Zoloft – Week, um—I don’t know. It’s been a while.

Last week, I emailed my doctor and let her know that although I was feeling some improvement, I was not where I wanted to be in terms of controlling my anxiety. She suggested that I increase my dose to 200 mg. That’s the maximum dose of Zoloft. Beyond that, she said she would have to consult with their psychology department before deciding where to go. (She’s family practice.)

I cried. I felt like I was failing. I know it’s not logical, but I felt like it was my fault the Zoloft wasn’t working. I was scared. It’s pretty disheartening to have to keep increasing your meds for months until your doctor tells you that if this doesn’t work, you basically have to start over. I just wanted to feel better. I needed to feel better.

That night, I dutifully counted out 8 of those tiny little 25 mg pills. It seemed like so much. Too much. But I took them. I did it again the next day, and again the day after that. I asked my doctor for larger pills so that I didn’t have to take 8. She filed the prescription change immediately. It’s a total mind game, but taking 2 pills feels better than taking 8.

In the midst of it all, my in-laws arrived for a 7-night stay. Seven nights with my in-laws. I was sure I was going to break.

Except I didn’t. I was enjoying myself. We were working on the house, lounging in the back yard, cooking meals, and spending time with Charlotte. On Sunday, I ducked out for a few hours to go clothes shopping for myself—something I very rarely do. We really enjoyed having the help.

The things that usually get to me about them didn’t really get to me. I had a few moments where I struggled not to roll my eyes, but I was able to move past it quickly.

Catch just kind of took it all in. I think she was torn between enjoying the change and wondering when the other shoe would drop. It didn’t.

I feel fantastic. I mean, I either have a head cold or some severe allergies right now and that sucks, but mentally, I am in a place I barely even recognize. I am able to be so much more rational about things. I feel like my emotional response to challenges is more in line with that of a normal human being (whatever that is).

My in-laws leave this afternoon, and although I am grateful that we’ll have our house to ourselves again, I feel like that’s a normal response to having 5 people in 1200 sq feet sharing one bathroom in 100+ degree heat for 8 days. I can’t even imagine how I would have handled that without Zoloft. It’s working. Finally.

I am grateful for so much right now. I don’t think I could have done this without the support of my wife and this easy, affordable access to healthcare. I know how privileged I am to have both of those things, and it saddens me that access to support and healthcare (especially mental health) are privileges in the US. I’m giving that a lot of thought these days, and it’s something that I’ll probably touch on again in the near future.

 

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Being Two

I never really wrote a proper “TWO” update and I feel like I need to because… well, TWO.


I told Catch the other day in the car that looking back on Charlotte’s babyhood solidifies the fact that I am just kind of meh about babies. I mean they’re lovely, squishy little bundles, and I appreciate the occasional baby snuggle and tiny clothes buying, but at the end of the day, babies are really freaking boring.


Two year olds, on the other hand, are the opposite of boring. Two is non-stop energy. It is go go go go go go go. Again! Again! More?

Charlotte’s teachers are astounded by two things: her height and her vocabulary. She is the youngest in her class but also the tallest and most verbal.


One day when Catch picked her up, one of her teachers said, “She knows so many songs! Usually we have to teach them the songs, but she already knows them all!” That, in a nutshell, is my kid. She never stops singing. She literally sings herself to sleep at night. It is not uncommon for us to stop what we’re doing and turn up the volume on the monitor because we suddenly hear a medley of happy birthday, Old McDonald and Wheels on the Bus coming from her room. She has even started making up her own songs.

Behaviorally, she is absolutely two. She is constantly testing limits and pushing boundaries. Overall though, I feel like we’re doing okay with things. Tantrums are generally pretty short-lived. Discipline and consequences have been a bigger struggle for us. Last night, kicking Rolo was HILARIOUS (to her.) Throwing sand is also fantastic (when you’re not the one having it thrown in your face).


I have a mole on my right cheek that she is obsessed with. It started during her bedtime routine one night. I was holding her while Catch read her a book and she looked up at me and pointed to my cheek, “What’s this?” I told her it’s a mole. Now, she likes to touch her finger to my cheek and announce, “It’s a mole.” I find this vastly preferable to her other habit of pointing to my chest and yelling, “It’s boobies!”


She is basically a walking bruise. Pretty much every part of her body is covered in bruises of some sort. She is so clumsy. (Totally my genes… sorry kid.) Last night as she was getting settled in her crib, she asked me to tuck her in. I told her to lie down, and she FLUNG herself down, totally misjudging the space between her body and the headboard of the crib. The crack of her head against the wood echoed through the room. At Target over the weekend, she was running down the aisle next to the one I was on (she was with Catch) when she caught her shoe on the floor somehow and face planted on that cold hard linoleum. SMACK. The screaming was instantaneous, as was the blood. We are basically trained to expect that anything that sounds like pitter patter pitter patter pitter patter will be immediately followed by thud/crash and then waaaaaaiiiiillllllll. The best part of these injures is when she offers you her sore body part, sniffles and asks, “Make it feel better?”


Nakedness is vastly preferable to clothes these days. This kid can remove her shorts and her diaper faster than you can blink. We hoped that her desire to be diaper-free might lead to an interest in potty training, but so far that’s a giant NOPE. No rush, kiddo.


We’re Going on a Bear Hunt has basically taken over our lives. Walks with the dogs have turned into bear hunts. I often wonder what the neighbors think when our child is running through the neighborhood yelling, “It’s a BEAR!”

“Alexa, play Let it Go!” We got an Echo a while back, and this is Charlotte’s primary takeaway. Alexa can’t quite understand her yet, but it won’t be long. Similarly, she will take a piece of junk mail, examine it thoroughly and then command, “Call Molly cell.” No clue how calling me got linked to junk mail postcards, but there we have it.


She now sits at the table in a regular chair with a booster seat. We love having her at the table with us.

She’s over 3 feet tall, wears a size 8 shoe and 3T clothes. Sometimes when I’m holding her I am totally blown away by how long her legs are. If I have her on my hip, her legs dangle close to my knees.


We still have no idea whether she is right or left handed. That’s probably strange at this point. I really don’t know. She goes back and forth. We often feel like she has a bit better control with her left, but we still just have no clue. I wonder sometimes if it’s something I should worry about, and then I decide that I have enough to worry about.


I could go on and on. This kid is pretty much my favorite person. She is so entertaining. So silly. So happy. So covered in mud, sand and paint. Two is so dang wonderful. 

Sunscreen

When we arrived at school this morning, I slathered Charlotte in sunscreen before I walked her to the morning care room. Drop off was hard for her today. She’s been a little clingy and hesitant at drop off every morning, but this was the first time there were tears. I think knowing how stoic she’s been every other morning made her tears especially hard for me to see today.

Now, I am sitting here with my legs crossed. I need to pee. I have had a lot of coffee. It’s not optional at this point. It’s just that walking into the restroom means washing my hands, which means that the smell of her sunscreen will be gone.

That’s weird, right? I mean, I probably need to get a grip. It’s just that the sunscreen smell is so her these days. She is always outside, so there is always sunscreen. The smell makes me feel like we’re just moments from taking those first steps into the pool together.

My little summer sunshine girl… it’s all moving just a bit too fast right now.


 

Anxiety Chronicles

By Friday last week, I had reached my breaking point. I wish I could properly explain it, but basically, I had spent the entire week wound up so tightly that I was incapable of functioning. Especially at work. Even my body was feeling the effects. I was tired and sore and so, so, tense. I’ve had a new jaw-clenching/teeth grinding thing lately, and my jaw was killing me.

Friday morning, I was up just early enough that I had time to sit on the patio with Catch and drink a cup of coffee. We talked and I tried to explain how I was feeling. I told her how desperately I needed to go into work and WORK. She said the right things and helped to get me in a better mental place before I walked into my office. I killed it on Friday. I worked so hard, and I felt so accomplished and organized when I walked out of there at the end of the day. It was a turning point.

On Saturday, we put Charlotte down for her nap and I walked over to the Y. As I walked, I downloaded a C25k app on my phone. At the Y, I hopped on a treadmill and completed Day 1. It felt amazing. I have missed running so much. It was incredibly hard, painful, and a bit depressing because I had to work so hard to accomplish what was probably a warm-up 3 years ago, but I did it again on Sunday and it felt even better.

On Monday and Tuesday, I was able to harness that energy and put it to work for me. I had a couple of non-stop days and kicked some serious ass at work. It felt great.

The sun rose this morning and I felt it from the minute I opened my eyes. I was done, but the day hadn’t even started. All that momentum I’d been building came to a crashing halt. Today has been a struggle. Two steps forward, one step back.

Those few clear-headed days are taunting me now. I want them back. Instead, I am going to put on my strongest mom face and pretend that I do not have a crippling anxiety disorder while I attempt to act like a normal human being at Charlotte’s school picnic tonight.

Fake it til you make it. The slogan of struggling moms everywhere.

Zoloft, Week 4

I thought I might be having a breakthrough on the anxiety front when I managed to pull off Charlotte’s birthday party while my in-laws were staying with us without completely losing my mind. In hindsight, I think maybe I was feeling better because I was off work for 10 days.

My staycation ended as Charlotte’s first week of full time school began, and I am a wreck. I have basically been mentally curled into a fetal position all day at work for the last 4 days. I am trying SO HARD to get my shit together, but it’s just not happening. I have zero ability to focus. I am sitting here silently reprimanding myself and willing myself to do something—anything—and it’s basically getting me nowhere. This cannot be normal.

Fortunately, I had a check-in phone call scheduled with my doctor for this afternoon. I told her what’s up, and she suggested we go ahead and double my dose. With any luck, that’s going to do the trick. She asked me to check in with her again in a few weeks and mentioned that there are other drugs we can try, but she’s hoping we’ll find my sweet spot on Zoloft because in her words, “it’s usually particularly effective for young women.” Young women. Hah. I thanked her for calling me young and she told me we’re the same age (36), so young women it is.

I’ve really been struggling to understand why Charlotte being in school all day has created so much chaos in my brain when it’s actually going pretty well. I do not need to be stressing about this. I’m not saying the transition has been perfect for her, but there is absolutely no need for my brain to be in panic mode. She is being cared for by the nicest people in a wonderful facility that is total nirvana for my kid. Animals, sunshine, swimming, dirt, music—I mean seriously, if I could have designed a custom school for Charlotte, this would have been my design. I have NOTHING to worry about. I can say with 100% confidence that once we work through the minor kinks that have arisen, everything is going to be totally wonderful. So it would be great if I could just chill. Seriously.

This shit is hard, folks.