I’m so happy to welcome Warrior Mom Jessica Torres today, sharing her story of postpartum psychosis.
I gave birth to a beautiful boy that ended up in the NICU. Devastated, I knew immediately it was my fault. I could barely touch him – he was so scary and tiny to me. Fast forward two weeks later and he was finally home.
Everyone was happy, and I do mean everyone. The house was full of well-wishers the day after he came home. I couldn’t help but think: How dare they come to my house during flu season? Didn’t they know they had the potential to kill my son? HE was gonna die right here because of their selfish stupidity! My husband was just as anxious so I shrugged off these scary thoughts. I was a new mom, right? It’s normal to think people are gonna kill your son, right?
A couple of months later, we moved into a new apartment. Scarier thoughts started to come. I won’t share them – but trust me I knew I needed help. I talked with a doctor. She told me not to worry. She explained, “Postpartum depression is when you can’t stand to be around your family.” She said I was just tired. I didn’t believe her, so I kept asking until I heard: “You can’t get postpartum depression after your child is six weeks old.”
So, my family and I needlessly suffered as I went through hell undiagnosed, despite me crying out for help. Then – we found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I went through such severe antenatal depression and anxiety that I can tell you I don’t remember much of the pregnancy. Just feeling that I had the worst life in the world – and at times wanting to end it. But like a good Christian girl, I just prayed it away. It was just the enemy attacking me – how little did I realize it was so much more than that.
Then my daughter was born. The paranoid thoughts came as soon as she did: My husband loves this little girl more than me and this perv is gonna use her to replace me. That’s why he got me pregnant again so soon. He KNEW I was gonna have a girl and he wanted to replace me. But I shrugged them off like I always do; I mean, I did just give birth after all. I figured I was tired and loopy with hormones so I pushed on with praying.
One day at home, I went to change the baby and my son. I clearly heard my front door open and close twice. I grumbled that my husband just left me alone with the kids, but at that moment he walked out of the bathroom. I freaked out and told him what had happened – clearly the family of drug lords that lived downstairs came to case us out. “We need to protect ourselves,” I told him. He tried to convince me that I just was dreaming what I’d heard because of how sleep deprived I was. I didn’t believe him; I knew the neighbors were out to get us. TiIl the day we moved out, every time I passed by the family that I had been convinced entered our house illegally I held my babies tighter.
There was also another issue. Ever since my daughter entered the house, I felt nothing towards her, towards my son or my husband. Nothing. Often times I equated myself to a robot or a slave in my mind and I wanted to escape. I even had a plan.
I hated that empty feeling, I mean I loved them – would die for them. In fact I was planning on it if the drug lords came into the house while we were there; but really in essence I felt numb. I resented the fact that I had to take care of my daughter. She was just such a hard baby to take care of. She wouldn’t cry, she would scream. She would scream any time and all the time unless she was held – shoot, even then.
Then there was that night. I just could not get to sleep. For the first five months of her life I think I slept all of four hours a week. I tried to but I could not sleep. Anyways, that night came. I manhandled her and had a crazy thought … I can’t go on from there and tell you what I was thinking. I just remember sitting down on my bed and crying.
That next day I went to the OB. She told me that I had PPD with major anxiety disorder. Little did she know of the other thoughts that I had – the suspicious thoughts, not trusting the neighbors, the fact that I felt like I was going crazy and hearing things constantly. So I stayed quiet. I didn’t want her to think I was crazy and take my kids away. I found Katherine Stone and Postpartum Progress; Lauren Hale and #PPDchat and began to get the information I needed. It took me months, but finally after some weird symptoms and convincing myself I needed help I finally saw a doctor who diagnosed me as bipolar and I began healing.
Please open up – get the help you need. Talk to someone, if you know something is not right with you – keep searching for a doctor who will listen. Postpartum depression and postpartum psychosis are very treatable diseases. You do not need to suffer needlessly like I did.
Ask for help.
~ Jessica Torres