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Thread: Hallucinations?

  1. #1

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    Default Hallucinations?

    I've never, that I know of, had hallucinations before in my life. I've always remembered wondering what it would actually be like to see something that's not real, only you see it as real. Mostly I wonder that when it happens in a movie.

    Last night though, I had my second hallucination, and it scared the pants of me and freaked out DH. I've had it once before in the past two weeks, but nothing like it was last night.



    The hallucination is that Savannah is inside the doona cover and she's suffocating. I wake up and all of a sudden realise she's somehow managed to get in between the two pieces of material that make the doona cover up, and she's right up the top end (so not down the bottom where I could rip open buttons). I can see the shape of her, and I can see her kicking her legs and arms around violently - ie if she was struggling to break out.

    First time it happened I was in the spare room and I must have snapped out of it pretty quick as it wasn't that bad - more just weird. Last night though DH was standing beside the bed (holding Savannah no less) and witnessed the whole thing. He said I was extremely panicked (as you would be if you think your child is in trouble) and was desperately trying to rip open the doona cover.

    He also said that it took a few tries for me to "hear" him - in that he was calling out my name and asking what's wrong, but I didn't answer straight away. When I did realise he was talking to me I screamed that she was stuck in the doona, and he said back that no, she was fine and "here, I am holding her". It was then that I just burst into uncontrollable sobbing and grabbed her for cuddles.

    Is this just a lack of sleep causing this?

  2. #2

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    ok , a few things ... firstly a lack of sleep could be affecting this ... i went through horrific nightmares when ds was a new born ..

    secondly , it could be a sign of PND .... i would seek help right away and doc's can help you ....

    there is also some thing called postnatal psychosis

    http://www.panda.org.au/docs/What%20...hosis%2005.doc

    here is the link, its a long over view but it may help you figure out whats happening ..
    hallucinations happen to me when i have a fever , its been a while since i have had them (years ) but they are very scary ...

    :hugs: please seek some help honey ..

  3. #3

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    I'm not sure, but motherly instinct & paranoya might have something to do with it. The number of times I woke up freaking out & waking DH up coz I thought he was on top of one of the girls.
    In the first few months I did it at least once a week. I would feel him roll over in my sleep & frantically push him over saying 'get off her!' only to snap out of it a little while later & realise that bub is in the cot next to the bed where I put her. I would've never put them in bed with us, but thought I did anyway.
    I'm not sure if it's the same thing, but once they were older I got over it.
    As I said it was in the first few weeks only. DD2 could get into bed next to me now & I don't even notice til I wake up in the morning in pain coz I've made room in my sleep to accomidate her & DH & left no room in between them for myself! And haven't moved for hours coz there's no room to.

  4. #4

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    Ok, that sounds terrifying and I agree you need to see a doctor as I too thought straight away of postnatal psychosis. That might not be the case here but better to be safe than sorry.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by nixonsmama View Post
    secondly , it could be a sign of PND .... i would seek help right away and doc's can help you ....
    Eek, seriously? I did some reading into PND prior to giving birth so that DH would know what to look for. Honestly though I don't feel even the little bit sad, let alone depressed. I actually feel pretty chipper through out the day.

    Quote Originally Posted by nixonsmama View Post
    there is also some thing called postnatal psychosis

    http://www.panda.org.au/docs/What%20...hosis%2005.doc

    here is the link, its a long over view but it may help you figure out whats happening ..
    I can't seem to get the link to open.

    The reason I just assumed it was lack of sleep, is that although I feel fine during the day awakeness wise, I'm only getting a few hours each night. Yesterday Savannah fed from 2:30 - 3:30am and I nodded off not long after that, but was up again at 7:40 to take DH to the train station. I didn't actually end up going back to bed because I felt fine energy wise.

    I was actually awake right up until 2:30am this morning, and it was 3:30 - 4:00am that the hallucination happened.

  6. #6

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    long read , but this is from the PANDA website .... and PND can manifest its self in many ways... i never thought i had it untill i saw a psyc and i kept wondering why i was having panic attacks ... but once those darn psycs peel back our onion layers, its easy to see ...

    and by the way it may not even be PND at all , but a check up at the docs will help !!!

    read on !!




    OVERVIEW
    The term psychosis is the name for a group of mental illnesses where there is a loss of contact with reality. With time and careful management, most people do recover fully from these episodes – many never having another episode again.
    Unfortunately, a woman is most at risk of developing a significant mental illness during pregnancy or in the first year following birth. Of these, postnatal depression is the most common, but postnatal psychosis, although relatively rare, is the most dramatic and severe requiring emergency, specialist treatment by mental health professionals in an in-patient psychiatric unit. Postpartum psychosis is considered to be a psychiatric emergency, as the safety of the mother and her infant may be at risk. Whether the mother and her infant are cared for together or separately will largely be determined by the severity of the illness, the mother’s symptoms, an individual needs assessment and/or the availability of mother baby unit beds. Not all places have mother baby units, so the options for in-patient treatment may differ depending on where the mother lives.
    Mother baby units are specialist in-patient psychiatric units that have been established to provide psychiatric care for mothers together with their babies to minimize disruption to the relationship and to focus on the mother-baby relationship as an integral component of treatment.
    INCIDENCE AND RECURRENCE
    Postpartum psychosis affects about 1:700-1,000 women in the immediate postpartum period and is more common after a first pregnancy. The rate of recurrence in a future pregnancy is relatively high (approx. 20%), especially if the interval between pregnancies is short, so careful family planning, monitoring and specialist follow up is essential.
    CAUSES
    There is no real known definitive cause, however, there are theories that the biological changes involved in pregnancy and childbirth may trigger the disorder. Other factors which may contribute to its development include:
    • a genetic predisposition
    • previous mental illness
    • environmental, social and psychological stress factors
    SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
    These are generally quite marked, disturbing and are characterized by severely disturbed mood and behaviour:
    • a very high or elated mood, agitation, aggression or grandiose ideas about own abilities.
    • a very low, depressed mood, withdrawal, teariness.
    • moods that swing rapidly from high to low.
    • thought disorder - a disturbance in thought processes which may be evident in the mother’s speech.
    • delusions – false, firmly held beliefs. The mother is usually so convinced of her delusion that the most logical argument against it is useless and counter-productive (agreement is also counter-productive).


    • conversations may be nonsensical; words may be expressed rapidly, jumping from one point to another.
    • hallucinations - disturbances in perception, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting or touching something that is not actually there.
    • behaviour may be odd or uncharacteristic. The mother may do things she would not normally do and respond inappropriately to the baby.
    • sleep disturbances, such as difficulty getting to sleep, waking frequently during the night or getting up very early unrelated to baby’s needs.
    • failing to recognize/accept that help is warranted.
    **In postpartum psychosis, the possibility of suicide and/or infanticide are very real, so the degree of risk to the mother and her infant require careful assessment and consideration. The relationship between the mother and her infant and/or other siblings requires close monitoring as the ability of the mother to make safe decisions is compromised.
    If the mother and her infant are separated, the infant should ideally be cared for by an immediate supportive family member with frequent visits to the mother where possible to enhance the mother/infant bond. Occasionally, this may not be in the mother’s or the baby’s best interests, so this should be based on an individual needs assessment.
    PROGNOSIS
    Despite postpartum psychosis being an acute and severe disorder, recovery is generally complete with a 20% recurrence rate in future pregnancies.

    TREATMENT OPTIONS
    This may involve a combination of several options including:
    Hospitalization
    Admission to an in-patient psychiatric hospital/unit is almost always necessary. Ideally, this would be in a specialist mother baby unit depending on suitability and availability.
    Medication
    This is also usually always necessary and may include antipsychotics, mood stabilizers and/or antidepressants. These need to be carefully prescribed and monitored. The aim of these drugs is to reduce the symptoms of mania (if these are the predominant symptoms), restore sleep, reduce anxiety and lift the mood (if depression is the predominant feature). Response to mood stabilizers and antipsychotics is usually rapid, but antidepressants usually take several weeks to take effect.
    If the mother is breastfeeding, this will need to be carefully discussed and options considered. Breastfeeding whilst taking mood stabilizers and antipsychotics is not generally favoured or encouraged due to the possible side effects to the infant. There is also currently a lack of reliable research to support their safety. The modern antidepressants are considered relatively safe and breastfeeding is generally not contraindicated in their use.
    * The use of drug therapy should always be discussed carefully with sound, current medical advice. Most hospitals also have Lactation Consultants on staff who may also be able to offer some guidance and assistance with current information on this matter.

    ECT ( Electro-convulsive therapy)
    The acuity of symptoms will determine whether ECT is an option to consider or not. When used, it often has very good and rapid effects. Although it may sound frightening, the treatment itself is administered under a general anaesthetic and muscle relaxant and is painless. It is usually administered as a course of 6-8 treatments depending on the mother’s response. It may be followed by a headache, nausea and temporary memory loss but these side effects are generally transient with no long-term problems.
    Medication plus ECT
    This combination often works rapidly to control acute symptoms and minimize long term effects of the illness.
    Additional therapies following stabilization
    These may include - counselling, relaxation, individual psychotherapy, and support groups – it is usually very helpful to talk to others who have been through the same experience.
    Emotional and practical supports
    This is crucial for short and long term recovery as return to normal may be a long and slow process, so a great deal of practical and emotional help and support is usually required not only for the mother but the entire family. Partners of women who experience postpartum psychosis require extra support and information to enable them to provide special care to their partners through a long and often intense recovery period.
    Education and careful follow up
    This is essential for the development of an understanding of the illness as well as for the prevention and early intervention of subsequent illnesses. Careful monitoring of medication, relational issues and mother/infant attachment is crucial as is careful family planning and linking in with specialist services.
    G.P’s and Maternal and Child Health Nurses are primary health care professionals who may be an invaluable source of support and follow up.
    The Post and Antenatal Depression Association (PANDA) is a community resource offering referral, phone support and education for sufferers, families, health professionals and other workers involved in the care of women with childbirth related mental illness.


    References:
    Buist, A (1996). Psychiatric Disorders Associated with Childbirth – a guide to management. McGraw – Hill.
    Brockington, I (1996). Motherhood and Mental Illness. Oxford University Press.
    Hamilton, J.A; Neel Harberger, P. (1992). Postpartum Psychiatric illness – a picture puzzle. University of Pennsylvania Press.
    NHMRC (2000). An information paper. Postnatal depression – a systematic review of published scientific literature to 1999.

  7. #7

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    Thankyou for that nixonsmama.

    Not that I'm saying I don't have it, but after having a read through the symptoms, and nothing really appears to fit me.

    I had another mild one (hallucination) tonight. As soon as it started through I knew what it was and pretty much immediately thought "hang on, is Savannah even here" and realised she wasn't, she was in the lounge room with DH. Felt good to 'snap' myself out of it.

  8. #8

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    thats good , pnp sounds very scary , i was scared of it when i gave birth, because i suffer from pnd and anx ... but it never happened ... but have you booked an appt to see a doctor???

    if they keep happening it would be very taxing on your body , and your mind must be exhusted , i remeber when my ocd got really really bad , i could sleep for ages because i was usuing so much nervous energy and my mind was knackered .... off the topic a bit , but get to a gp asap , maybe even a mother and child health unit could work , then you could get some rest and learn stuff at the same time ...

    best of luck , let us know how you go

  9. #9

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    Haydies

    I know exactly how you feel!!!!

    I have had a very similar thing happen to me and in the early days it was a few times a week. I would wake up in a aweful panic and think that DS was in the bed and trapped under the covers/pillows. A few times I even cradled a pillow thinking it was him until DH woke me up. One other symptom I was having was really terrible night sweats, it was aweful, I would wake up soaking. It was really worrying me and I told my Doula and also did some reseach, turns out when you are breastfeeding some women get nightsweats and have panic attacks, heart pulpitations because of the levels of progesterone. I then spoke with the Ob and she said that during breastfeeding some women experience the symptoms exactly the same as menopause. So I wasn't having hallucinations, it was panic attacks. They have really eased now and I haven't had one for at least a fortnight.

    I think it is worth talking to your Doc about, but from what you describe it sounds so similar to what is happening to me.

    HTH
    Spring

  10. #10

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    Is it happening when you are awake or asleep? or after sleeping? I had very similar dreams all the time when Em was little. I would wake & think I dropped her from the bed only to remember that she was in her cot. Or that DH was rolling onto her etc. I think that's just our subconsious being overprotective of our little ones.

    If you are wide awake & it's happening though, I'd be seeing someone straight away. The fact that you were able to snap yourself out of this last one tells me that it's not PNP, but if you are unable to see that it's not reality, do seek help ASAP.

  11. #11

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    Doc has said that it's most likely just a sever lack of sleep that's caused/causing them. Given the night it happened the worst (the one that prompted the post) I was going almost 48 hours on about 3 hours sleep, it's "not surprising to have effects".

    Spring Angel I've had a few nights in the past week where I've woken up practically dripping in sweat too. One time in particular I remember waking and the bottom sheet, pillow case and doona cover were all damp. I had read prior that b/fing can result in being hotter - but that was crazy!

    *Linda* - I think I'm awake when it's happening, not 100% sure though. I'll be asleep, and then it's like that thought that she is caught in the doona covers is what wakes me... or I wake and it happens a millisecond afterwards.

  12. #12

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    I agree that you should get it checked if you think you are awake before hand, but when I was going through it it seemed as if I was awake coz it just seemed so real. & as I said it was when I felt DH roll over that I would wake up pushing him & saying get off her!! I woke up before I started pushing him over. It just took me a few minutes to wake up properly & realise that it wasn't real.

    BUT, I did suffer PND with both the girls too. Not PNP. Maybe you could look into this & keep a close eye on yourself in the next few weeks. I never thought before that this could be linked. I just assumed it was due to me having a new baby that I was very overprotective of.

    Now that all this has been said I will be paying more attention to myself after I have this bub. Hopefully you are perfectly fine & it all goes away soon. Lack of sleep can do horrible things to your head!

    Good luck.

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