Sunday, November 19, 2017

Huddle & Cuddle Guest Post

The following is a guest post I wrote a while back for a site called Huddle & Cuddle. Set up by Sophie of One Unique, Huddle and Cuddle is a campaign to help raise awareness of mental health issues by using social media. Influencers have teamed up to help this campaign and to spread the word, allowing people to never feel alone by sharing their experiences. Huddle and Cuddle wants people to get involved by talking to influencers, family members or a helpline about their thoughts and the challenges they may come across.

huddleandcuddle.com
A DRUG ALLERGY AND THE MEMORY OF MY POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS

“Any drug allergies?” the doctor asks.

I’m seeing a new physician during the after hours clinic at my regular doctor’s office. I think I might have pink eye and I want to make sure the cold I’ve been nursing for a week isn’t pneumonia.

“No,” I say, which is a lie. But it shouldn’t matter. I don’t think the treatment for pink eye is going to involve the drug that caused me so many problems. Really, I just want to avoid the questions that come from the particular drug reaction I experienced.

“Says here you’re allergic to an antipsychotic medication.”

“I am.”

“What happened?”

Every appointment with a new doctor goes down this road.

“I had a psychotic episode when my daughter was born in 2005,” I tell her. “The antipsychotic medication caused muscle cramping.”

“Oh,” she says. “Are you on anything now?”

“No. I’ve been off of all medication for five years.”

“That’s great!”

“It is.”

Sort of a "before" picture during my perfect, easy pregnancy.
The exam continues (it was viral conjunctivitis and not pneumonia) and I congratulate myself on how nearly matter of fact the postpartum disorder conversation was on this day. It wasn’t always this easy.

My daughter was born in March of 2005, 7 pounds 4 ounces, beautiful and perfect. The birth was drug-free and if I’d had my full faculties on that first day after her midnight arrival, I’d have known something was wrong. It was as if my body was filled with electrical energy at the moment of delivery. I wheeled the baby’s bassinet from the delivery room to the postpartum unit as a nurse followed with an empty wheelchair. Everyone marveled at how well I was doing. There was no pain. No tiredness. Only this complete, invincible energy.

Sleepless nights became the norm. I did all of the nighttime feeding and comforting. I was going to breastfeed exclusively. There was no other option. Read the rest over at Huddle & Cuddle.