Post Partum Psychosis leading to Bipolar Affective Disorder

I suffered from Post Partum Psychosis 25 months ago after the birth of my daughter. I spent 7 weeks in a Mother and baby Unit and was put on Olanzapine. On returning home I suffered from depression. However, by the time my daughter was 10 months old I was off my medication. Four months later I suffered from a hypmanic episode. As this was out with the post partum period (by a mere 2 months) my psychiatrist has diagnosed me with Bipolar Affective Disorder. Has this happened to anyone else? I would love to hear from you all.

8 Replies

  • Hello Mariposa 33

    Welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing your experience of PP.

    I had PP twice many years ago but unfortunately I'm unable to comment about bipolar affective disorder. However I did type 'bipolar' into search on this page and there are quite a few posts and responses with links to further info which might be helpful to you.

    There will be other mums here who can give you good advice. It sounds as though you have had a lot to cope with over the past 25 months .... try not to worry and take good care of yourself.

  • Hij Mariposa

    My name is Brenda. I suffered a PPP three years ago, in June 2012 after giving birth to my third son. I was diagnoses bipolar too, was told I would never get off the meds anymore, let alone have a Normal job. I had a lot of difficulties with that Diagnosis. Couldn't cope with it and had, I believe , because of that, a depression. Thing is: PPP is not an official Diagnosis in DSM 5. If you've suffered a manic episode once, according to the criteria of DSM, you have a bipolar disorder. Not all doctors are acquainted with PPP. I just looked for second opnions. The psychiatrist I have now really believes it was a PPP, no bipolar disorder. She has given me a lot of hope, a new perspective. She helped me to reduce my meds. Since September 2013 I've been working again. Since Februari 2014 I'm off my meds. Everything goes really well. I've written a book about my experience. Unfortunately in Dutch. I give lectures about it. It's amazing how my life has changed since my disease in 2012. I would advise you to look for a second opnion and to keep up believing there is hope! I've recovered very well. I hope my answer will help you. Love Brenda from Belgium

  • Hi Mariposa,

    My diagnosis was hypomania. I now have a better understanding mainly due to this forum. I was not hospitalised and was medicated 14 days after giving birth which prevented PPP developing. I was looked after by a home treatment team of general psychiatric nurses as we do not have a mother and baby unit here. When I was put under the care of perinatal specialist she gradually reduced my medication. I was on it for 22 months in total. I of course wanted off it as soon as possible but heeded her advice.

    How are you feeling now? My confidence took quite a hit but there are few people I would share that with so this forum is wonderful.

    Best wishes Catherine

  • I was mis diagnosed bipolar. Some Dr don't have much experience of it. Eventually my gp took it off my record. Don't worry about labels. Be kind to yourself and let people support you.

  • Hi Mariposa -

    I have a similar diagnostic history to you. After PP, and a long stay on the MBU, I was given a bipolar diagnosis. I was also on Olanzapine for around a year. I'm now off all the meds, but I am very watchful and will go straight back on it if I feel my mood destabilising.

    I had a bad relapse last year, when I was in a very disturbing "mixed mood" state. I had no access to the perinatal team as my baby was then almost 2. But i was lucky to have weekly appointments with a general CPN who was brilliant. He didn't know much about PP, but he did understand my moods and anxieties around getting psychotic again. He helped me with basic CBT, and also some diary planning. Me got me to map out each week, looking at when I was very busy, and made sure I scheduled in some quiet times and some "me time". I was discharged from this after about 8 weeks and have been well since. I hardly ever worry about my diagnosis, and feel it helps me better understand my moods and behaviour.

    Hope this helps! Always here if you want to know more xxx

  • Thanks for replying KatG. It's good to know that there others out there who have also been diagnosed with bipolar after PPP. Ideally I would love to be off medication too but I can't see that happening any time soon. I've come to terms with my diagnosis and to be honest being bipolar hasn't impacted too much on my life so far so let's hope that continues. Thanks again for getting in touch.

  • Your story echoes my daughters. She too had PP in May 2014 after the birth of her son. She was in MBU for approx 6 weeks and like you off olanapine when baby was approx 10 months old and was discharged from the hospital. In the past 6 weeks she's been out of control in a manic episode and The past 3 weeks she has been back in the same hospital but in a psychiatric ward. She too as been assessed and has now been told she has bipolar and is being treated with mood stablizers and not sure when she will be home. We could all see this coming but getting help was the hardest thing as she does not believe that she is ill. I worry what the future holds , xxx

  • Hi Donna48

    Really sorry to hear about your daughter and that she has had a relapse. That is awful, and I can't imagine what you are going through as well. It sounds like you're in the middle of it.

    I know it must seem bleak now but hold on, she will get through this and will be well again and find ways to stay well. I just wanted to direct you (and anyone else on this thread) to bipolar UK charity which you or your daughter may find helpful. I haven't really been on there myself, but I know they are a really good charity who offer good support.

    Take care

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