Bionic Mamas

you're not losing a vagina, you're gaining a son

Addled Brain Update


Will the baby stay asleep a little longer? Who knows!

Thank you all for your kindness and information in re: my addled and jumpy brain. Truly. Madly (intended). Deeply.

After that post, things took a turn for the very much worse. I know! Who knew I had it in me? Turns out I did. And, while I wish to stress that I am not suicidal, after the weekend I had two weeks ago, I have sympathy for people who might consider that while caught in unremitting panic. You know that bit in Infinite Jest about people hanging from the windows of burning buildings? Yeah.

I spent Friday morning through Sunday night plus large parts of Monday through Wednesday feeling like I do on a plane. You may have noticed I don’t fly much. When I wasn’t in an actual panic attack, thinking I might well die in the next minute, I was millimeters away from one, wondering angrily how everyone else could walk around in the beautiful spring weather (etc.) as if we weren’t all one misfiring neuron from the abyss. Good fun, that.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been experiencing this thing I’ve forgotten the fancy word for, a prominent part of earlier bouts of bad depression, where I feel like everyone else is real and I’m not. Like there is a clear but unbreakable film between me and the rest of the world, me outside, looking in. Steam on the windows from the kitchen, laughter like a language I once spoke with ease, you might say, only minus the nostalgic charm.

On Wednesday, I went to see my internist, whom I do love. I was convinced she would shrug her shoulders and ask why I’d come to her, particularly if I wanted anything other than a quick SSRI prescription, but Sugar insisted that she is smart and a good person and would I just go already? And actually, she was amazing. And should probably bill me for a therapy session. She does not think I have heart failure, you’ll be surprised to hear, nor that I am just doomed to be like this forever. All parts of the body get habits they like, she says, and that my brain is currently in a very bad rut doesn’t mean it can’t get out. She did not mention SSRIs until I did, at which point she said she did not think they were the best thing to try first for me. (Once again, all my marshaled research is wasted because I have a doctor who already knows her field. Humph.) She sent me on my way with the name of a CBT therapist and a prescription for a small number of tabs of Xanax.

Oh Muse, sing of the power of benzodiazepines! Surely the mightiest of drugs on earth, for they need not enter the body at all, nor even touch the skin, to work their calming magic. Their very aura is curative. I have yet to take even one, but carrying on around with me, I feel so much more in control. Perhaps there is something in homeopathy, after all.

I am far from cured, that is obvious, so I will follow up on this whole therapy thing, I promise. Sigh. I hate therapy. Or anyway, I hate finding therapists, and I have not had a great run with the ones I have found. It’s consternating, the very fact that one must do this very difficult job of seeking help at exactly the moment one is least equipped to do so. (I know half of you are wondering if consternate is a word: it is, first written use 1651.) And so not what I’d like to spend my babysitting budget (ha) on. Blah.

Incidentally, my bid to use choral singing as a therapy replacement for garden variety depression did work out pretty well, as evidenced by this shit not hitting the fan until after the big concert. There’s evidence for that in the literature, apparently. But no one does anything organized in New York in summer. So.

In WHOLLY UNRELATED news, my father’s Dumb Wedding is in less than a month. Sugar doesn’t want to use her vacation time for this, so one of my aunts has agreed to ride the train out with me and the kids (madness?) and then road trip back with us, so that we can have my mom’s old car (MADNESS). I do think the car, while questionable from a budget perspective, will be an overall boon to my mood, in terms of being able to leave the city and go pretty places more easily. But pray for us on the drive from Little Rock to Brooklyn with the Very Angry Baby.

10 thoughts on “Addled Brain Update

  1. Forgive me if I missed something (sleep deprivation!)…are you still nursing Jackalope? Because I seem to remember when I was dealing with my own anxiety while nursing (dysphoric milk ejection reflex or something?) you said it had happened to you with the Bean. That’s not to dismiss the realness of what’s happening given EVERYTHING you’ve been through, but perhaps a contributing factor? And if this is totally not helpful, I apologize. I offer an e-hug.

    In the meantime, I should refill my own prescription for xanax…

    • You are 150% on the money with that comment. I keep reminding myself how much happier/saner I got every time I dropped a feeding with the Bean. The trouble is (s/are), Jackalope is down to a reasonable number of feeds during the day but totally unrestrained at night (because night weaning her while sharing a small apartment with her sleep-averse brother is…hard); she’s not especially ready to wean, won’t take a bottle, etc.; I’m not especially ready to wean her; the fear (where’s the line between rational concern and pathological anxiety, again?) that it’s different this time, that THIS TIME, weaning will not bring relief but instead the hormonal depression others report. So.

      In fairness, it is true that she slept unusually well (and therefore nursed less) during the worst period of anxiety. Sleep is wasted on the panicky insomniac. It’s also true that nursing her at night sort of makes me want to crawl out of my skin.

      On Wed, May 13, 2015 at 3:39 PM, Bionic Mamas wrote:


  2. Oh Bionic, I’m glad you posted. I’m sorry things continue to be so hard. I really got your comment about disliking the finding of a therapist- I really need one right now and keep dragging my heels because the whole process of locating one that I like seems so insurmountable. I have had “call insurance company to see if I need a referral from my GP” on my to-do list for weeks now.

    I find getting outside helps me enormously. Getting outside by myself, triply so. Now that the weather has turned, I can manage things that I couldn’t during the winter. Does this help you at all?

    Keep us in the loop. I also found writing things out on my blog was enormously helpful, even for just ordering things in my own mind and owning up to how I was feeling.

    • YES about getting outside. I am your garden variety overeducated depressive WASP, and ordinarily making sure I get outside for a walk/garden is enough to keep things in line. One of the things I do like about city living is how non-optional that is. I am less likely to do it when I need it most, but the fact is, living in a small apartment with small children means I am forced outside every day, barring extreme (and mutual) illness.

      I agree, too, with your comment about blogging, and I resolve to be in this space more.

      On Wed, May 13, 2015 at 4:19 PM, Bionic Mamas wrote:


  3. I remember sharing about the depression and axiety that I was feeling when we first had out twins…that word you are looking for (dissociation) is TOTALLY what I was feeling those first 5-6 weeks after they were born. It’s not easy to adjust to a life with a new little one. I went to a therapist (through my jobs EAP program) and after a month worth of sessions (4 1-hour talks) i was feeling much better! Sleep deprivation is a BIATCH and can really skew your view of the world and everything in it. I’m gonna encourage you to talk to someone, even if just for a few short weeks, to kinda get yourself back in order, and more so if you REALLY Don’t want to! That’s when we need it most. Hope things get better friend…

  4. Ugh – if you are anything like me right when you need / have to seek help, doing anything seems just to mutha flippin hard. Feeling for you and feeling admiration that you managed to write it all down and put it out there. Kia kaha. X

  5. Chased By A Bear was in my experience *greatly* improved by the xanax. It wafts you right off in a relaxed, un-anxiois haze!

    I think knowing it won’t go on forever, that you have a medication option, is very reassuring! For me chronic pain etc. is, as I’ve mentioned before, worsened by the fear of it going on forever.

    And hey, I stopped taking my SSRIs b/c of the side effects so I can hardly blame your (many reasonable) reasons for avoiding them.

    Weaning, glorious weaning! Surely, one day when you are ready, it will bring you a blessed feeling of relief and not a hormonal ick. Surely.

  6. P.S. I apologize for typos. Tablet, blah, you know.

  7. Curative powers indeed. Carrying them around is often more than enough for me. Though it’s lovely to have insurance, just in case.

  8. A friend recently reminded me of this: Don’t know if you’ve ever read it, but if not, it does not sugar coat the experience of trying to medicate depression/anxiety. It’s grim, but you might feel some kinship, and the things he describes might provide you with the impetus needed to follow through on getting all the help you can. Plus, there’s this line, “Xanax is, in my view, a lifesaver.” All your many friends here and elsewhere are pretty useless, but we’d do anything we could, because you are amazing and we hate that you are suffering.

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