02 May 2008

A Case of the Crazies, III

As the title of this post implies, this is the third installment of my "case of the crazies" (i.e. postpartum depression). I spent three days in a mental institution and I don't have the time or the space to describe how messed up that was. But, I'll try ... in another post. Until then, may the suspense build.

Our birthing instructor had warned us to keep an eye out for the symptoms of postpartum depression. I rooted through all of our materials from the class and began reading the list of symptoms. My problems over the past couple of weeks lined up with almost every symptom. By the time Nate returned home with Benny, I had called a postpartum depression hotline. I told the woman on the line my story, she gave me a test, and after looking at the results, she encouraged me to get help right away.

For a couple who has never dealt with mental illness in any way, Nate and I were at a loss for what to do.

Ideally, I would have scheduled an appointment to see a psychiatrist asap. Unfortunately, there is a serious lack of psychiatrists in Austin. I couldn’t get in for over a month. That left us with few options. I could visit the ER and hope to see a psychiatrist. Or, I could visit the local mental hospital and have a psychiatrist perform a mental health evaluation. Our insurance company suggested the latter option.

Nate drove the family to the mental hospital (what I will refer to from here on out as the “looney bin”). When we arrived, he told me that they would not provide outpatient care, only in-patient. If they deemed necessary, I would have to voluntarily check myself in.

After a psychiatrist evaluated the state of my mental health, she recommended that I check myself in for at least a day so I could begin taking medication and get some much-needed sleep. Are you kidding me? I was not in the right mind to tell her to boink off. The recommendation hit us like a freight train.

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