With Mental health being in the news a lot recently, I have gone back to think about the failings that I encountered with the people that were supposed to be helping me. Instead my own Health Visitor walked out when Tilly was 5 months old, she told me she didn't understand PND - I never saw her again! If it wasn't for charities like Home Start, I have no idea where I would be today. What you are about to read is shocking and sad, but it was also the reality of my life. I was lucky I had people to support me, I won my battle and although it has bought Bipolar to the surface, I know that I will never have a child again and therefore will never experience feelings like this. Luckily my relationship with Tilly is unbreakable!
When I was pregnant with Tilly I lost her twin @ 8 weeks, but people told me that i should be grateful that i still had one baby - call me selfish but I wanted them both and came close to losing Tilly @ 19 weeks.She was born on 9th march 2010 by C- section and Bethany my 15 yr old was there to be the first to hold her. All went well and I was allowed home 2 days later.I was fine for 6 weeks and i had loads of helpers with my 18 year old Kimmy, Zach 16 and Beth 15. they always took her for walks and helped out around the house.
At about 6 weeks, I started to feel very down and very restricted. Before I had Tilly, I was a happy go lucky girl with many friends and so much confidence. I started to drink quite heavily and every day - I thought nothing of going out for the night and not coming home. Tilly was left with my other children. I started to resent Tilly and all though it hurts me to think this now, but at the time I hoped I would wake up and she wouldn't be there- then my life would be back to normal.
I wanted to be with people all the time and never be at home.
I got close to a male friend and we started to sleep together, the first time it happened was when Tilly was 4 weeks old. this continued on through the summer.
At 6 weeks I was diagnosed with PND and given 20mg Citalopram to take, after a few weeks of being on this dose, a so-called friend, told me that I didn't look like I was coping so encouraged me to go back to the docs and get my meds increased. They were increased to 40mg, but I had side effects and couldn't stop shaking. My life was spiralling out of control and I couldn't stop it :(
One night I was in the pub and I stood and told everybody at the top my voice that I hated my baby, and I tried to give her away to random strangers. looking back now - this horrifies me, but at the time it seemed normal.
I went back to the doctors and she reduced my medication to 30 mg, but I told her that the medication had made me feel worse, and as I trusted a doctors judgement - I took the pills. I started to feel like people were talking about me and my confidence dropped.
I tried to carry on as what I perceived as normal - but the heavy drinking and the staying out all night with my male friend was taking its toll on my home life - I tried everything to stay away from home, from reality.
one evening after drinking with someone who I thought was a friend I went home very tearful and with out even thinking about it, i took a months worth of meds and downed them!
The worst thing was that my kimmy realised what I had done and called an ambulance..... the look on her face and the panic in her voice will live with me forever.I was taken to hospital and wasn't released till I saw a psychiatrist and I lied through my teeth so that I would be released. Lying in that hospital bed, made me realise how close I came to losing my teenagers. I realised that I had to sort myself out.
I went home and all my kids got in bed with me for the night, and for the first time ever I put my baby in my bed and slept with her. I had to bond with her, little did I know this would be the start of 5 years of co-sleeping. I didn't let my kids out of my sight for a week after the overdose, and never left the house. I came of my meds and realisation set in that been played by my friend who had been the one who had encouraged me to get higher meds and then lied to people around me. I found out in a few days after the overdose, that she had told people that I stole from her. she also told people that she had been left to cope with Tilly whilst I was in hospital - again she was lying. She had also lied about my male friend trying to rape her and had lied to him about me. she had taken advantage of my state of mind.
I slowly bonded with my baby and carried on sleeping with her - it meant I was the first thing she saw in the morning and she was the first thing I saw.It was hard coming off the meds, the feeling of people talking about me returned, I had this part of my brain convinced that when I saw peoples lips move the words coming out were about me. I had a battle of evilness going on in my head, and I had a little bit of my mind trying to tell me that it was ok and they weren't talking about me. but the evilness kept winning. I found myself checking the local newspaper to see if there was any articles about, anything nasty said about me in the letters page. other than that I was coping without the meds - every night I would congratulate myself at getting through another day :)
My relationship with Tilly was growing, but i was still pleased to get back to work from maternity leave. so when she was 7 months I was back in superdrug, three days a week. I would get up and enjoy going to work - but eventually I started to panic at the thought and the thoughts in my head were telling me that everyone would be nasty to me, and I would see people talking and thinking that they were talking about me.
All was going well and I coped until before Xmas when Tilly was ill again. I started to think the childminder was somehow poisoning Tilly, as she was always ill with a cold, or sickness and eventually bronchiolitus and had to go to hospital. looking back now, I know its not true. it was me being delusional.
I struggled through Xmas and January, but the thoughts were getting more convincing, till I realised what was happening again and I knew I had to get help again. The doctor was very helpful and told me it is a psychosis and I am learning to live with it. I am back on the meds and see a psyhiatric nurse every other week. I have cut down my hours at work, so that I only need the childminder for 4 hours a week - I still don't like dropping her off. I keep telling myself that tilly is safe there and they won't harm her, but sometimes its hard. I know that she is safe, but there is a constant good V evil going on. I call the evilness in my mind the devil, and the goodness is the angel.
Alot of people abandoned me, when i needed them. One called me a drama queen. But some friends have helped me through and I am lucky to have them.
I am living day to day with this and I WILL WIN xx