Red-eye Reflections

At this time last year, we were on a red-eye flight to North Carolina. My mind found plenty of creative ways to end everything while on the flights. Mostly I sobbed the entire way, in disbelief that this was my life; that I was seriously flying across the country to admit myself into a perinatal psychiatric unit; that I absolutely wasn’t worth all this hassle and was selfishly dragging my husband, 10 week old, and sister with me; that I should have been able to just “get over it”.

When we landed in Charlotte the morning of the 30th, we would get a rental car and drive the 2 1/2 hours to Chapel Hill. It was quite the somber ride.

When we arrived at UNC and started walking in, I was full of regret and uncertainty. And even still, my mind was keeping track of all the potential “exits”. Everywhere I went, I could tell you multiple ways to take your life because my mind had become obsessed with stopping the pain, so it was constantly assessing each scene and giving me ideas. But I made it over the pedestrian bridge and into the hospital. And as I sat to sign myself in, my leg started shaking anxiously, my body coiled with tension, prepared to escape. That pedestrian bridge? My mind knew that jumping from that could do the job and I wouldn’t have to endure any of this. But I also didn’t want to make a scene, because I figured I was enough of an embarrassment to my family at this point. So I sat, signed, and then was escorted to the perinatal psychiatric inpatient unit (PPIU or peri).

Once on unit, my belongings were gone through, shoes and toiletries taken (as well as anything else deemed unsafe), the clothing I was wearing patted and searched, and then was led to a private room for my intake evaluation. After this, I would return to my own somewhat private room, experiencing the sensory shock of having nothing, and just cry. I didn’t know that I could make my situation worse, but it absolutely felt like that is what I did. I stayed in bed crying (and still mentally logging all the ways to take my life with the minimal items in my room) for over two days initially. But then my curiosity finally drove me from my room as I wanted to know the other women’s stories that had also found themselves there.

I have so much more to say, but my mind has been so tired these last couple weeks. Fighting the demons from last year as the heaviness settles; but also remembering that those are just memories now and I am no longer mentally suffering. My mind is so much healthier now as our my relationships. I didn’t think I would ever be able to feel the way I do for Olivia. It is such a blessing. And in this time of year, with the first anniversaries hitting, I am trying to remind myself of the strength, resolve, and love that it took to endure; that I should rejoice and celebrate how far I have come and that going through my journey is allowing me to help others.

God is so good. Truly.

More on this later. Because unlike last year, I am going to lay comfortably in my own bed, with my husband (who is probably snoring already 😅), and actually sleep.