Help, I can't go on like this!

Dear community,

I have been diagnosed with PP and PPD. It started in March 2015, 4 days after the birth of my daughter. I won't go into details, as it will bore you all, but basically, I am 7 months down the line and feel nothing has changed and I am only getting worse. It has destroyed my life and turned it upside down. I am so unhappy, I can't describe it.

I have support form a mental health team and currently seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist. I have a loving husband (who knows everything and has been there for me throughout) and friends and family if I let them in. However I have now tried many drugs and different doses and nothing seems to have worked. Has anyone ever tried ECT?. I know it is drastic, but I am pretty desperate. I know people keep telling me that it will get better in time, but I don't know how I can be this ill! To the point where I do not believe I am ill and there is something bigger going on (part of the psychosis).

I guess I am just after some advice about alternative treatments to antipsychotics and antidepressants and whether there is any advice out there about ECT for this condition.

Thank-you for listening,


21 Replies

  • I'm so sorry to hear this. Are you able to look after your daughter? If you are, at least that is something.

    I only tried Aripriprizole 20MG. Didn't need ECT but I read somewhere that it can be effective. Someone posted on here that she had it to continue breastfeeding. That was a few months back so might be worth searching in search bar.

    I hope you get well soon xx

  • Thank-you for your reply. I currently can't look after my daughter, she is in nursery 3 days a week and I can't really look after her when she is at home (my husband is amazing!). Thank you for your advice, I will look into the search bar.

  • Hello Wilson

    Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing how you are feeling at the moment. Here you will find lots of support from other mums who have been in a similar situation and felt as helpless as you are, so you are definitely not alone.

    I have to say I think it's very early days for you, although I know recovery time is much better than it was when I had PP twice many years ago when I was 23 and 29. It's good that you have support from family and a medical team.

    I'm not sure if you would benefit from ECT (although I'm not a medic) as you are far more self aware than I was. During my first PP I was very ill and in general psychiatric care for six months, mainly without my son. Like you, different medications were tried but it seems as though ECT for me was the most effective treatment. Compared to you I was 'on another planet' and it took several treatments before I communicated at all. I then had medication and more ECT combined.

    The psychosis is very disturbing isn't it? At the time everything we think and feel is real but doesn't make sense to anyone else. "Delusions of Grandeur and other experiences" is a good post to read on here if you search ..... talking about how the psychosis affected some mums, all very real and frightening at the time. I don't know if you have noticed the APP Insider Guides, i.e. "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" and there is also a Guide for partners.

    PP is only a temporary illness, although very traumatic at the time. Thankfully I fully recovered from both episodes of PP as you will eventually. Have you been offered CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy)? I found this very helpful .... talking to a complete stranger who made sense of my thoughts and feelings, rather than worrying my family.

    Rest assured you will recover but it does take time to adjust to the routine of life and the after effects of PP. You have done really well to recover in such a short space of time so try not to worry. I know that's easier said than done for you right now but with family support and good medical care you will slowly but surely recover completely.

    Take good care of yourself.........there will be other mums here with good advice for you. We are always here to listen ......

  • Thank-you for you reply. I have tried CBT and it hasn't helped. Thank-you for your advice about ECt. I know it it pretty drastic and for people that are worse off than myself, I just can't understand how I can feel this ill and I guess I am pretty desperate. Everyone keeps telling me I will get better with time, but I just don't believe them! I can't see how I can get out of this. Anyway, I will have a read of some of the posts you suggest, thank-you again for your advice.

  • Hello Wilson

    Don't feel so bad about not being able to care for your daughter ..... it happens to the best of us!

    With my first PP I was unable to look after my son ..... some days I would stay in bed as it felt like my sanctuary .... after all no one believed me so I retreated to my bed and stayed there. So it was left to my husband and family to care for my son in his early days and months.

    Similarly with my second PP, although I was mainly treated at home, I left it to my husband and family to care for my son. With my second son I had what seemed like an endless depression following PP and was admitted to hospital in times of crisis for ECT.

    PP will turn your life upside down but with a care plan in place I promise that you will fully recover. You have taken such a knock that it takes time to feel as you did before but you will recover and be able to care for your daughter and husband.

    Take good care of yourself.

  • Hello Wilson49,

    Thanks for being so honest about how you are feeling, like others have said, I think you are doing pretty well in a very short space of time. When I had PP in 2009 I had a course of ECT when nothing else was working - but I was in a psychiatric hospital, unresponsive, not eating or drinking and basically nothing was bringing me out of it. I am no expert, but I think it quite possibly saved me and gave the kick-start to my brain that it needed. But I had it as an in-patient and so it might be something that your care team can advise on, although I know that some places do offer out-patient appointments. In my case, I had ECT whilst still very ill and no-where near coherent or having any insight at all so it was done as part of my section of the Mental Health Act. I then had further sessions when I became an informal patient, but I stayed in hospital for 3 months altogether as I was not well enough to be anywhere else.

    Try not to worry about not feeling you can look after your little girl. This used to really make me sad too, not only in hospital but also when home and for many months if I'm honest. Sometimes I would spend whole days in bed with awful lethargy and other times I was just so spaced and generally feeling useless. I think the shock and trauma of PP is huge, it was for me and I have also heard others describe it as traumatic too. The positive thing is that it is only temporary but the recovery can be hard. And another positive I like to think of, and I hope will help you too, is that my son has an amazing bond with his Dad - and I like to think this is partly down to when he did everything for him as I simply couldn't.

    Look after yourself and keep talking, to professionals and others, and I hope you are feeling more positive soon. Feel free to come back and ask any more questions and have a look round the other threads here too, we're all here to listen and support you. xx

  • Hi Wilson,

    I had ECT as part of my treatment, when all the meds weren't getting a grip on things. I was in a secured psych ward under the mental health act. It was horrible, but I have to admit it worked.

    But only 7 months on you still have a way to go. I know that's not encouraging, but there's no quick fix for such a tough time.

    Feel free to ask if you have specific questions about the ECT.


  • I was in a similar situation 3 years ago. I experienced a short episode of pp then longer ppd. I tried lots of meds but nothing seemed to help. Ect was my last resort but I feel like it was also my saviour.

    For me it reignited the tiniest spark of hope that allowede to begin feeling and enjoying small things again. Although I feel that I have a poorer memory because of it I wouldn't change it, along with letting myself take the help available from family and friends, has helped me get where I am three years later which is a heck of a lot better!

    You will get there too. Have hope, stay strong and lean when you need to. You will find your path.

  • He there, so sorry to hear how unhappy you are after falling prey to this devastating condition. It is good to hear you have a good support network behind you. It is still early days, just take small steps, one day at a time and go with it. I'm not sure if it is helpful but honestly It will get easier and you will recover. All the best VeeX

  • Hi Wilson

    So sorry to hear that you are really struggling, 7 months after having PP. I have PP four years ago, and also suffered from depression afterwards, which was definitely the worse part of the illness. I too felt so hopeless, and sometimes didn't believe I would ever get better, it is hard to keep hope. It sounds like you have good support from your wonderful husband, and professionals which is really good.

    I would really be led by professionals (psychiatrist etc) with the treatment. Would they recommend ECT? I didn't have it myself, but I am glad some on here have given their personal experience of it. Sometimes as well others can see our progress before we can so it would be good to rely on others (family/professionals) to say how well they think you're doing.

    take care, I will be thinking of you . You are not alone, we are here for you whenever you need support or advice X

  • Hello Wilson49

    How are you feeling? I hope you have found the support here helpful.

    We are all here for you so please feel free to 'talk' anytime. Just remember what a great mum you are ..... battling away to be well for your family.

    Take very good care of yourself.

  • Thankyou for all your lovely comments. I still feeling pretty low and desperate, but coming round to the fact that I will feel this way for a while until hopefully something changes. I just wanted to say thankyou for your support and advice. It's great to get such a response, I wasn't expecting it, so thankyou all xx

  • Hi Wilson49

    It was good to hear from you again. Sorry you are still feeling so low. Do keep writing as and when you need to.

    I know that you will have increasing good moments until the bad ones do fade eventually. I promise you will get better, but I know it is hard to feel that at times.

    One thing that helped me was to write 3 positive things at the end of each day. Sometimes all I could manage was very small things (a pretty flower I saw, or my son's smile) and often at times I couldn't feel that it was a positive thing but I do think it helped me to just try and notice the good things and somehow build on them.

    Take care XX

  • Hello Wilson49

    Thank you for taking the time to come back to the forum. I'm sorry you're still feeling low. Did your care team suggest any changes to your medication or treatment to help you? It can take a while to find a treatment that works for you but honestly you will be well again.

    Perhaps you could have a date night with your husband, just to build on your confidence and have a break from routine?

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

  • Thank you lilybeth.

    I have been to see my consultant today and after 6 months of chopping and changing, he has agreed to take me off my drugs. I know this might make me feel worse, but could also help me feel better. I have no feelings towards anyone or anything, am very very sleepy and feel quite spaced out. If there's no change or things get worse, atleast I'll know they are doing something for me. Thanks again for all your support xx

  • Hi Wilson that is really good your consultant has agreed to try this, it certainly sounds like you've been having some negative side effects. I really hope that it will have a positive effect for you. Do let us know how you get on if you're able. X

  • Hello Wilson49

    That's good news in a way as your Consultant must see an improvement to take you off your medication. Perhaps this will help you to feel better and not so 'sedated'. Try not to worry ..... give yourself time to heal. You have been through so much..... your motherly instinct and caring feelings are all intact and will kick in.

    It's not easy for you in this early stage of your recovery but one way or another, with or without medication, you will find your place again. In the meantime we are all here for you.

    Take very good care of yourself.

  • Hi Wilson49, I hope your week has been OK and you're starting to feel a little better. I know it was a huge milestone for me to be taken off meds and start "feeling" again without the numbness I can now attribute partly to the drugs, but also the recovery in general if I'm honest. Take care, and please come back for a chat it you fancy it, we're all here for you, xx

  • Dear community,

    I have just found these messages that I posted a few months ago and wanted to update you and say a massive thank you. To be honest I have no recollection of posting these messages as it turns out that although I sounded quite coherent at the time, I was very ill and a lot more 'off this planet' than I realised.

    Things got a lot worse as time went on, no medication seemed to be working and my mental health team started monitoring me every day. I managed to get a referral and some advice from Professor Jones in Cardiff, via a Skype appointment. He wrote to my consultant and between them and my husband managed to get a referral for ECT. I can honestly say it has saved my life! It was horrible and my memory is quite poor, but it gradually got rid of the psychosis and started to lift the depression slightly. I am still on antidepressants and am working with my mental health team, but I am back in this world again and can see a future. I can't believe how different the world looks without having psychosis and am now in shock about what has happened to me, but I feel so much better.

    I just wanted to say a massive thank you for all your comments and support and for taking the time to respond to me in my time of need, it really was so helpful.

    Thanks again, and please let me know if there is anything I can do for the community,

    Sally xx

  • Hi Wilson,

    it's so good to hear from you again. As you know there are several people on here who had a similar experience to you and that ECT worked for them too. It's so good to hear you're a lot better, horrible that you had psychotic symptoms for so long though, poor you. It's so good to hear that Ian Jones was really helpful, and got you the support you needed.

    It sounds like you are well on the road to recovery now, which is fantastic. The depression is awful, but I promise you it slowly gets better in time, it's good you have support from a mental health team.

    Do keep writing on here, whenever you need X

  • Hello Wilson

    Thanks for coming back to the forum. I'm glad you found the replies helpful. I had a similar experience, feeling as though I was on another planet. Also medication wasn't having the desired effect so I was given a course of ECT (two courses having had PP twice) which brought me back into the real world and restored my sanity.

    With my second PP in 1981 I did have an enduring depression but with time and good care this lifted and I fully recovered, as you will eventually. Try not to worry about your memory as it will return. Having had a lot of ECT I was grateful that my memory of shorthand was still intact when I eventually returned to work and I still use it today all these years later.

    It is a shock to recall the trauma we have all been through but such a relief to be 'back in the room' and looking forward to brighter days.

    Relax when you can and take good care of yourself.

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