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These are my thoughts, yo.

Filtering by Tag: postpartum depression

A Postpartum Psychosis Reflection

jasmine banks

Media is a bitch! Yes. This is how I open my "Happy 5th Birthday" Mommyblog-ish post. Media is a bitch! When you get pregnant there is an influx of expectations that are suddenly thrust at you. There are supposed things mothers are supposed to do and supposed to feel. Suppose if a woman didn't feel and do those things? Well, if she listened or put any stock in what media and hoards of women say, she'd burst on the scene of motherhood already feeling like that "not good enough mother." I've written before about the relationship I had with my pregnancy with Isaiah. We were at war, my body and I. Isaiah was an unexpected pregnancy after years of being told I was infertile. I was in the middle of making my life awesome (so I thought) and KA-BLAM! it was a boy.  Upon preparing for Isaiah's arrival I felt deeply deeply ashamed of the kind of mother I already was. I spent the first two trimesters faking my way through happy, because once a woman is pregnant she is supposed to be happy- of course. I felt depressed, overwhelmed, unprepared, unsupported, and confused. I bought in to what the books said, what other people said, and what the damaging inner voices whispered.

 

After Isaiah was born I was severely depressed. I was a whiz at breastfeeding, but my lack of education about breastfeeding and lack of support meant trying to figure out my colicky baby alone. Garrett was clueless and I was angry. I was great in school, but sharp, smart, and talented aren't always the best arsenal against the breaks of motherhood.  Today I'd say empathy, intuition, and an utter trust for your body and its ability are powerful tools of pregnancy and motherhood. Also humility... though I don't know if I'll ever master that one.

It wasn't colic. The poor baby was getting too much foremilk... I had a supply that could feed a small nation. He screamed and lurked his body. He kicked and whimpered. He wouldn't sleep unless he was in the Moby wrap. My self-esteem faltered, I was sleep deprived, not eating well, and emotionally bankrupt.

We moved to our current home when Isaiah was 6 months old. The stress of a move, school, abusive friends, and coming to terms with a new body and a new baby took its toll

One night, while Garrett was at work I bathed Isaiah. He screamed and fussed in his normal fashion. He seemed to get overstimulated at the slightest thing. Looking back, today, I see that he was responding more to the anxiety I carried in my body. I sat him on my pillow on the bed wrapped in a towel and sat in front of him. I put lotion on him and cried. I was exhausted, so very tired, and defeated. As I looked his chubby body over, a black spider crawled over his torso. I grabbed Garrett's pillow and hit him with it. I could feel my hands grip the pillow hard and my heart beat in my chest. I held the pillow down tight. Have you ever had one of those moments where you look at something and then you find that you've been staring into space for a second or two. That is how this felt. My hearing came back into focus and I could hear the muffled wails of my son and I looked down to see his feet flailing from underneath the pillow. I quickly took the pillow off him. There was no spider. I started crying harder. I grabbed Isaiah and thrust him into his crib.

I immediately called Garrett. "I need help," I wailed. Garrett came home immediately.

The next day I went to see a psychiatrist. Over a period of a year I got the help I needed. I made a full recovery, but the diagnosis still lingers.

I had Postpartum Depression with Psychotic features.

And this is why the media sucks. When you say "psychosis" or "psychotic features" people immediately think Norman Bates. They think evil uncontrollable serial killer.

I had a break with reality. I hallucinated a spider and lost control and thankfully, I was able to snap back into reality before I suffocated Isaiah. Having a degree in psychology helped me to understand what had happened... to get help quickly. Because of the media and the "motherhood myth" I still carry shame from having suffered from PPD and Postpartum Psychosis. Instead of understanding that many women face these issues everyday, I have felt (in the past) the need to hide what I experienced. I believed, "good mothers don't have Postpartum Depression and Psychosis." People are even more accepting of women who survived Postpartum Depression, but when you say "psychosis" some get a look in their eyes. Maybe it is confusion. Maybe it is fear.

I have survived so much in my life and I am proud to say Isaiah and I survived this together.

 

Isaiah turns five tomorrow. The years following my episode with PPD, Isaiah and I worked hard to bond. We did bonding exercises, massage, and spent a lot of time re-learning each other. Isaiah taught me that humans are so resilient. We are capable of coming back from so many difficult things. I wondered if I'd ever love Isaiah like a mother is supposed to love a child. It turns out... he showed me how to love him just the way he needed. Today he is my emo kid. He is deeply intuitive, expressive, and SO funny.

Happy 5th Birthday to my sweet boy! Look at how much he has grown!

 

 

 

 

Saying Goodbye to Sadie

jasmine banks

When Sadie and I started this blog, I knew what I was getting into, but she didn't. I told her, " I am going to be a writer, I am going to blog and write a book, I am going to work in social media and create a career that works the way I want it." Sadie has learned that when I say I am going to do something, I really do it. We wanted a way to chronicle our hilarious antics, our experience as friends, and a place to make fun of people.We do that a lot- make fun of people... but the people we make fun of are mostly each other ;) mostly. When our blog took off and began to take on a life of its own I ran with it...and Sadie... she sat down and hyperventilated. I felt empowered by putting what I was experiencing out there and Sadie felt utterly naked and vulnerable. One of the ways that our friendship has always worked is that I find the words and say them aloud while Sadie flaps her hands. I don't say this with derision- it just is who we are. I love this characteristic about Sadie and about us. During the life of our blog we have experienced marriages that have had to be given mouth to mouth, depression, anxiety, postpartum depression/psychosis, life, death, and all the talking points in between.

So now I am moving toward working in social media, I am a writer, and I am working on my book (surprise!!).

And Sadie?

Well... Sadie is one of those people I talked about in this blog post. She is someone who still in the jungle... trying to figure out how to gain her footing and tangled in vines.

She is on her journey.

She is not ready to tell her story.

She may never be able to publicly tell her story.

So TheBrokins.com is saying goodbye to Sadie as co-author. TheBrokins.com will become mine alone. 

When Sadie and I started talking about where she was at with the blog I already knew where she was at. Her blog posts were becoming fewer and fewer and I was watching the work she was doing in her personal life. The thing about Sadie is that at some point in her life someone convinced her that she didn't matter. Her food preferences, clothes, books, opinions... someone taught her that what she wanted and needed was of no importance. Throughout our friendship I have seen this baggage play out in her life. So when she told me she needed to become invisible in the social media world, maybe journal privately, and insulate herself I.was.so.proud.

Sadie,

I  am so fucking proud of you! I am proud of each post you authored on TheBrokins. I am proud of each time you reached deep and wrote down your truth. YOU matter. YOU deserve love and goodness. YOU are important. I am a little sad I don't get to show you off on the internets anymore... because you are pretty much amazing, but I am NOT sad that you did one of the hardest things one can do: face possibly disappointing a friend. I am not disappointed- and neither are the readers! We are so proud of you- proud momma watching their kid graduate with honors-proud. Simultaneously I am humbled to have shared this virtual space with you.  Your friendship has made me a better version of myself.

Take care of you.

And.

I am still holding your hand through this journey of yours.

Thank you for the time you shared here. I hope I make you proud.

 

Some Days Are Like This...

jasmine banks

The sun shines in the window. It warms my skin and heats up the room. The joy should be palatable, but it isn't. Isaiah begs, "Mommy... PLEASE can we play." I hear myself answer, "No honey. Mommy doesn't feel good."  

He doesn't understand. I don't look sick, so how could I be sick.

This is depression.

That hardest part is having my mind. I make no qualms about the reality that I have a brilliant mind.

Sharp. Fast. Creative

And completely trapped inside a body that is riddled with depression. My arms and legs are heavy. My smiles aren't real. I get so angry. I feel like I should be able to will myself to move, to enjoy the taste of food, to feel hope. But I can't. Every day tasks become too big.

This is depression.

People who struggle with Major Depressive Disorder, like me, well... we get the label of lazy, melodramatic, unorganized, undependable, and chaotic. Those labels aren't true. Thoughts float through my head and I wrestle them back. It is like another person lives there, whispering poison to me all the time. I still go through the motions- the things that are keeping me holding on.

Today I fantasized what life would have been like to know one one at all. I felt compelled to run away. Live on an island. Never have to be with another soul again.

This is depression.

So I pull the covers up over my head and press my face in the bed. The voices of my children run up and down the hall echo and reverberate through my body. My sister is here with me, caring for them, helping me (again). I want so badly to stand up and play, to be alive and active, to smile and mean it... but I am hidden beneath this dark thing without a name. I mourn so much. I have lost so much. I hurt so much.

This is depression.

SO many people suffer from debilitalting depression. Be it environmental or chemical origins, depression is serious, frightening, and frequently debilitating. I came home from Green Mountain at Fox Run SO raw. Some medical issues and that experience fueled this episode and I am crawling back to "normal". Have you ever struggled with depression? What helped you?