Lacey Faulds’ postpartum psychosis saw her sprinting to avoid ‘spies’ and paranoid that snipers were following her.
But the 29-year-old didn’t start experiencing this straight after her baby son, Alfie, was born.
Instead she started to suffer with the condition when he was five months old – in August 2019.
Lacey’s problems began after Alfie developed food allergies, which left him frequently unsettled.
Unable to soothe him, Lacey’s undiagnosed postnatal depression worsened and she struggled to cope alone as her navy officer husband, David Faulds, was often working away.
In just a few days the mum-of-two fell into a severe psychosis and became convinced ‘snipers from social services’ were following her.
Lacey would run to and from her five-year-old daughter’s school in fear of these ‘spies’ and even stripped off in the playground at the height of her illness.
The mum, who owns a soap business, says: ‘Looking back it seems so unreal but at the time that was my reality.
‘Now I can see that of course that wasn’t the case, it’s like looking back on a movie or a video game, it’s so surreal.
‘I don’t even really remember why I was trying to strip in the playground.
‘I was just not in my right mind at all.
‘But I really thought I was being followed by social services spies and that snipers were trying to take me out – and I blamed my little boy.
‘I literally believed that my baby was the devil.’
After struggling for two weeks, she finally asked her husband for help.
She adds: ‘It got so bad that I thought about ending it all, thankfully I called my husband in bits who took me straight to the GP.
‘I’d been trying to hide how awful I felt, I felt so guilty for hating my son.’
A GP arranged for Lacey to move into an NHS mother and baby unit in Bournemouth – where she stayed for seven weeks before heading to Mulberry Lodge Mother and Baby Unit, in Winchester.
Doctors told Lacey that her case was quite unusual – as she developed psychosis five months after giving birth.
They also explained how rare it was for this to develop after a second pregnancy – as it mostly affects first-time mothers.
Lacey says: ‘I spent seven weeks in the unit with Alfie. For a long time I couldn’t understand why I was there, I was still so deep in the delusion.
‘But after lots of talking therapy and medication I finally started to feel better.’
Now, almost two years on, Lacey and Alfie have a great connection.
She adds: ‘Alfie and I have had a chance to bond properly now, it was amazing to feel that rush of natural mother’s love for him that had been missing for so long.
‘He’s a such a crazy little boy, he’s like a tornado through the house but I wouldn’t change him.’
Lacey hopes her story will raise awareness of the condition and help other new mums.
‘I was in such a dark place and I just want to be able to help other women that might be experiencing something similar,’ she adds.
‘Issues like these can be so hard to talk about because they’re so horrible and taboo but it’s really important we do.
‘I felt ashamed and guilty which is why I waited so long to ask for help.
‘I feel like I missed out on so much of Alfie being a baby.
‘But we’re making up for lost time now.’
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