This Mom Runs on Prozac

Wannabee BLUNT
Written by Wannabee BLUNT

I take Prozac.

There.   I said it out loud.

And it’s ridiculous, no, EGREGIOUS, that I’ve been afraid to say so for years. That I’ve felt forced to keep quiet because the subject makes people feel uncomfortable or might make me look unstable.

My little secret is a closely guarded, highly protected personal journey.  Hubby, of course, knows.  My BFF knows.  And I’ve chosen to reveal myself to close friends who have come to me struggling with their own issues with depression, but always with the caveat that they can never tell on me.  Never divulge to anyone that I need chemical help to deal with depression and anxiety.  I’ve had whispered conversations with friends in unlikely places, furtively glancing around, worried someone will hear that I’m one of thousands and thousands of Americans who suffer from mental illness.

Afraid of being judged.  Worried about being called weak.  Scared that my friends will think less of me.

So much so, I’ve used a pharmacy not on the beaten path to get my prescription filled, in hopes of avoiding “getting caught”. For years, I felt ashamed and upset that I couldn’t measure up to what I thought was expected of me as a wife, mother and woman in this modern day world.

Let me say this LOUDER:  I have been hiding a piece of me, an authentic part of myself, because our society doesn’t allow us to be open about mental illness.

Just so you know, this post isn’t because Robin Williams died.  It isn’t because my News Feed has been filled with articles about understanding depression, recognizing the symptoms and condemnations by talking heads demanding we have “open conversations” about depression and its insidious hold on so many in our society.  It’s not in response to hate filled, anger laden blogs arguing that suicide is a choice and that depressed people are selfish.  It has nothing to do with the shock and outrage that a man who was so publicly happy could be living in a private hell that no one saw.  And, writing this has nothing to do with my own Worst Day Ever where The Voice of my depression almost got the best of me.  Almost.

Rather, I’m writing this for the mom who is afraid to face her depression. Afraid to admit she’s falling apart little by little.

I’m writing for the man who is too scared to admit to his wife that he’s falling into a pit so deep he’s afraid he’ll never climb out.

I’m writing this for the reader who is reading these words right now, wondering if they should take those pills and end it tonight.

I am writing this for the mom who sits in her doctor’s office and cries deep, sorrowful tears because she physically can’t love the life that’s in front of her.

I am writing to the man who wants his wife to be the girl he married again, the one who smiled and laughed and was spontaneous and loved sex.

I am writing this for the toddler who sees his mother cry all day long and wonders what on earth he did to make her so sad.

I’m am writing to say This Mom Runs On Prozac and it should okay to say it out loud.

I was the woman in the doctor’s office with deep physical pain over the fact that I couldn’t love my life.  I had it all:  wonderful hubby, beautiful healthy children, money in the bank, gorgeous home and I couldn’t find my mojo.  I’d look at my life and wonder what kind of selfish woman would be upset or indifferent to all I’d been given.  And, in a vicious cycle, my depression spiraled further and further until it got to the point where I’d cry most of the day, every day.   I’d cry because I was sad, I’d cry because I wanted better for my babies and I cried from the shame of it all.

Interestingly, I went to the doctor not only at Hubby’s insistence but also to prove that I wasn’t depressed.  I was convinced it was just my thyroid.  Or my gall bladder.  Or my uvula.  Something.  Anything other than the Big D word.  I argued with my doctor when he said the D word.  I begged him to do lab work to prove that my thyroid had betrayed me because I didn’t want my brain chemistry to be the culprit.

I flat out told him that I refused to be the pill popping, stay at home mom. Re-fused.

But I also knew deep down in my soul that I needed help and that my family needed me to do something.  Anything to stop the pain in my heart. I wanted me back.

I made a deal with my doctor:  I’d try the Vitamin P for six weeks, no more, no less. Mostly, to prove him wrong.  To prove to him, to myself, to the public that I was not a mental case.  That I wasn’t a person who needed help in the form of little green pills.

I brought that bottle home and it felt like the end of the world. It was official once I took my first pill: I was crazy. A whack job. Certifiably nuts. My name on the pill bottle proved it.

I dutifully took those pills every day that first week with a chaser of “Pfft, this is such a waste of time” yet with the tiny ember of hope that they might actually work.

Maybe, just maybe…

I took the pills and noticed that by week two, my legs didn’t feel so much like bricks when I lifted them out of bed.

I took the pills and realized at week four that I had actually managed to get housework done without falling apart from the weight of despair.

And, on week six, when, during a random morning breakfast, my oldest said in his little four year old voice, “Mommy, you smile all the time now. You so happy!”, it was THEN that I surrendered to what I’d fought so hard to deny: depression was a part of my life and that through the miracles of modern chemistry, I was, in fact, finding my way back to the land of the living.

People with diabetes take insulin. People with thyroid issues take Synthroid. No stigma, no shame, no repercussions.

I take Prozac because I have bouts of depression. And I wish I could really say it out loud someday.

(Editor’s Note: Due to the phenomenal response and supportive comments, the author has agreed to let us share her blog link. You can find her online here and on facebook here.)

About the author

Wannabee BLUNT

Wannabee BLUNT

Wannabe's are Guest Authors to BLUNTmoms. They might be one-hit wonders, or share a variety of posts with us. They "may" share their names with you, or they might write as "anonymous" but either way, they are sharing their stories and their opinions on our site, and for that we are grateful.

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30 Comments

  • If you’re a better you on the big P, then yell it from the mountain tops, lady. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little bump and grind. Sorry, flashback to my R Kelly days.

    Ain’t nothin’ wrong (or shameful) in taking care of YOU. xo

  • Hell to the YES. I started taking an SSRI about 5 weeks postpartum. WHAT A DIFFERENCE, well beyond the postpartum issues. There were so many ways that I reacted to things that were totally unnecessary and just not in my control. Dumb stuff like freaking out about being late to the airport. So I just stayed on it, and life was good. About a year ago (my son is now ten) I though, you know, maybe I don’t need this anymore. So I stepped off it far slower than any dr would have directed and about 2.5 months later I was almost off. It was not good. I was just full of sharp edges all the time. So that experiment ended and I’m back to being a calm, rational and therefore happier human. Pharmaceuticals FTW!

  • I quit taking the pills after a couple of years of feeling good enough. This last winter I lost control again and went to the blackest place ever. And yes, my thyroid has been out of whack. So eight months later -I’m still digging my way out of the holes I created, trying to get closer to normal. Some co-workers know of my struggles, some are sympathetic, others view me quite suspiciously, as they apparently no longer rely on me to carry out all of my tasks properly. Granted I move a bit slower and more carefully, but I’m no longer willing to squeeze 10 hours of work into an 8 hour day. I take lunch breaks. I leave at 5:00 with things undone. I do not feel guilty, and I am slowly rebuilding my strength to deal with all the other nasty bits in my negative pie. Without the pills, I was stuck in bed with no hope, and nothing to look forward to. They have been a valuable tool to balance things in my body that I had no control over. And I’m not afraid to share.

  • Yes. I too have avoided meds for years. I just recently went back on SSRI and added Adderall too. Finally, I’m starting to feel normal. Being scattered-brained and forgetful isn’t normal. I still need to get better at my ADD coping skills I used in school. I let them slid b/c I didn’t think I needed them to be a mom, but I need them more than ever.

  • I wish I knew what blog you write for, I would love to follow you. Depression is so hard and it is so brave to admit that you need help. I hate that there is such stigma attached to mental health. From “the mom who is afraid to face her depression”

  • Good for you, honey! I have walked the depression road for more years than I care to count, have tried virtually every medication out there and still barely function. Smiling feels weird, sex? What’s that? Energy? Unheard of. Apparently, my depression is not “typical”. I feel like a failure most of the time because i ams o sad all of the time and I don’t enjoy my kids or hubby. I’m tired of going to the doctor because the latest medication stopped working. I keep at it, though because I do love my kids and hubby and desperately want to feel better so I can enjoy them, enjoy life. You do what you need to do to feel good — for you. If anyone else has a problem with it, it is their issue not yours. Feel better!! Enjoy your life!! Love your family!!! Let no one drag you down. You go, girl!!

  • I love that you were brave enough to write this.
    I always wonder why the depression that comes after having a baby is somehow considered a less serious form of the illness. Women are capable of killing their children in despair if their condition is left unchecked and spirals into a deep horrible place. I say bring on the meds and let us set aside the shame and the worry and enjoy our kids. You go girl, there is not a damned thing wrong with being on meds.

  • Very brave post. I could have written it myself, word for word, except I’m still afraid to “say it out loud”. In fact I still cringed when you used the expression “mental illness” and thought “I’m depressed, not mentally ill!” Sigh. We still have a way to go before the stigma disappears but we are definitely on the right track.

  • Good for you for doing what’s best for you and your family and for speaking about it. I’ve tried several different kinds of antidepressants to deal with anxiety. Zoloft is what works for me. At first I felt uncomfortable talking about, ashamed to be on it, reverse-ashamed because why should I be ashamed, as if my pain was “holier” than anyone else’s if you know what I mean. And then there’s the cliche of mommy’s little helper. But you know what, i’m less anxious on it and the OCD is dialed back (a bit) so hurray!

  • This is so important. It’s people like you who will help to change the perceptions of mental health. When we share our truth we open a dialogue. How many other people have felt the same way you have? As we talk openly about all of this, others connect with us and see themselves in our story. That’s when we begin to move the discussion and start to change perceptions.

    So proud of you for sharing this.

  • I just wrote something similar on my blog! I took Prozac as a last ditch effort, after meditation, yoga, a good diet, exercise, acupuncture, herbal tinctures, hot teas, and leaving a very stressful job! It was literally the most defeated I’ve felt and the most amazing relief at the same time. Now, 7 weeks later, I freaking LOVE my life and I’m handling it like a pro. I had a breakthrough, realizing that I’ve spent the better part of my life depressed, likely having inherited it from my family, as my father and brother also deal with it. I spent so much of my teenage and early twenties reading self-help books and learning coping techniques. I was a good girl through my entire life, always seeking approval and rewards for my accomplishments. But after I had my first child, not a single (positive) coping mechanism was working for me, and I was finally tipping over the edge. I spent so long trying to do everything “holistically” until I finally surrendered to the fact that I am someone living with a chemical imbalance. Oh how amazing life is now. I live with a renewed sense of myself, without anxiety, and I feel like I pro at life and all that I encounter. I have all the coping skills of a successful person, and I’m finally able to see the fruits of my labor because I’m finally “ok”!! Thanks for sharing. You took the words right out of my mouth. The only difference is I tell everyone! I just don’t have it in me to care, because I feel like the message is so important. You don’t have to keep living like this. That’s so much better than the alternative!

  • Can I just say it’s not just moms that suffer from depression. I have since I was a little girl. I started antidepressants about six years ago and had to go through several until I found one that works. Depression comes to all people every age and gender and race and religion. No ones story is the same as someone else’s, thanks so much for sharing, but don’t forget the rest of us who don’t have family or partners 😉

  • Well written. It is very hard to admit that we have a weakness, other than eating junk food. I applaud you for mentioning men as well as women battling with depression. I too have suffered from depression, situational depression, and as you, I have a great life. I went to the Doctor to talk about this, I am very private even with my doctor, so I know he knew I needed & wanted help. There was no judgement made on his part, just understanding that it was time to give me something to help me enjoy life again. Since it was situational depression & I could not change the situation I willingly took the meds. I have to say I felt more like myself again & began to like me again. I now longer need the meds as the “situation” changed. I do know if I ever get to they “Place” again I will haul my butt to the doctor & have the talk with him again. Please ask for help, don’t worry about judging from others, take care of yourself so you can take care of others & enjoy the life you have.

  • Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
    Someone made the comment that you might have saved someone. Well your testimony saved me. I was contemplating of ODing. But the pain my daughter would feel crippled me. I don’t know if your believe in Jesus but I do and He sent me to your page to encourage me to keep my appointment this week and get the big P. People have made fun of me, or questioned my spirituality but GOD can use anyone and anything. Thank you again for your transparency. Much love.

  • I am pregnant with my second child and I think I have needed medicine since I had my first 5 years ago. Depression definitely runs in my family, but I have wanted to be the one exception. I’ve encouraged my sister and my mother to take it while believing myself not to need it. With this pregnancy I have become horribly anxious and I no longer think I can avoid it. I hate the idea of taking Prozac while pregnant and BF, but I know many women do it, and for me the benefits seem to outweigh the risks. It hurts me to think that with it or without it I am putting my baby at risk. I feel so trapped. I wish I could do better for it. I’m having so much trouble imagining the next 5 months of this pregnancy without becoming a basket case and I am terrified that I don’t have what it takes to care for an infant again. So I made the call to my doctor today and she called in my Rx. I’ll start taking it tomorrow and I pray it will help me the way it has helped my other family members.

    • Your doing the right thing, I took medication while pregnant after spending the first few months so angry and so stressed. The up shot I loved every minute of my pregnancy once the drugs kicked and I have the calmest and happiest baby.

  • My husband had for the length of our relationship wondered why I was never truly happy, when my life was good. Counselling had been helpful to work through childhood trauma, but didn’t change what I was feeling. After my first baby, my emotions became much more severely negative. I came across an article written about and by a woman who went through post partum depression, and I saw myself in her description of her life. I went on very successful trial run of Effexor, then switched years later to cipralex and wellbutrin. Turned out to be depression and anxiety, and I discovered that these tendencies are in both of my parents. If I had not read that woman’s story back in 2001, I can’t imagine that I would have had a second child, or that I would still be married and have enjoyed so many moments along the way.

  • So good! Thank you for sharing. I recently (past 12+ months) started taking antidepressants. Perimenapausal & my brain make up made me a monster. According to my youngest (teenager) I sucked the joy out of the room…🙁. I felt the stigma of being “medicated” at first. But in retrospect it was the best thing for me & my family. Friends noticed a difference & I confided in them.

  • We gotta bring mental illness (yup, depression qualifies as… that) out into daylight. Like the #me too phenomenon- where pervasive sexual harassment of women is finally seeing daylight- its time to shine the light on depression and anxiety, and make it A-Ok to seek help. We’re only as sick as our secrets. Thanks WannaBe! You are clearly not alone!