Sunday, November 25, 2007

Panic Attack Update, or Better living through Chemisty

This may seem like a hypocritical post after the last one (Is knowledge always a good thing?) regarding my cardio visit. Bear with me. I'm a modern American with many options for joy and irritation.

I went to a psychiatrist, Dr Rex Gentry, who specializes in pregnancy and post partum mood disorders. We spent an hour going over my history and talking about natural physiological phenomenon of pregnancy. For instance, pregnant women commonly develop a heightened sense of awareness in order to protect their unborn, then newborn baby. However, in some people, this sense gets turned to "11," which can present in intense crying, gripping panic and deep depression. Because of my history, he felt that I was at a fairly high risk (40%) of continued episodes of depression into post partum.

I feel he is right about this. It's been a concern of mine since before I even got pregnant and particularly because of my situation, it makes sense to me to be on medication. It's safe for me and the baby - in studies, the drug has not been found in a breastfed infant's blood. There seem to be some very long term negative effects but this isn't a med that I would take for more than about 6 months.

I feel relieved that I'll be able to be with my baby and enjoy him as much as possible. I don't feel like I'm supposed to be some automaton who is happy all the time and blissfully ignorant, dancing through the streets as if they are fields of tulips. But a little balance is good.

I cried last night when I got up from the couch because my hips hurt so much and I'm tired of it. It felt good to cry a little. That was fine. But the gripping panic attacks were too much. Not livable. And if things like that happened when my baby was in my arms, ... I don't even want to think about it. That starts going down the Yellow Brick Road of Catastrophe and Psychosis and I ain't into that trip. I really don't feel I need to get attacked by flying monkeys only to have some big green head tell me to click my heels and say, "there's no place like home." I'm good here, no reason to go anywhere else. Thanks, man. I like it where I am.

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