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.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! " It’s as common as Down’s syndrome".We see people with that syndrome pretty often. That is pretty common. There is a great need for some safe guards for prevention help and some monitoring of new mothers until it is clear that there is a smooth transition into safe care for the new baby as well as for mother. This care can start at prenatal care all the way thru post-natal care for some meticulous screening.


Thanks for taking time to comment. Please keep it cordial....