2008-07-26

It's my blog and I'll be vain if I want to.

Way back in 1998 I was laying in bed, my newborn son in his bassinet within arm's reach. I put my hand lightly on his chest, feeling its reassuring rise and fall.

As if overwhelmed with love for my little boy, my heart starting beating faster and faster in the still of the night. It sounded like a train in my ears, or a marching band. It thumped against my chest wall and started to steal my ability to breath normally.

While my husband slept oblivious next to me, I struggled for a deep breath, tried to reassure myself that this was probably a normal experience to have in the days right after giving birth. I was probably dehydrated. Over-tired. Adjusting to the crazy hormonal shifts.

This feeling, however, would surface whenever it damned well pleased for quite some time. Three and a half years, to be exact.

There were some dark times in those years, but for the most part the anxiety was manageable. I knew the feeling would go away in a day or two; I just had to suffer through those hours. Eventually as the months progressed the "episodes" grew further and further apart, until one day I realized that it had been weeks since the last one.

They were gone.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I promised my husband that if I had another post-partum experience like that, I'd give up the stoicism and take some medication. I didn't want to live like that again, and I didn't want to put my family through it.

Happily, the second time around it wasn't as bad. Or, on second thought, maybe not happily. I lived with a low-grade anxiety that I kept pretty well hidden most of the time, but it would come out full-force when I was faced with an even mildly stressful situation.

When my daughter was just over a year old, I was faced with what turned out to be a big fat NOTHING, but at the time was a wee bit of a health scare for me. I crumpled. I stopped returning phone calls, hid in my home for weeks waiting for tests and biopsy results. I told no-one about it, just put everything on hold as much as I could.

When that was all over, I marched into my doctor's office and said, "It's time. Gimme some Zoloft." He did, and it worked miraculously. The anxiety that had taken over was gone.

*Poof*

At the time, I was training for a half marathon. I had less than a month to go, and was really ramping up my running.

Yet...as I watched my friends with whom I was training dropping pounds like crazy because of our running schedule, I started gaining weight.

I remember the day of the race, which went from Napa to Sonoma, feeling my belly jiggle a bit as I ran. I'd never had that before. Not ever. I had gained five pounds since starting Zoloft.

Whatever, it's worth it not to feel like that. I thought to myself. Five pounds is a small price to pay to feel normal.

I had no idea what was in store for me.

The small stomach jiggle grew and grew. I tucked away my size 4's and bought 6's. I can deal with a size 6 if it means I'm not dealing with anxiety.

The flab on my tummy started expanding northward. My rib cage became covered by a small layer of fat, then a thicker one.

Out with the 6's, in with the 8's.

This is getting tough, but still...worth it.

My hips started widening. My wedding rings got tight. Even bracelets didn't fit the same. AND MY SHOES.

Bought some size 10's.

In case you're wondering, I was still working out consistently. I enjoy exercise and don't feel right if I skip more than a day. In fact, until Zoloft I was one of those annoying people who occasionally had to diet to GAIN weight (okay, not so much after kids, but I didn't have one bit of problem losing weight EVER. Until Zoly).

I started pretty much living in yoga pants.

And I bought a size 12.

My weight reached the place where it was when I gave birth to each of my kids. I looked in the mirror and the bone structure that once allowed me to model (not a lot, mind you, but a bit) was gone.

Who is that fat woman in the mirror? Oh, right, me.

Me?

Me.

In three years I've gained thirty pounds. That's an increase of about twenty-five percent. Good times!

I'm going to wean myself off of Zoloft. It actually kind of started at BlogHer because I forgot to take my daily dose twice. I figured I'd run with it...

I'm going to document it for you here. The good, the bad, the whatever.

And maybe, just maybe, if I make it to BlogHer next year I won't hide from the cameras. Or look frantic in the photos that are taken because I dread seeing how fat my face has become.

Because this is me (days before starting Zoloft):
Photobucket

Not this (at BlogHer...thanks VDog for letting me steal the photo!)
Photobucket

Maybe I shouldn't be so vain. But, whatever, I am.

(I wonder when I started parting my hair on the opposite side? THAT has nothing to do with Zoloft, I'm pretty sure.)

28 comments:

  1. You're gorgeous, dahling! Don't fight the camera!

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  2. You were a 4? Hell, I'd be depressed too MISS Christine!

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  3. Good luck. Hopefully it will all be as easy as not taking them anymore. And the weight will fly off. And we will all be jealous and catty.

    Or not. Maybe will we be jealous and nice. I can't tell at this point. I've been trying to lose the same 18 lbs for three months. It screws with your priorities.

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  4. Your still gorgeous, but I understand. Prozac=50 lbs. in 5 years for me. And I'm only 5' tall, so it looks like 80. Good luck with the weaning off.

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  5. I'll be interested in hearing how this goes as I've been thinking of doing the same thing myself...Best wishes with it!

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  6. This is my first visit here, so it is probably kind of a personal one to comment on, but I just wanted to say that after I had babies, I too had some anxiety issues and whatever the doctor gave me (I had two meds at once) made me LOSE weight like crazy. I'd love to have a little panic attack right now to get a hold of it again! It was awesome. You look lovely though so glad you came out of hiding!

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  7. My meds put on 30! I know that jiggly feeling!

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  8. ps. yer ass - still hot

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  9. I can relate to the med thing. I started taking the pill when we got married and put on 20 pounds in a year. Ugh. I thought it might have been the restaurant that I was working at, but now I don't think so. 'cuz I quit and then got pregnant and after he was born I lost all the baby weight plus all the "pill" weight. I'm so not taking that ever again!

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  10. hi there
    try Thai yoga pants
    the best i guess
    www.fishermanspants.com
    thay make unique
    ones
    erez thailand

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  11. you are beautiful.
    I have no problem blogging about my ppd and emotional state but my weight..... oy, really puts a damper on my day if I dwell too much on it. The gym, yoga all that gives me some control in what sometimes feels like a powerless situation.

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  12. I gained 30 pounds after starting Effexor. I swear they do not put that down as a side effect because they know women would head for the hills. I haven't lost a pound since stopping the meds 2 yrs ago. I might be fat but I at least I am happy.

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  13. You, my friend, are beautiful. Inside & out.

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  14. I can totally relate to the weight gain story except I don't have Zoloft to blame (just 2 kids and age). I am currently a size 10 trying to get back down to a size 6; I figure my days of being a size 3 are never going to come back so I should just give up that dream.

    Good Luck!

    Thanks for posting a picture of yourself. It is great to see the face behind the words.

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  15. You are a stunner in both pictures...I had a flash of anxiety as I scrolled down -- wondering what awaited -- and then saw your purty, cheeky (and not chubbily so) grin.

    If you need to do it for you, then do. But know you are go-juss, juss the way you are.

    (This from a woman whose most recent exercise has involved uncorking wine with more vigorous force...)

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  16. You are beautiful in both photos. I am currently struggling with the Zoloft 15.

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  17. You look pretty darn good before and after.

    I take my Zoloft when I need it. Wean off when I don't. That works for me.

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  18. I am with ya, I am SO WITH YOU! I'll be praying for you as you go on this journey.

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  19. My sister-in-law weaned herself off Zolof-like drugs and uses a herbal anti-anxiety therapy instead -- St. John's Wort. It may work for you, too. All the best.

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  20. Funny, I just posted about loosing weight too. Unfortunatly, like Lena, all I have is 2 kids and a desk job to blame for my weight gain. I'll be working on losing it in my own way as well. Good luck!

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  21. You are beautiful, now and then.

    If something is making you unhappy, change it. But know that you ARE beautiful.

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  22. I think you look great in both pics!! Just don't go cold turkey....wean yourself off.....

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  23. Oh how I wish I could blame Zoloft. No, seriously though, thanks for the warning. I have been having anxiety lately and I do not need any help gaining weight. Good luck to you on getting off of it successfully. For what it's worth, I think you look great!

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  24. My doctor wanted me on Zoloft WHILE I was PG the second time. I was depressed for good reason though, my life bottomed out in three months (the last trimester) worse than it ever had before, on all levels. I mean, I was afraid to say what more could happen. I lost my home, almost all my furnishings, including photos, my job, my health and nearly lost my baby. And that's just the start.

    I refused while PG (and later on, after the heart study came out? I was so, so glad.) But he handed me the pills *in the hospital.*

    I decided I'd better take them. It was like being buzzed. Or smoking pot. My life was still a shambles but I just didn't care as much anymore. It was like, "Oh wow my life? It sucks. Oh well. Now let's skip to the loo me darlin." Plus, it had that build up to the peak, what I called The Bliss, and then it plateaued, causing a panic about whether it was still working and maybe I needed a higher dose. My doctor NEVER told me that it how it worked. My friend the PsyD told me that when I panicked and called.

    Where was the mental support---as in a counselor?

    Later my husband said, you were still really low and upset, but you didn't care enough to do anything about it.

    Plus? I gained FIFTY POUNDS. I have always been Skinny. Not thin, SKINNY. I graduated to slender in my 30s. Until Zoloft.

    I took Zoloft for about 4 months and weaned myself off of it as fast as healthily possible. It took two years to really lose the effects, in my body. I know people who had better results.

    Now, I'm down to a healthy weight. TG. I'm working out and eating right and taking vitamin supplements.

    I know some people love Zoloft, but it's not the only drug and in many cases---such as mine---it was ABSOLUTELY the wrong med, on many levels.

    I hope it goes well and easily for you. Take care of you, however best that is.

    Thanks for writing this.

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  25. I took Zoloft for almost 6 years...gained close to 70 lbs and couldn't seem to lose weight no matter what I did.Went cold turkey from Zoloft because of forgetting to take it on a trip.The withdrawal was awful for me, but now, roughly a year and a half later, I am finally losing weight consistently and have my eneryg back...I've had so much better luck with Well Butrin.

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  26. Janelle4:53 PM

    OMGoodness! I too get panic attacks... they come few and far between now that I am on meds that work for me. I never thought about blaming my weight gain on the meds, but now I will! Thanks :) LOL Really though, I went off my meds for a while and went downhill fast I just started back a little less than a month ago and I am starting to see the light again... well, I'm not yelling at my kids as nearly as much as I used to a month ago so someting is working, LOL Good luck and I will be coming back to see how your process is going.

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  27. My name is Stephen Long and i would like to show you my personal experience with Zoloft.

    I am 40 years old. Have been on Zoloft for 2 years now. Zoloft certainly got rid of my depression and anxiety. It also helped me with sleeping and I did not gain any weight like others have. However I was younger when I tried this so perhaps my metabolism worked differently then. It was impossible to reach orgasm on this drug so I would sometimes delay taking my drug to give my body a mini wash out period and this helped. However, if I waited too long to take the tablet, I endured severe headaches and had to lie down. Fortunately, this was reversible as soon as I took the drug again. I eventually tapered off this drug thanks to my doctor's plan which worked perfectly. The main reason I gave up Zoloft is because at the time there were reports saying that long term use of it was dangerous.

    I have experienced some of these side effects -
    Sweatiness, loss of libido, EXTREME headaches if forget to take drug.

    I hope this information will be useful to others,
    Stephen Long

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Brilliant observations: