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I've just realised I've been having postnatal hallucinations, delusions and psychotic features. Petrified.(50 Posts)
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?
Sorry for typos.
Not sure what to do.
I was diagnosed with postnatal OCD after the birth of my third child and some of what you are describing sounds a bit like what things were like for me. For me, it was mostly intrusive thoughts and thoughts of harming myself or my babies. Not of deliberately harming them, but if carrying a knife, wondering what would happen if I dropped it, or imagining myself pushing them when following them downstairs, or that something horrible would happen to DH. It took me a long long time before I could admit any of these feelings and thoughts thoyugh, as who wants to admit to wanting to hurt their babies? In the end I was so frightened I would actually do it, that I took a deep breath and just told my GP. He was brilliant and got me an urgent referral (I had previously seen the perinatal team when pregnant with my DD so that helkped get me seen quicker). Meds and some counselling and CBT made a huge difference. Still on the meds almost five years later and can't see me dropping them anytime soon as the intrusive thoughts flood back the moment I try and reduce them. I can relate to the brain curling feeling though as I felt like my brain was actually unravelling.
Your GP sounds like an arse to be honest; how he can tell you to not think about till the appointment when your days are hounded by all sorts of thoughts?
And of course you will see your children grow up. You'll get help to get through this and it sounds like you have a good support network. One which I'm sure is probably more worried wbout you than sick of you.
I wasn't open about it at the time it was happening, but can tell people about it now. the overwhelming response is, "I knew you were struggling, but not the actual extent; why didn't you tell me at the time, I could have done more to help" which is a nice feeling and makes me wich I had opened up more. But who wants to admit they are thinking that they will seriously harm their DC?
Acceptance wasn't an issue - I was ill. As soon as I started taking the medication (I had no choice at that stage), I became well, realised that I had taken 4 bowls into hospital, and still had those 4 bowls, and that the nurses were just normal people with jobs, not part of some big government mechanism. I had little memory of the episode, knew that I had been unwell.
It might not be the case for other people, but for me (diagnosis is bipolar type I, not PP or schizophrenia) it is a case of being either well, anxious & stress, or batshit insane. They're very clearly defined. By the time I get to the BSI stage I've usually been put in hospital. As soon as I take my meds (lithium to bring me down) I'm fine.
When I'm like that, I'm not 'struggling', I don't know that I'm unwell. However there's usually a big run up where it's clear that I'm getting more and more unwell so it's obvious intervention is needed.
A couple months ago I stopped taking my meds. I started to think I was getting messages from Richard III, signs and coincidences of dates and names. DH told me take the meds, or he's calling the emergency psych, so I took them, and I was better again in less than a week.
Sorry I'm wittering, but I hope that gives you insight. I do get anxiety and stress and a constant inner monologue and internal thoughts, like you, but it's nothing like the actual psychosis. You can't eat, sleep, drink, dress. I spent a week just looking for those bowls, or gazing into space making "connections", nurses had to practically force me to sip water. You become a zombie.
Sorry Art. That was worded really badly. I meant acceptance that you were ill not acceptance helping toward some kind of cure.
I need to accept that I'm ill and need meds and that's what I'm struggling with as for me it's got to be a brain tumour or that I'm not eating right etc etc. Not that i can get a grip but that if I want to feel okay I'm going to need medicine.
The problem is not that you're psychotic.
Its that you're worried you are psychotic.
I think the key here is saying 'I absolutely knew it wasn't real'. The point of psychosis is you don't. The other issue is that this is ego-dystonic for you. It horrifies you to be having these thoughts, you are more caught up in the horror of being psychotic and what this means about you than actually the thoughts themselves.
Contact the Maudsley. You need an an OCD specialist.
Thank you working.
At the moment I'm flipping between psychotic and brain tumour. I can realise how strange that sounds but I'm convinced it's one or the other. It's embarrassing.
I had postpartum OCD with DS and clearly am struggling with it again. I'm ashamed. I'm so sorry if my post has dragged up memories for anyone. It's sickening that a mental illness can make someone so caught up in their own thoughts that they impact on other people's lives in a negative way.
I am really sorry and I can't stress that enough.
OP I'm really sorry to hear you are going through all of this, it sounds very scary. Are you taking any medication at all? How would it feel to consider that option?
I've just taken my first tablet. Just then. I can't tell you what a massive step this is for me. I need to do this for my family though.
Thank you so much for being kind. I'm sure I'll be on here for a whole looking for reassurance re. The tablets being the way I am.
I think working has it spot on.
I think you might not be getting appropriate help because you are asking for help with psychosis which you don't have. I think the GP and your Mum are trying to reassure you that you are not psychotic but in doing that they are missing what is really going on for you - severe anxiety and OCD. You need support ASAP, can you see someone this week? Your health anxiety is clearly affecting you and making you worry about your feelings.
I know how awful MH problems are and you have my sympathy, take care of yourself.
Hi Milkhell. So sorry you've been feeling so terrible.
I don't think I have much to add (lots of people have said great stuff) except that a lot of what you write sounds very familiar to me from my first postnatal period. I remember it as hellish, utterly terrifying. It was, however, very time limited.
A couple of things I personally have found comforting:
1) fear of "going mad" or having psychotic break is an extremely common "symptom" of panic (you've probably said this already, but it really is extremely common. And terrifying to experience).
2) I don't think there is a very clear line beyond which you're "psychotic". Everyone has some experiences which could be classified as such. Weird "feelings" also occur very frequently in people classified as having anxiety problems (non-psychotic).
I also found it comforting to be told this: even if you were to develop full-blown psychosis (big if), you would get through it.
Try to take one moment at a time, maybe focus on something like counting your breaths to help you ride it out when the most hideous waves of fear hit you.
I really hope you feel better soon. Like others, I remember so well the feeling that it would never end.
You WILL feel better, and this is NOT "it" for you.
A few months ago I felt like my brain was curling.
Once I had a feeling that half of my brain was numb. I was fighting against demons who were trying to control my brain. I won . Anyway, I was not psychotic because I could do basic things ok and look normal. Also, I knew to keep my mouth shut about them.
Hi everyone. Than you for all the great advice.
I took an AD the other night and did have an 'episode'. It was like I'd waken up in a nightmare and was convinced my children weren't breathing and my husband was out to get me. It was horrendous.
I was still 'with it' enough to know to want to call the crisis team which I know displays some insight but it was still very scary.
I had an appointment with a consultant psychiatrist the next day who reiterated that there was nothing at all wrong with me and I needed to bring myself back into control by getting my life back on track (getting back to work etc). I do trust him as he really 'dug deep' about what I was saying.
I'm finding it really hard as I'm still finding most of the day really difficult to get through (like really hard). I now know that meds aren't an option and the psychiatrist said that that was exactly why he didn't prescribe them back when I first saw him in July.
I know he's the expert and I'm not. I know that I could go on forever diagnosing myself with this and that and turning up on the GPs doorstep but the fact remains I'm finding things a real, real struggle. I know it's not just me - I know everyone struggles - but I just wanted some advice for getting through this cold turkey as it were.
The psych recommended getting back to work and before that making my days full and following a routine. I'm going to do that but at the moment it feels like I'm going to be climbing a mountain with two broken legs.
Any advice greatly appreciated.
What does he mean there is nothing at all wrong with you? That you are fully well?
Yes. How can I argue? I don't think there's any more steps I can take as I've exhausted all of them.
So you have no anxiety diagnosis or anything? I thought you had medication prescription?
A routine can really help with lots of things. And it sounds like you have had access to a crisis team ( here you cannot call them yourself only be referred by medical professionals), seen a psychiatrist a few times in a couple of months, got support from health visitor and gp etc all of which is encouraging.
Hope the coming weeks are easier for you.
Nothing! Prescription from GP who is 'under' the consultant psych.
It's up to me :-)
Thank you Hoop. I've had a good writing session (I'm a writer) and feeling less trapped than I was a few hours ago. Not a good feeling.
You need a referral to someone else , if you have told the psych everything you have said here then I cannot see how on earth he can decide you are well.
What medication did GP prescribe?
Cirtalopram (sp?). I have to trust him. There's no way I can be referred to any one else. He's the best I've been told by the crisis team.
I have an appointment with an access team in two weeks. But I've already been told by the crisis team and psych that they override them.
I have to just go with it. What else can I do?
To be fair from what others have said re. Postnatal psychosis I think I'm 'just' suffering from severe PND. There's no other explanation. Unfortunately meds don't agree with me and the psyche doesn't do 'labels' which is probably the best way really when dealing with humans.
Thank you all again.
If you were suffering from psychosis postnatlly ( it has a proper name but ...) then yes crisis team and dd's would have picked it up and probably had to hospitalise you til you were stable and safe so that is encouraging.
Yes the crisis team and psychiatrist definitely outrank an access team. The mental health teams refer to a crisis team of someone needs more help than a weekly session which is the most they can provide and to risk assess and to do medications etc.
Glad writing helped a bit. I am a great believer of sleep, sleep, time for me ( hard to get with child!) and getting out of house to keep going.
I'm doing much better - I'm not fully better by a long shot - but I think the hell-bound period is over.
I'm extremely anxious a lot of the time and that's feeding the depression but it feels more in the realms of 'normal' PND now.
I'm looking after the kids on my own and have had my first day back at work. At the time I wrote this thread I couldn't do that.
Spoke to GP who has said it can take 18 months for PND to clear so I'm just hoping that's indeed what it is and that I will get better. I was 17mo postpartum with DS when I fell pregnant with DD so I've been ill for a long time now and I'm clinging to the fact I will get better in time.
GP also said more children is risky as my issues have been even worse this time around. I sadly agree. I would have loved a PND-free experience but I don't think that will happen.
I'm still not on ADs after they caused me the 'episode' I spoke about up thread.
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