Katie Vahey Gaebler
Dancing in the rain
Updated: Jan 28, 2021
Life is not about weathering out the storm, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.
The morning of July 10, my husband woke me around 7am as he was getting ready to leave for work. He plopped Wesley next to me, and all I could do was plead, over and over. I had been up for hours the night before. My insomnia wasn’t unusual, but crying that I couldn’t control was. With my eyes full of tears, I got up, and took the baby to the living room. I sat on the couch with tears streaming down my face. I don’t remember much about the next hour, except feeling despondent. John came in to check on me, and instantly decided he would wait until after our sitter Casey arrived at 8:30 before he would go to work.
I said I need help, I think I need to see a doctor. John had asked me to see a doctor and consider taking an anti-depressant in the past, but I was willful, sure I could handle things on my own. Vitamins, probiotics, exercise, and eating healthy are routine in our every day, and I knew that helped. I may have expressed feeling overwhelmed in my past, but I was certain I could hide my sadness. But this was too much, there was too much to handle here and I couldn’t hide this. John wasn’t asking me to consider it: that day he scheduled an appointment with a directive I speak to the doctor about getting a prescription.
Because we were changing insurance, and didn’t know who our new doctor would be, it took a little more research and patience before an appointment could be scheduled. Over 2 weeks later I walked into the new doctor’s office, did my intake, and found myself in the next 15 minutes sharing with a doctor what was currently leading my fragile mental health state.
A year ago my oldest son, now 6 ½ yo, was formally diagnoses with autism. He was in a camp this summer, specifically for kids with developmental disabilities, but was recently asked not to return. That was the 8th time he has been expelled from a school or camp. I really enjoy my work, and 6 months ago I took a new job at have a shorter commute. I needed to save time to better handle the school meetings and daily phone calls for his required behavior management support. That job- unexpectedly- wasn’t a good fit, and after a hard 6 months of trying to make it work, I needed to leave. I gave myself a limited window to find a new job, to no avail. We love our nanny Casey, but I need to let her go if I’m not going back to work. I feel it’s a privilege to get to stay home with my baby this coming year, and I’m so lucky my older son started the right school program this past January. But I have a lot of identity in my work, and the combination and tangled feelings about my professional work, and the challenge of my kids, is a big identity shift for me. It’s just a lot to handle.
We went on to discuss differences in feelings of anxiety and depression, and how a combination of treatments can support my feelings of stress during this transition. After talking through prescriptive options, and potential side effects, she recommended Escitalopram, the generic for Lexapro. We also discussed talk therapy and she provided me with a list of recommended therapists. One of my big concerns is coming off the drug, since I had read how difficult that can be. She let me know this was a commitment, I should plan to be on it 6months to a year, or as long as I needed. There would be a slow tapper to get one it, and in the end a slow tapper off. There would also potentially be a trial and error period, as not all anti-depressants worked the same way. Since different people are neurologically wired differently, there could be no certainty on which drug would work, or what side effects might occur.
The idea of being on medication long term for mental health has scared me in the past. This could be rooted from a variety of places. But ultimately I realize, I need glasses to see and that’s a long term prescription, so why would I deny myself (any my loved ones) what could be the best of me by avoiding treatment. I owed it to myself, my sweet husband, my loving but challenging children, to be able to show up to the best of my ability every day.
The Escitalopram fill for a 30 day period of 10mg tablets cost with tax $3.44. And I would be taking 5mg to start, and I had resolved to stay at a low dose as long as it worked. That’s a small price to pay, compared to the worry and stress I brought on myself and my family.
So far I am 5 days in at 5mg daily, and it’s going OK. We’re now well into our “transition period” normal, where I’m with Bryson individually on some kind of field trip every morning as Casey is with Wesley. And in the afternoons she is with both boys in the living room or back yard so I can either work, go to yoga, or an appointment. Daily ABA therapy for Bryson starts at 3:15, and he’s definitely doing better in therapy now that he doesn’t hate his days at camp. School starts again in 2 ½ weeks, and we’ll transition our schedule again. I’m taking things one day at a time, and I have to admit in the last 5 days that is and easier thought to digest.