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Anxiety & Intrusive Thoughts

(13 Posts)
sunflower1996 Thu 03-Oct-13 12:45:18

Hi ladies, I hope I'm not alone with this so here goes.....

I gave birth to my first child just over 11 weeks ago, a beautiful baby girl who I love more than life itself. I have suffered with health anxiety on & off since I was a teenager, usually having thoughts obsessing that I can identify certain symptoms of horrible illnesses in myself. Until I am cleared by a doctor I continue to experience these 'symptoms' because I can't stop thinking about them.

The day after my daughter was born I was looking at her & suddenly had the most awful thought pop into my head 'I wish you had died' - I immediately felt sick to the stomach because I loved her so much & already felt that I could never be without her, I knew I didn't really wish that so couldn't understand why I had thought it. This happened once or twice when we got home but I didn't dwell on it, after that first week it soon went away & I am sure I had a little case of the baby blues which is what caused it.

For the next 7 weeks I felt fine, no sign of any intrusive thoughts, but then I got my first period since the birth & it was like I went back to where I started! This time it was like I was obsessing over the negative thoughts I had in that first week, I became convinced that those thoughts meant something bad was going to happen, even though I know that thoughts don't make things actually happen. I then became terrified that I would have bad thoughts again, because I kept thinking about them they kept popping into my head 'I wish (insert horrible thing here) would happen' - it is almost as though my brain is preparing me for the worst possible scenario in the most cruel way, by making me think I wish for it even though I know I don't! As a result I have become obsessed with reciting the same thing over & over 'I wish she would die a very old lady after living a very long, happy & healthy life' - sometimes I can think this every 10 seconds!

I often feel scared to look at my baby or think about her, just in case I have a bad thought & I also feel scared of the same when she cries. I feel frightened that this means I don't love her, even though I know I do because if she wasn't here I would have no purpose in life, in fact I'm sure I would just cease to exist.

When she smiles at me, gets excited, holds my hand, when I hold her close & smell her skin it brings tears to my eyes because I am so full of love for her. I am so lucky & it feels so unfair that I should feel like this, I just want it to go away so I can start enjoying my baby. The GP says I don't have PND & am completely normal, she says it's hormonal so has put me back on the pill & advised it will get better - that was 3 weeks ago & it hasn't.

Has anyone else experienced anything similar & if so how did you cope?

Thank you x

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Thu 03-Oct-13 18:34:33

I'm so sorry you feel like l think a little bit of anxiety is usual/hormonal, but it sounds exhausting and overwhelming worrying all the time!

I would go back to your GP. Maybe see another one if you don't feel confident speaking to the same one? Or could you speak to your health visitor? You could show them your post here. smile

AndIFeedEmGunpowder Thu 03-Oct-13 18:35:14

Sorry meant i'm sorry you feel like this.

HoopHopes Thu 03-Oct-13 19:06:33

I definitely recommend seeing your HV and being totally honest with them. It may well not be pnd, it could be something else but the HV will be used to what is normal in new mums and could be helpful and direct your gp if necessary.

Do remember that having a new baby is exhausting, total sleep deprivation so that may be affecting your thought process as well. Any extra sleep can really help. Sorry you struggling.

HoopHopes Thu 03-Oct-13 19:08:28

Oh also have you been to your local children's sure start centre. They often offer free baby massage classes which not only are great but can help bond with the baby and a chance to talk with new mums and the leader. The chikdren's centre will have different sessions on led by workers who you could also talk to about what is normal with a baby.

sunflower1996 Thu 03-Oct-13 22:27:51

Thank you for your replies, it's really great that people take the time to write back. We go to baby massage each week which is great & usually makes me feel better, we had a really bad night last night & the night before so I bet that's why I have felt worse. My husband does Friday & Saturday nights so hopefully I can catch up on some sleep over the weekend x

HoopHopes Fri 04-Oct-13 00:06:03

Oh yes the lack of sleep is awful. Everything is so much better with sleep!!! Hope the weekend sleep helps.

working9while5 Sat 05-Oct-13 09:46:43

Your GP thinks this is totally normal?

Well... yeah, 98% of women have these thoughts postpartum so that much is true.

However what you are describing is pretty much postpartum OCD and it is distressing you and you are buying into the bad thoughts.

As a first experiment, see if you can stop your compulsion to recite. Next time you have the thought prevent this response and just try and sit there and wait
For the anxiety to peak and fade away. Do NOTHING. Do not avoid looking at your baby when you have bad thoughts.

Even better is if you can approach the bad

working9while5 Sat 05-Oct-13 09:56:25

thoughts. Look at your baby and internally say 'I hope you die'.

Even writing this I know the anxiety you may face even reading this so I apologise.

The point is no matter what you think or don't think, your thoughts will make absolutely nothing happen in the real world. They are random head noise, they don't have any bearing on the physical world out there. By forcing yourself to have the thought you can see it has no impact in the world. Avoiding the thought strengthens it and your anxiety giving it power it doesn't deserve.

Very few GPs or even HVs have understanding of this anxiety disorder. About 4% of women have it postpartum. There are two books that helped me. The Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety Workbook and Dropping the Baby and Other Scary Thoughts. Both pn Amazon.

OCD can really mushroom and become chronic if not nipped in the bud. Sounds like you are at a stage self-help and awareness might just end it so good luck x

working9while5 Sat 05-Oct-13 10:04:29

thoughts. Look at your baby and internally say 'I hope you die'.

Even writing this I know the anxiety you may face even reading this so I apologise.

The point is no matter what you think or don't think, your thoughts will make absolutely nothing happen in the real world. They are random head noise, they don't have any bearing on the physical world out there. By forcing yourself to have the thought you can see it has no impact in the world. Avoiding the thought strengthens it and your anxiety giving it power it doesn't deserve.

Very few GPs or even HVs have understanding of this anxiety disorder. About 4% of women have it postpartum. There are two books that helped me. The Pregnancy and Postpartum Anxiety Workbook and Dropping the Baby and Other Scary Thoughts. Both pn Amazon.

OCD can really mushroom and become chronic if not nipped in the bud. Sounds like you are at a stage self-help and awareness might just end it so good luck x

working9while5 Sat 05-Oct-13 10:05:03

Sorry double post

Sophiedotty Sat 05-Oct-13 14:52:47

I would definitely go and see another Dr. Print off what you have written down, maybe put it in bullet points.
A HV would probably advise you to speak to a Dr.
I suffered PND with all my 3 children. I went to the Drs when DS was 3 mths old. I was sent away told to join a mums group. My committed suicide when I was a baby so I was at high risk. My dad also had Schizophrenia.
I saw another Dr, got sent away again as blood tests were normal. I finally saw another Dr when I went with an eat infection. She diagnosed PND. I was put on Sertraline & have been on/off it for 19 years. I also take a small dose of an anti psychotic called Olanzapine.
When DD was born I couldn't stop looking at her. I loved her so much. I had bad thoughts but never acted on them.
I was under a psychiatrist for my meds when I got pg again. I still suffered PND but was able to cope as I was on meds.
Sleep deprivation takes it's toll. We had no family support. Inlaws lived 5 mins away & did nothing to help. They never looked after DS or helped out with anything. I had to go back to work full time not long after I was diagnosed.
I am not in the UK now so have no family at all to help. DH took 3 weeks off after the births of my girls. I would have done anything for some time on my own to get some sleep.
Do you have someone that could have the baby so you could get some rest?

Sophiedotty Sat 05-Oct-13 14:53:43

* my mum committed suicide

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