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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Paper gowns and Prozac.

Why is it the blog posts that are the easiest for me to write are the ones that are the hardest to hit "publish"?   I'm going to though.  I want to talk about this.  Here we go.

This is a little tale from me about the time my Pap smear became a talk about Prozac. 

I will admit it.  There are times I do not talk about autism or our connection to it at all.  Mainly because where or what I am doing does not warrant a need for discussion and I kind of enjoy that now and then.  My eyes and ears are forever focused on all things autism and it's nice to get a little break.  Frankly, I never thought I would be having a discussion about caregiver burnout with my lady bits doctor.  Yet there I was in my paper gown and socks having a good cry about being completely overwhelmed and utterly stressed out.  Having now had an ugly cry in such circumstances, awkward does not even begin to describe it.  

It started out innocently enough.  My doctor is the one that delivered the Kiddo all those years ago.  So she was rather amused to see his name on the school roster where her kid attends.  (She had a baby the year after me.)  We did the chit chat thing where we both pretend it's completely normal for her to examine my boob and talk about the PTA and whatnot.  Then she asked "Oh he's in the same grade as mine? Isn't he older?" and then I have to let the cat out of the bag about why he's in the same grade but really not in a grade actually but just does inclusion subjects with that grade and all the autism stuff came a tumbling out with it. 

And I really did not want to talk about it.  At all.  I wasn't in the mood and at that point in my life barely hanging on with a white knuckle grip.  I didn't feel like being all cheerleader Team Autism Awareness when I was just trying to get my annual done by the gyno.  Since I have no poker face or filter, I guess you could say my rapid fire explanation and sudden change in mood tipped her off I was a tad stressed out.  It then came to a header when she gently suggested I try getting up an hour earlier than the kiddo does in the morning so I could meditate and that is when the dam broke.  

"Get up an hour earlier???  He gets up at 4AM now. You want me up at 3??? Let me tell you something Doc, the only thing I want to be doing at that hour is to be unconscious!"  Cue the tears and a very confused doctor handing me tissues.  

Despite not wanting to raise awareness for living with autism, here I was doing it.  Her next suggestion was I open to trying medication.  It was something I had given thought to previously but like most moms, taking care of myself gets shoved aside.  I knew I had to be healthy to be a good mom.  This includes mental health.  Every person in the Kiddo's life looked to me to keep the momentum going and I wasn't going anywhere at the moment.  I was stuck in the mud.  I needed help.  More than just a simple babysitting break now and then.  More than just a chin wag on the phone with a pal.  Brain chemicals meant big guns.  He was really young and I knew I had a lot of years ahead of me on this path.  If  I had a sinus infection, I would never question taking medication for it.  Why would this be any different?  

Now I won't say that every one should take them.  Not at all.  Different strokes for different folks.  For me, it's helped.  It's just something I need to do.  I am a much better wife and mother on them than off.  (Yes, I tried going off for a while to see and decided that was not a good idea. I prefer not crying every day.  It fogs up my glasses.)   I never really hid this but at the same time I wasn't walking into rooms saying "20mg Prozac in da house!". But I keep seeing so many news stories about caregiver burn out and it frightens me.  It scares me to think that folks are not getting help they need in order to take care of others.  Again, medication won't solve all your problems but it sure can help you get through the day to day grind of it all.   I don't want to be a news headline.  I want to be a mother.  His mother.  The mother he deserves.  

So even if you think "I don't have time.", you do.  Make it.  Nothing is more important than you if you are dealing with depression and how to cope.  Even if you are like me and don't go to the doctor unless you are sick, I bet you go to your gyno annual. (Well, my female readers.  Sorry fellas.)  Talk to that doctor.  They can talk about options with you.  You might find yourself feeling awkward talking about this in a paper gown and socks but know I did it too.  We'll be like twinsies.

Why am I even talking about this very embarrassing moment in my life? Because we need to talk about depression and stress.  We need to talk about mental health.  We need to talk about burnout.  We need to not be shamed or made to feel guilty about our feelings.  Raising an autistic child is hard.  One thing improves and and another problem or challenge pops up.  We're forever putting out fires and advocating for our kids all while doing it in on little to no sleep.   We cannot let the idea continue that we are these blessed saints chosen to be these kids parents because we never lose our cool.  We are no different than any other person on the planet.  We screw up, we yell, and yes, we even get depressed.

We need to advocate for ourselves just as much as we do for our kids or we are no help to them at all.  A side of fries can only do so much. 

26 comments:

  1. After almost 5years I finally asked my doctor for something to help me handle all the stress and anxiety. I wish I had done it earlier! I have 3 children under 6, my older two have Autism and my husband has PTSD. So to say I was/am stressed out is an understatement!😉

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    1. Hey Morghan,

      I understand how tough for you to handle all things. I can suggest you one free mobile app for your autistic child. These apps will help you to teach your kids about object and shapes. Go through this link for free app: http://goo.gl/V9dkZA

      Thanks,
      Maria Taylor

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  2. 100 mg of Fluvox here! THE TERROR has hit PUBERTY RUNNING... im losing my mind.. give me the meds doc! I went and saw him... dropped my bundle all over his lovely big wooden desk. I had been on these antidepressants after I had TERROR but my Post natal depression was never fully treated... 11 years on MUM (Being wise and courageous! Takes on 2 diplomas in college at once! (yeah WHOSE bright idea was THAT!!!) ) Then my Depression came back... along with its best friend MAJOR ANXIETY... lets just add Terror going into puberty... and major helth issues hitting other members of the family... WELCOME FOETAL POSITION AND UGLY CRYING!... So yup I will take these meds.... trust me OUR lives do depend on them right now!!!

    Mind you a kid free cruise wouldnt hurt... but im a realist!!!

    Hugs to all!!!

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  3. Prozac and latuda literally save my life. I had depression and anxiety disorders prior to having twins, one of whom is on the spectrum. I needed meds then, and I need meds now to be the best parent I can be to my children, so I can hold down the job that puts a roof over our head, and pays for the other things we need. So that the commercial for some antidepressant medication with a sad dog doesn't make me cry. You rock Fry Mama!

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  4. Oddly enough you aren't alone. I bawled my eyes out to my gyno once. She was doing an ultrasound because I grow awesome things. It was shortly after my son's diagnosis. My emotions were high and I was still very raw. My gyno has a son with autism and she was very nice. Getting the extra help that you need to be a good mom is not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.

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  5. I'm so glad you wrote this. I'm the biggest advocate for my children, but never think of myself. There's never enough time or money for me; I felt selfish even thinking about it. I haven't found the perfect medication yet, but I'm getting better, and am glad I finally helped myself

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  6. Scientists are finding out more about depression and meds now. That depression is more than just feeling sad but actually shrinks the hippocampus in the brain, and the longer the depression persists the smaller the hippocampus. And depression meds promote neurogenesis, which reverses the damage to the hippocampus. So, depression meds are actually healing, not just covering up. This video explains some of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOK1tKFFIQI&feature=youtube_gdata_player

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  7. It's as though you were in the room... Good to know I'm not the only one

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  8. Klonopin in the morning and valium at night. I haven't had great luck with the depression meds but I just get super anxious and worry way too much! A little medication and it helps me get through the worst and be able to cope with the added stress of a 7 year old with bi-polar and a 4 year old with autism. Thank you medication!

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  9. You are describing me! You are not alone!

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  10. This needs to be said and keep on being said. THANK YOU!

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  11. Very enlightening. It also gives one pause to ponder. I haven't had health insurance for myself for years. Now that I finally do, this will definitely be something to think about.

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  12. Oh my gosh... I cringed when I read this... I feel all this but never say it, up until I read tho just now, I thought something was wrong with me, that I cant handle it all without feeling like I crap. I have a boy on the spectrum and a daughter who has an ID and just recently a psychosis episode. Everyone says, you're a good mum, how calm and patient I am etc... Bit I'm falling apart inside. I dont even want to admit I cant handle it all, and am thinking should I delete this comment? Thank u for making me think. I don't go to Drs at all, not even an annual. I am too busy for filling all these roles I have. I thought I was alone and just fail because I am not cheering at the end of each day. Now to get some help... Gotta go kiddo needs the toilet and daughters dr meeting in 20 mins...Well atleast its given me something to think about. Thanks for the blog and the comments x

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  13. Paxil and a side of fries for me. No shame. We have to take care of ourselves too.

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  14. Prozac's generic name is flouoxetine -- as in FLOUoxetine -- as in a healthy dose of that wonderful neurotoxin, flouride. Not for me! I have found help with stress and depression with SAM-e, a natural supplement found in most groceries and pharmacies, thankfully. As stressed-out autism moms, we can't afford to ignore our own mental health, that's for sure.

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    1. I wish more people would try the natural route such as SAMe. I was on ssri's for many years and it fried my brain and made me a zombie. Now I am trying to climb out of the hole prescription drugs put me in and heal myself with natural supplements. Valerian is good for nerves so is l-theanine. All you have to do is take ten minutes ( I know its a lot) and Google natural antidepressants, anxiety and a great new wave is hitting the internet nootropics they have been studied for years in other countries.

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  15. I started off reading your post, and I thought to myself, "yup!". Then before I got halfway through, I was crying. I'm stressed, I'm tired. And on top of an Autistic child, I also have a 7 yr old. (need I say more? Just me?) I have started to talk to my gyno a few times about my stress, but then I chicken out. Why? Because it is easier to say "I'm fine." I need to make an appt anyway. I will try to finally be open and talk to her. Damn,...why is it so hard for me to admit?

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  16. Thank you for your post. It's not something I go around talking about either, but it's nice to know you aren't alone in this world. Along with an ASD kiddo and ADHD kiddo, I have hypothyroidism due to thyroid cancer. As things began to build, I couldn't deal. I started taking Cymbalta and the world is now a better place for my entire family!

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  17. OMG I love this totally honest post! It's all hard enough without the sleep deprivation thrown in - and I'm sure there have been plenty of studies done on how lack of sleep affects the brain. It's not difficult to put two and two together! Just wish there were more people looking out for others like you are. I think it should be compulsory for Carers to have regular annual health checks, never mind just of 'down there', the bit up top is most important! I'm off to suggest this to everyone I can right now. You'll have helped so many just by being open about this.

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  18. Thank you for being so open, Mama Fry. It is OK to need help ourselves sometimes. A doctor told me that depression's the curse of the strong. We spend so much time holding it together that something's got to give. I've had depression in the past and am currently battling anxiety about a whole bunch of stuff - school 'issues', The Future, my health (because obviously my plan is to live forever to look out for my little man)... Medication helps. Talking helps.

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  19. Totally agree with this! I had had a hard life with abuse and terror and NEVER NEVER got depressed. But with the second diagnosis (two for two!) I fell apart. It was an entirely different kind of emotion than I had ever had. Depression was ENTIRELY new to me. It was black. It was hopeless. I thought of driving off the road. And the natural stuff doesn't always help, or it's not well-regulated enough to give a consistent dose. St. John's Wort, Sam-E, turmeric (cucurmin), omega-3s, etc -- I'm sorry, I was raised by a woman who never went to the doctor and only used natural cures, and I have to say, for some cases, regular mainstream meds are needed. I no longer feel black and suicidal. This is necessary for me! Yes I do think it makes me feel more floaty and more happy (it's not perfect) -- but, fuck it, we are parents of autistics and our brains may just need that artificial boost -- if you were born with a clubfoot and had to wear a lift all the time, would you hate that and try to avoid it? No!!! For me it's been five years (after effing 7 years of diagnosed autism with one kid, and 1 year with another) and I did try to get off several times, but it was not good. I went down to a half dose and then got ALL KINDS OF STRESS RELATED DISEASES! Seriously! I and my husband were ill. So the dose went back up. And my stress related diseases were gone. Don't wait -- get it checked out NOW.

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  20. I'm the mom of neurptypical Irish Twins that are now 7 and 6 (with a history of depression beginning in my early 20's). After my second was born, I had a full on breakdown in the hospital over how I was going to do all this. I left with a script for Sertraline. It's 7 years later and I have NO shame in admitting I am still on medication. I see my psychiatrist every three months. I have generalized anxiety disorder, adult ADD, and a tendency towards depression. I take my Meds, and see my therapist and I am a better mom and wife for it. Don't EVER feel shame because your brain doesn't quite work like others. Don't ever feel shame because you may need "help" in the form of pharmaceuticals in order to keep the balance in your life. I absolutely 100% believe that not all people are created equal, no two brains are the same, and there is NO SHAME in asking for help. Don't allow societal preconceptions stop you from what is best for YOU!!!

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  21. Thank you thank you for this great post. At my pap smear on Monday the Registrar asked what contraceptives I'm using after a bunch of other chat.

    Abstinence, I replied.

    Cue the smirk, "we'll we'd better do a pregnant test as well then just to be sure".

    "Err I just told you my daughter is Autistic and has sleep problems. She sleeps with us. I am exhausted *all*the*time*. We haven't had sex in years, literally actually years. I am not pregnant. When I say abstinence, I mean it." (Exhausted giant snot tears.)

    Poor bewildered looking learner doctor says "Oh.... oh. Oh. OK then."

    I had a run on ADs a while back and it helped enormously. Don't ever be ashamed of what gets you through!

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    1. "Err I just told you my daughter is Autistic and has sleep problems. She sleeps with us. I am exhausted *all*the*time*. We haven't had sex in years, literally actually years. I am not pregnant. When I say abstinence, I mean it."

      OMG! You just wrote my story! I have ADHD, sleep disorders and narcolepsy! My son has Autism, SPD, ADHD…. I had to have an emergency hysterectomy after my son. After which I had major postpartum depression. I lost it. We haven't had sex in 6 yrs! I would not have made it out without medication. I have NO shame AT ALL for taking antidepressants. And I have NO plans to get off of them anytime soon!

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  22. I have tried the getting up an hour earlier - not to meditate, just to be able to get ready for work. What happens? He gets up no matter what time I get up and it only adds an hour to our morning ritual of him not letting me get ready for work... and yes... the rest needs to be said. It is something that I have thought about often and I am sure the people around me have been secretly wishing for.

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  23. I took them right after my daughter got diagnosis since I kept crying all the time and whenever someone asked about my daughter no matter who they were. So my doc strongly recommended me to take these meds to cope with my depression, it completely helped me out of the foggy. So I totally so agree with your post, love it a lots!

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