My pregnancy started off like many others, happy, planned and with lots of excitement. I had been taking Fluoxetine previously for low mood, but nothing major. I stopped this as soon as I found out I was pregnant. At around 13 weeks I started to feel irritable and low again so went to the doctors. I was not prescribed any medication but was given one single counselling session instead. The rest of the pregnancy went OK, however in my last few weeks I started to think about death a lot and getting old. I visited my grandads grave, something I had never done before, or since. The labour was around 14 hours long, no major complications, but my waters had to be broken at the last minute and my son needed help to start breathing. He was a healthy baby, but had jaundice so needed to be put in an incubator, which is quite common. I had 10 hours sleep in 5 days while in hospital, my moods were very up and down, again this can be quite common. We finally got to go home with our little bundle of joy. He was perfect. Over the next few weeks it became apparent something was wrong, not with him, but with me. I became delusional, manic, obsessed, I prioritised all the wrong things, everything was amazing, I had a strong belief in god and thought about death a lot! Everything in the world made sense and had a link to god. I had become a mad woman.
On the 28th of November 2013 I was diagnosed with Postpartum Psychosis after a big mental breakdown at early hours in the morning involving screaming and calling social services about a child I knew. I woke up to a house full of professionals and was sent to Leeds mother and baby unit in an ambulance and sectioned under the mental health act for nearly 2 months.
I was living the dream at the beginning! I believed in god, miracles, and thought I was put on this earth to send messages to people from the big man himself, I thought could save everyone and anyone. All the while my family was terrified. Then reality stated to slowly come back once the medication took effect. I was on so much medication to sedate me I slept most of the day and night. It hurt me so much having to let the nurses feed my baby as I didn’t wake up to his crying. The ward had 6 bedrooms, all the women were experiencing similar symptoms at different stages, some less, some much much worse than mine. New mums would come and go over the 2 months I was there but yet I felt so alone I didn’t understand what was wrong with me. My whole family didn’t know if I would ever get better.
I was slowly allowed to leave the unit for short periods after a few weeks, first with a member of staff, then with my partner, then by Christmas I was allowed to stop over at my house for the night. I was released at new years, apparently that was a quick recovery! During this time though my anxiety was through the roof.
Time went on and I had a short period of around 3 months of depression. No feelings what so ever. Not a bean. Thankfully this didn’t last too long.
I was discharged 2 years later from the mental health team and lets just say, I cracked on with motherhood like the rest of you do! I still have mild anxiety occasionally, but honestly I had a lucky escape compared to some. I’m 99% me again! I hope anyone reading this who may have experienced a mental illness after pregnancy can get comfort, knowing its not forever.
Lindsey blogs over at www.ohnomummysmad.com therefore, please check it out to find out more about her story.