I still struggled to explain to my GP how I was feeling. The PND I could explain but the other stuff? The intrusive thoughts? The fear? I was truly afraid she might call DOCS. Postpartum anxiety and OCD wasn't as widely understood in 2012. There was still some resources that linked OCD and psychosis which terrified me to my core. I very quickly learnt that postpartum OCD and psychosis ARE NOT THE SAME IN ANY WAY. In fact, they are at polar opposites on the mental health scale. Sufferers of postnatal OCD agonise over what they're thinking BECAUSE they don't want to be thinking it. They try everything to block/shut out/argue with their thoughts, ironically, strengthening them and often making them worse. They want desperately to be 'good' mothers to their children but fear that they are not.
Sufferers of postnatal psychosis on the other hand have lost touch with reality and do not have the constant battle going on in their heads. They believe what they're thinking to be true, which is what makes the condition acute and dangerous.
Thankfully, after a couple of false starts, I found a wonderful psychologist who understood immediately what was going on. I barely had to explain where my mind had been going before she told me that I was suffering from postpartum OCD. She also told me I was not, in any way, a danger to my son. The relief I felt, the weight that lifted with those words is something I can still almost feel, 8 years on. She got it. I wasn't a monster. I wasn't going to lose my son. And I could get better. And, thanks to medication that I still take today, and weekly therapy sessions, I did get better. It wasn't a quick process and it required time and effort but it was all absolutely worth it.
I feel like I got given back the chance to not only be a mother but ENJOY being a mother. I was able to make up for the time I'd lost when I'd been physically present but mentally struggling. I also made a promise to myself and to my son that I wouldn't let things become like that again. That I would not only seek help when I needed it but would proactively take care of my mental health and do what it took to stay on top of it.