Annie’s battle with OCD & PND
“My battle with my OCDemon and Postnatal Depression
Postnatal OCD…well I for one had SECRETLY been haunted with this condition along with PND & Postnatal Anxiety for over 20 years and there were a few mental breakdowns along the way. I had always suffered with anxiety and depression but I didn’t know what was going on and yes, I had the usual OCD, constantly cleaning, checking locks, checking switches etc but, the very first time that this OCD demon hit was when my eldest was 1 (I used to get thoughts and images of cutting my wrists if I had a knife in my hand or if I saw a knife or sharp object lying around the house). Myself and boyfriend at the time had just split up and he had moved out that day. That week itself was very traumatic because I had found a lump in my breast and they weren’t sure what it was, so I was more than anxious along with the fact that I was worrying about being on my own in a house where I was scared.
So, that night I took my little girl into the bed with me because I didn’t want her to be alone being in her room (maybe it was more that I didn’t want to be alone). I was quite anxious going to sleep that night but I got to sleep, only to wake up in a panic. Then the most terrifying thought came into my head, as I looked at my little girl lying beside me fast asleep I had this thought and horrifying image that I could just pick up my pillow and smother her…..I mean what the f***!!!! Anyway, it scared me so much that I could actually have such a thought, that I ran downstairs to stay away from her so that I wouldn’t hurt her. My anxieties were needless to say through the roof, I thought I was being possessed or something. I then remembered my doctor had given me valium (by my mums request not mine & which I had not planned on taking), so I thought maybe half a tablet might calm me down, nope, a full one, nope, 2, no chance, my adrenalin was sky high and nothing only someone knocking me out was going to help bring my anxiety down. So, I stayed awake the whole night and as soon as the nearest (20 minutes walk) shop with a phone was open I started walking with my little girl in her buggy, but again intrusive thoughts started coming into my head. I was so tired from not sleeping that at one stage I wanted to sit down on a wall just to rest and thought no, what if I leave her here and walk away but I don’t realise it, so I kept walking. Soon we came to cross a main road and another thought invaded my head, what if a car comes and I push her out on front of it without realising it, but again I just kept walking. It was like I wasn’t even in my own body or mind for that matter.
I never told anyone about my thoughts but I just made sure NEVER to be on my own at night time with her again.
The years went on and this continued to happen (I mean I could write a book on it) and I went to psychologists, counsellors, did a lot of self help but just couldn’t get rid if this bloody demon that kept haunting me.
The worst being in 2007 when the thoughts of harming myself or my 2 children at the time became too overwhelming and unbearable for me to cope. I was convinced that I was going to be like one of those mothers you here on the news who killed her children and then herself. I wasn’t afraid of anyone breaking into my house or being attacked, I was afraid of ME!!!!
So in the end I had to leave my fulltime job and college and my wonderful Dad moved in with me and my 2 children because I couldn’t do it anymore. I was like a child again, I mean I must have regressed back to being 6 or 7. I was even sitting on my Dads knee begging for him to mind me. I was afraid of everything, the world, myself, of living! God, thinking back, I remember hearing sirens one night while I was in bed and thinking they were coming for me because I had done something so I ran into my Dad and slept in with him.
This demon (note demon is in small font because of its less importance) OCD had me thinking I was an “evil” person for having these thoughts and I constantly thought that it meant, eventually, I was going to act on them (which I never did). For this reason I never told a living soul about it until now because I was afraid of what people would think of me and that my children would be taken away from me and I’d then be locked up.
It was only after baby number 4 that I realised that I had suffered Postnatal Depression after all 4 children were born and that my demon that haunted me for over 20 years was actually an illness and not in fact anything to do with me being an “evil” person.
I can thankfully say with the help of a wonderful GP (who actually reassured me it was Postnatal OCD and NOT Postnatal Psychosis) that I have finally been able to put this demon in its place…..I knock it’s block off if it ever tries to creep into my head.
The most important thing to do if you are feeling in any way like the symptoms below, I urge you to please speak to someone, your children will NOT be taken away and you will get the help you need.
Suffering from Depression, Anxiety or OCD is a right pain in the ass and then to top it off when you have your first, second or subsequent little bundle of joy you’re hit with Antenatal Depression (yes, I did say Antenatal Depression), Postnatal Depression…..
Postnatal Depression is sooo much more than people think, if you have PND it’s hard enough to cope with but when you have been dealt the Postnatal TRIO as I call them……well what can I say……get all the help and support you can because it is a constant battle.
Just 2 of some of the symptoms of PND:
- Feelings of being overwhelmed, out of control, unable to cope
- Withdrawing from family and friends and other social occasions
They forgot to mention wanting to constantly run away!
Just 3 of some of the symptoms of Postnatal OCD:
- Thoughts and images of hurting yourself or someone else
- Thoughts and images about hurting your baby
- Avoiding being alone with your baby or taking care of your baby because of your thoughts
Just 5 of some of the symptoms of Postnatal ANXIETY:
- Restless and can’t sit still, can relax, feeling on edge
- Feeling you have to be doing something all of the time
- Feeling like you have to be in control of every situation
- Difficulty focusing and concentrating, memory loss
- Thinking everything will turn out to be a catastrophe
One of these days when I have triumphed my 20 year battle of the Postnatal TRIO I WILL write my own story.
A BIG shout out to anyone suffering from Depression, Antenatal Depression, Postnatal Depression, Anxiety, OCD.. I send a massive and meaningful hug.
Remember, It’s ok not to feel ok and it’s ABSOLUTELY OK to ask for help!!!!
Annie has started her own blog and you can find her at https://anniesmummetime.wordpress.com