Sunday, October 6, 2013

The One That Got Away: A Story About Miriam

She got in her car, buckled her baby in her car seat and headed on her top secret mission.  She had to do it.  Lives were in danger.  It was up to her to fix everything.  It was all up to her.  If not her, then whom?

She drove about five hours to accomplish her job, set things straight, makes things right.  But, this mission—so vital to her—was all part of a delusion for she was suffering from a postpartum mood disorder.  She had postpartum psychosis (PPP).  A powerful mental illness that favors new mothers, yet in a twisted way hates them at the same time.

One may get mood swings, mania, delusions, paranoia, confusion, depression, irritability, apathy, to name a few, from this disorder.  One doesn’t ask for PPP, it asks for you and you must take it—like it or hate it.

Miriam Carey went to Washington, DC for a reason we may never know, maybe at the demands of voices she may have heard.  Maybe to confront the President for the surveillance she thought he was conducting.  She went in a luxury sedan, but left in a body bag.  She was considered a threat by the Capitol Police and Secret Service who have the job of protecting special interest in the nation’s capital.

I’m not here to say whether they were justified or not in the force they used.  Why bother, she’s already passed now.  Her daughter now has no mother.  Miriam no longer has psychosis.  But, now, only now, that the media caught a glimpse of what 1 in 1000 women, myself included, have gone through, people are interested in this weird “rare” phenomenon.  It’s as common as Down’s syndrome, by the way.  So “rare” is a poor adjective to describe it. Why?  Because it doesn’t apply.  Society assumes it’s rare, but that that just isn’t so.  Women just don’t step out and share their stories because of the stigmas that still come with mental illness.  It’s a bit annoying and frustrating when you have “authorities” being interviewed on television—you know, the experts—and they just say completely false statements.

I personally loved the one who was on a popular morning show on Friday, the day after Miriam was killed who said the women had Postpartum Depression and that often causes women to kill their children.  No, Ma’am.  That would be PPP.  And that is a rarity.  Most women live to tell their stories of how they survived and how their children are now happy toddlers, pre-school aged children, teenagers, or even adults.  But, she was an expert, so of course she knew what she was talking about.  She was merely a blanket therapist, most likely familiar with ADHD in children and not busy at that time in the morning, so easy to get on the air for a last minute interview.  (Sounds to me like she doesn’t have many patients.  Now her credibility has gone up because she was on a live national show.)  Well, great for career, sad for all the women who have to re-teach their friends and family that the lady was lost in translation and basically untrained in postpartum mood disorders.

Postpartum psychosis is a bona fide illness.  The women that get are not crazy people who should be locked in isolation with straight-jackets.  We are women who are sick, but with the proper help and therapy can be right next to you and you’d never know.

I try to speak in behalf of my sisters.  Protect those that can’t protect their own interests.  But Miriam was one that got away.  We all need to rally around the community of women with PPP and other PPMDs and make sure we are all accounted for.

We cannot let another get away.  No more bloodshed for our sisters.  I hope Miriam’s family—especially her daughter—can have the peace they need to go on from here.

When you are in the presence of someone with a mental illness, love us, don’t leave us.

Friday, June 21, 2013


            There was a time, not so long ago, when I would not move.  I could not move.  I even thought I should not move.  So, I didn’t.  I stayed in the bed.  All day.  Now, some may think: Well, good for you.  I’d do that if I had the chance.

            I didn’t tell you I was supposed to be taking care of my children.   I had a one-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter.  But I let them roam free around the house, while my husband was at work and I was in the bed.

            Now some may sum me up as a bad mother.  Don’t worry, I summed myself up as a bad mother so many times I lost count.  But, after years of therapy and research and tears and anger, I began to understand and realize that I was sick.  I suffered from postpartum psychosis.  It’s a postpartum mental illness—the most severe form—the strikes mothers sometime after giving birth.  You don’t know if you will be “that mother” until you become that mother.  

It caused all types of issues within myself, and all types of issues within my household.  Not only did I suffer from psychosis, depression, anxiety, apathy and anger, but my husband suffered.  All the work a mother would typically take care of, he had to do.  Then on top of that, he had to take care of me.  Then work.  Then worry.  Then comprehend.  Then keep it together.

            It took three years for me to heal significantly, though I’m still healing now, five years after my son’s birth.  I now move. I now get out of the bed.  Today, June 21, 2013, the first day of summer, I decided to move even more.  Instead of just getting out of the bed, I decided to climb.  Today I climbed out of darkness.  I climbed out of the bed, grabbed my babies, who are now 5 & 6, and took a beautiful walk in First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach, VA. 

This was a way to raise money and awareness for postpartum mood disorders.  It also represented getting out of the funk I’d been in.  I did this for many other mothers, who are still dealing with PPMDs or who are about to and have no idea. 

I hope that it helps people to stop being afraid of their illnesses.  We didn’t make ourselves sick.  It happened, but we can get help.  We can get better and we can be the beautiful, strong mothers we planned to be.  We just have to push ourselves to move and climb out and climb up. 

            May you all have a wonderfully long summer day and maybe enjoy a tall glass of overly-sweetened iced tea.

            Hugs and Hi-Fives…. Miss Moody Mommy!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

M.I.A. for Mothers

(Mental Illness Awareness)

Many of you don’t know but millions of Americans (not to even put a number on people internationally) are living with the stress and hindrance of a mental health problem. 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and it's a chance to reflect on the people that usually fade into the background.  These are such important issues and we should all be aware.  Why?  Because it could happen to him, it could happen to her.  It could happen to you.  It did with me, and it came on so quick then took its precious time to leave. 

Sunday, May 12th, is the Fifth Annual Mother's Day Rally for Moms' Mental Health, featuring 24 letters (one letter every hour) from survivors of postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety, postpartum OCD, depression after weaning and/or postpartum psychosis. (I had postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis.)

The purpose of these letters are to inform and encourage pregnant women and new mothers who may be struggling with their emotional health. It also can serve the purpose of encouragement for the fathers, grandparents, and other loved ones that serve as a support system for this emotionally drained woman.

The Rally is hosted by Postpartum Progress,  the most widely-read blog in the world on postpartum mood disorders, which are all related to pregnancy and childbirth. You'll have to click that link on Sunday to read my letter.

My letter, entitled “To the Mother Who Never Knew” will be featured at 6:00 pm this Sunday, the 12th.  I hope you all read it because it’s special to me as it happened to me and it changed my life forever.  I know that ALL the letters will be touching to those who may want to read them as well. 

Also, as a writer, this will be my first published work, which is a dream come true.  While I don’t participate in Mother’s Day, this rally coincides with Mental Illness Awareness Month and benefits all the mothers that suffered in silence.  And I support those that are brave enough to share their stories.

Hugs and Hi-Fives,
Miss Moody Mommy