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I experienced PPP 5 weeks after the birth of my second son, when I was severely sleep deprived from his terrible reflux. I had no history of mental health issues and awoke one day from a nap into an uncontrollable panic that turned into me being removed from my home by the police and ambulance into a&e.
For the next 48hours I was acutely psychotic, believing my children to be raped and murdered, my husband, parents and sister dead and that I had to die in the hospital bed 21 times in order to get back to my husband. A&E treated me inhumanely, they didn’t know what to do with me, and there were no beds in the mother and baby unit. I narrowly avoided being Sectioned into mental health hospital and following a sedative was sent back home to my family with no aftercare.
I remained acutely unwell for several months, experiencing hallucinations and delusions related to conspiracy theories, spies, world wars, lost children and paedophiles.
I had a newborn, a 20month old toddler and the strain on my family providing me with much needed 24hr supervision was immense. I appeared to fall in between the gaps between existing services and was treated poorly by a&e, gp, and first tier mental health services.
It was a significant struggle to find any service that could support me and my family at a time when Bradford had no specialist perinatal mental health service. It left me bewildered, isolated, frustrated and feeling alone at a time when I had never before been so vulnerable and in need. So called professionals did not really understand what PPP was, it’s effect on me and my family and it’s crippling fragmentation of my life.
My Sister in desperation googled and found APP, and got the help sheets produced by APP and these were invaluable to me understanding my symptoms and knowing recovery was possible. As I began to improve I used the peer support forum to learn more and realise I was not alone in what I was experiencing. APP supported me and my family during a time of terrible upset and their patient information, training, research and awareness raising is invaluable. Perinatal mental health matters. It’s not easy to acknowledge that things can be awful at a time when they are supposed to be joyous.
But the good news is, full recovery is entirely possible and in a weird kind of way, had it not happened, I might not have appreciated my beautiful boys as much as I do, and want to spend the majority of my time with them as I do now.
Help is out there, in the form of APP and all that it is doing for awareness raising towards investment in this neglected and important area of care.
Please give whatever you can in the hope that other new mums can be supported in a time of need.
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