Chapter Three- That weekend
As it turned out I was unfortunately going to need a doctor before Monday. That weekend turned into an absolute nightmare.
We had my sister in law, Beck, and her family coming to stay that weekend. Both of Nicks sisters are like true sisters to me so I was really excited for this visit and the chance to show my baby girl off.
After I got off the phone to Kent I remember trying to get the house ready for them to come...but feeling overly distracted and off task. I probably made more of a mess. I had relayed the Kent phone call to Nick but looking back now I must have brushed over a lot of it as he really had no idea how serious it was or what it meant.
The first few hours of the Saturday started relatively normally. However my odd behaviour started becoming more apparent as the morning went on. At one point I made Beck sit on the bed as I went through my whole entire wardrobe, forcing her to try on outfit after outfit, pressuring her to take most of the clothes. I recall feeling like I was a fashion editor and she was my model. I also started to write a list of things I needed to buy urgently (I had already planned for all of us to make a trip to the mall that day). This list is still on my phone.
Brown ballet flats (Country Road)
Brown belt- thin waist one
Pink lipstick (MAC)
Blazer (not too corporate)
Photo frames (Country Road)
New cool mum watch
Obviously none of the items were baby related. And how many brand new mums would be wanting skinny jeans and a thin waist belt three weeks postpartum?! I have absolutely no idea what a “new cool mum watch” is but I clearly had some idea at the time. All I remember was that these items were absolutely crucial and couldn't wait to start our mission.
It was always going to be a bit of a disaster when the two males in the group absolutely loathed shopping, my niece was only 13 months old and I had a three week old baby. But my mania caused me to be extremely stubborn and I was obviously quite convincing. I got really dressed up. I put on high heels and far too tight jeans. With makeup. Copious amounts of makeup. I thought I looked gorgeous. Nick thought I looked like a creepy clown (not that he dared to tell me that at the time). As we walked into the mall I remember thinking I looked like a model out of a mountain buggy commercial. I have since seen many mountain buggy commercials and I can tell you that there was no resemblance whatsoever.
Again I have no memory of what Alice was doing or wearing, whether she was unsettled or not. I do remember knowing clearly what time she was due a feed, and that is slightly comforting to me- that I wasn't completely neglectful during my mania.
I won't go into the shopping trip in detail but here is a brief summary.
We had lunch- which took over an hour to arrive
I was rude to the waiter
I kept wanting to go into every single shop
Nick got understandably frustrated with me
I reacted badly to this
I stormed off in my high heels (with Alice in the buggy)
I seriously considered buying a diamond ring as a “push present” to myself
I tried to feed Alice in the breastfeeding room but felt out of control and started crying uncontrollably
I made a snap decision that Alice would now be bottle fed and I would give up breastfeeding immediately
I asked Beck to go and buy formula while I waited in the car, where I became more and more agitated.
I consequently got nothing on my list
By the time we got home we had been out for hours and it was almost dark.
I can only liken my behaviour that day as similar to an incredibly irrational teenager, or how you might act when you are having a drunken argument with a boyfriend. Like a tantrum- once it goes too far its hard to come back from. What I did feel was that it was everyone else’s fault for winding me up.
I proclaimed to Nick that I wanted a divorce and was off to Fiji on holiday. I ran away down the road, only for Beck to find me and bring me home. I then stormed out onto our back deck and slammed the door. The glass cracked.
The glass cracking was the first time it hit me that things were spiralling out of control. I called my mother in law Jude. I spoke to her for probably an hour while everyone inside paced around wondering what to do. They called my midwife who came over and sat next to me on the ground. I can still picture her worried face as we sat in the drizzling rain. I tried to plead my case to her- that it was actually everyone else winding me up. Little did I know that she already called my OB, who then called the adult psychiatric crisis team.
For Nick, having four complete strangers come into his home would have felt extremely unnerving. Even more so when they are coming to deal with your wife’s mental health crisis. Two of the team members stayed with my family while the other two ushered me into my room. I sat down and proceeded to tell them every second of that day (in my frantic way). I honestly felt that they would hear the story, storm into the other room and ask my family to apologise. Instead they gave me a sedative.
They said someone from their team would come to visit tomorrow and that the sedative would help me get a goods night sleep. I started feeling groggy and went to bed.
At some point in the night I got up and called Jude again. I think it was 2am. I felt agitated and worried. I think I was scared deep down but mainly I just felt overwhelmingly wronged. How did no one understand that it wasn't actually my fault?
I know now it wasn't my fault. But it also wasn't my family’s fault. How unbelievably scary it must have been for them. How terrible for Nick lying next to me that night feeling like the wife he knew was slipping away in front of his eyes.
So my true journey into mania commenced. So did my relationship with the maternal mental health team. On the Monday I got to meet my friend Kent and my new psychiatrist. And some of what I had read in my psychology textbooks, and seen on TV was about to play out in real life.
To be continued..