This is a story of overcoming post and pre-natal depression, anxiety, OCD and bouts of Psychosis but more importantly it is a story of hope. Our struggles make us stronger, they make our light shine brighter. A light that will shine on others in darkness.
As a child I had suffered undiagnosed anxiety and a bout of depressions whilst I was at boarding school. I got through life managing it quite easily, the anxiety wasn’t there all the time and the depression didn’t reappear until I was 20, when I had my first big breakdown. I was prescribed anti-depressants. I didn’t change anything else in my life, I didn’t seek help I just took my magic pills and kept on keeping on.
Fast forward to my late 20’s, I met a guy a great guy who I ended up marrying. As most stories go, we got married and not long after we decided to try for a baby. It didn’t happen quite as quick as we had planned so we saw a fertility specialist and after a year I fell pregnant. The pregnancy was great, I was a little sick but nothing out of the ordinary. I knew deep in my soul that we were having a boy, this was confirmed by an ultrasound.
I had all these pre-conceived ideas of how it was all meant to go but we all know that sometimes things just don’t go as we plan. The baby was in breach position and would not turn so I was scheduled for a C-section, but I went in to labor before then so it was classed as an emergency caesarean. I don’t remember being overly scared, I was just excited to meet our baby.
So the time was here, the Doctor delivered our baby and he was handed to me. I held him for only a few seconds and noticed he was turning blue, I yelled he’s turning blue! He was taken away from me straight away. I was taken to recovery while they helped out our baby’s lungs. I was brought back but he still wasn’t breathing well on his own so he had to be rushed to a special care unit at a different hospital. He was away from us for 6 days, I got to visit him but it wasn’t the same as having him by my side. After two weeks of us all being in hospital the day finally came for us to bring him home. My husband and I were so excited.
My mother was there but got a phone call from my father saying that our beloved dog had been ran over and didn’t make it. This was the icing on the cake of trauma I had endured. I collapsed to the ground and was hysterical, it was all too much.
We arrived home and it just didn’t feel right, this wasn’t how it was supposed to be. I didn’t feel how I was meant to feel with a new born, I was just going through the motions. I cried all the time. Initially I thought it was just the loss of our pet but as the weeks went on it got worse. I was so anxious and numb at the same time.
One night I was bathing our baby and all of a sudden, I felt this terrifyingly evilness rush over me. Like something had taken me over, I was scared of myself. It made me feel like I was going to hurt my baby. I couldn’t be near him, I didn’t want this evil force to take me over and do something that was my greatest fear. I didn’t understand what was happening, I felt like a monster. I had suffered with OCD and intrusive thoughts before but this was a whole new level. I was distraught, that was my breaking point. I went downhill quickly; my mum took me to the mental health unit and I saw a doctor. I was prescribed the highest dose of anti-depressants. I would have visions that I would hurt myself or even worse, my child. This went on for months. I didn’t want to die as such, I just wanted whatever was haunting me to go away, I needed my demons gone.
I didn’t start to feel like myself again until just before our sons first birthday. The depression was gone but I would still get horrific panic attacks, and the demons would poke their head out every month or so just to remind me they were still there. They never really went away they just lay dormant for a while.
There is a plan for our life, we have a purpose but in order to get there sometimes we have to cross the fire and brimstone before we reach our destination. We are sent angels disguised as people along the way, angels who will help you cross the brimstone.
I met a friend through a parenting group who introduced me to her “therapist” she was not like your average therapist, she knew things. She knew things about me, she knew my demons. They were once her demons. Over the next couple of years, I worked with her and my transformation began, what I didn’t know is it began well before then.
After 4 years I got that urge, the urge where you want another baby. I thought I would never want to have another baby but every part of me wanted it. It took us about the same time to conceive and eventually I fell pregnant, I was elated! I wanted this so badly.
The hormones hit me hard and fast, they also brought my demons back with them. I remember sitting at the kitchen table next to my firstborn who was now 4. That evil feeling came washing over me which was shortly followed by sheer terror and panic. It was happening again, everything I went through after my first baby was happening now before I have even had this baby. I thought that it was maybe just a passing anxiety attack but it wasn’t going away. I was terrified, I was terrified of my house, my surrounding and terrified of myself. I was still seeing my “therapist” who explained energetically what was going on. She formed a support group for me who helped me understand and get through what was happening.
One night I was in the kitchen and next to me was a large knife and my son was sitting on the bench. I felt that feeling wash over me again, that evilness that tried to convince me I was a monster and that I would hurt my son. I was hysterical, I started to believe what my demons were trying to convince me of. I believed I was a monster. I went to my room turned the light off, climbed in to bed and called one of the ladies from our group, she talked me through the panic and I was able to pull myself out of bed and explain to my beyond understanding husband what had just happened.
This wasn’t an isolated incident, it happened a few times but different scenarios. I continued to work with my therapist and the more I did, the clearer I got. It took nearly to the end of the pregnancy for me to feel ok again. Just as I had missed pretty much the first year of my son’s life living in a fearful blur, I had spent this pregnancy the same way. I could barely focus on the fact I was about to bring another child in to the world I just needed to focus on getting myself better again.
I eventually got to the point where I was (kind of) ready to have this baby, who we found out was the baby was a girl. I knew this information already but was confirmed by ultrasound once again. She was also in the Breach position so I was scheduled for another C-section. This time I didn’t go in to labor. I was excited but mostly terrified that history was once again going to repeat itself.
Once I got in to the room and laid on that table, it all stopped. I was at peace, I felt calm and ready. The time was here. I asked for the curtain to be taken down whilst she was being taken out so I could see, I also requested a gentle Caesarean. She was delivered and handed straight to me and placed on my bare chest. She was perfect and breathing fine all on her own. She came with me to recovery and breastfed while the nurses did what they needed to do. The whole thing was perfect.
My demons did poke their head out a few times but they were just a memory trying to regain their power but at this point I was stronger than any demon could ever be. I continued seeing my therapist, I continued with my lifestyle change I had started while pregnant to try balance my hormones. Almost 2 years later the person I first mentioned in the story is no longer who I am. I have been studying healing work as well as health coaching, I am happier and healthier than I have ever been. I have a new zest for life and live most days like they are an adventure.
I have recovered and transformed beautifully.
Thanks so much for sharing your story. My youngest daughter sounds just like you; we/her therapist work on dealing with her demons. She is still very young, so your message encourages me that she will grow up and do well – even have children (if she wants).
Again, thanks for your courage.
As I sit here crying, I’m recalling the exact moment I had my first intrusive thought with my 7 month old son (my 2nd and last child). My husband (now ex) had just left to go to my grandma’s birthday party with our older son. I remember holding and looking down at my beautiful baby and suddenly thinking, “what if I hurt him while husband is gone”. I went into an instant panic attack, set my son down in his playpen, and ran outside. I couldn’t be around him. If I was around him, I would hurt him. I called my husband and asked him to come pick us up and take us to the birthday party. I didn’t dare tell him my thought or any of my family members that evening. They would think I was “crazy” and would place me in an institution. The thought faded and I felt safe with my husband. I slept well that night. He went to work early the next day. I got my older son ready for school and went to the basement to get my youngest son’s clothes. The thought came back with a vengeance. I cried in my basement and decided to call my sister and admit what was happening. My sister (a nurse) assured me that I wasn’t going to hurt my baby and it was an intrusive thought. She came over to calm me down. I was able to get in with my general doctor that afternoon. I have had anxiety since I was a kid and started taking meds at 18. My doctor upped my antidepressant and put me on another med that caused me to have to stop breastfeeding. Intrusive thoughts are still in my life just lurking around for the perfect time to strike. I’ve forced myself to stay out of the kitchen because of the knives. I’ve had the intrusive suicidal thoughts. “I’d rather die than hurt my child….but I don’t want to die”. Luckily when I told my husband he was loving and understanding. I had the support of my family as well. I wasn’t able to talk about my experience for several years due to the fear of intrusive thoughts coming back. Even telling people today is a little unnerving as some people don’t understand mental illness and never will. My “baby” is now 6 years old, going into the 1st grade. I know the thoughts will come back but I’m better able to handle them now.
Thank you for sharing your story. I know how scary it feels to say your thoughts out loud. We will heal. And you’re not alone.
I also suffered severe PPD and bouts of sychosis. After hospital stays, therapy, and medication, I slowly recovered. Your story relates so much with me. It’s been nine years since that first horrible thought. I still suffer occasionally with those memories or I think maybe PTSD from it. I’m afraid of ever getting it again. I would love to know how you recovered and keep them demons away. Thank you for sharing your story.
You’re so brave for sharing your story. I don’t think that there is enough awareness on mental illnesses or ppd. I haven’t personally gone through it, but have mental illnesses and I am so proud of you for seeking help, as hard as I know it must’ve been. You’re a fighter, a survivor, a warrior. I know your story will help others going through it, or to identify loved ones of theirs that could be going through it.
Mine started when my son was in my womb i had absolutely awful intrusive thoughts and I will tell you I’ve been dealing with it now for 30 years on and off and it still doesn’t go away I feel like I am in my own hell, I know it is probably due to anxiety plus it might have been my hormones I was diagnosed with PTSD 4 years ago I was traumatized as a child and into adulthood it is the worst feeling I have ever experienced, I’ve had my good years and bad but that’s because the medicine helped but even being on medication sometimes the bad demon would creep along beside me and then I would be stricken with fear and panic once again it is one of the worst things I live with but I deal with it the best I can i no longer take anti-depressants because they made me suicidal after 10 years on them I am now 52 years old and I’m dealing with other issues now and still have thoughts that are disturbing I guess this will live with me forever it’s just something that is in my brain and I don’t think any doctor can figure this out except try to give me meds which I do not want and it’s hard talking to people about this cuz they don’t want to hear all of these things especially if they’ve never experienced them I bascially just talk to God a lot and ask him to please help me get through this! I also have somebody that I talk to about this and they reassure me that these are only thoughts but what I don’t understand is how I could never get over this completely its terribly heart-wrenching?
You own a beautiful sou who conquer her battles bravely and shared too beautifully which is going to help many more
Wow … thank you so much for showing your brave by sharing your story. I am suffering myself with OCD and recovering from PPD. I have a wonderful therapist and a small strong circle. It is healing to know that I’m not alone and that there is hope. You are a warrior and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your honesty and courage. I am fighting the good fight and some days I feel like it’s an uphill battle that brings me extreme sadness. I haven’t found a med that doesn’t give me adverse effects yet so I’m praying something will work as I continue to push forward in my recovery. Thank you for sharing your stories.
This is really informative post. Please share more with us.