Recently, my doctor increased my dosage of Zoloft to 200 mg… The maximum dosage for this class of antidepressants. In a figurative sense, it was a hard pill to swallow.
I couldn’t believe my anxiety and depression has gotten so out of control that a lower dose doesn’t do anything for me anymore.
It hurts and I am not proud to admit it. Personally, I’d prefer to completely erase antidepressants from my body and be able to function normally without them.
But that’s not what I need and it’s not what my family needs.
The truth is, parenting children with anxiety and depression poses an extra challenge in life. But without medication, I don’t see myself functioning through the day, let alone parenting my children well.
My family deserves the best of me as a mother and wife. Therefore, antidepressants give me the stability to be at my best for them.
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The stigma of the “Supermom”
You know the type… The beautiful moms on Instagram taking pictures of themselves in high heels scrubbing the dishes.
They are seen as “supermoms.” The perfect mom every mom looks up to.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they are “supermoms” but I feel as though every mom is a super mom! Including moms struggling with depression and anxiety or even other mental illnesses.
There’s a stigma in our society towards moms. It doesn’t take much for someone to consider you a ‘bad mother.’ Feed your child pretzels for a snack and social media trolls come unleashed on moms who are only feeding their kids.
It’s not like that for dads. All a dad has to do is stay home and watch the kids for an hour so mom can have a break and suddenly he’s the “best dad ever” for simply watching his own kids.
It’s not fair for society to judge mothers so harshly!
Because of having to prove ourselves as “supermoms”, we’re all striving for this unattainable dream of being the best mother in the world.
For those mother’s parenting with mental illness, that stigma of being perfect leads us to try and suffer through depression and anxiety without medication. Somehow, if we accepted help and use antidepressants people will see us as weak, or God forbid a “bad mother.”
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How to tell if you need antidepressants
This is a tough question to answer. Every person is different and every person needs to come to terms when they want to give antidepressants a try.
But here are some signs you do NEED antidepressants:
You are thinking of suicide or death
This is a serious matter! Even if you’ve just had the fleeting thought of “I wonder what it would be like if I wasn’t here anymore?” A small fleeting thought like this can slowly turn into suicide ideation, a reoccurring thought pattern of suicide and death.
Talk to your doctor before your passive thoughts of death and suicide become active thoughts that involve planning your own death!
Trust me, I’ve had these thoughts myself over the years and it’s important to always seek help because no one deserves to ever feel this way about their life.
You have tried natural methods
You’ve been exercising, eating right, trying herbal supplements for depression and anxiety like hemp oil or turmeric and you’re still feeling depressed or anxious all the time. Sometimes natural methods need to be combined with medication to help lift you out of the darkness.
Your depression and anxiety are affecting your quality of life
Maybe you feel detached from playing with your children. You feel overwhelmed by the endless carpool pickups/drop-offs, screaming kids, and daily housework, plus your regular job… It may be time to consider antidepressants.
It’s not that you’re lazy or just feeling overwhelmed, it may be a chemical imbalance requiring medication to help you get through your day.
Things to know about parenting and antidepressants
Parenting by itself is tough. But parenting with depression, anxiety, or any other mental illness poses an extra obstacle. Depression and anxiety don’t allow you to be at your best all the time.
Yes, your child’s needs are met, but mentally you’re either going through the motions of motherhood or in a state of panic about tiny mishaps in life. Some days are good and some days are downright horrible.
A mental illness does NOT mean you’re a bad mother
While society may hold their opinions regarding antidepressants, parenting, and mental illness, it doesn’t mean you’re unfit to be a mother. You had children for a reason and your children love you for who you are.
You are an amazing mom despite your depression and anxiety.
Find “You” time
“You” time is any time spent away from your kids. One of the best ways to do this is to have planned activities for your kids to do. This can be sports, sensory bin activities, and arts and crafts.
Anything your children can do independently to give you a break!
During those moments, sit down and read a book, take a shower, do your makeup, or exercise. Whatever activity brings you joy!
Reach out for help
Reaching out for help means multiple things. Calling a friend or family member when you’re having a bad day. Talking to a therapist regularly. Using antidepressants to cope.
Antidepressants and therapy help many mothers cope with the daily struggle of parenting and provide them with relief from severe depression and anxiety symptoms. That does not mean you still won’t have bad days.
They just make the bad days more bearable.
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Since upping my Zoloft dose to the maximum of 200 mg’s I’ve found a lot more relief from anxiety symptoms. Specifically, social anxiety symptoms.
Social anxiety is crippling for me. I now am finding myself completing everyday tasks I couldn’t do before. I’m making phone calls and attending doctor’s appointments with ease. Best of all, I can drive without having panic attacks along the way.
While I’d prefer to not take any antidepressants at all, natural supplements and other coping strategies are not enough for me. Thankfully, I am starting to feel the darkness lift and my days becoming a little brighter with less anxiety and depression.
I have antidepressants like Zoloft to thank for that.
If you find yourself depressed and anxious and natural methods are not working, don’t feel like you have to suffer in science and continue to be that “supermom” you’re striving to be. Reach out to others close to you and open up about your struggles and always consider antidepressants as a viable option for relieving depression and anxiety.