What was the aftermath of your recovery once you started feeling better?

I've felt lots better in that I havent had any psychotic thoughts and my psychatrist is happy for me to come off my medication slowly, which I am and their plan is to be off inlt in 3 weeks. The only problem is now I feel down, emotional and weepy all the time, it feels like there's a big black cloud that wont lift, I cant wait until my baby is older and easier (she's my third) but it feels an endless struggle until were there. My partner went back to work for a few hours for a couple of days because we needed the money and I felt anxious, down and cried a lot. We've since been told we're entitled to some help so he has stopped working again. I still feel just as scared, weepy and anxious, also irritable constantly, knowing he will go back one day. I feel sometimes like I wish my baby would never wake up again so I could have my old life with just my two children again, I also wish sometimes that I wouldn't wake up again. Every morning I wake up and cry because its the start of a long day. I didn't expect this, I thought once the psychosis was over, I would be fine, did anyone else feel the same?

23 Replies

  • Hello raspberries, So good to hear from you. I'm glad you have felt lots better and the psychotic thoughts have faded.

    After all you've been through in the last few weeks it's not surprising you feel you're still under that big black cloud. I well remember the big black cloud as I'm sure other mums here will. It's very hard being in respite care and coming out into the 'real world' isn't it when you have to get back into a routine and some days are endless?

    Your thoughts are not your own .... look how much you have endured to be well for your family! You love all your children to bits and those wishes you have would never be in your head if you weren't so tired and all cried out.

    It's still early days to expect yourself to be running the 'ship'. Make the most of your partner being at home, I'm sure he's very helpful. Try to take things easy and build up your strength so that when he does go back to work you will feel more able to cope. Is there someone who could be with you for as long as you need when your partner does return to work, so that you won't feel so anxious? Perhaps you could have a word with the Psychiatrist about whether it's too soon to be reducing your medication or tell your GP how low you feel at the moment.?

    Be good to yourself ....... you could have a long relaxing bath when all the children are in bed, or just put your feet up on the sofa? Do something to switch yourself off for a few minutes, even having just a cup of tea or coffee.

    That saying 'time is a great healer' is never more true for you than today. While your partner is at home give yourself time ... take things slowly, (not easy I'm sure with three children). I had two sons who were a handful, though six years apart, and PP twice. Don't expect so much of yourself too soon. Given time, that big black cloud will lift and things will be less stressful.

    Thinking of you and wishing you well.

  • My understanding and it is true for me is that it is normal to experience PPD and PPA too as part of the recovery. So its actually a sign you are recovering :-) yay I hear you say. Of course check with your doctor. I took a drug to help with the depression and anxiety too. And your description of symptoms sounds a lot like my understanding and experience of depression and anxiety. My doctor, just regular doctor, so not one who normally sees psychosis, said in her experience it takes about 6 months to begin to feel like the world is not going to fall out from under you.

  • Hi Raspberries,

    I really feel for how you're feeling right now, it's really hard feeling so low unexpectedly when you think you're over the illness. After the high of the psychosis, it's common that it's followed a low of depression - I wish someone had told me this as I wasn't expecting it either. Like you, I had the thoughts about my baby & not wanting to wake up myself. They're really awful for any mother to feel, but they're actually quite common, (I actually think all mums, even if they're not ill, have the occasional thought like this at some point). Try to remember that they're just thoughts, they'll pass & as you get better life will feel just as it did before & you'll be able to enjoy family life again.

    Here's what the APP website says about it:

    "Postpartum psychosis is often followed by a period of depression, anxiety, and low social confidence. It can take time to come to terms with what has happened to you. It’s normal to feel some sadness for missing out on early motherhood. It can take time to rebuild confidence in relationships and friendships. Most women get back to feeling like their usual selves again. Talking emotions through with family and friends can help. Seek advice about getting expert help from a psychologist, psychotherapist or counsellor. For advice on practical steps that can be taken during recovery, view our APP Guide to Recovery: app-network.org/wp-content/... "

    Coming off medication can be a fragile & worrying time, it's good that you're comfortable with this & doing it slowly with your Psychiatrist. Are you taking an anti-depressant? If not, can you make an appointment to see your Psychiatrist to discuss this? I know you might not want to take more medication now, but for me it was a real life-saver. I was reluctant to start anti-depressants & delayed taking them for as long as I could. In hindsight this wasn't a good thing at all though as my recovery might have been quicker if I'd started them sooner.

    If you're able to, let us know how you're feeling & how you get on. As the others say, be extra good to yourself & take extra care.

  • As far as I understand, severe clinical depression is often part of PP recovery. You may need to tell your doctor about this and take some antidepressants. I'm still on Fluoxetine now and I have to say, it really helped with the symptoms you're describing.

  • Hi raspberries

    Well done for getting through hospital and back home to your family. I'm so sorry to hear you are going through a period of feeling very low with depression right now. I too can really identify with you as I had severe depression after the psychosis was over. It can feel so unfair and such a double whammy. But there is hope and you can and will recover.

    As others have said, don't struggle on alone. Talk to your GP or psychiatrist as both medication and talking therapy can be tremendously helpful for lifting symptoms of depression.

    It's really natural to want things to go back to the way they were before, I felt like this too - but when you fully recover there is going to be so much joy to have with your kids. Keep holding on and get as much practical support as you can from friends and family. We are here too for as long as you need us - and many of us can assure you that we made it out of the dark days of depression and back to full health.

    Take good care of yourself


  • Hi Raspberries, hang in there. As many others have said the depression is a really common after experiencing psychosis. I too suffered from depression, which kicked in 6 weeks after the birth. I felt really low at some points, I remember crying a lot just feeling in a dark hole and not knowing how an earth I would get better and carry on, and I remember that awful feeling at the beginning of the day. It is really common that depression is worse in the mornings. but as many others have said I promise it does get better, sometimes I just forced myself to get through each day and do things (just talking a little bit to my son was an effort).I too was really anxious when left alone. I also just wanted to be myself again, feel like myself again. I think you are amazing with three kids, I only have my one child. As others have said anti depressants were essential to take some of the edge off, and then talking therapy (CBT) was often a lifesaver. I really hope that you can get all that support, speak to your psychiatrist and mental health team. You WILL get better. It took over a year to feel completely myself again but during that time I just gradually recovered slowly and slowly. Now I can honestly say that I feel so happy.

    Take care

  • I've been put on citralopram 10mg, to help. I just feel so overwhelmed and I have no energy all of the time. I can barely look after myself anymore, never mind the children, my partner does 75% of the childcare at the moment, I feel so guilty but I don't feel able to myself, all I want to do is hide myself in bed for ever, it takes all my effort just to get up and make myself breakfast. My partner is getting frustrated with me, which I quite understand but I don't know how to resolve it, the thought of being left with all 3 children makes me have a panic attack now. I get plenty of sleep but I'm constantly tired now, I could fall asleep at any time of the day. I just feel like I've failed, I managed fine with my first two, I can't understand why its so hard this time. The baby wasn't planned, my contraceptive implant failed and my partner had to persuade me to have her, and I can't help but think now, if I had listened to myself, she wouldn't have been born and I wouldn't have been through postpartum psychosis and now struggling with the depression and anxiety. I know that's an awful thing to say and one day I will love her more than words, but right now, I just feel resentful. :(

  • Hello raspberries, Thanks for being so honest about your feelings. I can remember these feelings too, having no energy and self care went out the window. I have a distant memory of my husband having to give me a shower! My bed also became my sanctuary, feeling helpless and hopeless.

    Believe me you're not a failure, you're not well and recovery takes time. I'm not sure about medication. Can you talk to your G.P .... perhaps another medication will lift your mood? Does your G.P. have in-house counselling or can he refer you for therapy as other mums here have benefited from?

    It's the beginning of the school Easter holidays here, for two weeks. So this may give you and your partner a break from routine? Your partner is a good support and with all the stress of seeing you so unwell he will be frustrated. Is there another family member who could spend time with you when your partner returns to work?

    I'm sorry you're feeling so low and know it's not much comfort right now to say you will be well in time. I think you could talk to your G.P or Psychiatrist for help.

    Take very good care of yourself.

  • Hi Raspberries, really sad to hear you struggling so much. I remember very well the feeling of bed being a sanctuary and just wanting to stay there forever - and having to force myself to do any small thing... my partner also was at times quite angry and frustrated with me, which I have to say didn't help and made me feel worse as I couldn't do anything about it and it made me feel really guilty and awful and just a really bad person. Sometimes he said it felt like I'd given up.

    Good to hear you've been prescribed anti depressants, I have to say for me they weren't the'magic' answer I was hoping for, they took the edge off for me but I needed other support such as CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) as I said above. I was prescribed Escitilipram (I think that's how its spelt) which is a form of Citilipram but I have heard it can be a lot more effective for some people, but also a lot more expensive, so I guess they're not that willing to prescribe it. but I understand that the NHS does fund it if you are particularly vulnerable e.g. you have kids depending on you. I can't remember if you are in the UK? Might be something to ask for if Citlipram doesn't work?

    It sounds like you're right in the middle of what I felt was the worst part of the illness, but slowly I just got better, having longer and longer windows of not feeling so down until there weren't any 'down' bits... keep writing to us, we are all here for you if you need us.

    Take care, I will be thinking of you


  • The citralopram are to start if needed once I'm off quetiapine, I'm down to 50mg now, then in a few more days 25mg for a couple days, then off. I hope coming off quetiapine helps. I have good days when I feel fine, few anxieties and feel that I could cope, then I have days where I'm shaking like a leaf, terrified of my children, especially the baby and the responsibility of looking after them. I know that sounds stupid, and believe me, I'm not trying to shirk my responsibilities at all, just I feel I can't cope with them 75% of the time. I guess I've never really been a maternal person, but I managed after my first two, bit hard for a couple of weeks then it clicked and I started to enjoy them and care for these little people I made. With the baby (our first daughter, I was so happy to find she was a girl when pregnant) I'm really struggling to bond, I don't really feel like I 'like' her. I don't feel maternal, just that she's now a drain on our lives and I can't wait until she's older so we can have more of our lives back. This feels like all bad timing, I know there's never a good time, but I'm getting married this year too. Also, I've had a few days of unexplainable anger, and just get intense feelings of wanting to hurt my children, this has put me down, I thought I was past these. Sorry to just go on, I'm struggling to put everything in to paragraphs that make sense right now. My partner keeps going back to work for random days to invigilate exams, it feels just when my confidence is begginging to perk up a bit, he leaves me alone for 6 hours with all 3, and that puts me right back. The thought of him going away for 8-10 he's everyday when he properly goes back to work, is enough to leave me having a panic attack, I can't handle one short day, let alone 5 regular shifts every week. :( I just feel like such a weak mother right now, how can I not handle my own children?

  • Don't be so hard on yourself. PP can take months to recover from. It is a big shock to the system. Take things one day at a time. Just remember you will get through this. We are all proof of that.

    Are there others to help you when your partner goes back to work? Can he return gradually 1-2 days then 3-4 days so that it's not all of a sudden you're the one responsible. Or Is it possible for the 2 older children to go to childcare for 1-2 days a week to give you a break and a chance to bond with your baby?

    It's great that you feel comfortable sharing how you're going on here. We're here to listen and give support. Hopefully in a few weeks you'll be able to look back and realise how far you've come.

  • Hello raspberries, So sorry you are struggling right now. Such a lot going on for you at the moment isn't there and in the middle of it all you are fighting to be well. Congratulations on your forthcoming wedding .... very exciting but there's a lot of planning involved isn't there? Then your partner's return to work is worrying you. Is there anyone, family member or friend who could share the load for a short time until you feel more in control?

    It's not easy being at this stage in your recovery ... not quite there but better than you were. I know there are never enough hours in the day. Your maternal instinct is with you but your confidence has taken such a knock with this illness that we all understand how you feel.

    You are not a weak mother and given time and support you will be able to cope again, Just try and have a break yourself ..... perhaps your partner could take the children out for just an hour or so to give you time to yourself?

    Take good care .... we are all here for you.

  • Hi Raspberries

    Really sorry to hear the struggles you're going through. But on the positive you say you have some better days etc - and thats definitely was my recovery experience, a few good days, and then a few bad days, until I promise the bad days just got less and less. Your experience of feeling panicky with your partner going to work - this rings huge bells for me. I was lucky in that my partner generally worked short shifts but on a Monday who would work 12 hours. My parents would come to be with me that day. Until there was one Monday they couldn't come - and I just completely panicked, got v anxious, and ended up feeling depressed again. CBT did help me to get through it somehow - breaking up the day in pieces, encouraged me to arrange to see a friend, helped me to rationalise what I was so worried about etc. I just wanted to let you know that those feelings are really normal I think with PP, I've seen so many people talk about it on here. And you have 3 kids, I really don't know how you're coping, I couldn't cope with my small baby.

    I'm really sorry you're having problems bonding with your baby too, its really understandable though, in that it was the time that it all went wrong...I wonder is there a way you can spend time with the baby on your own for short periods while the other kids with your partner, maybe this might help?

    I also echo what others said - is there anyone who can support you when your partner is working?

    Take huge care, keep postings, I will be thinking of you

  • Hi raspberries

    I'm really glad you are able to share with us how you are feeling. I too remember with our second child feeling that it had been a terrible mistake and those maternal feelings would never click in. It took a long time and a fair bit of determination on my part but we have honestly got there now (she's 3 and really affectionate with me again now which has helped)

    I can totally understand you feeling anxious about long stretches of time feeling responsible for all three children. I wondered if you have heard of the charity HomeStart? They provide friendly volunteers who are generally all parents themselves who can help out for a few hours a week e.g. supporting you to take the kids to the park or helping with housework. I think this type of support could be very helpful for both you and your partner. I willl drop you a link for the website.

    Are you having any regular support from the mental health team at the moment? It would be worth asking them about tweaking medication and also whether there is a psychology/counselling service they can refer you to. You've been through such a lot and it's really natural to be questioning why life feels so hard since your baby was born - talking this through with a professional could be very beneficial.

    Thinking of you - things won't always feel this hard I promise.

    Naomi x

  • Here's the page to find HomeStart volunteers in your local area


  • I've was referred to homestart a few weeks back, still waiting to hear. Last night was my first night without taking the quetiapine, I didn't sleep much and had a few withdrawal symptoms (despite coming off the lowest dose possible) but feeling better now. Its nice to be able to think clearly and not having the quetiapine dampening my thoughts and making me wake up extremely tired after 10 hours sleep. I'm not feeling quite so down anymore so haven't started the anti depressants, still a bit anxious here and there but I'm doing more for my baby now so getting to know what she needs a bit more so that's helped ease the anxieties, my partners looking to go back to work in 2-3 weeks, I'm not too sure how I feel, a bit nervous, but I'm hoping in the 2-3 weeks between now and then, I feel a bit more positive and confident with the children on my own. Fingers crossed!

  • Hello raspberries

    Really good to hear from you. I'm sorry you didn't sleep much last night, without quetiapine. I know you say your thoughts are clearer but I'm not sure you should try to cope without taking the anti-depressants before talking to your G.P / care team?

    Take it easy ... try not to do too much too soon. I know how easy it can be to push yourself as you want to show your partner that you are getting back to 'normal'. You are coping really well and I hope Homestart will be in touch soon to see if they can support you in some way.

    We all have our fingers crossed for you. Take very good care of yourself.

  • Sorry, I should have been clearer, the plan with my GP was to start the anti depressants if I felt I needed them after stopping quetiapine, I've got a review this week with her as well to see if I felt I needed them or not. I've also been referred for cognitive behavioural therapy too. I slept about twice as long last night so sleep is coming a bit easier, and not had any of the withdrawal symptoms today. 2 weeks ago, I was having down days 6 days out of 7, whereas I'm down to about 2-3 a week now, so its getting a bit easier as I feel 'lifted' a bit more, and I've been arranging more plans with my friends with and without the children so I've had more things to occupy my time and to look forward to, which has helped a great deal. I know its a slow process and I have a way still to go, but its the first time I've felt positive in weeks and that I am making progress, no matter how small.

  • hi really great to hear that you're feeling a bit better and having more positive days, thats so good...

    I hope that things will improve with your husband as well. Things were quite bad between me and my partner for a while, it really helped us to think when he was getting frustrated and angry that it was at the depression rather than me as a person..he did go through hell and I think he's only really beginning to deal with it all now...

    take care

  • Really good news raspberries

    Well done you for holding on to those positive days and planning things to look forward to. You are making such great progress - I remember my anxiety and depression lifted v gradually too with longer stretches of hopefulness and less down days just as you describe.

    Well done again - be very proud of yourself and your reserves of strength.

    Warm wishes

    Naomi x

  • Just a quick update. I've been on an anti depressant for 4 days now and been put on an anti psychotic again too. I've felt a bit more positive these last few days, its too early probably for it to be tablets but its nice to feel a little better.

    I've also got in contact with some Facebook friends who I knew from school/work but have never really spoke to, and arranged to meet up with them and their children as I realise I need friends who I can relate to and making friends this way is actually easier because I already know them.

    I'm still getting down days/anxious times, but they're not as bad as they were. I've started taking my anti depressant at night so I'm not suffering side effects anymore because I'm asleep during them which has really helped.

    Also made some practical changes that have made me feel better, eg getting rid of little ones dummy, moving her to own room, etc.

    All in all, not a bad week!

  • Hello raspberries

    Good to hear that you feel a little better and you are finding ways to cope. That's a great idea to meet up with friends from school / work and their children. It's always nice to be in the company of friends, just to talk about anything and everything, where the children enjoy time out too.

    Also you are doing so well to make the changes at home which have made you feel better. Taking a dummy away and moving your daughter to her own room are stressful times so you should be very proud of what you have achieved.

    Take very good care of yourself.

  • Well done raspberries - it was lovely to read your update and to hear how you are feeling able to reach out to friends from Facebook. That's a very brave thing to do and it will mean a lot to them too that you've asked to spend time together - it can be ever so lonely being a mum of young children and it's so nice to be invited to meet up!

    You're doing great - meds, company and time are all great recovery tools. Proud of you! xxx

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