Anxiety after pp

It's been nearly 5 months since being diagnosed with pp. I was on an extreme high after taking my daughter home. I felt invincible and jumped out of my third storey window a week after the birth. Luckily I left my daughter in her Moses basket. My husband and mother were there at the time but couldn't stop me. I broke my spine and pelvis from the fall. My storey is quite extreme and the pp was very acute. I spent a week in a psychiatric ward then 10 days in a mbu which I now think wasn't enough time but I was adamant on getting home. I now have quite severe anxiety and find basic living and functioning difficult. I go between feeling anxious and depressed. I am on olanzapine and clonazepam for anxiety but I don't feel like they do much. The olanzapine makes me feel like a zombie.

I'm glad this network is here so I can tell my story. It has been the hardest time of my life and I just want to feel normal again.

10 Replies

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  • Hello jcollins

    Thanks for sharing your story and welcome to the forum where you will find lots of support from other mums. I had a similar experience with my first PP in the 70's and fractured my femur. It must be very hard for you recovering from your injuries and coping with the effects of PP.

    You have done very well to be home so soon. I was sectioned and hospitalised into various psych units as there were no MBUs way back then. I was discharged after six months. Perhaps you needed a little more time in the MBU to adjust to all that had happened ....... but I understand why you wanted to be at home with your husband and baby daughter.

    Do you have a care team visiting you at home? It might be an idea to talk to your GP about how you feel so that he can review your medication. It's very early days and from what you have been through it does take time to heal. We have all had the same diagnosis but recovery is different in each case. You need to be very gentle with yourself and you will fully recover in time. Sometimes as mums who have had PP we try to rush to be well when really we're not quite ready.

    Try and talk to your GP about how you really feel so that he can support you, for example he might arrange for a CPN to visit you at home and you will be able to share your concerns and just chat about what's on your mind.

    It's very early days for you but with good care and support you will feel normal again. You have been through so much in such a short time and I can remember how anxious I was to find my place and function day to day.

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

  • Hi jcollins

    Welcome to the forum, and thanks for posting your story. It is brave to come on here and to share your story and how you feel. You certainly have been through a really tough and traumatic time, with the physical injuries you have had, as well as the PP. I can't imagine how difficult that must be to recover from.

    You are not alone. There are many of us here with similar experiences to yours. I had PP 4 years ago after the birth of my son. I struggled with depression (and anxiety to some lesser extent) for about 18 months after the episode but each person's experience of PP and recovery is different. I was on Olanzapine and Escitilipram (antidepressant) and was also in a MBU but for four months. I would agree with you that it was most definitely the hardest time of my life, and I too just wanted to feel normal again and thought I never would. But I promise you, you will recover, it is a slow up and down process but you will recover and be yourself again. I feel fully well, and have an amazing relationship with my beautiful son.

    What professional support do you have? Are you under a mental health team and do you meet them regularly? Have you had any access to counselling / CBT - I found that the most helpful to manage my anxiety and depression. It just gave me some tools to manage.

    Thinking of you, and please write whenever you need to. I am sure there are many others who will give you support on here. Take care X

  • Hi Jcollins.Your story really resonates with me today as although our experiences are very different,the anxiety I thought had lifted since my second episode of PP in December resurfaced this weekend. I had a major panic attack and flasback in the early hours while up with my son. It was awful and have felt on edge on/off since. I think it was bought on my a combination of extreme tiredness (my 8 month old son is teething plus I am still breastfeeding as/when in night), changing hormones perhaps in me(as my son moves from milk to solids) and some lowering of my mood (getting more irritable and negative etc). I'm not on any drugs and ironically perhaps have just been signed off from the baby unit I was attending on/off for check ups as was feeling normal self(that was 2 weeks ago!). I just wanted to say it shows how quickly things can change is circumstances or self-care change. Recovery is a journey, there will be ups and downs as it is a very traumatic thing to experience. Trying not to engage with negative thoughts (have you tried such things as mindfulness?) arts/baking, exercise, speaking to CPN(never told anyone before but family), getting sufficient sleep(!), not doing too much sometimes, being more assertive and kinder to self etc have all helped me. I wish you all the best in your recovery. There will be difficult times but try to focus on good things (I even found writing a daily list of 3 best things that day with my sons really helped build a positive mindset before bedtime..... just little things).You will get there in your own time. BEST WISHES x

  • Poor you how traumatic. We've all been there (but as mentioned without the physical effects which sound horrible). I also thought I was invincible and was on such a high post birth. Ended up delusional and got sectioned and then in a MBU for 3 months. Unlike most people in here, I hated the MBU and wanted to get home, although I was so anxious about being home too (just being in my own skin). But when I did go on home visits, I couldn't daily living, could not cook or do or the normal things that i had found so effortless before. And everything seemed black and hopeless.

    Took another 3 months to get back to normal. What helped me in the end was time and an SSRI (sertraline) for the depression/anxiety which was really crippling. But they are cautious putting you on one in case you get high. I just started on a really low dose about 2-3 months after the initial mania. Felt slightly worse for the first 2 weeks (more anxious) then once I was over that, I got much better.

    But everyone is different what works. What you must realise is that you will eventually be back to yourself. Everyone told me that I didn't believe it, but you will. It's just a matter of time unfortunately. Your biochemistry in your brain has gone all over the place, and it will eventually settle. Keep the faith in that.

  • I am just glad you are ok. We can overcome anything, only carry on and be patient. I had two episodes of psychosis, after giving birth to both my children. After those episodes I fell in deep depression. That was my worst times (because when I was "high" I felt great, of course my family felt the opposite). Be prepared for the depression and wait for better times. Because they will come. I thought I hasn't going to get better, but I am! And better than before! Because now I know how to deal with all the unimportant things in my life. And I enjoy watching my children grow up (and I am sure they enjoy having a mother). It is difficult, I know, but it is totally worth it. Just wait, don't give up (I know with the meds is hard, but you are taking them for a reason) and if you want someone to talk to, we are here for you.

  • Hi. Your story doesn't sound extreme, most of us lost complete touch with reality and could've done anything. The main thing is your baby was safe, a few people with pp aren't so lucky.

    I suffered from pp 17 months ago. I can relate to the anxiety, I was too anxious to feed my son or be alone with him for a few short months.

    It did get better. I wouldn't say I'm anxious at all now. I take more care of myself though and take it easy.

    I couldn't cook after pp for ages, I also forgot how to shampoo my hair, weird! I have heard if peoe becoming incontinent after pp for months so I think I've been lucky.

    Take care xx

  • I also had bad PPS and once I came home I was also having a very high dose of olanzapine which made me so tired I wasn't caring for my little girl I was in bed all the time but hopefully it got reduced more and more so now it doesn't effect me at all maybe that's something you can talk to your docter about because u still need to function hunny , as for the clonazipam I also had this and was told to take it when I had panic attacks or felt worried or uneasy when I came home from the mother and baby unit ! I had huge anxiety and would panic everyday and was taking it everyday but it gets better the better I got the more I realized I had nothing to panic about everything was ok then one day I stopped taking them and I have never touched them since and I'm doing so well I'm only on 5mg of olazapine now and I'm doing so well soon it will be reduced to 2.5mg then I'll be of them but I do also take sertraline for antiexy and depresstion maybe you can go on something to help that ? Xx

  • I don't have any wise words to add to the wisdom already imparted but I just wanted to add my virtual support to the mix. You have been so brave to speak out a little about what you've been through.

    How are you now?

  • Well your high and invincibility sound very familiar. I'm so sorry you hurt yourself so badly. I'm not surprised in the slightest that you're now suffering acute anxiety, it sounds like a natural progression to me. You need to realise, and know, that you'll never do it again.

    I'm really replying about your Olanzapine and your comments about being zombie-like. I hated Olananzapine. Could you request that your psychiatrist considered something else? They might have very good reasons to be using Olanzapine but they would tell you what they are if you asked. I personally prefer (and chose) Abilify. My psychiatrist gave me the full spec. sheets for six appropriate medications and told me to choose for myself. It's nice to have 'ownership' in that way.

  • Hello. I was quite lucky in that my acute pp did not last very long (2 weeks in an MBU) My oldest friend managed to stop me going out of the first floor window and insisted on a home-visit just prior to my admission .

    I just wanted to let you know that I ,and my family , found the depression and anxiety afterwards much harder . I felt that i should be getting better and able to look after my two girls but I just couldn't . I remember feeling that I would never be able to return to my job and normal life ; I did. It took about 6months for depression to resolve and I returned to work at 12 months.

    I'm now 4 years on still working and very happy . My family and children are fine. I think I am back to my old self ,just a little different. I'm still have issues with anxiety ,but thanks to support from my Psychiatric Nurse, a GP I could talk to properly and quite a lot of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy I can manage it OK.

    It is really hard, I felt numb for that 6months I was out of hospital - I didnt care enough to access anything like this forum.

    You are doing well to make contact. I promise you it does get better . x

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