The Dark Silence of the Night

When the Loneliness gets to you

I’m used to being alone. Even when I have others physically near me, I am usually alone. I can’t remember the last time I was able to let someone into all facets of my life and with each passing day, month and year I become less and less hopeful that will ever happen. I’ve become really good at keeping people at arm’s length. It’s one disappointment after another and that’s when I am reminded of how lonely I really am.

Life is hard. Some days are harder than others and I keep trying to leave people better than I found them. It’s not always possible, but I am trying. 
I sit here crying, alone and this is where I turn. Because I am expecting a virtual hug at best when I am finished. 
~Be Loud, Be Purposeful, Be Strong, Be Courageous, Be Creative, Be Something~ postpartum psychosis,natachia barlow ramsey
I tell myself it’s okay if someone else hurts my feelings, I will always reach out or attempt to make the extra effort. I don’t ever want to regret how I left a relationship. I would rather make sure I did what I could. 
As I keep trying to date, I know I push people away. I am afraid they will leave, they will hurt me and I just don’t have it. I couldn’t take that kind of emotional blow in my life. 
I have gotten better at not allowing myself to be taken advantage of though and set better standards for how I allow people to treat me. There comes a place in the middle where with some men I can’t tell if I am pushing them away too quickly or I am practicing better standards for how I am treated. At times I know it lies somewhere on the middle. I have little hope to find someone to walk this journey with me.  
I am puffy faced with a pile of tissues beside me. I cannot breathe out of my nose. My cheeks and eyes are swollen and it almost looks like I’ve been slapped around. An emotional beat down. 
Amazing Grace just came on my playlist. The tears started again. I know self forgiveness is the toughest of all. Because even as I type this words pop into my head all the time like penance, paying my dues, lifelong sentence, this is what I deserve.
Now I can tell anyone else besides myself that is not true and have compassion for them. But I don’t feel that for myself. I have given myself a life sentence of guilt and grief that comes in waves. On nights like this, it feels overwhelming, as though the weight of a thousand grieving mothers sits upon my heart. 
You are good, you do deserve love, you do deserve people in your life who love and care for the whole you. All of you; your past, present and future. I am going to say this to myself and I encourage any of you who need to say this to yourself to say it as well. Because it is true and I promise it will feel like it eventually, even if it doesn’t in this precise moment. In this dark silence of the night.


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


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Suicide is Complicated

These Muddy Waters

I was having a conversation a few nights ago with someone who had a friend who committed suicide last year. He asked me “What triggers it? What were the actual thoughts?” I had previously stated that the feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, helplessness and an unending pain went on for so long that it felt unbearable. It seemed unending. I was speaking from my own experience. My own feelings.

What I wasn’t able to answer, was what specifically that person’s own circumstances were. People have their own unique set of situations that lead us into the abyss and down into the darkness we can’t seem to find our way out of. At different times I have felt suicidal, there have been slightly different sets of trials and tribulations. For me, most of them revolve  around personal relationships and abandonment issues. Again

Postpartum Psychosis, suicide, natachia barlow ramsey, depression, maternal mental health

that arises in different ways as well. 

Through the years I have learned to identify it and recognize the ways in which I start to become affected. I have spoken of this before. 
I have suffered from depression with suicidal ideation since I was 11 years old. Maybe younger, but that’s as far back as I can remember having thoughts of taking my own life. 
So there are times in my life that I actively get up and say to myself, I am going to live today. That may not make sense to many of you. But, there are some of you that will make perfect sense to.
Even before I became ill with Postpartum Psychosis, I had a family history of suicide and depression. 
I would like to believe I am a good example of what not to do after your mother commits suicide and a year later her father kills himself. Please get the family into therapy. Don’t think everything will just be okay. It will rear it’s head eventually. You will have dysfunction a day, or a decade later. 
Drafted January 18th, 2016
This is my life. All I can do is keep breathing and there are days when that is all I do. Suicide became my friend early in life. It muddied the waters for me, especially after my mother hung herself. That was my first up close and personal experience with it. Since that time I have lost both family and friends to suicide. I have my own scars, internal and external.

I sat with someone today for lunch who had expressed needing a friend to talk to. I knew he had gone through a divorce and had a rough time of it and was still a little angry over the breaking down of his family. I have a tough time not reaching out when others appear vulnerable, because I understand what that is like.
I wish we as a community did more to build each other up, even if all it is was meeting someone for lunch. People don’t want to be forgotten. They want to know they are important. Remembered. No one should ever feel so empty, so alone, so forgotten, hopeless that things will never change for them, that they want to die.

Please reach out for help if you or someone in your family is thinking about suicide. If you know someone who has committed suicide and want to talk call the lifeline http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

natachia barlow ramsey, postpartum psychosis, suicide, maya angelou, depression, life, poemI wish I could have answered those questions for him. But there’s always muddy water when someone takes their own life. There was never one specific thing that triggered it for me. There may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back. But it was usually a culmination of things over a period of time. Some questions that will forever remain unanswered. It’s something you have to make peace with.
Suicide is a tricky bitch. I may be smiling but in the back of my mind I am having those thoughts. They whisper to you, they comfort you. They were just hiding their pain.

Every person has a breaking point. My heart is aching right now as I think about the people I have lost and that I wish I could go back because I know better now. There are some it was so obvious but I was just too young, too inexperienced, too naive. I couldn’t have saved them all, but I could have made a difference to some. Maybe unmuddy the waters a bit. Because life’s complicated enough.


Natachia Barlow Ramsey; Postpartum Psychosis Survivor and Loser

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

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.
 
 
 
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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 bathroom stall…

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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
my alcohol swab was not going to work as blood from his mouth and chunks of cake were lodged into the tiny holes. So my ‘Sock Phone Condoms’ were born. I still cleaned the phones with Alcohol swabs, this was just an extra precaution.
I’m not certain I could pinpoint the “most” disturbing thing. Would it be the evening I went in to go the bed and as I got under the covers I found a pair of mens dirty underwear under my pillow? He was an older gentleman who was refusing his meds at the time. I can’t actually recall how many times he goosed my boobs. Once he went back on his medication for a few weeks he was a totally different person. Complete opposite. Wouldn’t have guessed this was the same man, pinching my boobs, trying to grope my bum and sneaking his dirty underwear and dirty notes under my pillow.
I still have a very vivid recall of this very elderly lady who couldn’t quite make it to the bathroom and had bad diarrhea. I was on the phone sort of squatted on the floor as she tried to make it to the toilet, but couldn’t and was going to the bathroom all the way down the hall. I quickly got off the telephone.
These are the kinds of incidents you see constantly in a Psychiatric Hospital. People are ill, a lot are also elderly. I don’t even know why some of the things that occur actually do. Some I know why. Like the elderly lady, or the man who’s teeth were just so bad and desperately needed to be fixed. I remember as he went to the dental clinic while he was there he would proudly show me his teeth and I was proud for him. People deserve to feel good about themselves.
I know that I have forgotten more than I will ever remember from all those days and nights in there. I have often wished I could have recorded it all just so I could remember. 24/7 for years in an acute psychiatric hospital. At times when I actually start talking about things, some of them startling, some shocking, ridiculous, funny, asnine, horrific, hilarious, awesome, inspiring and more. I feel as though I could never get them all out.
I do not know when eating bone-in chicken seemed so much more tolerable and didn’t make me gag anymore. I know that probably sounds quite silly to some of you. But, I know it used to and I know there was a turning point where I had seen so many grossly strange things that eating bone-in chicken was nothing.
I also know I can’t tolerate too much noise. Why? Well, because when you have people screaming at the top (and I do mean the top) of their lungs for days and nights on end in the room next to you, for weeks, you develop an intolerance. I felt very bad for her. She would sleep for about two hours a day, usually in the afternoon. The rest of the time she would pace the hall in front of her room or be in her room screaming at God and/or Jesus.
By the 4th or 5th day I requested those soft foam earplugs (I had to have a special doctor’s order written) and had someone buy me a package and bring them in.To this day I always have a package and use them. When storm Sandy blew through I slept with a pair in because of a branch that kept hitting the roof.

Blogging and sharing my stories is a means of catharsis for me. Whether a few or a few thousand people read them, it just feels good after so many years of not saying anything. Also, people have started to talk back, the people I have been looking for. The one’s I suppose that I was waiting for to go first and they were waiting for me. Someone always has to go first. It’s starting, slowly but surely and I am glad.
I know I am not alone and it has felt that way for so very long and the others that are reaching out. They’re not alone either.

So… What’s grosser than gross? Not much.

 

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

 

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

Who is at Stake? Andrea Yates, CNN and the Call for Revolution

Walker Karraa wrote this amazing article and it was published on Postpartum Progress.

I am terribly frustrated that I cannot seem to locate the blog to blog share button so I am manually adding the link in here. It’s a wonderful read and takes a look at what we should all be aware of. How people like Andrea, myself and so many, many women out there who have suffered an ill fated hand are schlepped in with people who are in their right mind and are placed under the code of “criminal”.
Why? Because sensation sells; and I thought they outlawed taking advantage of the people who had a mental disability by putting them on display at the circus. Yet, here we are with our “Media Circus” and we pat ourselves on the back because we just watch from afar now instead of standing in line with everyone else.
Kudos Walker…


Who is at Stake? Andrea Yates, CNN and the Call for Revolution

Little Boy Lost

A Tribute

 

postpartum psychosis, natachia barlow ramsey, hunter ramsey, postpartum psychosis stories, depression, suicide, ppd, ppp, natachia, postpartum depression

Altered Immune Cells Seem to Play a Role in Postpartum Psychosis

Jennifer Moyer posted this the other day and I am usually getting updates and constantly trying to stay up-to-date with the latest findings on Postpartum Mental Health issues.

I have seen some of this research making headway before and I have found it very interesting. I myself developed Bacterial Pneumonia within 36 hours of giving birth to my son and if you were to look at my case from 1999 it’s a classic case of Postpartum Psychosis. In some ways it’s almost textbook, although it wasn’t as researched or as well known at the time.
I just touched base with the attorney with whom tried my case and saw me through numerous other court proceedings for my daughter over the course of a decade. We formed a friendship and keep in touch. I also stay in touch with my Psychologist of many years but who has now taken a job with State Forensics Services. I like to run things by the both of them and pick their brains on my case in 1999 versus the improved data.

I am amazed at what a difference 14 years makes and I can only hope that in 14 more years we will have a place in the DSM along with preventive measures for every new mother. Perhaps we’ll even go back to the “village” style way of raising a child that seemed so outdated but was so much more successful.

Altered Immune Cells Seem to Play a Role in Postpartum Psychosis

Sleepy, Happy, Grumpy, Doc, Sneezey, Bashful, Dopey and EXHAUSTED

Blahhh

Sometimes I run through entire conversations in my head or this whole thought process of what I want to blog about. By the time I get home or I think about making my fingers actually type I am exhausted. I could really use an extra long weekend in a sunny and warm beachy type place.
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Winters are long and dreary here. As they are many places. Maybe I’ll buy one of those sun lamps that are supposed to trick your brain into believing it’s really sunny out even when it’s not.

More later…. well maybe

Defense lawyer speaks out for victims of postpartum psychosis

Word Porn for the Reader

A collection of three voices as told by Lisa Black, of the Chicago Tribune. I am one of those voices, and although I was more excited for the potential of the article, I am a bit disappointed at the sensational display.
When I was first speaking with Lisa in regards to this article, I had the understanding it may have had a more compassionate side to it with regard to the goal being more about educating and less… what’s the right adjective I am looking for here? Salient, Melodramatic, Scandalous, Shocking, Coarse? All of them perhaps? But, that’s not what grabs your attention and pulls you in to read an article does it?

I’m constantly weighing out and trying to get a feel for who is going to ‘get’ what you have to say and put it in the words you want and feel it should be relayed in. Without putting the Salacious Twist on the Headline or in the text body. Like an accident you don’t want to see but can’t help but look as you drive by.

Journalists are experts at using words as porn for the reader. The link below is another good example of it. This is one of the reasons I do not give interviews 98% of the time *Sigh* and UGH…

*I do want to clarify that I am Always grateful for Any exposure on Postpartum Mental Health Issues, especially when they are helpful in spreading awareness and educating. For me personally it just feels like when you end up agreeing to speak with someone and you share personal things with them (like perhaps the only photo you have of your two children together) and you very clearly state that. It would be more thoughtful and in better taste to have that as a caption underneath the picture. But that’s just me I guess.

Defense lawyer speaks out for victims of postpartum psychosis

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 gal to go? 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 –
“Are we ready yet to talk about the abusive acts we have committed while suffering from postpartum depression and psychosis? I’m sure I am not alone in this. My kids and I have been through a lot of good therapy and healing. It was hell at the time. We worked very hard to heal. It was frightening and it continues to be scary to talk about; but I, for one, want to. Anyone else? Any why talk about it? Healing. Healing and forgiveness and moving on.”

I say yes to that. Yes! I want these women to come forward and to have a voice. Just as she said, because it’s healing. It’s about healing and forgiveness and moving on. 
This isn’t to “out” anyone who isn’t ready. My God is took me over 13 years to feel ready and that whole time I was looking for someone to start talking and asking, reaching out. Telling me they wanted to hear from me. Finally after a culmination of many, many things over the last year, (including but not limited to) my realizing I have no anonymity in this day and age. Not with technology and people making up whatever they want and claiming it’s the truth. So here I am, being my own voice and advocating for yours.
I love how far we have come so far in just recognizing Postpartum Mood Disorders. We can’t stop. I was chatting with Teresa Twomey the other day, specifically about this topic. I was referencing how the numbers for infanticide/suicide may be only at 5%, (and in the minority as someone pointed out) but that number gets much larger for the attempted suicides/infanticides or as the mother above pointed out “abusive acts”. These are not things any of us are proud of. But to pretend as though they didn’t happen does an injustice to all of us. How are we going to help all of those who have experienced this or will experience this if we don’t talk about it? 
I know I knew Nothing in 1999. Now I know so much more than I would have ever thought possible. I’m not going to be the person who doesn’t speak up because it’s uncomfortable to talk about and when tragedy strikes, know I could have said something. I don’t want that next mother, that next family saying; oh my god… we just didn’t know what could happen.

Do any of you want that? I certainly don’t.