To the Contrary — Taking Antidepressants Doesn’t Make Me a #MomFail


“To be honest,” said my daughter’s pediatrician gently but firmly, “I am more concerned about you and your mental health at this point.” 

This statement came following my expression that the house wasn’t clean enough for my daughter to begin crawling. I explained my fear of chemicals from the paint, the formaldehyde used in the building process, even the fact someone had smoked a time or two in the house prior to our purchase of it. I was listing the dangers of third-hand smoke (IT’S A THING, PEOPLE) and how harmful it could be for my child, when she interjected. 

I looked at her indignantly and opened my mouth to assure her nothing could be further from the truth, when I reach for the Kleenex in my pocket to wipe away the tears from my eyes. I had become so comfortable with crying that it didn’t occur to me it wasn’t something most people did on a daily basis. I took a deep breath and prepared myself to hear her out. I mean, I owed her that. After all — she listened to me ramble endlessly about the perils of third-hand smoke. Bless.

Elusive Happiness

The truth is, happiness has never come easily to me. It always seems to be just around the bend — right after the next milestone, the next success. I’ll figure out how to feel happy when my car is paid off, I promised myself as I laid awake at night feeling guilty about the car payments. I’ll feel happy once I get engaged, but with my first engagement came nothing but doubt. I’ll feel happy when I land my dream job, when I lose 10 pounds, or when my house is spotless. Spoiler alert: It never happened.

black and white sad womanI had withdrawn from people important in my life. I was angry, anxious, and filled with an inexplicable rage over the tiniest little bumps in the road. I was losing weight rapidly; eating was not something I could handle at that point. Even the dramatic weight loss couldn’t bring me joy.

I was consumed with worry, with thoughts of my inevitable failure as a parent. I was overcome with sadness as I grieved the life I had given up to become a mother. It was one thing to live in a constant state of agitation, but was quite another to try to mother children in that frame of mind.

Why I Take Antidepressants

And so, I take these two precious pills every morning. I take them because otherwise life’s curveballs bring me to my knees. I take them because without them, I am constantly in crisis-mode. I take them because the thought of being an employee, a mother, a wife, a daughter, and a friend in tandem is too overwhelming. I take them because in their absence, I am acutely aware of my failures and could spend most of my days focused on those.

I take them because my anger, my irritability, my sadness are no longer exclusively my burden. The lines of ownership blur when you are a mother — what was yours alone now bleeds into those babies.

I take them because I don’t want to be the kind of mother who screams, kicks the dog, or slams the doors. And while I promised myself they were young enough not to remember my outbursts, I feared they would. And it broke my heart.

I take them because I need them. Plain and simple. My serotonin levels went off the grid for awhile and can’t quite find their way back to good. There’s a chemical inbalance waging a war against my mental wellbeing — and at this point in my life, I need help getting to a good place. And that’s okay.

I take them because I need them. I need them like a diabetic needs her insulin, like a patient with strep throat needs an antibiotic.

I take them because taking a walk, taking a nap, delegating some chores, or taking a deep breath isn’t going to fix this problem.

I take them because, try as I might, I can’t snap out of it. It shocks me that people feel comfortable telling a person with mental illness she needs to snap out of it — as if it were that easy. If it were that easy, I can assure you we all would’ve snapped out of it already. Every last one of us. Would you approach a person with heart disease and ask her to snap out of it? I think not. 

Journey Back to Health

I’d like to say it was as simple as filling the prescription to solve my problems, but my journey had more than a few bends in the road. Like anybody who is reliant on a daily medication to function, I begin to feel uncomfortable with the fact my body needed this support. And in more than one instance, I decided to stop filling my prescription against the advice of my physician. Inevitably, the fall would come. The deceiving thing about this crash is that it doesn’t happen right away. For a week to maybe even three, I felt as if I could manage my life again without the support of pharmaceuticals.

But the crash was inevitable. I spent days in tears. I couldn’t focus, I couldn’t care for my children in the way they deserved. I sat at my desk and stared at my computer, unable to be productive. My heart raced, and my body was exhausted. I alternated between lack of appetite and binge-eating. All I really wanted to do was sleep, but sleep was difficult to come by given all the worry that had crept back into my life. I found myself in a desperate cycle of sleeping pills to settle down at night followed by unhealthy amounts of caffeine to make it through my day.

And so, I went crawling back to my physician with my proverbial tail between my legs. I answered her questions honestly, despite my shame. It was both humiliating and liberating.

How many days a week do you feel sad? Every day.

Do you have difficulty sleeping? For years.

Do you tend to overeat or lack an appetite? Yes. 

Are you irritable and prone to rage? All the time.

Did I no longer enjoy things that used to bring me pleasure? You’d better believe it.

I left that day with a new combination of medications that brought the light back into my life. I take two little pills each morning, without fail. I’ve found my way back to a healthy range of emotions, and for that, I am grateful.

Is it crappy I have to take it every day? Sometimes it feels that way. Do I wish I could wake up and carry on without the perfect cocktail of medications? Yep. But for now, I cannot — and I’m no longer ashamed to admit it. Relying these two pills doesn’t make me a bad mom. Contrarily, choosing to ignore my body’s need for them just might. And that’s not a risk I want to take.

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Amanda is a New York girl living in a Texas world. In 2009, she followed her heart to the Lone Star state to Mansfield. She is wife to Timothy, and mother to Ryann and Grey. They love traveling and hunkering down at home with equal passion. Amanda is a speech pathologist by day and the maker of snacks, giver of baths, and the reader of bedtime stories by night. A lover of food and health, she spends an alarming amount of time researching plant-based recipes, experimenting in her perpetually messy kitchen, and of course, subjecting her family to the fruits of her labor. When not portioning out perfectly even snacks, you can find her at Orange Theory Fitness, in the Starbucks drive-thru line, reading anything, daydreaming about date nights, and planning the Fyfe family’s next adventure.


  1. You are authentic, beautiful, brave and damn smart! I adore you and your honesty! Thank you for being a voice to many who suffer in silence.


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