Monday, March 23, 2009

Emotional highs and lows

I have always been a bit emotionally manic; highs real high and lows real low. Perhaps not as bad as I used to be although I expect that could be up for debate with my dear family.

When I was in my 20's I thought hard about a chemical imbalance and even asked my doctor at the time. She said she could prescribe something and I could try it right away to see if it worked. I guess, I was a little shocked at the trial and error factor that seemed to pervade the entire discussion. That and her willingness to pile me high with a bunch of free samples right then and there.

I guess I was looking for something a little more...scientific. You know, like a blood test? Or some magic thingy that could detect a certain something wasn't right and, yes indeed, I could try this pill and maybe I would feel better. Well, it isn't that simple. It is a leap of faith and in all honesty, I just never had that much faith in pharmiceutical companies.

Don't get me wrong. I have many friends who have found anti-depressants to literally transform their lives for the better. And, I take my hat off to medical science.

But, I left the doctor's office saying I would think about it and never pursued it. I just continued to live with my moods, the dips and valleys of my normal life.

Then I had my first kid and yes, I was very aware of the hormone cocktail, the not quite thinking rationally, the quick to anger, cry and/or scream. They call if baby blues and I am sure I had it.

Not as bad as many. I met a woman who said that she was afraid to unload the dishwasher when her baby was around because she was scared that she would stab him with a sharp knife!!!

No. I never felt like that. And, I sure hope that gal took my advise and spoke with her doctor about that. Baby blues isn't funny and should be taken very, very seriously.

I remember having a "moods and emotional roller coaster" conversation with a different doctor when I was about 36. I thought I could be pre-menopausal and that maybe, again, I should ask someone about a chemical imbalance. She took blood this time to get an estrogen count and she said there still was plenty pumping through. So, pre-menopause wasn't the answer.

"Well, then how come I have no sex drive and I'm crabby as all get out!" I enquired. She clucked at me about "lubricants" and offered me a stack of anti-depressants so I could trot the "trial and error" personal chemical balancing act again.

I just couldn't go there. "No but thanks anyway." I was on my own.

I remember something changing in my mood when my first child was about 3. It seemed to take that long to feel normal again. Something lifted. Coping was easier. Then right after she turned 5, I suddenly felt like I was back in the swing. I felt good! Physically and mentally!

In fact, back in the swing enough to promptly get pregnant. And, this time baby blues really hit. No stabbing my kid worries but grim dispair, irrational moods, quick to anger, paranoia, crabby and overwhelmed.

This time my GGF (good girl friend) took me aside and said, "You are sinking, girl. I need you to do something." I told her my history and how I really, really, really didn't want to try anti-depressants. She suggested something else; a vitamin suppliment called Levity. What?

Levity is a new product discovery addressing the area of emotional and mental health. An all-natural and safe dietary supplement, Levity can provide support for overall emotional and mental well being. As a total formula, and when combined with the other easy-to-follow components of the LEVITY Program, the nutrients in Levity were clinically proven to provide relief for "vegetative symptoms of depression", otherwise known as the "Body Blues". Each of the vitamin ingredients contained in Levity have been shown to be effective in modulating depression and supporting a healthy mood. A deficiency in any of Levity's key vitamin nutrients can cause disturbances in the body's ability to effectively regulate mood."

What the heck do I have to loose? I gave it a try.

Working in conjuction with a regular routine of moderate excercise, it really seemed to help almost immediately. Nothing I could really put my finger on but I didn't feel so edgy or quick to fly off the handle. After only a couple of days, I felt more "even", less extreme, more in control of myself.

Levity comes in a multi-vitamin too so I have just kept on taking it. And, if I miss several days, I sort of notice something is different. Again, not a major difference but a certain leveling out seems to fade. For almost 5 years, I take it every morning.

Am I still manic? Yes, I think so. Stress really gets to me and circumstances beyond my control; work, money, sad things all can set me into a tail spin. And, although I consider myself an optimistic person, I am naturally very highly skeptical and leery of the prevelant injustices in this world. Because, I am a good political lefty, my heart bleeds at the daily evidence of this. Horrified, in fact, by the knowledge that there is not much I can personally do to change it.

Such is life, I expect, when you are given the gift to feel very deeply.

So, now that I am in my 40's, I have found my little pill to improve my mood. All the better that it is a vitamin suppliment full of stuff I need anyway. If it helps, it helps. If it doesn't but I think it does, well then that is ok too.

Maybe that is what the 40's are all about; acceptance and realizing that we all have our limitations. And, there is a road through it no matter what.


Henry's mom said...


What a great post! i LOVE your honesty and your willingness to share your deep inter thoughts. I need to get braver with my blog. What the heck is wrong with me? lol

I too have lots of highs and lows and with all this going down with Henry, I question every time I have a break down about him not progressing enough or all the "what if" I should go on meds. Never been on them but think, I can not live this way another day, with the crying for days. Then out if no where I seem better and I see the situation differently. Very strange or is it normal? Who the heck knows?

I wish we lived closer to really get together and talk, we have so much in common. I would love to meet your kids.

Let's talk by phone again soon.


Shea's Mom said...

Thanks, Hon. Yes, let's chat soon.

I appreciate your comments and it is really nice to hear from you.

Wish you were closer too.


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