What is Postpartum Psychosis?

One of the first questions I get asked when someone learns I had postpartum psychosis is “what is it exactly?” With today being international postpartum psychosis awareness day I thought I’d dive into explaining what it is. If you would like to read about my experience you can read the blog series ‘what brought me here

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The Silent Expectation

Have you, like myself, ever looked at your husband peacefully sleeping through the night while you’re up feeding the newborn? Of course, I’m sure you have. Did you feel that resentment boil up inside? Frustration, anger even, that once again you must feed the little one?

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Do I Love You?

I saw a picture on Facebook time hop this morning. It was of my youngest, the baby who triggered the postpartum psychosis.

For so long I thought God was crazy for sending Graysen along. I knew God saw the full picture but this time I did not want to come along willingly.

Back to the point, I saw this picture, it was of me kissing him and he had the biggest smile, the one that makes smile wrinkles even on a 7 month old. I could almost hear his baby giggle as I looked at the picture of me kissing him over and over.

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A Peek Inside my Pages

I was reading through my journal recently and found this entry. It may seem strange to share now but I think it’s important to show that grief comes unexpectedly and manifests in different ways. I wish I could heal from grief just one time, and have an allotted time period I wouldn’t have to face it again, unfortunately life doesn’t work that way.. 

I’ve found myself writing a lot again. Hour a day, most the time many more than that. I know, you’re now wondering how I do that with four young boys. I do it with a heck of a lot interruptions!

Life has been thrown upside down for so many in the world. It’s an interesting time. I find I am struggling with it mostly because it postponed my surgery. My long awaited surgery. The one that would be the start of a new adventure. Be able to learn what my new normal would be with the inability to move my head and neck. We were as ready as you can be to take on something like this.

I’m dealing with grief as my main course with some irritability for a side. I know I can’t avoid feeling these heavy emotions in life but I realized this week that I feel burnt out with dealing with these emotions still from my postpartum psychosis.

Through my physical health journey I have had so many wonderful people sincerely check in on me concerned about my mental health. I could honestly say I was good. I had the tools needed this time.  The truth, I think, is because I didn’t feel depressed, sad, I was in a place to just take it head on I wouldn’t let my head wander. I just would’t open that can of worms. But now, now, I have those emotions of grief and I cannot push them aside. I’m sure if we could we would push aside these uncomfortable emotions.

Learning self care, or coping mechanisms for dealing with mental health is an uphill battle, or it was for me. I tried daily to do some sort of grounding, which became so difficult to find a new form of these activities with my physical and mental capabilities ever changing. It feeds my grief and frustration at times. 

Yet, with all that said, I feel like I am managing my situation to the best of my abilities. Which is all I can ask of myself. 

Mothers Day

“There’s no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one.”

– Jill Churchill

Mothers Day. It’s a day of reflection for me. It wasn’t always that way. Traumatic experiences seem to change us as a person. For worse, or the better.

As I reflected this year I just was surprised at how far I’ve come as a mother. Through every child I’ve been molded, I’m sure mothers everywhere can relate to that one.

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Even Super Woman Needs a Sidekick

Sometimes I just feel that words bubbling up. Needing to try and escape this cage. Sometimes it’s hard to find words for what I’m feeling and going through. But I have to try because I need to break the Silence. 

There’s so much they don’t tell you about postpartum. I wish people prepared for postpartum like they do packing for the hospital.  Continue reading

Invisible Pain

Much like listening to the same song over and over I feel like I can get stuck on repeat in recovery. Finding the same issue resurfacing again and again. It can hurt. It can be frustrating and it most definitely has made me feel defeated at times. 

I’ve started to compare my mental recovery to healing from a surgery (appropriate, I know.)  It’s really painful in the beginning than slowly the pain comes down as you do things to help it. After that as you heal from the outside people no longer think of your recovery but you still feel the incisions brushing against your clothing, irritated and sometimes painful but most definitely uncomfortable.  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