Saturday, March 24, 2012

I can't do it - Why I need Lexapro

I wrote the other day about my struggle with coming to terms with TTC while being on an anti-depressant, in my case, Lexapro. I wasn't sure when I wrote that post if I wanted to keep taking Lexapro or not. I continued to read and study many different journals and studies, ones from the manufacturer itself and from outside research.

During this time I dropped down from a 20 mg dose to a 10mg dose as my OB wanted me to try the smallest dose again and see if I could handle it. Her thoughts on the subject of anti-depressants and pregnancy are that if they are needed, which in my case they are, then using the smallest dose that is effective, is fine. The practice as a whole feels that for individuals who have mental health issues, major ones and not ones where simply thinking happy thoughts can get your through, kind of mental health issues, medication is appropriate. She explained that in this situation, the pros, a mentally healthy mom, outweighs the possible side effects of the medication and the cons of having a mom who can't function day-to-day.

Knowing that I do trust my OB and her practice, I figured that this made logical sense. In the warnings from the manufacturer itself it seemed to indicated that the dose of 12.2 mg of Lexapro a day had the least if not the no-effect dose, when found in the animal trials. I felt hesitant to half my Lexapro but I knew I had to try.

One week into the lower dose I began feeling jittery. As in, twitchy and easily annoyed. I was constantly moving some part of my body, usually my toes at the least, and blinking a lot. My breathing issues came back. It's hard to explain to someone who doesn't have anxiety how your anxiety can become so out of check that it affects your breathing. I feel out of breath all the time and find myself yawning to get more air in because I feel like my chest is going to explode. It makes my eyes water and burn and I have to close my eyes to collect myself. It's as if it's a mental asthma attack (I do have actual asthma as well, but I can tell the difference between these attacks). I lived like that for the two and a half years after A. was born until I began taking the Lexapro last summer. It came back almost immediately and in full force.

I know, from many years of drugs and many different types of drugs, that it's simply withdrawal. I figured I should try to hold out and try for one more week on the 10mg dosage. I've went off drugs before, the first two weeks are hell. What did I have to loose?

Everything. Heading into the second week I began feeling annoyed, with everyone and every thing. I was prone to yelling faster and louder. About anything and everything. I snapped at everyone. Textures and sounds were more abrasive and I found my lack of interest in myself, A. or The Husband at an all time low. I couldn't stand to have The Husband hug me and I was easily bothered if A. kept touching me when I requested he stop (it's part of his sensory issues, he has always needed extra body contact and often leans, presses and rubs up against people). I even kicked the dog off the couch because I couldn't stand him being up against my legs like normal.

So at the begining of the third week I gave up. I couldn't even make it three weeks on the lower dose. I started taking 20mgs again. Upping yourself isn't a picnic either though. The first two or three days back on the higher dose I was extremely sleepy and had dull throbbing headaches. But after being back on my regular dose for a week, I feel better. Not like before, but better.

I tried. I really did. I simply can't drop my dose that low, not right now. So now I'm feeling mentally stable again and my breathing eposides are tappering down but I'm also back to square one with what to do. I have an upcoming appointment with my OB where obvouisly, I'll discuss it again and make her reassure me again that anti-depressants are fine for me in my situation. But for right this minute I guess it doesn't even matter if I take them as I'm not pregnant this month. I'm going to instead just focus on finishing my year long probation at work and enjoy the family I already have.

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