How Medication Saved Mine, and My Babies Life


Content ⚠️: Talk of Postpartum psychosis, suicide ideation.


For years and years I’ve rejected medication out of fear. I know, I know what you are probably thinking. I’m a recovering addict who used to smoke meth and I’m afraid of putting legal medications into my system?! At least, this is what I would have been  (and am) thinking. But that’s the insanity of addiction. But this post isn’t about my illegal drug use, it’s about taking the leap of faith and finally accepting help via legal medications prescribed by a Psychiatrist.

And guess what? It’s working. But one or the reasons why it’s working, is because I’m taking it exactly as prescribed. Which means, that I’m also doing something that I’ve been telling myself that I can’t do FOR YEARS and years. I’ve actually been taking my meds and not just once a day, but three times a day. For ten days now, I’ve taken my medication as prescribed at the time I’m supposed to without missing a single dose. For an addict like me who has struggled taking my testosterone once a week, this is a huge deal. But it’s not a big deal for my ego, it’s a big deal for heart and it’s healing process. I’ve been telling myself that I can’t for so long and it’s literally been keeping me sick. But I can. And even better, I AM!

Now, I’m also all about transparency and not at all ashamed of seeking outside help. We all need extra support sometimes and this is one of the ways that support can look. For me, that looked like inpatient hospitalization, therapy twice a week, and medications. Right now, the medication may very well be what’s making my life manageable and I want to take a moment to talk about why.


I still have a lot of internalized shame around being on an anti-psychotic and two anti-anxiety meds, which is why I want to spend time talking about them. In the last ten days that I’ve started medication, almost all of my symptoms have either stopped or gotten much better. When I say symptoms, I’m referring to the impacts my Postpartum Mood Disorder and Psychosis was having on my life. I noticed these things start to show up at three months postpartum and if I could do one thing different, I would have asked for help then, before it got feeling like a crisis. This past month after experiencing a trigger, those symptoms were amplified and joined by ones even more scary.


I would spend all day, every days simply wandering around my messy house, wondering where to start or was it even worth doing, all while sobbing and wearing a baby on my back. When I would think about someone coming in to help me with Wilder, I would have panic attacks in fear of exposure to COVID but if I thought about not receiving help I’d have a panic attack in fear of being so close to my breaking point and knowing it. When I would have to take Wilder out into public, like to a grocery store (being a single parent who was living alone in at the time deep in the wood without any type of food delivery service – this was challenging to avoid), I would have sever anxiety and panic attacks. Prior to pregnancy, I had never experienced a panic attack, although anxiety is an old, dear friend of mine. Life was full of anxiety and panic that would hit me like a ton a bricks, and out of no where. Washing dishes and BOOM – there’s a vision of my baby, who’s body is blue from drawing in the bath tub. I’d race into the bathroom cussing at myself for leaving Wilder in there alone only to realize in that same moment that Wilder was still playing happily in the living room where I had left them so that I could do the dishes. Or I’d be laying in bed and then suddenly have visions of my heart dog dying and us saying our final goodbyes or even worse, not getting the chance to say goodbye at all. Even typing these things sends my heart into a hurried state of being.


Being Neurodivergent, I’ve always been sensitive to noise and touch but postpartum, my sensory processing disorder has been amplified to the extreme. I’ve had moments of feeling like my skin is crawling when my baby touches me. The feeling of having someone pulling on my clothes constantly makes me cringe. And what I’m most ashamed of, is the rage and extreme anxiety I feel when my baby cries. I never experienced this as a nanny or even with other people’s babies, only my own. So, I never let my baby cry and it worked, until it no longer did. Then the intrusive thoughts began and so did the feelings of needing to disappear before something bad happened. Now, parents and people alike kept telling me, “it’s normal to have the urge to throw your baby out the window when they won’t stop crying sometimes.” But what I was experiencing wasn’t normal and being told it was, kept me sick for longer. If you’re having those thoughts whether or not it’s once or every single day, please seek outside support and extra help. You may not be in psychosis, but you don’t have to be in need and accept help.


One of the most scary things that I experienced in postpartum psychosis was hearing things that weren’t actually there. What this looked like for me, was hearing a radio playing alongside the sound machine all.night.long. OR conversations happening and coming through the sound machine. But the scariest, was when I would hear Wilder scratching the walls, it was so loud it would wake me from a deep sleep. I’d roll over already frustrated with Wilder but find them in a dead sleep, no where even near the walls. Or I’d hear Wilder wake up crying but then find them sound asleep. I just thought I was tired, and maybe that was part of it.

I wasn’t eating or sleeping. I kept telling myself that was normal for a new parent.

I knew I needed help, but was too afraid to ask. I was too afraid of someone I didn’t know showing up and taking my baby. But I knew my baby wasn’t safe, so Wilder went with their Granny Kiki and spent the week learning how to sleep on their own, in a crib. Which, is one of the most important pieces to me getting well – having my bed and body back, for now.

But the moment that I didn’t have my baby the noise got even louder and my shame and guilt even heavier. I was certain Wilder would have been better without me so I spent eighteen hours driving around Portland-Astoria searching for the right bridge to jump from. I landed at the Ross bridge and stood there for hours – looking over while swimming through the insanity inside of my brain. After a bystander walked past me for a second time at 2am, they stopped and silently stood next to me, but that’s an entire post all on it’s own that’s we will get to. But in that moment before I wanted to jump, I saw Wilder’s story play through and held on. This wasn’t Wilder’s story and Wilder did in fact deserve their papa bear.


Using drugs was never a thought and that, is a miracle.


But, as someone who has struggled with depression all of my like, being a parent changes that now, I have a responsibility to treat that depression if I want the honor of raising the most amazing tiny human ever.


So, I took a leap of faith and committed to going to any lengths to get well. When a psychiatrist at the hospital I had voluntarily checked myself into for 72-hours,  recommend Abilify and two anti-anxiety meds I quickly jumped on board. Not as someone who pushes medications, but as someone who was literally about to jump off of a bridge and needed something to change.


And friends, I’m so relieved to tell you that things are changing.


The medication is working. I’m not walking around like a sobbing zombie overcame with panic. In fact, I haven’t had one panic attack since being on medication. I’m getting done and able to focus in ways that feel unfamiliar to me. My intrusive thoughts have left and most nights I’m able to sleep. Sometimes I still hear the radio playing or Wilder crying, but it no longer feels unsafe. I’m not stuck in a fog of tears an a reality that’s not actually there. I’m still me and even more so, finding the best parent me possible.


I can’t believe I’m about to say this.


But being on medication is quite literally saving my life right now, and in turn, my babies life.


Letting go and following directions (exactly as they are given) is simply another gift recovery has taught me and more so then ever, today I’m so deeply grateful to be sober.



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  1. Krista on November 20, 2021 at 7:27 am

    Danny. I’m in tears. I am so glad you stayed. Wilder needs you. Medication is amazing. You are worth it, not just because of wilder but because you are worth living. ❤️

  2. Alicia on November 20, 2021 at 7:29 am

    You are growing and evolving right along side of Wilder! What a blessing for you both ♥️

  3. Sandi Arenas on November 20, 2021 at 8:48 am

    Danny i’m so proud of you and i can relate as well. i have suffered anxiety all of my life. I started having panic attacks at 17 and they landed me in the emergency room more times than i can remember. i refused medications for a long time because any kind of foreign substance in my body scares me so i tried to combat it on my own which worked…until it didn’t. Fast forward to several years later when my wife had our first child. I had been working with kids in daycares and as a nanny for twenty plus years by this time so i knew that babies did not scare me…..but i can clearly remember one day when my son was about two months old and my wife was at work (tattoo artist)…i started having scary thoughts about what would happen to him if i dropped dead right then, if i had an aneurysm or a stroke and no one would know he was one would hear him, who would take care of him? I took him into his room to rock him and the multicolored alphabet tiles we had on his floor started moving and popping out as if i was watching a 3D movie. it scared the shit out of me and i tried calling people but no one was around so i finally called my wife back from work. This…is when i started taking medication. It took my child and his safety to get me to that point. So i feel you. congrats on taking this step! it has truly changed my life and will continue to change yours!

    • Danny The Trans Dad on November 20, 2021 at 11:07 am

      Wow, thank you so much for sharing. It’s so helpful to hear stories like this. <3

  4. Annette on November 20, 2021 at 11:30 am

    Danny, I have followed your story for some time now, mostly because I have a transgender son that I love with my whole heart. Then, it began being because I looked forward to your pictures and insights. This blog really touches my heart because my son also takes Abilify to help with his mood disorder and psychosis. I will root for you every day. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable. It is in this type of honesty that we will break through the taboo of asking for help.

  5. Tressa on November 20, 2021 at 11:47 am

    Yay you! It literally takes a village! So proud of you to recognize this and seek help. Let your village sustain and help! And kudos for being open to medication! You are on the right track and your desire to live for Wilder can be your compass! Bravo Danny!

  6. Rebecca on November 20, 2021 at 2:29 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this. And you are amazing for seeking and accepting help. I suffered, albeit more mildly, as a new parent. I woke in a panic regularly thinking I’d fallen asleep on my baby, to find them in the cot next to me. I imagined I had a second baby, twins, and couldn’t work out where my other baby was. I found my other baby hovering over us in bed one night. It was quite distressing in all honestly. The panic I’ve had since then I’m only just addressing now my child is 4. The extreme anxiety I have is going to be a massive work in progress. I’m here for the journey with you. Here’s to putting ourselves first in order to give our kids the best of us!

  7. Teresa A Swedman on November 20, 2021 at 2:32 pm

    Bravo! Danny you are doing the Best thing for you and therefore the Best thing for Wilder. I too take 2 anti depressants one helps my anxiety and the other depression. I have been on them since 1997 after my hysterectomy and ovary removal. I suffered from Menopausal depression, very similar to Post Partum depression. I was a raging mess and once I accepted (that’s the key right there) that I needed help; I sought help and the medications saved me and my marriage. My husband had to endure some of my ugliness. Unfortunately the stigma that society placed on Mental Illness long ago has kept many people from getting the help they need. So many try to manage their problems on their own but that only lasts until you are right back at the beginning, It take a very smart, strong person to say I Need Help! I thank my God that I did the right thing. Be proud of the person you are and the Happy Danny that can lead a great life and give Wilder the best life possible, you both deserve it. You have a whole new life ahead of you and so much to be Thankful for this Thanksgiving. Enjoy your beautiful Wilder, Blessings Miss Teresa Ps I miss running in to you and Wilder at Valley mail. PEACE

  8. Sam on November 20, 2021 at 4:37 pm

    Thank you. Thank you for being so open and so brave on a topic that many people shy away from for a lot of different reasons. You don’t need me, or anybody, to be proud of you; you should be proud of you and I hope you are. Wilder will have an amazing life because they have a father who did realize he maybe couldn’t do it all on his own. That’s a lot of strength I know you’ll impart on them as they grow up big and strong under the watchful eye of their papa bear.

  9. Annie on November 20, 2021 at 5:00 pm

    Following up on a previous comment on a previous post, my postpartum anxiety got better as my youngest weaned from breastfeeding and sleeping in my bed, but my generalized anxiety disorder was gradually getting worse and worse after that. I was in a pretty toxic work environment and on top of that, I was feeling normal life stress and pressures, and I have 2 children on the autism spectrum, one of whom has a comorbid mood disorder. I had started having suicidal thoughts and ideation, but I felt shame about that because, as a mother, how terrible would it be to leave my kids behind? It was right as the pandemic started that my therapist and my doctor were able to convince me that it was time to give medication a go. I am a bit like you, in that my anxiety fueled fears that I wouldn’t be able to do medication properly or that they wouldn’t work or the side effects would be problematic (this one anti-depressant medication gives me hand tremors). But I started to feel the relief I needed. And like you, the only “regret” I had was that I felt like I could have done it sooner.

  10. Pat Bittel on November 22, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    So proud of you for getting the help you need. And so happy you have found the right combination of meds so quickly. Sometimes just the sleep deprivation and poor eating habits, along with the relentlessness of single-parenting can push your brain and body to their limit. Being a fully-present parent is not easy!
    I could not be the best person I can be without meds. I look at them like a supplement my body and brain needs in order to function well.
    And thank you for not taking your life. Wilder, your family, and more people then you can imagine need you here. Sending love and light your way. 💕

  11. Sólveig Þórstína on November 22, 2021 at 2:43 pm

    Hi Danny.

    I don’t really know what to say. If I know the right words. But thank you for this post. I’m so happy for you and I’m proud of you. You are a wonderful person and the way you talk about your feelings and about what you go through is one of the reasons I follow you. And adore you.

    You are a diamond. You are brave and you are strong.

    I know this bridge feeling to well for reasons I’m not gonna tell here. But I too have wonderful children I can’t stand the thought to leave them motherless.

    I believe in you and I send you strength and love.

    • Sólveig Þórstína on November 22, 2021 at 2:53 pm

      I didn’t read the comments before I posted mine since I didn’t want this to be “about me” but I’ve had anxiety as long as I remember. Started taking medicine when I was 22 years. When I was 17 I tried suicide with pills and ended at a hospital with fluids in my veins since I was drying up inside (a week later). I was sexually abused as a child by a man I should call my grandfather (which I can’t call him). I’ve since then had suicidal thoughts every now and then but my babies are the reasons I’m still alive and fighting. Bad relationships have torn me down and after my last I got PTSD and found myself drunk with tons of sleeping pills, cryibg by the ocean, ready to leave this world, when I thought of my kids. I love them so much, they are my world. But I’ve been seeking help, taking medicine and everyday getting better and stronger.

      Mental health is physical health even if it dosen’t show like a broken foot or cancer. It needs to be taken seriously and people who suffer should not suffer in silence.

      With love from Iceland <3

  12. Dianna on November 23, 2021 at 10:22 am

    Medication has saved me and my chikd as well. I did not have PPP, but I think that taking meds saved us from that.

    I stopped taking my Celexa before getting pregnant with my first child and by the time I hit my 3 trimester I was contemplating suicide daily. I stopped seeing my therapist and was too scared to go to a baby blues meeting. The moment my baby was born the nurse brought me a dose of Celexa. It took months for me to regulate and I regret all the bonding time I missed out on with my first since I was trying so hard to get well in my mind. So for my second I didn’t stop taking my meds and while I’m still super anxious (they turned one on the 11th) and depressed. The scary thoughts are not constant. I take my meds, I take my vitamins, I talk to my therapist, I try to meditat and move my body daily, and im still learning how to ask for help.

    Danny, you are amazing. I wish I could just give you a hug and tell you that though we don’t know each other I love you and Wilder.

  13. Christina Malango on November 26, 2021 at 12:45 am

    As a survivor of postpartum depression, which we found out much later was actually part of a bipolar diagnosis, I deeply appreciate your honesty in writing about your situation and helping reduce the stigma around mental illness. So much love to you for finding the love and strength to get help. Yes, meds are miraculous, sleep is miraculous, reaching out for help is miraculous. I am so glad you’ve done all 3. Wilder will be fine as long as you are fine. I support you and applaud your strength.
    And because I am a grammar queen let me just gently say it is “my baby’s life”. <3

  14. Torri Marney on December 1, 2021 at 1:58 pm

    First of all, I just want to give you a huge hug. You are doing it, and I’m so proud of you! Not that you need me or anyone to be proud of you, you should be proud of yourself, and I hope you are! You are incredibly brave! Talking about this so openly took a lot, and I thank you for being so open. Healing is hard work, harder than I ever thought it could be, but it’s also incredibly freeing. I can imagine how terrifying all of that must of been for you, and how hard asking for help must have been. You took a huge step, to better yourself, by putting yourself first. That my friend requires 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 because it’s really freaking hard to do! But that is the first step to healing. My biggest take away from therapy, is to be kind to yourself during this process.

    While I’m not a parent myself (I’m unable to have biological children), I experience major depression and anxiety, and am extremely familiar with the dark place and all the things that come along with it. I don’t know where I would be without my Cymbalta or my therapist.

    I’m so glad you have such kind wonderful people in your life to support you and Wilder whenever you need it. That’s the kind of village every person needs. Happy to hear your medication is working and you are doing some much better! Keep up the strong work Papa. I’m in your corner rooting you on!

    You got this 😘

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