The Darkness Sets In But He turned it to Light..
Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Part 5 of our journey...
I can't tell you how great it felt to be back home with normalcy, my babies and my life back... But what the hell did I just go through? Why was I the one in the hospitals and why weren't everyone else getting into the trouble they should have for all that they did? I couldn't figure that out. I was extremely tired so I napped. My family was still here so we would all be together for dinner and life just seemed to be returning to normal. But I was angry... I had everything figured out to a tee and knew all the secrets but everyone around me was just pretending like nothing happened. I heard and saw military helicopters and planes constantly flying overhead. Their work wasn't done in my mind. They were quiet around me, not sure of how to act.. Almost like they were walking on egg shells with me.. (I don't blame them) I soon learned when I came out of it all that they didn't want to trigger me.
So Thankful for Family
The next few days were normal and then I just couldn't get out of bed. I was confused, angry, hopeless, sad and tired. More tired than I've ever been... I thought to myself that it must have been because I was trying to solve the world's biggest and most grand puzzle for the past two weeks and my brain just needed to sleep. SO that's what I did. My reward would come..
It would be time to eat and I just couldn't. I had no appetite.. I just wanted to go back in bed and forget about the world. I was emotional, crying a lot and just sad that I had to freaking go to that place they called a "hospital." I remember that my mom would try to ask me if I wanted to do anything like go anywhere and I never wanted to.. Now if you know me, that's not Lindsey Barnsley at all... I'm a total extrovert and love being out and about, and with people... I wanted nothing to do with it.. It was awful. I was extremely depressed for the first time of my life and I had never experienced this before..
I was so angry that I would just sob and come to the kitchen and just pound my fists on our granite counter saying "I want to die." I did. I really really did.. I felt trapped in my own body and nothing brought me joy... I even told my mom that I just wanted my heart to stop beating.. Heaven seemed so much better than this hell I was going through. Obviously that caught her attention and with tears streaming down her face, she said to me, "No you don't Lindsey. You have this wonderful family that needs you and this is going to get better." Gosh to be a mom and have your daughter tell you she wanted to die.. I can't imagine just what I put her through. She was so strong for me but I knew she would have her moments and breaking points.. She would always offer to go get groceries, go on a walk, or go down to AJs and find me lavender bath salts for a warm comforting bath.. Nothing like a Mama to know exactly what you needed without even asking.
Nobody Like Your Mama
Jesse was still trying to balance work and being here, so we were lucky enough to get Oliver (who was on the waiting list) into preschool in the 2s class. This really helped because now my mom could focus on Brantson and I and we could take Oli to school for awhile. I'm forever grateful for that preschool who desperately got that call from Jesse explaining what happened to me and they made room for us.. That's what good people do, especially Christian based schools. I remember my mom driving all of us and me taking Oliver into his class in the mornings looking like hell I'm sure, but I knew I wanted to be there for him. My sweet boy who was put in school because his mom couldn't take care of him during that time. Those feelings of guilt and shame were huge.
My Sweet Oliver Going to School
I met my psychologist who wasn't too far from home and went in with Jesse to talk to her. She had received all my medical records from the first hospital and the Behavioral Health Center or Psychiatric Hospital and reviewed them before I came. I told her what happened and I just remember her taking a lot of notes.. She explained to me that all those things were in my mind but didn't happen. She didn't convince me.. How could I be wrong about so much? I mean, all those details and the things I saw, voices I heard! What's that about...?? This has never happened to me so why now? She prescribed me a pretty heavy amount of mood stabilizers, an anti-depressant and anxiety medication to take. I was still very depressed and when she told me they don't take full effect until 4-6 weeks, I about died even more inside. I can't do this for that long.
My mom took me to lunch down the street. We were the only ones in the restaurant and I remember ordering salads and I was just so anxious I couldn't' stand it. I had a few bites and had to take the rest to go. My anxiety was paralyzing. I'd have to frequently take my anxiety medication to just bring me down from almost suffering panic attacks.
As discouraged as I was, Jesse ended up telling me that he found someone I could talk to that went through a very similar thing like I did. For the first time, I agreed and said I'd talk to her but I doubted she really went through exactly what I went through. We were at the park when she called, "Hi Lindsey, I'm Sheila!" We started talking and the best thing she could have said to me and did was, "You are not alone and I know exactly where you are and I'm praying for you." I thanked her, we talked for about 5 minutes and a week or two later she sent me this beautiful shiny gold envelope with a book in it and a handwritten card and note inside the book. (Sidenote.. Since receiving this from her I think I have sent about 15 copies of this around the country to Moms that were going through a hard time... It was my life saver and I love giving it to others so if you ever know of a Mom, send me a message!)
I still have it Sheila!!! Love you Lady!
This book called, The Promises of Comfort and Encouragement. I had Jesse open up a page and just read it to me. He would sit on my bedside and hold my hand while I cried and just prayed with me. My husband, my rock and my everything. His sweet soul had been crushed to see me go through all of this... I can't imagine having to drop your wife off at the "Crazy Barn" and just leave. I can't imagine his thoughts of me never being the wife he married again.. What happened to me? Could I be a good mother to his children? Jesse suffered as much as I did but in a totally different way. He brought me so much comfort at that time because he was strong for me (even if he didn't show me his weak moments.)
As time went on, the meds slowly started to help and I felt better and better. I wanted to do more, I had more interests, we would take daily walks around the neighborhood, my mom and I would go on special outings and life was being brought back into my mind, body and soul. Praise God. I 100% believe in the power of prayer because it wasn't until we started really praying for my meds to work, life to feel happier that I started to feel like I was coming back. "The Ultimate Comeback" it felt like.. Going from rock bottom to actually finding happiness again. It was a lot of work, but we did it.
You can tell in my eyes on my face I was depressed...
The last thing that happened was I was home alone one day when the doorbell rung. It was a man with a briefcase and clipboard in his hand. I opened it up and he introduced himself and said he was from Child Protective Services. If your heart doesn't skip a beat with that department at your door, I don't know what does. I knew those people from being a teacher. I knew their purpose, but why was he here? He asked if he could come in. "Well, sure" I said. I mean, I'd like to know what's going on. (At that time I thought it was maybe regarding family members I questioned in my mind.) We sat down and he asked me if I knew a case was opened against me. I literally was speechless.. "Me?" "Yes Mrs. Barnsley, I have some questions to ask you because we are trying to get your case closed." WHAT IN THE ACTUAL? Who called them on me? Why would they? I was protecting them and then was freaking hospitalized because I was sure I was drugged..... He asked me about medication, my doctor, how I felt and a few other things. I was I'm sure shaking throughout this process. I convinced myself that someone was trying to take my kids away. Awesome, this literally is never ending... Could anything else go wrong?
So, he left and when my mom and Jesse got home I was furious... I told them what happened and asked them if they knew of anything. They knew about it because Jesse had to schedule a time for him to come over and ask me questions, so they knew about it and didn't tell me.. Worst idea ever people! I was SO mad! He explained that when I went to the hospital, that lady asking me all the questions was a social worker and that's how all of this began. Well, I sure as hell did nothing wrong to my kids and now I get this crap? CPS at my door questioning me about whether or not I was fit to be around them...??? No. Just no. Not ok and that took me quite a bit of time to get over and realize and finally admit that I guess I was glad they were there to protect the kids.. But I felt like he kinda took away my Mom card for awhile...
Through all of this, looking back, it took a team. God was orchestrating all of this for sure, but it took teams of doctors, nurses, family, friends to help bring meals and watch kids, my psychologist, a therapist, etc. I am and was very fortunate to have had that support, but the thought that some moms don't kills me. No body had really heard of what I went through and was diagnosed with and when it all happened it was like solving a mystery. Postpartum Psychosis is very REAL, can effect anyone and the person going through it absolutely will not feel like she is the wrong one. Everything makes sense in her world and even if she doesn't tell you her thoughts, there are most likely many of them firing off and crossing paths, connecting dots and trying to solve mysterious puzzles. She may be very paranoid and watching you like a hawk.. Very untrusting and acting like she has it all figured out.. The main thing is the hallucinations (audible and visual) that make this scary. This is something that needs immediate attention and should never be overlooked or ruled out that it won't happen to you or someone you know.
I wasn't expecting this at all. NO prior mental illness, nothing in my extended family as far as I know, nothing... But as time has healed me, I've realized that the phrase they kept using "The Perfect Storm" makes a lot of sense to me. I truly believe the PTSD of my first birth and NICU experience with Oliver, two c-sections, the pain killers, anesthesia, progesterone shots, bedrest twice, triggers of family, and possibly more all came to a big giant head. I'm sure my hormone levels were off the charts with the extra progesterone, other levels were off, I wasn't getting great sleep, I was exclusively nursing while having an active 2 year old and on and on..
Even thought "The Perfect Storm" that happened could have been caused by everything I just listed, I also feel that there is no doubt in my mind that it was God's "Perfect Storm" for me. He showed me His power to allow such a thing to happen, but also how He showed up with me in that second hospital right when I needed Him. He put it on my heart to share what the Bible said to my friends in that Behavioral Health Center, and he paired me up with Sarah who also was a strong believer. He carried me though the ups and downs or all of this whether I recognized it or not. He took me on this journey you guys to ultimately bring me closer to Him. Now I was a believer before all of this, don't get me wrong, but to relive all I went through and to come out stronger than ever before because of it, that right there is all given to Him and to showcase HIS GLORY! The storm brought beauty.. What a beautiful mess it was.. One that took me on an unexpected journey, fighting the demons off in my mind to ultimately find HIM in a more intimate way than I ever knew was possible.. To rely on Him and pray like crazy..
Many people question why God allows bad things to happen to good people...I've got your answer... It's very simple.. To reveal Himself to us and ultimately bring us closer to Him because without Him, His promises of hope and prayers, I would have possibly ended me life. He's amazing in the ways He works because it's not always when things go well.. It's more when shit hits the fan. He is a God of miracles and is the ULTIMATE HEALER.. I always remember and tell myself that it's not just medication that helps... It's knowing that He is there for us to deliver us from the darkness and bring us to the light. Well, He sure kept that promise for me and I know without a doubt I saw the darkest of dark... But now.. I can't imagine my life without lifting His name up on high! He deserves it all and I am forever grateful for His ultimate love and healing.
Please... If you ever know of anyone that may face something similar to what I did, send them to me. I now A LOT about this now and can help get them the help they need to feel better. Thank you all so much for your love through hearing my story out.. I know just how off-beat it is while reading it and how literally crazy it is. Our minds can do some strange things. It's taken A LOT of work and time to feel like I do now and can tell my story with all the details. Most of those details don't make sense but one thing that does is while during that time I didn't understand why that all happened, I now know. My mission is clear and I want to ultimately help any other moms out there that feel alone and bring God to the forefront of the picture.
This me a week or two before it all happened.. Seems so normal and happy!
"Make Your Mess Your Message from God!" - Lindsey Barnsley