For the last part of this journey, I’ve taken excerpts from my personal journal after leaving inpatient therapy. If you have read up until this last piece, I want to thank you. I wrote this for all mothers out there who had similar experiences. You are not alone.
October 10, 2017
It’s World Mental Health Day. It may have been fate, or coincidence, that I’m finally facing my own mental health issues. Bipolar. Major depressive. They sound “crazy.” And I own that. I don’t want to take any more pills — not right now at least. My stomach is still recovering from a stomach bug I had on Sunday. The pills are harsh on my stomach. I’m really hungry and just want to eat, but every time I do, there’s an unsettling feeling. I always find it so weird that any time our bodies are against us, we miss the normality of it. We take our bodies for granted. When our fingers are broken, we lament the inability to hold a pencil right. When we get an earache, suddenly we miss wearing earrings. When our minds aren’t right, we yearn for the simplicity of life in childhood. And on top of all this, it’s felt like an eternity. I’ve felt like this sickness has lasted a lifetime. But I have hope now. I know this won’t last forever, and there’s so much to look forward to.
October 13, 2017
It’s Friday the 13th. Tomorrow, my best friend and I will be off to Austin for Austin City Limits. This is my first time going, and I’m excited. I think it’ll be really good for me to get away for a couple of days. I’m a little anxious about the amount of people who are going.
October 17, 2017
There are only three days left until I’m discharged from partial hospitalization (PHP). I’m a little nervous to leave PHP, but I will be continuing with intensive outpatient therapy (IOP) once I start work again next week. I’m afraid of the unknown, but I’m trying my hardest to be positive. I’m unsure how the work culture is going to change once I come back. If I don’t see an improvement within a month, I’m putting in my two weeks’ notice. I refuse to go back to an unhealthy work environment. I’m glad my parents had my back during this process. I think they’re finally starting to take my illness seriously. Now I’m just waiting for my meds to stop making me so sleepy . . . .
October 20, 2017
I’ve been thinking about my relationship with Dorian more and more. I don’t know how to feel about it. In the beginning, I was so happy. He was so tiny and sleepy and adorable. I was upset when he grew old enough to sleep in his own crib instead of right next to me. When I’d found out I was pregnant, though, I was disappointed. I’d failed myself. Of course, everyone around me was thrilled. I wasn’t sure how to feel, and I’m still not sure now. I was told by my Dad if I gave him up for adoption, he would never speak to me again. I was forced to keep him. I had no choice. I think that’s where a lot of my problems stem from. Yes, he’s beautiful; yes, he’s a good baby, but I wasn’t ready. I would never have been ready for a baby because I never wanted one. When others call me a mom, it still doesn’t feel right. Like it doesn’t fit my identity. I don’t connect with that word. And now I don’t know what to do. It makes me sad to think about it because what can I do? Nothing. I’m stuck for life.
November 26, 2017
Today is the first day I’ve ever missed Dorian. It’s Sunday, which means he’s with his dad. After Thanksgiving, I don’t want to see anyone for a while. It was a little too much for me. The bright side is I haven’t had to use any of the klonopin until today. I don’t really know how to analyze how I feel. I don’t know if I’m getting better. I still don’t want to do anything. I would rather just sleep or stay inside all day than to see anyone. I can’t tell if my actions and words are me just faking it to make other people comfortable. I don’t know what’s real and what’s not. I carried a ridged knife in my hand to open a box of diapers and the idea to cut myself popped into my head. I find myself reading article after article of child abuse cases, perpetuating the bad thoughts to come back. I don’t know what’s really going on, and quite frankly I’m tired of trying to figure myself out.
April 23, 2018
I’m a week away from starting my new position at work — a new location, a new set of people to work with. At this moment in time, I’m excited. I’m happy I’ll have more time to sleep and more time to spend with Dorian. I didn’t feel well today because I’ve been off my mood stabilizers for three days and missed a dose of my anti-depressant. (On top of that, my period started.) I felt so ill I thought I might have to go home. I wish I hadn’t done that, but sometimes I’m just downright forgetful. The withdrawals come fast the very next day, and I’m ready to keel over.
My mind went to some dark places. Last night, I stalled in the Wendy’s drive thru, stuck in my own head again. I felt like crying. I felt like dying. Over what? Nothing in particular. Nothing was wrong. Nothing bad or sad had happened. It was just the withdrawals. I hate myself for relying on these pills so much, but honestly I can’t function without them. I sometimes wish they still did lobotomies. I wouldn’t have to worry so much about myself anymore. I’d always be docile and calm and stable. Maybe even electroconvulsive therapy would be another option. I’m just so tired of always being on guard at the door of my psyche, waiting for the next demon to come knocking. I’m strong, but some days it’s like mental gymnastics to keep myself from the bad thoughts.
As far as Dorian goes, we’re on the right track. I love him endlessly. He’s my beautiful little cherub. I can’t help but shower him with affection any chance he’ll let me. One day, I want to tell him everything. I want him to know this wasn’t easy for me, but it was worth it. Although this may be the greatest pain I’ve had to endure in life, he is the good that’s come out of it.