Thursday, June 23, 2011

Who Knew "Fat n' Happy" Was a Real Thing?

If you're among the 9 unfortunate souls who follow me on Twitter (I'm sorry), then you know I'll talk about pretty much anything. It's not a narcissistic belief that anything I might have to say might help someone else, but I suppose you never know; it could be a byproduct of my narcissistic belief that people even care what I have to say at any given moment (I mean, it does take effort to punch in this website, right?). This space is for us to share Zoey with the people closest to us even though they aren't able to be physically close. But it's also our lives and it's not all happy babies and silly stories (last night, for example, Miss Crabby Pants emerged. And, no, I'm not talking about me). It all started with the birth of the baby......

My OB/GYN informed me that the baby weight would melt off with my first baby, be a little more difficult with the second, and be downright impossible with my third. Good thing we aren't planning to go beyond two. But I hadn't expected quite the melt-down I experienced.

Given my intense morning sickness through the 4th month of my pregnancy, I dropped 20 pounds in the first 3 months. Days before giving birth, I weighed in at 187-pounds, a total gain of 71-pounds. But considering my extremely low tolerance for processed foods, once I have birth, I immediately lost 15 pounds of water weight.

As my body steadily went back to pre-baby shape, the weight continued to melt off. And melt it did until I almost vanished into thin air (PUN!). I noticed my appetite change only in the fact that I could never finish a meal; I'd always reach that point of nauseating fullness before I could even see the china pattern on my plate. And although I continued to eat, I also continued to lose weight; approximately 2-4 pounds every 2 weeks. Once I returned to the weight I had been at my sickest during pregnancy, then dipped below, I thought medical intervention might be necessary. So the day after Zoey checked out beautifully at her doctor, I had my own appointment.

My doctor was less-than friendly, with a poor bedside manner. But since I'm not one of those "doctor people" (i.e. those who go for every sniffle), I decided I didn't much care. This was the first time I went to the doctor without having a human growing in my belly, or needing a physical in order to try out for cheerleading. It was an interesting thing to answer, "So, what are you in for today?" with, "I keep [unintentionally] losing weight." Most everyone I told scoffed at me and told me what an actual problem is, including my doctor (well, not really the second part, but she did act like I'm the lamest person to walk the planet).

Taking a cue from Glamour magazine, I wrote down my "symptoms" so I wouldn't leave out anything to discuss. I opted out of pointing out my constant ingrown toenails, that just didn't seem real important. She asked me a series of questions and took a variety of notes, and after drawing some blood to determine nothing was physically wrong with me, came to her conclusion. Drum roll please.............

DEPRESSION! WOOOO!!

We discussed my food intake and she fought back a smile as she told me I just wasn't eating enough to support my height and the calories I was burning off. So now I have homework - to keep a food journal, and suck down my new happy pill at the same time every day. I make light of it because it's a very interesting malady to have to face.

For starters, depression is not all it appears on the commercials. Sure there are a plethora of mopey moments, but the majority are uber-emotional, a heightened sense of being aware, and caring way more than anyone should. It's really rather stressful, I can understand why anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand. Compounding the problem is that being diagnosed with depression is depressing in and of itself. Now, not only are you a statistic, but you're admitting, mostly to yourself, that you're not happy with your current state of living. I have to conclude that most of the struggle comes from just admitting that you have a problem and that you aren't the same person you used to know. AND that you need medication and counseling to fix problems in your life that you can't physically grasp a hold of.

Whether you, the guy down the street, Brooke Shields, or Tom Cruise believe it or not, Postpartum Depression exists and can be diagnosed up to a year after giving birth. My OB/GYN feared I was suffering from this based on my 6-week postpartum check-up. Given the court cases splashed all over the news for mothers murdering their children as a result, my doctor hounded me for months but I never followed up. I have to admit that this whole time I was living inside of my head and out - knowing I felt irrational and erratic but succumbing to it anyway. Finally, when I scared myself with my own weight loss, I decided I had to talk to someone other than my husband, who probably wished there was still a semblance of the woman he married still in there somewhere. Mostly, though, I was just pissed none of my clothes fit.

So, like I said before, I am to journal everything I eat while taking an anti-depressant every day. I have another appointment the beginning of July, and my blood work all came back fine, concluding I'm physically healthy; my brain just doesn't work right. I've been taking my Puppy Uppers (or Doggy Downers, depending on how you look at it) for almost 2 weeks. I could slowly start to feel the effects, and I noticed a definite shift in my temperament, especially in dealing with things that generally displease me. I'm more clear, able to communicate my thoughts and feelings better, and can better understand what people are saying to me without thinking every syllable is meant as a personal attack. It has helped with other things as well, like limiting how much control I feel I should have; I no longer berate myself if the house still looks like a disaster after the weekend. And as far as eating goes, well that was like night and day. I woke up one morning FAMISHED and my appetite has been slowly returning to normal, so I am on the fast-track to non-emaciation. Regardless, I was afraid they would become the cobblestones on my path to unfeeling and uncaring but that has been far from the truth.

I found it beneficial that I was able to feel the effects of my new pills relatively quickly. And perhaps I was lucky enough to find a pill that works with my body (others can be less fortunate and have to try a variety of different medications with their corresponding side-effects), but I was most pleased with learning that they didn't take me directly to Unfeeling-ville, and that I'm still able to care about what is most important and feel anxious at appropriate times; operative word being appropriate.

Initially, I wanted to avoid any and all synthetic medications that ultimately messed with the chemicals in my brain. But I realized I couldn't continue on the way I was - emotionally unbalanced, stressed, tired, and dangerously closed to malnourished. So, in the end, I'm happy I was able to find something to right my system. The eventual goal is to be weened off the medication, your brain having been "taught" the appropriate levels of chemicals and hormones to release and when. I'm sure it will happen just as I'm ready to have another baby. And, you know - truth be told - I probably should have been taking anti-depressants long before I had a baby. :-)