Disclaimer: The following article mentions the topic of suicide or other sensitive subjects, which may trigger negative thoughts and feelings for those currently suffering or still recovering from a mental or mood disorder. Reader discretion is advised.
I’ve had anxiety and depression my whole life, so I knew I was a likely candidate for postpartum depression. Additionally, I had a rough recovery after the birth of my son and began having scary compulsions and thoughts about hurting my baby. I was terrified I had postpartum psychosis. I would get feelings of intense rage where I clung to the bed as hard as I could so I wouldn’t get up and hurt someone. I’d never had feelings like this before, so I did what I could do push them down and try to cope with the racing thoughts, paranoia, and rage. I sought therapy, but it was never sufficient. I was spinning out of control and was feeling less and less safe with my baby.
Eventually, I had homicidal and suicidal ideations. I was convinced that I was possessed. I was hospitalized and diagnosed with psychosis. From there, I was transferred to another facility and my son needed to be cared for by another family during this time. This was devastating, as it felt like a punishment. Needless to say, it was traumatic for me.
My separation from my son ended up being a huge blessing, as I desperately needed time to gain traction before mothering again. I went to a new therapist, had regular visits with my son, and slowly recovered. Eventually, I got my baby back and life began to return to normal. Ten months later I had a relapse, with racing thoughts of the devil coming after me, vomiting, and sleeplessness. I tried caring for my son but was too unstable. My paranoia and anxiety were so high I was having trouble focusing on the present as I drove to my therapist’s office one day.
After another hospitalization, I finally received the correct diagnosis of Bipolar I disorder with psychotic features. My mania was not typical, but instead was characterized by rage and racing delusional thoughts.
Today I am pleased to say that while I have still had relapses, I have been proactive and avoided hospitalization. I would be lying to say I am grateful for my bipolar, and I’m still learning how to catch it early on. It is hard not to feel sorry for myself sometimes, but I am grateful for medical professionals and resources.