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Perimenopause and Zoloft Part 2

June 16, 2011

This is a two part series on perimenopause and antidepressants, specifically Zoloft. If you missed the first one you can catch up by reading Perimenopause and Zoloft.

For those of you who didn’t bother to read the first part, here is a short recap. For months I have been experiencing mood swings. I’m 45 years old so I figured I was probably going through some hormonal shit. Menopause is a big secret, no one seems to really know what it’s all about and the mothers who should be telling us this sort of thing aren’t as open as we are. Plus, my mother is in a nursing home with no memory left so she isn’t much help. Menopause is the word we use to describe “the change” that takes place as women age and basically become infertile. In actuality menopause is the time after periods have ceased for 12 months. The word Menopause is just a marker for the time after the change has taken place. Perimenopause on the other hand is anywhere from 3 to 12 years where women’s bodies, specifically hormones, change from normal to messed the fuck up. Perimenopause is when the hot flashes and night sweats start and when the hormones are really whacky.

Makes being a male look pretty good doesn’t it?

So, after experiencing all kinds of crazy mood swings, fits or rage and depression I called my doctor who suggested I try Zoloft for perimenopause. He had read several studies that said antidepressants seem to alleviate a lot of the symptoms of perimenopause.

Sign me up!

Let me back up a bit. I’m not the kind of person who fixes things by taking a pill. I have been on antidepressants before, for about a year, but that was because my OB/GYN strongly suggested it. I was three months pregnant and my ex husband had walked out. He eventually came back, which only made things more chaotic and unstable. My doctor figured the Paxil he gave me would help keep me calm and help with anxiety. Now of course we know how dangerous it is to take Paxil while pregnant or nursing but at the time we didn’t. I was on the lowest dose possible and never really noticed a change in my mood. I was in a stressful situation and I knew it would resolve itself with time. I didn’t want to take the antidepressant but I also didn’t want to threaten the pregnancy with my anxiety and depression. I had already lost several pregnancies as well as had a still born child so I was inclined to do whatever my doctor told me to do. My daughter shows no signs of adverse affects from the medication.

When I was on antidepressants before I felt weak. Not physically but mentally. Surely I was not the only woman who was going through a pregnancy on her own. I beat myself up for taking a pill to fix what was either not fixable or at best a shortcut to having real therapy. I didn’t bother with real therapy because there was nothing I could do to change the way my husband felt, I was just trying to do the best with the hand I had been dealt. I didn’t think a therapist could have done anything to make it better. I’m still not convinced of that. My experience with marriage counselors has been this: you spill your guts for 35 minutes and then they ask you how that make you feel and what you think about it. You don’t even get the full hour. Call me crazy but when I’m paying someone $150/hour I expect them to have the answers.

So I have had some experience with both therapy and antidepressants. When my doctor suggested Zoloft my concern was how long I would have to be on it, what it was like to get off it (it sucked getting off Paxil) and would I gain weight?

It was the Zoloft and weight gain that I was most concerned about.

My doctor said he didn’t think taking Zoloft would cause weight gain, he thought I would see a weight loss because I would be more motivated and less depressed which would likely cause me to make better choices about the food I was eating and he thought I would become more active again.

He called my prescription in to the pharmacy, took some of my blood to check my thryoid, made me schedule another appointment in a month to see how things were going and sent me on my way.

Of course I got back in my car and cried like a baby for about ten minutes. And, of course I am not really sure why I was crying. Relief? Probably.

He started me on a low dose, and then wants to slowly increase it over the next week so my body and brain adjusts properly. So far I have been taking Zoloft for three days and even though I know it takes a few weeks to feel the effects of the drug I also know I respond really well to the placebo effect and so already I am feeling much better.

I googled perimenopause and Zoloft and found a million different articles on weight gain and Zoloft. This scares me a bit. I also found a few articles or posts from people who had been prescribed Zoloft and actually lost weight, so much that they had to discontinue the medication. I’m hoping this will be what happens to me. So far I am down ten pounds since Monday but I just know 7 of them were caused by bloating.

Being a woman just rocks.

I’d love to hear your horror stories or success stories with menopause and perimenopause. You can even share your experience with antidepressants if you want. I know I am not the only one to experience all this.



Events How Did We Survive?

Earth Day 2011

April 22, 2011


Today is Earth Day, 2011!

April 22nd 2011, Earth Day, eco living, save the planet, what are you doing to save the earth, how many beauty products do you wash down the drain each day

Yesterday my daughter and I watched the National Geographic special The Human Footprint. We’d watched it when it first aired a couple of years ago but because my daughter is learning how to conserve energy we watched it again.

I was amazed at the amount of things we use daily in our lives that get thrown away. Just the part about washing all our beauty products down the drain was an eye opener.

So I got curious and went into my bathroom to count all the various products I use on a regular basis. Things like soap, shampoo, lotion, nail polish, deodorant, make-up (there are tons of products there) and hair care products (even more in this group). I counted 19 products I use every day! And I am sure there are many more that I don’t use daily but certainly weekly like nail polish, nail polish remover (I use these every Saturday during the Tribal Blogs Slumber Party), foot cream, hand sanitizer, eye drops, face masks, and the list just goes on and on. Worst, most of those products get washed off at the end of the day and end up in our rivers.

So here is my question, how many products do you use each day?

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How Did We Survive? Kids

Like Mother, Like Daughter

February 17, 2011

Mother and Daughter, Like Mother, Like Daughter, Moms and daughters

Both of my children had a birthday in the last week. My daughter turned 8 and my son turned 18. The fact that my son will soon be flying away from the nest when he goes off to college next year has had me reflecting on many things.

I can’t believe how fast the last 18 years have gone. Aside from the toddler years my son has been a breeze. He is polite, he is respectful, he is helpful and he is clever. He is also smart and though he won’t admit it, he has a heart of gold.

Mothers and sons, raising healthy boys

Many of you know that my mother suffered a debilitating illness when I was a young child. I was 4 when she became mentally and physically handicapped which effectively reversed our roles. I bathed my mother, I dressed my mother and I was her shoulder to cry on when I was far too young to understand, or had the ability to deal with, the information she shared with me. My mother and I had a very dysfunctional relationship because of this role reversal. Because I was the one who had to care for her at such a young age I have, as a parent, been reluctant to rely on my son to care for my daughter after her father left us. I wanted him to have a normal childhood and not have the responsibilities of an adult.

While I have not been the party mom these last 8 years, leaving my son to care for his sister while I go out and have fun, I have certainly relied on him to babysit here and there, mostly for work or running to the store but enough that he asks if I need him to babysit before he makes plans of his own. My son is busy. He has a job after school, he is on the robotics team and he has a girlfriend. He spends less and less time at home and soon it will be nothing more than stopping by to get some laundry done and maybe get a bite to eat. At least until he has kids of his own.

My daughter and I spend a lot of time together and it has dawned on me that she and I are very much alike. Last night I was helping her with her homework, something she hates, when she told me she was stupid.

Mothers and daughters, single parenting, raising strong daughters, parenting, how do I raise a strong girl,

My daughter is a lot of things but she is not stupid. In fact she has been testing in the gifted levels since she entered school. No, she isn’t stupid, but she is stubborn and I told her as much last night.

We were working on math problems, subtraction. I pulled out a jar of pennies to try to illustrate how the whole thing worked and she wasn’t having any of it. She knew what to do but she didn’t want to do it. Subtraction is difficult for her and she needs to think to solve the problem. She has not memorized the simple subtraction problems nor am I able to explain how some of the simple tricks work.

It was a losing battle and we were both getting very frustrated with one another.

When she called herself stupid I was taken aback. Where did this come from? She said one of her classmates had called her stupid and my daughter, who is so worried about what other people think of her, took it to heart.

I tried to explain to her, without calling this classmate stupid, that kids say dumb things sometimes. I explained that this kid couldn’t possibly know if she was or was not stupid, that he was not qualified to assess her intelligence. When that didn’t convince her I talked to her about all the things that make her a wonderful person, things that show she is indeed very smart.

She has an amazing sense of humor for an 8 year old. She might not be able to remember the punch lines to a joke but she can tell a story, with perfect timing, and have people laughing. She tosses out these hilarious quips when watching TV shows such as Hannah Montanna, and the inconsistencies of Sponge Bob are not lost on her. When she doesn’t understand how something works she is the first one to Google it.

Like my son, my daughter has her own style and is happy to walk to the beat of a different drum. She will be called ‘quirky’ and ‘complicated’ when she is older because she does not and will not fit into a predetermined mold. She is a square peg.

As was I.

I was (and still am) quirky, complicated and goofy. Like my daughter I also thought I was stupid. I had a hard time with math and would go to any length not to do it. I didn’t listen in class and I most certainly never bothered to memorize any tables. My grades were not good and I was convinced I was stupid and that my prep school was only humoring me because my father paid such outrageous tuition. I was also convinced they felt sorry for me because of my mother. And I suspect to some degree they did.

It’s funny because like me, my mother told me over and over again that I was not stupid. She also told me I was not funny looking and that I was in fact beautiful, another conversation I have with my daughter often enough. I didn’t believe my mother when she tried to reassure me that I was okay because my father often told me that my mother was not playing with a full deck due to her handicap. He said this when my mother would say something horribly mean to excuse her inexcusable behavior and I assumed it applied to everything she said so I had a pretty crappy sense of self worth because honestly I didn’t know what to believe and I didn’t know enough to believe in myself. That would take years of practice.

I hope I can pass along to my daughter the strength necessary to go through and enjoy this life. I know I have already passed on to her a love of writing, zany shoes and Bugs Bunny but I don’t know yet if I have taught her that life is not always fair because at the age of 8 it should be and no one should have to teach anyone that. But it is a lesson that needs to be learned sooner rather than later. I hope I can teach her that while words can be extremely powerful they are only strong if we give them credence. That no matter what others say, it is what she believes that truly matters.

I apologize for this being so long, apparently I have channeled Joann from Laundry Hurts My Feelings. Sorry, I don’t have a U2 song to recommend.

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How Did We Survive?

How Did We Survive Memorial Day Edition

May 28, 2010

There were many submissions for this weeks episode of “How Did We Survive”, and I can’t wait to show them next week. Today’s edition is so spectacular that it deserves to stand alone. I’m not even going to make any commentary because it really needs none. However, if you want the whole story head on over to Laundry Hurts My Feelings to get the details.


laundry hurts my feelings

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