Monday, April 23, 2012

Long Time No Post

Well, here I am, at nearly 11 weeks along, and I'm actually feeling ok. My energy is a little better, the nausea is seeming to get a bit better (though I hesitate to type this as it has a way to turn around on you). I've now seen the little bean on an ultrasound, heart beat is strong, baby is where it should be.

I'm managing the OCD really well, I've maintained my reduced dose and symptoms are about what they were on the higher dose. Apparently hormones can be good for something! Right now, I am dealing with a ton of stress at work and that is the one thing that feels out of place right now. I commute, a lot. And my job is really frantic and high pace. I like a good pace at work, but balance is really important to me. So, now I am stuck with looking for a new job when pregnant and dealing with the "when do you tell" issue, or staying at a job that isn't good for my stress level and overall well being.

I've managed to not over do the whole "perfect" pregnancy thing. Honestly, between morning sickness, exhaustion, and food aversions I have not, and cannot be perfect, so I've had to settle for doing my best. Now isn't that a life lesson for the OCD brain!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Morning Sickness, and Pregnancy anxiety

So much for not having morning sickness. That has officially kicked in, and it is making it hard for me to eat anything reasonably healthy. Vegetables and lean meat makes me want to yak. I'm also super bloated and feeling giant. So, my self esteem could be better. I'm at this stage where I am puffy, but don't look at all pregnant. The "has she eaten a few too many pieces of pizza?" period in pregnancy. I'm looking forward to loving my belly. How cool is that? The idea that for a short period in life, I get to look at my growing belly with joy. Can't wait.

In other news, I've been able to reduce my meds by a third, and so far so good. Yes, I still have irrational thoughts, but I am still able to move on with my life and not spend my life focused on them. Though, there are a few themes.

I'm terrified my child will have autism. The scariest thing about autism is that there is nothing legitimate to avoid that could help prevent it. So, my mind is coming up with all sorts of things that maybe I "should" avoid, just in case down the line we learn that eating this or being around that is what causes autism. The truth is, I can't control whether my child will have it or not. We just don't know why kids have it and why kids don't. All we have are theories. So, I've started going through the motions of imagining how I would respond if my child does have autism. I would get them therapy early, I would research the best programs, I would make friends with other parents in the same boat... in other words, I would find a way to deal with it. I would probably also blame myself, and I would have to come to terms with that. Bottom line, all the worrying I do now won't change the outcome. That is hard for me to swallow-  part of me believes that if I panic about it, it won't come true. None of my greatest fears ever have, so if I panic about it now then I should be in the clear right?

But, despite this, I really am doing well. I know some of my fears are shared by all pregnant women, and that I am doing what I can to respond to my fears in a way that won't exacerbate them. This is definitely going to be the topic I bring up in my next CBT appointment.

Now for another saltine...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Taking care of me first

So, I had a great talk with my psychiatrist about reducing dose. She wanted to know what I was thinking specifically. I told her that I wanted to reduce by 25 mg and see how I did (I'm on Zoloft, so the doses increase and decrease by that much in general). I was thinking that a little less would put my mind at ease (a little less, potentially a little less risk - though my psychiatrist did remind me that the risk is extremely low regardless). Ultimately she said that she would be ok with a small reduction in dose, if I stay in touch with her and let her know how I'm doing. She also said that it was more a way of reducing mental angst than actual risk.

Well, after a week on a slightly lower dose, I feel totally fine and stable. And, I feel strangely more at peace with the decision. I'm not freaking out at all hours of the day, and don't feel any real increase in symptoms. If symptoms increase, I will go back up. I'm really dealing with this well.

She also mentioned that she thinks part of my fear stems from the perfectionism associated with OCD. I agree. I do. I know that some of my fears have the potential of becoming obsessive if I do not take care of myself first. It is a great lesson in learning to live with uncertainty, as well as learning to take care of myself so that I can take care of the little bean growing in me. Trust is hard for me, but it is powerful.

So, I am working on some mindfulness, and working to ask myself whether the thoughts are reasonable or distorted. And, spending some time thinking about how things may just end up being good - truth is none of my serious fears have ever come true.

My first OB appointment is in a few weeks. Maybe that will make this feel less surreal.

Thursday, March 15, 2012


Well, so far things are going alright. I'm exhausted, and I've definitely had some food aversions. Otherwise, things feel pretty unchanged physically.

OCD has decided to play with my head some more. I suppose I should have expected it, and I didn't do a great job of warding it off. I broke down and began searching online for stories of women being pregnant on antidepressants. Big Big Big mistake. I guess that whole "compulsions only aggravate anxiety" thing is true. I ended up calling my psychiatrist and leaving her a message saying I was considering reducing my dose and that I wasn't feeling comfortable with the idea of being on medication now.

I wasn't able to answer when she called me back, but she left me a message. She said she really thought about it, and that she preferred I stay on the same dose for several reasons. She said she thinks that my fears are OCD fears and that reducing may increase them. She also said that several of her patients have reduced dose during pregnancy and ended up relapsing and requiring a higher dose than they were on before to treat the relapse. We are set to talk tomorrow evening to have a real conversation about this.

 It is so scary. I just want to do everything right. I suppose I want to have the perfect pregnancy and the perfect outcome. I keep trying to remind myself that there is no such thing as the perfect pregnancy, but, I'm not sure it's helping.

At least there is no morning sickness...

Sunday, March 11, 2012


Well, that was fast. I'm still in total shock. My husband is away right now, so I had to wait and tell him when he called me. I'm excited and terrified. It was confirmed by blood test today.

I called my psychiatrist the day I found out and left her a message. She called me back and left me a message that said a few things:

1. Congratulations.
2. She wanted to let me know that some women experience clinically significant moodiness early on and that if I felt more than the occasional weepiness that I should call her.
3. That it was a really smart decision to go back on the medication and that she wanted to remind me that it was the smart choice.

The OCD has tried to poke through a few times with doubts about whether the meds are a mistake, whether I am already making mistakes that will forever cause harm to this little poppy seed sized bean.

Also- I'm terrified that it won't last. That there is something wrong with me that won't let me have this kind of happiness.

All of that said - I do feel like I'm managing. I'm being fairly reasonable (outside of the 5 home tests I took to try and get it to feel less surreal).

So, now I'm humbly asking for your support. Nobody understands my mind better than all of you. I'm hoping it starts to sink in soon. It is really a weird feeling.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mindfulness, CBT, and the ever ellusive Trust

Long time no post.

Since my last post, I have begun therapy in addition to my monthly meetings with my psychiatrist. My new therapist spent a lot of time working in the NICU with parents who have had babies with problems, which is frankly perfect for me because my latest obsession has to do with me taking medication, using the microwave, eating or drinking what I shouldn't (GMO corn, splenda etc.) and causing life long problems to my future baby.

She reminded me that:
1. I am not pregnant at this time, so I am causing myself a lot of distress over something that isn't actually a current problem.
2. That there will be unknowns during pregnancy no matter what I do.
3. The only thing I CAN do to help have a healthy pregnancy is to listen to what my doctors tell me and that no amount of internet searches on the possible things I can do wrong will make the anxiety go away.

She also had me take the thoughts and graph it (mentally) on how much it intrudes on my life. For example: not using the microwave when pregnant. probably not a big deal, I can easily live without it. Verses, not taking my medication - a big deal. The likelihood of relapse and my not being able to take care of myself like I will need while pregnant is high. I'm still super freaked out about the meds thing, but I have to try and trust my doctors, and learn to accept the fear of it. In fact the biggest ERP will be just getting pregnant and accepting the anxiety along the way.

She also has said that focusing on a combination of CBT and mindfulness may be the best course for me.

"I'm feeling anxious about XYZ and its here. I don't like this feeling, but it won't last forever. Even if my deepest fears come true, I will be able to deal with it and move forward."

So as for updates. Hubby and I are actively trying to conceive. No announcements yet, but I do think that through the anonymity of this blog, I will be able to share all the early details if I do manage to get pregnant. If I do, I know I'll need the support of all of you fellow OCDers that get how my brain works. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

How to make difficult decisions...

Well, I had a long long conversation with my psychiatrist this week. All about the SSRI I am on and wanting to try and get pregnant. She started by telling me that she has had a lot of experience helping women through their pregnancies while on various medications and that while there are no controlled trials (hard to get the approval to do them), Zoloft has a 20 year track record of really good anecdotal evidence of safety. She went on to say that she has helped women who have gone on to have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. She also said that in her opinion, there is no reason why I shouldn't start trying if that is what we decide. She said she would go through the entire pregnancy with me to help me through it, and she reminded me that not eating, sleeping, and constant anxiety and depression are without a doubt not healthy for a baby. No official decision yet, but I'm leaning toward just going for it. My husband has been amazingly supportive. He is unbelievable. I am incredibly lucky and grateful that I get to go through life with him. I just don't want to let OCD make this decision. OCD has ruled my decisions for far too long. I was without an SSRI from last spring until this fall, and it was so bad. Worse than I remembered it being. But, in a strange way, I am grateful for that period of hell, because it lead to an accurate diagnosis and gave me a reason why my mind cycles around obsessive thoughts the way it does, and that there is this whole community of OCD sufferers whose minds work like mine does. I'm also grateful for the support I've found in this community. I know that SSRIs and pregnancy is a really touchy subject, and I hope that I'll be supported no matter what the decision. Like many of you, I am really concerned with the possible judgment of going down that path.

In other news- I have an appointment to begin CBT! Part of me hopes that maybe with therapy I'll be able to reduce my dose a bit if I do get knocked up. But, we'll see. I'll be sure to keep you all updated on it all. I'm feeling positive.