On Being Desperately Lonely in Mothers’ Group

One of the most common things to emerge after I recently started to speak more openly about my struggle with severe postpartum mental illness (postpartum psychosis) was the amount of people who told me that they had no idea. Many expressed their surprise at the extent of what we, as a family, were going through and some hadn’t picked up on it at all. “But you always look so happy and together,” is something I heard repeatedly. This most recent reaction reminded me of the very early days of my illness when I “came out” to some of the women in my mothers’ group. No one saw it coming. I hid it well. Continue reading

100 Words On Love: In Sickness and Health

I sit on the edge of my bed, in the psychiatric ward. My hand is lost inside my husband’s.

A psychiatrist asks questions with practiced kindness. I rattle off answers I know by heart. Sleep, appetite, mood, meds.

And then there’s a test. Part of admission. And I don’t know the answers. I can’t do the sums. Can’t draw the object. Can’t spell the word. My brain is mud.

My husband’s poker face slips. I can hear his concern in the silence. He squeezes my hand gently as I swat away tears. I’ve never felt more broken.

Or more loved.

This article was previously published on The Good Men Project as part of their 100 Words on Love series

Why Are There Three People In My Marriage?

There are three people in my marriage: me, my husband, and the woman my husband calls “Prudence.” Prudence looks a lot like me. She sounds like me. And she’s a mum. But the similarities end there.

For the past 18 months, I’ve been really unwell. After the birth of our first son, Henry, I suffered from post partum psychosis, a severe mental illness which affects approximately 1-2 of 1000 women. I’ve been hospitalized twice, see a psychiatrist weekly and take both an antidepressant and an antipsychotic.

This experience is, of course, a story in itself but one I’m not yet ready to tell in detail. It’s still a little raw, a little too painful and I don’t have a happy postscript. I’m still working on that part. Which brings me back to Prudence. Continue reading