I haven't always been on an anti-depressant - just the past eleven years. That's not to say that I didn't need something before that, but becoming a parent made it a necessity. Sad, but true.
Becoming a parent is an emotional journey, especially when you've been trying/waiting to become one for almost ten years. Five years of trying "naturally," a few years of tests & fertility treatments, until we came to our senses & sealed the deal with adoption. International adoption - we had been through enough emotionally that I was not going to risk having some crackhead knocking on our door to get their kid(s) back. Just sayin'...
I know, I am making light of a pretty emotional journey, but that's how I roll...and besides, that is not the point of this story. So, back to the happy pill...
We'd been home from Samoa for about two months and I noticed that my patience level had become non-existent. I was wound tight and for once in a very long time, had no real reason to feel that way. My family was complete - awesome husband, two beautiful little girls and two very loyal springer spaniels...we'd even just moved into a new home that completed our 21st Century nuclear family. So why so anxious? Why so emotional? Was I just an ungrateful bee-otch that didn't know how to appreciate her awesome life?
Well, did you know that a woman can put their body into post-partum depression without giving birth? Yeah, me neither. But apparently I am pretty damn special and that's exactly what my doctor felt was happening to me and my snarky, quick to snap self. She said that the sudden change from no kids to two kids who only wanted ME (the girls were not accustomed to men) was enough to kick the hormones into overdrive, creating an imbalance. It also does not help that I was genetically pre-destined for this nonsense...depression, to varying degrees, runs deep in my family, so honestly, it was inevitable. And to say that my life had changed would be an understatement.
I had gone from a married woman/teacher who could come and go as she pleased...to a mother who was married and taught for a living. I couldn't go anywhere without hearing "mommy" or feeling somebody poking or squeezing me, wanting something, if not food, just a snuggle. And now that I type this I feel a little bit of guilt because it was what I'd always wanted...but damn, so much so soon?
So back to the pill...the doctor hooked me up with an anti-depressant and two weeks later, I was a calm, cool collected mama on summer break. I felt better - even keeled, chill, going with the flow and loving my new life. After a couple of months I had to go in for a check-up and D went with me...the doctor (military docs so it was my first visit with him) looked at D and said, "What do you think? She needs it? Do you notice a difference?" Now this was over ten years ago so I don't recall exactly what D said but it was along the lines of "it works, keep it coming Doc." Yeah, well that was certainly confirmation that my nonsense was being taken care of thanks to the miracle of modern medicine.
Now I've tried, over the years, to take a break from the happy pill, but to no avail - this chemical imbalance nonsense that turns me into a cry baby bee-otch is here for good folks. The longest I've gone without it is one year and hmm, it was interesting to say the least. The mood swings were nuts - I went from laughing, happy go lucky to getting my feelings hurt over nonsense that would normally crack me up. The final straw was when we attempted to move to Wisconsin and it did not work out -- the crying jags, oh the freaking crying jags, even I couldn't stand me! So, back to the doctor (it was time for the annual poke & prod anyway) and back to NORMAL.
But I don't always learn the first time, so I tried it again last year...yeah, two weeks and when I broke down in tears because I couldn't concentrate long enough to dial the number to the doctor and then when I do get through I get the voice mail...let's just say they got me in the next day and we were all (including my work colleagues) singing Hallelujah and speaking in tongues. Okay, not really, but all was right in the world, again, and for that I am thankful.
So fast forward to today, where I realized, quickly, that I had not taken my pill last night. Now one would not think that 24 hours without it would make a difference. Hmm, yeah, right. For me, it's as if I am instantaneously blanketed in a serious case of adult ADHD...full on with the lack of focus, giggles, and the incessant need to move. If I were a stay-at-home mom this might not be that big of a deal. But I am attempting to educate the masses my dear friends and if a teacher needs one thing it is focus and control...
Point in case: We are neck deep in test prep and standards review. The lovelies have been reading passages and answering questions, using test taking strategies that we've been doing all year long. No biggy, right? Well, it is when you begin to read & review the passage with your students and realize that even YOU are bored to tears. Here is where I confirmed, that I had not taken my pill:
Question 5 asks: Which word would describe Blobbity Blob (can't recall her name, that is how disengaged I was from this reading passage):
Lots of vocabulary discussion ensued and we narrowed it down to a & b...and in full-on teacher mode I say "well, she was a spy, so she was not very honest or trustworthy, therefore she was deceitful. But on the other hand she led a pretty interesting life so I can see where someone would choose "interesting." Now folks, this is where I SHOULD have reiterated the character and her actions so they'd clearly understand she was deceitful. But nope, that's not what happened...instead I continue discussing "interesting" and proceed to say "Now, I think she was pretty interesting, I'd probably want to read more about her. Well, no, that's a lie, I don't think she was that interesting and besides...she's dead." Yes, that is EXACTLY what I said...WTH, right?
And this is where I lost it - I couldn't stop giggling because I knew that I had truly lost it. I'd even said, out loud, "Hmm, what's wrong with me today? I should have kept that in my head!" And because I'd realized, quickly, why I was so goofy, I embraced it and the rest of the day went off without a hitch - at least in my opinion....and I promise, I will take my happy pill (+ vitamin D) tonight and all will be right in the world of educating my lovelies.
BTW - My morning lessons are normally repeated for my afternoon group but due to MY morning shenanigans, I spared the group my personal views on Blobbity Blob (Belle something or other) and opted for a more low key afternoon. So yes, I do learn from my mistakes, sometimes;-)