Don’t Try This At Home

Without considering the consequences, without consulting a professional, without enough thought I stopped taking a medication.

Two years ago this week my son was born. Two years and six weeks ago I lost my mommy.

While never verbalized, I kept thinking, you took the wrong parent. As if life were a chess game and I could will my opponent to take the knight. Save my queen. A girl needs her mom.

My sister and I would communicate this thought. An alternative loss, another person whose demise would have been more manageable. No less painful, just more manageable. But life does not give you that option.

Man Plans; G-d Laughs.

I know it is supposed to be hard. Aren’t I luckier having had a mom whose absence is so pronounced and devastating than recovering more quickly?

My Sister and I shared a secret satisfaction in discovering other people’s tragedies. John Travolta, Natasha Richardson and one’s within our community: cancer, wrong choices or bad luck, another family suffering reminded us life is equally unfair.

Three weeks ago, the preschool sends an email that Pookie’s teacher’s mother passed. That email, and the timing of it consumed me. Tears welled when I thought of the teacher seven months pregnant, whose mom had been fine until a hip operation in October, two months ago. I know my situation does not compare, My mom knew my daughter her first fourteen months. (2 points)
The teacher was able to say goodbye to her mom (2 points or however one finds solace in knowing that her pain and loss and suffering wasn’t the worst).

I was swapping family estate squabbles with another member of Lost Parents Club and after venting we were each grateful for our respective nonsense.

Amiss this anniversary I quickly and quietly phase out my low dose anti-depressant that was working beautifully. Three weeks earlier I stopped taking birth control. I was on vacation and remembered to take Lexapro every other day. With my 27 hours devoted to flying home in a snowstorm three days eclipsed and I seemed okay, attributing my stress and anxiety exclusively to travel delays. So then four days became five and six and then I remembered my prescription.

And this is where the poor choice comes in…I could take the Lexapro, 5 or 10 milligrams as I vacillated between doses, or not. I am open to having a third child, and I do not want to harm it in utero. Considering I have not done any research on anti-depressants and pregnancy, and because I never thought I would be on anti-depressants this long, I stopped, sending my mind and emotions into a tailspin.

Cursing at the receptionist at Equinox, apologizing to the E*Trade operator (who told me she has heard much worse), wanting to burst into tears throughout the day, being consumed by an offhand comment from my 92 year old grandma, and getting defensive at most opportunities I knew my body was off balance. Then four weeks later I wonder if I should just sneak in a Lexapro, or is this cold turkey withdrawal the most effective.

I’m seeing two doctors for my back, one a chiropractor and the other an MD who injects a saline solution into muscular trigger points. The chiropractor immediately detected that my personality was off, encouraging me to consult the MD downstairs. He warned me, be careful or you are going to hurt your relationships. Perhaps because he said it multiple times, i actually heard him. He also advised that if I don’t restrain I can add a disclaimer: sorry I just changed medications and I am not myself.

My husband…he too knows something is off, originally hoping it was pregnancy hormones. My sister too suspected pregnancy or period. Chemical synapses are firing. Seratonin and Dopamine are adjusting to new balances and I leave my husband a post coital note to get the wax off my lingerie.

I’m trying. I’m making mistakes. I’m doing my best.


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