October 22, 2007

Confession

So. Um. I've had about nine Oatmeal Scotchies, so now I have the Scotchie Courage to tell you what I did about Zoloft.

What happened, if you remember, is that I started freaking out increasingly as the mother-in-law visit approached. My mind turned to the half-finished bottle of Zoloft in my underwear drawer, saved because I hoard things like that, and because when I was trying Zoloft it was a $40 copay and so I didn't want to toss it out lightly, and then the years went by.

I posted that the medication was probably expired (although the expiration on the prescription bottle has to be one year or less from the fill date; the actual expiration date can be much, much later), AND I was nursing a baby, AND taking it would be really stupid without doctor supervision.

And you commented, and nobody said, "You idiot, I can't believe you're even considering it," and some of you even said you'd know it was a bad decision but you'd take it anyway, and for all of this I was supremely grateful.

Backstory, since we're here anyway. That Zoloft prescription was from two mother-in-law visits ago; that is, not this one, and not the one before it, but the one before that. I didn't realize that I was freaking out because of her impending visit; I thought I was generically losing my mind. I went to the doctor because I felt like I was going to jitter right out of my skin. He put me on Zoloft and also made me see a psychologist AND a psychiatrist. My mother-in-law left and I felt SO much better and went off the Zoloft. I went off it gradually and afterward had half a bottle left over, which I didn't bother to throw out. End backstory.

That backstory was because I am postponing telling you that I DID take the expired Zoloft, WITHOUT consulting a doctor. I think that was a Bad Decision, even though it worked out well for me--and so I didn't want to confess it to you, and I also didn't want to advocate it to the internet at large, as if I thought it were a good idea when I think in fact it's a pretty crappy idea.

I did consult Dr. Google to make sure it was okay to take while breastfeeding, and I also greatly valued the emails I got from several of you telling me of your breastfeeding/Zoloft decisions. I was glad to know that I was not the only one who (1) felt conflicted about taking it while breastfeeding, and (2) chose to take it. I also checked to make sure it wasn't one of the few medications that becomes stronger or changes effect when expired (it isn't: it just slowly loses potency).

There were several reasons for my decision to take the Zoloft all vigilante-style:

1) I didn't know what to say to the receptionist, if I called the doctor. It seemed like a long story, and I seemed too far away from the birth of the baby, and I couldn't think of how to begin. I still can't. And I don't even know if I'm supposed to call the OB or my regular doctor.

2) Last time I went on Zoloft, the doctor said he only felt comfortable prescribing it if I ALSO saw a psychologist AND a psychiatrist. They didn't help me. The psychiatrist kept trying to put me on stronger, less-tested medications I wasn't comfortable with trying and saw no reason to try since the Zoloft was working fine. The psychologist kept trying to make me complete sentences such as "If someone doesn't like me, I think I must be ______" (hint: opposite of likable).

3) Since then, the practice has changed around, and my doctor is gone, replaced by a new doctor I've never met. So I can't even start with "Here's what we did last time; here's what I'd like to do this time."

4) I only wanted to go on the Zoloft for about a month. And I had about a month's supply already in the house. And it was way, way easier not to mess around with phone calls and appointments and babysitters and explaining things to the doctor and arguing against treatment options.

So. For eight days I took 25 mg/day, biting off half of one-half tablet (taste: slightly bitter, not too bad). Then I went to 50 mg/day. I'm going to stay on that for another day or two, until the aftershocks from the mother-in-law visit have faded. Then I'm going to go down to 25 mg. Then 25 mg every other day. Then every third day. Then off. I go off Zoloft VERY SLOWLY, because people have had trouble with suicidal thoughts while discontinuing it.

I am pretty sure it helped me cope with the mother-in-law visit. I still did freak out, but I think it was less. It is so difficult to say, because when I am on Zoloft I feel as if I am the same as I always am--but when I go off it, I feel different. I think it is possible that when I go off it, I will think, "WAIT! I want that back!" And in THAT case I will call the doctor and get a fresh prescription.

23 comments:

Devan said...

I wondered what you had decided to do about this. I'm glad that it worked out and I can see why you did it this way, instead of calling the dr and seeing the pyschiatrist and yadda, yadda. Let us know how it goes once you're off.

hello insomnia said...

Thanks for sharing, Swistle. And honestly? I would have done the same thing, too.

Erica said...

I thought about you and the Zoloft last night. I figured that since you just sort of stopped talking about it that you decided to try it. I agree that it was a bad decision, but I would have done it, too.

I'm glad it worked for you and helped you survive "the ordeal."

1hot&tiredmama said...

You are very brave to tell us this story.

I think that as you wean yourself off the Zoloft you should replace it with the Oatmeal Scotchies. I am curious as to the placebo effect!

What is that recipe again?

caley said...

Scotchie Courage. Hehehe.

I don't think I would have made the same decision- I tend to overly freak out when it comes to drugs/medications. I need like 3 different doctors to all reassure me that it's going to be okay before I take something. I'm kind of a baby.

But I can see why you made the decision you did. I'm glad it worked out for you, and that your life can return to normal now without her there anymore.:)

Jess said...

I've been wondering about this too. I don't think I would have done it--but I see why you did it, and I'm glad you know how to ease yourself off it. And I'm glad you told us about it.

Tessie said...

I love "Scotchie Courage".

I would have done the same thing, for the exact same reasons

Kathryn said...

Yeah, I would recommend getting back off the Zoloft for now. I've been on it for 2 years now, and I wish I had weaned myself off before I got dependent on it. Quitting it now means weeks of painful body and headaches, nausea, fatigue, etc. (I've tried) I think you've got the right idea--using it for short periods of time while you need it, and then backing off when you don't.

MeganZ said...

Geez louise, having just read the lsdt day post, I think you should immediately purge any zzoloft-taking guilt you have and just pat yourself on the back for not resorting to heroin. :)

Sara said...

I was wondering about this too....seriously....who could blame you?

mom huebert said...

I totally understand the whole trying-to-explain thing. Sometimes it just feels easier to get forgiveness than permission.

janet said...

i totally get it, and i would have done the same thing. just treat carefully, swistle.

Pickles & Dimes said...

Reading about your MIL, I'm surprised you didn't take all the pills at once with a bottle of Jack.

I would've done the exact same thing you did, Swistle.

mamaDB said...

does your hubby know that you have to go on Zoloft when your MIL comes? that woman should not be allowed to visit. she makes you take drugs. if Paul wants to see her, he should travel to see her. just my two pennies.

Nowheymama said...

Thank you so much for being brave enough to share this. I think you made the right decision for you and are not at all an expired-Zoloft Internet advocate.

Pickles & Dimes: HA!

Emblita said...

Your MIL is Eeevil. White cat stroking eeeevil. Lets just set that straight.
As for the Zoloft, if it helped you, I can totally understand not wanting to get the go-around by various drs. But using prescription drugs without consulting a dr is kinda risky. But then again if I had to put up with your MIL I'd probably want some hard core anti-anxiety drugs myself.
Oh, and I second the motion by the previous commenter. Ban the woman from your house, at least until she shows up next time. :p

Shelly Overlook said...

I'm so glad that it worked out for you and you are well and not in jail for justifiable homicide.

Pregnantly Plump said...

I agree that your MIL shouldn't be allowed to visit if she makes you that upset, especially when you're breastfeeding! I know you probably wouldn't want to put your husband in that position, though. I'm glad the visit is over and that the Zoloft helped you get through it.

mom of the year said...

Girl, we do what we have to do. If there's anybody who's never been on the brink to the point of these meds, they won't get it no matter how hard you try to explain. SO DON'T; save your sanity and do what you need to do to live. I was a Paxil girl for panic attacks for sometime, and my only regrets were the side effects coming off of it. I'm glad you handled things the way you did.

Kathi A said...

I think it's great that you feel comfortable enough to share this with us. I think you did what you had to do, and it seems like you are handling the situation just fine. I agree that your MIL should be banned from future visits!!

Sleepynita said...

If your mother in law came to visit me I may have eaten the whole jar of Zoloft at once,

Farrell said...

Yes, the key is to go off of it VERY slowly. And you have the right plan. I was never able to get off of my effexor, but I am a better person on it, so i guess i really do need it ALL THE TIME.

Stacie said...

I tapered off Zoloft using the sophisticated method of forgetting to take it for a week at which point I realized I must be fine. I'm not sure I'd recommend this but it worked for me. More than once.

I also nursed on Zoloft.

And...what is it about pyschiatrists and a desire to up you to new and stronger meds. Mine always wanted to do that to. I started just lying to him to get him to cut it out.