Imagine lying in bed at night… your eyes, although they feel slightly heavy, are wide open. Your brain is unable to put itself into sleep mode. Your building up frustration as this is the 4th… no maybe 5th night you can’t fall asleep. Tears are now falling down your cheeks because all you want to do is sleep, but you can’t. So you lay there for a bit, get up and go to the bathroom, go downstairs and watch some TV and then decide to read. At about 2am you fall asleep.
Nothing a little coffee won’t fix, right?!
Downing the coffee the following morning works great to wake your body up physically, but mentally the damage is done. The lack of just a couple hours of sleep for multiple days in a row has revved up my anxiety and with that my fears. I have now become irritable at the smallest things and delusional in thought. Not a good combination.
Last night I expressed a delusional fear of mine to my husband, Jimmy. After hearing it, he kind of giggled and said that would never happen but he understood. My fear, because something somewhat like this happened before, was that my In-laws were going to send letters to DCF, a lawyer, doctors, etc about how I should not be allowed to be a mother to my daughter. Crazy right?! I honestly believe this. I believe they will use my Mental Illness labels against me. How did I develop this delusion? My In-laws have gone behind my husband’s and my back before… years ago. Without notifying us they sent letters to our lawyer and our real estate agent about the “filthiness” of the condo we were about to purchase (It wasn’t filthy). I took this bitter memory and fabricated this new illusion. They are currently upset with me for some bizarre reason relating to our vacation months ago. So much so that they won’t call our house for fear of getting me on the phone which in turn has led to many weeks of not seeing their granddaughter. Me, a woman who has been in their only child’s life for the last 19 years. A woman who has blessed them with their only grandchild.
I can visually see this letter and can see the phone calls. In my head I see DCF and the police showing up to the door to question me and others as to my mental health and my parenting capabilities. After all, I already lost 1 child to my illnesses, why would they not take away my other?! With this delusion I am constantly questioning parenting decisions… are the decisions I make coming from my Depression, my Anxiety, my PTSD? Or are they real decisions from my true self, this person that seems so buried deep down?
My experience with my children… my Postpartum Depression, my recent 6th episode of Major Depression… has spawned a new delusion about myself. I feel as if I do not deserve to get better, that I should suffer from everything that has happened. This has honestly worried my Therapist a little to the point that we have to stop EMDR therapy to get over this road block. My emotions are telling me that I should hurt because I hurt Tyler by giving him this hope of being with us forever and then “returning” him. I should hurt because of that. I should hurt because years and years and years ago I had strong thoughts of hating my daughter, hating this tiny innocent baby because of her huge dependence on me. I should remain in pain because I lied to my husband and parents about never being hospitalized again after my Postpartum Depression. I should be in pain for giving my daughter several weeks without her mother while I was hospitalized.
It doesn’t matter if I know these to be untrue… my tired brain, barely awake due to the days of insomnia, believes these delusions. It is foggy up there in my head. I’ve blurred the line between reality and delusional that I do not know what is real anymore. At times I can’t see the logical answer. All I see is losing my daughter because I am “unfit” to be her mother. Losing her would be like losing my lifeline. She is such a strong life force for me. I just can’t seem to get over it.
Stephanie Paige is a 35 year old mother to 1 who has struggled with Depression, Anxiety and OCD since age 14. With the strength of her husband, parents, and her daughter, she has survived 6 bouts of Major Depression and has become a huge advocate of Mental Illness. Currently, she has been diagnosed with a mild form of PTSD and knows she will pull through this too.
Stephanie can also be found on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
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Stephanie, thank you for sharing your truth. I won’t try to convince you that your feelings are wrong, but I will wish you peace.