Today I Googled ‘increase Risperidone’. I cannot remember what my doctor said about what to do over this break. They indicated that they were concerned about not giving me something to try and control these thoughts. Christmas/New Year is the worst time of the year to have an illness. All the perinatal support services that I access have shut down for Christmas. Including our general practitioner.
I feel some clarity has been restored with this medication, however I am still experiencing a deal of time in the shade. Truthfully, there is a part of me that really does not want to be medicated. On the eve of my first dose of Risperidone, my thoughts were trying very hard to convince me that everything was okay, and that I did not need this medication.
My thoughts valiantly tried to persuade me that I was doing well, and that perhaps I just needed to ‘pull my socks up’, ‘toughen up’ and ‘deal with the fact that parenting is hard’, as some people had been advising me.
Then a small glimmer shines on the memory of how it was only last weekend that I methodically packed a bilum (bag), went to the car and drove. Away. I told my husband and visiting relative that I was going to my mums, some four hours away.
Hang on though; you know that your mum is not going to want to see you because you have left your family.
Well, then I will just drive West. Who do I know West? I don’t have any family that I can call on at the moment due to diverse personal circumstances.
I will just drive West. Maybe I can go and see a friend in the desert.
But they may not want to see you because they all know, from Facebook, that you have a baby and will wonder why you have left your baby. Who leaves their baby?!?
I will drive West.
This circus keeps running around in my head, filling it up with cotton wool so I cannot think clearly. I feel like I am driving really fast, like I had travelled a great distance.
I had not even left the neighbouring suburb yet.
I had been driving for only five minutes.
I was though, driving West. After about ten minutes of driving, I could feel the chemicals in my head shift and another thought pattern emerges.
You are such a shit mum, to walk out on your family.
You are a worthless wife to not be able to talk to Mr. A. wonderful, handsome, compassionate, thoughtful Mr. A. Instead you walk out, like a child.
You are an embarrassment as a daughter. Your mum will not want to see you. You will never be able to talk to her again.
They would have called the hospital. It is either drive West, or go back and be taken away by the Crisis Team.
I feel like I am driving really fast, like I had travelled a great distance.
I had not even left the city boundaries yet.
I had been driving for only ten minutes.
The competing chemicals continue their row, and then approximately twenty minutes away from the start point of this journey, I am aware of a third, smaller, quieter release of chemicals that join the struggle.
You know these are not normal thoughts. Of course your family love you. Of course you are a good mum. Look at everything that you have accomplished. Master X. is beautiful. You are not well, but…
I pull the car over because I feel that the chemicals are now affecting my ability to drive safely. I pull into the bush and my brain sighs and automatically recalls a mindfulness practice. I take three deep breaths, look around and begin counting:
5 things I can see
5 things I can feel
5 things I can hear
5 things I can taste
5 things I can smell
Yes, this is the country that I love. I need space like these hills and gums. Valleys and long, long summer grasses.
Grasses. I should probably turn the engine off so I do not catch the grasses on fire.
With the exhaust.
I wish I had a hose.
So that I could end the pain that I am causing everyone.
This is why they want me taken away by the Crisis Team.
I am such a piece of shit.
I pull out my phone and turn it on (I must have turned it off when I left the house). Three missed calls and two voicemails from mum and Mr. A.; a text message from Mr. A.
I deliberate on whom to call.
I dial Mr. A.. I cannot remember what he said. All I recall is that it did nothing to pull me out of the numbness. The blank. The end. The dead.
I sat and thought for what seemed like quite a while. I flicked through to the photos on my phone and it was full of pictures of him. My baby. My love. Master X.
Tears welled, then my brain switched on and said ‘this is not normal. You are not experiencing normal thoughts. It is not normal to want to suicide. Go home. Your baby needs you. You need to go to hospital. You need help.’
I ran through my physical safety checklist, something I had picked up from a friend’s Facebook link.
Do I need to use the toilet (Yes. Then go. Where? Outside in the bush.)
Do I need a drink (Yes. Well, you might have water here somewhere. Have a drink. Oh, my throat it is so dry.)
Do I need to eat (Yes. Well, there is nothing in the car. So drive back to the local takeaway. Eat. Then you can decide what to do.)
Wow, zoom. Then in what seemed like no passage of time, I completed my meal at KFC.
And as I round the corner close to home, I was convinced that the Crisis Team would be there, waiting.
Hang on; there is not a vehicle in the driveway.
Maybe they are hiding inside so that I cannot get away. So that I am lulled into a false sense of safety, so I walk right into their…
Okay, no-one is here. I will just go to my room. Take some Ativan to shut down my brain. Eat some chocolate. Watch some Netflix. Enact my shut down plan.
Mr. A. comes in with Master X. about an hour later. It is feed time. I cannot remember what I said. All I know is that I stayed in my room, trying to stop my brain.
Then it was late. I do not recall how late, but it was dark and it was daylight savings (so longer evening sunlight hours). I went into the living area. Master X. was attended to, and in bed asleep.
Do you want dinner?
Sure. (Grab wine out of the fridge. Maybe this will also help to shut off my brain).
I am not able to remember clear details from here. I recollect that at some point I made the decision to access Lifeline online chat. They advised me to ask my husband to call the Crisis Team. I remember lying on the floor, weeping. I do not know what about, or for how long. I do not recall anything after this moment. Mr. A. must have looked after me.
I had a call two days later from Perinatal Mental Health, an amazing government service. I scheduled an urgent follow-up psychiatrist appointment to review my medication when I return home at the end of January.
Until then, there is nothing. I had calls from all my support services before they went on leave before Christmas.
I just want to stay safe.
So no, you cannot increase your Risperidone above the dosage on the box. Because you cannot remember what the doctor said and they are not contactable for another two weeks.
Thank you, clarity.
If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide please contact Lifeline immediately 13 11 14