Real life mental health stories: postpartum psychosis

Disclaimer: this may read like a story, but it is a real life account by someone. Please note that this story may be difficult to read if you are a mum, if you are pregnant, or if you want to be a mum in the future. 

Please do not read if you are afraid this will negatively impact your mental health – and take the necessary precautions. 

The original of this post was written in French and you can find it here.

postpartum psychosis
Photo by Josh Willink from Pexels

Who are you, and what made you want to share your story?

My name is Aurélie, I am the mother of three children, and I work in childcare. After the birth of my first son, I experienced the worst time of my life. I wanted to share my experience because while baby blues and postpartum depression are somewhat well known, they are still relatively taboo in our society.

On the other hand, postpartum psychosis is barely talked about at all if not completely unknown for most people. And yet, a number of young mothers go through this experience or through depression, while their friends and family aren’t able to understand or identify what’s happening to them. 

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Histoire vraie: la psychose post-partum

Attention! Ce texte peut paraître invraisemblable mais il s’agit réellement d’une histoire vécue par quelqu’un.

Il se peut que ce texte soit difficile à lire si vous êtes maman, enceinte ou souhaitez avoir des enfants. Si vous pensez que ce text peut vous troubler, ne le lisez pas ou alors prenez les précautions nécessaires en le lisant avec quelqu’un.

Qui es-tu et pourquoi la volonté de partager ton histoire?

Je m’appelle Aurélie, je suis maman de 3 enfants et éducatrice. Après la naissance de mon premier fils, j’ai connu la pire tempête de ma vie.  J’avais envie de relater mon expérience car, si le baby blues lui, est bien expliqué par le monde médical, le sujet de la dépression post-partum reste encore tabou dans notre société. 

La psychose post-partum quant à elle, est carrément inconnue pour la plupart d’entre nous. Pourtant, un nombre non négligeable de mamans connaissent un épisode dépressif après la naissance d’un enfant et leur entourage n’est pas toujours capable de le déceler ni de comprendre ce que cette maman peut traverser.

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Real life mental health stories: totally burnt out

Who are you, and why did you decide to share your story?

I am an Italian woman in my mid-thirties and I work in the humanitarian sector. During a recent long-term field assignment, I experienced what I later discovered to be burnout. At the time I had little knowledge about this mental health issue, so for a long time I simply ignored the signals my mind and my body were sending me. 

By sharing my experience, I’d like to shed light on burnout, its symptoms and its consequences. In my sector there is still a lot of stigma around it, so I think that reading about others’ stories may be of help to those going through (or suspecting they are going through) the same experience. 

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Real life mental health stories: intrusive thoughts OCD

Intrusive thoughts

Who are you, and why did you decide to share your story?

I am a 35 year old French woman who has been living in Geneva for the last 12 years. I am the mum of 2 beautiful kids ages 4 & 7. 

I have an obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), called phobia of committing impulsive acts. In a few words I would summarize it as the fear of becoming crazy and doing things you don’t want to do.

When was the first time you became aware you were suffering from a mental health/wellness issue? 

I have always been quite anxious as far as I can remember but that particular form, the phobia of committing impulsive acts, first revealed itself about 10 years ago. I was in my kitchen preparing dinner with my husband and all of a sudden, the thought hit me “what if I killed my husband”. I didn’t want to, absolutely not, but all of sudden I was attacked by intrusive thoughts, all going around the theme of “what if I became crazy”, “what if suddenly hit him with a knife”. 

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On suicide…

Trigger warning! This poem may be difficult to read if you know someone who has committed suicide, if you yourself have had suicidal thoughts, or if the topic of suicide is difficult for you whatever the reason may be. Please do not read if you don’t feel ready to do so.

If you want to read make sure you feel in a good place with your mental health, perhaps read it with a friend or do whatever you need so as to not feel triggered. Please also check local resources (and on this website) to support you with your mental health.

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12 ways you know you’re in the right job

12 ways you know you're in the right job

While I’ve often talked about the negative circumstances you can encounter in the workplace and how these contribute to mental health problems, it’s also important to talk about the positive experiences to counterbalance that. After all it’s not all doom and gloom and there are plenty of experiences to show there is hope when it comes to finding a workplace that is good for your mental health.

What’s more, it’s important for you to think about what a good place to work might look like for you, when it comes to your mental health. How do you want to feel in the workplace, and more importantly, how will you know it’s “right”?

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Overcoming shame

This blog post is part of a series on men’s mental health for Movember. In this series, different men give their perspective on male mental health. What does it mean to deal with mental health as a man?

In certain cases as with the interview below, people have had the courage to reveal their identity. This is both brave and vulnerable, congratulations to them!

Ahmad

This guest blog post is written by Ahmad Jooma. I asked Ahmad to contribute his story around mental health, as a man and co-host of the podcast Authentic Dating Series. The below is Ahmad’s interpretation of that, and personal story. For him, shame was linked to his ability to fully show up as a man.

Imagine the consequences of that for mental health! Mental health doesn’t have to be about a burnout or a full mental breakdown, it can also be tied to your self-confidence and your ability to be open with others.

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Helping prevent suicide in men

Ben Akers

This blog post is part of a series on men’s mental health for Movember. In this series, different men give their perspective on male mental health. What does it mean to deal with mental health as a man?

In certain cases as with the interview below, people have had the courage to reveal their identity. This is both brave and vulnerable, congratulations to them!

What made you want to share your story? Please introduce yourself

Hi my name is Ben Akers, I’m 44, father of 3. I live in Bristol in the UK. I’m a Documentary Maker, Problem Solver and Mental Fitness Campaigner.

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Managing my mental health by myself

This blog post is part of a series on men’s mental health for Movember. In this series, different men give their perspective on male mental health. What does it mean to deal with mental health as a man?

In certain cases as with the interview below, people have had the courage to reveal their identity. This is both brave and vulnerable, congratulations to them!

What made you want to share your story? Please introduce yourself

In certain cases as with the interview below, people have had the courage to reveal their identity. This is both brave and vulnerable, congratulations to them!

I’m Adrian, 48, broke and living on the kindness of others. I’ve had a lifelong battle with my mental health of which there are many diagnoses. I want to share, in order to let people know that they are not alone – as I have felt for most of my life. 

 

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Understanding mental health through the lens of relationships

This blog post is part of a series on men’s mental health for Movember. In this series, different men give their perspective on male mental health. What does it mean to deal with mental health as a man?

In certain cases as with the interview below, people have had the courage to reveal their identity. This is both brave and vulnerable, congratulations to them!

What made you want to share your story? Please introduce yourself

mental health relationships
Jye

My name is Jye. I am 34 living in Sydney, Australia after having lived abroad for the last 7 years. I’ve worked in creative and professional service industries. 

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Managing my mental health amid a global pandemic

This blog post is part of a series on men’s mental health for Movember. In this series, different men give their perspective on male mental health. What does it mean to deal with mental health as a man?

In certain cases as with the interview below, people have had the courage to partly reveal their identity. This is both brave and vulnerable, congratulations to them!

What made you want to share your story? Please introduce yourself

I’m Nick, I’m 40 years old and I am a salesperson. I was furloughed in April and made redundant in September. I wanted to share my story with a focus on the last 7 months of lockdown and the pandemic,the effect this has had on my mental health and that of people I care about. 

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Addressing my mental health after 30 years

This blog post is part of a series on men’s mental health for Movember. In this series, different men give their perspective on male mental health. What does it mean to deal with mental health as a man?

In certain cases as with the interview below, people have had the courage to reveal their identity. This is both brave and vulnerable, congratulations to them!

What made you want to share your story? Please introduce yourself

Chris Hart
Chris

Hi, I’m Chris Hart, I’m 39 and live in the UK. I’m a dad to three boys and have worked in recruitment for the last 14 years.

I wanted to share my story because, slowly over the last couple of years I have become more comfortable in talking about my own experiences with Mental Health. It has taken nearly 39 years to get to this point, and now I want to do what I can to help others in talking about it and reducing the stigma.

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What a solo cycling journey taught me about mental health

This blog post is part of a series on men’s mental health for Movember. In this series, different men give their perspective on male mental health. What does it mean to deal with mental health as a man?

In certain cases as with the interview below, people have had the courage to reveal their identity. This is both brave and vulnerable, congratulations to them!

What made you want to share your story? Please introduce yourself

Dirk Spits
Dirk

My name is Dirk Spits, 39 years old. Between September 2013 and May 2015 I solo-cycled from the northern tip of Alaska to the southern point of South America, an expedition of over 30.000 km that took 20 months. I did this for my foundation called 99%RIDE, raising funds and awareness for small NGOs concerning children’s and educational projects.

During the expedition I experienced the most difficult (mental, physical and emotional) situations I have ever come across. The mental component has always fascinated me, and now I am always pleased to be able to share my story and experience with others.

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Shining a spotlight on men’s mental health

Men's mental health
Photo by Helena Lopes from Pexels

After the success of last year’s mental health awareness week campaign, I was wondering what I could do this year that would build on it and continue to add value for the readers of this blog.

As I started listening to podcasts such as The Authentic Dating Series, the Sanctus podcast on mental health, The lonely American man, attending talks and hearing people like Kevin Groen speak, I became more aware of issues such as toxic masculinity, and other societal pressure men have to deal with. This got me thinking about the impact it has on their mental health and their ability to talk about it.

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