started on sertraline for pnd - hand holding needed

(33 Posts)
emblosion Mon 30-Jul-12 18:35:29

Hi all, I have a 5 week old baby and have just been diagnosed with pnd and prescribed sertraline.

Feel a bit scared of taking them & possible side effects with such a young baby to look after, but I can't go on feeling as rotten as I have been. Had a v traumatic labour/delivery although we both came out of it ok and this all just feels so unfair. DS was desperately wanted, I was so delighted to be pregnant after trying for 2 years and now I feel like this. I feel a total failure and as though I am ruining it for everyone. DH deserves a happy wife that can cope, DS deserves a mum that isn't a weepy nervous wreck and I want e to be happy and enjoy my baby. sad

Just wanted to vent and some handholding really, has anyone experienced similar and come out the other side, will I start to feel normal again?

What time of day is it best to take tablets? Are the side effects going to be awful?

Would really appreciate any advice/support I just feel so lost & the intensity of how I feel and how quickly It's come on has really knocked me sideways.

Musomathsci Mon 30-Jul-12 18:40:59

Been there, done that. It's chemical and you will start to feel better in about 10 days. I didn't stick with the sertraline - couldn't sleep on it, but it got rid of the pnd very effectively. Swapped to citalopram and never looked back.

emblosion Mon 30-Jul-12 20:29:51

Thanks Musomathsci, I just keep thinking this isn't the 'motherhood' I signed up for. Do you know if sleep side effects are common? Just wondering whether to take first dose tonight or in the morning?

LittlePoot Mon 30-Jul-12 20:37:50

Oh sweetie-I'm another one who's been exactly there and come out the other side. Think it was 5 weeks for me too but I also got put on citalopram, which I took in the mornings. It made me feel worse for the first week, even though I wouldn't have believed worse was possible. Citalopram though is known to sometimes cause anxiety as an early side effect, which is exactly what I found. And it made me sick for a few days too. So I needed massive hand holding and distraction for those first couple of weeks. They upped my dose after that and then I suddenly realised at 11 weeks that I was almost back to myself again and was coping just about fine. And from then on I got better and better. By 15 weeks I remember sitting with other mums talking about how cute the babies were. And by then I was calm, collected, and not even recognisable from the complete wreck I'd been at 5 weeks. So hang on to that thought. The next few days are probably going to be tough then gradually you will start to see glimpses of light and soon there will be more ups than downs. Don't expect too much of yourself and be proud of every little task you achieve (I wrote lists every day starting from take shower, get dressed, take baby for walk and was proud if I achieved all three). It is just chemical, you're not a failure, and being a mum is a marathon not a sprint. Corny but so true. Now at 18 months old, I can see how short those first few awful weeks really were and how little they matter now. Didn't feel like it at the time, but there are so many good times to come-trust me! Xxx

gingerroots Mon 30-Jul-12 20:47:36

Try not to be too hard on yourself. It is a very difficult time & you need to try & take care of yourself.
Just to give you another perspective - I have had pnd twice - 2nd time has been worse. First time I started citalopram & the side effects lasted around 10 days & then I honestly felt like a switch had been flipped & I felt so much better. I started to take them at night hoping I would sleep through some of the side effects. The side effects can be unpleasant but should be short lived.
Have you thought about counselling/CBT as well? I didn't get on with the counselling (wasn't sure what to say!), but this time I tried CBT which has helped with underlying anxiety.
Good luck, I hope you feel better soon.

emblosion Mon 30-Jul-12 21:18:45

Thanks guys, you have made me cry (in a good way) DH has been so supportive but I've just felt so alone, knowing something was wrong but hoping it'd just 'go' like baby blues are supposed to. The last few days have been dire, I've never felt anything like this.

My GP has been lovely, she thinks I should try the anti-d's for a couple of weeks to try to get on an even keel and when I see her next we can think about counselling (for the birth trauma mostly) and other options.

Have taken my first tablet, DH is doing first shift with the baby so hopefully I might sleep through side effects. Im prepared to feel worse before I get better, just hope the meds work.

brettgirl2 Tue 31-Jul-12 08:28:20

My only advice is to be kind to yourself. It is not you ruining your time as new mum it is the pnd. Beating yourself up will make it worse not better, accept you are ill and look after yourself.

emblosion Wed 01-Aug-12 15:13:00

Thanks all. On day 2. Feel a bit strange but not too bad. Been taking tablets in the evening and trying to sleep thru worst side effects (and also so dh is here if I get scared or panicky). I've found I do feel a bit worse at night, after taking pill but have been better during the day so far.

Last night was having scary feelings of worthlessness and guilt and intrusive thoughts, but was having those before started taking the sertraline so hopefully they'll start to go when the meds kick in.

Thanks again for the support x

MorrisZapp Wed 01-Aug-12 15:20:48

Yup, been there. I've been on sertraline for a year and a half now, and starting to wean myself down. You may well feel worse for first week or so - try and push through if you can, as the benefits are so worth it!

You might have very vivid dreams and some anxiety, this is normal, and settles down after a couple of weeks.

Sertraline saved my life! Not an exaggeration. You've done the right thing by seeing a doctor. If the sertraline doesn't help there is tons of other stuff out there so don't worry. You are ill, and you will get better.

Take care xxx

narmada Sat 04-Aug-12 20:48:29

Have been there too. it stinks, to say the least . Sertraline saved my life too, along with great family support and good doctor. everything other posters say is spot on. stick with ut and know that it Will get so much better. you will be your old self again. hug to you. sorry for appealing typing, on phone .

narmada Sat 04-Aug-12 20:49:16

HAhahaha,appaling typing, not appealing!

emblosion Mon 06-Aug-12 04:39:28

Thanks again to all, it means so much to hear from people that have been there. Have had a v difficult week, very anxious and panicky but the last couple of days have been better so I hope things are going to improve.

Ended up being referred to the community mental health team for some support and they've been brilliant and made me feel so reassured that how I was feeling was 'normal' for pnd, I was afraid I was going mad.

Am hoping to soon turn a corner, thanks again to you all x

narmada Mon 06-Aug-12 10:22:21

Very very normal. COmmunity MH teams were brilliant for me too. I hope you feel a bit better soon. It will be gradual at first. Then suddenly you will think 'hang on, I feel normal'.

LittlePoot Mon 06-Aug-12 21:53:38

It absolutely will be gradual, and please don't worry if you start to feel better then have a bad day again-the overall direction is up, but there can still be some blips. You're on the way back though so just take each little success as it comes and ride out the bumps. x

MrsHelenBee Wed 08-Aug-12 23:02:56

Wow, I could have been reading my own story when I read yours 'emblosion'. My DS is a year old now, and it's been really tough. I had a tough pregnancy and a traumatic birth, which saw me in the high dependency unit and unable to hold my DS or bond with him. In fact, I only know about his birth and the immediate time after from my husband telling me, and the photos which were taken. I started on Sertraline and was VERY worried about the risks but got a lot of support from my local perinatal team, who could reassure me the meds were ok. I'd stopped talking to anyone, couldn't go out of the house without having a panic attack, felt permanently exhausted, miserable, out of my depth and a total failure. I told my husband he should leave me and take our DS with him as they both deserved so much better. I self-harmed, starved and binge-ate, had awful nightmares, which lead to sleep walking too....the list goes on....BUT I'm finally starting to have some good days every week, and if I can come back from where I was - the utter depths of despair and thoughts of suicide, then you can too. No one knows how you feel unless they've been there, and believe me I have. I've still got a long way to go, but after a lot of support, the right dose of Sertraline, and I'm getting help from the community mental health group. I also found homeopathy made a MASSIVE difference, and would recommend at least trying it. I was very sceptical but my mum found a fantastic specialist who has been as much a friend and counsellor as she has a source of complementary therapy. The remedies she gave me for anxiety and my sleep issues were amazing. I finally let my husband kiss me again a month or so ago, and I'm in contact with friends again - progress may be slow, but it's still progress. And remember, your baby chose you over anyone else to be their mummy for a good reason. Because you deserved them, and could love them better than anyone else.

MrsHelenBee Wed 08-Aug-12 23:15:02

Has the community mental health talked about PTSD? I was told it wasn't formally diagnosed until post 6m+ but everything I read prior to that sounded like it was describing me and I have since been diagnosed by the GP and mental health assessment team. Specific therapies are needed but I'm finally headed in the right direction and so many people have reassured me on the way - I'm not alone, I have an illness which needs treatment like any other, but it is just that. An illness, and a temporary situation - not a life sentence, even though I've felt like I've hit new low after new low, and that I was never going to find my way back. Accept all the help that is offered to, be kind to yourself, get plenty of rest - do all the things common sense would tell you to do if you had any other illness.

emblosion Thu 09-Aug-12 04:14:30

MrsHelenBee I'm so sorry you have had such a horrendous time, but very glad that things are getting better for you at last.

PTSD has been mentioned, as I've had flasbacks etc but the Dr said that this early the treatment would be the same. I had my first counselling session yesterday (am lucky as my husband works for a counselling organisation and am entitled to some free sessions) so I hope that will help.

It really helps to hear from someone who has been there, I suppose at the moment it feels to me as though things will be this way forever, but if course they won't. I have to keep telling myself that I will get better. It also helps to think if it like a physical illness I guess, as I do feel so guilty & feel like DH is having to take up all my slack.

I liked the bit about DS choosing me to be his mummy. I'll make all this up to him one day.

narmada Thu 09-Aug-12 12:26:11

I remember that feeling that life would be this bad forever. It wasn't. In fact it improved fairly quickly. But time moves so slowly when you are depressed - life is like wading through treacle, to put it mildly.

You feeling guilty for DH 'taking up the slack' is also possibly related to PND. I felt horribly guilty about the same thing, but looking back of course I couldn't help it at the time and now I don't feel guilty any more smile

PND is more common in those who have had fertility treatment or difficulty conceiving, or difficult pregnancies. Remember that when you are feeling guilty. It's not you, it's a horrible combo of circumstances and hormones. Evil, evil hormones smile

Mrshelenbee you sound like you've had an awful time, so sorry sad

BeaWheesht Thu 09-Aug-12 12:32:45

Well done for getting help. Dd is almost 2 and I've finally started on setraline this week, am on day 4. I did take citalopram for about 3 months when she was littler but it made no difference.

I'm feeling very very very tired since I started taking the pills, I don't know if that's related though?

emblosion Thu 09-Aug-12 14:21:28

Bea I think the pills can make you tired and can also cause problems sleeping (which is what I had) I've found that that side effect went after a few days. The GP did say to me that both tiredness/sleeplessness can be symptoms of depression too so its hard to know if its the pills or just the illness?

Well done to you for going back to GP, have you been feeling bad all this time?

MrsHelenBee Thu 09-Aug-12 22:38:50

BEA - the pills can definitely have that effect, anything from being a bit drowsey to feeling shattered initially, depending on what you take, the dose and how your body metabolises it. Most are designed to have a sedating effect too, for the obvious reason that your body needs time to rest and heal - physically and mentally. And, as sleep issues are so often a part of depression, it goes some way to addressing that too. It's worth riding it out though - I've tried various different tablets until now and the effects vary but my body had got used to them and coped much better after a week at the very most. Obviously if they really don't seem to suit you, or the effects are too much a number of days in, do go back again. Some people get the right match first time around, while others - myself included - need to work a while at getting the right combination.
Something else to bear in mind though is that you're already exhausted from being a mum who's not firing on all cylinders, but been soldiering on for so long - well done on that count, and try to see it as an indication of just how strong you are, even if you don't feel it! - but also asking for help and letting someone in is frightening, and takes a lot of courage and strength in itself. It's like opening floodgates - the initial surge is utterly overwhelming, but the biggest hurdle is already behind you, and things will settle down. Promise!

thunksheadontable Thu 09-Aug-12 22:47:25

I have a 7 week old ds and have been on sertraline since the day he was born (diagnosed with antenatal depression and perinatal OCD with mild moderate depression in pregnancy but didn't want to take drugs). So far so good but have had a few headaches. Sleep not too bad after first two weeks but that was quite good as my ds wasn't sleeping anyway! It has helped a lot.

MrsHelenBee Thu 09-Aug-12 22:59:02

EMBLOSION - you are already on the road to recovery purely by the fact that you've recognised there was a problem and sought help - it takes a lot of courage and energy to take that step and let someone in when it means unravelling in front of someone and feeling like you're crumbling to pieces in front of strangers and familiar faces alike. It does feel like a never-ending spiral, I can totally empathise, but there was a good life before you became unwell, and there will be one again. It's just a case of allowing yourself the time you need to heal properly. If you had a broken leg, you'd need people around you, crutches to lean and tablets to deal with the symptoms. Just because you haven't got your leg in plaster, or an arm in a sling doesn't make it any less of a problem - you still need people to lean on and medicine to get you back on track. Once the chemical imbalance has been sorted, you will be able to look back and see how far you've come, even if right now you feel like you're going nowhere.
I know how it feels to have a partner who you see having to pick up the pieces and keep you afloat when they're trying to juggle a job, being a dad, and all of the emotions and pressures which go with it. My husband is gentle giant who insisted he had very broad shoulders, but I couldn't get past the guilt of feeling like I wasn't the wife and mother to our DS he deserved. I felt like I was crushing him - seeing him off to work after he's had a night of worry over me and broken sleep from having a waking baby. He commutes, which takes up 4 hours of his day, so he was going at the crack of dawn and coming home exhausted from a busy day, lengthened by the travel, and instead of being welcomed by a smiley, happy, serene wife, he could find me unable to talk, in tears....a total wreck. I was terrified what the stress might do to him - even broad shoulders have their limits. But remember, you are doing the hardest job in the world just now - raising a beautiful child - and you're doing it with the disadvantage of being unwell too. That makes you amazing, and a lot stronger than you think. And I'm sure you don't have a baby who's missing out - they really don't need that much: love, comfort, encouragement, time - all things which you can and are giving in abundance, every hour of the day.
There will come a time when you can be there for your man in the way that you need him now but, for now, let him be there for you in every way he can. He desperately wants to see you well and happy because he loves you, so you both want the same thing, and you'll get there together. There is nothing to make up for with your man or your baby - if you had the flu, you'd accpet the toll on your body and that it couldn't be helped. This is no different.

Sorry I've gone on for so long!!!!! Btw, it also helps me to see someone else understanding where I've been, so there's healing on both sides :-)

BeaWheesht Thu 09-Aug-12 23:35:19

Thanks for those who replied to me.

I've kind of been feeling like this all that time. I had antenatal depression with ds almost 6 years ago and its never entirely went away but got much much worse after dd was born (nothing to do with HER at all, I always feel like I'm blaming her when I type that!) And has been in peaks and troughs since.

beyondcrazy Sun 12-Aug-12 07:36:25

V briefly as ds is having a winge and wants breakfast -
I felt totally suicidal, didn't want to take sertraline as afraid it would harm baby's development and didn't believe it would help, was finally convinced to do it, had horrible side effects the first week, then LIFE TRANSFORMED! I am now totally in love with my delicious baby and want to have a thousand more. So, for anyone not sure whether to try it, I'd say go for it. IT's so worth it.
I also felt guilty about all the pressure on my DH. Because I wasn't coping with anything I thought he couldn't either. But he was ok, and having gone through this horrible period and seen how he cared for me, it has made me love him all the more. Six months on he said that although he was really sad and worried about me, he was very happy to be "shouldering the burden" as it gave him a role. Most dads feel left out when small babies appear and feel a bit useless - he knew that he was "manning up" to the situation and looking after his wife and baby. Once I got better he actually felt a bit worse, as he started to feel like he wasn't doing anything helpful! So don't feel guilty - your hubbie is there for you. He loves you, and I'm sure he is happy to know he is helping you.
You will get better soon, I promise.

thunderpantsjenkins Sun 12-Aug-12 13:03:19

A Sertraline success story here. Firstly though so sorry to hear you are feeling like this - it's so horrid being stuck in a pit of post labour depression/anxiety.

My DS is now 10 months and like you I had a very traumatic/intense and painful labour which resulted in a letter of complaint to the hospital (another story). I'm a bit of an anxious type anyway but what happened to me after the birth was awful. I was depressed but felt a huge amount of shame/embarrassment about the birth and about feeling that low. I developed obsessive thoughts which completely took over my life, plus suicidal thoughts on top of all that. Finally started taking the Sertraline after 2 months.

It was a slow improvement due to the sleepless nights, continuous BF and hormone crash but around 3 or 4 months later I started to feel myself again but even better. I got my creativity back again which had disappeared many years ago and I felt confident in my own opinions and choices again.

8 months on and I can honestly say my life has transformed. Instead of obsessive thoughts 95% of the day I now obsess about 5%. The energy my brain previously used for obsessive thinking is now being used to do fun and useful stuff. I wish I had started taking them years ago.

You have done the first and hardest step of going to get help from the GP so well done you. It will be all up hill from now on and you will get better. Feel free to PM me if you need any more help or advice.

thunderpantsjenkins Sun 12-Aug-12 13:32:26

....by the way didn't have many side effects just a slightly tight jaw for the first few weeks and also anxiety was worse for a few weeks . Lost my ability to orgasm for about 4 months but this came back. Started taking them with breakfast at first but now take them in evening as they make me a bit sleepy.

emblosion Mon 13-Aug-12 11:25:06

Wow, I just want to thank everyone again for the amazing support on this thread. It really means such a lot to me to know I'm not going through this alone.

Thunderpants - our experiences sound very similar, I'm an anxious personality type too, and looking back I can see my anxiety level in pregnancy prob wasn't normal, but it was managable iyswim. Labour was basically my worst nightmare scenario where one thing after another went wrong, but I was lucky in that the staff were very good.

Been on the sertraline for 2 weeks now and I am starting to feel a bit more normal, you know, not better but I feelore able to cope! Am expecting ups and downs but Long may it continue.

mrsmandm Sun 16-Sep-12 14:37:48

Could I ask if any of you breast fed while taking strealine? Been prescribed it but been putting off starting it as don't want to stop feeding - too stressed and exhausted to make a decision to put dd on the bottle x

SloeFarSloeGood Sun 16-Sep-12 14:41:07

I breastfed on sertraline without any ill effects.

emblosion Wed 19-Sep-12 15:02:05

Hey mrsmandm, I'm not breastfeeding BUT I know others that have on sertraline & on citalopram and all babies (and mums) have been fine.

Quick update while I'm here, been in sertraline for 7 weeks & am a million times better than I was. My mood has levelled off in the last week or so, so I might increase my dose from 50mg - seeing psych Dr. on Mon so will see what she says.

Anyone that's wondering about whether to take ad's, I would say if you think you need them, do it. I've been feeling really back to normal again, bonding really well with my beautiful son & really so so much better & you will be too.

thunderpantsjenkins Thu 20-Sep-12 20:46:36

That's lovely news Emblosion. So glad for you.

mrsmandm Sat 22-Sep-12 21:53:48

Thanks for your help and great to hear you're on the up

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