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I'm a Medicated Mama!

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Sometimes self-help books don't cut it.

stressed mom and relaxed mom

Michelle Kemper Brownlow: I was "that mom." The one you can't decide if you want as your BFF because she knows how to do everything or the one you hate because you will never measure up. I didn't consider myself "that mom," but everyone around me did. I never had to worry about temper tantrums -- and I could take them anywhere. I had the patience of a saint. I used to teach high school, so patience was more than a virtue, it was a survival tactic. I could handle anything ...

... And then my foot went through a hollow core door. My third child is a challenge like none I have ever known. We made it through the terrible twos, but when he reached 3 ½ and they weren't over, I found myself reaching levels of frustration I can honestly say I had never felt, over anything.

There were days when the smallest irritant -- someone slurping their popsicle or crunching on ice -- would send me over the edge. I am a pacifist, so nothing ever got physical (unless you were a door) but my skin would crawl. I started reaching levels of anger that made me uncomfortable. Over a popsicle? This was not me. I needed help.

I explained to my doctor how I was feeling, and he diagnosed me with depression, anxiety, and fatigue. He said dealing with a special needs child was apparently more than I could handle alone. He prescribed a low dose antidepressant and said, "This should help take the edge off." Now, I'm "that mom" again.

Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing signs of anger, depression, or anxiety. Medication may be an option. I used to think I'd be ashamed if I "gave in" to meds. My kids are so glad that is no longer the case!

next: Don't Call Me a Husband Stealer
4 comments so far | Post a comment now
Cheryl November 18, 2009, 3:59 AM

It is a good thing that you got help for yourself before you did something to your special needs child you would regret. There should be less shame about mental health.

Anonymous November 18, 2009, 9:35 AM

While I do think medication is over prescribed, I’m not against it for rational adults that choose it to help them cope. I have a “difficult” third child too and while some days you want to rip your hair out, I’ve been blessed with saintly patience. I’ve told him how lucky he is to have me as a mommy because there would be others that would have possibly abused him by now. So for moms like that, medication is definitely an option.

tennmom November 18, 2009, 7:55 PM

Neither of my daughters have special needs but my older daughter could and still can survive the day with less sleep than I can.
When she was a baby I thought I was going insane. My doc tossed anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds at me. The first made me feel so lethargic in the mornings that I could barely stand up and stay awake.
After the birth of my second daughter, I started having what I thought were panic attacks. I once called my husband to pick up our older daughter from the parents-day-out program because I was afraid to try to drive. I put younger daughter in her bouncy seat & unlocked the front door because I was afraid I was going to have to call an ambulance for myself.
My primary doc wasn’t available the next day, so I saw a nurse-prac. She asked about my thyroid levels. I sat there with a big question mark above my head, ha! It turned out that my thyroid level was crazily high. I was on a ptu (i think that’s what it is called) for 3 years. I was also taking 3 Xanax a day.
I’ve been off the thyroid rx for 5 years now. 1/2 a Xanax makes me sleepy.
I know some people are hesitant to take meds on a regular basis, but if someone trusts their doctor and the doc suggests it, it may be for a good reason.

mockingjay March 15, 2011, 8:58 AM

Nice article, thanks! Can you tell me about the third paragraph more? %WEBSITE%

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