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I've just realised I've been having postnatal hallucinations, delusions and psychotic features. Petrified.

(50 Posts)
Milkhell Wed 09-Oct-13 15:53:15

What am I going to do?

I've been to GPs, health visitors, crisis team, psychiatrist, counsellors.

Basically I had a DS two and a half years ago and suffered from extreme postnatal anxiety which I never recovered from.

Had DD 17 months postpartum.

I've once again had extreme problems but could never put my finger on what was wrong with me, although I know that it's anxiety/depression.

However I've just realised I've been having hallucinations. A few months ago I felt like my brain was curling. Everybody just out it down to my anxiety. I've just found out that this is in fact a hallucination.

I'm now getting frequent new feelings that I can't explain. This is apparently a feature of psychosis.

I'm absolutely shitting it. Yes I have anxiety to ridiculous levels but this knowledge has just absolutely freaked me out to a new level.

None of my support system are prepared to acknowledge this and none of the health professionals seem concerned in the slightest as I don't want to kill myself or harm anyone else.

My life is a living nightmare and I'm not waking up from it. What the fuck am I supposed to do next?

TCOB Wed 09-Oct-13 16:04:01

So sorry this is happening - no experience to offer but bumping in the hope someone will give you some quick, and safe, advice.

Apileofballyhoo Wed 09-Oct-13 16:08:24

Are you on medication and have you been to counselling? What support to you have (DP, parents, friends etc.)?

Milkhell Wed 09-Oct-13 16:11:16

Never been on meds. I have had lots of counselling including CBT and talking therapy but for the CBT I felt so strange i couldn't keep on with it.

I've got an appointment with a postnatal team at the hospital soon.

Supportive DH and DM but no one will believe me about how strange I feel.

Milkhell Wed 09-Oct-13 18:11:46

Could this be extreme anxiety brought on through PND? Please someone tell me it could be. I can't cope with the alternative. I just can't. I'm convinced I won't see my kids grow up.

insanityscratching Wed 09-Oct-13 18:24:52

I experienced psychosis, hallucinations etc after my fourth child who was born less than two years after my third. It is really frightening and I am surprised that no one seems to be taking this seriously.
For me it took admission to hospital, ECT and a cocktail of drugs anti d's, anti psychotics, lithium, tranquilisers and anti parkinsonian drugs to knock it on the head.
If you aren't seeing a psychiatrist very very soon then I would present myself at A&E and ask to see the on call psych.
You will get better I've been meds free and psych support free for years and I even had another baby without any problems. You just need to make the first step to get the support you need.

DoItTooJulia Wed 09-Oct-13 18:51:16

Couldn't read and run.

This sounds awful. I hate hearing of people not being taken seriously by medics. Can you ask the postnatal team if there is a specialist in this area? Or could you afford a one off private consultation with a specialist?

I'm so sorry you are having such a rough ride. I hope you get some proper help soon.

What have the MH professionals said about it?

I have had psychosis and it is scary, one of the features of psychosis is that you find it difficult to decide what is real and what is not real which is why people might be struggling to understand because you are aware that what is happening is not real.

What do you mean when you said you felt your brain was curling? I am trying to understand your experience. Are you feeling or seeing things that aren't there? I remember feeling very strange, like I was in a dream.

I have found anti-psychotics to help me a great deal. Can you move your meeting with the MH team so it is sooner?

Milkhell Wed 09-Oct-13 19:29:39

Thank you for answering. They are all saying it's anxiety and that 'it's up to me' (and get more me time).

Could they actually be right and me be wrong? And it's all symptomatic of my extreme anxiety? There's absolutely no denying that I've got a panic disorder. I would absolutely agree I have.

The thing that's really fucking with me are these unexplainable new feelings as I'm an articulate woman. Also the brain curl feeling as that was just crazy bad.

Honestly everyone is doing what they should on terms of offering an ear and being really supportive - I've accessed all kinds of care. If I turned up at A&E I wouldn't know what to say and I actually think they'd contact social services as I've accessed that many professionals they'd think the panic had tipped over the edge.

Insanity - thank you so much for reassuring me. I know it's a personal (very personal) question but can you tell me a bit more about your experience in that did you have 'insight'? I think because I can say I'm having these funny feelings that they're less worried than if I was not IYSWIM?

At the moment I'm categorically convinced I have brain damage. This sounds ridiculous but that's how I feel as my brain is clearly not working correctly. From the moment I wake up until my DH comes home I worry about myself and how I'm thinking and how I'm feeling and how I'm going to get better on a continuous loop.

I'm able to do the nuts and bolts for the kids - they're always clean, washed and fed and so am I. However I'm that bad at the moment DM has to sit with me.

I'm worried there's no way back from this. I'm prepared to try meds now whereas I wasn't before but I'm scared .

I want it think about how much I love my kids and DV and about their well being but all I can think about is me - and that's honestly it. How weird I'm feeling etc. I can't hold one positive thought in my head.

Everyone is so sick of me now. I'm sick of me.

Is this it for me?

Crawling Wed 09-Oct-13 19:38:26

Psychosis can be really scary I live with it on a regular basis. Can you explain your psychosis more fully please?

I know it's scary but try to stay calm psychosis is not the end of the world many people live with it every day. The stories you hear of dangerous psychotic people are in fact the minority.

I hope you feel better soon I can sometimes tell I'm hallucinating when it's mild when it's severe I can't tell anymore even if I'm seeing a full blown werewolf I won't be able to rationalise that werewolves don't exist.

But I sometimes get corner of the eye hallucinations that are only there for a second or two and when it's gone I realise I'm hallucinating.

Milkhell Wed 09-Oct-13 19:44:19

The brain curl thing felt like my brain was curling at edges - a very weird sensation. I absolutely knew it wasn't real and knew that the whole time. It was just a very weird and scary feeling.

These other 'feelings' aren't anything I can describe. The world appears in a certain way - sometimes distorted, sometimes filled with terror but generally just strange in a petrifying way.

After DS I had extremely bad anxiety which I can now see with perspective as I had the dream like feeling, people seeming strange, panic attacks, worried I was going to have a psychotic break and somehow hurt him without realising , that I didn't love him enough etc etc. I really went through hell. This time things seem to have morphed.

I should also mention I have severe health anxiety.

I never recovered and fell pregnant with DD. I had generalised anxiety throughout pregnancy and despite feeling well(ish) for the first six weeks or so had what I would say was a nervous breakdown when she was about six weeks old. It may have just been an abrupt onset of PND?

God I just need to know I'm going to see my kids grow up.

Crawling Wed 09-Oct-13 19:46:20

There is no reason you won't see your dc grow up absolutely none.

insanityscratching Wed 09-Oct-13 20:20:01

I had no real insight tbh I couldn't distinguish what was real and what wasn't so I saw spiders, when I looked in the mirror it wasn't my face that I saw, there was a cat that spoke to me (I'm still not sure whether the cat was a real one or not and am too embarrassed to ask) My dead mother lived at the top of the stairs and whilst I knew she had died I couldn't see that it was irrational that she was now alive again and living at the top of the stairs.
I wasn't anxious to be honest, in fact I felt quite reassured by the cat and my mother.
I was sectioned so I suppose I must have been suicidal but I don't remember tbh as I have memory loss from around that time.
I do remember being unable to sleep and I was prescribed huge amounts of medication (above the maximum recommended dose) which apparently should have knocked me out but seemed to have no sedating effects. I have none of the energy that I had then nowadays unfortunately.

I think you need to speak to your MH team asap.

What you are describing sounds like anxiety and OCD type thinking. There is quite a fine line between severe anxiety and psychosis.

The difference is that with psychosis you have little or no insight into what is happening to you. I was convinced that God wanted me to kill myself, I could see why other people thought it was weird, but I knew 100% it was real.

You have mentioned being scared of developing psychosis so I wonder if this fear is making you feel this way. Anxiety can make you feel strange emotions and feel very agitated.

Milkhell Wed 09-Oct-13 22:27:22

Fluffy it is most certainly OCD thinking and anxiety - and I do think the severity is now unfortunately passing into psychosis.

No one seems concerned though or knows how to deal with me. Everyone just keeps saying this is 'down to you' but I can't escape it.

What makes me think it's OCD is that I have a thought and then can't get that thought out of my head - so say for example I thought about a spinning top. It was just a very weird thought. Then because it was so weird I became scared of that meaning I'd gone I same and it just kept repeating causing me to become more and more anxious.

In the background there is the 'how am I feeling' thing again and again and again - all day. No respite until the evening. I had this with my DS but it was about loving him. This time it seems to be about myself and how I'm feeling (maybe a compounded trauma from what I went through with DS).

There was also a stage after my breakdown where I was checking every thought that came into my head for signs of madness and every action. This was also the case with the catching things from the corner of my eye and thinking "is that a hallucination?" and checking it to see if it was or wasn't - and then it wouldn't be.

Now the strange feelings are making me very distressed through the day as I can work them out.

And now it's causing me not to want to get out of bed as I'm so depressed about the situation.

Everyone is so frustrated with me. No one knows what to do. I don't know what to do. My family are coming to the end of their tethers. They think I can get a grip and I just can't.

So in short I have postnatal depression/anxiety, health anxiety, OCD and depression with psychotic features.

It's been hell for two and a half years and I don't really know what to do to make it all stop.

I think accepting that it's postnatal would help me but I'm worried it's now moved past that.

I'm embarrassed to admit that I've also searched Google hundreds and thousands of times for answers as to how I'm feeling.

Is there hope for me? I just need a chink of light to cling to that this will resolve.

The CBT is for everyone isn't it? Should I revisit whilst waiting for my outpatient appointment with the postnatal expert at the hospital?

It's in two weeks time - I spoke to the doctor today and he said he "thinks it's postnatal depression" and to "not thing about how I feel until the appointment". Easier said than done when you feel like you're living minute to minute.

I have DH for next four days so I feel safer. Unfortunately it doesn't stop the thoughts or let me think about other people's wellbeing.

Milkhell Wed 09-Oct-13 22:36:54

I've just read that back. Fucking hell. It's OCD and severe anxiety isn't it? Thought checking? I didn't even realised I did that until I got all of that down. That's actually helped just getting things down. Perhaps I can write that out again and take it to my appointment.

Can you "pass into psychosis" or is that the anxiety/OCD talking?

I really appreciate you all talking to me as just getting some of this out is helping me.

ArtemisiaofCaria Wed 09-Oct-13 23:01:50

from what you've written, it doesn't sound like psychosis to me. it sounds like severe anxiety. I'm not a professional, but I have spent many months on an inpatient mother and baby psychiatric ward.

At my worst (this sounds daft to write down, btu it was totally real) I was convinced that the nurses and/or the other patients husbands (not the other patients) were hiding my things. I became convinced that two of my little plastic baby bowls had been hidden from me, on purpose, and that they'd thrown away my little pack of petit filous. I FLIPPED, attacked two nurses, had to be restrained, threatened to have my baby removed from me and taken to seclusion. I thought my child was the reincarnation of Stalin, and I was getting messages and signs from "karma" (I wasn't sure it was God, perhaps just Gods government) about various things, that I barely even remember now, I was so unwell. Apparently I never stopped talking, 24 hours a day, about those bowls. Which sounds funny now, but I was terrified, furious, I was convinced it was a big plot to either drive me mad, or make me look like I was going mad so the hospital could keep me trapped.

ArtemisiaofCaria Wed 09-Oct-13 23:02:30

(I hadn't lost any of the bowls, and I had given the yoghurt to my baby. Just I couldn't remember how many I had, or feeding my baby, as I was so unwell, I had no memory)

Milkhell Wed 09-Oct-13 23:13:31

I am so, so sorry that you had to go through that. That sounds absolutely, absolutely petrifying. It really does. Coming to terms with it too must have been really difficult. Acceptance must play a big part as you are clearly very articulate and if you're anything like me on a mission to understand. Work things out.

If I can get through this I really want to help all women who go through these horrendous illnesses. It's not fair. It's not fair that some women are left scrabbling about whilst in hell for a hand to hold.

I have read so much about postnatal illness and find the psychosis things interesting - like when it's a religious theme - where does that even come from? The randomness of it? And so many women have similar themes to it.

Are you all quite open in RL re. What's happened?

hellymelly Wed 09-Oct-13 23:17:23

OP this probably isn't helpful, but at some point you might want to read "the shutter of snow", a personal account of post-partum psychosis, written many decades ago but still relevant. The descriptions above sound just like the book, but you sound more hyper anxious to me. I am sorry things are so grim and hope that you do get some help that really works.

hellymelly Wed 09-Oct-13 23:21:42

Sorry-To clarify- I meant the descriptions by other posters of their experience of psychosis, not your own descriptions of how you feel now.

Fozzleyplum Wed 09-Oct-13 23:31:06

OP, I've just read your posts to DH, who works in mental health (lawyer rather than doctor). He's familiar with the symptoms you describe and says it sounds like a psychotic episode which can be treated effectively with medication. You do need to get it diagnosed and treated if necessary, to avoid further problems. If you feel that you really need help tonight, I'd go to A&E, so that you can be assessed, rather than put yourself at risk. If it will wait until the morning, I'd insist on a gp appointment tomorrow.

FannyFifer Wed 09-Oct-13 23:34:21

Go to your GP tomorrow & tell him or her what's going on, write it down if you have to.
Get a referral to psych team.

There are medications you can take to get through this, can't believe you have not been prescribed something before now to be honest.

FannyFifer Wed 09-Oct-13 23:36:51

It does not sound like a psychotic episode.
Generally would have no insight into the psychosis.

Milkhell Wed 09-Oct-13 23:45:24

Hi Fozzley. I honestly gave been to the GPs about 20 times and tried to explain but obviously can't. They aren't experts they've said. I've even gone with my mum who expressed concern about pupueral (sp?) psychosis and the GP looked quite blank and said "what makes you think that?". My head was in a mash. We've seen quite a few different ones too.

They then refer to the crisis team who ask if I want to kill myself or others, which the answer is 'no'. They then sign me off (after telling me that many mums feel this way and to have 'me' time).

I even insisted on seeing a psychiatrist last team the crisis team left me. He was a consultant, spent an hour with me and signed me off with zero meds saying to exercise, eat well and avoid caffeine! Didn't even think my 3mo was a factor. He said getting well was down to me.

It's all really, really confusing me as I'm being told by so many people I'm okay as have insight which I think is the 'bar'.

Thank you for asking him xx

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