my postpartum psychosis story

At 2 months after my baby was born i started having bizzare nights where I would stay up all night, talk a lot, see scary images in my house, cut myself, think my husband was a serial killer, and wander around the house. During the day I would be fine, sleepy, but fine. Every night something strange like this would happen. I found myself getting more and more confused, anxious, scared and paranoid. I thought my husband was in cahoots with the doctors to get rid of me, that my house had microphones in it so they could hear what I was saying. I was sure I would be abducted so kept the windows closed whenever I saw people outside. I had to lock the doors on the car whenever we stopped anywhere because I thought someone would take my children. I became hypervigilant and watched my back all the time. I could hardly sleep and when I did I slept so hard I could hardly wake up. I was recovering from a c section and the baby nursed every two hours at first.

One bizzare night where I had stayed up, cut myself and cut my pjamas apart it was around 4am and I took the baby and left my husband and other child sleeping at home and went to the ER. They were very nice to me, helped me sleep and someone from mental health wrote up a safety plan and sent me home. That day I couldn't stop crying and it felt like my heart was broken. I was sent back to the hospital and while I was there they put me under the mental health act. I didn't know this and left the hospital only to get a phone call saying that if I didn't come back the police would come and get me! I was put in a secure room for 36 hours while they found a spot for me in the hospital. I was heartbroken to be treated so harshly and denied my clothes and i was trying to still nurse my baby. I cried and cried. Finally I was sent to the psych ward and spent one night and was discharged the next day. I came home mentally exhausted from my ordeal and very sick. It took several weeks to get better. I still had my scared thoughts and disorganized behaviour. One day I thought my toothpaste was handsoap! It became harder and harder to get things done around the house. I started having sucicidal thoughts and went driving to a warf in the middle of the night thinking seriously about jumping off. My huband sent the police to look for me but they didnt' find me. In the morning he drove me back to the psych ward and I spent a week in hospital. While there I was put on a couple different medications and than sent home. Some time later we had company in our house and it was stressful for me. My huband took us walking and I thought he was trying to kill us. I jumped out of the car at a stop sign and wandered around town until he found me. We went home but I became more agigated and quite confused and angry. I demolished the back room and was throwing things. My husband called the ambulance and they sent the police as well. They broke down the door to get to me and put me in handcuffs. I thought the voices I was hearing weren't real and that I was being kidnapped. I fought and kicked and screamed. They took me to the hospital with my hands behind my back lying on the cuffs which was extremely painful. They tied me to a bed and injected me with Haldol. I don't remember much of what went on except that I spent the night in the secure room and was sent back to the hospital psych ward where I spent 12 days. They put me on risperidone and when I went home I was feeling much better. The strange thoughts and behaviours went away but I was left with severe depression. I was in the hospital 3 more times for depression and sucicidal thoughts. I was refusing to eat and trying to die.

During one hospital stay someone called the ministry of children and families and they said I couldn't be alone with the children. We ran out of money and had to hire someone to come stay with me while my husband worked. We lived like this for 4 months until the doctor wrote a letter to the ministry saying I could take care of the children on my own.

In total I was hospitalized 8 times and it's been a whole year now since this started and I"m finally feeling better. I still have to take medication-I tried to be off the medicaton but the symptoms came back quickly. As long as I stay the course I should be ok.

I'm really interested to hear other women's stories who have suffered the same with postpartum psychosis.

Good luck and I hope my story can help someone.

Michelle

5 Replies

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  • Michelle thank you for sharing your story.

    What a terrible time you endured, in part it sounds like because your healthcare providers were not well-informed about PP. I am so glad to hear you are now recovering, well done for all your strength to get through this.

    Hope this forum helps you also to know there are other women like you and that we fab share our experiences of recovery from very traumatic times.

    Naomi x

  • Hi Michelle,

    Thank you for posting your story & sharing details about such a difficult time. I hope it helped a little & you found some comfort writing them down (I know it helps for me). It's awful we have to endure so much at a time when you're supposed to be at your happiest. It's really great though that after such a harrowing time, you're feeling better & I'm sure you'll go from strength to strength.

    I think recovery is an ongoing process & I know I've found a lot of comfort in talking with others who've had PP - the lovely people on this forum great for that.

    Andrea x

  • Hi Michelle,

    Thanks for sharing your story in such detail. It is a huge help to me to read other women's stories and pick out elements I can relate to. Also just knowing that there is a great circle of PP survivors out there like yourself who are now recovering or have recovered is a comfort. I hope you find comfort and support from the friendly people on this forum. It's good to know we are not alone with such a traumatic illness such as this.

    My heart went out to you reading your story, because like Naomi mentioned, it does seem like the healthcare professionals did not know a lot about PP or the best way to treat the symptoms you initially displayed. I too spent time on an acute psychiatric ward, with admission via A&E. The sad truth is there are not enough specialist mother and baby units in the UK or in other countries, as your story shows.

    It's so wonderful to read that you are feeling better now, and you are right, you will be ok. You've come through so much already and being guided by your doctors re the medication will keep you on the right path. I stayed on meds for about 18months - I think it is a very individual thing how long a mum needs to stay on them for, and I agree with Andrea that recovery is an ongoing process. Talking to other mums from APP was (and is) a huge help to me!

    Take care

    Natasha x

  • Michelle, thanks for taking the time and for having the courage to share your experience with PPP. I understand what you had to endure because my wife had a very similar experience. I am so glad you are doing much better.

    Christopher Regis

  • So sorry you had such a horrible experience, it's so hard hearing so many women that go through this without healthcare professionals putting two and two...the problem is its so deceptive for the person experiencing it too and I think half the time my hubby didn't want to fully acknowledge just how bad things had got. Glad you're recovering xxx

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