I overdosed on prescription medication when I was seven months pregnant.

On purpose.

I didn’t want to be pregnant anymore. Pregnancy was (literally) killing me. I hadn’t eaten more than a half cup of food at a sitting in seven months. Ninety percent of what went into my mouth came back out. Every muscle in my body ached from dry heaving. My throat was constantly scratchy from vomiting up bile. Every smell was toxic.

And no one believed that I truly was sick.

One woman told me I was eating the wrong kind of crackers. Other people said I was being over-dramatic. Several people thought I was faking. Cody thought I was a wimp.

I didn’t even know if I wanted a kid all that much, I mentally could not get myself excited about having a baby.

The depression built gradually (I am bipolar). I told myself to go to sleep and I’d feel better in the morning. One morning I didn’t feel better, I felt worse. I called into work, got a glass of water and took well over a dozen pills, plus Zofran and a sleeping pill, so I could fall asleep while it happened and not vomit up all that I had just taken.

Cody found me an hour later.

I don’t remember much of the next 12 hours. I woke up in an ER, monitors and sensors all over my body.

And Cody was sitting by my side. Completely helpless to what his wife had tried to do to his baby.

A social worker came in and told me I would be going to a different hospital for some inpatient monitoring. And that I would be going there by ambulance.

I realized while I was lying on the gurney that I was being buzzed into an area of the hospital I had never been in before. I smelled cigarette smoke.

The only reason to smell cigarette smoke inside a hospital is if the people inside aren’t allowed outside.

That’s when I realized I was in the psych ward.

I was wheeled down a quiet hall to a sterile room. My shoelaces were taken, and I was told to wait for a nurse who would read me the rules.

The rules went something like “if you don’t eat, we have ways of making you eat, if you don’t listen to us we have ways of making you listen.” And then I was told the visiting hours.

Visiting hours. An hour a day. I’d only get to see Cody an hour a day.

Cody was allowed to come in, bring me a few things from home and say goodbye.

And then I was left all alone. Alone except for the nurses that checked in on me every hour.

I wasn’t allowed to sleep with the door closed. A woman woke up screaming in the middle of the night about killing her husband.

I have never been so scared.

I had an OB, an OB nurse, a nutritionist, a psychiatrist, a therapist, a pediatrician a social worker and a perinatologist that checked in on me regularly. I had to go to three group therapy sessions a day and two private sessions a day. There was an arts and crafts hour where doctors took notes on how each patient interacted with each other.

Some patients had deep wounds that were stapled shut and bandaged, others had charcoal stains around their lips. I sat in my room most of the day staring down at the street I used to play on as a kid. Staring at all the people with normal lives, going about completely unaware that I was stuck there up alone.

It was the darkest, most miserable situation I have ever been in.  Humans shouldn’t be treated like that. If I learned nothing else while there for three days I learned that I never want to go back.

I couldn’t tell anyone where I had been, I was ashamed. No one likes a baby killer. Why would I ever admit to being one? But the people who did know finally believed me. Finally believed the hell it was being trapped inside my pregnant body.

I was ashamed of all of this until recently. I made a mistake. I’m human. And the Lord obviously wants to keep the moosh and me here or we would have had toe tags that cold day in September. There’s no logical medical reason why the moosh came out from that perfectly healthy. And for this I am grateful.

I am not ashamed now because I have a message, if someone says they’re not doing so well, please listen. I tried to tell someone that I was not well a week before this happened. They brushed it off as pregnancy hormones and sleepiness. I didn’t want to push, maybe it was just pregnancy after all. But that’s just my point, those who truly need your help will rarely shout for it. They will suffer silently hoping somebody, anybody will notice. Those who are truly hurting will not want to draw attention to themselves.

I didn’t want to be a burden or seen as a complainer. So I tried to figure it all out myself.

And I failed.

But I was blessed through my failure.

Not everyone is so lucky.

I heart moosh snoozes.

Comments

  1. I’m so sorry.

    Psych wards scare the daylights out of me. I knwo what it takes to get to that point, and I’m very sorry that you’ve been there.

    Normal people simply do not understand what pregnancy hormones added to the hell of HG (not to mention the fact that people’s brains? they cannot work properly when they are being STARVED)can do to an otherwise functioning human being.

    I can remember feeling completely insane at some points of dehydration and malnutrition with my son. If I had been dealing with the depression that wa sto come at the same time- well, let’s just say that i totally get how you got there.

    Very brave of you to share.

  2. Oh man! I’m so sorry, but so glad you made it through and you are giving this message because it is definitely needed.

    And yes, very brave to put this out there. I don’t know if I’ll ever be brave enough to share my psych ward story. It’s something that could really help to be told, which is why I’m glad you’re doing it.

    And now I can’t figure out exactly what it is that keeps me from wanting to share that crazy portion of my life. What is it that allows you to write so freely about these things?

  3. Oh my goodness. Bless your heart. I would say it’s pretty obvious God has bigger plans for you (and the little one). I’m so impressed and awed by your ability to share this.

  4. Having experienced hyperemesis three times and I am appalled at how little help there is available for us. Yes, take a woman suffering from severe ante-natal depression, starving, and stick her in a psyche ward. It was hard to get anyone to believe me, the midwife with my first pregnancy was all, “Oh, you’re still throwing up? Oh, you’re puking 20 times a day? Have you tried saltines?

    SALTINES. It’s hard for me, to this day to walk past the boxes of Saltines at the grocery store without knocking them all off the shelves and stomping on them repeatedly.

    I’m very happy you didn’t become a statistic. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Oh wow.
    I’m glad you shared. I’m glad you see it as a “mission” of sorts to share. Share and share and share some more.

    I’ve had sickness, but NOT what you experienced. And even what I experienced was too much – made me repeat over and over I’d rather birth a baby 3x than experience 9 months of THAT.

    I’m so glad you made it – and like Kerflop said, that you’re not a statistic.

    Blessings.

  6. wow. I am SO glad you made it. this is a very brave post.

  7. Oh no… I’m so sorry you were put through that. How absolutely awful. Honestly, I would have never even thought that someone who seems so “sane” would do that, but what a great message. What a powerful message… it’s hard to think that everyone is “perfect” we all have our demons. Thank you. Thank you for sharing part of yours and sending the message out to everyone.

  8. Oh my goosh. What a revelation. I just blogged about my similar currently pregnant situation today. It’s good to hear that I’m not alone in my pain.

  9. Holy ****! I am so sorry you had to deal with that alone. Nobody should. I admire your ability to share. By posting that you may have just saved another mom and baby. Keep up the good work, I love your blog!

  10. Oh Casey I hate that you went through all that after trying so damn hard to get pregnant- that’s some fu^%ed up cosmic joke! I’m glad you made it through, that you and Cody are still holding on tight, that moosh is here to give you strength and that you are here to help others who might not understand what they’re going through.

  11. I am in awe of your ability to share! Your so brave, but thankfully you did share because some woman out there may read this and be encouraged. The Moosh is very lucky you are her mother!

  12. Casey, That was so powerful. Your insight and courage are amazing. I don’t really know what else to say. THANK YOU for sharing this. THANK YOU.

  13. Gosh Casey, I don’t know what to say except that is an exceptionally powerful piece right here. Wow.

  14. You are a brave woman. I give you a lot of credit for having the strength to write this and put it out there.

    Cody is one stand up guy and a true son of God. You have been blessed with a great husband a beautiful child.

    I am thankful that Cody found you and you are here to write this and open other’s eyes so warning signs don’t get brushed off lightly.

    Thank You.

  15. I haven’t ever experienced the depths of what you went through and I can’t say enough how much I admire your courage in being so honest with friends and strangers (like me). Reading true honesty like this from people I admire makes me realize that its ok that I have my own problems (anxiety) and its completely ok that I asked for and thankfully am receiving the help that I need. It doesn’t make me weak or bad just a person with a fault getting the help she needs. Thanks for this really touching post!

  16. Wow.

    Yeah, it’s clear some higher power was on your side that day. I’m glad everything turned out OK, and that you are strong enough to tell that story. It’s one that will hopefully reach out to others and may prevent this from happening to someone else.

    Having been through some pretty rough depression, I know how dark it can seem and how hopeless you can become. It’s so important for someone to notice before it’s too late.

  17. Wow, this was very brave of you to post so thank you for it.

  18. Brave, brave you are my dear. I’m so sorry there wasn’t help for you. Thank God you and the moosh are OK!! She’s blessed to have you as a mom.

  19. Thanks for writing this, C. For good or bad there are people out there who understand, to a point, what you went through.

    This should make you chuckle: While meeting with my new doctor the other day, after telling her I couldn’t eat – literally, could not eat – she told me to eat small meals. I wanted to stuff my urine specimen down her throat.

  20. casey, this is an amazing, heartbreaking, very very brave post.

    thank you for it.

  21. Your courage is amazing. To have gone through that and to be able to share it so openly. You and your girl are truly protected.

  22. As with all PP, I agree that this post took amazing bravery on your part.

    I visited my bipolar boyfriend in a state pscyh ward for a month many years ago, so I have an inkling of what it’s like in there, and what being bipolar is about too. You’re a tough chick, Casey.

  23. I cried as I read this and applaud you for sharing.

    So much I wanted to say but don’t know where to start nor do I have your way with words if I did.

    Thank you.

  24. Very, very brave. I went through some rough (very rough) stuff post-partum and most people don’t know anything about it because I’m not brave enough to say. This gives me pause to think about it a bit more.
    thanks.

  25. Thank you for sharing this with us. Depression by itself is hard, but when you add pregnancy hormones, dehydration and all that nausea and vomiting, it is like a ticking bomb. Hopefully, your bravery in telling your story will help others.

    Fran

  26. Thank you for sharing. For being brave and honest.

    I’m so glad you are still here, even if I’m a stranger.

    And I hope you are as proud of yourself as you should be.

  27. What a brave and honest post. Thank you for that message. :)

  28. You say you were ashamed of this until recently; I can understand that. As a religious person I always found it extremely difficult to forgive myself for my mistakes – especially when there was ample judgment for any person who didn’t easily get it right in life. I don’t really see what you did as a mistake, though. I see it more as drastic action taken by a very ill person who was receiving no medical help and – as bad if not worse – no emotional support to help her cope with a disease. In your case – two diseases! Depression and hyperemesis. The stigma and shame that surrounds suicide is really just an extension of the stigma and shame that surrounds depression. I’m just saying that I don’t think you had as much forgiving to do of yourself as you did of the people who could have helped sooner but didn’t.

    I’m annoying. I should shut up.

    I love that the moosh was born unharmed (that’s a miracle, and you deserve it) and that you have such a good and happy life with her and Cody. Thanks so much for the message about the disease, I honestly had never heard about it before I learned about it here.

  29. Oh, Casey I am so sorry. I am touched by your story and very proud of you for sharing it.
    You are not a baby killer. I am.

  30. I have read your blog for a while but have never commented. I had to comment on this. This story made me cry. You are so brave for sharing your story. What an incredible message – if some needs help, listen! I am glad that everything turned out well for you and your family.

  31. Somedays I’m not sure if this is me or someone I know. There’s a lady in my bible study who’s pregnant with her 3rd and has HE. She’s had to have two lines implanted (the first one she rejected) just so she can stay somewhat hydrated as she can’t eat anything. We do what we can as mom’s to support her, but I can’t even imagine what that would be like considering my pregnancy was easy (it was the after part that was hard).
    Other days I wonder how easy would it be just to drive into oncoming traffic. I don’t want to be a burden to my friends and family and I wonder how much they would miss me if I were gone. Would they just go on about their lives not having to think about someone needing something from them?
    Some days the only thing that keeps me from doing that is the fact that my baby’s in the back seat. And if he’s not then knowing that he would need me to feed him and I wouldn’t be there.
    Not that I ever want to be in a psych ward, but somedays life just sucks.

  32. I had a similar experience, my whole teenage life i tried to kill myself, pills, cutting, drugs, alcohol etc…. but when I found myself pregnant with twins when i was 15 and the father who verbally abused me left me and told me to go to hell, I took about half to three fourths of a bottle of advil and drank Vodka. My mom found me passed out on the bed, I dont remember much but being in the hospital, loosing the babies, and having to go to a physciologist. I think I spent pretty much everyday after that until I joined the church and went to AA drunk. I didn’t want to think about what I had done, and I still dont, I have nightmares about it and only my Mom and my Husband knows…..well now you and the world, but no one knows my name

  33. I lost a friend to suicide on April 10th. Hang in there-the battle is worth fighting!

    Glad you’re with us-you are a brave lady.

  34. I am in awe of you.

    even more so now.

    The Lord knows you. He knew the world needed casey…glad you made it.

  35. Oh Casey.
    This makes me cry.

    I’m so happy you are figuring all this out…it’s very difficult. I know.

    You are reaching someone with this post. You are reaching many with this post…If not today, then another day, when they need it most…

  36. wow. that’s just about all i can say. wow.

  37. Casey, (((you))). Thank you so much for writing about this. It takes a lot of courage to talk about depression even when there isn’t a child involved.

    I’m also incredibly angry that no one would listen to you. But I can believe it.

  38. A good friend of mine lost her battle with depression in June. I have another good friend who nearly lost her battle last weekend, on the birthdate of our friend who had died. She kept telling me she was fine, and I knew she wasn’t. She still tells me to this day she is fine, and I know she’s not (she is bipolar as well, but not pregnant). Thank you for posting this. I’m so glad you were not a statistic.

  39. Yo kid, sorry you went through that but excellent way of channeling things in a positive direction. Great post.

  40. Like everyone else, I think you are incredible and so brave for writing so honestly. What a journey to get to this point, where you can openly share. Amazing.

  41. Wow, just wow. It is important that stories like this are told because there are probably other women that are suffering silently and your story will help them to know they are not alone and their family member to better help them (by listening)
    What a scary ordeal , but how amazing and wonderful that you came out of it relatively unscathed (I imagine there is still some emotional scarring from being in a place like that) and that you’re willing to share it with others.
    Thank you for being brave enough and I’m glad you’re here now.

  42. I am so impressed that you could write this, that you could recover from and learn from the experience. What a terrible, terrible thing to go through.

    Hats off to you, you powerful woman, powerful mother, you.

  43. You are so brave. Thank You. I have never battled with depression until I was pregnant with my son. I missed months of my daughter growing up, I couldn’t turn my head, hold a conversation, talk on the phone, read, everything made me throw up. It’s amazing what getting no sleep, no water and no food can do to you. It’s a horrible feeling to be pregnant and not want it, especially when you feel like you should. Now that my son is year old and starting to sleep at night, I finally feel like I’m normalizing. Thank You.

  44. That was very brave of you to share, thank you for sharing that with all of us. I couldn’t imagine the constant vomiting and feeling that everything was out of control, and that being pregnant was causing it. It’s wonderful that you and the Moosh came out of it unscathed. Man oh man..I’m so sorry you had to go through that.

  45. I love you and I’m so glad you and The Moosh are here.

    Thank you so very much for sharing this Casey!

  46. Wow. What a powerful story. Thank you for sharing.

  47. Wow. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s very powerful and moving.

  48. I’m so impressed by your bravery in telling your story. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  49. Beautiful beautiful beautiful. I am grateful you are here.

  50. I’m glad you shared that story.. and am glad you are both here today. Good for you for sharing. More people need to hear these things.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] science experiment, how I lost all the weight, what a raging bitch I was when pregnant, how I overdosed when I was pregnant, how I almost threw my kid in a fire, that I dislike Utah, I have a best friend who takes lovely [...]

  2. [...] say that knowing full well that my “difficulties” are really quite minor compared to what I could be going through. However, the constant exhaustion and near-daily nausea have really started to take their toll. I [...]

  3. [...] say that knowing full well that my “difficulties” are really quite minor compared to what I could be going through. However, the constant exhaustion and near-daily nausea have really started to take their toll. I [...]

  4. [...] Read “The one about the overdose.“ [...]

  5. [...] The Overdose begins with these words: [...]

  6. [...] then Casey read The Overdose and I was undone again. She got the other standing O of the [...]

  7. [...] unprecedented.  What we all go through in this life.  Some of us live to tell the tale, and tell it.  And in the telling, essentially, perform mouth-to-ear resuscitation to more people than we will [...]

  8. [...] Casey: “The one about the overdose.” [...]

  9. [...] One of my favorite parts of all was the Opening Keynote on Thursday night. A BlogHer panel judged submitted entries and chose about 20 women (and one dad) to read their post in front of 1000 of their fellow bloggers. There were different categories, and some of them were really funny but the ones that received the strongest response from the crowd were a couple of stunningly powerful readings by Yvonne from “Joy Unexpected” and Casey from “Moosh in Indy” [...]

  10. [...] in the Community Keynote that opened BlogHer this year.  She read a very moving post called “The One About The Overdose”, the video of which you can see here.  She’s a great writer, fabulous photographer and has [...]