December 5, 2014
This month I am sharing an interview with Colby and Amanda Taylor on their Postpartum Psychosis experience. This couple is sharing their experience publicly in order to help others. Thank you Colby and Amanda for your willingness to share.
1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Colby: I am 34 years old and recently left the ministry of Young Life where I was involved for nearly 10 years. I am originally from Kansas and graduated from Kansas State University. I enjoy working out, spending time with my family and investing in the lives of others.
Amanda: I am 29 years old and have been married for 8 years. We have four kids, ages 5, 4, 2, and 1 (one girl and 3 boys). Some of the things I like to do are go running, read a book, mail gifts to others, play with the kids, and go on date nights with the hubs.
2. How did you first learn about postpartum psychosis?
Colby: Amanda was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis last year and had 2 stints in a Psychiatric hospital. It was while waiting in the ER that I first learned about PPP through a friend who had looked it up online.
Amanda: I had never even heard of postpartum psychosis until the doctor diagnosed me with it in March 2013. I was in the mental hospital for 7 days after the birth of our fourth child, and that is when I first heard what PPP was.
3. Since you both have different perspectives, in your own words, briefly share about the onset of your postpartum psychosis experience?
Colby: It was after the birth of our 4th son. She began exhibiting manic behavior and becoming very agitated and angry. The day I took her to the ER she had been missing for over 6 hours and when found she was in the process of buying 2 cars and a house.
Amanda: It was 12 days after our fourth child was born. It was a Tuesday. I hadn’t slept in 8 days. I was full of energy, overly happy; everything was perfect (otherwise known as manic- in my situation). I left the house and felt like God was leading me to buy a house and two new cars, so I didn’t tell Colby because I was going to surprise him. I spent $8,000 in 6 days, all without telling my husband. I became violent and angry. Something was not right.
4. What did you find the most challenging in getting the help you needed?
Colby: There is not a lot of information about postpartum psychosis out there. No one knew exactly where to go or what was going on, even the medical professionals seemed very vague as to her condition. Getting answers was probably one of the hardest parts of this.
Amanda: I felt very isolated in the Psychiatric hospital. No one knew what to do with me. I just had a baby 12 days prior, and they almost didn’t let me bring my personal breast pump in my hospital room. I was in the same room with schizophrenia patients and patients that tried to commit suicide and my situation was 100% different but I feel like they just clumped me in with the others.
5. What is the one thing that helped you the most in dealing with your experience with postpartum psychosis?
Colby: Our relationship with Christ was the most significant in helping us get through. Outside of that learning to ask for help was the most important.
Amanda: Honestly, we could not have gotten through it without the Lord. I was so close to hurting myself and/or the kids. I am so thankful for God’s help and protection. I also am thankful for modern medicine and counseling. Those two helped me greatly.
6. What message would you like to share with families facing postpartum psychosis?
Colby: That you can get through this and that you are not alone. This illness is beatable and we are here to help you get through it. Your marriage is worth fighting for and keeping your family healthy is not impossible. Be transparent and ask for help, surround yourself with a community of believers that will help walk through this with you. Seek professional help for your spouse and for you, be proactive in safe guarding your marriage and family. Don’t be intimidated by doctors or medical professionals. If you feel that you are not getting the answers you need than ask until you do. Pray on your knees every day and seek Christ with all of your heart! Allow God to teach you what true reliance on His strength looks like. Learn to get away and take time for yourself. It is most beneficial to find something to distract your mind from your situation. Allow yourself grace as you will make mistakes and you will learn from them, no one expects you to handle this perfectly and that is ok.
Amanda: It is not a long-term illness. It can be. But it also, doesn’t have to be. 18 months out, I feel like good ol’ normal Amanda. I never thought I would feel normal. It took a little over a year to feel like I was back to normal. I want to tell others to not be afraid to ask for help. I can’t imagine going through this alone. We need help and support from others. Also, don’t be opposed to medicine. Faith is very important to me, but I couldn’t pray my way out of postpartum psychosis. I had to take medicine, seek counseling, and be on top of my healing. Be pro-active. You will make it through! We are here to help with whatever you need!
Thank you, Amanda and Colby Taylor, for this interview and your willingness to reach out to others. Readers can learn more about the Taylors on their website at www.colbyandamandataylor.com
The interview questions are prepared by Jennifer H. Moyer for her website/blog and answers will be published on her website www.jennifermoyer.com with permission from Amanda and Colby Taylor.