Psychosis BEFORE birth

Hi everyone,

It's over 5 years now since my first experience of psychosis. I know everyone's experience is different and mine is because the illness occurred 3 months BEFORE my son was even born. I have no history of mental illness so it was a real shock to me and my family. No-one had any idea what had happened to me really. I wondered whether more perhaps might need to be done to increase awareness that symptoms of this illness could occur earlier in pregnancy? I can't be the only one to experience this can I?!

Looking back I can see the build up to my psychosis (eg work stress, worries at being classed a high risk pregnancy due to a womb fibroid, normal worries about becoming a new mum, not sleeping and increasingly lower mood). Then boom! One night I woke up to find my body as I knew it had disappeared. I was a river of love. I heard a man's voice telling me how loved I was (God I thought). It was totally amazing. Perhaps just a dream I thought. I stood up from bed. Then boom again. I I started screaming but in a voice that was not mine. Inhuman almost. I was suddenly plunged into my personal nightmare. Convinced I was surrounded by evil. Sure my husband had to kill me because of all these secrets I knew. My thoughts racing forwards and backwards in time......

Thankfully the most serious of my symptoms lasted only around 48 hours and I mostly maintained a level of insight which helped me look after myself in the weeks/months ahead (eg taking up activities like drawing, sewing and listening to music, keeping hope that this would somehow all pass...God had said he loved me after all.....though I'm not really religious normally!! I also found this forum at some point). But I continued to have 'milder' symptoms right up to the birth of my son (and for around 8 months afterwards) such as believing strange things (like the TV/my environment were sending me messages), hallucinating (once seeing blood and war poppies on my lounge rug) and experiencing extreme anxiety attacks (when alone at night in the dark breastfeeding my son or upon hearing 'trigger' words from the acute phase of my psychosis). Sadly my family or I (through lack of understanding on their part and fear/mistrust of everyone at times on mine) never reached out to any professionals who understood the illness and might have been able to help me further at that time.

I got psychosis again with my next pregnancy. But this time a week AFTER my second son arrived. Now I talked to every medical and mental health professional I found who would listen!! I ended up with home visits from a CPN who worked for the early intervention in psychosis team locally (for around a year). She was great and it was wonderful to know I had a full safety net around me this time and someone to talk to who really understood about what I experienced.

Thanks for listening x

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4 Replies

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  • Hi Lily

    Welcome to the forum, thanks so much for sharing your story. It is powerful.

    Yes - PP can happen in pregnancy, though it is more common postpartum. I do hope you might hear back from someone who also experienced PP in pregnancy, rather than just postpartum, I'm sure I have read somewhere on the forum that someone also experienced that but I can't remember who it was. It sounds like a really scary experience, but very similar to my experience of PP (which happened 3 days after my son was born) - very sudden, very acute...

    It's so good to hear you got good professional support the second time you had PP, and that you have recovered.

    I hope you find the forum helpful.

    Ellie

  • Thanks Ellie. And I think the person could have been me (!) as I posted on here some months back x

  • Hello Lily53

    This is a very interesting post. I'm glad that second time around you had a safety net of support.

    I had PP twice, six years apart and was treated under general psychiatric care many years ago. I can relate to the fear of the unknown for the family. I was also very suspicious of professionals, not communicating with anyone at all for a while. In fact, reading my notes as my family didn't feel comfortable talking about 'it', one of the first entries on my record is that one of my first confessions to the Psychiatrist was of the shame and guilt I felt.

    With my first pregnancy I didn't have psychosis before my son was born following an emergency c-section. Referring to my notes before the birth of my second son it does appear that because I wasn't reviewed almost a year before my second son was born, his birth triggered my "dormant psychosis". This time I was very ill as before but weighed down by depression which lasted for a year. I didn't really share my experience as I couldn't find any mums who had similar stories ...... so I felt odd for years until I 'met' the mums here.

    I also had delusions, convinced the songs on the radio were being played just for me and also that I knew all news events before they appeared on the television. Of course, I wasn't believed and so retreated to my bed until I was sectioned.

    There's a post from a few years ago "Delusions of Grandeur and religious experiences" which when I read it confirmed that I wasn't alone :) and there were other mums who had experienced similar thoughts.

    Take good care of yourself. We are so lucky to have come through so much and it's good to be here for other mums to lean on.

  • Thanks Lilybeth and yes I think I remember reading that post too a while back x

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