So we had our appointment with the perinatal mental health service today. I was assured that yes, I can take whatever advice I want, or leave it if I do not want to adhere, for example if I don’t agree with increasing my medication or their action plan. We spent about 2 hours talking about ‘what if’ in regards to support, mental health and the well being of everyone in the family. I came to realise that perhaps taking Mr 21 months out of care for a period might disrupt him, but also does not give us a break to bond with bub without chasing a 2 year old. I also came to realise just how well I am at the moment. I felt calm during the meeting and was able to talk about the postpartum psychotic episode without getting overly upset or hysterical, and also was able to ‘sanely’ agree to hospitalisation should the postpartum period turn pear-shaped like the last time. We mapped out some of my warning signs:
- Sleeplessness with periods of high energy (the good time when I am creative, writing frequently (like 3-4 blogs per day PLUS writing books)
- Paranoia, thinking people are out to get me or going to take my baby away
- Loss of reality, like seeing a Spirit haunting my baby and having to exorcise it by any means necessary
- Thoughts and actions of self-harm and harming others including the baby
Things can progress fairly quickly where I can be creative for weeks and then paranoid leading to self-harm within a week of itself. This is generally the period when I pack up my bags and leave. Literally. It took me two weeks to pack and move to the desert a few years ago. I can remember the drive and just the out of body-ness that comes along with this point in time. It was like I was on autopilot for a good few weeks before something would break through and I would crash. Like I would all of a sudden realise how much I missed Mr A and his awesome cuddles, or the fact that I was so far from home.
So having this plan will help everyone know what is going on and at what point we need to introduce medications or go into respite care and what our management will be around that. Especially knowing that I am in denial usually at that phase.