Today’s post topic is on my experience of intrusive thoughts which is like watching a movie of my baby’s death over and over again.
It’s not really just a thought that crosses my mind, I suffer with the kind that are like visions which play in my head, sometimes over and over again, little horror video clips from the recesses of my mind.
I have good days and bad days with this. Before I started treatment for PNA I had mostly bad days where I would have these thoughts consistently through the day, and now sometimes I have a day where I might only have 3 of these vision/thoughts – that’s a really good day right now!
The below might be a distressing read for some so for those who should – please stop reading here & consider this my trigger warning. I took note of a days worth of thoughts that I’ve had to share so you can get an idea of what crosses the mind of someone with these types of thoughts and how life controlling they can become.
Each of the below is a death scene in my mind for my precious baby (although I won’t go into the gory details as that’s too distressing for me to share) They’re occurring as I go about the normal tasks of an average day.
These scenes include his death from:
– choking on a button from my pyjamas
– head hitting the concrete pavement when going for a walk in the pram
– shoving the dummy into his mouth too hard
– choking on his bottle
– dying from poisoned formula
– head hitting the doorway as I walk through it
– drowning in the bath
– electrocuted from baby monitor
– smothered by cushion
– car crash
– pram crash
– dog bite to face
– allergic reaction to cosmetics I use and anaphylaxis
– nappy cutting off his circulation too much
– throwing the Tv remote and it hitting the soft spot of his head
– hot water from the kettle pouring all over him
– a knife slipping out of my hand and somehow stabbing him
– broken glass cutting his veins
These thoughts are distressing and come with adrenaline rushes and feelings of anxiety that cause me to fear undertaking normal activities such as walking through doorways because I want to protect my son & also my mind from having to see that vision again. But you can’t just sit on the couch all day either.
On severe days I have meds that I can take as needed that calm the thoughts down so they’re soft enough to ignore, but those meds knock me out and I can’t take them everyday which is why my therapy is so important so I can have improvement in this area.
I can only imagine what it must be like to go through this and either not realise it is treatable, or be scared to admit to these thoughts for fear that people would think you intend to act on them, or that you are so intensely crazy that someone may consider whether your child is safe in your care.
It took me awhile to start to admit to the thoughts I was having but once I did I discovered that other people have similar thoughts to varying degrees. Apparently it is very common in the first month or so particularly to have a few thoughts or visions out of a hyper vigilance or hyper awareness of the fragility of the life of the new babe in your life, but this generally fades away as people become more confident and less hyper aware of this fragility.
In my case these thoughts continued to amp up rather than fade and became more severe in nature. It made me feel like I must be inherently bad – I’ve dreamed of having a baby for so long, how can I constantly keep thinking about him dying in such graphic ways? How does this reflect who I am?
I still don’t really understand why these thoughts are occurring as much as I understand that it is not as uncommon as I would have thought, and that they are automatic rather than by choice.
It is not just me.
I’m not a monster.
I’m am not a psychopath.
I won’t harm my baby.
My baby is safe in my care.
Thankfully with medications and therapy I’ve come to those realisations (although from time to time I still worry I’m bad). These thoughts are now slowly fading and I’m starting to walk through doorways without second guessing myself when I’m holding my son.
Thank goodness for that as there are actually a lot of doorways we walk through everyday! Count how many you walk through today and you will see what I mean.