Psychosis, abortion and me.

by Lily M

April 13, 2019

Content Warning: rape, psychosis

in 2017, i was raped. i thought i was fine, but over the next few months my mind crumbled and i became very mentally unwell. it all came to a head six months later, when i was admitted to a psychiatric ward. i was completely psychotic; i’d lost all touch with reality (just cos it’s often confused, psychosis is when you become disconnected from what is real, and experience hallucinations and/or delusions. it’s actually pretty common to an extent, although obviously mine was pretty severe). my mind was total chaos and i was a huge danger to myself. the day of my admission, i found out i was pregnant, i was probably less than 4 weeks along. this pregnancy wasn’t a result of the rape, just to be clear, but my mental state absolutely was the result of the trauma i had endured. i already have several children, a chronic (genetic, which some of my children have inherited, and that i was only diagnosed with while pregnant with my youngest) health condition and my finances aren’t exactly great. i had to start on antipsychotics urgently, and without them i doubt i would still be alive today. so i had an abortion. it’s a blur to be honest, i remember almost nothing and i was barely capable of even making the decision, certainly i was incapable of keeping myself and a pregnancy safe. i was convinced everyone was plotting against me, trying to kill me, and that the only way to keep my family safe was to end my own life. my behaviour was erratic and dangerous. and of course, the medication i so desperately needed could have pretty serious consequences if i continued the pregnancy. it’s taken me a year and a bit to get back to being well enough to function, and in that time i’ve had multiple suicide attempts, the last of which ended up with being being rushed to intensive care and resuscitated, and honestly all the doctors were surprised i survived it. i was absolutely in no state to carry a pregnancy. i have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that my decision was the right thing for me and my family, and honestly, whatever your reason it is always enough. nobody should have to justify what they do with their uterus. without my abortion, i couldn’t have taken the medication i needed to save my life. i wouldn’t be here for my children and my partner. sometimes, i think about it and feel an element of sadness. but i’m not sad because i had an abortion, i’m just sad that i ended up in the circumstances that i did. in the words of amanda palmer in “a voicemail for jill” – “it’s a strange grief but it’s grief”. it’s okay to feel sad, confused, relieved, angry, calm, upset, or anything in between. i am so grateful that i live in a society where i can access abortion care if i need it. i am so grateful to everyone who treated me with kindness and compassion, who didn’t judge me, and who made me feel like my feelings were important. i am thankful for my abortion, always. it truly saved my life.

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