Adele’s best friend has revealed her postpartum psychosis left her with such extreme paranoia she believed her son’s teddy bear had ‘cameras in its eyes’.   

Laura Dockrill, 34, from Brixton, gave birth to baby boy Jet, who is singer Adele’s godson, in August 2018, and began experiencing severe anxiety and paranoia, which left her with ‘overwhelming suicidal thoughts’. 

It wasn’t until her friend Adele noticed her symptoms during a video call and advised her to see a doctor that she was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis, which can cause new mothers to experience hallucinations and delusions.

Appearing on Loose Women today, she detailed the extent of her illness, and revealed that she had feelings of ‘panic and terror’ so extreme that she thought the tree outside her house was ‘warning her’ about something. 

Laura Dockrill, 34, from Brixton, (pictured left) gave birth to baby boy Jet, who is singer Adele's godson, in August 2018, and began experiencing severe anxiety and paranoia

Laura Dockrill, 34, from Brixton, (pictured left) gave birth to baby boy Jet, who is singer Adele’s godson, in August 2018, and began experiencing severe anxiety and paranoia

Appearing on Loose Women today, she revealed her postpartum psychosis left her with such extreme paranoia she believed her son's teddy bear had 'cameras in it's eyes'

Appearing on Loose Women today, she revealed her postpartum psychosis left her with such extreme paranoia she believed her son’s teddy bear had ‘cameras in it’s eyes’

‘Panic and terror was building, I’d never had a suicidal thoughts in my life but I started to believe that I was trapped and there was no way out, so suicidal thoughts were definitely overwhelming me. ‘ 

She went on: ‘Someone bought us a massive teddy bear and I thought the teddy bear had cameras in its eyes, and was CCTV operated. The big tree outside was warning me that I was part of some kind of narrative. 

‘I was really insecure, my self confidence was at an all time low, and I was really scared of something I couldn’t put my finger on.’ 

Postpartum psychosis is a serious mental health illness that can cause new mothers to experience hallucinations and delusions, and Laura told doctors are unsure if her illness is linked to the traumatic birth of her son. 

Laura revealed on the show that she had feelings of 'panic and terror' so extreme that she thought the tree outside her house was 'warning her' about something

Laura revealed on the show that she had feelings of ‘panic and terror’ so extreme that she thought the tree outside her house was ‘warning her’ about something

As the weeks went on, Laura felt an overwhelming sense of 'dread and doom' for an unexplained reason, which soon escalated into intense paranoia and suicidal thoughts

As the weeks went on, Laura felt an overwhelming sense of ‘dread and doom’ for an unexplained reason, which soon escalated into intense paranoia and suicidal thoughts

‘I had a dream pregnancy’, said Laura, ‘No sickness, I felt in control and I like I was doing something right. My labour, everything went wrong, I nearly died Jet nearly died, it was very intrusive and scary and nobody prepares you for it.’ 

The new mother was kept on the maternity ward for a week, describing it as like a ‘carousel of hell’. 

‘We were kept on the ward for a week, it was like a carousel of hell. There were just various mothers and babies crying, waking each other up.

‘The midwives were doing their best obviously, but coming from different ways of caring for a little one, thrashing their curtains up telling you to do this and that which is anxiety inducing in itself.

‘I was discharged after a week, both Jet and I, I thought everything would be fine and safe and I started having sense of anxiety saying you can’t do this, something bad is going to happen.’ 

As the weeks went on, Laura felt an overwhelming sense of ‘dread and doom’ for an unexplained reason, which soon escalated into intense paranoia and suicidal thoughts. 

WHAT IS POSTPARTUM PSYCHOSIS?

Postpartum psychosis is a serious mental health illness that can cause new mothers to experience hallucinations and delusions.

It affects around one-to-two in every 1,000 births, according to Postpartum Support International.

PP is different from the ‘baby blues’, which many mothers experience while they struggle to cope with the stress and hormonal changes that come with having children.

It is also different from postnatal depression, which affects one in 10 women to some extent. This can cause feelings of helplessness, as well as a loss of interest in the baby and crying frequently. 

PP’s symptoms usually start within the first two weeks. Some include:

  • Manic mood
  • Depression 
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Feeling paranoid or afraid
  • Restlessness
  • Confusion
  • Acting out of character

Its cause is unclear. Women are thought to be more at risk if they have:

  • A family history of mental illness, particularly PP
  • Bipolar disorder or schizophrenia
  • A traumatic birth or pregnancy
  • Suffered from PP in the past 

Ideally, patients should be put on a specialist psychiatric unit, called a mother and baby unit (MBU), where they can still be with their child. They may be admitted to a general psychiatric ward until a MBU becomes available. 

Antidepressants may be prescribed to ease symptoms, as well as anti-psychotics and mood stabilisers, like lithium. 

Psychological therapy, like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), may help patients manage how they think and act.

In rare cases, electroconvulsive therapy can help with severe depression or mania.

Most women with PP make a full recovery if treated correctly. 

Severe symptoms tend to last between two and 12 weeks. However, it can take a year or more for women to recover.

A PP episode can be followed by a period of depression, anxiety and low confidence. Some women then struggle to bond with their baby or feel like they missed out.

These feelings can usually be overcome with the help of a mental health support team.

Around half of women who have PP suffer again in future pregnancies.  Those who are at high risk should receive specialist care from a psychiatrist while they are expecting. 

Source: NHS 

‘The sleep deprivation crept up quickly’, she said, ‘But there was something else there, I’ve never had a history of mental health issues before. 

‘I had this sense of dread and doom feeling something bad is going to happen and it escalated very quickly within three weeks.’   

It wasn’t until Adele spotted Laura’s symptoms while they were FaceTiming, that Laura knew she had to address her problem, and was given a diagnosis for postpartum psychosis. 

‘She recognised it in me, I was on the phone FaceTiming her and she was the first one to detect what I might have,’ Laura told Radio 1 Newsbeat in 2018. 

She added: ‘The last six months can only be described as hell, it’s been the worst time of my life.’ 

Now, Laura says she's doing 'better than ever', and has since penned a book detailing the struggles of the mental health issue titled What Have I Done?

Now, Laura says she’s doing ‘better than ever’, and has since penned a book detailing the struggles of the mental health issue titled What Have I Done?

Now, Laura says she’s doing ‘better than ever’, and has since penned a book detailing the struggles of the mental health issue titled What Have I Done? 

‘I’m doing better than ever there are so many pros’, said Laura, ‘I feel much more plugged into the universe and safe and writing the book, that active recovery has just kept me strong and well.’  

Laura, who is a performance poet, author and illustrator, detailed the terrifying impact of her illness in an article written for Mother Of Fall Lists in 2018. 

In the piece, Laura praises her ‘one and only spirit sister Adele’ for her support, before Adele shared a link to the article and urged fellow mothers to discuss how they are feeling after birth. 

Adele and Laura formed their friendship when they both attended the prestigious BRIT School, known for churning out a host of stars, and remain firm pals to this day despite a fleeting falling out which inspired Adele’s track My Same. 



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