My battle with postpartum OCD and anxiety

Three months after the birth of my second daughter I woke up in the middle of the night with terrible thought that I might hurt my baby. I got so scared that I couldn’t possibly fall back to sleep because I thought that If I can have that kind of thoughts that I might really hurt my baby. For the next 10 days I was really struggling and the thoughts came one ofter another. I couldn’t sleep and function normally. I was OK when my older daughter and husband were around, but as soon as I stayed alone with my baby thoughts came back and haunted me. I couldn’t even look at sharp objects, knifes or windows because I thought I could really do something bad. I even had suicidal thoughts and then I realized that it is not going to pass and that I have to get help.

I went to psychiatrist and was told that I had postpartum OCD that was triggered by exhaustion, hormonal disbalance, lack of sleep and traumatic birth experience that I tried to suppress. I got short term medication, a very small dose of antipsychotics because my doctor said that antidepressants would start working in 3 weeks and I couldn’t wait that long. Also, I was not depressed and I had instant connection with my baby and I really really loved her. I was just really terrified of myself and my thoughts. I thought that I was going to die. My medication worked immediately and after 10 days I went off the meds and felt good. I was still feeling anxious and guilty because I had to stop breastfeeding. My world fell apart and I lost myself and I was feeling desperate that I would never be myself again. I had great support from my husband and my family.

I had another relapse a month after when my first period showed up. I got back on the meds for one more week.
I started psychotherapy and I found out that I was a control freak, that I wanted so desperately to be a good mom, have a clean home, look good, feel good and to be available for everyone ignoring my own needs. My anxiety was a little Maria inside me calling me to slow down and make time and space for myself and my needs and to take care of my body and mind. The second I really started doing that I felt better. I started to eat healthy foods, after some time when I felt ready I started exercise, meditate and read a lot abut my problem. I stoped reading bad news and listening to people that were toxic for me. I started mindfulness course. I learned that I AM NOT my thoughts and that thoughts are just that, thoughts. They come and they go, like waves. The more I give them attention the more they grow. So I started to accept them and let them go and they stopped showing up. I was not trying to ignore them or suppress them, just sitting with them, acknowledging them and letting them go. I learned to tolerate bad emotions and accept them as normal part of life.

My battle lasted more than a year but I managed to heal. I belive I am still healing and I feel like my old but new and even better self. I grew, I got to know myself and sometimes I feel thankful for the things I got through. Dear women, you are not alone, get help, talk about your problems and thoughts and don’t be ashamed. You did not do anything wrong. You are strong and you WILL get through this and feel better again.

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