Should Nanny with PMS provide full disclosure?

Received Friday, August 29, 2008. - Perspective & Opinion
I have a question and I don't know who to ask because it is a private thing for me. I have really bad periods. For those of you who don't believe in PMS, you might want to skip this post.
The worst thing about my PMS is my mood. I am completely paranoid. I usually think I am about to be fired or have done something wrong or that my boss's are not happy with my job, I know I am less fun with the kids but because they are young, precious and innocent, I don't take anything out on them. Still I am tired and not as fun. I take everything out on my husband. We have been married nine months and he gave me the ultimatum to talk to my Dr about getting on medication. Maybe he wasn't totally serious, but he would have a right to be. I will fight with him about everything and everything. I am not happy until he is on the verge of man tears or out of his mind with anger. I don't know why. I accuse of him of cheating on me, wanting to cheat on me, hating me, using me, etc.

During one bout of PMS my dog was lost and I accused him and more importantly was convinced that he had murdered my dog. He really doesn't like the dog. I am not insane. This behavior only comes by way of PMS and even if I know it is coming, I cannot control it. The appetite is a problem too. I can easily gain 10 pounds in a week. How does this relate to ISYN? Well, I am a nanny. And I have a prescription now for zoloft to take for pre menstrual disorder. As a nanny who loves, loves, loves her charges and respects her employers, what is my obligation with regarding to tell them? If I were the parent, I would want to know if someone was taking psychiatric medications and I would most certainly want to know if someone was JUST STARTING to take them. But at the same time, I don't want them (or anyone) to know. Does anyone have any advice? Has anyone ever taken zoloft? What can I expect?


Nara said...

It will have to be your decision in the end whether to tell them or not. I don't necessarily think this is their business like it would be if you needed antipsychotics or some other, more sever medication. what you should know is that there is absolutely no shame in taking Zoloft. If you'll feel guilty not telling the parents about this, then that's probably your best guide.
Has your doctor talked to you about possible side effects? I was on Zoloft for several years in college, for major clinical depression, and I had no real problems, but your reaction really depends on your unique body chemistry. You may have some weight gain and loss of libido. More importantly, any antidepressant can actually trigger depression if it reacts badly with your body. You'll need to keep a careful monitor on your moods and any changes in behaviour for the first few months, and you should probably enlist your husband's help -- it's easier for another person to see changes. I assume you're also seeing a psychiatrist regularly to monitor how this medication works out -- talk to him /her about any concerns.
Remember, this is not something to be embarrassed about. You're not crazy, weak, or at fault -- this is a very common problem.
Sorry about the really long post!

gotta tell em said...

I would definitely say you are under obligation to tell your employers of your new meds, especially if you are responsible for caring for the children outside of the home (driving, etc). But I would also explain to them the "why" because if you just tell them you are taking Zoloft they make have unfounded suspicions as to why, which could make things uncomfortable. It sucks that you have to reveal something so personal, but you said it yourself- if you were the parent, you would want to know. I hope you feel better with the meds!

Rebecca said...

You are NOT under any obligation to tell them. It's not like Zoloft is going to make you WORSE - it's a pretty tame medication (as all SSRIs are), and it's unbelievably unlikely that you'd have any side-effects that would affect your job. Sure, going on medication can be an adjustment, but this stuff isn't going to make you pass out or hallucinate or anything. Since the medication doesn't make you a danger to your charges, you under zero obligation to tell your employees. Don't even remotely feel bad about that. Just enjoy feeling better and being a better nanny.

Theresa said...

I agree with Rebecca, the parents have no need to know at this time. Since it is an antidepressant, it should be helping, not making you worse. The advice I can give is what I've seen in my Mom on Zoloft ~ it took more than 4 weeks to get to what seemed like a therapeutic level and she was worried all during that time that it wasn't working and wanted her Psychiatrist to switch her to something else. Her Psychiatrist (which is why he has all the diplomas on his wall:) declined to change the Zoloft. Mom slowly started feeling better, but keep in mind that during the 4 weeks, she never felt worse. She's now been happy, healthy, high-libidoed (is that a word? and UGH, Mom! don't tell me those things!) and loving life for 5 years. So be happy you're on what is usually a good medicine, not to worry if it's not, there's lots out there.
I truly think you have no obligation to inform the parents - the side effects are usually minimal and you being on the medication is in no way risky for the kids or you. Take care!! Sorry for the long ramble, I'm long winded~

Theresa said...
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nannyneedsanap said...

When I was interviewing for jobs, my own Doctor told me not to tell potential employers that I'm on Paxil. Eventually I told my current bosses, and now the mom is on prozac, so when the kids act up we joke that we need an extra "happy pill" today.

In response to gotta tell em said, do your children's teachers and bus drivers tell you when they start a new medication?

sahmof3intexas said...

I take the same medication for the EXACT same reason as you. As far as Zoloft is concerned the only bothersome side effect I ever experienced and still do to some degree is I am always thirsty, it is known to cause dry mouth. It also caused me to drop some weight because I would get all emotional "that" time of the month and over-eat. I have taken Zoloft for over 8 years now and it made a world a difference for me and my family. Just be sure to give it at least 2 to 4 weeks to kick in. As far as sharing this info with your employer, I don't see why you are obligated to although if it were me and you were my nanny I would not feel any different about you caring for my child. It is not as if you are taking a medication that is going to drastically alter your ability to safely care for your charge. If anything it will be a benefit in the long run. Best wishes and I hope it helps you as much as it did me. Alicia

Nara said...

Sorry -- I didn't mean to overstate the side effects. Everything I listed is extremely rare, and it's the worst that can happen. Even if you did have an adverse reaction, none of the side effects could possibly impair your job performance.
BTW, I never had any side effects at all, and Zoloft literally saved my life -- no down sides.

amnesia said...

No need to be sorry Nara, you gave accurate factual information, and it's better to know the worst case scenario(s) along with the best, that way you get the whole picture so to speak, and know exactly what to look out for. It's always a good idea to be informed, especially when taking medications. A great number of tragedies (drug allergies, fatal side effects, over doses etc) could be prevented if people were more aware of what symptoms to be cautious of. Though anti-depressants generally work well for the patients that use them, there are certain people who they do affect adverserly (again, this depends on your chemical make up)-and that's when knowing your facts makes a huge difference!

OP, good advice here. I second carefully monitoring your moods, and I also wouldn't worry about telling your employer. Many, many people are on anti-depressants and many, many bosses have no clue, or no need to know. I truly believe that as a human being we deserve a certain amount of privacy, and because this won't impair your ability to work with children, I think this falls under the "private" category!

Best of luck to you, and feel better soon!

Coverup said...

I took Zoloft in the past. Actually, I was hospitalized for two days for depression. This is before I was married with kids. I was 27.

I didn't like it after awhile. Maybe, it was just me, but it caused sexual urges in me more than normal.. And it made me vulnerable to men. I use to have my guard up more before I took it. While taking it, I would let guys treat me whatever way they wanted.

It was scary and I got off of it. Just be careful while on it.

I am going to post under a different id. Because I am still ashamed of what happened in my past while on it.

Medicated Nanny said...

You are NO way obligated to tell your employers, however as one poster stated above, only you TRULY know the answer. Personally, I have bipolar depression and take more than 4 medications (including a high dosage of zoloft) and have been hospitalized in the past, and my employers do not know this, nor would I tell them. The reason being is that I know myself better than anybody, and my disease does not affect my job. I love my charge and give her the best care possible. I've lived my whole life with this disease, and have been medicated (and in therapy) for half of it (I'm only 20), and most people that know me, and know me well, have no idea. And that's because it doesn't affect certain aspects of my life. Yes, some days I'm sadder than others, but it's almost as if my charge is part of therapy for me. She makes me so happy, that going to work everyday is quite therapeutic. And granted, I'm not saying PMS isn't serious (as it is, and could you possible have PMDD? Has your doctor ever mentioned anything to you about that?), it has less stigma than bipolar disorder. So in the end, only you know yourself. If you feel that your PMS is affecting your job, than maybe explain to your employers if you truly feel it's the right decision. If you don't think it is, then being on Zoloft isn't any reason to change that! You don't wear a sign while walking down the street saying "I'm medicated" and so long as it doesn't effect your employment, you shouldn't wear one there either.

Good luck, OP!

NVMom said...

OP, I would say to your employers, I've been having some health problems and I am trying some new medications. If there are any problems or side effects, I will tell you right away. That way, you are being honest about being on medication that might affect your work, but you are still protecting your privacy.

PS. This happened to a friend of mine and she went to her ob dr. who said it was hormone imbalance and treated her with something related to that. Don't remember but you might want to look at that avenue too.

mom said...

You poor dear! Bless your heart. I hope the medication gives you some relief, because this has got to be horrible to live with...for both you and your husband.

I have mixed feelings about what to tell your employers. But best of luck to you.

I've been there too said...

I took Zoloft for 4 years, until my body became immune to it. In the beginning it was great, I felt better and I wasn't so anxious. I took it everyday though, so I'm not sure how not taking it all the time would work. It actually sounds pretty dangerous to me to do that.
Good luck to you. My employers know that I am on anti depressants and I too get awful around my period, crying randomly and losing my patience. They don't mind and it actually helps that they know because I don't need to justify why I start crying while I'm giving the baby a bath, or why I start to snap at people on my phone because the toddler is whining again.
PMS is hard, but you're not alone and it's your decision to tell who you want and who you don't want.

Gotta Love HIPPA said...

Nah, no need to disclose. Medical information is protected by law--including what meds you are taking.

If you carry it with you, make sure it's out of reach of the kids. If you don't carry it with you, you may consider carrying a med list in your wallet near your ID--just in case there is an emergency. I know it's grim, but I always try to be prepared in case I am unable to talk. What would I want the paramedics (or whoever) to know to help me?

If you are concerned about side effects,set your doc's phone number as a speed dial in your cell and call if something comes up. If it works out, start taking it on a day off. Usually side effects are worse at the beginning.

Hot flashes were the most severe side effect I remember from Zoloft. Uncomfortable, yes. A risk to the kids, not so much.

Good luck!

Sad Nanny said...

OP, if you don't want them to know, why would you tell them? you have the right to your privacy. it's just like any other employment.

however, if you start to feel sick during work and you need to call the parents to come home more than once, then i would explain why. or if you have very funny mood swings that affect your job and it becomes noticable.

even though i am always nervous about medications, i am glad you are doing something about this. i was so sad reading about your poor husband. i am the type of nanny that would rather nag at the kids then blame my husband. i hope everything works out for you and for him.

Hugs for you!!! said...

Oh, I feel for you! I used to have the worst P.M.S. I suffered greatly and so did everyone around me. Prozac helped me a great deal and exercise. Menopause has been a welcome blessing for me.

My nanny mom has severe P.M.S. She has almost fired me for no reason, divorced her husband, and scared her poor kids during these times. She goes into rages and weeps and shouts and gets very impulsive. I try to take the kids and go out when this happens.

I wish she would get help. I encourage her to exercise, offering to stay later or come in earlier so she can go to the Y. I feel for her but at the same time it's scary. Some days, her kids are really lucky to have their mom go to work and not stay home with them.

As for disclosure, what I have found is although many people suffer from health issues, it is almost always better not to disclose these things to employers unless it is severely affecting your job performance. We are still in the dark ages as far as most employers accepting medical conditions, especially mental conditions.

Those little ones really do help you feel better when you are feeling down. Nothing beats those hugs and cuddles and they can almost always make you smile.

Keep in mind that medications affect everyone differently. If the first one doesn't work out, try something else. Stay in close contact with your doctor and don't discontinue the medication or adjust the dosage without medical guidance or you can have severe withdrawl symptoms.

If you are not feeling so well, just do low-key things with the kids and take it easy on those days.

Good luck to you! It is great that you are doing something to help alleviate the problem. You will feel better!

Night Nanny said...

This sounds more like PMDD (Pre Mentrual Disphoric Disorder) than PMS. Do some research on it. You'll be amazed at how many people are just like you. There are a few Antidepressants that are best suited for PMDD. I'm not sure if Zoloft is one of them or not. But, in answer to your question, I don't think you need to tell them anything. Hugs & hope you're feeling better real soon.

Calif Nanny said...

I would be careful telling anyone who doesnt understand/or never has had a bout of depression or PMS anything about it. There are people who cannot even relate to this, and think taking these medications will you make you high or goofy or something. Obviously they dont do that. My mom and grandma take Wellbutrin (as do I), and it makes a world of differance in us. I have taken Paxil (I gained 100 lbs in 3yrs) and Zoloft too. I went off Paxil to go on Wellbutrin and lost the Paxil weight within 1 yr. I dont think its anyones business what meds you take. Be happy you may have found something to help you. If Zoloft doesnt help talk to your doctor...sometimes the first drug doesnt do it.

Anonymous said...
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5:26 repost for anonymous said...

Oh, love, that's not PMS. That sounds like PMDD, and you should definitely talk to your doctor ASAP. It could also be a result of hormonal birth control, if you're on it... the Nuva Ring made me certifiably insane for about 5-6 hours, once a month. It was awful.

This sounds horribly disruptive to your life, nevermind your job... definitely, definitely pursue all avenues to find out how to fix this. You'll never believe how good you can feel.
- 5:26 PM


J&M's Mom said...

Zoloft is quite mild and very commonly used. I don't think you are under any obligation to tell potential employers about it.

I am more concerned about how your condition affects your marriage. I do understand that when you're in the throes of it, you can't control yourself. I do hope this medication will help. I am not trying to be judgemental, but since you are aware of the dynamics when you're in a clear frame of mind, it seems to me that you're in a good place to get a handle on your pms behavior when it hits. One thing I've told my daughter as she comes into her cycles is that the REASON for her feelings is hormonal, but it's not OK to use it as an EXCUSE to behave badly. Since you have the benefit of knowing how you are affected, it may be helpful to get other help in conjunction with the medication. This hand-in-hand approach could give you tools for both your marriage and your job.

Good luck!

fox in socks said...

PMS symptoms and hormones that are spinning out of control can very often be helped by the right nutritional supplements.

Be sure to take enough calcium/magnesium. Buy a reputable brand of the cal/mag supplement and take it with food and plenty of fluids. Typically more than one pill will be needed to get the required daily amount, so it's best spread throughout the day so you can absorb the full amount that your body needs.

Omega 3-6-9 fish oil (purified) really helps to stabilize hormones. Again, typically more than one capsule is needed to get the full recommended daily amount, so take it in two doses, for example, one with breakfast and one with dinner or an evening snack.

PMS symptoms are thought by some experts to be the result of, or related to, insufficient intake of certain nutrients, and if we receive enough of the right nutrients we would not be suffering from hormonal swings.

After a few weeks on the supplements, you will likely see a marked improvement.

(I am not suggesting going off your medication if this is what your doctor recommends.)

cali mom said...

I think NVMom's advice sounds like a good approach. Of course, once you've opened the subject, they may try to press you for more info so it will be up to you how firmly you want to stay quiet about the details.

Also, that way if the Zoloft turns out not to be the best med to treat you, you won't run into the question of whether to bring it up AGAIN, to keep them informed of your treatment, or risk having them feel you are dishonest for telling them Zoloft and then later maybe finding out it's sometihng different.

But as most here say, it's none of your employers' business UNLESS it affects your job performance.

cali mom said...
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amnesia said...

Great advice fox in socks, I was actually going to bring up supplements as well in my original response, but totally spaced it.

Suppliments can do wonders! It's amazing how much of our "unexplained" ailments can actually come from not getting enough of the right nutrients. :)

Hope everyone had a great weekend!

fox in socks said...

So true, amnesia.

The beneficial fatty acids that I recommended in the earlier message have actually been demonstrated to prevent and reduce post partum depression. The food sources for the omegas are salmon, (and certain other fish) and walnuts.

Calcium and magnesium (together) are very beneficial and help with muscle relaxation and calmness. A shortage of these nutrients is linked with PMS. The supplements are useful because then both nutrients are absorbed at the same time, and this is important as they are related to one another and you get more out of them together. Spinach and broccoli and other foods are good sources of calcium.

I believe sardines (with bones in) provide both omegas and calcium all at once.

Chocolate provides a bit of magnesium. Now isn't that good news. ☺

sleepy said...

Just be careful with some supplements. I would ask your doctor first. I couldn't take some supplements with the meds I was put on.

Anonymous said...
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minneapolis nanny said...

honey. sound like you have spouts of mania. talk with your doctor- this is serious. i too, used to be like this. medication evens things out.

Zoloft Side Effects said...

My name is Stephen Long and i would like to show you my personal experience with Zoloft.

I am 40 years old. Have been on Zoloft for 2 years now. Zoloft certainly got rid of my depression and anxiety. It also helped me with sleeping and I did not gain any weight like others have. However I was younger when I tried this so perhaps my metabolism worked differently then. It was impossible to reach orgasm on this drug so I would sometimes delay taking my drug to give my body a mini wash out period and this helped. However, if I waited too long to take the tablet, I endured severe headaches and had to lie down. Fortunately, this was reversible as soon as I took the drug again. I eventually tapered off this drug thanks to my doctor's plan which worked perfectly. The main reason I gave up Zoloft is because at the time there were reports saying that long term use of it was dangerous.

I have experienced some of these side effects -
Sweatiness, loss of libido, EXTREME headaches if forget to take drug.

I hope this information will be useful to others,
Stephen Long