A little help please? :)

Hello everyone.

I'm very new here. I've been looking online for information on PP for a while and only just found this. I hope you can give me some advice.

I suffered from PP in early December 2014. I went through all the usual symptoms and was eventually sectioned when my little girl was 9 days old. I was away from my baby until I was found a place at a mother and baby unit in Nottingham, miles from my home town. (Would just like to add, my heart really goes out to you ladies who were separated from their babies for a long period of time; I would have seriously deteriorated if I had to wait any longer than I did).

I was in the MABU for almost 2 weeks as I made a fast recovery and was discharged early as Christmas was approaching. I was happy to get back to my normal life and felt fine.

I was given an anti-psychotic and a course of Lithium for 2 years as they had diagnosed me as bi-polar. When I was discharged a team of people had to come from my home town and agree on the support I would be offered. On arrival at home I was having regular contact with my Doctor and had a nurse come to check on me twice a week. I attended the support groups I was invited to but stopped attending as the women were suffering with Post-natal depression, and had nothing in common with my illness.

I came off the anti-psychotic and my new Doctor said he would reduce me off my Lithium as he didn't feel that one episode of PP meant I was bi-polar. So 6 months after my PP I am off all medication and thought I would feel fine....

Unfortunately, now I feel worse than ever. I feel so low and hopeless. I've tried to contact my Dr and my nurse and had no reply. At every appointment I felt fine and told them that, so I think my Dr and nurse think I'm cured, but now I'm not OK and really need some help. I'm so disappointed they haven't checked on me or replied to my messages. Its been 2 weeks since I stopped my medication and haven't got another appointment with my doctor until June! (I will keep contacting them).

Just wanted to know if how I am feeling is normal? Am I suffering with post-natal depression? Or is this just reality without my medication? Anyone had a similar experience?

Sorry for the long post, just feel really confused and have nobody I can relate to. Any replies would be really appreciated and will answer any questions. Thank you in advance :)

12 Replies

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  • Hi Alexandrarose,

    Huge welcome to the forum, it's so good you found us. I know accurate info about PP is hard to find. Thanks for writing some of your story. I am sure you will get some support here.

    I'm so sorry you are feeling so low, I know from personal experience how awful it is as I suffered from depression after PP too, as do a lot of people. Well done for reaching out to your doctor and nurse. I'm sorry you haven't had any response from them, that is bad. I would persist in contacting them, or if you get no joy contact your GP (who can get support for you) or if you are feeling desperate there will be a mental health crisis team in your area? But you are absolutely right to get support. Anti depressants did help me, they took the edge off, but other things also helped including CBT / counselling which I know many others have found helpful. I don't know if you have had any? If you haven't perhaps this is something you could request. You must remember you have come through a huge thing, and it is so natural for your mind / body to react in this way - it is part of recovery.

    Each of us can only write from our personal experience and I hope mine will be helpful. Like you, I recovered fairly quickly from the psychosis (August 2011) and felt more or less fully recovered and was about to be discharged from the MBU after 6 weeks but then I went into a bad depression. So I wanted to say yes it is absolutely normal with PP (and there are many people on here) who suffer from depression afterwards. Each person's experience of PP and recovery is different in terms of timings, and whether they have depression or not afterwards, or how long before they do etc.

    I also don't know if you have managed to find all the resources on the Action for Postpartum Psychosis website. It includes insider guides - including a recovery guide here app-network.org/wp-content/...

    It has some really helpful information from psychiatrists and women who have recovered from PP. I hope that it will help as it also has links to where you can get help and support.

    Take care, I hope some of what I have written helps. Just write anything you need to, even just to let out how you are feeling, we can answer any questions etc or just share our experience so you don't feel so alone and hopeless. There will be others on here with more advice to give I'm sure.

    Thinking of you

    X

  • This sounds very close to the events surrounding my illness. I was hospitalized 4 days after giving birth to my son in March 2014, and was put on both a mood stabilizer and antipsychotic. Because I live in the US a mother-baby unit was not an option (we only have 2 total) -- I was only monitored in the hospital for 3 days before being sent home. I was also diagnosed as bipolar even though this was the only incidence of mania.

    I also recovered from the psychosis / mania pretty quickly, but then started to feel the onset of depression about 6 weeks after giving birth. I have a history of depression prior to pregnancy, so that was not unexpected. I had to fight my doctor to put me back on my antidepressant, because he was operating under the assumption that I was bipolar and that the mood stabilizer would "manage" the depressive symptoms. He was also concerned that an antidepressant would trigger manic symptoms, as they can do that in patients who are bipolar.

    You should definitely keep making strong efforts to contact your medical providers -- suffering from an episode of depression after PP is very common, and the sooner you get some treatment, the better. I also agree with the previous commenter who suggested looking into CBT / counseling to go along with any medication that is prescribed -- recovery from depression tends to require a "whole person" approach. Medication absolutely helps, but there's often a need to address coping skills and self care as well to maximize quality of life.

    So sorry you are experiencing this side of PP. I'm glad you've found this site - I don't often post, but reading threads has been a huge source of information and support for me, and has made me feel so much less isolated. Hugs.

  • Hi alexandrarose,

    Im glad you found the forum. These ladies are such a great support. I was hospitalized last april 2wks after my son was born. In the us we dont have many mbu so I had to leave my son for ten days. Upon dicharge they warned my husband about ppd and said its common for pp patients to develop depression. So for the first week or two he kept checking on my mood. I kept saying I was fine. Eventually I told him to stop asking me! It got annoying because I did feel normal. Other than a slight high feeling from the anti psychotic(invega) I was given prozac at the hospital because they were anticipating the depression im guessing but I said I didnt feel depressed.

    About 3 weeks after my discharge. I began having a weird sensation in my body. It felt like 2 live wires were crossed thats the only way I can describe it. I was very slow to walk around. I was really scared to leave the house. Then it got so bad I couldnt take it anymore and I started packing my stuff and I made my husband take me back to the hospital. There I was hospitalized for 6 days. This time it was a major depressive episode. My two stays in the hopital were completely different. For the depression I was like a zombie because they doubled my invega and put me on prozac.

    I am still on prozac and a low dose of lamictal. My first psychiatrist told me I was probably bi polar too. I eventually want to be off of my meds but like my current psychiatrist says I was really sick. No rush to get off of them. I also joined a support group for ppd. They have had pp people in the past but not anyone lately. The group helped a lot. For you I would try to go back to the support group and explain your current symptoms. They might be similar to other ladies. I know your frustration though with not feeling like the ppd ladies get it. Being psychotic puts us in a whole other category! Are you in counseling? That has helped me the most. After having the depression run its course I feel like I can say I came out the other side. I was depressed up until this december. I never thought id get thru it. I thought I was going to be low and apathetic forever. But I now know its an illness and you can get through it. For me the psychosis was the worst part of my experience. Definitely the most traumatic...so ya you are through that! The depression just sucked! And I thought it wouldnt get better. Thats the illness talking. You will get back to normal. Also do you have a mental health advocate available? A person who has the counseling/doctor resourses? They might help you get a hold of some help. The sooner you get help the faster you are on the road to recovery. Dont wait.

    Keep us posted!

  • Alexandra, I wanted you to know that it's going to take a little more time. Don't get discouraged. I had a postpartum psychosis over 30 years ago. I was in a unit for two weeks and very heavily medicated with an anti-psychotics. I felt very depressed afterward, had a bit of a relapse, and was diagnosed as bipolar and told I should go on lithium for the rest of my life. I rejected the diagnosis, eventually got completely better and have had no issues for the past 30 years. The entire first year is rough. Explore some alternative therapies, such as exercise, and see if they don't help. And I agree, even if the ladies in the support group didn't have PP, it's probably good to try to connect with them. I hope you will be well soon. In the meantime, be good to yourself and give yourself plenty of time to recover. Don't expect to feel like your old self right away.

    Sharon

  • This also happened to me. If I were you I'd go to the Dr,with someone you trust, and insist they recognise your needs. I was diagnosed bi polar (never really agreed with that) took a while for depression to show. It took time but I got through it. I've had no problems since. Meds helped, but yes talking therapy and gradually getting involved with regular baby groups made me feel myself again. She's still in there, don't give up xx

  • Hi alexandrarose

    It's great you've found this forum and are able to open up about how you are feeling. It's so important to keep talking and getting advice. The forum is an amazing place to get support and reassurance from women who have experienced PP and come out the other end.

    I was hospitalised on an MBU for 8 weeks and too became very depressed. It is normal to experience depression after a psychotic episode. I was very manic and the medication reduced the psychosis but unfortunately it made my mood too low. I was never given an anti-depressant when the depression struck I remained on an anti-psychotic. It took time but I got through it slowly. Sometimes I did find I was taking steps backwards rather than forwards but don't worry if this happens.

    Keep trying to get hold of your doctor and nurse. I know when I wasn't getting any help we went though the crisis team at my local hospital which was useful. They then referred me back to a psychiatrist for follow up. Is there anything like that in your area?

    Take care and big hugs.

    Keep us updated about how you get on xx

  • Hi Alexandarose

    Lovely to hear form you and very glad you have found this forum, I am sure you will find it a great support. I'm so sorry to hear you are now feeling so low. I would recommend you persist with your GP and Health Visitor as you may require anti-depressants and the support from your Health Visitor or CPN perhaps.

    I, like most of us can only speak from experience, but certainly depression does seem to follow a psychotic episode, it maybe related to coming off the medication or part of the condition itself, I'm not qualified to say. Personally, I think it adds insult to injury, after having endured PP to end up depressed as well, but it I do believe it is part of the process.

    I was sectioned and hospitalised for 8 weeks with 'hypomania', a symptom of PP and was placed on anti-psychotics which were gradually decreased. Then came the , awful depression and given anti-depressants which proved effective. It took a while to pick myself up again, my episode happened 33 years ago and there was no follow or support in those days. I would say though it takes time to get back on your feet, take one day at a time, but you'll get through it. Remember you are not alone but among friends here who can be with you every step of the way. Take care. Love and good wishes Vee Xx

  • Hello Alexandrarose

    How are you feeling now? Did you manage to speak to your GP about feeling low and hopeless? It's a sad state of affairs if you have to wait until June to see him. In some surgeries the GP can call you back after his Clinic has finished. Do you have that option? Is there a Crisis Team you can contact as it is not good for you to be without medication for two weeks?

    You must get help for yourself asap. I'm not sure where you live but there is usually an out of hours service you can call for a doctor to visit you at home. If all else fails you can go along to your local hospital for advice.

    Please don't suffer in silence; you can't fight this illness without medication. Do you have a friend who can speak on your behalf to let medical services know how ill you feel?

    Take very good care of yourself. We are all here for you.

  • Hi Alexandrarose,

    Like the other ladies have said, I think depression can follow an episode of PP and this is really common. I had PP in 2009 and whilst I don't think I ever felt that low, I probably was on some level - if nothing else, I was quite shocked and almost traumatised after the PP, as I too was very manic and spent 3 months in hospital overall.

    I took lithium too when I seemed to be having "2 steps forward, 1 back" symptoms whilst still in the MBU, and my discharge was delayed. I think they wanted it to level me out and it did work, but was a long-term medication for me (3 years) which I was eventually weaned off. It's worth trying to talk to your doctor again, chase them up (I know how frustrating it can be!) as although you're obviously satisfied with the diagnosis of a one-off episode of PP rather than bipolar, they do need to hear if you feel you're not coping. Do you have a crisis team or someone even to reach by phone?

    Hang in there - I know how frustrating and upsetting it can be when all you want is your life back together, with your new baby. But as others have also said, it can be a long process and you have to be gentle with yourself. I know less than 6 months on, I was nowhere near as insigntful as you, so you're doing really well! It can take a year or more to feel recovered. Have you looked at the APP guide for Recovery, it's here: app-network.org/what-is-pp/... - together with a Partner guide and some other info which might be useful to you.

    I hope things start getting better for you soon, we're here for any more queries, let us know how you're getting on if you feel like popping back. Take care, xx

  • Hello everyone :)

    Thank you all so much for your kind words and advice. I've followed all of the advice you gave me.

    I've been to see my Doctor who has arranged for me to see a counsellor. I've agreed that if counselling doesn't help then I will look at other methods like medication. While I've been waiting for my appointment I've been trying to meditate and its really helped. I would recommend it. Just focusing my mind on the present has helped.

    Also, I've started to do things I enjoyed before having a baby and finding that in a way I'm finding my old self a bit. I think we all forget that we are individuals as well as mummies. My other half continues to support me and gives me the freedom to find myself again. I think the best way to describe the whole experience is that I lost myself. And now I'm finding myself and I'm really proud of the person I am.

    The whole experience broke me and changed my life completely but I'm glad it happened now. I'm a true believer in 'everything happens for a reason'. Some people think I'm crazy and at one time that would have upset me, now I'm strong enough to break the mould. If I want to go to a meditation class rather than go to the pub then so be it. Everyone's different and I spent all my life trying to fit in and please everyone but don't try any more.

    I'm just taking it day by day. I have good days and bad days but the good are getting more frequent now. Plus I rekindled my relationship with my mum and now I've got someone close who I can talk to who understands me.

    Thanks again for all your help. I will be in touch in the future and hope I can help someone else who needs some advice on here :)

    What a brilliant supportive forum :) You made me realise I'm not alone and its normal to feel how I've been feeling. Sending you all my love and best wishes xxx

    P.S. My baby's first tooth has made a tiny appearance this morning :)

  • Hello alexandrarose

    Such a relief to hear you are feeling much brighter and more positive. I think counselling will be a good start towards a full recovery. I've heard meditation can be good for all sorts of ailments, so I'm pleased to hear it's making a difference for you. At the moment going to church and being in the silence works for me.

    It takes a while but as you say eventually we find ourselves again and not so much pick up where we left off but are stronger for the 'experience' of PP. I had the idea I was a 'people pleaser' too but as my confidence returned I valued 'me' more. Then when I found Dr Jones and the APP team their help and advice made all the difference to how I felt about myself. I felt relieved to finally be understood.

    So glad you are having more good days than not so good. That's lovely to have your mum in your life again, you will be able to enjoy so much together now. I'm sure your mum is delighted with her grandchild too.

    Take very good care of yourself. We will all still be here to help if you need us. So happy for you .... finding your feet again.

    p.s. what a magical sight baby's first tooth is!

  • Hi Alexandrarose,

    It's great to read your post and to hear how you're tackling your low - what an amazing, strong woman you are. And yes, I think counselling will be such a good thing for you.

    A lot of what you wrote also resonates with me. I had PP nearly 4 years ago now, and I too believe everything happens for a reason somehow. It did completely break me too but as you write I can honestly say, hand on my heart, that I am at times almost grateful it happened...it has given me so much in my life in the end (which I won't go into now but suffice to say finding this forum and meeting other PP women is one of the things), as you are already feeling too. You are inspirational.

    And amazing that you are finding meditation works. Funnily enough it's something I'm trying out too recently, and wish I'd had a go when I was ill. I really hope that keeps helping you. And if you have some 'blips' don't worry...I found the nature of the PP was I would have ups and downs and sometimes felt like I was taken a step backwards rather than forwards all the time, I would have many moments of low but slowly they got less and less...

    And I agree finding those things that you enjoyed pre PP can be really healing.

    Take care and don't hesitate to write on the forum again X

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