Getting Help… An Update.

I had my appointment yesterday to have my annual pap smear and talk about my symptoms of depression. The woman I saw is an ex-midwife, and while she no longer delivers babies she still deals with women’s health in all sorts of different ways. I’ve always been to big offices with lots of nurses and doctors scurrying to and fro, so being in a smaller office with only two staff members was very different.

I met with B, and we started talking. She asked me a lot of run-of-the-mill questions (are you allergic to any drugs? Do you smoke? Do you use your seatbelt?) and I answered them. She caught me off-guard when she suddenly asked, “Do you go to church?”
“Well, no..” I replied. This question always makes me uncomfortable.
“Why not?” she asked.
“Well.. We’re not exactly Christians.”

I expected a lecture, or a judgmental glance while she scribbled something on a piece of paper but she didn’t skip a beat. “That doesn’t matter,” she said. “There are lots of different churches for people of all sort of different faiths. I believe it’s important to nurture your spiritual side and to have that community and family. You keep looking; you’ll find a place for you.”

I left it at that and didn’t push the issue, but Josh and I haven’t really ever been ones to seek a “spiritual community” because we do have very alternative beliefs. The closest I’ve ever come is a Unitarian Universalist Church and even that’s too organized for me. We’re just not big fans of organized religion. Anyway..

She asked me more questions.. About how I came to be in Chattanooga, about my family, about my relationship with my parents and brother. She took a lot of time to ask and listen to my questions, and I appreciated it. I never felt rushed or hurried like I have at other OB/GYN offices before (and that is not me saying that OBs are evil, I liked my last one just fine). She gave me a “depression self-assessment” and had me fill it out. When I was done, she explained to me that it was in no way a diagnosis, but based on the answers I’d circled it was a safe assumption that I had moderate symptoms of depression. She wrote me a prescription for a very low dose of Zoloft, and said to call her in three weeks if I didn’t notice a difference and we’d talk about where to go from there.

My exam was a pretty normal, uneventful yearly exam. She did tell me afterward, however, something that surprised the hell out of me. I had mentioned that during ovulation, I sometimes felt pain and discomfort on my left side. Not every month, usually every other to every two months. And only on my left side. I have had at least one ovarian cyst that I knew of in the past (when I was pregnant with Nellie, in fact) but have suspected that I’ve had them before. I actually suspect that I’ve had one rupture in the past. She told me that my left ovary felt firmer than my other one, and that I shared some characteristics with patients she’d seen before with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). She said that she was in no way making a diagnosis of PCOS, and wasn’t even concerned enough to investigate it further unless the pain I felt around ovulation was hindering my enjoyment of life (it’s not). But she said that some of the hair around my pubic area is darker than usual, and the way I carry my weight is reminiscent of many women she’s seen with PCOS. I was really surprised, and asked her if that could be why it took us almost a year to get pregnant with Nellie. She said yes, and said that it could have also been a reason we miscarried. She said that it was possible that the ovary had produced a bad egg that could cause a miscarriage.

When all of that was over, I told her that I was interested in beginning counseling/therapy and asked if she had anyone she’d recommend. She gave me the names of two people she refers her patients to, one of whom I am a little hesitant to see because she is a Christian faith-based counselor. However, she is also very cheap. I am really, really not interested in Christian based counseling, because I am not a Christian and don’t ever plan on becoming one. I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet.

Overall, I’m happy with my visit. I’ve got my new medication and am hoping that it can help take some of the anxiety and depression edge off. I know that medication is not a cure-all, and that I need to begin to see a therapist. I have a lot of issues to work out in regards to my past, and I feel like maybe I’m ready to finally start doing so. The thought of facing down old and ugly demons scares me, I’m going to be completely honest. I’ve built up a pretty good wall around those emotions the past 13 years or so of my life, and I know that when I start to chip away at those walls it’s going to be hard. But I need to. I need to be the best person that I can possibly be for my daughter.

Thanks for reading, and thank you for all of the great support from my last post. It means more to me than you guys know.



  1. Zoloft was exactly what I needed to “chill” and let the little things roll off my back after the baby was born. I admit most of my issue was sleep deprivation driven and I was only on it about 3 months, but I feel it helped relax an just go with the flow. I hope you start feeling better and again, I am super proud of you for being a big girl and getting the help you need!
    Breann recently posted..7 Month Update!

  2. Best Wishes, and hugs to you. That was a big step..getting help. I hope it helps.
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  3. I’m sorry for what you are going through re: your anxiety and depression, however, you certainly seem on the right track for dealing with it. Good for you for even acknowledging and speaking out about it. But come on, how fantastic was that ex-midwife! I’ve never had a caregiver like that!
    Sandra recently posted..How to firm up your buttocks in 14 days!

    • She was really great. I’m a little disappointed that when we decide to have #2, she won’t deliver that baby because she seems really birth-centered and I think she’d fit in really well with how I’d like my next pregnancy and birth to go. Ah, well.

  4. Zoloft helped me much over the years. I hope it’s a good fit for you, too. The religious comments bugs me. Well, I know it’s not my deal to be bugged about, but I just feel when people say “I don’t care what religion you are” or “I’m not trying to convert you,” they’re doing just that.
    Kristine recently posted..Dear Cora: You’ll Never Die

  5. Michelle S says:

    GOOD FOR YOU ! You have taken a wonderful big step. So many people ignore signs that tell them when things may not be 100%. You seem to be very in tune with your body and sometimes we know better than the doctors when something is wrong.

    Counseling can be a great tool to work thru things. Be open minded to the Christian counselor, I went to one years ago because of the low cost sliding scale and religion never even came into a single session except the first to tell me it was not an issue, that it was just funded by a religious group.

  6. This is a topic that isn’t discussed enough publicly, so I just want to say kudos to you for discussing it openly. I think we often forget that we’re influential on others because we’re so “small” but, this post (and your previous one) may have a positive impact on someone’s life.

    It’s time that people start talking about important issues and using the media platform that is available to us–no matter how big or small–to bring these issues to the forefront.

    I’m thankful that you’re doing well and headed in the right direction. And I’m thankful that you posted on a topic that has impacted all of our lives in one way or another.

    Jackie @
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  7. pubes!

  8. Good luck with this, and good for you for getting some help. That’s the first step. I was diagnosed with mild depression about ten years ago and I can tell you that anti depressants completely changed my life for the better. I do find it curious that the question of faith was brought up…I’m from New England and I can tell you that would never happen here! Good for you for being polite and open minded :)
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  9. You are such a strong woman, and as before i say:: your strength has given me strength.

    I have PCOS, was the reason we had a miscarraige, the reason we had to go through 4 IVF rounds, and also a little of the reasons i get upset in life sometimes, questions of why me, how come it has to be so hard…. I guess the good thing about knowing that it may be a possibility is that you can explain many things in your life and you can also find more ‘appropriate’ medication / lifestyle changes that may help with some of the things in life that bother you, i believe that the hormones assosiated with PCOS also alter your thoughts too (but that is my personal thought / observaton of myself)

    I just wanted to add that while i am a christian (so i may be bias) my husband is not, and we have in the past had counceling together by the pastor that married us (a christian) and he in no way brought up faith or pressured my husband in any way, in fact in pre marital counceling and councel for our issues he never said anything really about our faith, so i guess maybe if you ‘tired’ the christian guy you may find that he is a christian just wanting to help and not ‘turn you’…? maybe, might be worth a shot for more affordable help?

    I just also wanted to add that i too had my appointment this week, and i want to say once again thank you for encouraging me to make it. i spoke with my gp & next week she is going to do an assesment and reccomend some names. at the appointment she told me that because of my ‘situation’ (my mother passed at a young age) it was actually very common to have depression and that she thought seeing someone would definatly help me – So really, thank you for helping me to have the strength to finally do something, and to speak up.

    Thank you.

    “Promise me you’ll always remember: You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” Christopher Robin to Pooh
    Chasing A Miracle recently posted..As The Weeks Go By… 45 Weeks

    • Thank you so much for your comment. Your words made me smile and made me feel so good about my decision to open up here on my blog. And good for you for making your own appointment!! I’m so glad to hear that you’ve taken that step too.

      I decided not to see that counselor, not because of the conflict of religion but because I’ve had multiple friends whom I trust beg me not to go to her. They say she’s not a good counselor, and have nothing positive to say about their experience with her.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your miscarriage and conception struggles as well as the loss of your mother. Keep me posted as to your progress with the depression! xoxo

  10. I started going to counseling about a year ago because I was stressed out ALL THE TIME and couldn’t figure out how to manage it. Long story short, SURPRISE, I have generalized anxiety disorder. I was very surprised by this because I have friends who suffer from anxiety and mine presents itself much differently. I don’t have panic attacks, I didn’t even recognize what I was feeling as being ANXIOUS… I literally just thought I was constantly stressed to the max and was a total failure at managing life in general.

    I too take a low dose of Zoloft (25mg, I’m VERY sensitive to it), as well as continue to see my counselor on a regular basis. I was also on a low dose of clonazepam for a while but we have phased that out.

    The Zoloft helps take the edge off SO MUCH. Especially when I was first diagnosed and we were working through some of my triggers and reactions. The first couple months of counseling were very hard for me, and once I recognized the fact that I was experiencing anxiety it seemed like it got SO MUCH WORSE at first. I think it was mostly because I was recognizing it for what it was and trying to deal with it rather than supressing it as ‘stress’, but it was awful at first. I started having actual anxiety attacks, where I would be rooted in a chair, unable to get up or do ANYTHING, paralyzed simply by the thoughts in my head. It was terrible. The medication and counseling have helped SO. MUCH.

    I hope to be medication free one day, and I know that will only be possible with continued counseling. I am so thankful for my counselor because she is wonderful. I have been to other counselors in the past for various issues and have had some bad ones though. My number one piece of advice (after GO TO A COUNSELOR, IT WILL REALLY HELP) is MAKE SURE YOU ‘CLICK’ WITH YOUR COUNSELOR. It can be really hard to change counselors after you’ve invested some time in someone, but if you don’t feel good about the person you’re talking to or start to have misgivings about them, don’t be afraid to change. It’s SO important to have the right counselor.

    If you were closer I’d totally recommend my counselor because I think you’d really like her. Alas, I can’t help there, so instead I wish you the best of luck. It IS hard to confront these things, and at first it will get harder but after that? IT WILL GET BETTER. And I know you can do it.
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