Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 5:33AM
- Before you read this post you should probably read: Post 1 and Post 2 for background information in order for this really make sense.
Without a doubt, this is the hardest part to talk about. I completed this post and let it sit, going back and reading over and over trying to decide if I should really put all of this out there.
Sharing this kind of information can make a person feel extremely vulnerable. I knew when I started writing these posts I would eventually get to this part. I still struggle with how to present this, as psychosis is a very misunderstood event.
A psychotic break is close to what people imagine when they think of " going crazy". While I hate using those words, Webster's defines crazy as: mentally deranged; demented; insane. Also as; having an unusual, unexpected, or random quality, behavior, result, pattern, etc. Those qualities are all things that can happen when your depression and mania goes untreated for too long and you find yourself in psychosis.
Typically, a psychotic episode happens more often in people who have a family history of mental illness or have a diagnosed mental illness. It is VERY, VERY,VERY rare that it happens to a person with none of the above. But it certainly can.
Psychosis is a temporary split from reality. This means a person cannot differentiate their hallucinations or delusions from real life. This leaves people acting bizarrely. They might talk about strange things and their words can become "word salad" and incoherent. You will notice a significant change in their behavior from how they were acting just days or moments ago. A psychotic break is what they term a person's first episode of psychosis.
Having the above does not mean the person did anything to cause it (unless you are on drugs like LSD when it occurs and in that case I hope the trip was worth it) and it doesn't mean people can't return to a normal, fully functioning members of society.
So now that you are more familiar about this topic, I will continue.
After months of struggling and my half assed (cry for help?) suicide attempt my husband told me I had to see a Psychiatrist. I Had to. Had to or he couldn't continue our marriage. He called and made me an appointment. He drove me there, in my pajamas, which if you don't know me, is not how I roll...ever.
I met with Dr. K, she spent an hour talking to me, she had me fill out different psychological tests. At the end she informed me that she was worried that my reaction to antidepressants and my test results signified Bipolar Disorder, but she couldn't say for sure. It all started post-partum and it could be post-partum anxiety (PPA) and post partum depression(PPD) or underlying bipolar disorder brought on by post-partum depression. Either way I needed to wean off the Lexapro and she prescribed Seroquel which is an atypical antipsychotic that can stabilize moods (oh, and it's evil..just saying).
As I tapered down off Lexapro things got bad..fast. I started having haunting suicidal thoughts, my moods were all over the place. I would cry for 20 minutes then laugh hysterically. And the Seroquel made me feel drunk and tired and did nothing for the withdrawl symptoms of the Lexapro.
I called my doctor after a few weeks of this and went in the next day. She told me to go back to full strength Lexapro and upped my Seroquel dosage. She also wanted me to go to an Intensive Outpatient program. This is basically a 5-6 week program at a hospital that meets M-F from 8:30-12:30. During this time I would have group therapy and multiple psycho-education classes and be seen by a doctor twice a week. I started this program 2 days later.
Even though I was in the program, the minute I lowered my dosage of Lexapro things spiraled out of control. The program Dr. (Dr.R), who I still see to this day, doesn't believe in more medication than absolutely necessary. He gave me Klonopin to help out with the withdrawl symptoms and told me I was going to have to stick it some of it out.
But I was getting worse. I would ramble and ramble in group flying from topic to topic about nothing relevant. I went out and HAD to have a new tattoo because Oh-my-god, I needed to honor my dad who died, and I needed to do it NOW. I went shopping. I spent over $2,000 in 2 weeks. In one shopping trip I bought, I kid you not, 45 pairs of shoes. Thankfully, we could return most of it.
Dr. R was worried and trying hard to make fast med changes with the least amount of impact and side effects, but no one could predict what was to come.
This is where things go from bad to worse. I have never told anyone but my husband and sisters about the below. Sweet Pea who I adore, visited me in the hospital during all this and knew some of what had happened but not all horrible details.
Admitting that your brain epically failed you and took everything good that made you who you are is horrible. I know that this was not "me", but even so, it was my brain and my body that acted like this and there will always be some shame because of it.
I started to get paranoid. I was afraid someone was going to think I was a failure of a mother and that they were going to take my baby away from me. I was obsessed with this thought. I would keep the drapes drawn and would be on the look out for weird parked cars on the street. If one happened to be there I would go into an instant panic attack.
I started to believe CPS had me under surveillance. My therapy program was in the city I lived in just a few miles away and I started to take long drawn out routes that could take up to 2 hours to avoid being "tailed". I told no one of these feelings.
Then one day in November 2009 my husband came home and found me frantically taping black garbage bags to the windows. I told him it was to keep people from watching. I was searching the house for nanny cams or other spying devices. I was throwing out all the food in the house and crying that I didn't know how we were going to eat and that I was afraid we are going to starve to death because they poisoned all our food.
I told him we can't go to the grocery store because they will find a way to contaminate the food in our basket. I had even devised a plan on how we could try to get to the store undetected.
My husband freaked out. I don't remember the exact point in which he decided to take me to the ER, but he said I started talking about how they could've already poisoned us because if Felix drank breast milk than he was going to die and maybe the only way to get the poison out of me was to get rid of my blood. Never mind that I had stopped breast feeding a few weeks prior because of new medication.
He lost it- as anyone would in this situation. He tried to get me to leave the house and go to the hospital but I wouldn't go. In desperation he told me that we needed to get somewhere safe where they could check me and make sure I wasn't poisoned. I finally agreed. He tells me now he was minutes away from calling the paramedics.
I remember hiding under a jacket for the whole car ride just crying. I was honestly petrified that someone was trying to hurt me and my family. The more I thought about it the more I began to think my husband must be conspiring against me too. That was the only answer. He had made all of this happened. He thought I wasn't worthy of being a mother because I had put my baby in daycare so I could go to therapy all day. He hates me now and wants me to die.
The minute we hit the parking lot of the hospital I opened the car door and ran. The problem with being in a state like this is you have no idea where you are running or what to do. The plans you formulate in your brain don't work.
I got to the parking garage elevator. I didn't know which button to push, so I kept trying to push them both at the same time but neither would light up. I tried taking the stairs but I had forgotten how to open the door. I just stared at it and I panicked. I remember crying for help and banging on the elevator doors. After my husband caught up to me. I sat down in a ball and cried and cried repeating over and over that I love my baby, please don't take him.
From here on out gets a little foggy. I know he got me down to the ER where they took me to the behavioral emergency center. I remember not wanting to put scrubs on and resisting when the nurse tried to help me so they could take me up to the mental health ward. I remember a very large person in a uniform that looked like a police officer (actually a security guard) standing over me on the gurney with white latex gloves on. I know I started yelling because I saw handcuffs hanging from her belt loop.
I vaugly remember someone giving me a shot but what I vividly remember was thinking to myself "I'm going to die now--at least I'll be able to find out who's right about heaven or hell."
I don't remember the rest of the day or night after the shot of Haldol (a very strong antipsychotic.) I don't know if I was sleeping or awake or still psychotic or if I knew I was locked up in a hospital.
Part trois soon.