Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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How many had PPP and PND?

I had postnatal depression after my PPP and was wondering how many other did too? Did all of us?

Does anyone know of any stats on this?

Thanks

Jen

12 Replies
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Hi,

I was undiagnosed in the mid 70's and early 80's and it wasn't until Dr Jones (APP) had access to my records sometime ago that he confirmed I had PP on both occasions. In those days of general psychiatric care I took a long time to recover (in the 70's I was in hospital for six months) and I'm not really sure how long in the 80's, with ECT on both occasions.

Unfortunately, due to the stigma of mental illness at the time my family did not discuss the 'episodes' and to this day I am not clear about some things. However, I have a very visible, ugly scar on my left leg after fracturing my femur in answer to a voice commanding me to jump from a height, so I am aware of the distress I must have caused.

After being in hospital for such a long time I don't think I had PND following my 'release' but I can't be sure. I don't think my records would still be archived after almost 38 years for me to read, which is a shame as I have so many questions. That said, I am very grateful to both medical staff and family for putting me back together!

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There definitely was a bit of a come down for me after the initial excitement of coming home & I certainly saw myself as at risk of PND during the 1st 6 months to a year but the low feelings I experienced at times didn't seem to be PND & none of the professionals or my family ever suspected PND so I'm satisfied I never had this.

I did however have some issues with anxiety & received CBT treatment over the phone to overcome this. I guess in the recovery period of PP we are all more vulnerable but it will not always lead to depression. I think some people may even suffer from PND & PP at the same etime. It can be very hard sometimes for a precise diagnosis as I guess some of the symptoms may overlap.

During my episode of PP there was far more of the manic aspect.

I've never looked into any of the stats on this subject as didn't feel effected but would expect there are some out there. I would also expect a large proportion of people who've experienced pp have also experienced pnd but in my experience pp does I not necessarily mean you will also have pnd.

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I did. Still recovering, but am mostly really good now. I got the impression from what I read that it is pretty common. Also my actual diagnosis was PPD, with OCD and Psychotic features. So it wasnt a PPP episode in isolation, I already had anxiety problems, and depression mild, but didnt know it. And I was completely unaware of what I was feeling, or that I felt anything. SO I suspect for me the PPP was a final breaking point of build up of the anxiety and adreneline. And given that, that it is more likely for me to have PPD. Whereas it seems from what I have read, for some the PPP is more completely out of the blue, and maybe possibly the depression is not so strongly linked??

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I did. What i feel is -what comes up most come down. And the higher you go before, the more likely you will sink too low. But antidepressants sorted me out.

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I did too, for about 10 months after "coming down" from PP. Antidepressants sorted me out too and am still on them.

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Hi, I haven`t got any stats on this. I did have very severe depression when I felt almost recovered from PP. I tried to run before I could walk by doing too many stressful things at once. I moved house, got married and tried to go back to work. I knew straight away in work that I had gone back too soon as my concentration was very poor and I felt I couldn`t carry out my job safely. I went to see the Doctor at Occupational Health and he said I had gone back too soon and terminated my contract on the grounds of ill health. He said he would review me regularly and said when I`m well enough I could go back.

It was at this point I became severely depressed. I felt I had let everyone down because I couldn`t work. We were living with my Mum and Step Dad at the time and saving up for our own house. I felt like a failure and was very severely depressed and started on anti depressants. Little did I know I was about to start with rapid cycling manic depression. I suddenly came out of the depression and went to the opposite extreme.

For the next twelve months I went from terrible depression to being so manic I couldn`t sleep, I thought I could conquer the world and climb Everest twice!! and probably would`ve tried because I had so much energy!

Then I would sink back into a very severe depression, I couldn`t give my baby his bottle, couldn`t speak to anyone and felt like I was in a horrible dark place that I would never come out of.

The twelve months of rapid cycling moods was so destructive. When I was high no-one knew what I was going to do next and I was behaving in a way that was completely out of character. It was such a strain on everything and took its toll on relationships. Eventually a few years later my husband and I split up, we had been through too much and were tryng to survive.

To cut it a bit shorter I finally started on Lithium when my son was nearly two and I thankfully, very gradually got my life back. I have remained well on Lithium for many years.

Sarah x

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I had it. Was quite upbeat on my initial discharge from the mother and baby unit then seemed to slide into a profound depression that lasted well over 6 months; I wasnt able to look after my two young children and I and my family recall that this period was almost worse than psychosis.

I don't know the stats but the professionals looking after me who specialise in any kind of psychosis were not at all surprised that a depression had followed.

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Sorry for late reply. I suffered depression after pp. It was six weeks after the psychosis and I was doing really well and about to be discharged from the mother and baby unit and started getting very anxious and went into quite a deep depression. I struggled with it for about a bit longer than a year and its only the last three months or so that i've felt completely myself again and have started reducing the anti depressants. I think meds helped particularly at the beginning of depression but I think working with a really great psychologist using cbt is whatreally contributed to me getting better and just time. One day at a time and slowly I havesomehow healed. I would agree with what someone else said the depression is so much harder to cope with than the actual psychosis am sure my partner would agree too.

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Hello Jen,

I think that after PP there is a vulnerable state of adjustment. No one diagnosed me as having depression, but I was depressed. My CPN expected it but it was termed as "part of the recovery." I remember being advised against anti-depressants, because of the fear of sending me into mania. I investigated natural remedies, like St John's Wort, but was again advised against it. I obviously didn't have severe depression, but it was debilitating enough (tho' other people couldn't necessarily see how I was suffering). I finally got some counseling last year (which has helped hugely, but came seven years too late). But maybe I needed that time to try and come to terms with what had happened.

Hope this helps.

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Thank you all for your answers. It amazes me how different all our experiences were while still having some common themes from being undiagnosed in the seventies to our experiences in recent years. We certainly have come a long way lilybeth!

It is good to know that the two don't always come together kellbell. It is interesting what you said about being advised against antidepressants Virginia, I had to almost beg for an increase in anti d.s i was in so much pain. when I got back to the uk they said I'd been on too low a dose to be affective and immediately increased it which wasn't what the doctors in oz were keen on. They were so worried I would become manic again even though I only had one period of mania with the psychosis. I agree with you that I think I needed some time to adjust.

For me it was def a case of what goes up must come down Joanna. I was so manic and for a fairly long time.

Like many of you the counselling I received was a godsend. Absolutely vital as well as the anti psychotics and anti ds. Sarah I'm glad the lithium helped. Your period of big ups and downs sounds very hard.

I agree twigwidge and sunnyandwild the depression was much harder than the psychosis (for me). My husband found the psychosis much harder as he was so worried about my and our son's safety. He said it was like a different horrible person would enter my body for a period of hours and then I would come back again for a bit and then gone again. I can't imagine how awful it must have been for him. Especially as we were thousands of miles away from family support.

Well thanks again everyone. Jen x

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Hi all,

This is an interesting thread, thanks for all the posts. I think the majority do tend to have a phase of depression after the psychosis. It makes sense that after the extreme high of psychosis comes an extreme low (as the brain has kind of burnt itself out?).

I had a lengthy stage of severe depression after the psychosis (with a short gap in between - relief!) but I always saw both the psychosis & the depression as two phases of the same illness - PP. Personally I think the depression stage may be similar to PND but seems different different due to the additional & unique challenges we had/have recovering from & coming to terms with the psychosis.

I'll see if I can get some statistics on this subject, it'd be really interesting.

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I've also found this thread really interesting. I wasn't diagnosed as clinically depressed at any point that I know of, and my main issues were mania initially. This then turned into lots of anxiety in the latter stages of being an in-patient and when I was home, the adjustment and recovery from shock if nothing else was really hard. I lost all confidence and did feel down. With the benefit of hindsight, I might have been a little depressed, but I think as others have said that the extremes of PP are bound to produce some of this to some extent.

Look forward to hearing more about this, an interesting link and to share experiences.

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