I’ve been going through old files as I prepare to move to my new house this week … THIS WEEK!! … and I found something from my postpartum depression and OCD days — a medication list. I used it to keep track of what I had been taking, including dosages and side effects.
When I was first diagnosed and treated for postpartum depression, I had a psychiatrist who I’m convinced didn’t really know what he was doing. He certainly wasn’t a reproductive psychiatry expert. His approach was to throw things at the wall to see what stuck.
First, he put me on Celexa, an antidepressant, and Risperdal, an anti-psychotic that was supposed to help me sleep.
Then he switched me to Celexa and Seroquel, a different anti-psychotic to help me sleep.
When I told him that I felt so tired and without energy, he had me take Celexa, Seroquel and Wellbutrin.
Then he switched me from Celexa to Serzone — why I don’t recall — so then I was on Serzone, Seroquel and Wellbutrin.
When I told him I was sick and miserable and the Wellbutrin made me feel like a caged animal, he put me on Effexor and Seroquel.
This experience of switching and switching lasted over a period of my son’s entire first year, a year during which I was improving somewhat but still miserable, and still suffering from intrusive thoughts.
Then, instead of switching medications again, I switched psychiatrists. Woohoo! I was fortunate enough to find someone with expertise in reproductive psychiatry and postpartum depression and anxiety. She took me off of everything my first doctor had given me and put me on one medication. One. Fortunately for me, it worked.
If a similar scenario is happening to you as you try to recover from postpartum depression, please don’t believe you are a lost cause. You will find a treatment, whether it’s therapy or medication or something else entirely, that will work for you. And remember that sometimes the key is not the treatment itself, but the person who provides it.