It was a day like any other. But little did I know that I wasn’t…. this would be the day that mental illness entered my life. I got up and dressed myself and the kids. My husband went off to work. My day ahead would be busy as I would be keeping my four year old and six month old entertained, happy and fed. I just didn’t realise how much my life would change that day.
I remember it was an overcast day. I remember not feeling right. I was angry and upset but with no one in particular. I was feeling overloaded in my new role as mum of two but I didn’t mention it to anyone. I am sure people would have thought that I would just need to ‘get over it’. I put the kids in the car and drove to town. Again a silly thing to do. I went to see my husband at work. We quickly saw him as he came out from his office to meet us. I drove back towards home again. I decided that my daughter would probably need to eat and went through a drive through McDonalds. I got my daughter a kid’s meal. I felt as though the woman in the drive through was having a go at me. This was a sign of paranoia…. I didn’t realise it though. I then started to think on the way home from McDonalds to home that someone was listening to me via the blue tooth speaker in the car. I was starting to feel frightening. I concentrated on the job at hand, to get me and the kid’s home safely.
We got home and the three of us bundled in the house. The house had party stuff all over it. I thought that my sister and my niece and nephew had been in my house and had a party without me. I was later to realise that my daughter had gone through one of the cupboards and got all this stuff out before we had left. I hadn’t even noticed her doing this. How frightening that I wasn’t even taking notice of what she had been doing.
I knew on that day that I was unwell but decided that my only choice was to keep on going. I thought I had to, I thought that was my only choice. I made a phone call to my mum, I asked her if my Uncle had visited her house today (this Uncle had accompanied me to hospital when I had a childhood illness). My mum told me that he hadn’t. She then said that she would come over to my house and bring some chicken soup. This was a good tactic to keep me waiting as I sat and waited for mum to bring me some chicken soup. I did not know how sick I really was. From then it all happened very quickly. My mum arrived (with no chicken soup!) with my nephew and they phoned for an ambulance. No one knew it at the time but I was having a Post Natal Psychosis (the worst form of Post Natal Depression). At my request I bundled into the ambulance with both my children and a kind neighbour who had offered to come with me (I was furious at my mum for doing this…. I didn’t want to go to hospital… I didn’t want to be sick).
I was placed in an acute care Mental Health Unit where I stayed for five days. This was nearly five and a half years ago. I am so thankful that I got to a hospital when I did as this is such a serious condition. Since this time I have received care (both as an inpatient and an outpatient) for this condition (Post Natal Depression and Anxiety) and after the first hospital stay I received much support from the Community Mental Health Care nurses. I have a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist and I have participated in psychotherapy courses and have learnt about cognitive behaviour therapy. I still take medication and am very aware of keeping myself both physically and mentally well. Parenting is job that requires you to be well in both mind and body and I am so glad that I received the help I so desperately needed. I speak openly about my experience because, I think that it is important for people to be aware that this can condition can happen but, to also know that there is help for it and, you can be well again.
Be PNDA aware always!
"I knew on that day that I was unwell but decided that my only choice was to keep on going. I thought that I had to, I thought that was my only choice. I just didn't realise how much my life would change that day."
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