***Please note - this entry contains "TRIGGERS" - anyone who may be going through any type of depression, anxiety, or who may be affected by negative triggers or intrusive thoughts, please pass over this entry. I share my story to accomplish 2 things. First, for women who may be going through similar experiences to know they are not alone - many other women have been through this too, and it is VERY REAL, don't dismiss the feelings and thoughts - call your Doctor or go to your nearest emergency room - don't mess with PPD! The second thing I hope to accomplish is to help others see into the heart of PPD, and find the compassion to reach out to anyone they think may be having a difficult time - they need to know you care about them!***
Going back to my very first blog ...
Thank goodness for a new year, 2006 - there's nowhere to go but up this year. 2005 was easily the crummiest, most horrid year of my life. Not to be dramatic or anything, it just really stunk. The previous two years had led up to 2005, and then the straw broke the camel's back ... or at least my little self-centered world. I feel like I've been through heck. I suppose in my own way, I have. Enough of that for now though, I'm just glad to leave 2005 behind.
Today marks exactly 11 months since I was discharged from the psychiatric ward of the hospital. "Psychiatric ward" sounds so crazy. But it's true. I was discharged April 9th, 2005. It was a Saturday, and it was dark and very rainy, a rather gloomy looking day, but I felt on top of the world. You see, I was alive. And for someone who had attempted to take her life just 4 days before, I had never been so happy to be alive.
I had Severe Post Partum Depression(PPD). I believe it began with my early delivery in my 2nd pregnancy, she was in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and my husband was working 2 jobs in his Junior year of college so we could afford to live on hotdogs and pancake mix. We felt so alone. I felt so alone. The depression snowballed when, just 7 months later, we found out #3 was already on the way. I was beyond overwhelmed, and cried through the first 2 trimesters. I loved the baby I was carrying, I was just overwhelmed, and drowning in a dark cloud. My husband graduated just before our 3rd child was born ... and we had no job, and no interviews, and no family in town. We moved just as I was agonizing over the feeling that 3 children was not my forte, and the loneliness and darkness just consumed me.
That all led up to the day I overdosed. I'd thought it through many times. I'd planned it all out so that my children would be okay, and I'd be gone. You have to understand that every bit of my being felt so alone, scared, and anxious - and this was all boiling inside me. I felt that if I could just "be gone", it would be better than the termoil I had in my very soul. I never got to the point of actually being able to follow through with my thoughts though ... I always somehow got through. Until April 5th, 2005. It all caught up, and with a medication mix-up, it was one of the worst days for the PPD. That night, after a very bad day, I downed an entire bottle of tranquelizers ... with the thought that I wouldn't ever have to wake up again.
I can't even write that without the sobs escaping. I was in such a dark, scary, lonely place. My heart breaks everytime I remember that moment. I had taken the pills, and this peace came over me. I felt like I wouldn't have to worry anymore - all that pain was finally going to be gone. I sat on the couch, feeling my eyes growing heavy from the sedatives, and snuggled my baby, telling her how much mommy loved her, and turned to my husband and told him I loved him. The rest is such a blur. My husband sped me to the ER, and all I remember is being forced to choke down charcoal through a straw. I remember the charcoal very clearly, and the need to heave the nastiness back up, but the Dr and nurse yelling at me that if I threw up, they'd have to put a tube down my throat to make me take it. Then I was admitted to the psychiatric ward, since they believed I was a definate risk to myself. They were right to admit me.
The next 4 days were full of individual and group therapy - hours of it each day. To be honest, it was the best place I could have ever been at that point. The Psychiatrist changed my medication, and put me on 30mg of Lexapro and 15mg of Remeron. My social worker was amazing, and helped me more than words can explain. She gave me a vision of what could have been, had my attempt succeeded - and that has reminded me regularly of my will to live. My desire to watch my children grow up.
I have decided to add the excersise my social worker walked me through, since it really hit home to me, and I think it will hit home to everyone. Here it goes: "Picture your children, with their sweet wide eyes looking up at you. Now picture them getting dressed in their nicest, sweetest church clothes. How do they look? They look like Angels. They get in the car, and are driven to the church. They go inside, and into the chapel. There, they walk up to the front, and there you are. In a casket. YOUR children will never forget that image. They will reach out for their mommy, and cry for you to hold them, to snuggle them, to help soothe the confusion they feel at that moment, seeing you lying there lifeless. They will never be the same. They will blame themselves. They will always think that what happened was their fault. Their lives will never be able to let you go, and they will never get over it."
I will never be able to let go of that image I got from the excersize. These past 11 months have been hard. PPD sucks. There's no other way to put it. It hurts more than any physical pain I've ever experienced. Your heart and soul hurt so badly, and it's terrifying. BUT - it doesn't last forever. While PPD makes you unable to see the light at the end of the tunnel, it IS there. I am finally getting to the point where the sunshine is back in my life. I still have very bad days, but they are getting fewer, with many more good days inbetween.
I am really thinking about setting April 5th as my LifeDay. A new holiday just for me. The day that God willed me to live, the day the Spirit yelled to my DH, showing him what exactly was going on, and what to do. I'm thinking of making it MY day, once a year - a day to celebrate MY LIFE ... and day to celebrate me, and thank God with all my heart that HE willed me to live.