My Biggest Fear…

May is Mental and Maternal Mental Health Awareness Month… expect a lot of posts from me…

My Biggest Fear…

I have suffered from this horrible mental illness, Depression, for majority of my life.  Twenty-one years out of the thirty-five years I have been on Earth.  That’s a lot.  Thinking about it drains me.  Thinking about each battle, reliving it in my head even for a few seconds exhausts me on all plains, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  As I age and suffer, it takes more energy out of me than the last time.  I survive, stronger in ways, weaker in others.

This last time nearly killed me.  No, no, no suicide attempt.  Shear exhaustion from the anxiety.  New symptom of panic attacks and the fact that Anorexia had basically developed utterly scares me… for the next time.  I’m scared if I suffer a 7th time it will indeed end me and I’ll leave my child motherless and my husband a widower.  It seems as if my symptoms are progressively getting worse with each bout.

This past January, as I lay in the stark naked room of the Behavioral Crisis Center, I had one of the scariest intrusive thoughts of my life.  Facing what I felt was infinite mental pain, I stared at a screw on the lunch tray table.  Emaciated, weak, I thought about what I would do if I could loosen the screw.  I wanted to give myself a Lobotomy with it, push it in and keep twisting.  Eyes flashing all over the room looking for something to act as a screwdriver…

I’m petrified.  “What ifs?” run through my mind.  What if I succumb to Depression’s ugliness for a 7th time?  How bad will I be then? What if there is a screwdriver within reach?  What if it is worse and I succeed at slitting my wrist unlike when I was eighteen?

In a normal state of conciousness, like currently, I would never even consider it but when I’m suffering, when deep into the depths of the ocean of Depression, I am not sane.  I am not me.  I don’t think about how my absence would hurt my child, my husband, my family.  All I can focus on is how to rid my brain of rapid continuous thoughts, to rid my brain of thinking entirely, because if I am not thinking, I’ll be okay.  At least this is what Depressed me believes.

In an attempt to avoid a 7th time, I have agreed with my Primary Care Physician, my Psychiatrist and those at the hospital to remain on my antidepressant indefinitely.  Of course as a worrier by nature, I am horrified at what I may do if it fails me.  If Depression and Anxiety take up residence once again… What I may do since it becomes more powerful, and exhausting each time…

Physical Turmoil vs. Mental Turmoil

Baltimore, MD.  A beautiful city that I’ve been to many times.  It is also the scene of mass chaos currently.  Void of all facts, I’ll summarize the essentials.  A 25 year old black man was violently killed by a white cop, snapping his spine.  A brawl ensues of black rights vs. white rights which in my opinion has never been equal.  Thousands, mostly high school students, begin to terrorize the city.  Gangs join forces to eradicate law enforcement.  It seems so unreal.  Baltimore is declared a state of emergency.

This physical battle is not unlike the ones I’ve had in my head.  Old self battling new self for eternal reign.  Guilt beating up good.  Shame throwing rocks at happiness. Unlike those in Baltimore, I do not act this out physically.  This war is played out in my brain.

When does it crossover?  When do our negative thoughts urge us to become physical?

Battling Postpartum Depression and with this most recent bout, I’ve had thoughts of physically hurting MYSELF.  Never did I want to hurt another, but I know people who have.

It’s amazing how our brains work.  One minute we look at the world with love and the next we look at our friends with hate.  Like the flick of a switch.  We turn on those that keep us safe.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the beautiful city of Baltimore.  I hope that these physical turmoils end as quickly as they manifested.

My Daughter, My Wise Fairy

My husband and I went Team Green when I was pregnant back in 2006.  This meant that our child’s sex was unknown to us until birth and yes, we wanted it that way.  Yes, this also means we had quite a bit of clothing colored yellow and green.  We were very quick in chosing the name if our child was a boy… Evan William.  Evan was after my Great Uncle and William after my paternal Grandfather.

We were utterly stuck on a girl’s name for months.  Being Jewish of the Ashkenazi descent, we name after the dead.  Jimmy and I had focused in on naming after my Grandmothers.  Faye was automatically chosen as a middle name.  We had S to work with for a first name.  It wasn’t until we were watching an old teen drama and they said Sophie that it clicked.  Sophia Faye for a girl.

On October 16th, 2006 my Sophia Faye was born.  She didn’t know at that age how much she would see her mother suffer nor did she realize how much she would grow into her name… Sophia Faye…  meaning “Wise Fairy”.

Fast forward almost 9 years.  My beautiful daughter has had her heart broken by me, her mother because of my Mental Illness.  She was given a younger brother only to have him torn away because of me.  She has cried.  She has gotten angry.  And, she has forgiven me.  She has seen her mother become narotic, having delusional thoughts, dry heaving, crying and yelling at her father to take her away and start a new life.  And she has forgiven me.

At 8 1/2 she understands Mental Illness more than most adults do.  She knows Mommy is sick, getting better, but will always be sick.  She understands that what I say when Depression shows its ugly face, is false.  She comprehends that I hated her when I suffered from Postpartum Depression, that I blamed her for it. And she still loves me.  She knows Mommy has to give up some time with her now to get better, whether it is for therapy or “Me Time”.  And she doesn’t hate me.

At 8 1/2, she wanted to give me her money for my Climb for Postpartum Progress this June.  She dug into her My Little Pony wallet and handed me $2, all her cash, because she knew how important the cause was.  She knew it would go to other mothers who are like her own mother. 

This little girl is wise beyond her years.  She is a Wise Fairy and this Wise Fairy is one of my biggest supporters.  I am so grateful to have her as my child.  I love her to infinity and beyond!


I do not like being dependent on a little pill.  I like being in control of everything.  I’m an Alpha personality, something I didn’t realize until in the hospital for Postpartum Depression.  I have perfection tendencies.  Both these things are extremely damaging to my psyche.  After Sophia was born, it took years in therapy to not push for perfection in her.  There are still times now I have to hold myself back from saying things.

And now I’m dependent on a few small pills to function “normally”.  Ugh.  I internally yell at myself because of this.  When I fell victim to this most recent bout of Depression, I had multiple people tell me, “Stephanie, maybe you should stay on the antidepressant permanently.”  Honestly, being my 6th time suffering and realizing that as I age it is more physically draining, I agreed.

Okay, so now I am dependent by choice with one little pill.  It’s the other 2 that have me constantly battling my mental self. 

The pink pill that helps me sleep.  I know I will be on this one for awhile and am okay with it.  Not happy, but okay.  Prior Depression times it took me years before I could trick my brain into thinking Melatonin was my sleep med.

This brings me to the tiniest pill of all… My anti anxiety med, Ativan.  The hospital had me on this 3 times a day.  Since being released in January, I’ve been able to drop 2 a day.  I only take my 6pm dosage.  This dosage I attempted to drop this past weekend with the okay from my psychiatrist.  The results were not good.

I couldn’t fall asleep.

I worked myself up with so much anxiety regarding not being able to sleep that when I caved and took the Ativan it didn’t work.

My result… Lack of sleep and the residual effects of taking the Ativan too late.  It left me foggy, cranky, tired, and angry… At myself.

This little white pill controls me.  I am hopeless without it.  I am dependent on it.  I’m ashamed with myself.  Mad at myself.  Having a boxing match with myself.  For some reason I can’t drop it.

Am I becoming addicted?  Why can’t I drop it?  Why am I still fearing not being able to sleep that I need this 6pm dose?  Will I ever stop the internal battle with my Alpha self over it?

Under Your Spell

I’m having a rough day and am unsure why.  There has been no triggering factor.  I just woke up feeling undeserving of love, once again beating myself up.  It inspired a little poetry writing which has been dormant for over a decade
Under Your Spell
by: Stephanie Paige
Fake smiles, forced grin,
Hides the Depression within,
Rapid breaths, pulsing heartbeats,
Drowning in air,
Undeserving and hopeless, void of love,
Hard to concentrate,
Strong grip, suffocating,
Over and over… Infinite,
Increasing hurt, heart breaks,
Need an escape,
Trying to climb, to break free,
Return to myself,
Hold too intense, pressure grows,
Wanting to be loved, not knowing I am,
Cannot think, going under,
Is Death laughing?
Racing ideas, rid myself of this pain,
Soured dreams go unnoticed,
Regression, not well,
Struggling to find me,
Still climbing, will not forfeit,
Been under your spell before,
Positive thoughts, intensely hard,
I am again a warrior… A survivor!

I’m Okay, Really I Am… Am I?

I wasn’t planning on writing a blog post today as I’ve been okay, really I have.  At least, I think I have…

My place of employment is having a food and diaper drive this month.  I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to finally get rid of all the diapers and toddler food we have left.  After all, I am okay and looking at these items does not make me cry anymore.

Last night I took all the unopened diapers out (5 bags) and gathered the unopened toddler food.  This morning I placed as much as I could in a reusable shopping bag and brought it in for the drive.  I am okay.

But now I sit at my cubicle and my anxiety is building.  The person to bring the donations to is not at her desk.  The bag sits right behind me under my back desk and it is taunting me.  It’s reminding me of what I had, what I had to give up.  Vivid images of my former foster son keep flashing in my head.  My breathing is becoming slightly more rapid.  Do I take an Ativan?  Do I risk the foggy feeling at work from it?  Can I get through this without it?  I’m okay, aren’t I?

My co-worker just messaged that she is back at her desk.  I couldn’t race fast enough to bring these items over that haunt me.  I choke telling her why I have them to donate, gulping at the words foster son.  The damage is done.  My heart is still beating a little faster.  How am I supposed to do this at least one more time as I have more diapers to bring in?

I’m okay, aren’t I?

Triggers… And I Don’t Mean Guns


We all have something in our lives that will cause stress, tension, anxiety…

What happens when your biggest trigger are the people you love the most, your child(ren)?  What happens when looking at them makes you want to vomit?  What happens when even hearing them suffer from a cold makes you want to physically rip your hair out?  What happens when hearing them whimper (not whine) makes you want to run from the house screaming?

This sounds horrible and cruel and yet this has happened to me twice in my lifetime.  It is painful to admit as I feel I’ll be judged and someone will call DCF on me.  No mother ever wants to think her child will drive her literally to insanity, but it happens.  It happens more then people will admit. 

The first time this occurred was almost 9 years ago after the birth of my daughter.  As I’ve mentioned in another post, I was on cloud nine when she was born.  I treasured her.  I watched her sleep.  I gave her so many kisses and cuddles and then one day it started to change.  Her sweet innocent newborn face became ugly to me.  Her little cute coos became like a crows caw in sound.  Her low cries for me to feed her or change her or even hold her became like a banshee screaming.  All this happened in almost a blink of an eye. 

I couldn’t stand to be around her.  I blamed her for what was happening to me.  I began to hate her.  I began to plan my escape, my freedom.

Am I an awful mother yet?

I felt that I was a horrible human being, let alone a bad mother for a few months.  How could a mother hate her child?!

As if suffering from Postpartum Depression and Anxiety once wasn’t enough it occurred again this past year with my foster son whom we were to adopt.

Again, this little innocent child became my biggest trigger.  Looking at him, thinking about all the responsibilities that came with him on top of the responsibilities with my daughter’s Generalized Anxiety Disorder, on top of work with very little help from my husband and I broke down.  His face with his cherub dimpled cheeks that I used to love to kiss caused me to dry heave into the toilet.  His toddler gibberish that I found adorable now made me scratch my arms with my nails.  Worst of all, his coughing from his continuous colds made me want to rip my ears right off my head.

I don’t blame my husband for the lack of help.  In both instances it was my alpha personality that prevented him from helping more.  I thought I could do it all.  It was more painful with my foster son because I was in such a good place mentally, emotionally and physically.  I really thought I could do it all again.

Triggers… Some professionals say that they cause the stress and the tension but in my case the stress and the tension caused my daughter and my foster son to become triggers.  That looking at both of them caused severe anxiety and ultimately depression.  It’s hard living with that.  It’s hard to admit that at two points in my life, I was a horrible mother, an incompetent mother. 

I will always carry guilt over that.  Even as I stare at my daughter now with awe that this beautiful girl is mine…  Even as she laughs and I smile… Even as I once again continuously hug and kiss her…

I feel the guilt that at one point just looking at her gave me such negative feelings.