Allison's Story

I am no stranger to mental illness. Almost my whole life has involved the upheaval of mental illness, whether it was stories of my great-grandmother who only achieved relief from her depression from the earliest trials of electroconvulsive therapy, my father’s diagnosis of bipolar disorder when I was 10, my mom’s desperate stories about growing up with a mother who refused treatment for narcissistic personality disorder, my incorrect diagnosis of major depression as a college sophomore, or receiving the final correct diagnoses of bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety a year later after iatrogenic mania from antidepressant monotherapy almost destroyed my life.

I’m twelve years in with the same psychiatrist now, the one who properly diagnosed and treated me. It’s been a journey of ups and downs, but by 2015, I had accomplished so much thanks to her intervention: met my husband, graduated with my ASN, got an amazing job as a cancer research nurse, married my husband, started my BSN studies, and had our first son. I stayed on my medications and thus stayed relatively stable during that whole season of my life.

In the five days after Soren’s birth, my mood took a dive. Insistent on breastfeeding, I unknowingly starved my son because of undiagnosed insufficient glandular tissue. Lactation told me there was nothing to worry about as his weight dropped almost 15% in five days. On day five, in the pediatrician’s office, our pediatrician softly told me that he needed formula, and he guzzled a nursette so fiercely that he vomited it up immediately. I dropped into depression, sobbing while pumping, sobbing while feeding him formula, sobbing when he was still hungry after breastfeeding, but my psychiatrist believed that it was situational depression which is likely apt, so we didn’t change my medications. Judgment for my combination feeding drove me further into depression, but it was still tolerable, so I just kept moving forward.

When Soren was nine months old, we decided to take a family trip to Sweden with a stopover in New York City. Going into the city on the AirTrain from JFK was fine, but the moment we stepped into a subway car underground, the intrusive thoughts began. Every time we stepped on a train, I could see vividly my little boy bloodied and dead, having been hit by a train. These thoughts continued as we used transit around Stockholm and even stopped us from attending a Christmas party thrown by a friend’s family on an island outside of Stockholm – all I could think about was him falling from my arms and drowning on the ferry. My anxiety built and built and built. Every time I looked at his face, I could clearly see him broken beyond repair.

Coming home didn’t help. The intrusive images continued even away from the crowded stairs, grates, and gaps of the subways. They flooded me, the anxiety completely overpowering and the depression making its way from feeding-related to a sense of hopelessness about everything. As I drove to work one day, I realized that I had a firm plan for suicide. This horrified me – I immediately texted my dad who told me to contact my psychiatrist, and after determining I wasn’t an immediate threat to myself or others and had supervision, she set an appointment for two days later. At that appointment, I restarted Wellbutrin to accompany my long-used Lamictal and set up a schedule to see her every two to six weeks depending on my needs. My depression lifted within a couple of weeks.

Talking about the intrusive thoughts was horrifying to me, so I held back from letting her know what my mind was feeding me every day – talking about them made them too real. For too long, I kept them to myself, but doing so wasn’t helping me find relief. After almost seven months of regular appointments, I admitted the depth of my anxiety, something that we weren’t really treating due to my reticence toward talking about it, and she put me on a low dose of Lexapro – it’s hard to find balance enough to not send someone with bipolar disorder into mania, so dosing tends to be conservative.

It worked. The fog lifted. The horrible images stopped. By October, I was able to take my older son on a boat from Newport Beach, California to Avalon, an hour long ride across the open ocean, without drowning in anxiety. My dad got a picture of me standing at the back of the Catalina Flyer as we pulled into the harbor, looking into the distance with Soren on my hip. I’d survived.

In remission, we decided to have another child. Rune is almost one now, and I haven’t had a relapse in my perinatal mood disorders – for that, I am thankful.

The fact stands, however, that even though I am recovered from the PMADs I experienced with Soren, I still have GAD and bipolar disorder, and parenting while dealing with chronic mental illness is very challenging. There’s little awareness for any PMAD outside of depression, and there’s even less awareness and support when it comes to parents living with chronic mental illness. For us, mental illness isn’t fleeting. We may have a better infrastructure for care because we’ve been previously diagnosed and treated, so there’s a better chance that we have knowledge of the system and actively see mental health practitioners. That’s one thing we have going for us for better or worse.

But we regularly live in fear. A parent with a chronic illness like type 1 diabetes doesn’t constantly fear their children being taken from them because of their condition, but those of us with mental illness are so subject to stigma and judgment that we strive to appear psychonormative despite the risks involved with keeping our struggles to ourselves. For us, going back to normal after a PMAD isn’t going back to the societal normal – it’s back to our own brand of abnormality, one full of interventions and diseases that can be neither quantified nor adequately qualified, thus making them diseases that an unacceptable number of people believe don’t actually exist.

I have support, and I support others as best I can. I take medication, and I encourage others to take prescribed medication without worrying about stigma. I’m open about my illnesses, and others are open with me. But it is hard. It is very hard. I worry about my children and what their genetics hold. I worry about how my children will be affected if they’re home when I experience a panic attack. I feel guilt for not always being available for them because my brain just can’t handle more input. There’s always some new issue, some new worry.

There’s help though, and I’m willing to go to the ends of the earth to get it for my kids. I’m doing it to be a better mom for them by making a better version of myself. I work toward improvement for me, my kids, my husband, my parents, and my patients. For me, it’s possible to find a version of normalcy, and I rise.

Do you identify with Allison's story?

Take me to the ``Shatter the Silence`` series.

Watch Now

Related posts

Comments ( 59 )

  • Arron

    Hurrah, that’s what I was searching for, what a data!
    existing here at this webpage, thanks admin of this

    Feel free to visit my web-site … like g

  • Raul

    Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice
    at the same time as you amend your site, how could i subscribe
    for a blog website? The account helped me a applicable deal.
    I have been tiny bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided vivid clear idea

    Feel free to visit my site … g these

  • Kala

    Wow, this post is good, my sister is analyzing such things, so I am going to convey

    my web blog; make g

  • Nicki

    Good day! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with SEO?

    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some
    targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results.
    If you know of any please share. Thank you!

    Feel free to surf to my web page … cbd oil (

  • Jayson

    I enjoy what you guys tend to be up too. Such clever work and exposure!
    Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve incorporated you guys to blogroll.

    Review my web page :: cbd oil (

  • Dwight

    Excellent way of describing, and fastidious piece of writing to obtain data
    on the topic of my presentation subject matter, which i am going to convey in university.

    Also visit my homepage :: cbd oil (

  • Concetta

    My relatives all the time say that I am killing my time here
    at web, however I know I am getting experience daily by
    reading thes pleasant content.

    My blog post – cbd oil (

  • Sven

    This post is worth everyone’s attention. Where can I
    find out more?

    Also visit my site; cbd oil that works 2020

  • Janice

    My brother suggested I might like this website.
    He was totally right. This post actually made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much
    time I had spent for this information! Thanks!

    Here is my web page … cbd oil that works 2020

  • Alica

    It’s remarkable in support of me to have a site, which is beneficial in support of my knowledge.
    thanks admin

    My web blog; cbd oil that works 2020

  • Esperanza

    Aw, this was a really good post. Spending some time and
    actual effort to create a top notch article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a whole
    lot and don’t seem to get anything done.

    Stop by my website :: cbd oil that works 2020

  • Rosemary

    Hi, Neat post. There is a problem with your site in web explorer, might check
    this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace leader and a large part of people will omit your great writing due to this

    My web blog … website host

  • Gwen

    Hi there, There’s no doubt that your web site could be
    having web browser compatibility problems. When I look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E.,
    it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide
    you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, fantastic blog!

    Feel free to visit my site – website hosting companies

  • Valorie

    Howdy! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if
    that would be ok. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

    Also visit my webpage :: web hosting companies

  • Dixie

    Thanks for sharing your info. I truly appreciate
    your efforts and I am waiting for your further write ups thanks once again.

    Also visit my website: website hosting

  • Pauline

    Valuable info. Fortunate me I found your web hosting companies site by chance, and I’m shocked
    why this accident did not took place in advance!

    I bookmarked it.

  • Tyson

    Thanks on your marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you are a great author.I will make certain to
    bookmark your blog and will eventually come back at some point.
    I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great posts, have
    a nice weekend!

    My site; best website hosting

  • Scotty

    It’s awesome to pay a quick visit this web site and reading
    the views of all colleagues regarding this post, while I am also eager of getting

    My web-site: cheap flights 2020

  • Wilson

    Thanks on your marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed
    reading it, you could be a great author. I will
    be sure to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back from now
    on. I want to encourage yourself to continue your great writing,
    have a nice morning!

    My web site … american airlines

  • Denise

    My programmer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP.
    I have always disliked the idea because of the costs.
    But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on various
    websites for about a year and am concerned about switching to
    another platform. I have heard excellent things about
    Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

    Feel free to visit my blog flight ticket booking

  • Ella

    Hey! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with SEO?
    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some
    targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good success.
    If you know of any please share. Many thanks! adreamoftrains web hosting service web hosting company

  • Alanna

    Ahaa, its fastidious discussion concerning this article at this place at this blog, I have read all that, so now me also commenting here.

    Here is my web site; cheap flights to florida round trip

  • Dollie

    It’s genuinely very complex in this active life to listen news
    on Television, therefore I only use the web for that purpose, and get the
    most up-to-date information.

    My website – website hosting companies

  • Robbie

    Wow, awesome weblog layout! How lengthy have you been blogging for?
    you made running a blog glance easy. The total look of your website is
    wonderful, let alone the content material!

    Also visit my web blog :: best web hosting 2020

  • Abe

    Hi to every , because I am really eager of reading this
    web hosting reviews
    site’s post to be updated regularly. It carries nice material.

  • Eliza

    I’m not positive the place you’re getting your info,
    however great topic. I must spend a while learning
    much more or working out more. Thanks for wonderful info
    I used to be on the lookout for this information for my mission.

    Feel free to visit my site web hosting company

  • Pedro

    I got this web page from my pal who informed me concerning this best web hosting company site and at the
    moment this time I am visiting this web site and reading very informative articles here.

  • Cathryn

    You can certainly see your expertise in the article you write.
    The world hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are not afraid to mention how they believe.
    At all times follow your heart.

    My web site … hosting services

  • Marina

    Magnificent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff
    previous to and you are just too fantastic. I really
    like what you have acquired here, really like what you are stating and
    the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care
    for to keep it wise. I can’t wait to read much more from
    you. This is actually a terrific site.

    my webpage – best website hosting

  • Alvaro

    I’m really enjoying the design and layout of your website.
    It’s a very easy on the eyes which makes it much
    more enjoyable for me to come here and visit more often. Did you hire out a developer to create your theme?
    Great work!

    Also visit my web-site: webhosting

  • Steve

    This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your excellent post.
    Also, I have shared your web hosting services site
    in my social networks!

  • Patricia

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d without a
    doubt donate to this brilliant blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for
    book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to new updates and will share this website with my Facebook group.
    Talk soon!

    Feel free to visit my web blog best web hosting sites

  • Sharon

    I feel this is among the most significant information for me.
    And i am glad reading your article. But want to statement on few common things, The
    web hosting services site
    style is ideal, the articles is truly excellent
    : D. Good task, cheers

  • Agnes

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly donate
    to this brilliant blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for book-marking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to brand new updates and will
    talk about this website with my Facebook group. Chat soon!

    Feel free to visit my blog post … cheap flights

  • Marietta

    Its like you learn my thoughts! You seem to understand a lot about this, such
    as you wrote the guide in it or something. I
    think that you simply can do with a few p.c.
    to power the message house a bit, but instead of that, that is
    magnificent blog. A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

    Here is my blog :: cheap flights

  • Nate

    Very quickly this site will be famous among all blogging and site-building people,
    due to it’s pleasant posts yynxznuh cheap flights

  • Tanesha

    My family members always say that I am killing my time here at net, however I know I am
    getting familiarity all the time by reading such fastidious articles.
    cheap flights 31muvXS

  • Ona

    If some one needs to be updated with most recent technologies then he must be pay
    a visit this site and be up to date everyday.

    cheap flights yynxznuh

  • Adeline

    I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.

    It’s pretty worth enough for me. Personally, if all web hosting company owners and bloggers made
    good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

  • Darell

    I have been browsing on-line more than 3 hours
    lately, yet I never found any attention-grabbing article
    like yours. It is lovely value enough for me. In my opinion, if all webmasters and bloggers made good content material as you probably did,
    the net might be much more helpful than ever before. 3aN8IMa cheap flights

  • Rosalinda

    There is certainly a lot to learn about this issue. I like
    all of the points you made.

    My web site … cheap flights

  • Greg

    Please let me know if you’re looking for a article writer
    for your site. You have some really good articles and I
    think I would be a good asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d love
    to write some articles for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please blast me an email if interested. Many thanks!

    Also visit my page; cheap flights

  • Christal

    I got this website from my buddy who told me about this web site and now this time I am browsing this
    web page and reading very informative articles or reviews at this place.

    Also visit my web site cheap flights

  • Keenan

    Hello Dear, are you genuinely visiting this website regularly, if so then you will
    without doubt obtain nice knowledge.

    Here is my web site – cheap flights

  • Andreas

    Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I
    to find It really useful & it helped me out much. I’m hoping to offer something back and help
    others such as you helped me.

    Here is my site – black mass

  • Damion

    I really like what you guys are usually up too. This type of clever work
    and exposure! Keep up the excellent works guys I’ve included you guys to blogroll.

    Check out my homepage – black mass

  • Tamika

    Very great post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wished
    to say that I have really loved surfing around your weblog posts.
    After all I will be subscribing to your rss feed and I’m hoping you write once more soon!

    Feel free to surf to my homepage: website hosting companies

  • Hildegard

    Hi, I do think your best web hosting 2020 site could be
    having browser compatibility issues. When I
    take a look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues.
    I simply wanted to provide you with a quick heads up!
    Other than that, wonderful website!

  • Mayra

    I know this site gives quality dependent articles
    or reviews and other material, is there any other website which
    offers these kinds of things in quality?

    Also visit my website :: biden we did hat

  • Dyan

    sini bang main ke situs kita bang namanya lavayabet dan ini link kita bang

    Here is my web-site … joker123 pc download

  • Maryjo

    Hello, yup this paragraph is genuinely good and I have learned lot of things from it about blogging.

    Here is my blog post – link [Lottie]

  • Everette

    Oglądanie swojej gry jest bardzo interesujące!

    Feel free to visit my web blog; daftar casino online

  • Sofia

    Bardzo przydatne i istotne informacje jak pokonać kasyno.

    Also visit my web-site … casino online terbaik

  • Jeanette

    Pretty section of content. I just stumbled upon your website and in accession capital to assert
    that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Anyway I will be subscribing to your feeds and even I achievement you access consistently rapidly.

    Here is my page … car junk shop

  • Cecelia

    Los Bergos HermanosSomeone watched to much Breaking Bad

    My blog post :: 100106366

  • Augustina

    This is the right web site for anybody who wishes to understand this topic.
    You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa).
    You definitely put a new spin on a subject which has been discussed for many years.

    Great stuff, just wonderful!

    Here is my blog … houston junk car buyer

  • Gale

    I enjoyed this. Thank you.

    Here is my web page – linktree

Leave a Comment