Xanax Makes Me a Better Mom
A record number of moms and dads are taking anti-anxiety medication and anti-depressants, but some experts believe we're just dealing with the everyday roller coaster of parenthood with a small blue pill. What's the answer?
To deal with her depression and anxiety issues, JD Bailey does not use prescription drugs. She uses the delicate-fabrics setting on the dryer.
Four years ago, Bailey was prescribed a low dose of Zoloft to offset the overwhelming sadness and irritability of the postpartum depression that followed the birth of her youngest daughter, Grace. But over time the Zoloft stopped working, and the side effects—swelling, weight gain, trouble sleeping, nonexistent libido—were brutal. So her doctor switched the script to Celexa.
Thus began a carousel of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors: Zoloft, Celexa, then Zoloft again, then Viibryd, then Prozac.
Today, Bailey is not taking anything. For the past few months, her drug of choice has been five minutes in the laundry room.
“Last week I had to step away when my six-year-old, Annie, was having a full meltdown,” says Bailey, who chronicles her depression on her blog, Honest Mom. Bailey's mind started to spin, and her chest tightened. “I felt like the worst parent in the world because I didn't want to make her feel better,” she admits. “I just wanted to get out of there.”
So that's what she did. Bailey went into the laundry room, turned on the dryer, and breathed until “I knew I could be levelheaded, hug her, and talk her through it.”
Bailey's therapist says she has “situational depression.” “And you know what my situation is, what triggers my anxiety and sadness?” Bailey asks. “My kids.”