Healthy living, healthy parenting, healthy gardening. One Family's approach to off grid living.

Posts tagged “post partum

I may as well start at the start.

Suddenly, as I was driving my mood lifted and I felt genuinely happy, a calm happy, safe secure.

Finally. It’s been 6 days since I have felt much of anything, which was a mixed blessing. I just had a fairly major medication overhaul. The first few mornings I awoke with a weight in my heart and by late morning felt emotionally flattened which stayed for several hours. Then I was hit by how productive I felt.

Last month during my cycle I just didn’t post for 3 weeks. During those weeks, I had a darkness. Everything felt clouded with grief and my chest ached. Nothing had changed around me. Plenty of things changed inside me. I have Bipolar Mood Disorder. Which basically I have had two major depressions and one major manic period. To me, it doesn’t feel like a mood disorder- it feels like an energy disorder. Lucky? For me my moods have a bit of a schedule:

When I ovulate Severe migraines with auras. Hyper sensitive to criticism. Weepy.

A few days later- really “up” mood, go go go, edgy, snappy. I start getting OCD about this time- about whatever I happen to be into at the time. Usually in a productive way.

After a few days of high production, little sleep I fall into a darkness. I ache. I retain water. I am cold all the time. Migraine auras bring me in and out of consciousness, the pain is so intense. I have great difficulty paying attention to my surroundings. I just want to sleep. I must surely die, I think. For 3-4 days I am in agony and misery. It hits like a wave.

People tell me that I don’t seem bipolar to them.

That’s because I stay away from people I know when I am depressed. My moods change so quickly that only after 14 years of menstruation have I finally begun to chart in detail.

The last 7 years have been insane, with 5 pregnancies (two early miscarriages, which I am at peace with, but mentioning because that was a special hormonal roller coaster in and of itself) and continuous nursing. During my first miscarriage, I was just 20 and Mr. T and I were relatively new to our relationship. I went crazy. Totally bat shit crazy. I tried to use mind control to plead people to help me. I wanted to die. I felt as though I was dying. I had severe constant nausea and vertigo and completely delusional that the baby must not have died. There was some mistake. I now know I was rapid cycling and had amazingly severe migraines.

I was convinced deep inside that I was schizophrenic (which heck, maybe I am) and I was scared as hell. My brain was constantly moving, flipping through images like a Rolodex. Mr. T yelled and stomped his feet and was generally angry to be around.

Mr. T and I parted ways for almost a year shortly after that. I think we were both scared of how badly the whole thing went down.

I tried to find Jesus with all of my heart. I opened it all the way up. When I couldn’t find Jesus I looked for God.

I felt immense solace in communion and prayer. I went to church several times a week and to a bible study here and there.

Months later, after a 10 day silent Buddhist retreat I found atheism, which has been a comfort to me over the years.

During the Buddhist retreat I found the solace I was looking for in meditation.

I also came to terms with the fact that I would marry Mr.T, and left the retreat no longer resenting him, much. We had not spoken to one another for ages.

I didn’t even really like him. Seriously.

But I was drawn to him and I swear, we are just starting to like each other now- and it’s been 8 years. We share the same vision, and we just happen to be the person who is in the others perfect future, so I suppose we rode it out hoping we would get to where we are now, still alive and still married.

I am sharing my story upon multiple requests. I am at a place where I can write about it now. I didn’t write, journal, take may pictures, make art for most of my motherhood journey. I was just too damn tired. I don’t regret it really, because I carry it here in my heart. And there is a lot I have forgotten and would rather keep that way. I’m at a place where I don’t need to be worried about. I have a great doctor, a supportive husband, amazing parents and extended support. After 7 months of mood stabilizing meds, the cocktail still isn’t quite right. I cycle between low production and high production and feeling like I am dying and like it might possibly be the best day of my life. I’m sorta striving for the middle ground, which is a bit confusing, because there are days truly, many of them, where I feel exceptionally great, and in between I’m very good at faking it, which feels like many tiny little lacerations on my spirit. Other days I can’t get out of bed.

I’m pretty sure that pre puberty I was quirky, but not yet crazy. At 16 I went on the pill because I was having really bad cycles. Right before and during my period I had/have hot and cold flashes, aching kidney feeling, nausea, migraine auras (which I just just figured out what they were. At that time I thought everyone’s vision was like that. I frequently have had the sensation I am going blind and dark bars slide in from the side. For me auras are strobing lights, bars, boxes. A true aura of fading rainbow colours around objects. I have a strong sensation of dejavu and the feeling of watching the scene from outside of it. I frequently have a hard time telling what was reality and what was an idea or dream. I see things move out of the corner of my eye and hear buzzes, beeps and other non specific sounds. Today I swore I could hear a cat meowing loudly, but the kids swore it was quiet. I’m pretty sure most of this is migraine related, because I have some rx meds for migraines that take care of all of these symptoms.

I literally feel like I am going insane after a few days of migraines. Last month I waited 17 days of on again off again migraines until I went to the ER and begged for help. The little dissolve in your mouth discs cost $20-$60 per dose, depending on if the first ones work, or the migraine comes back 8-12 hours later. I am having a brain freeze on what it is called….Even after I have taken it, it is still extremely difficult to keep my attention focused.



It’s sooo good it smells like artificial colors

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He groaned in pleasure as he washed his hands with the pearly pink soap in the Visitor Center’s washroom.


Yep, I had just pulled into Sparwood to see the Largest Truck In The World.

I’ve NEVER stopped for the kids at the truck before.  I’ve never driven the Southern route in 3 days instead of 2 before.  *I* feel like I am on holiday, and that’s a great feeling after a month of mostly single parenting.  The Super 8 was fine, but the Days Inn is really nice and feels like a major treat even though it was cheap off of

Seeing the world through these eyes is such a gift.

They alert me to beauty all around me.  They alert me to misery all around me.  I want more beauty than misery in their lives.  This is the gift my parents gave me. In the car the boys play, talk to each other, fight, and spend a lot of time looking out the window.  We don’t have any babysitting devices in the car.  We used to, a portable DVD player, for a couple of years, we used it a ton.  It broke shortly before Finn was born and neither boy even notices.  However, today it took us 9-10 hours to complete a 5 hour drive.  This is most I’ve ever enjoyed travelling with the kids, which is remarkable because it is a 3 day, 14 hour drive alone with 3 boys 5 and under.

The difference is a) nice weather and b) time to actually stop and enjoy the view

view c) stopping and doing enough fun stuff that my kids realize that their siblings really are their best friends.  That’s pretty much how life on Erie Mountain is in the spring/summer- like an extended summer vacation a peter pan land of no bathtubs, showers in waterfalls, nightly fires, rope swings in trees, early morning hikes while the clover is still damp and the air still cool.  Sweltering Kootenay afternoons in a cold mountain lake nestled between green peaks.  Experiencing the seasons by integration.  This is the why.

The Brotherhood

The easy movement, lack of pretension

I watch laugh pauses, all their deep breaths

They are alone.  Fragile. I am still the mothership

and can see their minds crunching away without

calculating I am not him.

Open,a book of boys, they play

Lithe bodies rolling and climbing

Exploring movement; Because.

I cherish these moments; Because.

“Secret club of Erie Mountain,

Hip hip hooray -we’re going home”



The how isn’t quite as intuitive or poetic.  It will be hard.  So hard that I couldn’t face the first night straight up, I need to arrive in the day time so I can acclimatize without having a panic attack.  I’m learning to figure out what I can handle, and what I can’t.  I’m going back with the understanding the kids and I will leave in the fall the second I am not handling it.  I’m really hoping we can get this lovely summer home winterized over the next few months and we can spend our 1st winter in Erie Kingdom.  The combo of post partum mood disorder and off grid living was just way too much for me to handle.

Today is the day.  A small bird is caged in my chest trying to get free.

All of these pics are SOOC, no cropping, no editing.  I would love any critique.  I`m just starting to feel at ease holding a DSLR.  I don`t have time to edit, so I`m just working on getting it right in camera.

PS.  The water in Cranbrook tastes like fish in April.

PPS.  Makes me scared to try the lobby coffee.

PPPS.  Free hot breakfast!!!  Love the Days Inn, Cranbrook!

November 2010; Manic Runaway

Trying to remember the psych ward and all the rest

gives me post-post traumatic stress

I wonder: tall ferns, low moss

If you fell in love with me on the island,

a manic runaway.

See through dress and casual sex,

Bob Dylan in a bakery,

beaches & my VW

An old boyfriends mirror-

In our eyes we saw the rest of our lives.

You’re still here.

July 2010-He finally understands cat ladies

We were in the front yard, the voluntary sunflowers were drooping down overhead, a little bit sparkly.  I was shovelling new garden beds into the stepped (cliff) front yard of the Yurt.  By this time I was wearing ear plugs and sunglasses, even inside the Yurt.   Not that Yurts feel like you are inside anyway.  They seem like….an outdoor room.  I was shovelling quickly, the baby was either on my back on in the jumperoo, or the playpen- which I kept outside.  I couldn’t let him loose, I was too afraid of losing him or throwing a shovel full of rock on him.  The bigger boys sat on the path cutting blades of grass with scissors for hours and hours.  I worked like a maniac.  It made me stop thinking, it made a change I could see.

I never really know what exactly was going on around my vivid memories.  Maybe Mr.T  was at work, maybe he was at home.  I was happy- my mood was elevated and I had tons of energy.  I couldn’t sit still.  When I was still, I couldn’t turn off my brain.  This means I was not getting much done.  I was dizzy.   That damn phone was ringing.  The radio was playing.  I heard dial tones, people laughing.   I stopped asking the kids, my husband, my brother if they heard them too.  I just sort of lived with it, since I can vividly remember hearing the radio/phones a lot when I was a kid. I hear things.  But they aren’t bad things really, just things.

What really got to me was when I started seeing things.  A duck would turn into a paper bag, though I swear it moved.  I saw mice all the time, in the corners, zooming by outside, running over my feet. 

Let me tell you a little story.

There was a big ol’ Grandpa mouse and he was eating the peanut butter off the mouse trap.  TWO days in a row.  We live in the woods, mice are bound to be an issue at first.  I mention to Mr.T that we should get cats.  He mumbles, which I think signifies he agrees, and he thinks signifies he isn’t listening to me.
The kids and I went on an awesome playdate with a couple girlfriends to an amazing little fairytale park bordering the forest with a huge grassy knoll and a view of mountains in Fruitvale.  It was lovely.  Somebody started screaming about something once we were in the car, I put in my earplugs for a quiet drive home, taking the scenic route hoping whoever was screaming would fall asleep.  Wait.  What is that?  How is it possible?  FREE kittens?  I stopped the van swiftly, backed up and eased down into the valley that held the farm of our future beauties.

“! WHO WANTS A KITTEN” I exclaimed while unbuckling Coach Rapper and his Lordship Ali.

And the children, in disbelief scrambled out of their seats and to the lady sitting on her steps ruffling her doggies fur.  “You’re here for the kittens?” She drawled; raising her eyebrows and taking a deep breath through her extra long, extra lite virgina slim.  She was wearing riding boots and had one leg resting on the stairs.  Or something like that.  There was a woman there anyway.

We picked the cutest two kittens (what, how would you pick out a kitten?) and drove them home to show off to Mr.T.

What?  No…It’s okay, we talked about it.  Surely you remember?

Within a few weeks our tiny, cute, rodent like kittens had killed the fat Grandfather mouse.

But I STILL saw mice.  Everywhere, running and zooming all over the ground.

I asked Mr.T if we could get outdoor cats for the outdoor mice.

“I finally understand cat ladies” he said as he walked away.

I took that as a no.

April 2011- Our cats are grown up, beautiful and great at killing mice-where ever they are.

PS.  If you have read all of this, and actually find it interesting, please pass it on.  I googled how to get more traffic to my blog, but it would take me a week to even figure out how to sign in to stumbler.  I won’t admit to how long it took for me to figure out wordpress.  I read the tutorials, oh yes I did!  Besides, I don’t have my own laptop (see for examples of why) and in a couple weeks won’t have internet access.  So for me to keep posting, I will have to borrow a computer and drive to the internet cafe.  I really won’t have time to both blog AND figure out how to find people to read my blog.  And to be honest, I’ll probably lose motivation to keep writing for 30 people with all that extra work! 
Maternal Mental Health awareness is really important, I know from sharing my story in person, that many women can relate to it.  Or are at least comforted by the fact I am crazier than they are!  Plus, you have the added TV reality show like hurdles I’ve created for myself in trying to wade through all of this off the grid! 

All of that rambling right there is basically begging you to share my blog, with whoever you think might enjoy it.  Because, simply, I don’t know how.