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Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Terrified of relapse

Hi all. I've been clear of pp for 9 months now, currently on 10mg Aripriprizole.

everytime my meds are reduced or i have sleepless nights in terrified of relapse. I go back to work in march, quite stressful job as a social worker and again this worries me about relapse. Although, I've pretty much decided that if i relapse due to work then ill do anything else.

any positive stories in reply appreciated :)

5 Replies

Hello Sally

Welcome back to the forum. I'm glad you have been clear of PP for 9 months. I have to say how much I admire what seems to be a quick recovery as I was still very much under the influence of PP for well over 12 months. However, my two episodes of PP were a long time ago and so much has changed for the better regarding treatment.

I can understand your worry about a relapse having come so far. I think we have all had that fear, especially as PP came out of the blue for you as it did for so many here. Have you discussed your worries with your G.P? Although my recovery was slow on both occasions, thankfully I didn't have a relapse. I think it will be the same for you, i.e. with regular monitoring and medical advice you will be reassured.

That's quite a stressful but worthwhile job to return to. Will you be offered a gradual return where you can do just a few days for the first few months? I agree that your health is the main consideration and having come this far I'm sure you will weigh up all your options regarding a good work / life balance.

Take good care of yourself and try not to worry.


Hi Sally,

I had an episode of PP after the birth of my daughter. It was very out of the blue. I was on medication for a year in total: beginning with Olanzapine for around 3-4 months and then, after I stopped that, I went through a spell of depression and took Sertraline for around 9 months.

I went back to work after 9 months (whilst I was still taking a low dose of Sertraline). I'm happy to say I didn't have a relapse, and I've been through quite a few stressful life events since then (house buying/selling, moving jobs) and have not had anything triggered, apart from the usual mood swings that go along with motherhood! I now work full-time, though when I started going back to work I was half-time.

Nearly 3 years on, I'm much more aware of my moods and sleep patterns than I ever used to be in the past. It's always at the back of my mind that I *could* relapse, or that I just need to take a bit more care of myself than I used to before the episode.

I think there's a bigger debate amongst professionals whether PP is just childbirth specific (so that it can only really be triggered by giving birth) or whether it is a general condition that could have other specific triggers. There's academic literature online that you could search for about this. I think the jury's out, but my experience suggests that PP in its extreme version was triggered by childbirth (and the hormones and lack of sleep following childbirth). Everyone is different, so it's best to talk to your psychiatrist about this.

In short, I went back to work and didn't relapse, and I feel I've made a full recovery. Hope this helps. Good luck!


Hi Sally

Really sorry to hear that the worry about future relapse is causing you a lot of anxiety at the moment. It's 9 years now since my episode of PP with my first daughter, and I can really remember being where you are - especially being very nervous if my sleep was affected in any way. I think it's really natural to be much more aware of your mental health after an episode of PP, but it's trying to strike that balance between being aware of early warning signs but also trusting in your recovery. It takes time to get that confidence back and you are doing so well to be thinking about your return to work and giving yourself other options if you do find that at this stage it's too stressful.

I hope I can offer you some encouragement in that I didn't have any relapse of manic symptoms after that first episode of PP (I had depression after the PP but was back in good health by my daughter's first birthday). I stayed well for 5 years, and went back to work part-time until having our second daughter and a shorter period of depression but no PP. I think I've still had to learn to monitor my stress levels more carefully, and to take a 'big picture' view of busyness so planning our calendar carefully so as not to have too many commitments all in one go, but these are in some ways the 'silver lining' of PP where I've learned to look after myself a bit more and not spread myself so thinly.

I wondered if our Recovery Guide might be helpful for you as it talks about some of the things you might consider when going back to work. Here's the link app-network.org/wp-content/...

The forum will be here for you too when you do go back to work, so feel free to use us as somewhere to bounce ideas off, or to receive support and encouragement. I think for all mums the transition back to work is a time of challenge and juggling, so just take extra care of yourself in March and keep talking to your partner and family about any support you might need from them to ease the transition.

All the best



I suffered from PP five and a half years ago. It is a confidence shattering experience that no-one should have to experience. I went back to work after 18 months but was so scared of stress or lack of sleep that I quit after two weeks. It was no way to end a career and I now wish I hadn't let it happen that way. I didn't realise how important my job was to my confidence and sense of self. What I'm trying to say is: Believe in yourself, you've made it this far and you'll very very probably make it a lot further again. Don't throw in the towel through fear.


i think relapse all depends on the situation. i had post partum psychosis with my daughter. mine was really bad and i actually ended up having to have ect's to help it because i was on a lot of medicines and none of them were working. after they sent me home from the hospital i was still traveling hrs down the road to have the ect's done and they kept me on zyprexa. i quit taking it one day cold turkey because it made me jittery and knocked me out when i took it. i have been fine since the day i stopped taking my medicine and that was almost 4 years ago. definitely a scary thing to go through though.


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