Staring at my phone when a pop up interrupts my endless scrolling: “Feed the cat, feed the kids.”
I look up. One kid is staring at his tablet, the other is jumping off the couch. Cool– both kids are still alive. I slap together a pb&j, toss some ramen in the microwave, and slice up a banana. That should tie them over until snack. I go back to staring into the social media abyss.
My head is throbbing; I can’t stop crying; I feel like I’m hovering above my body. I calculate the hours until my husband will get home from work. I get the kids set up with playdoh. I sit in the bathroom with a local crisis nursery website pulled up on my phone.
I just need a couple hours of nothing.
What do I do? I wish I had some sort of pain killer that would stop the throbbing. This is interesting… my head hurts so bad I feel like I’m floating. Neat, I can see my body from up here. Oh yeah, crisis nursery… My husband will be home in 4 hours. I can do this.
I can’t do this.
Hey, Google, would I die if I jumped off the balcony from the third floor? Nevermind, Google, the kids would see that mess and be left alone until my husband got home. I can’t do that. Fuck. My brain isn’t working. No, my brain is working. I’m having thoughts, so that means I’m alive, right? I can’t kill myself–I’d carry the guilt of that into the afterlife.
Another popup: “Time for snacks.” One kid ate her weight in blue playdoh… That counts, right? I give them bowls of cheetoes and m&ms. Obviously I am going to be crowned “Mother of the Year.”
Parenting is a blur while coming off of amitriptyline. Due to some intense side effects, and no medical insurance, I’ve been weening myself off of this horrible (for me) drug. I’ve had depression since I was a tween, so I know the whole withdrawal/tapering off routine well and felt moderately safe doing it on my own.
I didn’t expect a pandemic. What a *perfect* time to get off a medication known to help with depression, fibromyalgia, and migraines! Right after a super stressful move across states, bouts of sickness in my family (some that might’ve been Covid19, but we couldn’t get tested), and during a time where my grocery store assistant manager husband is deemed “essential.”
I was a week into tapering down when the lockdown/shelter-in-place/quarantine was announced. Cool. Family of four, stay at home mom with essential working husband in a new apartment, no playgrounds, no libraries… Just a 2 bedroom apartment on the third floor without a washer/dryer and all our stuff in boxes. (Insert a plethora of the word “cool” here.)
Perfect. Fucking. Timing.
I kept reminding myself that the side effects of amitriptyline were much worse than the benefits. While on it, I was an awful human–moody, exhausted, angry, and forgetful to the point that I legitimately worried about the safety of my kids in my care. Even during a migraine with all sorts of painkillers and having crazy suicidal thoughts, I’m still a better parent than I was while on amitriptyline. Within a week of lowering my dose, I already noticed a difference in my brain fog and exhaustion. I was actually awake throughout the day and not having “black out” moments. That was a bonus.
But, dude, it’s a pandemic.
Having depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and migraines doesn’t mesh well with a “history in the making” global viral pandemic.
I’m annoyed being with my kids 24/7. I try to remind myself that I am their only friend right now. They’re too young to sit still and video chat with family and friends, but old enough to remember this time in their life. I have to suck it up and pretend to have my shit together for them.
So here I am. Completely off amitriptyline. Today I took expired prescription migraine and nausea medicine to keep me from slamming my head against the wall due to a stupid migraine from the weather shift. Damn anxiety is causing diarrhea like it did when I was in high school. Depression and fibromyalgia are immobilizing me. Yet I am trudging through and hoping I don’t fuck my kids up too terribly in the process.