Letter #4: My Second Stay & Day Hospital Program

This is the fourth of a series of letters recounting my experience with postpartum psychosis. To read the other letters and learn more about my intention behind this series, you can go to this page here

A hospital bed in a minty filter

Dear Rowena,

After a rough week dealing with akathisia, you went back to Suburban Hospital to flush the antipsychotic medication Haloperidol out of your system and get you back on a healthy sleeping schedule. 

If you had told me that 

I would spend 17 days

of my newborn son's life in the hospital,

I wouldn't believe you.

But that's the unfortunate truth

And here's my story.

Fortunately, your second stay was less exciting in terms of hallucinations and delusions. You actually found yourself bored quite often, with not much to do to pass the time except for coloring pages, crossword puzzles, and word searches. And even those got old after a while.

As the sunrise hugs the window panels

I can't help but wonder

When did I allow the sunshine 

to be squeezed out of me?

Circumstances understandably caused

me to question and be better

But deep down I know my inner light

has sat uninterrupted for weeks.

Time to light the torch and try again.


During your second stay you helped out a social worker student by agreeing to record a therapy session with her. You talked about having trouble at night especially and she provided some good sleep hygiene tips, one of which is to write down your worries. Here is your list from that night:

I am worried I won't sleep

I am worried I'll never be discharged

I am worried I am going to be sent away

I am worried I will be far away from my family

I am worried that I will be here for another week

I am worried that my getting better isn't going to be good enough

I am worried my meds will let me down again

I am worried Robbie will celebrate another milestone without me


Based on that list, no wonder you couldn't sleep.  

You did eventually get there though, thanks to the hospital's NP and her prescription for Trazodone. After several nights of solid sleep, you were discharged, once again on a Friday. 

The anticipation kills me — or not

Rather it fuels me now that I am getting ready to depart

my refuel station this afternoon.


I feel like I am wiser now

More realistic but less polished

Knowing what lies ahead 

is still going to be really fucking hard


Yet I wait — anticipate

Knowing the certainty of hugging my children

Outweighs the uncertainty

Of what's next


Things seemed calmer after discharging the second time. Your mother came down from NJ to help Derek watch the kiddos. She was a huge help. You were able to enjoy your weekend with apple picking and karaoke with friends before you started your day hospital program at Sheppard Pratt.

A grandmother bottle feeding a baby. A toddler apple picking.
My mom with Robbie; Kerri apple picking

That following Monday, you started your day hospital program. You were a bit nervous, and didn't know what to expect. A part of you even thought that you were already "better" so "you didn't need" to be in this program. 

By the end of the two weeks, you knew you were so so wrong. 

The day hospital program, AKA partial hospitalization program or PHP, was exactly what you needed. Even though it felt very much like school or work based on the schedule — 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM, Monday through Friday — it helped you to have some sort of structure after all that time in an inpatient program. 

Sheppard Pratt
My "school" for two weeks.

The days were filled with group therapy sessions and educational sessions — it felt a bit like a mini-conference of sorts, and I know how much you love conferences — and the other patients were so open and kind. You felt comfortable sharing things about yourself, and vice versa. 

It's been 1 month since I went to the ER

My oh my how time flies

Both internally and externally 

Both physically and spiritually

To get me here.


The sessions were JAM PACKED with information on various coping strategies for you to use when dealing with various mood disorders. One thing that was especially useful was creating a WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plan) that you are able to use after the program was complete. 

Speaking of complete, the two weeks flew by, and you had "graduated" from the program. Equipped with a TON of resources in the form of many many handouts, you now had a binder full of options — including CBT and DBT techniques — should you get anxious, overwhelmed, and/or activated. 

A baby on the bed with various papers around him.Robbie with all of my handouts.

You are now well on your way with your recovery, which means I am not as much a figure in your life. But before we say our goodbyes, there is one last letter I'd like to write to you, which involves what's next in terms of our relationship. 

Until then,

Your Postpartum Psychosis 

Leave a Comment