• kristennporter

    I always refer to by saying… “The communists are in the funhouse.”

    Let’s everyone know, not to mess with me. Hang in there. Things will improve.

  • hollyanna

    My son is 18 months old. I have been on an antidepressant for 70 days now. My husband doesn’t even know. I feel like he will think I am crazy. But I just needed something to help pull me out of the deep dark hole of anxiety and nothingness. It helps so much to know that there are other mommies who are going through these things somewhere at the same time I am. You are my hero.

  • jbruntlett

    Ahh, yes. I’m making my BF read this post. I was crying uncontrollably before my last “visit from aunt flow” and this is the conversation we had:

    What’s wrong?


    It can’t be nothing, you don’t just cry for no reason.

    Go away now please.

  • KnitterChick

    Ten months after I had my first baby, I thought I had a Urinary Tract Infection. What are these little pains? Oh, right. THAT.

  • little drama pants

    In Alabama, if you say “Game Day for the Crimson Tide” people will automatically assume you are talking about a football game.

  • smallory78

    I suffer from anxiety disorder as well – unfortunately it is the panic disorder type too – so I am fully aware of how excruiciating those panic attacks can be. I’m so glad you were able to figure out a way to deal that works – its tough! You are a continuous inspiration for me.

    I also must commend you for raising two kids (and doing what seems to be an incredible job at it) while dealing with this disorder. I don’t have any children, but I had to giggle at the “what is this”? reaction – I swear, every month, I am suprised when I start to feel completely off, weepy, panicky, and achy…and tired… oh and kind of craving chocolate..and then eventually it dawns on me..oh riiiight, that. I guess we get so used to evaluating our psychological state that the “normal” can take us by surprise!

  • iLost9Minutes

    Thank you for always being so open about this in your life. I often think it’s a big part of what has given me the strength to finally go in and get some help of my own, that I’m not alone and don’t need to be ashamed. Thank you.

  • Meranath

    Goddamn Communists.

  • Sara Carling

    I suffer from anxiety & depression. A lot. And I wish I had someone like Jon who really got it. Who really understood that I wasn’t crazy, or I wasn’t a bad person. That I wasn’t really making it up. And that I’m not really in control of it. I try to be, but sometimes my attempts to be in control just make it worse.

    Thanks for sharing your story, and making me feel less alone, and less crazy.

  • Jen in AZ

    GET YOUR THYROID CHECKED!!! I had the same thing and they prescribed all kinds of anti- this and that and all along it was a thyroid condition. It’s very unchecked in women and it needs to be done especially after we have babies. Thyroid problems mimick depression, anxiety, etc. Get’er checked lady!!!

  • TheDuder


    Totally with you on that one. My wife is also not big on sharing of the feelings. I get it. If I suffered from depression, I can’t imagine I’d be big on the sharing either.

    Still as the husband, you can’t help but want to help somehow. A big moment for me was realizing leaving her alone and politely asking as Jon commented is the best way to help ever.

    Think both of you are great. Once our first arrives in May, I’ll probably be reading more than I already do. Thanks for all of everything.

  • sheameister

    Indeed. My youngest is 13 months and I weaned over 4 months ago, but I am still a wackadoodle despite being on the pill again and everything. I swore off meds when I got pg with my first child and thought I was doing OK (5 years!)… but maybe it’s time to reconsider. I relate to your post and the comments here all too well.

    My first panic attack was in 1999 while watching Letterman. What odd, random little things they are, no?

  • kariberi

    I really do hope you feel better. Why do us gals have to get our asses kicked when it comes to our bodies? Its just not fair! Im in my 2nd trimester of my 2nd pregnancy and the anxiety is in full force. I think chasing after a “Spirited” 2 year old is to blame.

  • Stacy Wellington

    Assvise Alert from a two year sufferer of panic attacks related to hormones. including racing heart, shaking, stomach cramping, dizziness, sweating and trembling! B6/B12/Folic Acid tabs. I know I know, they don’t STOP them completely and they dont treat the underlying issue, but I feel like they make them less severe which helps. I read somewhere that a lot of women going through horomanal changes have B vitamin deficiencies. The most common sign of a B vitamin deficiency? ANXIETY! Trader Joe’s sells em – you put the little red tablet under your tongue and they dissolve. If anything, its like a placebo. I’m panicking – I will knock this out with my little vitamin tablet! I’m not saying it will work for you, I am saying it works to some extent for me. It at least makes me feel like I have some control over the situation, and B6B12/folic acid are good for you anyways.

  • Lesismor

    My daughter is only a few weeks younger than Marlo…she was 6 months on January 1st…I’m still breastfeeding too and been off my meds for just over a year now…when I read your post I got goosebumps feeling that stuff all over again. I feel for you and am sending you positive vibes and strength :) I keep giving myself goals of how long I will stay off the meds and keep bf’ing…anxiety has been worse than the depression…luckily, I had an iud put in, so I’m hoping that since I don’t get the physical aspects of the Crimson Tide (as you so eloquently put it!), I wonder if that will keep all that yucky emotional bull away too?? Any idea??

  • kristin k

    My personal favorite is “paying my monthly bill”

  • texas law chick

    I hope this puts a smile on your face, especially since you are the owner of an awesome longhorn necklace that I covet. Here in Austin, Texas we are getting ready for a big football game against Alabama on Thursday and a local restuarant has a billboard out front reading:

    “The only Crimson Tide we fear comes once a month.”

    This seemed appropos for the post today.

    I was first diagnosed with chronic depression 13 years ago and I think the most frustrating part is when friends say they understand or “get it” but you just know that they cannot comprehend the craziness that is going on inside your head. Craziness that you don’t dare express in words to friends lest they stage some kind of intervention and commit you to an institution. I love your blog in part because I know you “get it” and you are brave enough to put the craziness all in words. And yes, brain chemical and monthly hormones all conpsire against us!

  • JennfromCanada

    I found out about dooce from TheGirlWho… I love both blogs.

    I can’t say I’ve ever had an anxiety attack. If I did, I didn’t know it. But on occasion I just want to run away from my life. Things get overwhelming sometimes and I don’t have the capability at that particular time to deal with it. So I go in my bathroom, turn the light off, lock the door and cry. My 10-yr-old daughter is starting to catch onto when I need a “time out”. Last night she asked if she could bring me a cup of tea and that alone made me feel better. Not the tea, the fact that she asked.

    I don’t think I had PPD when Jess was born. But I was depressed a few years ago after I got hurt at work. The stress of the injury combined with the pain and subsequent loss of my job was sometimes too much for me. It’s been almost three years since that happened and surprisingly I’m better for it. I went back to school, got an education that I probably would never have been able to do while working, got a great job and am scheduled for surgery on my shoulder in February. The surgery should fix whatever is wrong with me and after all the recovery is done, I should have no pain. Yay me!

    So I just wanted to say that since reading TheGirlWho.com and this blog, I feel quite a bit better knowing that there are other women (and men) who know how I feel. And that each of you is here to support the writers and each other.

  • nina

    I had a boyfriend who used to ask me the same kinds of questions you asked Heather.
    It’s really very sweet, but for some reason, not being able to explain it, especially while it was happening, made me feel worse. And that led to fights.
    Eventually we figured out that as soon as one started coming, he just held my hand and took me for a walk without saying anything. We lived by the beach, so being out in nature made everything better.
    Good luck to both of you.

  • Annie

    “Rebooting the Ovarian Operating System” LOL!! Hilarious! I’m so stealing this =P

  • My Baby Sweetness

    Yeah, my body did its post baby reboot last month. The day we had two parties to go to and no time and – oh hey, yeah, that baby to take care of!

    But I do have to admit I also had that rush of relief of – oh thank goodness, I am not totally crazy / manic. My depression for no reason actually had a hormonal reason. I’d actually said to my husband a few days before – I wonder if it’s coming back as I’m all hormonally depressed. His response – so you haven’t had one in what, like 19 months, right? Wow… that’s going to be a gusher.

  • melchina

    There is a wonderful show airing on PBS tonight discussing depression, anxiety and fears. The series is called “This Emotional Life”. (You can go to pbs.org for more info.) It’s just fantastic and may shed some light or understanding for those who suffer from these illnesses and/or for those who live with or love someone who suffers. Check it out.

  • simpliSAHM

    Oh yeah, isn’t that lovely? My “Ovarian Operating System” rebooted itself while I was still strictly breastfeeding just 8 short weeks postpartum! I could not beleieve it and in fact had to call the Dr. So, at 38 years old, having had two babies, I’m having this conversation:

    Me: I started bleeding again, I don’t know what’s wrong.

    Nurse: Umm, you’re probably having your period.

    Me: No, no, I just had my baby 8 weeks ago and I’m exclusively breastfeeding!

    Nurse: Sorry honey, it’s rare but it happens.

    Me: Crap.

  • ohyouandi

    Listen to this: I was 44 years old, with a newborn that consumed nothing but breastmilk. My son was only 5 months old when my darn period came back….with a vengence!!! I cannot tell you how gyped I felt, especially considering that I was infertile, and had to use donor eggs in order to even GET pregnant. I was counting on not having another period until AFTER I totally quit b’feeding. Alas, Mother Nature had other plans and she was obviously still fucking with me, BIG TIME.

  • needybynature

    6 weeks. I started “Shark Week” as someone said after 6 weeks. While breastfeeding. I hated my body. Or it hated me. I couldn’t decide. My poor poor poor husband and my crazy hormones.

  • chrissymacceo

    Thanks for your honesty in this post. Thisis something that I,too, have dealt with so for long. It’s so refreshing is a strange way to read and know that I am not alone, not that I want anyone to feel the way they do when an anxiety attack strikes. It’s the pits! But it wasn’t until last month when I realized just how much of my monthly hormones are to blame. It’s a little easier to deal with now that I know they play a huge roll in it. Once I get that twitch in my right boob followed by the trobbing feeling that accompanies for the 10-14 days before “it” comes, I lighten my load–take on less, do less, relax more. I try to eliminate my to-do list the very first day I feel that twitch. You are right–its the little things that trigger us anxious people. Be well!!

  • JustLinda

    Are you going to answer that email I sent you?

    OK, I didn’t send you one, but that was fun, huh? Seeing if I could add to your anxiety? No? Didn’t work?


    I’m not sure what else to say. I mean, “Welcome back to menstruation station.” doesn’t seem quite right. Maybe “Condolences.”??? Yeah, let’s go with that.

  • aliceone

    Hormonal changes may mean time to adjust your medications. All these things work together and it can be easy to forget that your body isn’t the same now that it was just after your baby was born or before you lost the extra weight, etc.


  • jekka888

    Your honesty is so refreshing! I almost cannot get over it. Thank you!

  • LuLu

    Detailed story made short: Two times in my life I have fallen completely apart. Total break-down of all systems. First, when I was anorexic and stopped menstruating at age 22. Second, at menopause (and menses stopped). Fortunately, I have both documented in my journals so I could prove to myself that it wasn’t a nightmare. TOTAL collapse. I’m better now.

  • belletoes

    Oh Sistah, how lucky you are to have Jon! I (your neurotic, much heavier and shorter twin in MO.) have my big hairy Joe. Aren’t we lucky? You’ll be ok, I promise. Take care.


  • HDC

    What’s the address we need to write to in order to nominate Jon for some sort of award or medal of some kind? That man deserves something for being there for you so solidly after all that you all go through. Atta boys just don’t seem enough.

  • AS

    I would highly recommend the Mirena IUD. my periods resumed by 7 weeks after both of my kids. After the second one, i got the IUD and now Shark Week is on permanent (well, semi-permanent) hiatus.

  • solaana

    What’s the opposite of a euphemism? Because “dropping salsa” would be that.

    Sorry. But I had to share the horror.

  • sabina

    Was that “udder” comment about the mastitis a spelling mistake or an incredibly clever pun? My period came back when I got mastistis and (mistakenly) stopped breast feeding for fear of the antiobiotics.

    May I just say THANKS and LOVE to all the women posting on this site for making me feel so much less crazy, so many times. And to Heather for her candor. You’re all like the sisters I never had.

  • OhBlahDah

    Just when you least expect it! Those dang hormones — such a balancing act.

    I have noticed over the years by watching my mother (and my own moods) that what goes up, must come down. The holidays do that to us.

    Your description of being swung around and flung into a dumpster was PERFECT. I used to get upset that I was weepy or depressed. Then, I would get more upset . . . and so on.

    Now, I go WITH IT rather than against it. There will be a day of crying at some point after the holidays (or after an extended period of effort for a big event).

    You can’t stay up high all the time. Like the tides or the moon phases or the hormone phases, they ebb and flow.

    Thanks for all the good posts and photos!

  • alabamamama

    “Game Day for the Crimson Tide” is Thursday. Roll Tide!

  • bwsf

    Not that this helps you, but my periods after having my son have been INSANE. I used to just bleed, no big whoop. Now, I cry, I turn into a huge bitch, I get headaches, I get super tired, I gag a lot, and my cramps make me feel like my uterus is clawing its way out. And my gyno has yet to find a solution for me. I guess we can get through it together :)

  • Amy G

    I so feel your pain with the crippling anxiety and anxiety attacks. While I’ve always been what you’d call “fairly high-strung,” my anxiety has been off the charts for the past two years, and I have no idea why. I’m convinced it’s hormone-related, too, but since we’re still trying to have a second baby (for 4 years now), I’ve been reluctant to medicate for the anxiety. Maybe I need to reconsider that, with my doctor’s input. I’m sorry you’re experiencing that, too.

    As for the arrival of what my husband and I refer to as “The Red Scare,” my condolences! However, consider yourself lucky that yours stayed away this long: after our son was born in ’03, despite the fact that I nursed almost exclusively for 6 of the 10.5 months total, my period still came back at 6 weeks post-partum. It sucked. :(

    Happy New Year!

  • Pandarazzo

    I had debilitating panic attacks in my 20s (I’m 34 now) and the BEST thing a therapist did for me was to make me visualize all the way through my fears and say what’s the WORST that can realistically happen? Imagine that happening, and how it would suck but not end the world. Go ahead and make preparations for that happening, and it won’t be so scary. (I was afraid of driving, flying, eating in public, and other random things.) After a while, this truly helped me breathe through oncoming panic attacks until now I rarely have any trouble. Flying is the only thing that still gets to me some, but I can do it. (Wellbutrin helps a great deal.)

    You have the support system and the intuition to handle anything that comes your way. Trust in that when you don’t feel it.

    I agree with the other commenters’ suggestion of a Mirena. No worries, no pills, no hassle. It hurt for 3 days after first put in but then I’ve never had a baby and what I consider “hurt” you probably wouldn’t notice! :)

  • MeMyselfandMommy

    I suffer from anxiety issues frequently, and probably have all my life However, I didn’t know this until a few years ago, and no one bothered to tell me that,”HELLO! YOU HAVE A PROBLEM WITH ANXIETY.”

    My anxiety takes on the form of a crash and burn cycle. I’ll go along fine for awhile. I can hold the world on my shoulders and never miss a beat. Then it builds and it builds, and I freak out.

    I can’t sleep at night. And by that, I mean I will go days where I sleep a total of 2 or 3 hours.
    I get suffocated and paralyzed by simple things that must be completed.
    I’m irritable.
    If something goes wrong (even if it’s as simple as I can’t find socks) my world comes crashing down.

    My anxiety hit me over the weekend because I knew I was returning to work. The tight chest set in, and stopped sleeping. I wasn’t ready to go back to the realities of the world, and needed more time at home. I actually wrote about how I was far from ready to go to work on Monday.


    Once I’ve had a few days of complete loss of control, I take over again and face the world head on. However, my melts downs come closer and closer together if I don’t get it together quickly because my body is so deprived of sleep and nutrition that I have no defense.

    I’ve found that keeping a health journal helps me a lot (when I remember to do it). I keep track of what I’ve eaten, meds, the weather, things I’ve accomplished for the day, things still looming, how I feel mentally/physically. That way I can track my anxiety cycle and see what things set me off, and what things calm me down.

    I’m sorry your year is starting off with anxiety.
    It is frustrating when your husband doesn’t understand what you really feel when it hits. I hope you feel better soon.

  • booner32

    F U Horomones!!!

    I think Heather and Tiff are on the same schedule. If it happens again, Jon, call me and we can be helpless together, or at least compare hiding places.

  • holly8615

    I know exactly what your problem is.
    It’s called January.
    A friend of mine one said, “You eat, drink, and buy whatever it takes to get you through January.”
    I now live by that statement every year.

  • g.fox

    As a single girl of 26, I can hardly comment on the post-pregnancy stresses and hormonal flummoxers, but I can tell you that I have experienced G force panic attacks at certain points in my life (we’ll call them “spells”) and they are just about the scariest thing in the world. Worst of all, after you have one, it’s like you’re looking around every corner waiting for the next one to spring. They do go away. I promise. Find a place where you feel safe and realize that these little attacks are NOT your reality, that if you can breathe and be patient, your real reality will return to you, and eventually, they will go away. You are one of the strongest women out there. Just remember that.

    all the best, gabby fox*

  • LynnLaw


    I have years and years of on and off experience with frank panic. Coincidentally, so does my identical twin sister, who got her first attacks about three years after me when we were in our twenties.

    The most validating blurb! I ever read about panic attacks – since those who have never experienced them have NO IDEA – was a story about a man who in an attempt to tame the beast of his own panic attacks decided to take up skydiving with the rationale that if he could control that fear, he could surely gut it up when he got an attack. It didn’t work.

    Also, it helped me a great deal to know that it is the visual thinkers, the artists, the real game-changers who tend to get these, and not usually the folks who are happiest simply putting one foot in front of the other.

    My hunch is that you have stumbled upon a trigger OR the only medical conditions I’ve ever discovered it *might* be related to: 1. Thyroid 2. Mitral Valve Prolapse (common, benign condition which can correlate to panic attacks) 3. Menstrual cycle – PMS does seem to “bring them on.”

    What has helped ME most when going through is to take some simple, specific, logical steps when I cycle back into panics: no caffeine (sorry), no alcohol (sorry), Mild exercise (strenuous exercise seems to make panic worse).

    I have been able to resume all of the above once things clear for awhile. Sometimes I go years and years without an attack. Also, anti-anxiety drugs have really helped me unclench and relax during the brink-of-death “gaspies,” so perhaps they will help you.

    I am not a health practitioner, just a person who has had significant experience with panic.


  • Domestic Goddess

    Ugh. Aunt Flo came back at FIVE WEEKS POSTPARTUM both times for me. This was with exclusive breastfeeding, no pacifiers and no bottles. Lucky me.

    I feel for you! I was a blubbering, gosh-awful mess who cried constantly and called my husband several times a day.

  • jnudler

    Hi Heather,

    I have found through the years some helpful techniques to quell the symptoms of anxiety attacks. Like many, I suffer from anxiety attacks from worrying about anxiety attacks. Crazy isn’t it!

    Someone explained it to me like this: When you tend to be more of a creative person, the anxiety attack sets off a movie-like sequence of events in your head. The next time you start with any twinge that may signal an anxiety attack, the movie starts playing over and over again.

    The solution is to start thinking logically, NOT creatively. Here are a few things that work for me about 75% of the time (along with some help from valium the other 25%):
    1. Do a crossword/crickler/suduko puzzle
    2. Say the alphabet backwards in your mind (unless you are a freak that can do that easily, I cannot)
    3. Go through the multiplication tables or do any type of math in your head (larger numbers work better)

    Good Luck – Jules

  • jnudler

    A daily dose of fluoxetine daily has helped to reduce the frequency of my panic attacks.

  • WVKay

    Oh, I feel for you all. I’m having flashbacks. Just remember, menopause is right around the corner. Hahaha. I know that doesn’t sound good, but once you are over the hot flashes (power surges), and hormonal flux, you will enjoy never having a period again for the rest of your life. If I had known when the last one was, I would have had a party to end all parties. Hang in there ladies.

  • kim at allconsuming

    So my first full blown panic attack had me at our local hospital who were totally useless but the demonic Beatrix Potter bunny rabbits jumping off the bathroom wall at me and the cockroaches crawling under my skin and the complete desire to rip off all my clothes and go swimming in the ocean along with the vomiting and shaking and lock jaw and inability to move my shaking limbs were enough to make me think, ‘wow, this is when people top themselves. Not to end their life as such but just to make these feelings go away’.

    There is a fantastic book – it’s short, it has pictures, you’ll read it in about 15 minutes – which gives you strategies for getting through panic attacks. Some fantastic phrases to tell yourself, some good techniques to regulate your breathing and get you back on track. It certainly is not a cure but it is a fantastic management technique. The book (and there is a whole series of them) is by Bev Aisbett and called ‘Living with It’. Here’s an Amazon link (http://www.amazon.com/Living-Survivors-Guide-Panic-Attacks/dp/0207180407/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262735056&sr=1-1)