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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I Forgive You

An Open Letter to My Ex-Husband


After I was sick, and Hunter died; it took me a very long time to forgive you. Years and years in therapy and praying. Even as I type this it brings tears to my eyes. You see, for ever and a day ago I had forgiven you. But that forgiveness was for myself. I couldn't continue to hold onto so much anger. Now I am forgiving you for you...

Dear Chris,

   I forgive you for not being there. I know this was something I struggled greatly with myself. For the couple of months after I became sick with Postpartum Psychosis and I sat in AMHI I came in and out of lucidity, especially at first.
Natachia Barlow Ramsey, Postpartum Psychosis, Christopher Ramsey, Natachia and Chris Married

The clearer and clearer my mind became, the more and more I asked how my brain could fail me in such a way. 
I remember being told certain things I could not remember and some things to this day I am not sure if they are my own memories, or if I am remembering them because I have been told about them. 
Natachia Barlow Ramsey, Postpartum Psychosis,Hunter,  Christopher Ramsey, Natachia and Chris MarriedI am not sure where it is anymore but around 2006 or so I finally felt strong enough to listen to the answering machine tape that you handed over to the police. It took me several attempts to get through it. I felt brought back in time. I was hysterical on the tape. Begging you to help me. I remembered you kept hanging up the phone and I would call back and that's why there were so many calls on the machine of me like that, over and over. Crying, asking you to pick up the phone. Telling you something was wrong. I didn't know what was wrong but begging you to help me, over and over. I didn't know it then but I guess you had a date with another woman that day. (Maybe there was someone there right then and you just never told me.) All I know is this; you were my husband and I was desperate for help and I needed you. I couldn't even make complete thoughts in my head and I didn't know what was happening to me. 
That right there, the begging, crying and outright telling you repeatedly that I needed you to help me because something wasn't right. That was really a hard one to forgive. It still is sometimes. Especially when I hear you saying things about what was happening back then that aren't true. 
But, I have been thinking that maybe you need to know that I have forgiven you so you can forgive yourself. 
I am giving you the benefit of the doubt and saying that if we could do that all over again you would do it differently. If you knew better back then that you would have helped. 
So, I forgive you. I forgive you for not being there when I needed you. I not only forgive you for me, I forgive you for you

I won't get into the specific things you said because I believe saying them again gives them power and I will not repeat what you said in anger about Hunter. But we both know the ugliness that came from your mouth about him because you did not believe him to be your son. I forgive you for those hateful words. I forgive for forsaking our son and for those words crossing your lips. I forgive you for you.

We were married for 12 years and had two children. There are many, many more things that could be said and many more things that could be listed here. These seem like they need to be said out loud the most... 

So I forgive you for me and I forgive you for you. Now, forgive yourself.



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


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Just this side of Right

I practice everyday staying on the "right" side. I don't want to confuse that with being right. I am wrong lots of times. 


But you know when you go to the Emergency Room these days for something and they now have the mandatory questions asking you if you are safe at home, do you feel like hurting yourself or anyone else... and well, there's always that person that's been bugging you that pops into your head briefly that you'd like to sock in the nose. But you don't pop them in the nose because you are staying on this side of right.

I've been practicing that for the better part of 16 years. It doesn't mean I don't want to pop any number of people in the nose, especially the knowingly ignorant. When I say Ignorant, it's not meant to be taken as an insult. I am using that in its truest sense -

Ignorant

ˈiɡnərənt/
adjective

  • lacking knowledge or awareness in general; uneducated or unsophisticated.
  • lacking knowledge, information, or awareness about something in particular.

  • informal
         discourteous or rude.

    synonyms:   without knowledge of, unaware of, unconscious of, oblivious to, incognizant of, unfamiliar with, unacquainted with, uninformed about, ill-informed about, unenlightened about, unconversant with, inexperienced in/with, naive about, green about

    I say knowingly because the correct information is there. They choose to remain ignorant because it would mean destroying this bubble they have built around themselves with incorrect information. Their entire existence and this fairy tale they have woven would come crashing down around them.

    When I think about all the things going on in my life I stop and think... how bored/boring must these people be with their own lives to obsess about mine? But honestly that's about all I can muster for time or even thought on this. See! I am bored with this already. I can't even imagine obsessing over it for days/weeks/months on end... Talk about a Yawn Fest
  • Thursday, January 1, 2015

    Snot, Diarrhea, Chicken Bones...

    I spy with my little eye

    My sister can't eat chicken on a bone. I remember when I was younger that used to gross me out too. I always wanted boneless chicken, and especially wings. All those slimy little wings with the little bones and tendons. Yuck, made my stomach turn.

    Then, I was put in a Mental Hospital and saw feces smeared on the bathoom stall...

      
    
    postpartum psychosis stories, postpartum psychosis story, hunter ramsey, postpartum, amhi, natachia barlow ramsey
    AMHI Right After it was Closed Down 2005
    I remember during my stay in 1999 there were these old metal lockers where the patients kept their cigarettes and lighters. When there was a smoke break, the patients would line up and the worker would open up each locker and each patient could get their cigarettes. One patient didn't want to lose his place in line because if you missed the opening of the lockers and the exiting of being out in the "yard" (it was a large cage attached to one of the doors so no one could escape, although I watched many try and a few actually scale it) you would miss that smoke break. Well, he proceeded to blow his nose into his hands and wipe them onto the lockers. Which wouldn't all come off immediately, and just kind of smeared around. I in turn started to gag and made it to a small waste basket to vomit.
    When the nurse asked him why he didn't go to the bathroom he quietly replied "I didn't want to miss smoke break". I believed him and he was serious.
    When I was remanded in 2001 after being found NCR for Postpartum Psychosis, I happened to have a pair of these blue hospital socks. You know the kind they give you when you're inpatient with the little rubber soles so you don't slip and there's no actual heel. Well, they never made it to my feet. I took a black permanent marker and wrote "PHONE CONDOM" on each sock. This happened after one patient who was a very nice man was admitted but had rotting teeth to the point whenever he ate they would bleed. After dinner where the dessert had been cake, he was called to the telephone to take a call. I had to make a call when he was done and my normal MO was to clean the phone off with an alcohol swab. Well, as I looked at the mouthpiece I could see that

    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