Am I alone and will It ever go away


I suffered with PP in 2013, after the birth of my first child, I had never heard of it before, also once the physcosis subsided I was left with severe anxiety and depression. As the literature advised it was roughly a year before I felt ok again. Another year has passed now and I have had periods of depression and recently work is causing me to suffer badly with anxiety, to the point where I have handed in my notice and have no other job to go to. Prior to PP I was always a worrier but it would never have caused physical sensations, am I now to expect this if things are bad, am I now to expect I might not cope. My husband was really supportive through my PP but as soon as I was released from the MBU he thought I was ok, he doesn't seem to understand or appreciate how I feel. I also hate to say it but I hate to feel labeled ie say I suffer with anxiety / depression. And now if I do have a low day or an odd moan, my husband asks if it is because of my illness! 😕

Am I alone in these feelings, have people who have previously had PP gone on to suffer with anxiety, does it stay. Would appreciate any advice or even just a chat.

16 Replies

  • Hi Strawberry 55

    I can relate to what you are describing and I'm sorry to hear that you are struggling. I had PP many years ago in 1988 and prior to that I had experienced some periods of depression. I think looking back I was bi-polar but nobody ever connected up my periods of depression with the PP.

    Like you, I had always been a bit of a worrier and generally found life really quite stressful, particularly where work is concerned. I have had many ups and downs over the years and have had numerous jobs, some where people have been understanding and others where they haven't.

    I didn't have PP with my second child (1993) but I had a relapse in 2002 which came completely out of the blue. Since then I have had to accept that I am a person that has a pre-disposition towards depression and anxiety. It's not my fault, it's just the way I am and it has taken me many years to accept that. I am on a low dosage of anti-depressants all the time now but taking them has kept me well for all these years.

    It is still fairly early days for you and the memories of you being ill with still be with your husband and I do think it is a very hard thing for men to understand. There is lots of information now for partners so I don't know whether he has read any of that information?

    Looking after a small child is incredibly demanding and adding a job into that equation can sometimes just be too much, particularly when you've been through such a debilitating illness. So be patient with yourself and I'm sure things will get easier.

    I don't know if any of this is helpful but I just wanted you to know that you are not alone.


  • Thank you, it was helpful x

  • Hello Strawberry55

    Welcome back to the forum. Thanks for the update; I'm sorry to hear you have had periods of depression and anxiety during your recovery. The stress of losing your job can't be easy for you. I had depression, which at the time seemed endless, following my second PP. After a year or so I recovered but then it was a case of finding my place and rebuilding my confidence.

    You are certainly not alone here. I think as PP mums we are 'extra anxious' because we have been through so much. I was considered to be an 'anxious mother' by my GP for taking one of my baby sons to see him with "the slightest cough or cold." It's a shame there is a stigma attached to the 'label' of depression but it is becoming more acceptable. There's should be no shame .... in fact as PP mums we should all be very proud that we have had the courage to fight this awful illness for the love of our children.

    It's very difficult for family to really understand although they are a great support at the time. Perhaps when your toddler is asleep you could explain to your husband how you are feeling so that he can react in a way that doesn't trouble you.

    Take good care of yourself.

  • Hi there

    I really understand what you are saying. In fact that could have been me writing that post.

    I'm now 11 and 8 years since my episodes.

    Are you still on medication?

    I was on tegratol until about 4 weeks ago.

    I feel so much better since I came off. I'm on nothing now.

    If you are still on meds perhaps it's worth getting them reviewed?

    I came off cold turkey....don't do that!

    Perhaps get your gp to refer you back to mental health clinic and take it from there.

    pp is a massive journey. But I promise one day you will look back and be proud that you have come through it.

    I'm here to talk if you need to

    take care😊xx

  • Hello Strawberry55

    No you are not alone. I too suffered PP with both my children. The first time was in 2007 and the second was 2013. Today I'm still in the healing process. After coming out of the hospital it seemed like I had to come to terms with with happened to me accept it, learn, and grow from it. I still see a counselor, nurse and psychiatrist which has help me with my healing process as well. I'm on a low dose of anti-depressants, and have anti-anxiety meds as needed. Things had gotten so bad for me at work that I too thought about just turning in my notice. With every new day I managed to get up go to work and after the rough days came better days. There are a lot of good articles and posts for spouses too if you want to talk to your husband about this forum. We are all here to help each other through good times and bad.

    God Bless

  • Hi strawberry55

    Sorry that you have been suffering a bit from anxiety and depression after the PP, and that you find that you are more sensitive to stress etc afterwards. As you can see you are most definitely not alone. I do think this is common after PP. It was well over a year before I felt fully recovered from the depression (18 months at least, probably 2 years before I felt fully myself). And I don't know if it is just because of being a mum, or from having PP, I find I am more emotional etc than I used to be. A few months ago I did have a lot of stress at work too, to the point that I had some physical anxiety feelings for a short time which was a big struggle as I really worried I was getting ill again.

    I know it is hard to feel you might have this 'weakness' now but perhaps this is an opportunity to prioritise your needs and to look after yourself, and can become a positive - something I find hard to do at times! What has worked for me was I tried to think of what kind of things cause me stress and anxiety, and try to minimise them from my life (as much as I can, I know it's not always possible)? E.g. avoid people (if you can) who provoke negative, stressful feelings in you. And perhaps more importantly I think what things actively help me to stay well, relaxed, centred? Perhaps even draw up a plan for yourself? I have done this for myself, and I think the content will be different for each person. - e.g. I limit what work I do from home, how often I check social media (I find this can frazzle my brain), limit the amount of social activity I do in the weekdays in the evening as I just get exhausted. In terms of proactive things to do I try and pray/meditate every day as I find that helps, I try to read inspiring books, meet up with friends who really make me feel good and call me to something better. I have written this plan for myself so that I can keep coming back to it when I slip (which I do regularly! but at least I have in my mind what I'm aiming for). - I hope this advice might help but discard if it doesn't strike a chord!

    I am really sorry you have had to leave your job, without another to go to. That is really hard. But I would not see it at as a personal failure though - I think that this is a brave thing to do and I see it as you taking proactive steps to take control of things, to look after yourself, and to minimise things that make you stressed. A job that is stressing you out is not worth it, especially if you have been ill previously. Perhaps you can take this opportunity to think what job might be good for you, that wouldn't provoke too much stress but would still be fulfilling? It's hard though, I hope financially you will be OK? That is always a big worry isn't it?

    Take care Stawberry,


  • Thank you very much for your response, it was very helpful. I think the job I di itself is a stressful one, which before world make me a little stressed but I could cope, whereas now the responsibility is too much and I gave to admit that for myself and my family. The physical impact is not good either. Thank you for your kind words, I did feel a failure for quitting my job, but after trying to cope for 7 months I need to re-evaluate. My mum and sister also say it's brave. Hubby, although supported me doesn't fully appreciate the reasons, I suppose to him they seem trivial. I will be fine, I will just get a job with less stress (if that can be found lol) I am sure it can though, my current job is too much making scary decisions which may affect others life or mean going to court, I can't take that pressure since my illness.

    Thank you again. X

  • Hi strawberry

    Good to hear from you. Phew your job does sound stressful, I'm not surprised you feel you need to leave!

    I wonder if, as well as being ill, you just find being a mum you don't have the same emotional energy and resilience? I've certainly found that, whether it is the pp or just motherhood...

    Your mum and sister are right though, that it is a brave decision. good luck with it all x

  • Hey, I can only echo what other's have said- it is like I have written it myself. My second PP was also 2013 and it has left me with intense bouts of anxiety, which lead to depression. As I become stronger, these attacks are becoming further apart, but still happening.

    I too have said to my husband "will I be broken forever?", as I am definitely more predisposed to stress and anxiety.

    On that note, I have suffered with anxiety since I was a small child, and these bouts have been present throughout my life- I suppose I'm now just more aware of what they are. I have been diagnosed with Ocd, and it has been highlighted that I am probably Aspergers.

    I also feel frustrated. I would like to get back to my professional career, but I'm not sure if it will trigger the illness. I feel like I'm coasting...happy coasting mummy, but nonetheless, capable of so much more.

    You are never alone here! We are a strong troop! Xx

  • Hi Strawberry55,

    The way you feel is completely normal after PP, I remember all too well the crippling anxiety that followed the psychosis and how I thought I would never get my life back. And my family, that I so desperately wanted to be "normal" for, how much it frustrated me is something that in some ways was worse than the psychosis.

    As others have said, you will get there and I have to say that with the passing of time, it will become more distant and you will be better equipped to cope. I had PP in 2009 and definitely felt that the first year was the hardest of my life. Everyone says that having a baby is difficult, but adding in the PP made it almost impossible. But I got there and so will you. Being aware of the anxiety and stress is actually pretty positive, as I know I was in denial about it at times. I went back to work after 9 months as planned and in hindsight it wasn't really helpful and possibly made life more difficult than it needed to be.

    But I got through and I think I'm probably stronger for it. So will you be too. These days, I don't let stress figure in my life wherever possible. There are much bigger things than anything which is not going to impact my life for the better so I avoid them. Sometimes stress is unavoidable, but I make sure to minimise it wherever possible and also to share the load with others. This is something I think that all Mums are guilty of to an extent, trying to take on too much, whether it's child or work based. Your husband's reaction sounds really familiar too. Don't get me wrong, it's really hard for them too, but sometimes we don't need that knowing look or questioning of every little thing and linking it to the PP, I know this would really annoy me. So I told my husband that it was just going to take some time, and luckily his reactions improved, as did mine.

    We've all been to really hard places with PP and come out of the other side. Corny as it sounds, time is a great healer and I'm sure things will get easier for you too. Take care, keep asking questions as we're all here to help each other through, xx

  • Hello! I suffered from PP in 2011, was in an MBU for 6 months largely due to a persistent depression. Like you, I suffer from Anxiety and depression, plus I was diagnosed bi-polar when I had my PP episode. I was occasionally treated for work-related anxiety prior to the PP and an SsRI plus propanolol kind of kept things under control. I would say that the anxiety if anything got worse in the years post-recovery, but working closely with a psychiatrist to fine tune the medication has done wonders. I have to give you the bad news that in my experience that sort of fine tuning does not happen on the NHS. I meet with him monthly and we review what works, what doesn't, what to take in a crisis, and eventually there are fewer crises because you gain confidence in your recovery. On some occasions I was definitely anxious in case I might become anxious (how's that for warped logic). It's not all about the meds. I also now go to the gym twice a week and go to yoga sessions, try to moderate alcohol/caffeine intake. And sporadically I have done some talking therapies. I hope some of that helps and wish you all the best, X x x

  • Hi strawberry55,

    You are definitely not alone in this. After my pp episode last April I began having severe anxiety that I was hospitalized with 3 weeks after I was out of the hospital from pp. I never struggled with mental illness before the birth of my son so it was very freighting and confusing. After the initial anxiety for several days in the hospital I was left with a physical and emotional numbness of depression. I was properly medicated with an antidepressant added to my antipsychotic. I was also given a drug for anxiety and it is take as needed. Currently I take a low dose of a mood stabilizer and antidepressant. Eventually I want to come off but I am in no rush.

    I'm a teacher so when school started back up I had about 3 months with severe anxiety. I had previously loved my job but in those 3 months I began hating everything about my job and desperately wanted to quit. I even went to the hr dept with my principal to see how much time I could take off for emergency medical leave. It was a very scary time. I saw the most improvement when I came off my antipsychotic. I felt like I was waking up. During my depression/anxiety I never thought I was going to get better because I didn't have the insight about recovery from mental illness. I was living minute to minute at first. I was told I would start living hour tot hour, then day by day and week by week. I really didn't believe that!! But I did get better and now I feel better than I did before. I still have down days and I get frustrated with myself but upon self reflection and some extra self care.i can come out of it. I think since we had pp we can be extra sensitive to mood. I forget that before pp I would have bad days/weeks too.

    Getting better for me was a lot of work! I refused to give up! The things that helped me get better was a really good counselor I see every 2 weeks, medication, peer support group, friends/family, meditation daily, diet (very important) acupuncture and oddly enough listening to podcasts. I'm obsessed with them. One you might benefit from is called the mental illness happy hour. Check it out and let me know what you think. If you are triggered by other people's stories about sad life events I wouldn't recommend it. Sometimes i get upset during certain episodes and have to stop that episode. But there are many good ones. remember you are never alone.

    Everyone's recovery is different but the silver lining

    is that you will get better.

    Good luck at your new job you might look back and see what a blessing the job move was.

  • Thank you so much everyone, all of your responses have been invaluble. I am so glad I found this forum and can't faulr it one bit.

  • Hello Strawberry55

    I'm glad we have all been able to help.

    I think when we recover it's very important to look after our mental health. Some years ago I was away from work for months with work related stress. So after much soul searching I made the decision to leave and look for another job. It wasn't an easy decision but I made the leap into the unknown and eventually found work in a less intense role. I now sleep well at night which makes all the difference.

    Perhaps your husband and family will understand when they see you happier and not so stressed? Take good care of yourself ...... don't forget to add 'Amazing Mum' to your C.V.!!

  • Thank you lilybeth 😀

  • Hi - I had my initial problems in 2009 but then got psychosis again when I came off my meds too quickly - that was a year or so after the first episode. I'm on a low dose of meds now - I'm okay psychosis wise now but I get a lot of anxiety - I've tried antidepressants but don't find they work. I've recently enquired about supported employment because I feel that I need to be a bit looked after in any job I get- there is an organisation called BASE which spreads the word about it. I don't know if I qualify for it because some centres do it more for people with social care needs and as I can't get any DLA now I take it they think I have none. I've written to my local mp to express my disappointment about this - my husband works but I want to work too - she has written to my local council and is going to let me know when she hears back from them.

You may also like...