I have been married to my husband for 12 years and together for 17. We have two daughters ages 8 and 11. He is a Chief in the Navy and is months away from retirement.
In 2006 when I was pregnant with my first daughter, I began having extreme highs and lows and was quite unstable throughout the later part of my pregnancy. I had shown signs of all this prior but didn’t acknowledge I had any issues. My spouse was also preparing for his IA to Iraq. My husband demanded I share how I was feeling with my PCM.
My PCM suggested that I get on Zoloft while still pregnant to deal with the emotional rollercoaster. I was reluctant because I worried about the effects it would have on my unborn child, but he allayed my fears. After my daughter was born and my husband deployed, my PCM recommended I stay on Zoloft to combat any postpartum that might occur and also to help me deal with becoming an instant single mother. I stayed on Zoloft and it helped. However, I was undisciplined when it came to medication, so I regularly missed and eventually I weaned myself off the medication. When my spouse returned in 2007, I was completely off medication and it was quite a challenge to reintegrate. Thankfully the Navy offered counseling to those returning from the theater and we attended appointments together. It helped us have productive, mature conversations.
In 2010 I had my second daughter and I also had some medical issues that led to a few surgeries. By the time my second daughter was six months old, I was becoming quite emotionally charged at just about everything. But this time in my life I was quite a bit more aware of myself. I knew it was not normal to be so sensitive and reactive to things and that it wasn’t fair to take it out on my four year old. I sought medical treatment on my own and was able to articulate my self-diagnosis to the psychiatrist who agreed I should return to Zoloft. Since I was experienced with the medication, I already knew the correct dosage for me and didn’t have to deal with the time it takes to get it right. As before, I didn’t work with my doctor to self-wean. I think I came off it in a much better way though. Or perhaps I was just more mature.
In 2017, we were living overseas where employment opportunities were limited. I had been unemployed for two years by then and I was starting to dwell too much in my isolation. I went to my PCM knowing exactly what I wanted – to return to Zoloft. She agreed that I should start on medication but wanted me to do more. She scheduled me with a nurse who helps with short-term solutions. When I met with that nurse, we discussed all the additional baggage that had resulted in me feeling the blues again – weight gain, self-isolation, lack of energy, emotional distance, etc. She prescribed that I make a plan to be more active so that I may have additional solutions to medication. I followed her directions and I did see improvement. I’m not good at maintaining this part of my care though. So I have to intentionally remind myself, if I go for a walk, swim, whatever, I’ll feel better.
Today, I’m still on Zoloft. In 2018, I moved ahead of my family’s PCS for a job. Just like all the other times, a family event was the catalyst for me getting the blues. I am much older now, and definitely more self-aware and logical. I no longer try quick solutions to mask how I’m feeling. I face them and try to use logic to determine how to proceed. I choose medication for stability. However, I am not at a high dose that drowns out my life’s problems. I still feel them and I still have my moments. My husband is currently doing a geobachelor tour and I work in a fairly high-level management position. Juggling my family duties is hard. I consider myself a success when everyone is fed! Basically, I don’t try to accomplish everything anymore.
Written by: –S
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