I blogged through most of my 4 years of postpartum depression. I call it postpartum depression, but really it was prenatal depression, childbirth trauma and postpartum mania, OCD and depression, but that’s way too long to write every single time.
Back to the blog. I locked it down years ago, but I can still access it because I thought someday I may repost some of the writing.
On Wednesday, I decided to take a bottle of klonapin and go to sleep. A wave of peace hit me knowing I’d finally not be living in this hell of illness I’ve been in since November 3, 2018. Then, as my son is wont to do, he ruined everything.
I pictured his face being told his mommy was dead and I couldn’t do it.
I reached out to my therapist and she said what only my husband has had the nerve to say to me, “if I had all the same lab work you’ve had it would probably look exactly the same.”
I couldn’t believe it. I told her I wanted to take my life and she called me a hypochondriac. Yes, I’m sure she has reactivated Epstein-Barr Virus, co-occuring infections, early stage Lupus and Hashimoto’s AND she’s running around with perfect energy.
She’s since been fired.
But I was talking about my old blog. Stay with me. I was looking for something to post about how fucking bad it was. About how much pain I was in. About how I wanted to die every single day.
But I couldn’t find anything. Every post glossed over what was really going on with me in massive solution and positivity. There’s nothing wrong with solution and positivity, but I wasn’t giving myself a chance to process the horror that was happening to me everyday being robbed of those precious early years with my son by insanity.
I wasn’t being fake. It was real. It was where I was at. I was so scared of my pain I just couldn’t put it on the page.
And that’s the problem. I realized why I’m sick. I’m sick because I haven’t dealt with the trauma of having postpartum depression for 4 years (see paragraph one for full explanation). See, I did TMS and got better and I was so scared to go anywhere near that pain again that I just moved on.
And now, 4 years after getting better, I’m absolutely crippled with illness. I am begging my friends for money for medical expenses. Most days, I do not want to be on this planet in this pain.
I am not okay.
I am not okay.
I am not okay and it’s okay. It’s more than okay. No more putting band-aids on amputated limbs. I have to face the darkness or it will kill me.
I have a little man to raise. I don’t have time for fear. I don’t have time for glossing shit over. I don’t have time to spend planning my own demise.
I have time to heal and that’s exactly what I’m about to do.
Am I sober if I’m taking psych meds? A lot of people have a lot of opinions about this topic, as do I.
I try to share my experience more than my opinion, but after what I’ve been through from sponsors telling me not to take my meds to people telling me I wasn’t “really” sober because I was taking meds, I have quite an opinion.
It is possible to be sober and on meds and even without drama. I know this now because I know my truth now.
A big part of sanity is being able to let go what people think of me. I had to or I never would’ve made it to the other side of 4 years of postpartum depression.
I got a great question about mental illness and addiction – does one trigger the other? This vlog is about my experience with my co-occurring disorders affecting each other. Hint: they do, but balance is achievable. Never lose hope!
The number one question we with alcoholism get is finally answered!
Such a great question. Here’s my story about my discovery that I do, indeed, have alcoholism.
Please share with anyone who will find this useful and stay rad!
I had postpartum depression for four years and it nearly killed me. I was hospitalized twice and I missed my son’s 3rd Christmas. It’s now been four years since my bottom and the difference in my life is nothing short of a miracle. A miracle and a lot of work.
Please share with anyone who will find this useful and stay rad!
I know, I know. It’s been a hot minute. I hope you’re having a most excellent new year!
Guess what I did? I started a vlog. I know I’ve attempted before, but this time feels different. It’s called Stark Raving Sober and it’s about being a badass with co-occurring disorders (mental illness and addiction).
Total transparency and I’m loving it. I hope you love it, too. My learning curve is intense so I can promise you that the quality of these videos will only get better.
Here’s the first episode for your viewing pleasure. Please share if you know anyone who would find this information useful. More to come… stay rad!
I’ve been hit by another storm.
It started with bronchitis and a sinus infection. Still coughing and barely off the antibiotics, I got the stomach flu. Not just the stomach flu, a 6-day stomach flu that turned into a 12-day stomach flu because of my lithium levels.
Right about the time I could finally eat a normal meal, my thyroid decided to get hyper. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in my 20’s and I’ve never experienced hyperthyroidism.
I lost 20 pounds and started having psychotic episodes. Did I mention I also have bipolar type 1?
I had to stop taking 3 antidepressants cold turkey, 2 of which I’ve been taking for over 3 years, and started taking an antipsychotic medication.
The last time I took an antipsychotic I lost my ability to eat and sleep, I chewed the inside of my cheek bloody and I ended up on a locked-down psych ward, so I was a little nervous about hopping back on that bandwagon.
But I did it. My son went with my family up North for 2 weeks because I was unable to care for him. I even missed a week of work, (which never happens). The antipsychotic side effects have mostly been major weight gain and sucking on my tongue and roof of my mouth (but not eating my cheek – huzzah!).
These are all natural parts of a storm. I know this now, and I accept it.
I’ve been in this storm for 4 months. I could be in it another 4 months. Or longer. And I’m actually cool with it.
All it took was a shift from OMIGODWHYISTHISHAPPENINGTOME into acceptance.
A few months before this storm hit, I realized that my life operates in 2 stages: smooth sailing seas or waves-slamming-against-rock storms. This is how my life has been for 44 years and I will never find peace if I can’t accept that this is how my life is.
And I don’t have to waste my energy trying to find a reason anymore.
I used to feel that God* was punishing me when the storms wouldn’t let up become I believed the storm was happening for a reason. After barely surviving 4 brutal years of postpartum depression, I no longer believe that everything happens for a reason. But I can find meaning in it.
After the storm has calmed.
When I’m in the storm, my job is to weather it. To accept it, to be in it, not to run from it, but to know it will eventually pass. My job is not to analyze it or try to figure out the big picture meaning of every fucking raindrop.
I have no control over the timetable of a storm; last time I checked I’m not God. It’s not a personal attack. It’s just the weather.
And there is a beginning, middle and end to every storm.
*This is me using a universal term out of pure laziness. God to me is just something bigger the my finite self. Animal playing a drum solo, the waves of the ocean crashing ashore, magical belly button lint. Whatevs – just not me.
I found my best friend in the direst of circumstances. In a layer of hell that Dante couldn’t even fathom. She was the light in the darkest of dark abysses an awkward freshman could ever imagine even existed.
. . .
PE was the killer of all coolness. No matter how hard I worked on my badass looks in the halls, PE was the daily reminder of that pathetic loser I was at Sparks Middle.
I wasn’t good at group sports that involved balls – with the exception of kickball, but I still had PTSD from the humping incident of 5th grade – nor was I good at singular sports involving balls.
I hated running, jumping, sprinting, relaying, racing, speed walking and the like. The only thing I actually liked was stretching, but not in the standard issue too short blue polyester gym shorts with hairy white legs and the world seeing my underwear.
The stupid glory-day-holder-onner-to ex-jock who “taught” PE would make us run laps until we sweat. Now this wouldn’t have been an issue if PE “class” was always last period, but lucky me, I had PE second period, so all that hard work doing my hair and makeup every morning was a tragic mess after only one class.
The school’s brilliant answer to this dilemma was having showers in the locker room.
Yeah, right. Like I was going to do the following in the whopping SEVEN minutes the school allotted for repairing the damage of Physical Education:
- Get naked in front of everyone. Sure. Sign me up.
- Shower. Naked. In an OPEN shower where everyone can see me.
- Shampoo and condition my golden locks and soap up my nubile flesh.
- Dry off.
- Get dressed.
- Blow dry my hair – completely.
- Curl, tease and Aqua Net said hair.
- Apply makeup.
Now, I was pretty awesome, but you’d have to be a goddamned superhero to pull that shit off in seven minutes. And it would have to be on a planet where I was totally cool with showing the world my vagina.
If being locked in a closet with a boy was seven minutes of heaven then this would be its evil seven minute counterpart.
PE was invented by some asshole jock who wanted the 90 percent of the non-sporty-spices to suffer excruciating humiliation.
It was a Monday morning, the most depressing day of the week. I was in the locker room spending my allotted seven minutes attempting to change out of my gym clothes without showing the popular girls one inch of my white flesh and – God forbid – a nipple, when I heard perhaps the largest belch in the history of the universe.
“Ewww, gross!” cried Katie Morgan, the most beautiful, popular, perfect girl at RHS.
I looked over to find the source of that glorious burp.
There she stood. Muddy colored boy hair. White skin. Tiny nose. Huge eyes. Even huger lips. Chubby. Standing there in her underwear, Denim jacket and tube socks.
Then she did the most amazing thing. Where I would’ve apologized profusely and blushed, she put her ginormous lips together and blew her burp breath right in Katie’s face.
I peeked my head around my locker.
“That was awesome!”
“Really? You think?” Her big blue eyes looked up at me.
“No one else thinks so,” her eyes were sad. I felt her pain.
“Wanna go to lunch?”
Then she smiled the biggest, most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen. Her whole face lit up when she smiled – it still does.
“I’m Carrie. Like the girl who got covered in pig’s blood at prom, only I haven’t been to a prom yet and hopefully that won’t happen to me if I ever go.”
And that was the first day of the rest of our lives.
I wasn’t going to go, but I didn’t know how to take care of myself yet. Then there I was, November 27, 2014, in a beautiful house full of mostly strangers, taking care of my 3-year-old while my husband had fun with his co-workers.
I was jumping out of my skin. Every minute was an hour. All I could think of was death.
The day before, I had finally made the decision to overdose myself into final sleep. I was done. I couldn’t take one more day, one more minute, in my body – in my mind – in my life.
I got in my car and headed toward death. The relief I felt was so great that I laughed out loud, which was a mindfuck in itself. Knowing I was going to die made me feel alive.
Then I saw it. The fucking Christmas tree lot setting up at our local community college. All at once the weight of 3+ years of postpartum depression, triggered PTSD, perimenopause and mismanaged Hashimoto’s came crashing back into my for-a-split-second-in-time light body.
The weight was unbearable. I stopped eating a few months prior because an antipsychotic had taken away my appetite completely. My body was so frail I feared my bones would crumble from the weight of the returning depression.
You will ruin every holiday for him for the rest of his life.
That was the crushing truth. My plans for freedom were destroyed. I had to stay here.
So I dragged my weak and sick body to Thanksgiving. For my husband. For my son.
The next day, November 28, 2014, I made the hardest decision of my life. I left my husband and son so I could get better.
My big sister bought me an airline ticket back home to Reno. Two of my dear friends came over, packed my bags and drove me to LAX. I was so weak, I don’t know how I got on that plane.
But I did. My sister picked me up at the airport. I had black circles under my eyes and all of my ribs and spine showed through my skin.
The next day, I was hospitalized for the second time that year. After I got out, I stayed with my sister and mom and they made sure I ate three meals a day.
I stayed for 5 weeks. My husband was considering divorce. I missed Christmas with my son. So many people were mad at me. I didn’t know how I would ever be a mom again.
But I was going to stay alive and be the best mom I could be.
My plan was to get an apartment. I was going to try TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Therapy) and if that didn’t work, I was going to try ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) and long-term residential treatment.
Even if my son had a permanently hospitalized mentally ill mom, he would have an alive mom.
I’m going back to that beautiful house tonight for Thanksgiving for the first time since 2014. I’m finally well enough to return. My husband and I have been married 14 years and we’re best friends. My son is 6 and in kindergarten.
And I’m a great mom.
To say I’m grateful today isn’t even skimming the surface. I’m not supposed to be here. I’ve been given another chance at life.
I’ll probably get triggered tonight, but I have the tools to walk through the feelings and have a good time. And I can always leave if I’m miserable. No one is responsible for taking care of me, but me.
And that’s true freedom. Happy Thanksgiving to you all whatever headspace you’re in. I love you.