Action on Postpartum Psychosis


I had my 2nd child on the 17th of Oct, elective section and felt great for a few days after the birth. When I was home for a few days my mood lowered and having suffered pnd with my first son, I knew where I was heading. I spoke with my midwife and was taken to the GP and given seteraline, which I've been on since.

The following night I had the worst experience of my life, I was panic stricken and felt like I was going to die, all I wanted to do was escape. After this experience I ended up visiting an out of hours psychiatric ward to be assessed and was sent home with diazipam and zopiclone to help me sleep. Thankfully my partner was there to help with my 2 children as I was entering the realms of despair.

I ended up back at the out of hours again on 2 more occasions and all they kept saying was it takes time.

The following week I began to experience dark thoughts and fear I would hurt myself and the overwhelming urge to get away to get professional health visitor spoke with my GP and they felt this would be detrimental to my health.

I feel torn in two; right now I don't know what to do, I keep coming back to the same thoughts every day, that everyone would be better off without me.

I have a cpn visit today so I'm praying that they can help, I really am desperate.

19 Replies

Hi Gemmaleslie, firstly I want to say, hang in there, the help you need is out there & you will get through this. You've done well, reaching out for help, well done.

When your CPN arrives, tell her you need to be referred to a Specialist Perinatal Psychiatrist as soon as possible. If she can't refer you, you could ask for a referral from you GP too. If things change for the worse, don't be worried at all about going to A&E. Is there someone with you who could help out today? I always find it's so much easier when I'm not on my own.

Which area are you in? Specialist teams can be a bit patchy but hopefully there's one near you & we'll do our best to find your nearest. (Sorry for all the questions, don't feel you have to answer them if you don't want to).

How are you feeling now, are you managing to get some rest? Have you been having any 'high' symptoms like the ones listed here? If yes, you could show your cpn/GP this page because they might not be aware & they'll need to review your medication.

Hang in there, we're here for you & everything will be OK.


I am feeling completely mixed and full of fear all the time, I'm scared of myself. Even though I'm not alone and don't need to do anything as my partner and in laws will do everything necessary, I feel crippled by anxiety and dread, the overwhelming feeling that I've only got days left on the planet.

I live in Fife and have a cpn visiting me today and going to see a psychiatrist at the queen Margaret hospital today.

I've only been on my seteraline for less than 2 weeks so the GP won't want to change it. All I keep thinking is I need to get away, I need to fix myself, then in an instant I feel the exact opposite and feel like I'd be abandoning my kids and my family and how could any decent mother do that?. I don't know what's right


I'm so sorry you're feeling this awful, it must be incredibly difficult for you right now. It's hard believing that everything will be OK, but you can & will get through this. Let us know how you got on with your CPN & the hospital Psychiatrist today & what they've put in place to help you. Just take it day by day, hour by hour if you need to, & things will start to improve soon.

It might be a good idea to note down your moods & feelings, how you're sleeping etc. each day (nothing too detailed, just quick notes) - It'd be a record of how your moods are changing & something you could show your GP/Psychiatrist rather than having to explain? If your Psychiatrist isn't a specialist perinatal one you could suggest he/she or even your GP contacts the specialists perinatal psychiatrists directly at Glasgow Mother & Baby Unit for specialist advice (could be done over the phone)?

Anxiety, panic attacks & fear are all incredibly overwhelming, there's some info on the Mind website here that might help:

Just for info, there's a phoneline in Scotland where people can talk to experienced advisors about depression for info & advice:

You're doing the right thing, talking & reaching out for help. If you get the chance to , let us know how you got on. We're listening & we're here for you.

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P.S. I forgot to say, try & be as honest & open as you can with your CPN & Psychiatrist, they won't be shocked by what you tell them & will probably have heard it before. They won't think you're any less of a good mum but will be able to get the right help for you more.

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Hello gemmaleslie

I hope your appointments today with the Psychiatrist and CPN gave you hope. Do you have a diagnosis of PP?

It is very hard for you, not knowing where to turn but there are many women here who have had similar feelings and with medical and family support have fully recovered. Be assured the thoughts you are having are all part of your illness and hopefully when the medication has had time to kick in you wil slowly recover. Perhaps your Psychiatrist has suggested a change in your medication?

Is there a Crisis Team on hand if you need to talk? Has the Psychiatrist made any changes to your Care Plan? Perhaps you can ask to be referred to a Mother and Baby Unit in Scotland? Apologies for all the questions.

Take care. We are here to lean on.


Hi gemmaleslie

Really glad you have found the forum, but so sorry to hear you are struggling with all these overwhelming feelings at the moment. It can be difficult in the early days to get the right treatment and support if you are suffering from Postpartum Psychosis - so do keep persevering with the health professionals and have a look at our lists of early symptoms and common symptoms of PP below so you can let them know if you think this may not be as simple as the depression and anxiety you experienced after your first baby:

You mentioned a feeling of dread that you only have a few days left on the planet - were you able to talk to the CPN and psychiatrist about this today? I know when I experienced PP I was also convinced that I only had a few days more on this earth, but it was with a very 'high' mood and a belief that everyone would join me soon in heaven. Strong beliefs like this can be a sign of PP - but are also very treatable symptoms with the right medication - so make sure that the health professionals supporting you know how you are feeling and the thoughts you are experiencing.

You also mentioned a feeling of needing to get away - please don't feel guilty as it's understandable to feel so overwhelmed when your anxiety is high and you feel so confused. If you are struggling with suicidal feelings it's OK, and so important, to tell your family and the mental health professionals advising you - please don't worry that they will judge you as these feelings are really common for mums with postnatal mental health problems. I remember my own intense feelings of needing to get away, and it was such a relief to talk these through with the CPN's visiting me from the Crisis Team.

How is your partner coping and how is he feeling about your mental health? We have a guide specifically for dads if you do receive a diagnosis of Postpartum Psychosis and he would value advice written by other dads who have been there

We're here for as long as you need - and for any questions you have. As Lilybeth says - we are here to lean on so keep in touch.

Warm wishes



Hello gemmaleslie,

I'm so sorry you're feeling this way.

To echo what others have said, you're doing the absolute right thing in reaching out and trying to get help. The thoughts you're having aren't you. You can and will get through this.

I hope your CPN visit went ok today and you were able to tell them how you're feeling. I do hope they were able to help and that you felt listened to and supported.

You're not alone and you will be ok.

Very best wishes x


My appointment went well and I was able to talk about all of my feelings. I could feel my body and thoughts going up and down in the meeting, as if I was on a roller coaster.

I was completely honest, my partner was in the meeting too, so he heard everything, but he is very good and knows the feelings I'm having and all the dark thoughts.

The psychiatrist (Dr Strachan at Queen Margaret, Dunfermline) was very good and listened to everything I had to say. He asked my family history an if there was any history of addiction or mental health, which there is.

I did at one point think, what has this got to do with me today, but he did explain that it's important to build up a picture.

I talked and answered everything I could, and spoke about the feelings of doom that I am experiencing, also the feeing of being rooted to the spot and being unable to make descions, or knowing what needs to be done but having such apathy that you cannot will yourself to even put one foot in front of the other to do what needs to be done, then your thoughts just fester away in your mind.

I also spoke about wanting to get away and that my mind keeps coming back to the same conclusions, which is that I am not right, I need professional help and I should be removed from the situation. All of this was written down and I was asked if I would be interested in attending anxiety sessions, which I agreed to.

I was also given some quitiapine and advised that my seteraline would take

4-6 weeks to kick in. I asked if this would find

Definitely work, because I'm desperate and it was suggested that it would take time and that in the meantime I could call the out of hours if there was an issue.

I was advised to call somebody if my thoughts were dark and I thought about hurting myself.

I mentioned that I didn't feel part of the same reality as everyone else and feel like a ghost walking amongst people, this was noted and it was explained that the medication would help with this.

I came away feeling more positive as there seemed to be more of a plan. My next appointment is the 10th and I should see the cpn before this appointment but if things get worse I can still contact the out of hours service, which is a generic mental health and psychiatric place.

I took the quitiapine last night and slept, unfortunately my partner had a bad night with the baby and has hardly slept,

Which gets me down as I think my partner will be exhausted and he will need sleep, and then I'll be on my own with the baby and my 3 year old.

So I took the other quitiapine this morning to see if this could help with my anxiety and it has a little, I'm not sitting in dread but the thoughts are still there in the back of my mind, they just aren't as big. Now I need to work on motivating myself to do things, and want to do things, my apathy is crippling. I'm hoping this is addressed by the seteraline.

In relation to the mother and baby unit in Glasgow, do you have to be from Glasgow to be referred there? There is a mother and baby unit I'm livingston which has been mentioned to me, and at my worst I considered this as an option bit Internally I felt so torn at even considering this as I'd have to leave my 3 year old behind. Also, my partner felt my issue wasn't bonding with the baby (at times I think it is). I keep coming back to getting away as an option though, but I don't know if it's just me that needs to get away or if I'd even want to take my baby. On one hand I do and I know I need to, but on the other I don't think I'm the best place to care for or be responsible for 2 small children.

Confusing I know! This is in my mind constantly,and as soon as I feel something, my mind contradicts it and I'm feeling something opposite about the very thing k just thought about, rendering me completely unable to make a decision.


I also had a feeling of wanting to move in with my in laws, I think this is my body screaming that I need help and finding a way to get it. I'm constantly grappling with reality and trying to latch onto anything that feels real or right at this time.


The other thing I wanted to mention which is a new feeling, is the feeling of switching off, like in a catatonic state, I feel like this is happening to me, and I don't have any control over it, what does that mean?


Hi Gemmaleslie, wow, that sounds like a very positive meeting & it sounds like you did all the right things. I'm sure it must've been very draining so try to get plenty of rest when you can today. It's great that your medication has been adjusted, that should help a lot & you'll probably see improvements as time goes on. Yes they can take a while to take effect fully but it's really good you're seeing improvements already.

Yes, it's tough on your partner at the moment too but try not to add that to your worries, just concentrate on getting yourself better - I'm sure that's all he wants to see. He sounds like he's doing an amazing job! He might find the guide for partners that Naomi linked to useful too (even if you've not been diagnosed with PP) as plenty of it will still apply especially tips on Partners self-care etc.

No you don't have to be from Glasgow to be referred there, there are so few Mother & Baby Units so they tend to take people from all over. It's a really good place to be treated as mums are treated with their little one with them but it sounds like very early days for you & you'll probably see big improvements with the medication. It's really good you've got the out of hours mental health care team number (don't be afraid to use it) & that you've got another appt. next week - it sounds like you've got a good team supporting you.

The catatonic feelings you describe could be the new medication settling in, sometimes it takes a short while for your body to get used to them but it tends to settle fairly quickly. Or it could be sleep deprivation? - after all your body & mind have been through so much lately. Give it time & try not to worry (easy to say I know) & if it doesn't ease up, mention it at your next Psychiatrist appt.

We're thinking of you, just hang in there & things will ease soon.

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I'm hoping when I get to Monday that I've had more good than bad experiences,I would like to be able to talk about the positive for a change.

I have noticed today on the quitiapine that my thoughts haven't gone as low but I have been shattered and slept for a good chunk of the day on top of getting a lot of sleep last night.

my boys are about to be brought back by their nana and all I want to do is wrap myself up in a duvet :-(.


Hi Gemmaleslie,

Sorry to hear you are feeling so unwell. You're doing a great job of being so honest with yourself and others. It makes recovery much easier.

Although I have not experienced a mother baby unit myself my understanding is that they are often great places to aid recovery. So although you may feel that you are abandoning your 3yr old it may be what you need to get better more quickly so you can get back to be the mum you were.

I have had experience taking quitiapine. It can be a very sedating medication but it should lesson the longer you take it. If you're not already taking it, I found the extended release version less sedating. It should have the same effect otherwise.

Be kind to yourself.

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Hi Gemmaleslie

I don't think there is anymore advice that I can give that hasn't been given already above. First of all I'm so sorry that you're feeling so bad - but it's so impressive how you have persisted in getting the support you need and being completely honest with the professionals, and it does sound like you do have some good support in place, including from your family and friends.

I am not surprised you are thinking of just getting away, I don't think it makes you a bad mum, it makes you a wise mum, it is you knowing that you need support and are finding it difficult to manage.

I just wanted to say that if you do continue to struggle and feel you can't cope you may really want to consider a Mother and baby unit. I can only talk about my personal experience, but I was admitted to a MBU after the birth of my son in 2011. He stayed with me all the time. My experience was very positive and absolutely the best place for me to be. And they're not just about helping you bond with the baby, I too didn't struggle with that particularly. It was more just being in a safe place, with trained and caring professionals who could respond to my behaviour and struggles, get me all the support I needed including counselling, changing meds, and just general continuous mental health care as well as supporting my baby when I wasn't well enough to myself, also just giving me practical advice about looking after my baby, which I know you won't need so much as it is not your first child, but still. I found it very reassuring. Of course I didn't have another child, and I can imagine that must be really difficult to consider, leaving your 3 year old.

I really hope that you continue to get good support, don't hesitate to ring the numbers you have if you feel you really can't cope, or if you feel you need to see them earlier than your next appointment. Once I was home I definitely did that. And I really hope that being on here is helpful for you.

Take care, I am thinking of you.

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Hello gemmaleslie,

Well done for being so open and honest at the meeting today. At least the professionals now have a good idea of how to help you. It's so difficult to have so much going on in your mind {and body} as well as coping with the routine of life isn't it?

I think a Mother and Baby Unit would be a 'safe house' for you. It would be like having time out for yourself and there would be someone on hand at any time to talk through your thoughts and fears. I had general psych care myself and eventually recovered, as you will in time. I'm sure it would be a wrench to be apart from your 3 year old and partner but a little space might do you good.

This is not an easy journey whether it's PP or another illness but we are all here for you to help in any way we can.

Take good care of yourself.

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Hi Gemmaleslie, I hope your week has gone OK and you're having those positive experiences to talk to about at your next appointment on the 10th. I hope you're able to get some sleep too, perhaps with the medication to help, and I'm sure your partner will be doing everything he can to help you through too. I know when I had PP, my husband moved in with his parents when I was hospitalised, does your partner have anyone that can help him out like this, family or friends?

After I spent an initial 2 weeks in hospital, I was lucky to get a place in a MBU. As I had PP with my first son, I can't imagine how difficult it must be not feeling 100% with a 3 year old as well as a baby. But when I was in the MBU, my husband spent a lot of time with me and my baby and when I started to feel better, it felt more like being at home and it was great to be able to have time as a family unit. Only you and your partner will be able to make the judgement, but your 3 year old may not fully understand what's going on and being able to spend time together will be the main thing. Please don't rule it out, as long as it could benefit you all and help with recovery, if it gets to it.

Take care anyway, and please pop back next week to update us if you get chance and feel up to it, x


Hi Gemmaleslie, I'm wondering how your appointment on Monday went & how you're feeling now? I hope things are smoother for you now. We're here & thinking of you.


Hi Gemmaleslie, just wanted to say I was thinking of you this week too and hope the appointment went well. Take care, x


Hi Gemmaleslie

Just checking in to see how things are with you this week? I hope you have been able to get really good support from the CPN and the rest of the team - did you have a chat with them about a MBU referral? Hope things are beginning to improve for you, and even if not we are here for you for as long as you need us.

Naomi x


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