Treating Anxiety: Days 3, 4, and 5 of Lexapro/Cipralex

The past three days have been the worst so far. The medication has made it impossible for me to fall asleep at night, even though I’m so tired. Night 3, I didn’t sleep a wink. By 5am, I was a desperate wreck and finally took 0.5mg of Ativan (lorazepam) to help sedate me. It took a while to kick in. I laid it bed until 8am when I heard Dumplin’ singing, and then I went to join him and DW as they played in the living room. By about 10am, I felt groggy, so I laid down again and fell asleep finally. I didn’t wake up until 1pm, when we had to get going to a friend’s going away party downtown. 

Night 4, I decided to take the Ativan in the evening with my Cipralex so that I had a chance at sleep. It worked, and I slept okay, but not deep enough to not notice Dumplin’ fussing for his regular 3 nighttime feedings. But, unlike all other nights, I returned to bed and was able to fall back asleep fairly quickly. The next afternoon, exhausted, and feeling really flat, I decided to bring Dumplin’ into our bed for a nap. It was the best nap we’d had in a long time. It was the perfect combination of both of us being tired, and both of us needing each other’s comfort. I woke up from the nap before he did, which is always nice compared to being woken up by him when I’m still needing more sleep. However, that nap involved an all-you-can-nurse buffet for Dumplin’, which may have been confusing for his nighttime sleep that night….

Night 5 sucked badly. Since Ativan is super habit-forming, DW and I decided that I should try sleeping without it. Again though, with the Cipralex coursing through my body, I got zero sleep. By 8:30am, I called it when I heard baby boy playing in his crib, and got on with our day. We went to the gym, came home, and then everybody napped. Again, I could not fall asleep!!! It’s so frustrating. Tonight, I’ll be sure to take the Ativan. 

Some key points about this transitional period:

– it sucks balls

– my insomnia is worse, but I’m not laying in bed with my mind racing. I just can’t seem to fall asleep

– being super sleep-deprived, I haven’t been doing my regular workouts, which has been hard on me too. I’ve snuck in a run on the treadmill at home, and some quickie weights here and there

– Dumplin’ has been sleeping like crap too- he’s in leap 5, which is termed the “world of relationships”. He is noticing the distance between us, and just wants to be close all the time, especially bedtime. Last night he cried from 7pm-10:30pm (previously minimal crying at bedtime), and kept rolling into the crib bars, peering between them and looking longingly for us. During nighttime feedings, he’s clutching my back and my hands while he nurses, and when I unlatch him, he starts wailing like he’s been hurt. He just doesn’t want me to stop holding him. It’s heartbreaking.

  
– DW has been my rock, and has been super supportive throughout this transitional period. She’s been watching Dumplin’ despite her extreme 38-weeks-pregnant discomfort. She has a hard time getting around because her feet are sooooooo swollen (she can’t even cram her feet into Crocs!), and struggles to carry the 21+ pound Dumplin’ because her hands and arms are so numb and painful from the shoulder impingement and carpal tunnel. I am so glad Mochi isn’t here yet, since I’m not through this transitional period with the Cipralex. 

Warning: freaky pictures of DW’s feet below.

   
 

Happiness Cycle Day 14: Downtown

DW took the day off work today, as we had a day of medical appointments, in town and out of town. She has also been so busy and overworked so far this semester that she really needed a “mental health” day as well.

I must mention that I finally had a good sleep last night, after almost a week of terrible anxiety-induced insomnia.

This morning DW made me a decaf coffee (such a nice treat to be served coffee in the morning), we gave the dogs got some consolation pats on the head, and we were on our way.

Our first stop was the fertility clinic’s satellite clinic, which is in our city. I needed to have my blood work and ultrasound monitoring again. Things are on track, with my uterine lining measuring 9.4 today, up from 8.7 of two days ago. I also got a “present” from one of the receptionists, who wasn’t working today, but had mentioned last time I was in that “she’d give me a troll to put down my pants”. I wasn’t sure what she meant by that, but she meant Treasure Trolls, those dolls from the 80’s, for good luck. We joked about for a bit- especially the part about putting one down my pants. Anyway, today, the phlebotomist nurse gave me this on behalf of the receptionist:

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So thoughtful and sweet!

After that, we headed downtown, to see my family doctor. I was really nervous and stressed about this appointment, not knowing how to describe and explain the overwhelming emotions and feelings that I have been experiencing since the miscarriage. When we got there, my family doctor was super attentive, gave me room to talk, listened patiently and compassionately, and gave some good advice. I shared with her how depressed and anxious I have been feeling, how it has continued to affect my sleep and made me weary of socializing with friends who aren’t aware of our situation. She had me complete some forms: a depression questionnaire, an anxiety questionnaire, and a survey on the impact of my feelings on my activities of daily living. It was the first time that I had taken inventory of various aspects of my depression and anxiety, and how it has been affecting me beyond just my feelings and sense of hope for the future. This whole time I’ve been so consumed and obsessed with our miscarriage(s) and getting back to making babies that I completely lost sight of how I have been doing as a person. I mean, I knew that I was depressed, and I knew that I had an anxiety problem, but I had always placed them under the context of the miscarriage, and not really that they themselves are focal points that need to be addressed.

I have battled depression before, and had reached a nice homeostasis with Wellbutrin for years. When I first met DW, I had already been on it for many years, but like most people with mental health issues, because I felt better, I thought “why not, let’s try life anti-depressant free!”. That was a couple of years ago, and for the entire time, I have been fine. However, with the fertility challenges and heartbreak of three miscarriages, I think my dear friend depression has snuck back into my life, and has brought his asshole friend anxiety along as back-up.

I have mentioned my emotional struggles on my blog many times, but didn’t realize how bad it has gotten until I answered those questionnaires, and saw and felt the true concern in DW’s and my family doctor’s feedback on how I seem, and have been behaving. I guess this is sort of what an intervention feels like. I’ve been so caught up in my own head, and needed to hear what other people are observing. My depression and anxiety are a big concern right now, and my family doctor is concerned enough about it to suggest that I start some medications right away. She suggested Cipralex, which is an SSRI, and is effective for both depression and anxiety. I would love feedback from anyone who has taken it before. She says that it is safe before, during, and after pregnancy, even though Dr. Google claims otherwise. But I am convinced that you can search anything and find support for it in the form of a online support forum. This I have learned from the all-consuming world of TTC.

She wants me to double check with the RE that he Cipralex won’t interfere/interact with all of the other stuff that I will be on: estrace, prometrium/endometrin, aspirin, fragmin, prednisone, intralipids. I’ve emailed the RE’s nurse, so hopefully I will hear back soon.

I have mixed feelings about taking the Cipralex. On one hand I think that it would be better for me to just tough it out, that it’s normal to have feelings of sadness and despair, or constant worry, given what I’ve been through. On the other hand, it is becoming more and more apparent to me that my depression and anxiety levels are abnormally high, and the culmination of evidence is that that can negatively impact our potential pregnancy even more than the small risk of cardiovascular defects and autism that have been reported but not confirmed. I look at DW, and some of you who seem “recovered” from your miscarriages, and wonder why I’m still stuck in this destructive loop of depression and anxiety. I realize now that it’s because I am struggling with an extra layer of mental illness.

Work has been harassing me again as well. In the past seven days, the person in charge of leaves has called me three times and emailed me once. This is after talking to her already the first time. She didn’t have anything new to discuss the subsequent times, but rather has been very negative and pushy in her tone. DW says that if she calls me again, that we should complain to the union. The last thing you want to do when you have an employee suffering from a mental health challenge is harass them.

Anyway, after my doctor’s appointment we went out for lunch at our favourite Vietnamese place.

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Then grabbed some baked treats down the street at this great little bakery we found by accident one day the last time we were here. I got a gluten-free chèvre cheesecake, and DW got “the best butter tart ever”, as well as a pear almond tort-like thing that has a fancy French name that I don’t remember.

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We then went shopping at our favourite outdoor store: Mountain Equipment Co-op, where we caught up on some much needed shopping, and bought a couple of early Christmas presents (me mostly).

We also got a call from our primary nurse today. I am supposed to start my long list of meds on Saturday, in preparation for our embryo transfer on Wednesday morning!

I hope that time moves fast, as I’m anxious for our last embryo to come home, but I also feel like I need some time to process everything that has happened today. The good, and the bad new.