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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Postpartum Depression vs Postpartum Psychosis; 1, 2, 3, 4, - I declare... War?

Are We Battling for Our Place; Our Voice?


In my longstanding pursuit of wanting to not only have a voice myself, but to enable others to have a voice in similar circumstances as well, it seems we have (and by "we" I mean 'me') inadvertently stepped on some toes. It's often difficult to be heard unless you shout in this busy world of everyone talking over everyone else. 

So generally I still start out by saying in an ever so low voice, "excuse me, would you be so kind". Then I work up to "pardon me, I have something to say and I would appreciate some of your time". (Now this may happen a couple times) To eventually "Excuse Me! I Have Something I Am Going To Say And I Will Be Heard"! *Sigh*



natachia barlow ramsey, postpartum psychosis stories, postpartum depression, not guilty by reason of insanity, hunter ramsey, insanity defense
Stormy Outside My Home Today. Our First
Nor'Easter Of the Year.
Honestly, it never feels good to get to the point of the proverbial finger shaking (even in my own mind as I type). But what's a girl to do? I mean these are important issues. 
Bridging the gap from the tragedies, to the happy endings of where we find ourselves at the mercy of Postpartum Mood Disorders. They strip us of our ability to function at the most basic level. They can take away our sense of reasoning and our ability to rationalize. It attacks our brain; what we rely on to tell us something isn't right. If our brain is telling us  the water isn't hot and we get in it and our brain doesn't register it as pain, we get burned. 

So as I have stated previously, I have been wanting to narrow the gap between what I feel is all the women running blogs and speaking on websites about how they "survived" Postpartum Depression or Postpartum Psychosis or any Postpartum Affliction. I think it is more than wonderful that all those women are reaching out and talking. I want to hear from all the "other" women as well. Not only the women who committed infanticide or attempted suicide. But their families of suicide survivors. Also as one women on another site recently commented -

Monday, December 17, 2012

Zombie Apocalypse on December 21st

The Mayan Calendar and the world ending on Friday


 It was several years ago when I first heard of the world ending and the Mayan calendar. December 21st, 2012. I was dating someone who had come across these documentaries and we started watching them. After several hours spent and much research I stopped watching and stopped researching. I was most certain the world was not ending just because the Mayans Calendar wasn't big enough to squeeze another year onto the tableau.


natachia barlow ramsey, postpartum psychosis stories, postpartum psychosis, not guilty by reason of insanity, zombies
But even as we stumbled across these youtube documentaries and websites dedicated to the Mayans and the end date; I was highly aware of how long they had been around and the hundreds of thousands of times they had been watched already. This was several years ago, when no one was really talking about it. Now Everyone is talking about it.

I saw that someone had made a casual comment on Facebook about not wanting to leave the house that day (this coming Friday). It wasn't because she was concerned about the world actually ending. She was concerned about those who actually believed it would and how they were going to respond. It got me thinking perhaps she was right.

I was sitting with my friend Martha the other night and as we were talking (that's code for debating in case you were wondering) about the possible Doomsday, I mentioned how I thought there would be Mass Suicides. She genuinely seemed surprised by my suggesting that. So, we looked up that Mass suicides over the course of history and some of the more notable.
Let's also keep in mind that the most recent that was noted was in 1997 and we have come a Long Way in technology since then. That was just the beginning of people having personal computers connected to the internet in their homes.
So what is this do you ask? Well it's the Hale Bopp Comet and those who thought in order to reach it they had to commit suicide to reach the "Alien Spaceship" and the group? Heaven's Gate. Ring any bells now?

Another infamous Mass Suicide we've inevitable all heard of was by The People's Temple. Orchestrated by Jim Jones; now that should be a familiar name. 909 people committed suicide on November 18th, 1978. Why? So they could die with dignity. That's a lot of people to reach without internet, cell phones, instant messaging, text etc...

There's plenty more, I'm also giving the abbreviated versions. So yeah after watching those videos myself and seeing the views in the hundreds of thousands. Plus the guy was doing sold out seminars. I am concerned with what may being going through the heads of other's this coming Friday. Even as I sit here typing this, Letterman is talking about it.

I am thinking stay home and not be out travelling. I'll just watch some movies, do some Pre-Christmas baking and watch the news.

I may not believe the world is ending but I certainly believe that others do and experience has taught me to be careful and I think I will. I don't wanna end up being a Zombie...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Nightmares: Wicked and Visceral

Visceral dreaming, vivid nightmares


I ran out of my Zoloft a couple days ago. Now this has happened before and I am very aware of the pattern. It takes a while before the Zoloft starts to have an effect on my emotions. While that's still true, I've been having vivid nightmares.

Oh about what do you ask? Sex imparticular. Along with everything from Vampires (too many tv shows and movies on this lately) to exes and everything in between....


Although, there may not be much wiggle room between a few of them and being cold, lifeless, bloodsucking creatures. That being said, not all were like that.

natachia barlow ramsey, postpartum psychosis stories, surviving postpartum psychosis, not guilty by reason of insanity
I was always aware of the impact Zoloft had on my libido. The greater the increase in Zoloft, the greater the decrease in my sex drive. It didn't disappear so I've never been worried. I guess I just wasn't aware at how quickly just a two day difference would make. Now I am having crazy dreams about (yes sex) but other things are happening as well. In the dreams I am imagining it's another person and yet seeing the face of an ex. *Sigh* How disturbing.
It must be the combination of the wanting of someone else, and yet the comfort of a familiar face. But I'm not Carl Jung, I have no real idea.
What I also have noticed is how fast I started dreaming vividly and with such emotion. I was sleeping earlier and woke up crying. The dream had to do with many things but at the end finding out someone I knew died of a drug overdose.

I have always been a very vivid dreamer and used to quite frequently get to the point of lucid dreaming. A few times I got caught in this weird cycle where I thought I had woken up and I was still dreaming. I knew, because one time inparticular I could see my toes and my nail polish was red. When I finally did awaken my feet (with the bright red polish) was sticking out from under the blanket just the way I had dreamt it. [That particular dream was in an old scary apt in downtown Belfast and someone was trying to get through the door and I was trying to wake up]
I think this is why I really like the movie Inception.
It makes me question the fact that in order to keep my nightmares away, I seem to be stifling my dreaming as well (along with libido but who's keeping track. Me!). I used to be able to work out a lot in my dreams, especially about where I was in contrast, to what was happening in my everyday life. I think I have not been so concerned of that especially since a particularly difficult break-up two years ago.
We had been together for just over four years and I absolutely loved this man more than I had loved anyone. It was different than my first love; the love I'd had for my ex-husband. (I don't want to dimish that in any way. It was young and powerful. We loved each other and made horrible mistakes. We married twice. Once in the privacy of our own bedroom and the second time in front of friends and family. It was genuine and beautiful before it got ugly).
This love I had for this man was a grown-up love. The kind where I was able to tell him about my past and he accepted it. He would sing to me in an open Church that he loved me, during open mic nights. When no one else was around he would cry. We talked about things I am not sure I will ever talk about with anyone ever again. It was a chance encounter of online dating. I didn't think I would see him again. But waiting in my email was an invitation to his home. He paid someone $100 to clean his apt and bought me a huge pillow because I had mentioned how I loved pillows.
This was a meeting of minds, hearts and kindred spirits. He was beautiful. We shared many interests. But, his family hated me. Especially his mother.
She had had cancer, was approaching 70 when I met her in 2007. She looked me up online. He had a horrible relationship with her (he claimed) when we met and said the worst things about her. Because I have such deep seeded mother issues I pushed for him to become involved in his mother's life.
I still don't know if that was good for him or not. I hope ultimately it was; because it certainly wasn't for me. She would twist my words and say the cruelest things to me when no one else was around. Like the tiniest of knives just sidling up to me and smoothly sticking it in. Of course, I didn't actually know "mothers" did this. I didn't have one and my experience was not much. I also credited her being so God fearing and Church going and for the longest time attributed it to myself. I must have been reading her wrong. I must do better. I have to try harder.
She lived out of state and came during the summer months. We had just moved to Bangor and she always stayed on the island where the entire family was from. We fixed up my car and let her use it to save her money. I gave her $100 out of my own pocket when she got here. (Still don't think she ever realized that) We were living at the time in a tiny one bedroom and she wanted to stay with us. So, I had a twin size cot I set up in the living room.
By the time she came back up to Bangor during her two-week stay (back almost a week early to stay in our living room) I couldn't take it. There were constant needling comments when we were alone. I went to a hotel for two days.
So in 2009, she doesn't even tell us she's coming and I have rented a big house in Bangor with plently of room. We hear at 10pm her flight is in around midnight and can she stay at the Shop in downtown Bangor. At this time, we are doing great. We've adopted a dog. We had an entire day planned for just the two of us. We were on fire at that time and had been having discussions about our relationship and how well the business was doing.
I set up my daughter's room for her (she was in town because her cancer was back and if I remember correctly was doing some trial in Boston. Apparently she was supposed to be very ill at the time) and bought tons of groceries. About half way through the week she was there, he had to make a several hour trip to pick up musical gear and I ended alone with her that evening.
She kept at me for probably 20 minutes. She was being kind and motherly, I actually thought she finally liked me. Maybe she could see how hard I was trying. She kept asking about our relationship(his and mine) and although I thought she was being nice. This wasn't good territory for us. So, I avoided and evaded. She kept getting kinder and doing this whole, you can talk to me thing, in this motherly way (As I have stated I am very vulnerable here) and I finally started telling her how great things had been going.
In an Instant, she turned into a different person and stood in my living room, where I had invited her; gotten through the wall I put up with her and said "He doesn't love you. He's not In Love with you. I know he cares about you and has love for you but isn't in love with you". I was heartbroken. In part because I had let my guard down and she really stuck me where it hurt. She pretended to act motherly towards me just to say something so awful in my own home, where she had been invited. I had to excuse myself and go upstairs where I just cried. When he returned home I tried to explain to him what happened but he thought I must have misunderstood. I can still to this day see it in my head. I can see her hand on my arm.
Two days later, they were up and she was cooking breakfast and I wanted nothing to do with going downstairs and being around her. I felt incredibly awkward and uncomfortable in my own home. I just stayed upstairs in the bedroom. He came up and asked me to come down and I said no.
Then she came up. She kneeled beside the bed and proceeded to tell me that if things were so bad between the two of us (him and I) that maybe I should just break up with him.
That was it! I was done. When she went downstairs and he came up I was a mess. I couldn't believe I was in my own home, had invited her in and she would say such nasty things to me. He sided with her and I asked them both to leave.
They both stayed at a motel for the next couple days until her flight home.  A few weeks later when we reconciled I found this notebook in his laptop bag where she had written a page worth's of instructions for him about me. Stating things like: Do not respond to her emails. Do not answer the phone. It went on about how the business was His business etc...
Even after all that, it's one of his family members that has created this hateful site that I mentioned in a post. It's this supposed chronology of newspaper articles. The catch is, you can't read any of them unless you pay to. The few free things are on there, but I have them here as well. The "motion" she has posted, she selectively took a few paragraphs out of the ruling and placed them on her page. It's not even the actual hearing. So she has taken portions from an already portioned hearing and put them there. I know she thinks she is being smarter than everyone else with her supposed sleuth skills. Interestingly besides my daughter, the only other person to really comment is my ex-husbands current wife. Some days I swear she behaves like a woman with a school girl crush given the amount of attention she pays to me and the incessant amount she talks about me. It's unreal. I don't even think about her until I get 19 pages of emails of how my ex-husband is cheating on her and staying with her for her parents money. I do not want any involvement in that utterly ridiculous chaos.
So, yeah, the last couple years have been difficult. I used to be so angry, then hurt, sad. Angry again and mostly hurt, especially when he wouldn't do anything about his sister's "tribute" to my son. Now I just don't care. I can't do anything to change how any of them are. I can only do things to help and change myself.
I always find it interesting that those who scream the loudest at times about being so "Christian" (which oddly all the above claim and are supposed to be. Are a part of or were raised very religious) are usually the most vindictive. I'm sitting here thinking; what happened to forgiveness and not throwing stones etc...
I don't tell anyone how Christian I am or God fearing. I don't try to shove religion down anyone's throat. My relationship with God or if I have a relationship with God is my business and that's between him and I. I don't feel the need to advertise how "good" of a God fearing, Christian person I am. I guess ultimately because I don't have to. It's personal.
So... what got me started on exes? Oh dreaming about Vampires and them being lifeless, cold and bloodsucking. Incubus/Succubus/Vampire.... They all suck the life out of you and unfortunately do not give it back.


Saturday, December 1, 2012

~All I Want For Christmas is My Sanity~ Oh, and Heat...

My oven isn't the best at heating the house


I thought my oven was doing a pretty good job at supplimenting the heat source in my home to conserve on fuel. That is until it dipped into the single digits. You see, my furnace also heats my hot water, and in a bid to make sure I also have enough hot water, I've been turning on my oven during the day and leaving the door wide open. It seemed to be working well until this recent cold snap. Now all the way from my nose to the tips of my toes are froze...

 
No Christmas!

*Read with Caution, I sound like a Pooper Below*

My daughter, as she is going outside, figures right then and there, is the moment she needs to tell me something. Door wide open, letting all the heat out. If I dare to say "shut the door, you're letting all the heat out and the cold in" she huffs off or this is the beginning of some hour long "You don't listen to me". No matter how many times I've repeated this sentiment about the door; it matters naught. The most important thing in the universe Must be said at that exact moment.
 
 
Let me give you another example. I am currently trying to rent out the extra bedroom in our house. I have told her (at least a gazillion times) we need to rent that room before we can do anything. Like put gas in the jeep, buy groceries, toilet paper, or her Cigarettes. But what's the first thing she asks for? Cigarettes. I try and explain I have $8.27 in my checking account and we also have to think about Lanah for Christmas this year. Well, she already has a list her arm's length long. I know she just doesn't understand, I just desperately wish she did.
 
It often feels like we're in feast or famine mode. (Not that our feast modes have ever been particularly overbearing) But it's always felt nice when this time of year rolls around and I can give without having to think too much about it. I can give to my loved ones what they need and also a little something extra. I'm also able to 'adopt' a couple needy families to make sure they also have a nice Christmas.
This year is not like that at all. I myself have been looking into programs to help with gifts for my daughter and grand-daughter. I have looked into the national programs. I am ready to give up on Christmas all together.
 
I used to love this time of year. All the lights and sparkles. Waiting to see the excited looks as everyone opened their presents.
This year is filled with job hunting (without any luck), court dates, doctor's appointments, guardianship hearings, mediation and all around blahhh!
 
I am beginning to really think Christmas should only be every 2-3 years.
I know, I know...I sound like a Big Bah Humbug. I really do want to be in the Christmas Spirit. I'm just not sure how to get there right now.
 


Friday, November 30, 2012

Crazy Nights Crazy Days

If you don't go in crazy you'll come out crazy...


First I want to say; a lot actually:


Natachia Barlow Ramsey, Postpartum Psychosis ,Depression, Suicide, AMHI
AMH
  1. I tend to infuse most of my ramblings with humor. I smile and sometimes laugh when it's most inappropriate. I knew a woman I actually really admired and liked quite a bit who was a female forensic patient (there were only four of us at AMHI) and she had killed her mother. Well the four of us were in a group together and I nervously laughed when responding to her. More than highly inappropriate. But, it's the only way I know how to get through some of this. Sometimes I almost feel in awe of my own life.
  2. There's a huge misconception that a lot of people are found NCR/NGRI (Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity was changed in Maine and many other states to Not Criminally Responsible after John Hinckley shot Ronald Reagan). In fact, just roughly 1% of court cases involve the insanity defense. Of those, only around 1 in 4 are successful.(Insanity Defense PBS) Hence the reason there were only four females and another example it garner's an excess of media attention when someone does plead an insanity defense. That being said, there are many more men than women who are forensic patients. I have a few private social media

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Story of Severe Postpartum Depression with Psychotic Features

Tragedies, Trauma, Disasters. What's the common thread?


Unfortunately, these are all the things that in most circumstances have to occur in order for change to happen. Why you ask? I suppose as a "civilized" (and I use that word lightly) society, when things appear to be going along swimmingly, nobody sees a need for change. So, let's take a look at the harsh reality shall we?  I can't imagine anyone wanting to discover that a new mother has 1) Killed Herself, 2) Killed her Child(ren) or 3) Killed herself and her Child(ren) 

When you see it, you know you never want to see it again and that is what prompts change...


We've been making progress with issues on Postpartum, but change takes time. It doesn't happen overnight or even within one generation. It takes a movement of people joining together over a lifetime, advocating and working together, relentlessly. 
The basic reality is this; it's those kind of circumstances that evoke change. In my small community in Belfast, Maine, no one knew what postpartum psychosis was. Least of all me. I had heard of the baby blues, which to my understanding was something that sometimes happens to new moms; they get sad and get over it. Done! Talk about an understatement.
postpartum psychosis story, postpartum psychosis stories, natachia barlow ramseym suicide, depression
AMHI Ice Crystal After it closed down 2007
Even when I was sent to AMHI and started talking to the Psychiatrist there (and the many, many evaluators), there was little written on Postpartum Mental Health Issues at the time. Yet, throughout history it's been well documented and Europe has statutes that speak directly to this specific time frame after a mother has given birth. A few of my Doctor's even commented on it in hearings.
I remember when the story broke about Andrea Yates. We followed the trial and were so saddened when she was initially found guilty instead of NGRI from Postpartum Psychosis. We rejoiced when her sentence was later overturned because of the lead Psychiatrist who testified; lied actually under oath, and many things he testified about were inaccurate.
Think about how much recognition that brought to modern day society about Postpartum Mental Health Issues. Why? Because it took the lives of five children. Andrea had been struggling for years, waving her red flag around and begging for help. Still, no one stepped in and this never received the kind of attention it needed until lives were lost and the entire world was affected by this tragedy.
Andrea herself will suffer in her own mind a certain kind of hell that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. I ache for the turmoil I know she feels inside.
I was speaking to a journalist a few weeks ago and she was asking me about my blog and we were discussing one of the reasons I wanted to finally start sharing my story. I mentioned that I had been looking for years for someone who had been in a similar

Friday, November 23, 2012

Rat Infestation, Stellar Turkey Gobblers and Killer Cold Medicine

One of those things is a LIE!

So here's the thing I've noticed. Some of you (my readers), are fickle. Actually, that's not really true. MOST of you require some kind of some strange attention grabbing headline in order to read the article. The article to date that caught the most viewers the fastest; Snot, Diarrhea, Chicken Bones! I know, I know. It's a real mouth watering piece. Especially when I mentioned fecal matter in the first paragraph. How could one resist?

**(I have just realized 12/5 how badly I need to edit this. Late night, Head Cold while on Antihistamines is NOT the ideal time to blog [shrug].)**

natachia barlow ramsey, postpartum psychosis story, postpartum depression, not guilty by reason of insanity, amhi
Happy Thanksgiving Rat With Tissues and Cold medicine
Not that the article itself wasn't interesting, but hey! Of course, I think all my articles are interesting. That's like allowing me to 'Like' my own status on Facebook or think my own joke is funny. Of course I do. I wouldn't have said it otherwise. I have an entire page dedicated to Owning What You Say. The premise behind the page is to take ownership of your words. Which is what I try to do here.
Which is a good reason why I probably shouldn't be on here now. Why do you ask? Oh, well I have terrible allergies and I thought yesterday that's what this awful congestion was. I also had no idea what to expect for Thanksgiving this year because last year my daughter rearranged the plans at the last minute. We had plans with family and somehow she ended up out of town, with this very not so nice 'girl'. This same 'girl' was actually around 30 years old (my daughter was 18) had 3 kids and was letting my daughter drive her car. Now if I hadn't mentioned it before my daughter is special needs.
About 2 weeks later my daughter took this "girls' vehicle and wrecked it. [Addendum* My daughter does not have a license and will probably never have one]
Moving on.... We'll talk about that another day.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Why was Postpartum Psychosis not considered a medical condition?

Why was Postpartum Psychosis not Considered a medical condition?

Memories..

Photo Op...

Feeling Nostalgic, maybe because of the holidays so I was looking through some old and new and thought I would share some pictures.

So here goes nothing!

Shey and I shooting Bumper Pool
natachia barlow ramsey, postpartum psychosis story, postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis, depression, suicide, not guilty by reason of insanity, ngri
Black and White photo Booth circa 1974
Shey had to stand on a chair and I had to hold the back end of the cue since it was too heavy. - Apparently this photo booth was before they had color. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

One Night in Bangkok...

Reminding myself this isn't exactly Thailand


I have times when I want to do something almost to prove to myself I am alive. Like jumping off a bridge into the ocean. I know it's not actually necessary, but on occasion I have that urge. It's probably similar to the urge I describe below about screaming Fuck You and wanting to Punch People in the Face. Those last two don't sound very ladylike...




Some days I just want to scream Fuck You to the world. There are days when I want to punch people in the face. There are times when I have wondered if this is my reincarnated life as punishment of a past life and I was something truly awful.
natachia barlow ramsey, postpartum psychosis story, not guilty by reason of insanity, not criminally responsible, postpartum depression
Pouring in Chapel Hill Waiting for Lanah
I don't have those moments very often. But on occasion when it feels like everything is just bearing it's weight down on me. I am perhaps just one kind voice away from shedding a bucket full of tears (cue the tears now as I type). I have those thoughts.

I have times when I think I just want to go and find some peace and solace. Other times when I just want the company of the unknown stranger who knows nothing about me and to find comfort in their arms. I know it's short lived. So, I have basically sworn off real dating for now. I'm actually supposed to have a date (I have signed up for those dating websites, all the free ones anyway). I usually get as far as a few email responses and I'll either stop communicating or never follow through with the date.
The idea of introducing someone to my past is exhausting. [Oh that date is supposed to be on this Friday]

It's difficult finding that happy medium of someone that knows about your history and doesn't want to date you Because of it and someone who doesn't know anything about your history and then you end up having to tell them about it. Let me just say there are not dating sites out there that specialize in this.

Oh, the punching people in the face thing? I'm not advocating violence in any way. I was speaking

Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Walking Dead

Zombie Shuffle


A woman I have been talking and corresponding with recently said the experience of being in the Psychiatric Hospital seemed as traumatic as the Postpartum Psychosis Episode itself. I myself have often reflected on that and felt similar. The things you experience inside a mental health facility can be very scary, especially if you are there as a forensic patient and are doing your 'time' vs just being there until you are better.


postpartum psychosis stories, natachia barlow ramsey, amhi, not criminally responsible
AMHI - Original Stone Building, Right Side, Bottom
Male Forensics Unit
Aside from the constant screaming and noise, there's the having to see or hear someone being forced, sometimes physically to take medication. After watching the patient pace the hallways for perhaps a month, more or less, doing any number of things, there will be an emergency order written for them to receive medication. Usually they are told and are given the option of taking it orally at that point and if still refusing are held down by any number of staff and given injections of meds. You can hear them screaming and begging, pleading. I can recall some of them so vividly and with such clarity.
I understood why sometimes it might be necessary, it didn't make it any easier to witness.
As I look into the recesses of my mind and I recall the faces and the empty stares. The hollow eyes, sad and broken faces, I know I too must have looked like that for months when I was first admitted to AMHI.
I had a one to one for the longest time (where you are assigned a staff person to be with you at all times even to go into the bathroom stall with you).
I have the vaguest memory of finally looking into a mirror (I think to brush my teeth), it may have been to get ready to go to my son's funeral. I remember I had black all around my mouth and chin. I had no idea what that was. It had to have been the activated charcoal from when they pumped my stomach. It was probably on my face for a week or two. It seemed so unreal that I could have had that on my face for so long and not notice it there. I look back at that time and it quite literally feels as though I was the walking dead.

I have actually been watching that television show recently (The Walking Dead), you know the one about Zombies on AMC, and it makes me think of the patients at AMHI. Especially the overly medicated or the patients like myself who in the midst of something like postpartum psychosis, walk around in a zombie like state. There's a term called the Thorazine Shuffle that I think could quite possibly be nicknamed the Zombie Shuffle. I mean they're pretty similar and anyone who has ever seen the Thorazine Shuffle could tell you, there's a good chance they're emulating an acute psych ward when shooting Night of the Living Dead et al.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Blackmail, Grief, Guilt, Sensationalism and Finally a Media Award?

Anonymous calls and where they lead 


In 2005, when I was getting custody back of my daughter, someone made an anonymous call to the Kennebec Journal and said; "You want to write a story about a child killer who's getting her daughter back?".

postpartum psychosis story, Natachia barlow ramsey, surviving, postpartum psychosis, death grief guilt



Well that prompted a series of phone calls to my attorney John Pelletier (who I have to say is one of my favorite people in the world and puts to shame all the lawyer jokes) and a month long process of negotiations with family court and the KJ about an interview. Needless to say, we granted the interview (which felt incredibly close to blackmail) in exchange for privacy for my daughter and I moved just prior to the article being published. Since it's available for everyone to read anyway, but in an out of context and unexplained narrative. I thought this would be the best place for the article to be seen. Since most of what is being made available is not being made available in its entire context.

So below are the two articles that appeared on April 11, 2005 (I always wondered if it were purposeful it was published the same day as Hunter died) The first was a sidebar beside the main article, explaining that I did not want to give an interview and had been coerced into it. I always thought it nice of them to at least mention that. Gary Remal interviewed me with my Attorney (John) present over the course of four hours. Below is the basic result.

Oh Wait, the really big kicker? It won a National Media Award from National Mental Health Association  (now Mental Health America) the Following Year. I'm going to add that onto the end, but I'm also going to give it its own post. That was a really nice ending to such a crappy beginning....


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Suicide is Like a Disease

What Doesn't Kill You?

Suicide seems to run rampant in my family. Spreading itself around like a transmittable disease. I keep hoping to "Cure" my family of it, but it appears to have dug its roots deep.






I remember when my grandfather came into the room where I was sleeping to tell me my mother had died. I had gone to bed early. It was around 9pm and I remember him say "Tachia, Tachia" by the second time he'd said my name I was just beginning to wake up and said "what?" he replied "you're mother is dead". I said "okay" and rolled back over to sleep.

postpartum psychosis, natachia barlow ramsey, hunter ramsey, baby, depression, suicide, mental illness
My sister and I in 1981
I was 14 years old. I remember still trying to sleep and thinking I couldn't have heard him correctly. As I layed there I heard him on the telephone (one of the old rotary dial phones) making calls and talking to people. As I was still half asleep, I could heard him crying. I thought he was laughing. I remember thinking; why is he telling everyone my mother is dead? Why would he joke about that? Then I heard him blow his nose. I realized in that moment he was crying, not laughing. I sat straight up in bed and felt sick. I continued to sit there listening for a few more minutes and thought how could she be dead? Nothing made any sense.
I got up and went into the kitchen where my grandfather was. I asked him if it was true, was she really dead. He said yes. He then told me she had overdosed on pills and a police officer had come over to tell him. (The fact that she hung herself was

Friday, October 26, 2012

Horror Story or Reality?

Living your own worst nightmare

This past week I had a conversation with a woman who has had a similar experience to mine. Her husband and her are together, but she is questioning whether or not it will stay that way given all that has happened. We proceeded to talk about my circumstances regarding my now ex-husband and what happened.

It made me start thinking the last couple of days about what it took to forgive the one person I reached out for the day my world turned upside down... The day our son died.

 
 
There are audio cassette tape recordings of that morning, from an answering machine. It took me about eight years before I was finally about to listen to them. I knew they exsisted, I talked about them with my therapist. She heard them, the Attorney's, Doctor's and anyone who evaluated me heard them. I just couldn't for a very long time. I knew it would bring me back to that day in a way like nothing else ever would.
 
postpartum psychosis, natachia barlow ramsey, hunter ramsey, depression,
Chris and I in Matching Genie Costumes I made
for Halloween Circa 1995
When I finally decided I was ready to hear the recordings, I took a copy of the tape and I must have held onto it for weeks before I built up the courage to push play. I only had it on for about 5 seconds and it immediately brought me back in time and I quickly shut it off. So, I sat there, for how long I don't know. I decided I would push play and let it run through until the end no matter what. (This was a series of calls I made to my then husband and he wouldn't answer the phone and kept hanging up on me) A lot of what I am saying is incomprehensible, babbling. But I am begging him to pick up the phone. I am telling him "something is wrong with me" "I can't think" I don't know what's wrong". I remember trying to form whole sentences in my mind and my thoughts were coming so fast I couldn't. Over and Over again  I begged and I called. I was hysterical. Things weren't making sense to me. I remember thinking if he just came there and held me everything would be okay, that somehow he could make it better. My mind was failing me and I was asking my

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Life For Death Punishment?

Is an Eye for an Eye Always Necessary?


I remember at the very end of my trial when the judge sentenced me to the commissioner (back into AMHI) and said there was nothing he could do to punish me more than what I had already been through. That was just the beginning of my realizing how correct he was....

 
 
I guess I became more and more aware of this as I sat in therapy, sometimes daily, and talked about everything from as far back as I could remember all the way to the present. Everytime we had a court date and I listened to testimony about how the biggest danger I posed was to myself. I didn't seem able to impress upon people enough how suicide was no longer an option for me.

postpartum psychosis surviving, natachia barlow ramsey, hunter ramsey, postpartum psychosis, suicide, depression,tachia, postpartum, insane
You see, it took several months for me to wade my way through the fog of postpartum psychosis when I was first committed to AMHI in 1999. I cannot give you a clear, concise timeline of events. As the months passed and I got closer to discharge that September I do remember more and more until I am clear headed. I would say the first two months are in random, skewed order. I have to ask the people around me if and when certain things happened.
 
I don't really remember my son's funeral. I recall people bringing me from the hospital (AMHI) but I don't know how many or who it was. I know my father and aunt were there. I know they had a rocking chair and let me sit and rock my son before anyone else came in. I remember I wasn't allowed to look at him. I remember just trying desperately to try and feel him through all the blankets and whatever else he was wrapped in. My next memory is sitting next to my ex-husband and resting my head on him and crying. I remember these things but I can't see them clearly in my mind. I don't know if it was the crying of just the foggy mind but my vision seemed impaired for a while.
 
So when I was finally convinced that I had to live for my daughter, that was what I was going to do. I engaged in therapy for the first time in my life. Something that had been a long time coming. So, therapy helps educates you on how to keep yourself healthy. You can get as much as you want from your therapy. I suppose that also depends some on the providers as well.  I had some great people helping me.
 
But there's a certain amount of grief and guilt no matter what that just won't go away. Should it? I guess I had a much more drastic approach to this kind of thinking very early on in that I thought I

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dirty Devil?

When is the devil you don't know better than the devil you do know?

I am often left feeling as though I am choosing between the lesser of two evils. Rather than just being able to make the best decision for example; I have a couple choices and neither of them are fantastic, but I have to choose one of them. So take your pick...

 



We have an election going on (yeah I know, the entire world knows). But we also have a Probate Judge election going on here in Waldo County. You see, while there is some family court stuff brewing upstairs with my grand-daughter Lanah, I also have lots of things circulating downstairs in Probate. Everything from the Guardianship of my daughter to the petition of guardianship of my grand-daughter.
 
 
postpartum psychosis, natachia barlow ramsey, baby, devil, probateI actually petitioned for guardianship of my grand-daughter back in June. At that time we didn't know who her father was so there was the added delay of informing all the putative fathers. But even since finding out there has been a great delay in getting the case heard.
 
I originally petitioned the probate court because I was the one caring for Lanah full time. My daughter had moved in with her boyfriend and would come and visit with Lanah and spend time with her but she wasn't ready to be a full time parent. At that time and in moment's of clarity she would acknowledge this. The concern arose when my daughter wasn't in a good frame of mind and did not have the clarity to realize she wasn't making a good decision.
Was I concerned she would intentionally hurt Lanah? No. But was I concerned she didn't have

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Nightmare Alley

What Dreams May Come



For a decade I had the same recurring nightmare; that I would walk into the Augusta Mental Health Institute for some kind of meeting, the doors would close behind me, and I couldn't get out. The dreams always started off with me having to go there for something innocuous. Once inside they inform me I cannot leave. I check all the doors, I am crying; I plead with them. No matter what I say, no matter what I do, I have to stay there. Locked inside.


 
Although I do not remember exactly when I had the first nightmare, I do recall it was sometime after I was released the first time in September of 1999, into a group home on personal recognizance bail, so I would be in therapy.
 

postpartum psychosis, AMHI Natachia barlow ramsey room baby hunter postpartum psychosisI would wake up in a cold sweat and feel the same thing everytime. This weighted down, surreal, out of sorts feeling. Empty space. I don't think I've ever been afraid of a place, or afraid of anything really, as I was afraid of that AMHI. Just being there the five months I was initially sick with Postpartum Psychosis was incredibly scary.
 
One of the worst things about AMHI is that people mess with you. Staff included, and even when you try to tell someone, you are often not believed because "you" are the crazy one. You're the one who is in the hospital for being sick. There are some real assholes working in mental health hospitals, people who really just like being in control. They shouldn't be allowed to work with people who have a mental illness. Now that's not to say that everyone is bad. They're certainly not, and if you can find the good ones and form genuine relationships within those confines, do it.
 
 
I spent the next 16 months at the group home. I attended therapy, went to school, got my GED, and started working. My trial came about in January of 2001, just a couple months shy of two years from when I had been first admitted to AMHI. I remember standing there holding my attorney, John's hand, and as the juror's filed in. I felt as though I couldn't breathe. I had to stand up to hear the verdict. I was already crying because I knew that even if they found me NCR I was going right back to AMHI.
It had taken them just over an hour to decide. John said that could be a good thing. I was so worried.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

What is Home Really?...

I think a lot of people think of 'home' as a particular place. Maybe for some that's true. For me, home is with the people I love and care about. As long as they're there; that's home.

 
 
I have just moved into a cottage near the ocean until next June. It's furnished, almost complete with kitchen-ware. So while I am bringing in my personal things along with a few small furniture pieces, I'll be borrowing someone else's housewares for the next 9-10 months and I'll call this home.
 

I haven't been online blogging in a while since I had a 'series of unfortunate events' occur that included my phone breaking and thus my internet went along with my communication.
 
postpartum psychosis, natachia barlow ramsey, baby,
Shey and Lanah right after she gave birth 
This summer has taken almost all of my resources and drained them. I am just beginning to feel a resurgence of energy reserves slowly starting to build. I think the quiet of the Village (yes I said Village. This IS Maine and this is the second time in 8 years I have rented a cottage near the water in a Village. The last time being in Liberty, Maine on Lake St. George, one of my favorite places to be) will be just what I need. Mostly I want the people I love and care about to visit and to spend time with them over this Fall and Winter.
 
We are still currently working on a plan to bring my grand-daughter (Lanah) home and my hope is that by the holidays she is here full time. We are her family and we are her home. Sometimes I don't feel as though I can talk about her too much because it causes me such heartache. I am so grateful that she is currently still with a family that is taking such good care of her. She'll be 5 months old this month. When I don't see her for a couple days and then I walk into the room where she is, the first

Monday, July 30, 2012

Google Can Suck it for This One...

More than Words


Natachia Barlow Ramsey Surviving Postpartum Psychosis

I have one photo of myself, my son Hunter and my daughter Shey. The three of us all sitting together. I am looking for it and have been now for several days.

 ******UPDATE******
postpartum psychosis, natachia barlow ramsey, hunter ramsey, baby, depression, suicide, mental illness

I FOUND THE PHOTO AND POSTED IT ABOUT A WEEK AGO.
I'll share it here now. This is the only photo I have of the three of us together. Somewhere I have a few more. But only of just Hunter or Shey and Hunter together. When he had his first bath, Shey wanted to get in the tub with him and I of course said yes. So, she's laying beside him like a stiff little statue smiling all the while he's scowling and has his little fists clenched.
Funny, I don't even know where that picture is and it's one of the very few I have but I can see it almost perfectly in my mind. It makes me smile to think about.
****************************************************************

Way back when, I didn't have the ease of the digital camera or much less the cell phone with the camera at my fingertips. So the very few photo's I have of my son are sacred and I cherish them. Although after I became ill with postpartum psychosis any of the pictures or personal belongings were left to others to care for.
Well I had written a blog several paragraphs long about my son and the angst I feel at not being able to locate the few photo's I have of him right now. It was heartfelt, genuine and came pouring out of me. But, as usual google is making it impossible with their inablity to save and update feature. You'd think as a leader in the industry they'd make sure a simple feature like 'save' wouldn't be quite so difficult to figure out. They sat on me with crushing weight.

Google You Suck Balls Big time!

 

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Dirty Little Secrets

Forced Sterilization or Self Imposed?

Compulsory Sterilization in a Civilized World




Postpartum Depression Postpartum Psychosis Tachia Natachia Barlow Ramsey Suicide
I was 19 and my daughter (Shey)
was about 6 months old
I am not sure of the exact moment in time when I realized I would have to get sterilized in order for the powers that be to start supporting my release. I just remember being in the court room listening to basically the same testimony as I heard before with the "only real risk factors" being if I were to get pregnant again. It was the same verbage used at a previous hearing and I realized as long as I could have children I was going to be stuck there and the sooner I wanted to get out the quicker I had better make it so I couldn't have any more kids.
So, I asked the hospital to schedule an appointment for a tubal ligation and within a couple months it was done. The very next time I went to court, it was brought up that I had 'voluntarily' undergone a tubal and therefore I could not have any more children. You see, they could not come right out and say compulsory sterilization because the law had changed. They couldn't even suggest I be "fixed" like an animal. It just had to be hinted at enough and hoped I got it. If I didn't? I would stay there until my ovaries were like prunes. Or like another woman I knew; had to end up having a hysterectomy. Curiously enough, she was released within approximately a year or so after that, when she had been there for over a decade.

I'm not saying I would have had more children. I just wanted to be able to come to that decision in my own time. I wasn't looking to have any more kids after what had happened. I wasn't even having sex. But to feel like the government is still requiring forced sterilization in order to be released in an era when we are beginning to know so much more about mental health and Postpartum (Psychosis) and other Mood Disorders seems primitive.

I remember being very clear that I was aware from the testimony given what I would have to do. The Doctors and Administration wanted me to be clear

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Walking the Line

I Walk the Line


I have walked the line between living for one child or dying for another. There's never a good, right or perfect answer. I just have to live with knowing that I have walked the line and probably always will.



Natachia Barlow Ramsey Postpartum Depression Postpartum Psychosis Suicide
My daughter and I on her 9th birthday in 2002
When I was sick with PostPartum Psychosis in 1999, and I wanted to commit suicide, my son's (Hunter's) father didn't believe that Hunter was his; I thought in those terribly dysfunctional moments that the only one who wanted Hunter was me. That in order for him to be 'safe' I had to take him with me.
I know, I know; it doesn't make any sense now. How could I possibly be keeping him "Safe" by wanting to take his life and mine? I cannot rationalize my thinking that day. I can only say in those moments, in those minutes, on that day it made sense to me.

Asking someone who is losing their mind to explain why they were thinking a particular way and expecting it to make sense is like... well, asking a schizophrenic person who doesn't know they're schizophrenic if the voices they hear are real. They can't distinguish the difference.

I have yearned to find someone who had gone through a similar experience. Not because I wanted them to feel this kind of anguish, but because it feels so very lonely when there's no one with whom you can relate to. This isn't to say I haven't been in a variety of different therapeutic groups over the years. Some of them with forensic patients (i.e. Legal Holds), some just regular mental health consumers. 

The first couple of months after I was 'Blue Papered'

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Going to Carolina

Carolina on my Mind and the Birth of a New Generation

The birth of my Grand-daughter and a new chapter of love, loss, grief and let's not forget; politics.




Postpartum Psychosis Depression Natachia Barlow Ramsey, surviving postpartum psychosis
Lanah  - April 21, 2012 - 7lbs 3oz 19in
I'd been considering relocating for a long time. Maine, and the memories involved left little to be desired. I had wanted to travel for as long as I could remember and thought purchasing a motorhome and cruising around the USA visiting auction houses, buying and selling was the way to go. I had been doing this locally since leaving the Screen Printing business in 2010.

But, my daughter (Shey, who is special needs, upon turning 18 in March of 2011) was making the possibility of travelling seem impossible. So I started focusing on just relocating to one place; warmer and still on the Eastern Coastline. The Carolina's seemed perfect. The Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area was receiving high reviews for over a year for newcomers wanting a fresh start.
I mentioned this to Shey numerous times and she would hem and haw about whether or not she wanted to go. Well, all that came to an abrupt stop when I found out she was pregnant (Via Facebook) in August of 2011.

While I was surprised to be finding out the way I did, I couldn't say I was shocked. The next several months were chaotic. My daughter was hospitalized a few times trying desperately to find a balance between medications she needed for her own mental health and the well-being of the baby.
I continued to talk with her about moving while also researching PostPartum Depression/Psychosis and treatment centers. Well, much to my delight and surprise was the first women's inpatient unit located in Chapel Hill at UNC.

Shey went back and forth about wanting to go and I just forged ahead. I thought relocating would be wonderful for both of us and the opportunities were endless there. Also knowing her mental health and that of her baby's would be cared for in a way I could never have hoped possible 13 years ago felt reassuring.

I saved and sold things and decided when my income tax return came in I would pack whatever I could in my Jeep and drive down. Shey decided at the 11th hour to go, so I gave or threw away just about everything I owned and on March 15th at 7pm the two of us and my cat Sterling started driving to North Carolina. I drove the entire night stopping once for 2 hours to sleep in a parking lot and just kept telling myself there was an air conditioned room with a queen size bed and a pool/hot tub waiting for me. We arrived at the Millennium Hotel in Durham at 1pm March 16th.
 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Down the Rabbit Hole

I survived Postpartum Psychosis, my Son did not...


In March of 1999 I had just turned 25 and was about to give birth to my second child. My daughter was turning 6 later that month as well so there should have been a lot of celebrating to do. I went a week and a half past my due date, and my son was born on March 11th at 11:10pm; Hunter Macarthy Ramsey.

Although I was excited, exhausted and not feeling quite right, little did I know a month later my little boy would be dead and I would be committed to the Augusta Mental Health Institute; responsible for his death


postpartum psychosis, natachia barlow, natachia barlow ramsey, maternal mental health, suicide, death, postpartum depression
The Only photo I have of the three of us

I grew up in a small coastal town in Maine. I always refer to my family as "Old Maine". I guess alluding to the fact that nobody talks about their feelings. We still banked the house in the winter with plastic and hay and things always went unspoken. We were strong Maine women. It would've been nice if we were half as strong as what we thought we were supposed to be.

My mother was one of 6 children. Very typical around here; they were Catholic. She had me when she was 17 and married my father I was told to get out of the house. Secrets, Secrets, Secrets.


My parents divorced when I was four, I bounced around from relative to relative after that. I started kindergarten late waiting for my mother to come back from where ever it was she had gone. Eventually she did and ended up in a codependent relationship with my Stepfather and they had my brother and sister. There were years and years of fighting, alcohol, staying, leaving, packing up and moving back.
When I was 14, after a two-day bender of not going to school, my Mom and stepdad fighting, packing and unpacking; my mother hung herself in our bathroom. I learned of this from her father (my grandfather). She had sent me there to spend the night.
He informed me since I was the oldest child it was my responsibility to plan the funeral. Looking back, I think he was just devastated and was doing the best he could in those moments. So, with my grandfather driving me around and footing the bill, I proceeded to plan my mother's funeral. I don't remember everything, just bits and pieces. What I do remember is finally demanding to see her at the funeral parlor as we were writing her obituary. I had to. I couldn't or wouldn't believe she was actually dead. So the funeral director took me into a back room where my mother was lying on a steel table with a white sheet draped over her, pulled up to just below her chin. Her head resting on a U shaped metal bar. I just stared at her for the longest time. She almost looked like she was sleeping.

Postpartum Psychosis, suicide, natachia barlow ramsey, depression, maternal mental health
There's Always Hope, Even if
You Can't see it Right Now.
I think my mother's death opened a door of Suicide being an option for my Grandfather. He and my Grandmother had been separated for a few years and my mother had been one of the few kids speaking to him. So the following summer when I was 15, on a very foggy morning in
August, my Grandfather shot himself in the heart. I remember wanting to run across the street to see if it were true and partly being thankful the fog was so thick I couldn't see the shed door where he had sat his chair.
Nobody talked about this in my family. Neither my mother nor grandfather were spoken of.

I first met my future husband a matter of days after my mother passed. It was brief and he was married at the time to his high school sweetheart. They had just had a baby. But, he had a sister who was my age and we quickly became best friends so I saw him quite a bit after returning from Maryland later that summer.
My now ex-husband (Chris) was my first everything. I lost my virginity to him. He was my first love, my first family. We had a little girl in March of 1993 and Married in August of that same year. He told me everything I had always wanted to hear. Made me feel beautiful and loved. I believed anything he told me as gospel. I loved him more than life itself. What I didn't realize at that time is that some people are addicts. Addicts are not always nice and although I left at times because of the volatile nature of our relationship, I always came back. I remember struggling with depression all the time, although I didn't know or understand what it was. I would ask (Chris) to go to therapy or support my going to therapy and he wouldn't. I wish now I had been strong enough to just seek out help on my own. But I wasn't, I needed him to support me.

In the Spring of 1998 he said he wanted to move out for a while into a friend's basement for a trial separation. I was devastated but I couldn't make him stay. I found out within days he was seeing someone else. I still felt very much married even at that point and I remember going to him several weeks later and asking his permission to date a coworker of mine. His son and my daughter were on the same tee-ball team. Chris gave me the okay and I went out on several dates and a couple of parties with him over a month's time. Chris would still come over for midnight romps, up until I told him I was not comfortable with him coming over anymore since I was taking things to the next level with my co-worker.
Sometime over the next month Chris indicated he didn't want a divorce and wanted to reconcile. But the chaos around me had subsided. I had some control in my life for the first time. We talked and I said I was happy with the way things were right then. A few weeks later I found out I was pregnant. I was in shock. I had been careful with my co-worker. But Chris and I hadn't used birth control in 5 years and I had never gotten pregnant. So I went to Chris and told him. Also telling him I wasn't certain Hunter was his until I knew how far along I was. I scheduled a doctor's appt the following week, and with an ultrasound we were able to pinpoint the approximate week I got pregnant. I told Chris it was the weekend he had come over so late and the last night we had been together. He seemed relieved as did I but he wanted a DNA test after the baby was born just to ease any uncertainty he had and I agreed.
Things were wonderful at first. Chris was amazing. He cut down on drinking. We went out on dates, had special nights together. But as I began to show he began to drink more and when he drank he would get violent and mean. He was also starting to use heavier drugs at the time. I don't know exactly when, it just seemed to happen. I remember I was so tired. I had a lot of medical problems with this pregnancy. We also had to leave the house we had been occupying for the past three years and the trailer and land were not ready for living in, especially in the winter months. I took our daughter and went to stay at my grandmother's. Chris would stay over sometimes but mostly stayed at the trailer. He did finish the bathroom as a surprise so I could spend more time there with him. It was still like a camp with a toilet and no real running water. But, I would miss him so much so I would spend as much time as possible there. What I didn't realize was how much he was using heavy drugs. Plus there was another woman he had started talking with. I remember answering our phone one day and she called looking for "Craig". I was confused and his friend quickly took the phone. I suspected something, but was so exhausted I couldn't bear the thought of him cheating again, so I didn't even ask.
I kept going into false labor with Hunter and we scheduled a date to induce if I didn't give birth by 42 weeks. The real thing started about two days prior to induction. Twenty-two hours later I gave birth to Hunter, 8lbs 11.5oz and 22.5 inches long. At first Chris seemed so happy, like everything was fine. Everyone came in to see the baby the next day and we were going to be discharged but I spiked a fever. After several tests, it was realized I had Pneumonia. On the fifth day of being in the hospital Chris, his oldest daughter (Sandra) and Shey came into the hospital to visit. Sandra told me she had woken up the night before and found Shey on the floor between the two twin beds burning up with a fever. I asked where their father was and Sandra said passed out on the couch from playing video games and who knows what else.

I told the Nurse I needed to be discharged that day and to please get everything ready. She had the Doctor come talk to me and said I was going against medical Advice since I was still very ill and had a high temperature. I told them I would sign the paperwork.
I remember the baby discharge nurse coming in to give me a paper bag filled with information on babies and coupons and to schedule the well-baby checkup. I can remember now her making a comment in passing about "Baby Blues" and how it goes away and that was all I ever heard about Anything related to Postpartum Mental Health.
When I returned to my father's mobile home (he was working out-of-state and said we could say there while he was gone) there wasn't a clean dish in the house. The puppy we were watching for my father had pooped everywhere and the toilet that Chris had said had clogged days earlier was still plugged and he had let the girls continue to use it. It had overflowed all over the bathroom and into the hallway. I just remember feeling so overwhelmed, I went into the back bedroom and I cried for my mother. I hadn't cried for her in years but I felt so alone, tired, physically ill and just plain awful.
It took me the rest of that day to clean and sterilize the bathroom and do some of the dishes. I remember clearly Chris playing video games and when I asked him to help he said he had the Flu too and was tired. Meanwhile, I had just given birth, had pneumonia, was breastfeeding and trying to take care of Shey who had the flu bug. I remember feeling so horrible and sad. I couldn't stop crying. The next couple weeks things got worse as Chris thought more and more Hunter wasn't his son. I had scheduled the DNA test but in 1999 they didn't sell them over the counter the way they do now. The test was 6 weeks away.
My dad came home for a week and that helped some, but he left again for out-of-state and that left Shey, Hunter and myself by ourselves at the Mobile Home. Chris and I had a huge fight with him not believing Hunter was his son and thinking I could somehow make the DNA test be quicker than it was and he started staying at his parents’ house with Sandra in Northport. I remember inviting him and Sandra over for Easter dinner and I even had an Easter Basket for her and Chris refused to come over. Later that week when I picked him up from work I invited him, no I begged him to come in and spend time with us and have dinner. He started calling Hunter names and refused to believe it was his son. That was Thursday April 8th, 1999. After about an hour of arguing where he refused to come in and kept getting meaner I took Shey and Hunter into the Trailer. He took the Jeep and I was stuck there with no place to go.
I remember being so panicky, crying, not sleeping, and it was just getting worse. I was up a lot during the night breastfeeding Hunter and with Shey during the day. I remember being so sad and just crying and not understanding why I was feeling so awful. Why I wasn't calming down. I called Chris Saturday morning around 5am since I knew it would be just before he went to work and begged him to please come over that night so we could talk. He said he was meeting up with his sister after work to shoot pool and would be over after that. I said I would wait up, it didn't matter what time he came over.
I was desperate for these feelings to go away. I remember thinking if Chris comes over and just tells me it's okay, holds me, I'll be alright. This feeling will stop. Whatever was happening would stop.
I was up cleaning and with the kids all day. I had been up the night before as well, not able to sleep and wanting to make sure I didn't miss Chris on the phone. I remember Hunter gave me his first real smile that day. I had him propped up on pillows and was making faces at him and he smiled back at me. (I still have that memory, but I can't see it clearly anymore. I'm afraid one day I won't see it at all.)
I put Shey to bed and waited up for Chris. Hunter woke up a couple of times to be fed and changed. I kept calling over to the house to see if Chris was there and left several messages, but he didn't answer. I stayed up all night and by the next morning I was such a mess, I was frantic. I remember feeling so desperate for Chris to pick up the phone and I called over and over. He finally picked up the phone sometime in the morning April 11th around 8 or 9am (I think). I remember being such a mess trying to talk I wasn't even forming whole sentences in my head. I can remember my thoughts were skipping rapidly from one thing to another. I didn't know what to do or how to make it stop.
Chris kept hanging up on me. I finally got him to agree to pick-up Shey. I thought, if I could just see him, all this would be better. All these feelings and all these thoughts would stop. When he pulled into the driveway I remember going into the bathroom to rinse my face off because I'd been crying. But, he never came in and I heard the car pull away. I remember thinking and feeling that I just wanted to Die. I had to die. All this had to stop. I couldn't take anymore. Everything, everything, it was all too much. All I could feel was pain, so much pain and I didn't know how to make any of it stop or go away.
[Anyone who has ever had Flashbacks will understand when I say I have no clear memory of the order of events and most of what I see is in flashes. Like a Polaroid picture. Some things are as if I were looking at someone else. Over many years and especially during the first several months, there were a lot of reports, investigations, interviews and specialists who helped me piece together a chronology.]
In that next moment my thoughts went to Hunter, my little fellow. I couldn't leave him alone. I couldn't leave him here without me. His father didn't want him. Nobody wanted him but me. I thought I had to take him with me. That leaving him here was wrong. I cannot justify that thinking. I can only tell you it made sense to me that day and in those moments. I can see myself walking down the hallway to his bedroom. As though I am watching someone else walk down that hallway. My next memory jumps to my head resting on the side of his bassinet crying and yet I can't see in the bassinet. I thought if he just stopped breathing in his sleep he would go so peacefully. I also remember thinking I couldn't bear the thought of hurting him so the thought of squishing him with a pillow seemed horrible. I thought if I gently put my hand over his little mouth and nose he would just not wake up from sleeping and it wouldn't hurt him.
When I finally remember looking up from the side of his bassinet and I looked at my hand and I saw a small amount of blood on it my entire body felt icy cold. Empty, like a black hole and so heavy. My entire body felt so heavy and all that I thought in that moment was Oh my God I hurt him! What have I done? I picked him up and I laid him on my bed, my hands were shaking uncontrollably. I thought breathe for him, breathe for him. Oh God, I am so sorry Hunter. I didn't mean to hurt you. I'm sorry I'm sorry. I'm trying, so desperate, but I am not doing it right, I'm failing.
I was trying to think, trying to think how to do CPR. I breathed into his mouth and I thought no-no this isn't right. You breathe over their mouth and nose. All these thoughts are coming so fast and I am sick. My body is not my own. This feeling, these thoughts, my mind is racing. Little breathes over his nose and mouth; push on his little chest. Over and over again. Do it, do it. It's not working, It's not working my head is screaming. Oh my God I am so sorry; I don't know what to do. He won't come back. He won't come back. I laid him back in his little bassinet like he was sleeping. I kept hearing him make noises and I thought he's okay, I would return to his bassinet over and over to check, but it was just in my head. It broke my heart every time. 
I can still hear and remember that to this very day. I know now it was my brain, not working right, that I was imagining things. My mind kept hearing him make noises and my heart would almost sing for a brief second. Until I realized he really was gone and I was responsible.
I went from wanting to Die to believing I deserved to Die and needed to be with Hunter. My father had a Shotgun and I searched for Bullets but couldn't find them. I had at some point already taken all the Tylenol PM with Benadryl I could find in the house. My thoughts drifted to my daughter Shey and what this would do to her. I thought of how my own Mother's suicide affected me. I remember all the feelings I was already feeling started to get even more complicated by my guilt of leaving my daughter. I tried leaving her a note. I was scattered everywhere with my thinking. Nothing was clear. I couldn't make anything better. I found some razor blades and I remember standing in the bathroom my mind flipping back and forth between Hunter and Shey. My last thought was Hunter is already gone and I can't leave him alone when he only had me who cared about him and I sliced both my wrists.
I had attempted suicide before with pills years earlier. All I knew about cutting my wrists was what I saw on TV or read in books. You don't really realize how long it actually takes to bleed out. The Tylenol PM and Wine I had drunk was also kicking in along with all my distorted thinking. Paramedics found me in the tub clutching the razor still. Nothing seemed real anymore at that point. Everything had some kind of surreal feel to it. It would for several years.
I spent Five months in AMHI. Blue Papered (against my will). It wouldn't have mattered; I had no will at that point anymore. My memories and thoughts over the next couple months are skewed. I could tell you things but I couldn't tell you when they happened or if they happened exactly the way I remembered.
There are no words to tell people, to try and have people understand what it feels like to have your own mind fail you. To Fail you to the extent you think something that is so wrong seems right. To start to be clear-headed and know you are responsible for the death of one of your children is beyond devastating.
It rips your heart, Soul and guts out in a way that as I sit here I am without words trying to describe it.
I grieve with guilt. I have to mourn my son in quiet. I am not allowed to talk about him because people do not understand. They are quick to name call and pass judgment; never being able to comprehend that I judge myself more than they ever could.
I didn't hate my son. I wasn't angry at him and he certainly wasn't unloved. In those moments, when my mind failed me I thought I was doing a loving gesture. I know now and knew a short time after when my mind had cleared that it wasn't right. There were so many factors involved. While I understand now about PostPartum Mood Disorders, and Postpartum Psychosis, it doesn't make me feel any less responsible for my son. It just gives me a better understanding of how something like that can happen.

People can get angry. At least take the knowledge with you. Know that it does happen and it's because of extreme cases sadly; of someone losing a life that things start to change. It doesn't make it right, but hopefully it will make it better.
I've seen amazing progress since 1999 when I was first diagnosed. I hadn't even heard of such a thing. Now we have more awareness, more advocates. I can't imagine one person who wouldn't be glad they were more informed of Postpartum Psychosis and the risks; instead of experiencing anything close to what I went through; or the countless others who have gone through something similar. Sometimes it's a Mother taking her own life. Sometimes her child(ren) and sometimes it's both. All are tragedies that could be avoided with better information and just perhaps a little humanity and understanding.




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


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