Chapter Two- The phone call
”Hannah I dont think you are very well…I’m going to get someone to call you…”
I recall feeling excited at the prospect of “a phone call”. I felt quite special and had no idea who might ring. I don't think it had really sunk in why Linda wanted someone to call me, but I think I believed it was my lack of sleep that was an issue.
The next day the phone call came. It was a man (at least I thought it was a man..it could have also been a deep voiced woman). Let's call him Kent. Kent explained he was from the maternal mental health team and he just wanted to have a chat about what was happening and how I was feeling.
I said I would be more than happy to talk to him and I already felt a flood of words coming- I had so much to tell him! Which did feel a bit odd seeing as he was a complete stranger. This phone call is so vivid to me. I was sitting on a chair in Alice's room eating mixed nuts, which were my obsessive snack of choice that day. What is completely missing from my memory is what Alice was doing at that time. When I say that I have crystal clear memories of my mania, unfortunately none of those are of Alice. My memories of Alice as a new baby are mainly triggered by photos. I can't remember the feel of her in my arms or what she smelt like, or anything at all really. The reality of this absolutely pierces my heart as I write these words.
Kent explained that he had some questions for me that would help him understand what was going on. I will summarise these questions and answers for you. Note that I spoke at a hundred miles an hour...with no break between points. It’s really hard to depict this interaction with just words, but I hope it gives you an insight into my unusual behaviour.
How are you sleeping at the moment Hannah?
I don't really need to sleep much…I have so much energy I just don't get tired..
I usually sleep for a few hours at the start of the night but get up in the night and do jobs and talk to friends…
I feel like I have so many people I need to talk to, to tell them about Alice...there is just so much to say and I cant really calm my mind down.
The Facebook page is taking up a lot of time and I’m taking lots of photos...
Someone showed me that if you take a photo through Instagram you can do way better filters so that's fun.. Do you use Instagram Kent?
Lets keep this about you. Have you been out and about much?
I went and got my hair cut the other day and I honestly got the bargain of the century- I got 8 cardigans for less than $120…
I was so proud of myself because I could have shopped at expensive shops but I was very restrained….I think I must be pretty thrifty…
I did buy a birthday present for a friend but I lost it somewhere in the mall which is annoying as it was from a really expensive shop…
Nick was a bit disappointed about my spending spree but he doesn't understand clothes or what is fashionable….
Cardigans are what mums wear- I just felt I needed to get some mum clothes- surely that's normal right?
How do you feel within yourself Hannah?
I feel sooo good most of the time...
Sometimes I do feel angry and upset at certain things..its not been that easy between Nick and I- but that's normal right?....Hormones. They have a lot to answer for.
It's so exciting being a new mum, Alice is a perfect baby and breastfeeding is going extremely well...I knew it would though. The key was putting that cream on me. I started doing that half way through the pregnancy. Very prepared.. that’s me. Is that too much information?
I feel like everything is just smooth sailing with parenting, so much so that I can see going back to work happening a lot sooner than I thought….Ive already emailed the Head of HR at work to tell her that.
My career is very important to me. I recently got a very good promotion..do you want to read my new job description? I dont mind at all… I've actually thought of venturing off and starting my own HR consultancy. I was actually researching that the other night... I think I would be really successful at that...
I do get waves of feeling upset about the birth I had, and I had a bath the other night and it all came flooding back….I did end up crying uncontrollably. Do you think that's the problem- the fact I had a terrible birth?.
I've been snapping at Nick a lot and I do seem to react badly when he questions me- like he has been saying he is worried how long I’ve been spending on the phone, but he isn't the boss of me. I'm sick of him telling me what to do...
Am I making sense Kent?
Hannah are you worried about how you are feeling?
Not really because I’m just not tired and I'm getting so much done...I’m so efficient though you should see me.
I can see why everyone is a bit worried though as I am talking a lot and I know I'm running around being busy...
I suppose it's not that common to have this much energy this soon after having a baby? I'm not really sure. What do you think Kent?
I think everyone should be thankful that I don't feel down or depressed. Now that would be awful...imagine having to deal with that. Those poor people. I think I’m being pretty fun to be honest.
I recall Kent having to interrupt me so he could get each question in and I found that extremely irritating. I think it did cross my mind that I had just rattled off a whole heap of information without pausing. But there was still so much more to say, if he would just let me talk again.
Kent explained to me that he believed I was having a manic episode- the other end of the spectrum to depression. Mania? That sounded good. Well not good..it was obviously not ideal but how thankful I was that I wasn't “sick”- whatever I thought that meant. Little did I know that I was well and truly on my way to becoming really very sick.
He then went through the symptoms of mania
Abnormally upbeat, jumpy or wired
Increased activity, energy or agitation
Exaggerated sense of wellbeing and self confidence
Decreased need for sleep
Poor decision making (such as spending sprees, making foolish investments)
Pressured speech (very fast)
Kent told me that to be diagnosed with mania you needed to show three or more of these symptoms. I asked him how many I was showing. He said “all of them”, to which I replied- “so you are saying I got 100%- like an A+?!?” I was thrilled.
As you can no doubt tell, my brain was very clearly not functioning at 100%. Kent told me that because it was Friday they wouldn't be able to organise a doctor to come and see me until Monday, but to try and get some rest in the meantime. He would see me on Monday as well.
He hung up the phone.
As it turned out I was unfortunately going to need a doctor before Monday. That weekend ended up turning into an absolute nightmare.
To be continued...