I switched doctors last month, and last week I went to meet with my new internal medicine physician for the first time. I had heard good things about this doctor, and I have to say it felt like home when I walked into the office and read her mission statement. I can’t recall exactly what the quote was, but it stated her focus on preventative medicine and self-care through physical activity and diet.
There are times when prescriptions are definitely needed, but we can also cure a lot of ailments through a healthy diet and daily physical activity. I know this from first hand knowledge and from the many people I have connected with through this blog.
For those that are unaware, I started taking Zoloft when I was pregnant with my first son about 8 years ago. I had tried various anti-depressants at various times, but Zoloft was the most well-studied and widely used during pregnancy and nursing. Having dealt with bouts of depression, I had a serious fear of postpartum depression. Thankfully I did not suffer from it, but it was more the anxiety that did me in after having my first baby.
Fighting the lack of sleep that accompanies a new baby (and the fact that I had a human being relying on me for everything) left me feeling strung out at the end of the day. I felt like I would bounce around from task to task trying to get things done around the house like I used to, and worried that I wasn’t keeping up. An increase in the Zoloft helped quell those feelings, but over the years, I have realized it isn’t doing much for me anymore. Running makes me feel just as good, without the accompanying side effects.
I had a long talk with the doctor and she made me face the music– DAILY physical activity is mandatory for my mental health. I have been running a few times a week, but less than I have in the past, and my brain is feeling it! My doctor told me exactly what I needed to hear–I had to find a way to get in a daily run (or other workout), no ands ifs or buts. Together we decided that we are going to VERY gradually decrease the Zoloft while I continue running daily. I am hoping that by the fall, I will be off the medication and feeling fine.
The timing feels right, and I feel relieved knowing that I will be getting my daily meds in the form of a run from now on. I am totally okay with the fact that I may have to go back on something again, but right now I’m feeling really good about the whole situation! I’m glad that I have a supportive doctor who “gets” me and understands the (powerful) positive mental effects of physical activity. It was nice leaving the office with a prescription for blood work AND a prescription for exercise. 🙂