Way More Than Baby Blues: Post Partum Psychosis

Post Partum Psychosis

Immediately after my son was born, I experienced the ‘normal’ baby blues. With him being in the NICU, it felt slightly worse than I expected mothers of healthy babies might feel, but I accepted it as a normal reaction to my situation. I was weepy, restless, and couldn’t calm myself enough to sleep. In the first few weeks of his life, my guess is that I slept a total of 5 hours. I just couldn’t shut my mind off. I chalked it up to being a new mother, in total awe of my tiny baby.

I was constantly checking his breathing, making sure he was still alive. So much so that I eventually just sat up, holding him in my arms in the dark, while everyone else slept peacefully. I assumed that I was just doing my duty as a mother—ensuring the well-being of my newborn. No one told me that this wasn’t normal. Sure, everyone gave the same generic advice of “sleep when baby sleeps”, but I figured that was the same (though rather odd) thing as saying “welcome to motherhood.”

Fast forward a few months, and I wasn’t feeling any better. In fact, I was worse. I still anxiously checked on him to make sure he hadn’t died in his sleep, and new, irrational fears of very improbable circumstances, in which something terrible happened to my child, would run through my mind like a film strip.

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Again, I brushed it off. I figured my lack of sleep was making me a bit loopy, and all that I needed to rid myself of the crazy thoughts was a solid eight hours—which I knew not to expect for a while. I continued to ignore it.

Eventually, things took a nosedive. I wasn’t just anxious about my son’s life, I became a paranoid wreck. Everything around me was a danger to myself and my baby. Nothing made me happy, and my relationship with my husband went down the shitter because I became incapable of loving two people at once. I was a downright bitch. I figured it was just the stress of being a new mom, and never bothered to educate myself on what might be happening to me.

I mentioned it in passing to my doctor, but I passed both Postpartum Depression screening tests with flying colors, and so I went on feeling like garbage, hoping I’d just wake up happy one day.

Jump ahead to present day: I’ve experienced the birth of one child and the loss of three since 2011. The sadness I felt in the beginning is now at an all time high. My anxiety is through the roof, and I can’t function like a normal human being. My mind has become a torture chamber, full of gruesome images of dead babies and horribly mangled bodies.

Whenever I try to sleep, I am hit with images of my baby getting seriously hurt or dying. Mostly, these ‘visions’ are ridiculous, in that I highly doubt he’ll drown in a swamp or sink in quicksand…but then, more recently, they’ve started getting worse. More vivid, more intense, and more realistic. From getting hit by a car to falling off our balcony..and then, in the few weeks since my latest miscarriage, I’ve closed my eyes, only to see myself stabbing my son or smothering him with a pillow.

When these thoughts enter my head, there is absolutely no desire to fulfill them…only a stab of pure terror at the idea that I could think such horrendous things, and anxiety attacks so ferocious that I’ve often leaned over the side of my bed to vomit.

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I, in no way, want to ever harm my child — even when he’s being nuts. The thoughts I have freeze me with fear and leave me sweating with a racing heart for much of the night. Sleep is still so far out of reach — probably even more so now. I am now so afraid of going to bed. So fearful of the lights being off because I know I’m about to see myself killing my sweet boy.

It’s gotten to the point where I’m trapped in my own head much of the time, and I walk around in a daze. I feel like life is zipping by me, and I feel empty—I watch everyone around me live life to the fullest, but my heart has no desire to join in. My head, though constantly racing with thoughts that I’m unable to focus on, feels like a fuzzy TV channel.

The past week has been the worst for me. I’ve contemplated suicide multiple times because I am not coping well. A lot of it is due to severe exhaustion, but I also want the thoughts to stop. I can’t ever see myself doing something so ridiculous, but I also never thought I’d be the type to succumb to any type of mental illness. I am a zombie for much of the day, and at night, I become manic. I am afraid of myself. My mind has become a very scary place to be.

Yesterday was the first time that I’ve admitted any of this to anyone. I was so afraid of the judgment I would, without a doubt, face. I didn’t want someone to read this and think “Well, she’s gone off the deep-end, what kind of mother is she?!”

The thing is, though, as scary as it was to open up, it’s like a weight has been lifted because the people I shared it with are now carrying some of it for me. In telling my story, I was able to find the strength to call my doctor—which I should have done a very long time ago.

My doctor saw me immediately, and diagnosed me with Postpartum Psychosis and began treatment immediately. Though I won’t be cured right away, I am now on the road to a brighter place. I have suffered for almost two years, and today – for the very first time in what seems like forever – I took a deep breath and thought that maybe, just maybe, everything will be okay.

About the writer

Brea is sarcastic, slightly ADD, 100% out of her mind, and mom/maid to two of the best kids on earth. When she's not mom-ing, she blogs about the ups, downs, and holy-shit-what-just-happeneds of parenthood at Mommy Gone Mental.


Carrie Thrasher 3 months ago

What I had was ppocd..but did have a few hullacinations…but all I know it was the worst thing ever.i wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. ..

Carrie Thrasher 3 months ago

Back in 1983 just having my first born ..my son Christopher. .in the hospital right after giving birth to him …which I had a c section..right after he was born. I was so happy to hear his first cry…tears filled eyes …but not long after that when they wheeled me into my room…and they finally brought him for me to hold..I was happy..but all I could think about was taking him to the window and dropping him ..I didn’t know what was wrong ..I knew I didn’t want to do this ….and ter I got home with him I would have awful disturbing thought of harming him …smothering. .stabbing it was awful ..I wanted to die…something was wrong I thought I was evil..or possessed I wouldn’t tell no one…I was afraid. …everyone thought I was an awesome mom..because I wouldn’t let him out of my sight…but I was scared …urges ..obsessing. ..and after about 6 months I got a better..but in the back of my mind I knew something was really wrong ..and 2 years later I got pregnant with my daughter. .and ND I thought God please don’t let this happen again….but it did right after I had her the thought urges everything ugly…was back…I walked around numb trying to work be a mother wife..still wouldn’t say anything. ..because never heard of anyone ever talking about this ever…I got so bad …I could eat sleep work go out ..I was like a zombie ..slept in between my children praying God please help me……I loved them …but couldn’t imagine acting on the disgusting obsession. .. I tried to talk to my husband about it but didn’t want to hear about it…..and then God sent me a blessing….I had finally talked toy sister about it and she had a very dear friend. ..who had went through the very same thing with the birth of her 2 children. .just talking to her over the phone that night ..I’ll never forget it..she had went to a dr in Memphis tenn. Who had diagnosed her…I went there and of course I couldn’t drive. ..when I got there they diagnosed me ..I was so bad I couldn’t even count from a 100 back…they wanted to put me in the hospital and treat me…but I was secretly going there any way so I knew my husband at the time would nit go for that …well to finish this story they out me on Anafranil and I had to come twice a week to talk to the psychologist. ..and 2 weeks it was a miracle. .the thoughts left ..I was so blessed to have gotten help ..I probably wouldn’t be here now… see back in the 1980 you didn’t here of pps ….it’s blessing now to have all the information and Internet to learn….

Michele Davidson 1 year ago

Thank you for this enlightening contribution into PPP. I am currently doing a research study with women with a former history of PPP. Anyone interested in participating can contact me directly at mdavidso@gmu.edu This is a university-supported research study that has been reviewed by the Human Subjects board. All information is strictly confidential. Thanks!

Katie 2 years ago

I must admit that I find it so hard to believe that you were diagnosed with post natal psychosis right off the bat by your doctor who just put you on “treatment” and presumably sent you on your way? Where is the part of the story where you were sent to spend time in hospital – preferably a mother/baby unit? As far as I know, hospitalisation is almost always necessary for cases of PNP. I have suffered from post natal psychosis, and your story does not ring true. Unlike regular post natal depression, PNP begins very soon after birth – usually within a week or two. Before I even left hospital I was “manic” and acting irrationally and by the time my daughter was 2 months old I was in hospital in a mother/baby unit getting an injection of Zyprexa. The psychosis isn’t something that creeps up slowly, over a span of a couple years – it’s sudden, vicious and generally completely blindsides the victim. There is no way that if you were suffering true psychosis that you would have have enough grip on reality to call your doctor. It doesn’t work that way. People with psychosis don’t know they are sick, they don’t recognise that their experiences aren’t real.

Post natal anxiety I will buy, but not a genuine case of post natal psychosis, no way. They are two very distinct illnesses and are managed in vastly different ways. I think you need to consider getting professional help, I think you may have another mental illness, perhaps borderline personality disorder? I’m not trying to be mean, but there has to be a reason why you would fabricate such a story and it upsets me that you would pretend to have a serious illness that had actually effected people in many horrible ways.

car 2 years ago


Sam 2 years ago

This is such a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your story. You will change lives and help other mothers. You are such a wonderful person my prayers are with you and your family.

Melissa 2 years ago

I must applaud you for seeking help. I am 27 years old, and for that entire time, I have tried and tried to find an answer. I am an abuse victim. My mother had three daughters, I being the first, and she never felt a bond with me. So much so was her disconnect, that she intentionally treated me as a burden. She never celebrated/acknowledged my birthday, she hated the idea of me opening presents alongside my sisters on Christmas morning. She withheld food from me. She’d torture me physically and mentally, and forced my sisters into doing the same. I had no connection with anyone in my home. I was beyond a black sheep; I was a revolting mass of flesh stinking up her home. The names she called me were cruel. The physical torture was heartbreaking. Sometimes she’d suffocate me just for fun, letting go only when I was about to lose consciousness. She’d call me stupid, fat, and told me to kill myself. I was a straight-A student my entire elementary/middle school career, and was incredibly frail and thin, the opposite of stupid and fat. I wasn’t allowed to partake in family games, unless the game involved torturing me (a favorite was having my sisters pin me to the floor while my mother forced the dogs to ‘sic’ me, biting and clawing at my face and limbs). I was a house slave. She once pulled me out of school for a few months because she didn’t want me socializing. Everyone asks why my mother treated me differently. I honestly cannot say. Her response, if she acknowledged the question, was, “Because you’re different.” However, who could she compare me to as a first born child? As an adult, I absolutely am different. I’m educated, well-read, funny, open-minded, compassionate, and have a strong moral compass. I’d like to believe that my mother suffered from PPP, as it certainly would give me answers to my many questions. Thankfully, I developed a strong sense of self-worth and do not rely on the answer to make me feel valued in life. I don’t believe my mother will ever come to love me. I’m glad others like you suffering with severe psychosis choose to acknowledge and seek help, because most children reared by parents with the disease do not always get a happy ending. Thank you for getting help and giving your child the chance to blossom with a sense of self-worth and love.

kayee 2 years ago

Oh honey I experienced this. It was themost devastating time of my life. I didn’t know the extreme anxiety wasn’t normal. I didn’t know what was to be expected. I didn’t so much have the mental pictures you describe. I had dreams of some one grabbing my daughter. and soon I began hearing voices that my daughter hated me I was horrible I should die. I have never heard voices. I thought they were real. I stopped talking because they would say something awefull about whateveri said. its true when you’re crazy you’re the last to know ! Fast forward my family took me to the hospital thank god and I was put on respiradone. after three days the voicess went away. I just share this with you to let you know you’re not alone and I understand the hell you walked through. it goes away but very scary very torturous. <3 you're a strong mommy

Ashley 2 years ago

I just wanted to say that it’s incredibly brave of you to share your story. I had the same diagnosis, and it was the worst time in my life. Things WILL get better. Lots of love and hugs headed your way.

January Amber Ackerson 2 years ago

YYYYEEEEESSSSS!!!!!!!!!! I may just follow your lead girl! Thank you.

Tracy King 2 years ago

Reading these stories is like a gift to me from every woman who shared. So many things about so many stories resonate and every story counts. Thank you for starting the sharing and I am hoping your life will make a bit more sense now.

TK 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing this. You took the right step of contacting your doctor, and I hope you find peace and happiness soon.

Maria Valadez Gillette 2 years ago

I'm sending thoughts of healing to you. You are so brave and I wish you nothing but the best on this journey.

Hannah 2 years ago

I am so glad that you chose to share your story. I had never heard of PPS.

Parts of your story, it was like reading my own. I have always suffered with anxiety and hypochondria. After having my daughter in 2011, I was a mess. I chalked it up to being a new mom, just like you. But it kept getting worse, I was terrified of SIDS. I would just hold her and cry thinking “this is the last time I am going to see her alive”. Those thoughts are horrible! No new mom needs to think like that, but sometimes we get all screwy after having a baby.

I don’t know if it was PPD, or if just being a mom made me more scared of EVERYTHING. I have been on anti anxiety meds for over a year, and it’s still a battle every day trying to make those thoughts go away. But now when I think them, I don’t have a panic attack every time, I don’t get sweaty and lightheaded.

After she turned one and the threat of SIDS pretty much went away, I started thinking of things that could happen to me. I thought I had every cancer known to man (many I may have even created). My marriage was also going down the drain, and I just couldn’t be happy, my mind ran wild with thoughts of death. It was awful. I still have the thoughts, but God and the medicine have gotten me through it.

I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and I hope you get some relief soon.

Joelle 2 years ago

Thanks so much for sharing your story. I went through a very similar situation. My thoughts scared me so much I was afraid to hold her. I had no idea why this was happening to me cause all I wanted was a baby and I loved her so much. With therapy, medication, faith and running I am fully recovered from that scariest point in my life. My daughter is 8 and the happiest thing! I also have a 3 year old and had a wonderful postpartum experience with her. I’m so sorry you have to go through this but it will get better…one day at a time:)

Christina Dawn Rogers 2 years ago

A terrifying and awful feeling…. <3

older mom 2 years ago

I was just speaking about this with a friend the other day. We shared our post birth stories and I was suddenly brought back to those awful moments. I would see such terrible things, shudder and cry to myself alone in the shower sometimes just to have a place to get rid of the shame.
I had a picture of the beautiful dream we all have, mommy dressed in a white cotton gown, hair just so, baby pink and perfect, light perfectly defused. I thought that is what it would be for me. Instead, oh, the terror I felt on a daily basis that I just had to get through.
There were waves of this that would come upon me. It lasted well into the first year but did lessen as time went on.After a miscarriage a few years later, I was far enough along for the hormone ramp up and went through a bit of ppd after that as well.
A couple of years after I had my daughter, I was watching a show with hubby. A woman was talking about this experience. I burst out in tears and told my husband how I had lived the same life as her. He couldn’t believe I had suffered alone. I was ashamed, afraid and convinced that DFACS would show up and take my baby away. Getting help and time is the best we can offer ourselves. I did eventually get some help, to deal with it all. I did take antidepressants and it did help.
Even with a 12 year old, I see things happen to her in my mind but now it is more of a “normal” reaction to such parent horrors. But it is still there….and it seems to be a lot more common than we know. So you are truly NOT ALONE. Take a deep breath. For anyone who finds this article who is currently feeling this way, seek help from the nurse midwife. Reality is very different from what other people present and more woman deal with this issue than we know. Reach out.

Peeps 2 years ago

You are a brave woman for sharing your story. So many women need to read this and know they are not alone. This is something that needs to be out there, taken seriously and treated. It’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to take help!
I am SO sorry you hurt for so long. It seems like you have good support around you. You can get through this. You WILL get through this.
Vaya con Dios.

Sarah 2 years ago

Nearly 16 years ago, I was diagnosed with PPP. I had virtually every symptom you’ve mentioned in your post. With someone to talk to and a medication that worked well for me, I was able to overcome this! The second time I was pregnant, my doctor and I took preventive measures, and while I had some baby blues, I didn’t develop PPP again. You can do this. You’ve overcome the scariest hurdle– telling your doctor. There’s still work ahead for you (I won’t lie) but it will get easier and easier, and you will feel better! I am so proud of you for seeking help and speaking your truth. You are a warrior!

Karen Wachenheim 2 years ago

Hello! First, thank you for sharing and GOOD FOR YOU for speaking up! God Bless you! So happy to hear you realized something wasn't right and you are getting help. Also, that you're doctor diagnosed you correctly. Don't every be ashamed to talk about how you feel. You can't help it. Let those that love you and your doctors know so everyone can help you. Unfortunately, my family was not so lucky. Last March, we lost my beloved sister in law to what we think was post partum psychosis. She was never diagnosed with that (she was with post partum depression) but with all her symptoms we are pretty sure that's what it was. Unfortunately, my husband and I and my husband's other sister do not live in the same town as my sister in law did. We tried to keep up with everything that was going on with her but she slowly stopped talking to us and telling us what was going on ;(. If you ever feel like you aren't getting what you want or need and need more help, please look into this organization, they can help! http://www.postpartum.net/. Don't EVER stop talking, don't EVER feel ashamed. You feel what you feel. If you ever feel alone, and need someone to talk to, find me on facebook if you have to. I vow to make sure noone ever feels alone again if I can help it. I can't bring my beloved sister in law back but I can help others. That's my vow! GOD BLESS YOU!!!!!!

Kimberly Breen 2 years ago

Thank you! This is exactly what happened to me. Within the first few months of giving birth, I would take my baby to the mall I'd imagine her going over the balcony onto the marble floor below. I would break out into sweats, and shake at the slightest suggestion of a possible terrorist attack or natural disaster on the television – imagining her starving to death or suffering in some horrible way. My anxiety even went beyond my baby, and I would find myself clenching the steering wheel as I rounded the corner to my street because I was certain that I would see my cat run over in front of our home. This went on for about a year. I was afraid to tell anyone about the visions I was having because I thought that they would misunderstand them and think that I desired my baby to come to harm. A few years later I had another child, and did not experience any anxiety at all.

Crystal Kalin-Wonitoy 2 years ago

Reaching out from Canada, wishing I could give you a hug! I went through so much of this after my second daughter, my husband was working in another country and I had no help from family and didn't feel like I could ask for help from my friends.

I am so glad you reached out for help, and accept it in any way that it comes! Let people help you, as many as you can, as long as you need it. The first priority is your health, so that you can take care of your precious little one.

I wish you the best!

Kim Smits Foster 2 years ago

Oh, Brea, I'm so sorry you had to go through that for SO long! There is no shame in admitting your feelings, especially since you're finally getting help. That action shows how strong you really are! I was predisposed to anxiety and depression before I became pregnant. both my OB/GYN and my Prenatal Specialist told me to take anxiety medication (some kinds are approved for pregnancy) to prevent Post Partum Depression. You're not alone, and you're not a bad mom. We have a lot of compassion and respect for you speaking out. It raises awareness for other moms going through this and let's them know it's ok to get treatment. Good luck, and you will feel better soon!

Tiffany (The Boob Geek) 2 years ago

I’m so glad you’re reaching out, but I’m not so sure postpartum psychosis is the right diagnosis. Many care providers don’t see a difference between postpartum psychosis and postpartum OCD, and there is a huge difference. Namely, if you’re psychotic, you think that your thoughts are perfectly reasonable. You do not seem to feel that way.

One reason moms with postpartum OCD fail to reach out for help is that they fear they’ll be diagnosed with postpartum psychosis. They are different diagnoses. I could offer lots of links, but here is one place to start: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/the-symptoms-of-postpartum-depression-anxiety-in-plain-mama-english

If you need help, contact http://postpartum.net/. They can help you find resources wherever you are in the world.

    Tiffany (The Boob Geek) 2 years ago

    This didn’t come out quite like I wanted it to. :) I *am* very glad that you’re getting the help you need, Brea, and it is tragic that it took so long for someone to listen to you. I hopthert writing this inspires more women to come forward for help.

    I wanted to point out the postpartum psychosis and postpartum OCD distinction because I suffered from the latter, and one of the things I would obsessed about is having postpartum psychosis. It terrified me, and I didn’t reach out because I was afraid of that diagnosis. So, if anyone reading this feels like I did, and is afraid of that diagnosis, please know that there is something else out there, postpartum OCD, where the main feature is intrusive thoughts that are terrifying and NOT a symptom of postpartum psychosis. I hope that makes you feel a little safer in reaching for help.

      Sarah 2 years ago

      I think the big thing to note is intrusive thoughts are one thing, but intrusive thoughts, dreams, visions, hallucinations, and feeling the preventative measures one takes to keep the bad things from happening are completely reasonable ( example: I hid knives all over my house to protect my baby from home invasion, and felt justified in this) is another. PPOCD knows the compulsions are unreasonable. PPP believes they are.

Tiffany Jensen Gallagher 2 years ago

I'm so glad you're reaching out, but I'm not so sure postpartum psychosis is the right diagnosis. Many care providers don't see a difference between postpartum psychosis and postpartum OCD, and there is a huge difference. Namely, if you're psychotic, you think that your thoughts are perfectly reasonable. You do not seem to feel that way.

One reason moms with postpartum OCD fail to reach out for help is that they fear they'll be diagnosed with postpartum psychosis. They are different diagnoses. I could offer lots of links, but here is one place to start: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/the-symptoms-of-postpartum-depression-anxiety-in-plain-mama-english

If you need help, contact http://postpartum.net/. They can help you find resources wherever you are in the world.

    Beentheredonethat 2 years ago

    Thank you, I thought the same thing about her symptoms and diagnosis. I feel like this is PPOCD and not PPP and I commented the same thing earlier. She does not mention what kind of dr she went to. Psychiatrist, physician, etc.? A lot of GPs and OBs are clueless on this topic and some psychiatrists don’t even know how to properly diagnose OCD. I hope the writer feels much better very soon and that her treatment is appropriate.

rubana 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing, and for being brave enough to put this out there and, by doing so, helping so many undiagnosed women. I am so sorry for the loss of your angels. I sincerely hope you find peace again, and live life fully for yourself and your loved ones.

Gen 2 years ago

I suffered through two and a half years of PPP. In that time I lost my home to foreclosure, my job to my crazy head and almost my marriage. I’m not certain how or why my husband stayed with me but my crazy spiraled him into a place that most marriages do not survive.
I still struggle with depression. My daughter will be 6 soon so it’s been a while. It took a long time of finding the right meds and counseling. I preach to every mom I know, especially the new ones, about how dangerous it can be.
You are awesome for doing the hard work and speaking out. It will get better!!!

Jill Ellis-Elsey 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing your story! So many of us lived in the wars of our own mind, me include for a year, before finally getting doctors to help. I hope your journey takes a turn for the better. Not only does your child need you, more importantly you need you. God bless you and your brave nature.

Karyn M. Osuna-Poindexter 2 years ago

I had no idea there was a name for this. I have one child, he is 7 now and when I found out I was pregnant, I was in a whirlwind of terror. After I had him, it only got worse and chalked it up to the basic PPD mixed with paranoia that I still carry with me now. Your article is as if I had written this myself. I'm happy to see I'm not alone. Neither are you. Take care xoxo

Kimberly R 2 years ago

I had PPD with my first. I didn’t think it was anything more than baby blues and I didn’t tell anyone how I felt. (I actually had antenatal depression and told my dr but he blew it off.) I believe now that there were psychosis elements to my PPD. That was such a dark time in my daughter’s life and I feel like I cheated myself out of her babyhood. I hated it. Now that I’ve had my second (she’s 7 weeks old), I’m experiencing anxiety but not PPD. I have a new dr and he and his staff have been very diligent in talking to me at length about how I feel and offering help at any time. I’m enjoying this time so much more than I did with my oldest and its amazing. I wish there were better screening tools for people like us. I wish our loved ones could see what was going on, no matter how well we tried to hide it. I wish things could have been different for all the silent sufferers out there.

Amanda 2 years ago

PPD and PPP is some serious stuff. It can not only affect our way of thinking and impair our judgement, but it creates a wedge between “us” and everyone else, including our child(ren). I used to have vivid thoughts of taking my newborn by the feet and just swinging him into the wall until he shut up. I never acted upon that, and just the fact that I even had these thoughts rocked me to the core, I hated myself, I made myself sick. I never outright told my doctor about my problems, but Im a very holistic person. I dealt with it, I started going out of the house after about 6 months, and re connected with friends I hadnt talked to since I was 6 months pregnant. Thats a WHOLE year, not including the extra 6 months. I noticed things got better after my son was a year old. I still have my moments, but I believe thats just my normal body chemistry(I have depression and anxiety). Ive been reading up on placenta capsulation, and I figure IF i ever have another Ill do that.

Chris Gordon 2 years ago

YES! YES YES YES YES YES!! This story needed to be told…written down…and posted in every freaking doctors office in the world!

I went through something similar with my son. I was terrified that something was going to happen to him. Paranoia doesn't even begin to explain the ridiculous thoughts that went through my head that eventually lead to full blown, hyperventilating, sweat soaked, trembling panic attacks.

I too passed my post-partum screenings. I pleaded with my doctor…saying something was definitely wrong with me and they gave me Zoloft because "it is probably just your body dealing with the trauma of losing your husband during your pregnancy and you adapting to your new Mommy instincts". I was so desperate for a resolution that I took the stupid pills. I believed what the doctor said but I didn't notice myself feeling any better.

I figured it was just as they said….until I caught myself standing in my shower, working at break neck pace to get in and out and clean, with a butcher knife in my hand to protect myself and my son because I was SURE that his paternal grandmother was going to creep into my house while I was showering and take him from me. I knew how she was going to do it and I knew how I was going to stop her. It was maddening, but sadly had become my new normal.

I thankfully had a sister and a friend who heard me and was able to tell me that I was right, that it was NOT normal and that I needed to get help. I got myself a therapist and had 24 hour access to a few close friends who could talk me down if I was in the midst of a freakout session.

It was horrible….and I was not aware that there was anything more than "baby blues". I just thought that I was caving from the pressure. When I realized that I was not, it became MUCH easier to deal with and eventually things got back to normal. Was my child worth it? ABSOLUTELY! Would I do it again? Without a doubt…but this time I would be FAR more prepared and know what to look for.

Erika 2 years ago

Thank you so much for sharing this. I suffered from PPD with my first child and never sought help for it. With my second I made sure to not allow myself (or my family) to suffer through it again. I sought help as soon as those terrible feelings and thoughts showed up and we were all healthier for it. You’re very brave and much stronger than you think. Hugs.

Jessica 2 years ago

I to have post partum psychosis. I was so scared to tell anyone. I finally got help when my daughter was about 6 months old and threw something at my husband who was holding the baby! He told me I needed help and I went and got it. I was so ashamed but I wasn’t able to sleep I wasn’t connected to the baby at all I just felt like oh this person came out of me oh well. it wasn’t that I didn’t love her it was that I wasn’t connected. The dr started me on meds and some therapy and I feel so much better I know that I am a normal mom and that these things are out of my control. I greatly admire your sharing this story. thank you for bringing light to these situations.

Megan 2 years ago

As a fellow sufferer of mental illness, I completely understand the fear and anxiety and depression that you are experiencing and I hurt for you. No one should EVER have to suffer in silence for that long. I thought it was normal for all of my life until I was diagnosed as an adult with OCD and Panic Disorder. I truly thought that EVERYONE experienced anxiety and depression on a daily basis when their routines were interrupted and that having a spotless home with everything in it’s place was everyone’s goal but that some people were too busy to achieve it. I was LUCKY to spend hours of my day achieving it. You mean everyone doesn’t panic about the processed chemicals in their children’s food giving them cancer? Or that one day without any vegetables at daddy’s house won’t hurt them??? WHAT? It’s so hard to deal with mental illness, whatever form it comes in. I wish people understood that mental illness isn’t weakness. It takes a massively strong person to cope with mental illness and NOT to take their own life.

Julie 2 years ago

(I should add that recovery is a work in progress. In my case, I’ve gotten over everything except the fear of the babysitter. I am still working on that.)

beentheredonethat 2 years ago

Thank you for your story. This sounds more like postpartum ocd (obsessive compulsive disorder) than psychosis. I dont know what you are being prescribed but good luck with everything!!

    Sarah 2 years ago

    I agree! This sounds way more like PPOCD than psychosis.

    Mae Lynn 2 years ago

    Agreed but still important to remind people that the changes women go through postpartum can lead to the onset of all kinds of mental illnesses, not just depression. It’s a huge undertaking for the body, mind and soul.

Julie 2 years ago

You just described the first two years of my child’s life. I would lock myself in my bedroom and scream/cry into my pillow because I could not understand why I was visualizing my husband throwing our tiny newborn up against a wall and her head exploding. Or why I constantly checked our car (repeatedly) to make sure our baby wasn’t in there, when I knew full well she was peacefully sleeping in her crib. Or why I would have a full blown panic attack whenever I had to leave her. Or why I still cannot leave her with a babysitter (even for an hour just to get out on a date with my husband) because I’m convinced that the babysitter will kill her. It is ridiculous and I know that it is, but I was terrified that if I told anyone what I was feeling, they would lock me up in the closest padded room and take my baby away from me forever. When I did finally break, I wasn’t met with police and a social worker like I expected. I was embraced with love and support and understanding. A hefty dose of medication made all the difference in the world. It can be fixed. You can feel better. Don’t make light of it, lay it all out there. I am so glad that I did. Thank you for bringing such a scary and REAL subject to light. Your post will help many a mother realize that she is not alone.

Alaina 2 years ago

Thanks for sharing, needs to be talked about way more often. I think i may have ended up there, but my husband was proactive and got me help within weeks. Very thankful for him!

Barb Seipel 2 years ago

Thank you for your bravery in sharing. I suffered from terrible post partum depression with my 3rd child & didn't get treatment for too long. It was like being in a deep dark hole with no hope for escape. When I found out I was pregnant with my 4th, I was TERRIFIED of feeling that again. My dr assured me we would keep a close eye & treat right away. It was much better. Hang in there and know you are not alone in this!

Heather 2 years ago

Thank you for raising awareness. I have felt the fear of my own mind. The reality my head is capable of creating is far more terrifying than any reality I’ve ever experienced. Add in the overwhelming inability to breathe while having these fears and you just described me. I’m so sorry that you have felt this I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Keep your head up this feeling isn’t you, it’s a sickness.

Lindsay 2 years ago

This is exactly why my husband left me. It went undiagnosed for so long and he figured I was just being a bitch. I’ve been getting help for almost a year now and I feel like a brand new (single) person. It gets better. Hang in there <3

Leslie 2 years ago

You are so very brave to write this article and your words so accurately describe what postpartum can be like. I suffered with the same “visions” and couldn’t even tell my husband or closest friends because of what they would think. Turns out my best friend has the exact same issues.

meghan 2 years ago

I have never experienced what you are going thru but your story made me cry for you, both in pain for what you had gone thru and for the utter relief I could feel from your words at the thought of being ok.

Mary Salter Straub 2 years ago

Brene Brown says that shame cannot stand in the light. And she is right. Secrets cannot hold up once spoken. It is ESSENTIAL that you talk and keep talking. Keep talking whenever you need to, find that village of people – the friend(s) you can call at 2 am, the one you can interrupt at work, whenever, to talk when you need to. As you said, when you speak your burden with ones who truly care, you share it so you don't carry it alone. In the dark of the night and the light of the day…speak your truth. Your honesty here may just save someone else by giving them the courage to speak up. Truth is powerful stuff, even when we think it's pretty ugly. THANK YOU for sharing this.

Abigail 2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

We are not alone in this although it is hard to remember. It is a truly frightening place to be. I still struggle with it… Some days are worse than others, but generally there is more light each day that goes by.

My heart goes out to you.

    Christina 2 years ago

    Keep hanging on. It will pass and things do get better. My heart goes out to YOU. Remember, sometimes, the best thing we can do is go from minute to minute, hour to hour… you will get through it. Just call on those who have extended their hand and genuinely mean it. They will pull you through.

Liz Humphreys McCarthy 2 years ago

A diagnosis of post partum depression and subsequent treatment is essential to a mom's life and the life of her kids.


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