Okay, you want it, you got it.
I've always known I was different from other people but I could never really explain how. I remember in my early 20's telling my Uncle Jack "I just don't think I feel things the way other people do". I'm certain now that I don't.
Flash forward to age 29, I was expecting my first child, married to my second husband who was less than happy about the pregnancy. I was on the other side of the country from my parents and trying desperately to be contented with my situation. I had midwives, because I believed the care I received would be better. My husband and I agreed that a home birth would be best. I went into labour on Good Friday, but although my contractions were strong and came regularly, they were unproductive and by late Saturday night I had only dilated 3cm. I took some tylenol, smoked a joint, and went to bed. I woke up in full on labour at about 3am and we called the midwife. I was at 6cm and she broke my water. It looked like pea soup (meconium staining) so we had to go to the hospital. When we got to the hospital, the midwife couldn't find the baby's heart beat, so the obgyn was called in to put in a fetal scalp monitor and I was stuck flat on my back in bed. It was now Easter Sunday at 5am. At 7am I asked for an epidural. The anesthesiologist came to give it to me. He missed. He tried again. He hit bone. He tried again. He hit cartalidge. He tried again, missed again. On his 6th miss he said, "I'm sorry I can't do it". Another anesthesiologist came in, put the epidural in the first try, but it wasn't in properly. I was only frozen on the down side. If I lay on my left side it was frozen but I could feel everything on my right and vice versa. After hours more of labour and 4 hours of pushing the doctor and I decided it was time for a C-section. They put more medicine into the epidural catheter, which wasn't in properly, and wheeled me into the OR. The anesthesiologist told me "this is going to hurt a lot, as soon as the baby's cord is cut, I'll give you more medicine, I promise" I said fine. They laid me flat on my back, so my ASS was frozen and cut my stomach open. Giving me a beautiful daughter and PTSD. It was Easter Sunday at 5:13pm.
I got very depressed after Chaeli was born. I had thoughts all the time of people stealing her, of her dieing, of me dieing, oh how I wanted to die!
My husband took off of work when she was 3 weeks old on parental leave because he was afraid to leave me alone, but I wouldn't go to the doctor because I didn't trust them after what they had done to me. I was breast feeding Chaeli and all I did was nurse her, sing to her, and cry. My husband decided what I needed was a change of scenery, an adventure, so we sold the house, got a closing date only a month away, put all our stuff into storage and headed out on a camping adventure across Canada. By this time, though I didn't know it then, I had postpartum psychosis.
I kept thinking how the baby was so small and the world was so hard. How much better it would be if she never had to know all the pain that went with growing up. I was plagued with thoughts of killing her and myself and nearly did so several times. Keith rarely left us alone and the few times he did I fought not to take both our lives. Once, when we were in Jasper, I nearly jumped into the Athabasca river with her in a sling but some teenage kid pulled me back from the bank because "you're freaking me out lady".
When we got to Langley where his brother lived we decided to stay here. I was still very sick, but we decided to buy a restaurant and run it together. Neither one of us knew what the heck we were doing. I was still breastfeeding Chaeli, she was about 8 months old when we bought the place. We had it a year and closed it to save our marriage.
Keith got a job and I slowly got better. When Chaeli was 3 I got a job at a pizza place, I was feeling stable again, feeling good. I left there and started working at the Casino. The flip flopping hours were hard on family life but I thrived on it. (read lots of hypo-manic episodes) Then I changed jobs within the casino from cashier to drop team. So I was working a steady shift of 4am to 2 pm. Meaning I was only getting 4 hours sleep for 4 nights a week. At this time I quit smoking cigs. I went into a huge manic episode (didn't know what it was at the time) Then crashed hard into a depression. I literally went into bed and started crying one day and stayed there for months.
My GP put me off work. He tried to convince me to take an AD. I told him "I don't think this is just depression, I want a referral to a Pdoc" He says "I'll refer you to a pdoc but you have to take an AD because they like to see that you've tried something first" I agreed and he put me on effexor. 30 minutes after I took the first pill I showered, got dressed and took my daughter to the playground. We went on the swings and played soccer. I climbed to the top of the monkey bars and ran across them. I felt GREAT! A week later I went back to see my GP and I couldn't sit still, I paced around his office, shaking my hands, speaking very fast, and told him I felt like I was on LSD. He doubled my dosage of Effexor because it was "great it's helping so much with your depression" 2 weeks later I went back to see him, I still couldn't sit still, was still talking very quickly, told him I wasn't sleeping at all, he writes me a script for trazodone and says "you see the pdoc in three weeks, we'll just keep you on this dosage until then" Well the trazodone didn't help me sleep, and within the week I was starting to SI. I was covered in bruises from hitting myself with a hairbrush, but I just needed to feel something REAL. Keith took me back to the GP, who told me to wean off the Effexor. He talked about putting me in the hospital but I said I wouldn't go.
When I went to see the pdoc she was very concerned. She wanted to put me in the hospital but I explained about Chaeli's birth and how I wouldn't go, so she put me in an at home program where psych nurses came to my house twice a day to check on me. She told me I had BP1 disorder and that the nurses would explain what that meant. She put me on Lithium, clonazepam and seroquel. The nurses came for an hour twice a day. They answered all our questions. They explained my disorder. I could look back on my life and see how I had cycled through hypo-manic and depressive phases since I was a teenager, though I always swung up more than down. The pdoc also diagnosed me with PTSD due to Chaeli's birth and with GAD because since the effexor withdrawal I didn't want to leave the house and had so much anxiety. The nurses stopped coming after about 2 weeks.
That was almost 2 years ago. Since then we've been struggling to find the right med combination. The Effexor started me rapid cycling and it took a long time for that to stop. I'm a lot more stable now, and have been in therapy for almost a year. I still have a long way to go, but I'll get there.
And that's my story.