Letter #5: My Future in Recovery and Beyond

This is the fifth and final letter of a series 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 plant coming up through the rubble.

Dear Rowena,

At the time of this writing it's been almost two months since you first went to the ER due to me, your postpartum psychosis. I don't know about you, but it feels like we've been together WAY longer than two months. 

It feels like two lifetimes ago when you were just focusing on how to care for a newborn, unaware of who I am. Today you still need to care for Robbie, but now you also need to take better care of YOU. 

I am an active participant in my treatment and recovery.
Affirmation from Sheppard Pratt Stay

This has certainly not been easy. Even before the psychosis diagnosis, you are a super hyper-productive person who finds it hard to SLOW DOWN and take time for yourself. Your 2023 word is SURRENDER, and time and time again you've had to learn this lesson. My entry into your life was yet again another reminder that you deserve to take the time to recover and heal. 

There is no better time than now. It doesn't matter what happened before.
                                                                                                                        ~ Emil Nyugen

Another thing that's been hard for you in recovery is knowing that for now there will always be pieces of me left behind...

Whether it's when you feel your body temperature rise as your toddler is screaming and crying
Or when your chest tightens up because you haven’t fallen asleep yet
You feel my presence
I am there

I am there
I'm not as potent
Or as palpable
But I'm always buzzing in the background
As your body buzzes with sensory overload
And you take a deep breath
Recite an affirmation
And give yourself butterfly hugs
You feel my presence
I am there

I am that anxious thought in the back of your mind
That I might come back and embody you
Taking you away from your children yet again
And overpowering your fragile mind 
You feel my presence
I am there

I am there
I am there
But you are here.

Tapping into the creative has always helped.

Whether it's through writing, poetry, or pastels, you know you can always rely on the arts to get you through. It was there for you during your first psychotic break at 18 years old and it's here for you again now. 

A pastels art piece depicting past present and future
My pastels art piece from my stay at Suburban depicting past, present, and future.

And don't forget about the power of music to keep you calm — maybe not in the hallucinations/delusions way when you were first at Suburban Hospital — but as a source of healing. Bonus points if you sing and dance along, like you used to do before all this happened. I know that's been hard to do lately, but I'm confident you'll find yourself in performance mode soon enough. Who knows — maybe you'll take our letters and our experiences together and create a more performance-style piece. Regardless of what comes out of all this, I have no doubts that you'll take our experiences together and help other survivors in a big and beautiful way.

A Spotify playlist that encompasses my feels!

As we've seen over the past several weeks, these letters have helped so many people. Whether you received a direct message or not, I'm proud of what we've accomplished together here. Your story — OUR story — has helped others feel less alone. Although the last two months have been hella hard, know that thankfully you are recovering well and doing a good job navigating the new normal.  Because as your dear friend Abbey said about you and your husband:

There’s such a genuine authenticity to both of you. I was thinking about how well you two love each other and the fact that you’ve both been through some really hard things — and losses. And it has reinforced for me that you two are not afraid of the hard. Being able to face the moment together shows how connected you both are. 

This PPP trial is just one more reason that I stand in awe of you two as a couple and of Derek as a husband and a father and you as a wife and a mother.

Like Rilke says — “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. / Just keep going. No feeling is final.”

I see you both facing the beauty and terror. And you keep going.


Yes, you do keep going. And soon enough, you'll be going on, moving on, without me. I'll no longer play as large of a role in your life as I did two months ago. And that's ok. Because it means you're healthy and well, and enjoying your life. I know you won't forget me though. And guess what — these letters are a public memorialization of me as well. Should you ever need a reminder, or want to share your story, just come back to these letters.

A pastel of Rowena's family at the beach
My pastels art piece from my stay at Suburban depicting my family at the beach.

I can wait to see what's next for you and your family.  

Take care,

Your Postpartum Psychosis 

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