Diagnosis: post-partum psychosis (Memories from my days in hospital)
October 21, 2014
It all started less than two months ago. I ended up in hospital, after two days as an in-patient. They said it: post-partum psychosis.
How on Earth do you carry on with your normal everyday life when you’ve been diagnosed with a mental illness?
I though about starting a conversation about this. Not too sure if to throw it out there… but if I don’t, what’s the point? I thought there will be people out there experiencing something similar. Some new mums desperate for help, and I can offer my experience, as a basis to start talking about this, get the ball rolling.
I’m a new mum. My baby Julian is almost 8 months old. He’s a precious little thing, living in his own world. I couldn’t connect with him as much as I’d love to after I got sick, two months ago.
I was delusional. I thought that my partner and all of my friends were part of a gang trying to poison me and Julian. I escaped home twice, the second one on a Monday night at 1.30 am singing a mantra under the rain, carrying my baby in a pouch. I wanted to go to Town Hall police station. There were no trains. The brothel workers waiting at Artarmon station spoke no English, but I managed to make myself understood: please call 000. My baby and I need HELP. When I spoke to emergency, they asked too many questions… that I thought it was a waste of time as I needed the ambulance NOW, that same moment. I ended up hanging up and catching the night bus with the brothels workers, all going to the city.
The cops looked at me in disbelief. They said every night they hear a similar story, but I managed to convince them to call an ambulance. Take me to a hospital, and then I will be safe. I ended up in RPA Missenden unit, the Psychiatric unit, emergency department. I was there for 2 nights, until I could prove that I was not as insane as everyone else.
But no sooner was I out, I was back in hospital again, of my own accord this time. The Royal North Shore, for another two nights, until I was transferred to the best hospital of its kind in NSW: St John of God, mother & baby unit. I was there for a month, recently discharged a week ago.
This was one of the most terrifying experiences of my whole life. And I think it felt like this, because I’m a new mother and I’m responsible for the care of my baby.
St. John of God does a terrific job with new mothers with similar illnesses like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and psychotic episodes. They have group therapy twice a day, a holistic approach of carers with nurses, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, medication, meals, art therapy, walks, bonding time with the babies. Everything is in the right place for the affected mothers to recover quickly, and so I did.
So that’s why I’m here telling you my story. Because I made it to the other side. It’s still challenging, every day, I’m learning how to live again with who I am.
And on the other side, everything seems exciting, like a new road, so many things to learn ahead, a different horizon, too many strategies to put into place.
And tomorrow, there’s always tomorrow and a new beginning.