I want to share my PND and PTSD diary....(8 Posts)
I've namechanged...I'm going to be brave and post this.
I wrote a lot while I was in the midst of PND and PTSD 3 years ago. I sometimes read it back and I can't believe it was me, things have changed so much.
I had severe PND and PTSD bought on by birth trauma and a previous rape. I nearly died in labour during an emergency c-section. I never thought that I would feel normal again, I was just a shell of a person (as you can see).
I don't know why I'm posting really. I suppose I hope that it might give someone going through similar some faith and hope that things will be OK. Despite going though an awful, hellish time, I am now happier than I've ever been. I went through councelling and all sorts to make me better, and I'm even stronger now than before it happened.
Things can turn around, and things can be even better than you can imagine. Good luck everyone
My daughter is such a good baby, and I am so grateful for that.....so why is it that I feel like small things like changing and playing are so difficult for me to do? It's not that I can?t be bothered to do it, and I love her more than anything; but it just feels as though there is a huge invisible barrier there which stops me enjoying her. Like because I feel this way, I don't deserve to enjoy her.
It is so hard, but I can say now with my baby at 6 months old I am feeling much closer to her, although I am still taking it one step at a time. I have always loved her, but at the beginning I felt as though she was someone else?s.....
"Why should I have to care for a baby which clearly isn't mine? Wouldn't I want to care for my own baby? Therefore, how can she be mine if I don't have that caring instinct?"
People don't understand what a massive achievement it is when you're just doing everyday stuff and caring for your baby when all you want to do is crawl back into bed and die.
Everyday I felt as though my baby hated me and much preferred others (sometimes I still do). Maybe babies can pick up on how you are feeling? I don't know if she could sense my apprehension when caring for her......but I know in my heart she doesn't hate me. It's just the irrational PND talking. My damned mind.
Talking about my mind......Why is it so difficult to be "normal"? Why can't I cope and enjoy my baby like all other people do? Am I just a weak, selfish, pathetic person? Why does my mind have to keep telling me that I'm useless and a bad mother? Why does my mind keep fantasising about my death?
"What if I got Cancer? Well, at least if I died from an illness people wouldn't think I was evil like they would if I killed myself. My baby wouldn't blame herself then. She would be OK. My partner would find someone else and they would be a happy family. My baby would have a new mummy. A better mummy. She wouldn't even remember me. It would be sad for her, but she wouldn't be that bothered because she has never known me, never known any different. Yes, that would be the best thing to hope for. I hope I get an illness and die. My family might be sad for 5 minutes, but they would get over it. Yes, that's definitely the best option."
Why is it that every time I leave the house all I think about is how I could get run over, or something could happen to me? If I think about getting a train I think about how I could jump under it?
"The thing is about getting run over is that you aren't guaranteed to die. I might just be injured. What's the point of that? Also, I don't think I would have the guts to jump under a train. I'm not brave enough to kill myself in any way that it might hurt. I'm not strong enough for that. It would definitely have to be the coward's way out and an overdose......hahaha its all you deserve, too weak to do it any other way! Probably not brave enough to do it at all. Well, we will just have to hope for that illness then wont we? That's the best way. At least the baby would be OK then. I know she will be better off without me. Everyone will. But at least if I don't actually kill myself they won't blame themselves. They will be free of me but with no trauma. Yep, definitely the best thing for everyone if I died of Cancer or something."
I know I have not always treated my family with the love and respect they deserve during this time. Especially my partner. I hope they understand it's not "me" right now. At least, I hope this is not "me". I hope I'm not doomed to be this way for ever. I do try and hold back my rants when I can, although it's not always easy to control yourself with this illness. It's like "me" and "my mind" are two separate entities these days. And generally my mind tends to take control of my whole self now. I must sound like a right lunatic, maybe I do belong in a mental hospital. But I'm so often fighting myself in my head......
"MIND - you are walking down these stairs, why don't you just throw yourself down them?
ME- what are you talking about? Shut up. Go away.
MIND- hmm, well you know you want to.
ME- No I don't! I love my baby and my family. I don't want to die.
MIND- yes you do. You do want to die. You useless, fat, sad, incompetent, ugly cow. You have no friends. You have nothing in your life that wouldn't be better off if you were dead. You know it. Don't try and fight me.
ME- Go away."
I hope everyone can forgive me if one day I make it through the other side of this. I'm so sorry for being sad. I'm so sorry for dragging everyone and everything down with me. I'm so sorry for being such a burden. I'm so sorry for those times you spent worrying about me. I'm so sorry for blaming you when it is me at fault. I'm so sorry for making you live somewhere you didn't want to because I was too weak to cope alone. I'm so sorry for being a bad mother.
I'm so sorry. I have never been more ashamed.
One of the most infuriating things for me is that it seems the world and his dog knows about me.......How did so many people get to know about my shameful secret? I wish I had never let anyone know. Maybe I wasn't clever enough to keep it hidden inside me. But how did it get to this point? Where everyone seemingly knows the ins and outs of my life........
Why can't people keep their "kind and helpful" comments to themselves? Or are they just digging for more information so they can give everyone else an update on the "crazy lady"? It's all a big joke isn't it. I'M SUCH A JOKE.
I HATE the fact that my life and my illness is being used as some kind of gossip for everybody I know. I HATE that so many people know about me when it is the one thing in my life that I am so intensely ashamed of...why couldn't I just be normal?
Nothing in my life is private anymore. I'm like a travelling freak show........
"Roll up, Roll up, come see the woman who is going slowly insane and is driving away her partner with her nasty mouth!! Come and marvel at this woman (well, we call her a woman but it's more like a monster) who can barely bring herself to care for her own child! Come and see the world's worst mother! Come and stare at the repulsive freak! Tell your friends! It's all for your amusement! And you will get this all for free!!!!!"
Nothing about me is private anymore. My birth experience robbed me of that privilege. Thanks to that experience I don?t know if I will ever feel any dignity again. Why would I when it has all been taken away from me? Does it ever come back?
I don't know if I will ever feel comfortable with myself again. I was manhandled "there" by so many people over that period of one week I lost count. Most didn't ask if they could examine me. Most just did. Some were rough. Some of the times I was "seen" not only by the examiner but by many others in the room at the same time. Twice I was examined to such an extent that one of the times a nurse (not performing the task) noticed that my baby had lots of hair.
I remember physically shaking during that examination. I didn't stop for a long time afterwards. I know they were medical professionals and doing their job, and I didn't realise at the time how much this would affect me. But I know now it did. It was all so routine to them. But not to me. Maybe if they had had more respect for me rather than treating me like a piece of meat or an animal I wouldn?t feel this way. VIOLATED. That's me.
I am so absolutely petrified of becoming pregnant, childbirth and the thought of anyone else ever seeing me "there" I refuse to let my partner anywhere near me. I don't know if I will ever be able to have a smear test. The thought of anything remotely near me makes me sick. I know it is because I feel like I have nothing private anymore. Maybe I am trying to recover a remote scrap of my dignity.
All this only adds to my feeling of distress at everyone knowing about my condition. I LITERALLY have nothing private now. Emotionally and Physically. I am an animal.
"Why would anyone be bothered to read your stupid essay? You are so self absorbed. It's always about you isn?t it? Probably making it all up to get sympathy. That's what people will think. That's what they have always thought. No one listened to you when you were pregnant. Why would they now? You better drop this woman, no one cares! Do you hear me? NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOU!!!! You selfish bitch....don't you realise they are all tired of this crap by now? Why don't you just shut up and die, they won't have to put up with you then. You won't keep ruining everyone else's lives as well as your own. Selfish, selfish, selfish. What do you give? Nothing. All you do is take, take, take. Why don't you just die!!!!"
When will all the questions go away? Will they ever? Will I ever get the answers I'm looking for? Or do I already know them? Nothing is certain anymore. That?s why there are so many questions. I don't know my own mind. Of course I'm going to have questions.
I wonder if people question me? I know people will probably be wondering how long this will last too. People losing their patience. I hope the answer is NOT MUCH LONGER. I hope I get better soon, I really do. It's just hard to imagine at the moment. I can't see myself ever being better....It's hard to look to the future when you are just happy to make it through each day. And when you are constantly fighting yourself inside.
I hope I haven't destroyed you too. I'm so sorry. I hope you are not poisoned and shrivelled inside like me. All I want is for you to be happy. And I don't think that is with me. I think you will be happier without me. I wouldn't blame you for leaving. I'm sorry.
Will these labels ever be cut away? Or am I destined to always have these hanging round my neck?
VICTIM (ha). MAD. BAD MOTHER. PATHETIC. WEAK. USELESS. INCOMPETENT. LOSER.
Everyone knows what I am. They don't need those labels. They know I'm all of those things. Everyone knows all of my faults. I hate myself. Why wouldn't all of you do, too? I don't feel love. I just feel hate. Sheer hate. And most of it is aimed at myself. As they say: "How can you expect someone to love you when you don't love yourself?"
"My Mind" is slowly poisoning "Me".
These thoughts of fear, dread, anxiety and evil are all consuming. I may be smiling on the outside, but inside my mind is plotting my death. How can anyone cope with that?
How can I inflict these feelings onto you? That's why I always try and keep up my front. My happy mask. Unfortunately sometimes my mind is too hard to fight against, and the mask slips. I'm sorry for that. You shouldn't have to be battered by my mind like I am.
I am nothing. That's why I deserve to be treated like nothing. I understand your impatience, I understand your feelings of hate, I understand your constant irritation at me...I don't blame you. I know all of this is my fault. I know you are finding it harder and harder each day to love me. I know you care less and less about me each day, but that's OK, I understand. I know it's my actions and my words which are making you feel this way. If only I could give you what you wanted and what you needed maybe you could love me again. I hope one day you will love me like you used to, although the likelihood of that is growing smaller by the minute. I'm not dumb. I can see the hate etched into your face. No longer do I see that affection or love that used to be there. I just hope you are not kidding yourself. I hope you are not telling yourself that you still love me when you don't. It's not fair to either of us. It's just something else in my life which is not certain. I didn't think it would come to this; I always thought your love would be certain.
It doesn't matter. I can live with your hate. I live with mine. I guess it's just harder to deal with yours....it just confirms everything I think about myself; maybe I'm not so crazy after all?! I just don't know how long you can live with your feelings....you shouldn't have to live like that. HOW LONG WILL IT BE BEFORE YOU LEAVE ME?
Why am I so unsettled inside? It's like I'm grieving for the life I've never had. I'm grieving for all the friends that abandoned me, for the ones I wish I had had in the first place. I'm grieving for all the things I haven't experienced, for all the people I haven't had the opportunity to meet. I'm grieving for the person I thought I would be. The one with the great job, the one with lots of friends, the one who got married and then had a baby and a wonderful pregnancy and birth experience. The one who was happy.
I feel so claustrophobic in my own skin, I want to rip it off. Sometimes I want to escape from myself so badly I can hardly breathe. My own body is like a prison and I desperately need to break free.
Why am I so unsettled inside? I was never bothered about these things before, I was happy with my life. I have always wished for more friends but it didn't cripple me. Why are these feelings surfacing now? Why is it that all I want to do is go and get some E's and coke and smoke and drink myself into oblivion, like somehow I missed out on doing that before? Drugs never appealed to me. Drug-takers were idiots. Now it's all I can think of.
I just want to escape. Escape my thoughts, just for a while. That's the thing though...I know if I ever did go out and do what my mind is telling me to do, I would never stop. Taking all those drugs once wouldn't be enough. It wouldn't cure me. I would need more and more to numb the thoughts that are drowning me. I know I would become addicted to the escape.
I have been thinking about the birth a lot lately. Even more so than usual. Although I have always thought about it every day, now I think almost every minute, or so it seems. I think it is because the 1st anniversary is coming up. Her first birthday.
I'm replaying moments in my mind, over and over, like a DVD on repeat...and the bonus scenes too. Sometimes I can get fixated on a certain point in the labour and think about it for days on end. But then eventually, whilst thinking about that, I'll be reminded of something else, another part of the experience that I hated so much, and then I'll be obsessed with that for a while. It's a never ending cycle of images, scenes, incidents that flash before my eyes; repeating constantly, never achieving anything other than upsetting me more and more until I get to the point where I can't sleep at night. My mind will not rest, not give me a break from the memories.
My current source of obsession is one point in the labour which I mentioned briefly in a past paragraph. The point where blood was taken from my baby's head whilst still inside the womb. The point where 5 or 6 nurses and care assistants were standing at the end of the bed watching.
The words that have always screamed out at me whilst thinking about this incident are......Violation. Humiliation. Fear. Disrespect.
This is why:
I was not told what was going on. All I knew was that my baby's heart rate was slowing down and this can be a sign of distress. Someone briefly mentioned something about taking blood from the baby's head to more effectively gauge the level of distress; then the bottom of my bed was taken away and my legs put into stirrups. I was exposed to everyone in the room, which had suddenly filled. My bottom felt like it would slide off the end of the bed any minute. I hated that so many people were standing at the end of the bed, many seemingly not doing anything to assist; was my procedure like theatre for them? Entertainment? All of them just standing there looking at me. And not at my face.
The consultant came in. He did not look at me. He did not say hello or introduce himself, or even tell me what was going to be happening. He immediately sat at the end of the bed and barked at a midwife to get him the equipment he needed to fulfil his task. I had an internal examination, which I was not fully prepared for; he did not tell me he would be doing it, or give me any warning, it just happened. I could feel his breath on me. He then inserted an speculum, to my horror, I had no warning. He then used a long metal stick which cut my baby's head. He took the blood. At this point a nurse, watching, told me my baby had lots of hair! Just how much of me could they see?! The consultant, having done his job, said something to the midwives and left.
I was physically shaking, really hard. Someone asked me if I was cold. "No" I replied. I was terrified. Terrified there was a problem with my baby, and worried and upset that we had hurt her before she was even born. I was humiliated, disgusted, ashamed. In my whole life not nearly as many people had seen me intimately as they just had in the space of 10 minutes. No dignity, no respect, I was just a piece of meat, a job to be done.
The room emptied, it was back to the way it was before. Alone with the machines. Where had all those people gone, the people that simply just had to be in the room? Where were they now?
I do not believe that the consultant meant to "hurt" me in the way that he did. He would simply see it as doing his job. But the way in which this procedure was carried out left me with these feelings.
He did not acknowledge me.
I was meat. An organ.
Things were put inside of me without my consent or awareness.
I had no control.
I was powerless.
I was left feeling humiliated, violated.
I did not stop shaking for a long time afterwards. If only I had been recognised as a human being, considered, consulted, I don't think I would have felt this way. The experience would have been traumatic, yes, but because of the worry for my baby, not because I was so out of control over what was happening to MY body.
"You leave your dignity at the door when in childbirth" is a phrase often said to expectant mothers.
Why should a woman expect to be stripped of her dignity, be so disrespected, just because she is in labour?
Thank you very much for sharing this, BAS.
What a terrifying birth experience.
This really resonated with me: It's like "me" and "my mind" are two separate entities these days. Being conscious of our unconscious is an essential part of recovery, but how far to take it? At what point does 'the process' overwhelm 'me'? Sometimes I shut it all down for a rest but, afterwards, always find I've regressed. Difficult: did you find an answer?
I really want to thank you for this, too: If I think about getting a train I think about how I could jump under it. This was me, several years ago. I hadn't realised how much my end-it-all fantasies have diminished. Whoo-hoo!
Hope your nickname says how it is for you now.
It is very brave of you to share this. What a horrific experience for you. Thank you for posting.
Yup. Been there.
I wanted to walk onto the motorway sliproad for a nice end to it all. But I couldn't be bothered going out in the cold to do it.
God, it was a dark time. But some aspects of it seem almost comical now.
So sorry to hear about your birth experience, that sounds awful. You've done incredibly well to move on from that xx.
Thank you for sharing OP. We've moved this into Antenatal/Postnatal Depression for you now.
Wow, thank you for sharing op as tears roll down my face. I'm so sorry about your birth experience and such disrespectful 'professionals'. I didn't go through that but had severe preeclampsia so didn't bond, couldnt feed and felt utterly dreadful. Then my fil died and whilst in the midst of Pnd my sil made up some terrible rumours about me. All this was a catastrophe did me. I was suicidal and also visualised walking onto the motorway, in fact even parked on hard shoulder for 30mins. I was/ am paranoid bug now seem to be making a recovery. I have removed all toxic family from mh life and am really moving on ac last. Good luck to all of you xxxx
Thank you for posting this. Having a real bad day today. Just argued with Dh and now he has gone to work leaving me with dd feeling rubbish. Reminds me of how far I've come (I had the thoughs of dying of cancer and lots of other things you write ring true). The fact that at twelve months on i can out her down for a nap and read mums net over a cuppa when I'm having a bad day rather than cry and panic is making me smile to myself. Hope that people reading this in the throes of PND can get some hope. It does get better. Yes I do get bad days, but they aren't as bad and definately not as frequent. Admitting it and asking people for help or just telling friends I was feeling low was the turning point for me. Thank you OP!
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