About the Author

 

I’m Brooke. A wife to the most supportive Husband, who is my rock, and a mom to four handsome boys. I am a survivor of Postpartum Psychosis, Postpartum Mood Disorder and Postpartum PTSD. I’m not yet healed but I’m here clawing my way out of the darkness. I feel it is important to bring attention to the lack of support and resources for the mothers suffering along side me.

Sometimes I question why the hell am I going through this?? I’m not one to question God often but through this I have. Through this I’ve wrestled, screamed, fought, weeped and pleaded with God. Through this my faith has been tested and tried from every angle. I have seen God show up throughout my story, giving me glimpses of comfort, strength and hope. I only share this because my belief in God is such a big part of my life.

Here I will share my story. Through this I’m going to share excerpts from my journal, I hope you will be respectful. A journal holds no judgment and because of this I can write openly, raw, and honest. This is my truth. This is raw and painful. It’s not easy to share something so personal but I do it in hopes it can help you or maybe someone you know, know they are not alone.

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My Alternate Reality

I look at my family at times and just think “Theres my whole world..” I never ever thought I’d look at my boys like that again after my postpartum. I was so resentful towards them, not realizing in my dark time that they were not the ones to blame. That my baby was not at fault. It took a lot of healing to realize this. Continue reading

A Day to Celebrate

I plan to keep this blog short… maybe.

Today marks 1 year since I was admitted to the mental hospital. I was 18 months PP and had lost all hope. I spent very difficult week in the hospital till I was put on a medication that stabilized me enough to be released into my husbands care. Continue reading

A Chore to Breath

My brain’s in a fog. I’m not here at all. Yet I’m fully aware of me. Like everything is looking at me. I can’t talk, I’m dazed, and the wall I’ve stared at for who knows how long now has become a blur.

My gaze is slightly down. I’m not sure where in my thoughts are at. Its like my mind is racing and I’m not able to keep up with it. It makes me feel more crazy than I already am. Continue reading

I’m old school, let’s write it out. A story of Hope

I’m old school. I love the feeling of a good pen in my hand, I prefer the cheap ones actually, they way they roll the ink out on the paper. I even love the slight smell there is after a while. I can sit and write for a very long time if the children allow it.

I write most my blog posts in my journal first. Then type them up. After writing it on paper the keyboard feels nice under my fingertips. Gliding from key to key typing out the emotions that flowed from my heart onto this piece of paper.

I’m not sure why I’m starting my last blog post of the year like this.

A year ago I was only alive because it would be cruel to my children to end my life the week of Christmas. They deserved to have this season be untainted by my selfishness. Then in January it is my second sons birthday, so better not ruin that either. By the end of January my Dr. and brand new therapist, I mean brand new, I’d seen her only once when she, my Dr, and my husband started having multiple phone calls back and forth in crisis mode while keeping calm to my face. They were all concerned about my dim future. Somehow they all believed in me, and it was their belief in me that made me take one step after the other because my belief in myself was gone. I had believed the demons that haunted me and ‘knew’ my children didn’t need me. I’d make their childhood worse. It was four  no make that three days after meeting my therapist that my husband walked me into the mental hospital. Many conversations later I learned if I told him how scared I was to go in he would not have walked me in. I know it played out as God intended it to, I had this experience not only for myself but to reach those mothers who feel they cannot be reached, are too far gone. I pray my story is a story of hope and that if that’s you and you are reading this that you reach out to me. I will always make time for you.

So I survived. I spent this last year in therapy, sometimes twice a week. Seeing a psychiatrist once a month, then to every 6 wks, then 8 and this last time 3 months. It took 7 months to get the right medication combination. It took a butt load of crying, a full journal of writing, lots of coffee, a lot of sunburns this summer with my hands in the soil,  warm on top but when dug deep enough to transplant those plants the soil was dark and cold. It took EMDR, a lot of it. Good friends who let me talk to them to give my husbands ears a rest. Making date nights a priority to regain my marriage and get out of the babysitting relationship we had to keep me safe. It took grit, determination, and a lot of swearing at God. Yes, swearing. He’s a big boy. It also was balanced with praise for every miracle along the way.

Reflecting on the year as a whole I’ll admit gives me a bit of the pit in my stomach feeling. When I talk about each section on its own I am fine, I can talk to you in detail of my hospital stay, I may cry depending on where you are at in your journey because my heart breaks with you. I can talk to you about my EMDR and feel joy because it saved both myself and my husband from weeks of PTSD attacks. Nights full of them. We were both at our wits end. I can talk to you about my relationship with my psychiatrist, tell you what is really important to mention on your first visit. How to advocate for yourself because YOU know YOU. I can talk to you about the dark days in between and how after being gifted a few good days the cycle of dark days that followed hurt even more than before.

I can share all of this with you but when I see it all, like an old fashion movie being projected onto the screen, my stomach hurts and my heart races. Why? I’m none the wiser. Maybe because I, even after starting to recover, never thought I’d be here.

This holiday season I’ve been a bit quiet on here. I’ve been soaking in the miracle of my life. Feeling so much gratitude, feeling the joy on my children faces, and somehow even being grateful for having to deal with SO MUCH FIGHTING. Four boys under 7 seems to start a lot of wrestling fights that don’t end well…

I want to end the blog this year on this note. There is hope for the future! As we go into the new year let’s focus on that. Not the weight loss goals that you hope will make you happy, not buying things to fill that void, not – fill in the blank- that you want to make you happy. Let’s find true happiness in healing. The healing must start with hope for the future. Without that why try?

Happy Holidays and a very happy New Year. God Bless each one of you!

Love, Brooke

 

 

Hi, I’m a Sugarholic

I know it seems almost cliche to bring up sugar during the holiday season, which we’ve managed to land ourself squarely in now. Hang in there with me though, I think it will be worth it.

I’ve not eaten sugar for 7 months now. Yep, 7. Not because I’m on some diet craze, or anything fancy like that. Solely because I’m a sugarholic. There, I said it.

Now I know what you’re thinking, or can guess it, because this is how my conversations usually go.

Me: “I’m a sugarholic.”

Them: “Oh, me too! I love candy and all things chocolate!”

Me: “No, really, a REAL sugarholic. I didn’t know there was such a thing till I found myself here. So I don’t eat sugar. Well, refined sugar. I do however enjoy my natural sugars and you better believe I’ve figured out to still enjoy my coffee.”

From there the conversation typically goes like:

“I’m sure for now you can’t but later you will be able to handle sugar again.”

I’d like to say yes to that but I know that I have to say no. Just say no.
Now let me start from the beginning. We all have addictions, coping mechanisms we use to get through life. Some are rather healthy, and some are not. I had a variety of coping mechanisms through my postpartum period. One was Netflix. I watched it on my phone nursing because I needed to be anywhere but there. I’d stick the boys in front of one T.V. and I would sit in front of another. In the beginning I mostly used that and chocolate to cope. They were key to my survival.

As time went on and it became harder to fight the demons I began doing other things to try and cope. Thats when I found myself in Postpartum OCD. I cleaned ALL the time. I hated it and loved it. I always have liked cleaning for an outlet and mess has always caused clutter in my mind but this was more like I would  get angry if something was dirty or not tidied up. It almost felt like something I wasn’t in control of.

This phase continued but wasn’t enough. That’s when I turned to emotional eating. I’m a berry skittle lover, red fav starbursts supporter, chocolate enthusiasts, and there’s many more I’m a fan of that I could list.

Now here is where I draw the line of a candy lover or candy-holic. When you are hiding candy from your husband when you’re already eating a butt load of candy in front of him then it’s gone too far.

I’d drive to the store every single evening. Any given night at oh say 9:00pm you’d find me at Smiths on their candy aisle. I think the checkers started to notice my pattern. I’d try not to go to the same person all too often because for some reason that mattered??

Then upon arriving home I’d get settled in my bed watching probably Friends or Parks and Rec eating easily 2-3 thousand calories. Yeah.. it was that bad. What made it worse was I was eating another 400-800 calories on the way home from the store. I’d then hide the trash in the outdoor trashcan so my husband wouldn’t see it. That right there is why I call myself what I do. He didn’t even know I did this till a few months ago when we sat down and talked about my sugar recovery. On a side note it was a flat out miracle I wasn’t gaining weight.

I think at some point I knew what I was doing. Honestly, I wanted to drown my sorrows with wine but I knew how bad that would be so instead I used candy because that’s more socially acceptable I suppose.

It was a few months post hospitalization (you can read more about that through my What Brought Me Here series) when I was getting on new medication that I knew I needed to get off the sugar. I went cold turkey. After a month I thought well I’ve been good I can have a little bit of cake celebrating my sons birthday.

It was that cake that confirmed my self diagnosis. I sort of went mentally crazy from one small piece of cake. It S.C.A.R.E.D. me. I went back to feeling “crazy”. It was like my  version of a high from sugar I guess. It scared me enough though that I haven’t had sugar since.

I’ll now admit I actually went through therapy to get over the shame I felt surrounding this. I knew I needed to share this part of my journey but its been just as hard as sharing some of the really dark skeletons in my closet. I think it must be that I feel this is extra taboo.

Want to know what really sucks about being a sugar addict? It is everywhere. You don’t think about it really till you have to look at all the hidden sugar in products as well. Then in good humor I joke with my husband I should have become an alcoholic. There’s nothing I can do to change it so making a joke seems most fitting.

Now vision us all sitting in a circle in a gym or meeting place. Whatever seems most fitting to you.

“Hi, I’m Brooke and I’m a sugarholic. I’ve been clean for 7 months and I’m proud of that. Thanks for accepting me. It was hard to learn to accept myself and break through the shame I’ve struggled with.”

and that is when you say

“Hi Brooke! Welcome.”

Not the Only Survivor

It’s been a longer gap between posts than normal. It has been a bit hard to follow the last one that got so personal I suppose. I feel now I know what I should write about so I find myself here, for a fourth time starting this weeks blog.

I have struggled to bond with my youngest child. Even through pregnancy I found it difficult.  Then he was born and I had the rush of “I made him, he’s beautiful, I’m so in love.” I wish it could have lasted and been the start of a great relationship but it wasn’t.

Continue reading

The Devil on my Shoulder

** Talk of postpartum psychosis, thoughts of self harm, and thoughts of harming others**

I wonder if I’ll ever truly be able to put it into words. I suppose the answer is no. I could never put the pain, demons and isolation into words but I try. I try because putting it on paper helps it to stop spinning around in my head. I am filling my second journal in 9 months. The words just flow because I don’t know how else to let this out. 

I really don’t write for anyone else. My writing is simply for me. It’s just a bonus if others along the way can be helped by reading it. 

I fill my pages with anything that seems to get stuck swirling around my mind. Picking up a pen seems to be a key that unlocks the spinning of the thoughts. Picking up a pen can release the thoughts and emotions that haven’t been able to break free on their own.  Continue reading

My Pity Party

I wrote this post only 10 days ago. At the time I had no idea what the weekend ahead was going to hold. I found myself landed in a hospital bed this weekend unable to feel from the waist down or move my legs. My brain unable to register I had legs or arms below my elbow. I felt like a box. The pain in my neck and head was unbearable. With help of the physical therapist I’ve been able to regain feeling in my legs and over the last few days I’ve been able to manage to walk once again, praise the Lord! My thoughts this last week instead of a pity party has been determination, acceptance, and praise of the small victories. My exact thoughts were “I haven’t been through hell to let this take me down.” Continue reading

Poem: Survivor

Poem about the hospital stay. Sometimes the only way to cope with things is to write.

Survivor

If only these walls
would tumble down.
Would I find myself
in this place?
These walls haunt me.
These tears a
constant reminder
you’re not here..
This pain in my chest
is no longer
from this darkness
but because I’m
doing this alone.
The strength within.
The will to live,
I’ll have to find a way.
Misunderstood, unheard.
How can you be here to help?
You’ve taken so much from me.
You’ve caused me pain.
You’ve controlled me long enough.
I won’t let you take me down.
You’ll make me stronger.
You’ll empower me.
You’ll cause me to create change.
You no longer haunt me.
You no longer control me.
You no longer define me.
Because of you
I’ll make a difference.
Because of you
I’ve found my passion.
Because of you
I’ve found my place.

Poem: The Mask

A poem about the recovery the months following the hospital stay. Everyone seemed to think the hospital would magically fix the problem and the pain and medication adjustments lasted another 6 months before I felt like I was really starting to make progress.

The Mask

You see the smile
All I see is the pain

You see the happy pictures
All I see is the mask
That I put on

Those that know
Think I’m recovering
They don’t really know
It’s only getting worse

The trauma is piling up
And they think
The meds have fixed it all

I still see the pain
Behind every fake smile

I still see the struggle
I’m trying not to show

I still see the pain
piercing through my heart

You’ve stopped reaching out
Because you think it’s all done
But for me the healings just begun.