Desperate to feel normal again

Hi everyone.

I suffered from PP November 2014 with the birth of my daughter. I spent 10 days in a separate facility while my hubby and in-laws looked after the baby. After this the baby and I were moved to the mother and baby unit and we stayed there for about four weeks.

I am now back at work full-time and my baby is coming up to being a year old.

I was just wondering how long it takes to feel like yourself again. I feel so numb and have lost my passion for everything. This is causing problems in my marriage as my husband doesn't feel wanted. He is so drained and just wants his wife back but it's like I'm not there. I'm so desperate to feel something again, anything at all.

Is it too early for me to be worried? Am I ever going to get back to normal again?

Please respond. I'm at the end of my rope.

25 Replies

  • Hi CarylA,

    I'm sorry you're feeling so low but please don't lose hope, it will get better and you will feel like yourself again.

    Everyone's recovery is different but most women seem to say it took them at least a year to feel completely normal again, for some it's longer.

    I had PP in June 2012 and although I recovered quickly and fortunately didn't go on to suffer depression I would say I didn't feel completely back to normal until I came off medication which was October 2013. Are you still taking medication? They do kind of dampen everything, that's how they work, but they're obviously really important.

    Are you still seeing your mental health team? Have you told them / your GP how you're feeling? Don't suffer in silence as they may be able to help.

    PP is an awful illness. There's so much trauma to process once you're out of the 'acute' illness and back at home, on top of getting to grips with motherhood and all that entails. Do you feel comfortable talking about things? I found talking things through really helped me but I know not everyone is happy doing that.

    And I think it's so hard for the partners, watching on helplessly while the person they love most disappears and then the long road to recovery. Has your husband had good support? Do you find you're able to talk to each other about what you've been through (and continue to go through)? And do you get any time together just the two of you? My husband was brilliant but still doesn't really like to talk about it, I think he'd rather just forget it ever happened. I'm sure you're as desperate for things to get back to normal as he is and it must be so frustrating for you. You will get there though.

    Don't be hard on yourself, you've been through a massive thing and getting back to work full time is great but it's hard work I know.

    Do use the support you have available to you and look after yourself. You really will get through this.

    Take good care xx

  • Hi CarylA

    Welcome to the forum. I am sure many others are going to reply to your post on here.

    First of all the very quick answer to your question "will I ever feel normal again?" is YES. I had PP in 2011, and suffered depression afterwards, and I am so happy now, and feel completely normal, like myself.

    It sounds like you've done amazing in getting this far - returning to work full time is quite an achievement having had PP. That is amazing, you really should be proud of everything you've achieved and how much you have recovered.

    For a while - over a year - I didn't feel myself either. You describe really exactly how I felt. I too felt numb, a lack of interest in things, and just somehow not myself and I couldn't really explain what it was. And like you describe my partner really did suffer too, and our relationship. But I really want to reassure you - you have already made huge progress and recovery and that, from my experience, it will just keep getting better and better and I promise you all parts of your life, including your interest in other things, and your relationship with your husband, will come back - and you will be stronger than ever. I can honestly say, hand on my heart, that me and my partner have a closer, stronger relationship than before, and I am happier than ever, and I have an amazing bond with my son.

    I wanted to ask if you are still on the anti psychotic or anti depressant medication? Anti psychotics do numb / flatten feelings, and I have to say I didn't feel completely myself until I was off them and they were out of my system, and I know many others will say the same. It is really important to keep taking them, following advice from professionals etc, and reduce them slowly. But just to reassure you really that that could be a major factor in not quite feeling right.

    I also wanted to point you in the direction of the 'insider guides' available through the APP website if you haven't already seen them. There is a recovery guide, but there is also a guide for partners that perhaps your husband might find helpful to read?

    They are here

    There has also been a kind of similar post recently, especially concerning relationship with husband here if you haven't seen it:

    you may find some of the advice that was given on that post helpful

    Hang on in there, we are all here for you, you are most definitely not alone, and you ARE recovering. Never doubt that. It just takes a bit of time.

    Do keep writing whenever you need to, even just to vent, or ask any questions

    Take care X

  • Hello CarylA

    Please don't despair .... we are all here to help.

    I had PP twice many years ago now but can assure you that in time and with a lot of patience and understanding from your husband you will be 'normal' again ...... although much stronger as you have endured so much to be well for your family.

    I just wondered if planning a 'date night' would be a good idea for you and your husband? I'm sure your in-laws would be delighted to look after their grandaughter for a few hours and it would give you both space to talk about anything and everything ..... planning a holiday in the future etc so that you look forward together and not back.

    You have done really well to recover and return to work in such a short space of time so be very proud of yourself. It's a very traumatic illness so you can't just flick a switch and be as you once were much as you would wish to. It took me a little over two years to find my place again after my first PP and with good care and support I fully recovered.

    The previous reply gives so much good advice and links to guide you. Try not to worry ..... you have so much to look forward to with your daughter. Perhaps in time you will be able to reduce your hours at work so that you don't have so much stress to cope with?

    Take good care of yourself. We are all here to lean on.

  • I can't add much to the wonderful advice above, but just wanted to reassure you that yes this does seem to be very normal part of PP recovery! Sadly it isn't a case of discharge = back to normal. For me, it took well over a year from my son's birth to feel like my relationship with husband was back on track. And if I'm honest even now (3 years on) we still have our issues. We are probably going to give some sort of family therapy a go soon. Will let you know how that goes!

    But you are so right - our partners go through hell with witnessing PP, and sometimes I think they need to recover as much as we do. After all, I was drugged up to my eyeballs while he was stone cold sober throughout!

    Have you had any time together away from the baby where you can just try and be a couple again?

    Take care x

  • Hi,

    I had pp November 2013 following the birth of my son. I was on olzanpine until March of this year and didn't really feel my self again until May.

    It takes along time, some recover quicker but ur body and mind have been through a lot so allow ur self time to recover.

    It will happen.

    Have U tried CBT? I found this so helpful

  • It does take serious time to feel "normal" again for sure. I think after you've had a child whether you've had pp or not your whole world is changed and nothing can prepare you for this! It's a huge readjustment. I experienced PP after the birth of my daughter 3years ago and it has been a very slow journey back to normality but please rest assured it does happen. For me it has been as the experiences of PP (and the depression afterwards in my case) become more distant and you and your family are more able to experience the pleasures of life together (which happened for me after my daughters first year) you get there. I suppose it's very difficult for partners to understand too and they do the best they can but if I could give you any advise it would be to take all the offers of help from family and friends that you can and make sure you're doing the things you love. It will get easier and it does get better. Time is a healer.

  • Hello CarylA,

    I'm so sorry that things are hard for you at the moment. Yes, you will feel better. But in my experience too, I found that it took longer than I thought (and ultimately hoped). And definitely longer than my husband anticipated, he also got very frustrated with me as I too felt numb, uninterested in anything, pretty useless in a lot of ways.

    Are you still on any medication? As others have said, I also found this to be a big thing for me as I felt very restrained by it. "Chemically flattened" is how my GP described it afterwards, which was pretty accurate. I took Olanzapine which I was on for a year and also lithium for 3 years, so I felt like it was a constant reminder which hindered my being "properly recovered", even though it actually really helped my recovery - if that makes sense. It's so important to listen to the advice of professionals on dosages and reducing, I know I was impatient to finish meds at the time as I saw it as a quick fix, but really it was the right thing to do things slowly.

    I wanted everything to be "normal" and basically what it hadn't been with my new baby and husband in the early days. But I think setting our expectations too high can be difficult too, as actually it's the small things that make the most difference. I would try and do one positive thing a week, then later per day, just to show that I could do it. Once it was going to a birthday party only weeks after being discharged and managing to stay awake past 8 or 9pm. Other times it would be a low-key family day out and enjoying a walk and an ice-cream or something. I found that anything requiring too much planning or impetus was never going to happen so I also did things like make my husband a favourite meal, or put on a DVD which we had both enjoyed "pre-baby" to try and remember us as a couple, as well as us as parents. Having a baby changes every relationship and after PP it can be really tough. I remember thinking I had to make things up to my partner because he'd lived through it too, but trying to be all things to everyone, I wasn't achieving much. The planning of little things did help in this but it will take time, try and be patient with yourself.

    I think whilst my baby's 1st birthday was an obvious milestone, there were times after this when I felt much more like myself and it wasn't a special occasion, it could be just a quiet weekend and having a walk around with the pushchair and noticing a nice sunset or laughing together at something silly. I think sometimes we set ourselves big goals, which can be helpful, but equally enjoying the little things and not trying to be too focussed on "by X I will do Y", we can then be happy when we get there anyway. I would say I could see improvements month on month after the milestone of 1 year had passed. And then I was so much more confident as time went on and found myself believing that it was possible to be the family I had always wanted. The difference between 1 year and 2 years was huge, and although it might feel like forever, time really does go by and is certainly a healer in many ways.

    It's positive that you are recognising that things aren't as good as you would like them to be. I think looking back, that I buried my head in the sand and I am lucky that my husband was patient with me and stuck around. It was helpful to him I think to have time with our son and enjoy the special bond they have (on days when I couldn't get out of bed for example), and also have time with his friends to remember how to be himself too, without the stresses of home life. I also liked to get away for a few hours with friends to try and re-find myself, try to re-build myself as a person with the support of good friends, without putting it all on my husband.

    I am sure you will get there, and before you know it, you will be further along and once more feeling back to your old self. Take care, feel free to come back and ask more questions, we're all here to support you. xx

  • Hi CarylA,

    I think you've had some great replies already but I wanted to offer some support too, I suffered PP last September after the birth of my little boy. I was treated twice in an MBU and have been very lucky to have had ongoing support from a specialist psychosis team, I would say that I felt 'normal' after about 8 months but still feel I am on the journey to full recovery.

    One of the best pieces of advice I had was to stop chasing after 'normal' and just let it happen naturally, it's going to be different to before as you're a mother now so life has changed regardless of PP.

    I have also found that talking about my experience has been very helpful and that by opening up about my PP has led to other mothers sharing their difficulties. This led to the realisation that not all my problems related to PP, some were just motherhood related.

    I think it's amazing that you've returned to work full time, you should be really proud of that, you're stronger than you think you are!

    As others have said, the medication does cause a lot of the feelings you have mentioned, I know that I felt a lot better when I came off my anti psychotic and reduced my anti depressant.

    Please don't feel that your recovery is never ending, you will get better and you'll be stronger and happier than before, try not to rush things. The best thing for your relationship with your husband is to be honest and open, try to make time for each other even if it is just sitting together to watch TV!

    If you want to chat further, feel free to inbox me.

    Hope these replies are giving you some hope

    Katy xx

  • I suffered from PP in March 2014, hospitalised for three weeks. The psychosis went fairly quick. I didn't suffer a major depression afterwards but felt a great shock and numbness. I was very quiet and would just sit in silence, although I am normally chatty.

    I'd say I felt like me again in June or July 2015 after coming off meds (had a little blip then in May straight after coming off meds but sleeping tablets short term sorted it out).

    You are doing well to be at work full time. I'm only part time and it felt too soon after a year to be back. Went back in March but off sick May-June. Feel fine about work now but my job is stressful.

    Anyway, it's early days for u and we all recover differently, everybody gets there in the end! Then we'll have more kids and go back to square one!

  • Thank you all for your replies.

    I'm feeling a little better now as I stayed the night with family and took the day off work.

    I called up my psychiatrist and managed to get an appointment for later this week.

    I'm currently on 10mg of Olanzapine so from what I've read that's probably contributing to that numb indifferent feeling.

    I really hope you're right and there's still time for me to recover. I feel so sad for my husband who feels lonely and isolated. I wish I could be like my old self but I just can't.

  • We do get some time together but it's as if I'm not quite there so that can make him feel worse.

  • Hello CarylA

    Thanks for taking the time to come back to the forum ..... a break from routine, especially a day off work, is a good idea. I'm glad you have an appointment with your psychiatrist later this week ... perhaps you could talk about the effects of your medication there?

    Rest assured you will fully recover eventually. PP is a strain on family and friends and can be isolating. Hopefully your husband will be reassured by some of the replies you have had.

    Out of all the chaos of PP you have a beautiful bundle of joy to treasure ..... give yourself time and if your husband continues to feel low perhaps your GP can advise him.

    Take very good care of yourself. We are all here to lean on.

  • Hey Caryl - just to say 10mg Olanzapine is still a punchy dose, so it's no wonder you are still feeling numb. I was down to 5mg by time I was discharged from MBU, and then quickly down to 2.5mg (by which time it was having minimal affect). Maybe have a chat with the psychiatrist about your dosage? As with all medications, it's a complicated balance between risks, benefits and side affects. Good luck!

  • Hi again CarylA,

    I just wanted to say you are not alone in the way you are feeling, as I can really relate to the "it's like I'm there but not" way that you describe yourself when spending time with your husband. Mine would completely agree on that one, as that's how he also describes how I was.

    I really think requesting a meds review might be beneficial for you. As KatG says, 10mg is still a fairly high dose, but again I know I was on a 2xday dosage for a good few months and then just night time before reducing to 5mg and 2.5mg (I think). And I was certainly on 2xday dose when my baby was 9 or 10 months old, and I remember the fog slowly lifting as it reduced more and more. It might be worth an ask anyway.

    Take care, you are not alone, and you will get there, we're all here for you. xx

  • Hi

    In my opinion KatG and SpannerB both make good points.

    Olanzapine and I don't agree particularly but all of these anti-psychotics are designed to flatten us out. When I was on a heavy dose I didn't feel any joy at a beautiful day, I didn't care what I did at weekends, I lacked opinions and conversation. Numb is the perfect adjective.

    My first psychiatrist was very into discussing things and I was continually trying to reduce my medication. She said that quality of life needs to be put seriously into the balance, gave me advice and let my husband and I choose my level of medication. She was great but sadly retired before I had my second child. My next psychiatrist was a lot more prescriptive and harder to work with.

    The balance of staying well through heavy medication and quality of life needs very serious consideration. You're doing brilliantly, it's quite a while since you were ill -has your medication been reduced at all?

    I personally would push the psychiatrist to justify their level of medication and give your counter argument for reducing it considerably. Psychiatrists can be very different in their beliefs and approaches (in my experience).

    On a different note; my husband disappeared into an internet game in 2009 when I had PP and he spent years there. PP is tough and it's unfair but you will recover. My husband and I are still happily married and have a PP free second child experience.

    Good luck -you're doing brilliantly! Full-time work! Amazing!

  • PS Medication needs reducing gradually but perhaps you could discuss the time frame for reducing it and explain that your quality of life is suffering.

  • hello. Your situation sounds quite similar to mine . i went back to work at about a year. I am now 4 years on and looking back its only about 6 months ago that I hit ''normal'' . My confidence at work took ages to come back -and work is easier to take step by step than home.

    Hang in there , it will get better. Its been hard for my husband - I don't think you ever go completely back to the ''old you'' . I suppose its like coming through a serious physical illness such as cancer -you and your family will all be a little bit changed by it -however you are getting better, you WILL make it.

    Best Wishes T.

  • So glad you took a bit of time for yourself. I come from the other perspective when it comes to olanzapine. Yes it does numb your feelings but for me I think coming off it really quickly (as I was encouraged to do by in laws to support my fiance more in caring for our newborn) contributed to a massive crash in my mood. So though olanzapine does have some not so great side effects (I am also a pharmacist and experienced the weight gain and numbness firsthand) I definitely recommend giving yourself time to learn how to enjoy things again before reducing dose and doing so in conjunction with health professionals.

    For me being in a mother and baby unit (for longer lasting depression really) taught me to take the support that was there and do things that I love like baking and Tai Chi which I still do now, 3 years later. I know they're tiny things but they all contribute to your recovery however slow it may be. It's almost like you have to relearn happiness and the feeling of being connected after an episode of PP/PPD.

    So all I can really say is keep asking for help, keep making time for yourself doing the things you love and you will get there. And gosh you're back at work already, you've come a long way to be able to do that but don't forget there's no judgement in taking time off for yourself when you're feeling like this. Take good care

  • Hello CarylA

    Hope you are ok. Just wondering how your appointment went with the psychiatrist ..... was your medication reduced? Have a good weekend.

    We are all here for you.

  • Hi Lilybeth,

    My appointment went well. I've been put on risperidone now so I'm transitioning off Olanzapine. Hopefully it'll make me less drowsy, or at least that's what he said should happen.

    I've also had some good news at work. They're looking at letting me have two days a week working from home and starting slightly later. They've been really understanding so I'm grateful for that.

    In general I've been feeling a bit better.

    Thank you to everyone who has replied. I really appreciate your support.


  • Hello CarylA

    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. Hopefully when the change in medication kicks in you will feel a bit better and not so drowsy.

    That's great news about being able to work from home and starting later when you do go in. So helpful to have such an understanding company to work for isn't it?

    Take good care of yourself; we are all here to lean on anytime.

  • Hi Caryl!

    As a mom, who experienced pp over 19 years ago, I must encourage you that things will get better. Recovery is a process and different for everyone. My family and I went through a terrible experience but there is hope. You will get better with proper help. My recovery was longer because I live in the USA where care and treatment can be negligent. For me, some of the medications I was on caused me to be "numb" but as that aspect got changed and worked out and my family and I got effective therapy/counseling, things got better. Hang in there. Do the best you can knowing you can get through this and you will be a stronger person in the end.


  • Hi Caryl

    It's good to hear that you have had a change of meds, I hope this means you will have more energy. How are you feeling now?

    It's also good to hear you have an understanding employer who is being flexible with your hours, I was lucky with this too and it's so important in a good return to work.

    Take care, and never hesitate to write X

  • Hi CarylA, I'm belatedly catching up on your replies, good to hear about the change of meds. How are you doing with it all? And great news about your employer too, it can make such a difference to be supported at work. I hope you're doing OK, feel free to pop back and say hi and ask any more questions if you'd like. Take care, xx

  • Hello CarylA

    Just wondering how you are coping since your last post? I hope things are a little easier for you. Have you had any more support from your Psychiatrist?

    I hope work is ok and not too stressful since your hours were modified. Have you been able to have 'time out' with your husband? I'm sure your daughter is a delight.

    We are all here if you have time and would like to chat.

    Take very good care of yourself.

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