It is time to come clean… April 12-15 I spent some time in the Behavioral Health Unit, at my local hospital. Most people would cover it up, even now as I open up about it, people look away… So long as I care about you, I’m telling this story. It’s time to stop the shaming and look at the facts.
It is well documented that I have depression, anxiety causing OCD tendencies, PTSD and manic depression. I have periods of highs and lows, and frequently see my psychiatrist. There have been times I needed medication to control my depression and such, but last year I felt ready to stop taking the pills. We did it safely, together and controlled, and for about six months I was medication free.
Half way through my pregnancy with Brother, I realized I was becoming depressed again – Sleep was hard to come by, I disliked those around me, and I needed some help. I began taking one of my medications again. Cymbalta is considered “Schedule C” meaning that they don’t know what the result can be on the fetus. Because of my history with “trying” new prescribed meds is a little sketchy, we decided that happy mom is better than anything and Brother was halfway through forming so we should be okay.
Fast forward to being post-partum. I was dealing with Brother’s premie status affecting small areas of his life. Captain worked and Boogs was always sick. There were problems at work in my absence… the punches kept coming. I had actually scored extremely low on a depression screening but semi lied about getting help… I was DROWNING in my sorrow, but couldn’t seem to remember to take the medication. Eventually I stopped taking it all together – citing that it was better for me and Brother.
When I went to visit my psychiatrist for a semi annual “med” check, I was honest in how I was feeling, the lack of medication, some dreams I had been experiencing. Because of these three major contributing factors, my shrink said I may go to the behavioral health unit willingly or she would force me. 😦
It was Friday, there were no therapy sessions until Monday.. complete waste of my time if you ask me. But I knew going willingly was the right answer because they could have kept me longer if I did not cooperate. I needed to get back on my medication quickly but safely and that was the best way to get me quickly up to my regular dosage. It gave me a break from my reality, allowing me to appreciate the gifts I’ve been given. And it also opened the dialogue in my family, which is hard to admit.
I did not feel that I belonged in the psych unit. But other people feared for my kids and my personal safety… They acted to protect us. I will never be cross about this. Post Partum Depression should not just be a laughable joke… it is a real problem for women, but especially women with depression already. Women deserve to watch and love their children growing old, not cutting their life short because their hormones and life factors.
I have post-partum depression. I have anxiety. I have PTSD. I have to live with this forever, but I can thanks to my time on the behavioral health unit. I am not ashamed that I got help.
I owe a huge thank you to Captain and WickedMIL. WMIL dropped EVERYTHING that Friday morning to be with me… and Captain came to every meeting. They took care of the kids and reassured me to just rest. It’s like they knew…
I pray you never need to go through what I have. But if ANY of you see a woman suffering to keep it together, that lashes, that withdrawals, that just doesn’t seem okay.. PLEASE reach out to her and offer her a safe way back to “normal.”