“God, keep my head above water
I lose my breath at the bottom
Come rescue me, I’ll be waiting
I’m too young to fall asleep”
– Avril Lavigne- Head Above Water-
*Talk of Postpartum Psychosis and suicide*
My baby was two weeks old when I started to feel crazy. Crazy was the only word I could use to describe it. Even so I just told my husband I had postpartum depression. I knew in my heart it wasn’t, but I hoped it anyway. I was well versed with postpartum depression as I had experienced it after each child as well as postpartum anxiety. Before the birth of my fourth baby I’d never heard of postpartum psychosis.
I wasn’t sure at first if I was just “seeing” things or if they were really there. At first that’s all it was. A shadow out the corner of my eye. Paranoid someone was following me at all times. Even in my own home. I could feel them watch me through the window as I moved from room to room.
My baby was three weeks old the first time I knew I was seeing someone. It was dark outside as I stood rocking side to side trying to get him to fall asleep. I saw the man, knowing he had a gun and that he wanted me dead. I felt so panicked. I didn’t know what to do.. so I held still hoping if I didn’t move he wouldn’t see me. He obviously didn’t kill me and I wondered why he hadn’t. It terrified me. It was from this point on nearly every time I walked out of my house I thought I would be killed.
As odd as this sounds it scared me to think of being murdered but in my mind I could see in great detail what I planned to do to end my life. As time went on seeing my plan on repeat like a movie in my mind I’d become completely numb to the idea.
Struggling, drowning, unable to breathe. These words can’t begin to describe the agony I felt everyday. I wasn’t sure how I’d make it through the next task. I didn’t know how I was going to keep my kids alive each day. The thought of having to feed them made me cry because it was so overwhelming. Getting my son ready and then load the kids up to take him to school gave me such bad anxiety. It exhausted me.
My husband would head out the door in the morning, kissing me goodbye. I’d hold onto him till the last second and often cry. He never understood why but all that was running through my mind was I don’t know if I’ll still be here when you come home. I could never get myself to say that though. If I had things would have turned out differently.
Nursing nearly killed me in itself but somehow also saved me. My baby had a lot of food sensitive’s and some food allergies. I had to follow a strict diet to keep his tummy happy. It was so difficult with the state of mind I was in but him also needing to eat every hour and I being the only one who could feed him gave me enough mom guilt to keep going somedays.
All day I looked forward to bedtime. I’m not sure why as I was waking every hour to feed a baby. Maybe I thought I’d get a break from my demons, yet I never did. Even so every day I still looked forward to bed, and dreaded the sunrise.
My babe was only 4 months old when I decided on an end date. I had family photos scheduled because I thought the least I could do was leave them with photos. The morning of the family photos the photographer called and told me she was down with the flu and needed to reschedule for two weeks out. I graciously said “Of course, hope you feel better” but moments later was filled with rage and bawled because I needed those family photos to leave them with.
My husband was at work so I let him know no need to come home early, the photos had been rescheduled. I then sat and cried for a good while when my mother in law offered to come get the oldest three to give me a break. Left with only my baby I fed him, laid him in the swing, and walked into my room fully intending to go through with ending my life anyway.
I made it just past my bed when I fell on the floor sobbing, furious with God. Somehow I found myself laying on my bed. I was crying harder than I ever had before. I don’t remember what I said now but I know there was a lot of anger and swearing in there. Then I heard it, my baby was crying. Starving. I looked at the clock and I couldn’t believe two hours had passed. It wasn’t long enough. Somehow I managed to get up, walk out there and pick up my baby. Somehow I managed to sit down and nurse him, staring at the wall. I couldn’t look at him. I still blamed him for this nightmare.
I got a text, my kids were coming home. My heart sank. I wasn’t ready to deal with them too but it was also because I’d ran out of time to end my life. I’d now have to wait for another opportunity. My will to be a good mother always managed to over power my will to die.
I could hear them approaching the front door. Time to put my game face back on.. nobody could know what I was dealing with on the inside.
One thought on “Undertow”
Your story gives me chills each time I read it. I can relate to the dark, lonely, overwhelmed place of suicidal planning as I felt it when I was a teenager. You describe the agony so clearly in this blog. I’m so glad you held on and pushed forward to eventually get the help you deserve. Keep pressing on my brave friend.
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