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Weaned myself off antidepressants

(9 Posts)
sarah00001 Sat 20-Jun-15 17:40:14

Hi, early on in my depression I suffered a lot of anxiety and also developed OCD for the first time in my life, which involved excessive hand washing and worrying about germs and also toxins. I suffered fertility problems and finally got pregnant through IVF, but the fear of losing the baby at the beginning was overwhelming and hence the anxiety and ocd. I asked to see a mental health midwife who did some of my antenatal checks. I also was prescribed antidepressants and had CBT sessions. In time I started to deal with things better and I found the CBT very helpful. However I wasn't totally happy with the mental health midwife. I found she would make assumptions about my condition, assuming I had a 'text book' case of OCD. She'd say things like, 'you're hands look dry, are you sure you're not washing them in bleach' which she asked a number of times even though I assured her I was only using soap. She'd also say things like 'I bet you're one of those people who has to have all their books and CDs in alphabetical order and can't stand anything being out of place'. This couldn't be further from the truth. The first time we met she said she'd report me to social services for information, which I felt was unnecessary when she knew very little about me and the severity of my condition.

At our meetings, I felt she was becoming controlling and was telling me what to do, as if I didn't have a say. For example she said I would be kept in hospital for 48 hours minimum after the baby was born to see if I could cope ok. I asked her if this was compulsory and she said it wasn't but the way she described it was as if I had no choice. Also, when I said I was feeling better and would like to come off the anti depressants, she abruptly said I had to take them the whole pregnancy and insisted that I wouldn't be able to cope now without them, even though I knew I would.

A few weeks ago my antenatal care transferred to a community midwife who I am much happier with. Around the same time, I saw a doctor for a prescription for my anti depressants. It was a different GP to my usual one. She mentioned that my baby may have withdrawal effects from the tablets when she is born which concerned me. I then made the decision that as I was feeling better and because I didn't want the baby to have withdrawal symptoms, I'd wean myself off the tablets very gradually.

I'm now off the tablets and have been feeling and coping ok. I get depressed sometimes as I split up from my ex a few months ago and this has caused a lot of stress and worry, but even with all that going on and facing single parenthood, I think I've been doing pretty well on the whole. The thing is that I haven't told my current midwife or the mental health midwife that I no longer take the tablets as I'm really scared that if I do this, they will question my capability of looking after the baby when she's born and may even involve social services.

I know that maybe I should have told them, but I also feel it's my body and my choice and I'm doing what I feel is best for my baby. The worry that I have is that when I go into labour, I will need to let them know that I am no longer on the medication and I'm so scared they will inform the mental health midwife and that she will deal with it in a heavy handed manner and will inform social services.

Can anyone offer any advice on this? Thanks,


sarah00001 Sat 20-Jun-15 17:41:19

Sorry just re-read it, I meant to say at the beginning 'early on in my pregnancy'.

plonkie Sat 20-Jun-15 20:02:24

It is your body and it is your choice, absolutely. If you have done it gradually then I imagine the baby will have been weaned off gradually as well (although I have to be honest I really don't know how this would affect an unborn baby). Ultimately I just wanted to say congratulations. You sound in control and very positive and I think this is something that, if anything, the healthcare professionals would admire! I think it might be good to mention it to them so that they are 100% aware of your situation. The medication you are on/aren't on can affect decisions down the line I guess. But overall I think you've probably done the right thing. Sometimes you have to listen to your own body. The only way is forward now anyway! X

QuiteLikely5 Sat 20-Jun-15 20:10:20

The midwives will report only if they have concerns for your child's wellbeing.

Did the first MW say she would report you anyway? If so a report will always cause an investigation as that is a legal obligation.

It is your choice entirely regarding your meds and I cannot understand why the SS would be concerned with a compulsion to hand wash as long as you were capable of looking after your baby in an appropriate way.

sarah00001 Sat 20-Jun-15 22:31:38

Thank you for your replies and positive words of support. In the end, the specialist midwife didn't inform social services. I just found her manner too heavy from the start. She was new to the role having just trained as a mental health midwife and I felt threatened by her, as she mentioned social services a few times to me and said she would need to inform them if I suffered from bad post natal depression. I have already decided that if I do suffer PND, then I will go back on anti depressants so hopefully it won't get too bad.

sarah00001 Sat 20-Jun-15 22:37:03

Oh, just to add, one of the reasons the midwife was concerned about my handwashing was because she said she was concerned I might have a compulsion to keep washing my baby which I assured her would absolutely not happen. She even asked me on two occasions if I would ever consider washing my baby in strong chemicals. I told her that this wouldn't even enter my head. I found these types of questions really upsetting.

Peacheykeen Sat 20-Jun-15 22:44:03

Hi I suffered with severe depression in my first pregnancy and was referred to a mental health team in my first trimester I attended a support group with other pregnant women suffering from pre natal depression I also saw a psychiatrist regularly. The midwives at the hospital were aware of this but nobody ever spoke to me like that. So sorry to hear you've been treated that way op and I hope your new midwife is a lot more supportive. If you feel ready to come off anti depressants that's fine you could always take them again if you feel you needed to. Best of luck

Skiptonlass Sat 20-Jun-15 23:00:40

It is your choice and your body, as a pp said.

There's some evidence that babies born with AD exposure can be a little jittery after birth - the effect isn't very strong so that's why doctors recommend staying on the ADs if they think that the benefits outweigh the risks. A severely depressed or anxious (to the point of illness) mum is riskier than a slightly jittery baby. That's the thinking behind it. On an individual level though, it's YOUR choice.

Can I make two suggestions? Firstly, you know yourself - you are the expert on you! So monitor yourself, and if you feel that you are sliding back into depression or anxiety, seek help sooner rather than later. Secondly, use the mental health midwife support to explore additional support methods. I'm not a huge fan of cbt for many things, but one thing it IS good for is recurrent and intrusive thoughts. Keep on with it.

I hope you get someone you can work better with - I've been discussing consent a lot the last few weeks at work / in the context of giving birth so it's been on my mind. I hope you find someone who makes you feel more part of the process and a bit more in control.

sarah00001 Sun 21-Jun-15 11:54:30

Peachey, I'm sorry to hear about your depression, but I'm glad you got the right support. I hope you are feeling much better now.

Skipton, thanks for your suggestions. I would prefer not to see the mental health midwife again but I'm not sure if I'm allowed a say in this. I will definitely seek help quickly if I start feeling depressed again as at the end of the day I want to be able to cope the best I can with the baby especially as I'll be doing it alone. xx

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