily supervised).

I know how to cope with the depression since I've had it for so long. But not the anxiety. This is new and terrible and I have no idea how to deal. I'm freaking out a little... I'm sure some of it is due to my sheer terror about switching meds (my brother's both had suicide attempts while their meds were being adjusted).  I doubt they will give me any kind of medication (alprazolam or the like) because they are trying to see if the meds are working. 

So, if you have had issues with anxiety in the past, how did you deal? 

Eleanor- 1.5 Years (Jan 2013)
Nathan- 3.5 Years (April 2011)

Re: Lets talk about anxiety (a bit long)

  • Oh no :(  I'm sorry.  That sounds awful!

    I have taken both Celexa and Lexapro but I've always been on the lowest dose, so I've never been "very" medicated.  I took Prozac a few times and hated the way I felt, so I stopped using it.  The Lexapro really worked for me, and I felt fine on it, but then a cockup with the pharmacy led to me going without it for several days and now I've gone completely off of it.  

    I'm glad that your doctor and your family are keeping an eye on it.  I hope you figure out what works soon 

    Missed m/c discovered 3/15/12 at 8w2d: "Henry."
    Good god, Mr. Tomlinson, are you QUITE finished?
    "Does the little one with the cheekbones know that the prince is in love with him?"

    Jack 04/29/10 dairy, peanut and seasonal allergies; Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism
    Rhys 01/25/13 Peanut and tree nut allergy, MSPI
    Lilypie - (cF7R) Lilypie - (Phka)

  • I had really severe anxiety during my second trimester.  It was so bad that I couldn't eat, sleep, even sit still.  I'd just pace around my house and cry and rock back and forth.  I was almost completely back to my old self within about 3 months and I feel completely fine now.  Counseling helped me a TON.  I didn't take any medication because I was pregnant and my doctor didn't want me to.  I went to a woman who specialized in anxiety disorders and we did cognitive behavioral therapy.  It did cost me quite a bit and my insurance didn't cover it because she was out of network.

    If cost or time are prohibitive for a counselor here are a few things that really helped me:

    Setting aside worry time--every time you have an anxious thought you tell yourself "I am going to stow this away and think about it during my worry time."  Then you set aside 15 minutes (no more) a day where you just sit there and worry.  Honestly I had worry time twice because I kept forgetting about it!  This REALLY worked well for me.

    Journeling--not just any journal though.  Every time you have an anxious thought you write it down.  After you write it down you identify why its negative or unrealistic.  Then you counter it with something positive. So for example, I would worry about having panic attacks when I was out to dinner with friends.  So I'd write in my journal "I'm worried I'll have a panic attack at dinner tonight."  Then I'd write "this is negative thinking.  Just because I had a panic attack the other day doesn't mean I'll have one tonight at dinner." Then you counter it with something positive like "I might really have fun tonight and enjoy seeing everyone."  This helped me tremendously too.  I actually happened across this journal last week and was amazed by how far I've come.

    Getting out of your head--I bought a coloring book and crayons and would color and DH would rub my feet.  When I started to get an anxious thought I'd pull myself back to the coloring and just focusing on getting the colors in the lines or the strokes of the crayon.  I felt a little silly, but it really helped.  Another thing my counselor suggested was sitting outside or anywhere really and going through your sense.  So I could sit in my backyard and say "I'm going to focus on everything I can hear for 5 minutes."  Then for 5 minutes you write down everything you hear (birds, traffic, etc.) Then you move on to what you see, etc.

    My counselor always said you have to learn to "sit with the anxiety" which is basically not fighting it and not feeding it.  So when you have an anxious thought you just say "ok I'm anxious, this will pass."  I'm terrified of flying.  So if I was on a plane and had a panic attack instead of thinking "oh crap I'm panicking!" I would think "ok, I've had a panic attack before and it went away.  This will be uncomfortable for a little bit, but it will pass." This takes  a while to achieve, but once you get to that point you're golden!

    Lack of sleep feeds anxiety so if at all possible try to get a good night's sleep or even a few hours here and there.  Exercise is tremendously helpful for anxiety too--I took lots of walks and I think the sunshine helped too.  Also, vitamin D and a B Complex, and omega-3s really help.

    My biggest fear that really fed the anxiety was that it wouldn't go away and that I'd be like that forever.  It will go away.  Your body literally can't keep up those levels of anxiety for that long. 

  • I did that transition only the opposite I went from Zoloft to Prozac. I am not a huge fan of just talking but I saw a therapist in between my psych appointments and joined a CBT group. (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) I actually found that learning to catch my patterns helped me break the cycle of perpetuating my anxiety. Yes I still struggle with it, but I can identify what I am doing and help not make it worse. That is a good tool to have. Also, I walked a LOT. Like A LOT. Staying moving and active helped stave of some of the downward spiral when the anxiety would start getting bad and I mentally couldn't get a handle on it. I hope that your body can adjust quickly and that you can find some solace in something out there. I'm so sorry you're dealing with this. I'm sending good vibes your way.
    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy was so helpful to me that I've been off Zoloft for more than 10 years, after having a pretty rough time with anxiety and panic.  One thing that sounds cheesy but really helped me was deep breathing, concentrating on making the in-breath and out-breath the same length.  Also, like PP, I journaled my anxiety.  I would write the time, what I was feeling, how anxious I was on a scale of 1 to 10, how likely was it that whatever horrible thing I was thinking was going to happen, and right down a good thing that might happen instead.

     You aren't alone, and you can get through this.  Zoloft helped me a lot at the height of my panic.

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • Due to a second trimester pregnancy loss, I had terrible anxiety with my last pregnancy.  I was almost paralyzed with fear all the time for the last two months.  After she was born healthy, I quickly recovered. 

    I wish I had a good answer for you, I just wanted you to know that you aren't alone.  Anxiety is so cruel.  Prayer was the only thing that helped me during the worst of it. 

    SAHM to DD1 (7), DS (5) and DD2 (1)
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