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Is this my life?(19 Posts)
I have a beautiful 15 week old baby girl.
I suffer with health anxiety and struggled during pregnancy. However with support I was able to manage.
The pandemic has really started to take its toll on me.
I know as a new mum there will be some element of post natal anxiety / depression involved in what I’m feeling, but I just don’t know how much of what I am feeling is “normal”.
I’m a bit of a mess. Most days I’m in absolute panic mode.
Panicking about my health, my daughters health or my husbands health.
I have asthma (not on the shielding list) and I worry that my chances of survival with Covid are very slim.
I panic so much about feeling ill that I make myself physically sick with worry.
It’s not just Covid I worry about.
I was reading an article a few weeks ago about mastitis and how it can lead to sepsis.
Now I am absolutely petrified that I’m going to develop this and end up in hospital.
Which means I will then catch Covid.
I’m that scared I’ve even considered stopping breastfeeding. Which is something I really don’t want to do 😔
I can’t stop checking myself for any sign of illness and I don’t know what to do anymore. It’s driving me insane.
I feel like I’m never present in the moment and it really upsets me.
I play with my daughter and her smile just brings me so much joy, but inside I can’t stop thinking about death and worrying about illness.
I try to distract myself but I just physically can’t switch off.
I feel like I’m always on high alert.
My husband has been furloughed for the last 10 weeks and has been home with us, I feel like this time together has been ruined by my anxiety, and constant panic.
I see people who are starting to resume some form of “normal” life. But for me I really don’t feel that will ever happen.
I’m just so petrified.
I’ve spoken to the Dr who has recommended some counselling and I’ve now self referred for some CBT.
I don’t know why I’m writing this post, I guess I just needed to get this off of my chest and for someone to tell me that my feelings will go away?
They will go away.
Those early months were the hardest time of my life. I had postnatal depression and it took over every hour of every day.
But I got help (medication for me and talking therapy later on) and it really did get better. I've never looked back (DD is 3 this year).
I've thought a lot about new mums going through this lockdown situation without their normal support network and all this going on. It's not hard to see why you would be worried, but try to remember that some of these worries are the anxiety.
I had mastitis and it was unpleasant but l solved with antibiotics. I'd imagine it resulting in sepsis is quite rare. If you're doing well with feeding and don't want to give it up, don't let that be the reason.
You're doing an amazing job in very difficult circumstances. Things will get better, I know it's said a lot but this too shall pass.
It sounds as though you're already speaking to your GP, I hope you get your referral through soon. Keep talking and sharing how you feel. I found this forum a huge help when I was going through the PND.
A less practical tip, is to take photos each day if you can. I feel as though I missed my newborn phase, when I should have been enjoying my baby I wasn't well. But I took daily photos and I've been able to enjoy them time and time over again. It helps me look back on that hard period and focus on all the good. One day these difficult days will be a distant memory for you too.
I really hope so.
I find it such a struggle.😔
I remember feeling like you when I had my son. I was terrified of my own thoughts and would worry myself sick over all kinds of stuff. This was 20 years ago and when I tried to speak to my health visitor about it she just gave me a survey and said I don’t score high enough to get help! 😯
It did eventually go away. I know you have the added worry of this virus which must make it harder but you can do this.
Have you spoken to your dh about how you feel?
I’m always recommending it but try the headspace app as it really helped me, more than anything else.
Keep posting on Mumsnet too as it’s full of support.
Just to let you know that I absolutely understand you. I had this after he birth if my last child. All consuming, high anxiety - it felt like my body was pulsing with adrenaline most of the time. Nightmares, daymares, screaming into a pillow to try to get some relief. I managed 6 months before I just thought - fuck this. Enough is enough. I picked up the phone and organised myself some therapy - CBT actually - and I crawled there the 1st session and spent the whole time crying. I kept going back. I did the work. It was life changing. Honestly,not was a life saver. The relief of being able to talk honestly and openly about every weird thought and obsession- and the counsellor just got it. She was great. That was 3 years ago and my life is so different. When I think of myself back then it is like it happened to someone else. I guess, in a way it did. This too shall pass xxx
Hello love, just wanted to add some words of support...
To me, it sounds as if you are dealing with some pretty full on health anxiety. Everything you describe is so familiar to me - the constant checking for symptoms and being unable to enjoy the present moment, obsessed with WHAT IF and spinning into despair. The current situation plus your hormones plus being new mum is a lot to cope with, and it's no wonder you're struggling.
Please be kind to yourself. As a previous poster mentioned, Headspace is brilliant for helping your feel more at ease with your mind. It doesn't make the thoughts go away, but it will help you recognise them as just that - thoughts.
A good thing to remember is that just because you can imagine the worst, it doesn't mean it will happen. Just as - if you imagine that you will win the lottery, doesn't mean it will happen! Try to keep that in mind when you feel yourself spiralling into a dark place.
The CBT will help you immensely I'm sure - stick with it, you always come away from the first session thinking it's rubbish - and then somewhere down the line, it clicks.
All the best, you will get through this. It's tough, but you will.
Congratulations on your new arrival.
You need to stop. If you carry on like this you will miss moments that would otherwise be indelible on your memories of your baby.
I have anxiety and often need to get myself in check.
If baby, you and DH are happy, healthy and safe those are all of the boxes you need ticked day to day. Don't give in to catastrophising. Intrusive thoughts with a little baby are common. You can push them down and away with logic.
They can try to invade your mind but you have to counter them. It does help learning to put up a wall.
If you've googled already then you know the worst case scenario with a lot of things. Avoid looking for the worst from now on. Immerse yourself in the best, note your senses. Enjoy seeing a smile, make a mental note of your baby's smell. How a happy baby feels in your arms. Hearing normal sleep noises. Skin to skin contact. When they're so little it's just you they're instinctively engineered towards. It goes too fast.
Is there anything you can take while breastfeeding to calm your anxiety?
I mean prescribed.
I know with a young baby trying to read is almost impossible - but if you can this Overcoming Health Anxiety: A Self-help Guide Using Cognitive Behavioural Techniques Rob Wilson &David Veale it is a DIY version of the CBT previous poster found so helpful. It's the real deal and is worth a try. Failing that seek help. There are good treatments for health anxiety available in the NHS. Talk to your GP/ Health visitor and they can help get the referrals done. Hang in there - life is tough right now but it will pass and you are doing brilliantly to be keeping going with your baby despite all the worries in your head. Best wishes x
Thanks so much for the replies.
I will definitely look into the book.
I think some self help techniques will be really beneficial.
The screaming into a pillow sounds like me most days.
Sometimes I just want to switch off my thoughts. It's like I reach a point where I've lost control of them.
They just spiral and start to snowball and before I know it my thoughts are telling me all sorts of worst case scenarios, I get really scary intrusive images about being ill or in hospital and it really frightens me 😔
I mean your chances of surviving covid clearly aren't "very slim". Have you seen the actual data of covid mortality by age and 1 year survival by age? I wonder if you would benefit from looking into concrete facts a bit more. If you make yourself better informed things become a bit more knowable.
I have had two bouts of mastitis, not related to BF though, both were treated with antibiotics and although i felt pretty ill with the first one i didn't need hospital treatment.
Hi OP, I didnt want to read and run. I could have written your post. I'm struggling alot at the moment. My youngest is 14 months. I too think if I get covid I will die and am not as present as I want to be. Just feel so distracted by negative thoughts all the time. I self referred for CBT and have my third session on Thursday. I've tried to stop checking my body as much and I am working through the CBT 'homework'. It does help. I currently have to try and think of negative thoughts like logs in the river.. acknowledge them and then let them float past. Another one I like is that I am 28 years old.. if my car was 28 years old that would rattle and have things go wrong too, that is how to try to look at my 'symptoms' most of which are probably brought on by anxiety. It's tough but it will get better. I second the recommendation for headspace. I use it every night to get to sleep and it helps. Good luck x
Hi OP. how are you this morning?
I feel for you. I had debilitating health anxiety while pregnant a couple of years ago. I got help through CBT. Are you employed and if so does your employer have an assistance programme? That was how I accessed the help. I also got to see a clinical psychologist throughout my pregnancy.
Honestly I found it awful. I had MRIs and all sorts for symptoms that were real but likely exacerbated by anxiety. Then one day I just had a thought of how unlucky I would have to be to actually have all the illnesses and diseases I had self diagnosed. It was like a flash of realisation.
I still have some times where I’ll notice something on my body and my mind will try and pull me back to that anxiety but so far it’s under control. I tell you that to provide some sort of hope that this can be stopped and will be stopped sooner if you seek support.
Try and remember that your thoughts are not facts. Just because you’ve thought about things does not mean they will happen!
It's just so hard. From the minute I wake up I just have a bad feeling, I feel like something bad is going to happen.
This feeling causes me to feel anxious and on edge. That's what initiates the checking behaviours, then my mind runs wild thinking of illnesses or symptoms I have.
It's utterly exhausting but i find it so so hard to stop 😞
I really hear you @Lou0808. The checking behaviours are what perpetuates it. I remember I used to send my dad photos of the back of my mouth etc. My husband totally lost patience in the end and refused to talk about symptoms etc. This was actually helpful! I found I got to a point where I had exhausted google too.
When will you be able to access the counselling you self referred for? Do try the self help books. I didn’t think they’d be helpful but when I read one it honestly felt that someone had access to my thoughts. It helped me massively to know other people felt the same as me and helped me realise it was a thought process issue!
I will be starting the sessions next Wednesday. It will be telephone based.
I really hope it helps me but at the minute I'm struggling to see that things will change for me.
I think a lot of my anxiety is based around the pandemic, and that's not going away anytime soon.
I think I'm just struggling to accept that it's happening.
Life just doesn't feel normal anymore.
I have this absolutely beautiful baby who I'm so incredibly grateful for, but I feel so sad that life just isn't what I imagined it would be right now.
I'm sad that my baby girl is missing out on seeing her family, we're missing out on all the lovely baby classes we had planned together.
I haven't seen my mum for over 10 weeks.
It's the longest I've been without seeing her.
I know we can do social distance meetings in public now, but I'm too scared.
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