Postnatal paranoia

Having your own body torture your own mind, it’s hard to live a ‘normal‘ day to day life.

You can’t leave the house without thinking that the stranger on the other side of the street is staring at you, secretly judging you in those 2.5 seconds they have looked at you. Scared that while walking down the street that a random car is going to come and crash into you. Sweaty palms gripping the handles of the pram, not wanting to let go for fear it will roll into the busy road.

On most days the thought of stepping through your front door makes you hyper ventilate. Then while staring at the same four walls 24/7 you worry that you are depriving your children. People will be talking about you keeping your kids stuck indoors, judging, bitching. When you are mentally drained and need some ‘me’ time. You ask family or friends to watch your children just so you can have a few hours sleep, but you can’t sleep as your overthinking what everyone must be thinking of you, not being able to look after your own children. You can’t help but think you have let them down, that you’re a useless mother.

Then on a good day, when you are laughing and playing, you feel guilty that you send them off to family. Selfish because you want a day where you don’t have to be ‘mum’. You feel deflated that you can’t be this fun mum everyday. Back to square one feeling useless again.

When it comes to going back to work, at first seems like the best thing for your family, as the last few months living off basic maternity pay has been hard and put a huge strain on things. Including your relationship. But once you start work you are hit with a multitude of feelings. Dread, guilt, regret, sadness, panic and worry. You become distracted at work and become unbearably paranoid and you end up believing you aren’t good enough for the job.

Your mind is always on your children, scared that something will happen to them, it’s your duty to protect and look after them. Even though you know they are in perfectly safe and capable hands, anxiety takes over. You imagine the worst scenarios possible. What if they choked on some food, what if they fell and broke their neck or cracked their head open. Everything becomes an instant danger, even the soft play centre where they have played numerous times. In your head the climbing frames could collapse at any minute, crushing all the children in it. You’re physically sick, sweaty and can feel your chest getting tighter. You’ve had the odd panic attack before but these are on another level.

When you try to explain to someone how you feel, you just can’t. Sometimes your mind is empty, blank. There isn’t always a reason why you just randomly burst into tears. Sometimes instead of being asked if you’re ok, you just need a hug and to be told that everything will be ok. You shut yourself off when you are bombarded with ‘what’s up?‘ because the truth is, you don’t actually know. The times you do know what is troubling you don’t say it, in fear that people won’t understand or believe you. They tell you it’s just in your head or that you are using it as an excuse. You wish that was true, as it’s all starting to get too much. You are fed up of this mental torture.

Self harming thoughts pop into your head, you imagine yourself dying in an accident or being murdered. You believe that your family would truly be better off without you. No one wants broken goods so why would anyone want you.

After all, you believe that everyone is out to get you anyway, waiting for you to mess up. The whole wide world is against you, and you have no one that will ever truly understand. Counsellors, psychiatrists, doctors, medical professionals, they don’t know what it’s like to feel like your in a constant battle with your mind.

Every, single second.

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