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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Psychosis Song

maternal mental health, postpartum psychosis, maternal mental health symbol, natachia barlow ramsey, postpartum depression, suicide

My  Psychosis  Song

Psychosis seized my mind, grabbed my very soul, shook my
very essence and violently took hold.
Overcome with thoughts that twisted in my head,
left me torn apart, and wishing I were dead.
Searching for the answers while my thinking was deranged,
left us all with scars and everlasting change.
Thrust into a place where everything surreal. I was completely
turned around, yet it all seemed so-oh real.

Pregnant now I wasn't, but the joy just want't there;
 replaced by emptiness and permanent despair.
Akin to automation, every, single, day. You lose touch 
with your sanity, you slowly slip away.
Reality is yours, it’s right in front of you. What’s black
is black to you, there is nothing they can do.
Truth is how you see it, through your own distorted eyes;
you know the only way, is to finally say goodbye.
Urgency abounds, now that the answers clear, love still
fills your heart, there is nothing left to fear.
Motherhood is sacred, it’s only you that understands. The rest
can go to hell, the rest can all be damned.
Psychosis seized my mind, grabbed my very soul, shook my
very essence and violently took hold.
Still I thought I knew, what black was really black. Slowly
began the process, of finding my way back.
Yearning for the void, to be filled within my soul. Yet knowing
that I’d live and never ‘gain be whole.
Crying every night, for years and years on end, asking for
forgiveness, just looking for a friend.
Harshest on yourself, yet there’s always some close by, to judge
you for your shame, while you close your eyes and cry.
Overcome with thoughts, that had twisted in my head. Had
left me torn apart and wishing I were dead.
Slowly opened eyes again as everything got lighter. The thoughts
were all less foggy, the colors all were brighter.
I started seeing things, the way I used to see. What once looked
like the color black, was now bright white to me.
Searching for the answers, while my thinking was deranged,
left us all with scars and everlasting change…

Friday, October 3, 2014

This Postpartum Life; the Scars of Psychosis

What do you see when you look at me?

Maternal Mental Health Symbol, Natachia Barlow Ramsey, Postpartum Psychosis

You look at me and you see a woman with scars on her wrists from a failed attempt at the taking of her life.
Damn her, there's no understanding. We drive our children into the water. You don't get that the ocean is a sea of despair. 
We are broken and we look around, waiting, begging, dying inside. We look for the arms to wrap around us and bring us to our feet.
No more tears, we have wept a lifetime of sorrows for motherhood. The aches, the breaks and the tragedies to come. Help us, feel our pain.
Do not take out babies, our souls from us. We are not deserving of punishment. We are your mothers. We gave you all life, give us ours.
We need your love, understanding, kindness. Do not judge us. A mothers love is unconditional. Yet you slice us open for public display at being broken.
So fix ours wings and help us to fly again. Do not put us in a dark empty box to wither and die. We have been fixing your pains with love since time.
We are your mothers, we are your mothers, we are your mothers. Do not throw us away.
The Ocean we drive into is a Sea of Desperation. Hold out your arms lift us up, hang on tight and guide us to the light. 
Do not judge, we are your Mothers, we are your Mothers, Do not throw us away. Kiss away our sorrows and help us heal the way we have yours'. 
Whisper those tears rolling, streaming, screaming down our cheeks; dripping from our chin onto out breast, let them be gone. 
What do you see when you look at me? A Mother who had fallen? Who stood back up? 
What do you see?

I see me...

Natachia Barlow Ramsey; Postpartum Psychosis Survivor and Loser

Maternal Mental Health Symbol, Natachia Barlow Ramsey, Postpartum Psychosis

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Mental Health Activist Award

WEGO Health Activists Award Nominee #HAAwards

Surviving Postpartum Psychosis was nominated for a Health Activist Award in two Categories:
(1) Best Kept Secret  (2) Best in Blog Show
So excited to be recognized and have had some of the nicest things said -

 She is candid, she's brave, she's amazing to so many women. There are so many women who are beginning to start talking about their experience now with postpartum psychosis and what their thoughts were really like because she came forward. I almost don't have the words to express.   — Shay
 In a world of people who sit back and say nothing, she has chosen to stand up and be heard. I could never do what she is doing. Whenever I read her blog it brings tears to my eyes. This world needs more people like her. I know she is controversial but the power behind what she is saying. Bless Her.   — Tara
 This is an incredible woman who has had such a difficult life. Not many people I know would get out of bed for the things she has endured. She talks about her struggle with Postpartum Psychosis with such bravery and honesty.   — Victoria
 A must go to site for any woman who is having a baby. Not to scare you but to educate you on what can happen. A heartbreaking look at the effects of suicide from generations leading to Psychosis. This is real. She speaks from the heart and it resonates with so many. She is so real, she will steal your heart.   — Deborah

I will give you a link to the Nomination Page Here! There's a big purple Endorse (Vote) button and I would be so thankful. Winning isn't monetary. It just means being able to speak even more about the blog and louder about what is so important and to reach even more women. 

Maternal Mental Health and allowing Moms to find their voice and knowing it's okay to be heard is so important. We have a long way to go but this could help. Please follow the link and Endorse Postpartum Psychosis Survival and share our nomination page, with your help maybe we can get even further. 
Thank you.
Natachia Barlow Ramsey; Postpartum Psychosis Survivor, Maternal Mental Health

Maternal Mental Health Symbol, Postpartum Psychosis, Natachia Barlow Ramsey, Suicide, Depression, Maternal Mental Health, Psychosis

Thursday, September 25, 2014

30 Days of Thoughts

Thirty Days of Thoughts

A friend started this project asking for submissions "Why do I write?" on Stigmama.com and it started me thinking. Why do I write? Well there are many reasons, so I decided to do this...

Maternal Mental Health Symbol, Postpartum Psychosis, Natachia Barlow Ramsey, Suicide, Depression, Maternal Mental Health, Psychosis

Day 1 - To grieve, to feel my own soul and to try and separate my grief from my guilt. To accept myself for my flaws, to feel like I may be helping someone and to think that maybe, just maybe I might reach someone else who could possibly be where I was 15 years ago. #Grief #Guilt #MySoul

Day 2 - To communicate with others. To talk to you when otherwise you might not listen. To say the things I need you to hear. #Communication

Day 3 - So I don't smack you in the mouth. #SmackInTheMouth

Day 4 - Again, so I vent my anger through words in having to deal with your judgement. #Venting

Day 5 - To feel empowered. #Empowered

Day 6 - To open my email and respond to the messages from other women looking for help. To Help. #HelpingWomen

Day 7 - To find my voice and let it be heard. To not let someone else tell my story and to tell it myself. #MyStory

Day 8 - To be angry and know it's okay to express it with words. #Angry

Day 9 - My name, Natachia Barlow Ramsey. So my name will not just be known for something terrible. That I can use that tragedy to help raise awareness of the "what could happen". I may be the first woman to start talking about losing a child to Postpartum Psychosis, but I will not be the last.  #PostpartumPsychosis #NatachiaBarlowRamsey

Day 10 - Love, I write because I love(d) my son. I love my daughter, my granddaughter, my grandson, my father, my sister and brother and the rest of my family. I want to change the trajectory of our family history and that takes time and perseverance. #LoveFamily

Day 11 - Maternal Mental Health and Postpartum Unity. #MaternalMentalHealth

Day 12 - To cry. #Cry

Day 13 - To make a difference. #MakeADifference

Day 14 - To preserve my thoughts at 2am. #PreserveMyThoughts

Day 15 - Hoping if I say the right words or sentence everything will fall into place and people will start to understand. #Understanding

Day 16 - Because I can, so I shall and I do. #IcanDo

Day 17 - For the woman out there who is doing an internet search right now hoping that she is not alone and feeling the same way I felt for over 13 years. #YoureNotAlone

Day 18 - To empower other women to start finding their voice. Even if the only voice they can find right now is to talk to me. You can talk to me and you are not alone. #FindingMyVoice

Day 19 - Forgiveness. Forgiving myself, forgiving others. #Forgive

Day 20 - Some days I just want to tell someone to shut the hell up. #STFU

Day 21 - Because I will drown from the inside out from all the tears I am holding in. #DrowningInTears

Day 22 - I am a Postpartum Psychosis Survivor and Loser. #PostPartumSurvivor&Loser

Day 23 - Because this is my story and I get to tell it. No one else. I get to take my voice back and my power and my story will be used for good things and not something ugly. #MyStory

Day 24 - Because no one should have their mother hang themselves in their bathroom and have to plan her funeral at 14 years old and then have their grandfather shoot themselves a year later and not talk about it. Not receive any kind of counseling and it not raise any kind of red flags with anyone. Suicide needs to be talked about. #TalkAboutSuicide

Day 25 - I am aggravated and if I could poke someone in the nose through the internet I would. #TheFuture

Day 26 -  Occasionally it's because it gets really late and I start reminiscing and from there I can tell you I have many a partial blog sitting as a draft. I will also blame those late night posts for the typos and grammatical errors, oops! #Typos&Grammar

Day 27 - I got nothing. #Zero

Day 28 - If you don't believe you can make a difference you won't and if you never try you never will. Someone always has to go first. #MakingADifference

Day 29 - I impacted someone's life enough for them to nominate me for a Health Activist Award! Wow, occasionally I wonder how much I am getting through and then... well this. #WegoHealthAward

Day 30 - I am doing this a day early - We have to keep talking. If we don't keep speaking up nothing will ever change because the voices will fade and things will stay the same and that's just not good enough. #KeepTalking #TimeForChange

Maternal Mental Health Symbol, Postpartum Psychosis, Natachia Barlow Ramsey, Suicide, Depression, Maternal Mental Health, Psychosis

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Suicide; What's the Worst That Could Happen?

My first date with Suicide

So we are at the end of Suicide Awareness Week with World Suicide Prevention Day properly poised right in the center. I would like to tell you about my first encounter with Suicide and let's just see where the road leads us. 

It was my mother. I had just turned 14, and I was used to the sort of arguments between my mother
postpartum psychosis, maternal mental health, natachia barlow ramsey, postpartum depression, suicide
and stepfather that had me packing all or some of our things into boxes and bags and having us looking for a motel to stay at overnight. I cannot say with any amount of genuine accuracy how often this truly happened, it just seemed like it was all the time. Thinking back it was probably three or four times a year. Frequent enough for that even at 14, I recognized the pattern and wouldn't have thought the last argument as any different than all the others.

I wish I had. Instead, we did the drive all the way to Augusta and back to Belfast, stopping along the way at payphones to try and reach my stepfather. My brother and sister were in the backseat of the car. We found him at a local pub and travelling like fools all the way back to our home. I thought everything was better the next day, it was Friday, May 13th. Yeah a Friday the 13th. I don't associate them even now with "bad" things but the big deal that gets made out of them just makes a tiny voice pop into my head for a second that says "oh mom died on a Friday the 13th". It quickly goes away, it's just there. 
Instead, she had me pack everything and asked me if I would mind finishing out the school year in Searsport. I said no, I wouldn't mind. I now know she was sending me away to my Grandfather's without her. I still have a picture of her in my mind of her sitting on a lawn chair with a towel draped over her (we're in Maine and it was May so it was still chilly). She told me that there wasn't enough room in the truck for all of us and that my Stepfather would bring me and the boxes over and drop me off at my Grandfather's and she would follow. 
When I got there no one was home so I sat outside on the steps with all the boxes on the front steps for a couple hours just waiting. When my Grandfather arrived he helped me bring the boxes inside and we called my mother and she said she would be over later. When we called back again she said she had a Migraine and took something for it and would be over in the morning. I thought nothing of this and just expected to be bringing all the stuff back the following day.
This is when My Grandfather asked me to drive over with him to see if my mother wanted to come over now. I said no I would just stay there. That was around 6pm. He came back and said she was fine, but would be over the next day. The rest of the extended family was "up home" in the County, near the old Base in Limestone so it was just the two of us so I went to bed around 7:30-8pm.

The next thing I remember is him saying "Tachia, Tachia.... (I awoke slightly then and said what) you're mother's dead". I think I said "okay" and started to go back to sleep. I was in the way in room and still half asleep could hear him on the phone and as he spoke I thought he was calling people playing a practical joke, I thought he was laughing and it wasn't until I heard him blow his nose that I knew he was crying. My Grandfather who'd been in the Navy and worked the cranes down at the docks at Sprague Energy, was bawling. 
I sat up in bed, now wide awake and just listened for a minute. My mother could not be dead. That could not be right. I could hear my Grandfather telling people she had taken some pills and Hung herself in our bathroom. My body felt numb and nothing felt the same. I got up and walked out to the kitchen where he was standing and I remember just looking at him (he was a very tall man) finally asking "Is my mom really dead?". He said yes, he then told me she had overdosed, he did not tell me she had hung herself. He then said "that's why I wanted you to drive over with me, so you could see if something was wrong"... (that really stayed with me for a very, very long time and probably even now I still wonder at times if I had gone over and not said no if maybe things would have been different, that was A LOT of therapy) He then said that since I was the oldest it would be up to me to arrange the funeral. I needed to pick out clothes and we would go make the arrangements in the morning.

I remember going through all of her clothes and I picked out everything. I chose an outfit for her that she had never gotten to wear to a Christmas Party the year before. I remember when I brought the outfit in the guy at the funeral home said I didn't need to bring all the stuff I had brought. I brought bras and underwear, socks, shoes. 
As we sat there (the funeral guy, my grandfather and myself) we were deciding what was going to go into the paper and I kept asking where my mother was. I needed, I mean Needed to see her. It did not matter if they were telling me she were dead. I needed to see her. So they finally brought me in to the room where she was and I saw her on the steel table with a white sheet draped over her. She had her head in one of those little stirrups. She looked so pale. I just stared at her. 
She broke my heart. She had left me there with strangers, I had so much growing up to do and she certainly knew the dysfunctional family she had come from and she left me there with them. 
We picked out a casket, I remember it was silver and satin. It seemed so strange to be standing in a room full of caskets and trying to pick one out. How do you know at 14 years old what kind of casket to get for your mother? We're Catholic so we had a Wake and there's a place where you can kneel in front of the open casket and I just kneeled there holding her hand. Her hand didn't feel like her anymore. The texture of her skin had changed. Not only did she feel cold and her hand didn't move but her skin felt different. I guess maybe I thought if I held her hand long enough or just stared at her long enough maybe none of it would be true, or maybe she would open her eyes.
They put make-up on her hands. I was angry, that they had to use make-up on her hands to make her look "natural". I was angry that they messed up her hair really bad because she was always very particular about how she had her hair. 
She was cremated because I remember her saying at some point she didn't want to rot in the ground. 

I stayed with my Grandfather the rest of the school year. He was really great. He rearranged his schedule at work so he could bring me back and forth to school in Belfast the rest of the year. He came to my 8th grade graduation. 

My Grandmother and him had separated the previous year and my mom and him had been pretty close. 
The Following summer after my mother had Hung herself in our bathroom, my Grandfather sat in the doorway of the shed and shot himself in the heart. 
That following winter I made my first serious attempt and overdosed on Tylenol just before I ran away with a friend to Isleboro in the middle of winter. 

So began the relationship with Suicide. No one in my family received treatment until After I became so ill after the birth of my son with Postpartum Psychosis that I have changed the trajectory of our family history. Never did anyone want to discuss the suicides or even say the names of anyone. It's like they didn't exist. Let alone seek therapy. 
So, Suicide to Psychosis - yes, eleven years in the making. 
Fifteen years after that, Healthy and Healing - yes, with acceptance and therapy.

Maternal Mental Health Symbol, Postpartum Psychosis, Natachia Barlow Ramsey, Suicide, Depression, Maternal Mental Health, Psychosis

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Own what you say

I bet everyone reading this think that they are nice

I have to tell you that a lot of you aren't. I mean, I am not nice sometimes. But I am aware of it, and I feel guilty and I mull it over and think about it. Being "honest" these days has become synonymous with really just being an asshole with the end result being the tagline from said person being "just sayin'". As though those last two words added onto any sentence makes it acceptable.

 I am here to tell you; it does not.

postpartum psychosis, maternal mental health, natachia barlow ramsey, postpartum depression, suicide

Integrity is a tricky little witch. The dictionary defines Integrity as: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
I agree. I also believe it's difficult not to be swayed by the views of others. This is not to be confused with valuing others' opinions, keeping an open mind when given new information and perhaps you gain a new perspective. 

I particularly find it difficult at times to go my own way and keep steadfast in my moral beliefs when it's easier to just pretend. The things I hold nearest and dearest to my heart are that even if we stumble a little off course at times, if we at least continuing to try it will eventually work itself out. 
Maybe I am naive. Just as I don't judge people on their religious beliefs, sexual preferences, pro-life/pro-choice. I am pro-life but I believe in pro-choice. Just as I believe I get to make that decision for myself, I want for others to be able to make that decision as well. 

I know I know what's my point? I run a page on facebook called Own What You Say. I haven't paid much attention to it for the last year or so but the premise was if you are going to say something take ownership of your words.
I occasionally look back and think, Jeez did I really shove that out at 2am and then go on to blog another post the next day about the same thing as if my mouth had diarrhea? Yep! That was me. Sometimes I think "maybe I should just delete that post and make like I didn't go just a bit overboard". But you know, I am just as human as you and if I don't leave said posts there to remind myself of those mistakes it would be easy to let myself think I am just as "nice" as a lot of people pretend to be.

I would rather say, yeah I gotta get a better filter for my mouth especially after midnight. I want to stay truest to myself and I know who I am and how I got here. That doesn't mean I never get pissed off, or have a bad day. It also doesn't mean I think saying "just sayin'" makes being rude acceptable. But I can't think of one person who knows me who would say they thought I was fake. And I would always rather have it that way and I like my integrity.

**This is a post written a while back as well. I actually have several that I am going to push out "as is" over the next several weeks**

Maternal Mental Health Symbol, Natachia Barlow Ramsey, Postpartum Psychosis, Suicide, Maternal Mental Health, Psychotic, Depression

Wednesday, August 27, 2014



postpartum psychosis, maternal mental health, natachia barlow ramsey, postpartum depression, suicide

Welcome to Stigmama.com

I have always believed in the power of women, especially those who have been touched by mental illness or mental difference, to create change. We are different. We  see what others don’t, write what others won’t, and give beauty to the deepest experiences of motherhood and the human soul.

I created Stigmama for mothers of all ages to do just that. To speak their truths in a non judgmental, supportive, creative community. We need the wisdom and support of others to unpack stigma of mental difference in motherhood.

How does it impact your life as a mother? How did it impact your mother’s life? Or your grandmother? If you are interested in writing for Stigmama, please contact me.

Walker Karraa

Maternal Mental Health Symbol, Natachia Barlow Ramsey, Postpartum Psychosis, Suicide, Maternal Mental Health, Psychotic, Depression

Lube Anyone?

*The Post You Are About The Read May Not Be Safe For Work, Church, Your Home Office, Your Car Or Anywhere Other Than The Privacy of Your Bathroom Sitting Safely on Your Toilet With The Door Locked*

This won't hurt a b....

postpartum psychosis, maternal mental health, natachia barlow ramsey, postpartum depression, suicide

If you have gotten this far and want to proceed, you too may want to be sitting on your porcelain throne.

So, as you are all probably aware the Department of Health and Human Services in Maine has been a part of my life more or less since 1999. Now I have fought and won many a battle with them in various court settings all under the umbrella of "The Commissioner".
Yet, once again as they smile to my face and look me in the eye and I think to myself  "Oh this isn't going to be so bad", they quickly bend me over and there is no lube involved.

I am mentally drained.

I'd like to say the "worst part is"... they do it with a smile. Well honestly it's more like a grimace or a smirk. But there are too many "worst parts". I guess believing that Human Services actually means Humane services is just laughable in Maine anyway.

*Originally blogged around 1am and has been sitting in my "draft folder as is" for almost two months*

Maternal Mental Health Symbol, Postpartum Psychosis, Natachia Barlow Ramsey, Suicide, Depression, Maternal Mental Health, Psychosis