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Friday, October 7, 2016

Upon My Death, Do Not Let Me Die

When I am gone


I don't want my story to stop being shared. When I am gone, be it by accident, disease, tragedy or triumph; I want it to be known. Say it out loud. I give my permission now to share my story. Share all my stories and if you have more stories of me, share them too. 

Upon my death, do not let me die.

*Originally shared October 10th, 2015. Right after the big flood last year. Now we are about to face Hurricane Matthew. So I share again*

I have lived an extraordinary life so far. I was reminded yet again very recently that we don't always know if we will wake up tomorrow. When we are young and/or naive, we seem to think we are invincible. That will not happen to us or those we love. We can walk away angry. With words left unsaid and that we will always have another day to say those
Myrtle Beach South Carolina, Postpartum Pychosis, Natachia Barlow Ramsey, When I Die, Flood, Thousand Year Flood
things we wanted to say.

I am living and have been living in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I have been here for almost six months and the last two weeks we have seen some amazing flooding take place. I have seen some things I hadn't seen before. Some, as simple as a cotton field.

Near the end of this summer we lost a woman who wanted to share her own experience of Postpartum Psychosis. Her name is Naomi Knoles; and she wrote We All Have A Story To Tell. Her husband is continuing that journey and wrote a short piece I will share here. I know personally how difficult that road is. I myself, along with many others within the Mental Health community took a hard hit when she died. I think it also provided a wake-up call.

Even one year; 3 years, 5, 10, 20 years after you have been in "recovery" and everyone thinks you have gotten past the worst of it; you can still have bad days and not make it out. The hole you have found yourself in, that dark, black hole that many of us have described. Well, that hole is deep, it's dark and even when you think you have walked out and beyond it's reach; it still has the ever so slightest grasp sitting lovingly upon your chest. It caresses your cheek and whispers in your ear. It says familiar things to lure you back and before you can blink away the tears, you are seeing black again.

Court for my grandchildren and things happening with my daughter take a lot out of me. Along with advocating.
Job discrimination is huge. I had a job, that I enjoyed very much and was doing well at. The minute, and I do mean the minute, they found out about my past; that was it. I had to leave. It did not matter that I had been doing this job for approximately a month already. I am not going to say where this was, just that I had taken a position where people that were educated (one was a doctor) were in the employment position and I was the employee.
When people ask me why I don't just go right out and find a job I just look at them. I have a resume. An excellent resume. I have skills, many skills. I am intelligent and sociable, I do an excellent job. I can even pass a standard background check and be bonded. (I used to sell insurance) But if one person googles my name, I am done for.

These are the kinds of things that 10, 15 and 20+ year out of recovery or at any time in a person's life can become too much.

Pink Moped, Postpartum Psychosis, Natachia Barlow Ramsey, Maternal Mental Health, Myrtle Beach South Carolina, When I dieI was out driving around on my Pink Moped during this Thousand Year Storm in South Carolina. I was listening to my mp3 player and I wasn't trying to get hurt but it occurred to me I wasn't practicing being my safest.
I started thinking about how I made the decision to "Walk the Line" and "Life for Death Sentence". I started thinking that while I may not commit Suicide more purposefully the way Naomi did; maybe I am hoping fate will just take over.
It's not suicide if I am out riding my Pink Moped listening to tunes during the worst Flood the Carolinas have ever seen right?
What about if I walk alone at night on the beach? Driving without a Helmet on highways? Meeting people off from Craigslist? Moving in with people I meet off from Craigslist?
I won't list some things for the sake of the fet community of people I am involved with.

Then it occurred to me that perhaps I just wanted to be scared.
Another friend (Walker Karraa) who is taking an offline break was speaking of a conversation she'd had with Naomi who had said "Walker, I was in prison. Nothing scares me." I remember thinking when she shared that, that I too had those thoughts and feelings. I still get scared for others. Just not for myself.

I want to sit on the beach every day and smell the salt in the air. I want to forget all the sadness around me. I want to be able to take a ride on my moped to the store and back while listening to music and enjoy the warm breeze.

But, then I read another story about another mom and another family who says; "we didn't know, we had never heard of Postpartum Psychosis". All I can think is how can you have not in this day and age. But then I remember they are cutting funding in even some of the most forward thinking states as far as Mental Health Programs go. North Carolina just cut $110 million from it's regional mental health and another $152 million is set to be cut this Spring unless something is done.

University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill created the first Women's Mood Disorder Clinic. Now that same state that set a standard is about to cut close to $300 million in Mental Health from its budget in less than a year's total time.

And that, is why. That is exactly why women and their families are not hearing more about Maternal Mental Health. Because Mental Health is usually one of the first to be slated for cuts.

I also, get emails, or friend requests on any of my numerous social media platforms. Someone wants to strike up a conversation with me about their experience, their child, wife. Sometimes I can't get to them all right away. But I do the best I can. I realize that by sharing My Story; I have made a difference. That for every person that stumbles upon my blog and reads it. Every person that reads My Story and reaches out or passes it along, I am getting through to people in tenfold.

Why, why am I talking about this now. It actually started after our friend passed away and there was a big discussion about whether or not Naomi's Story should be shared. When and how it should be shared and by who. None of us within the community felt quite comfortable. It almost felt disrespectable. But, on the other hand I truly believe she would want for Her and her Anna's story to continue on. Her story hasn't died. It feels like an injustice to stop talking. Like the disease won.
Postpartum Psychosis can't win! If we stop talking about ALL the people involved and how it has affected each of them it wins.

So, I will say it again. Postpartum Psychosis cannot win. Keep talking. Keep telling stories. Keep sharing.

I don't want my story to stop being shared. When I am gone, be it by accident, disease, tragedy or triumph; I want it to be known. Say it out loud. I give my permission now to share my story. Share all my stories and if you have more stories of me, share them too. 

Upon my death, do not let me die.





~Be Loud, Be Purposeful, Be Strong, Be Courageous, Be Creative, Be Something~

Originally Drafted 09-14-15

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