Am I fully Recovered?

Hi Everyone!

I've been on the forum for a while now and I'm so inspired by each and every story I read. I truly am not alone in this unknown illness. My question or concern is has anyone felt like they are not the same person? I find that I'm not as mentally sharp as I use to be, I stumble with my words. I had postpartum psychosis with both my daughters the first was in 2008 where I spent 2 weeks in the mental hospital, and the second time was 2012 where I spent about 3 months in the hospital. I live in the US and I don't think we have mother baby units how some of you guys from the UK talk about. Both times I took a lot of medicine. Thank God that I only take one antidepressant now. I have no previous history of mental illness. I know I came out of this a stronger person, but sometimes according to society I feel weak or inferior because I had ppp. Not to mention my confidence and self esteem is very low. Its been 3yrs for me will I ever feel like my old self again or should I just come to the conclusion that this has kind of left me mentally handicapped. Any advice is greatly appreciated. And thank you in advance.

14 Replies

  • Hi roz2203

    Thanks for your post and I'm glad you are inspired by the stories on the forum. We are all very privileged that mums here are so honest and open about how they truly feel.

    We are very lucky in the UK that we have mother and baby units although if you have been on the forum for a while, you might have read that I had general psychiatric care following my episodes of PP. It's very hard to accept that we have had a mental illness and I can relate to feeling inferior in the early years because I had PP twice.

    I always took a step back in the playground at my sons' school when new mums were in full flight about their perfect pregnancies and births. I dared not disclose my mental trauma for fear of being judged. With hindsight all these years on I should have been proud, as you should be, that I fought my demons, endured treatment and went on to reclaim my dignity and place.

    I'm pleased you feel stronger but rebuilding confidence and self esteem did take me a while too. I'm not sure what interventions you were offered but have you tried CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy)? I found talking to a complete stranger, in confidence, who made sense of my thoughts and feelings, was very helpful. Although PP is a temporary illness the after effects do linger for a while. It might be that your anti-depressant is having an effect on your reactions, making you feel slower ....... perhaps you could check with your GP? Sometimes my reactions are slower but that's an age thing on my part now!! There's a good post on the site about confidence with some helpful replies which you might like to read for reassurance.

    Please don't worry, be very proud that you have endured so much for the love of your children and family. Eventually everything will slot into place and you will go on to achieve so much, not least being an amazing mum!!

    Take good care of yourself.

  • Hi Roz2203

    Thank so much for your post. I think not feeling yourself is part of the recovery process. I'd actually had psychotic episodes before getting pregnant (my partner and I spent years wondering if we could have a baby, and then had some really wonderful perinatal advice telling us to go for it). I thought, if I did have another psychotic episode, that it would be like ones I'd had before, which were horrible, but I got over them. I think having pp is very different because you have a baby, you're a mum, and there is no time to come to terms with anything, for so long, in quite the same way as you might have done before, because your whole life has changed too. All the mums I know say they are totally changed since being a mum, so I think throw pp into the mix and it means you feel a stranger to your own self sometimes.

    But I'm finding it's getting better. And this site is such a God send, I only found it last week. Lilybeth is totally right, you should feel so proud and so strong. I completely empathise about not feeling so sharp - I think that does happen to a lot of mums to a certain extent after having a baby, but also I think a big reason is medication. It's really great you're on just one anti depressant and hopefully maybe in time you can stop taking that too. You could talk to your doctor about it and see what they suggest.

    Mostly though please just know that you are amazing for having got through it. I've been so helped by posts on this site by mums who are saying they've completely recovered. You can too, it will happen!

    Jen x

  • Thank you Jenskygazer. We are all amazing for having gone through this difficult illness and came out on top. Thank you all

  • Wow, I relate soooo much to this part of your comment! I have tried to describe this exact thing to many friends and family members since having PPP.

    "I think having pp is very different because you have a baby, you're a mum, and there is no time to come to terms with anything, for so long, in quite the same way as you might have done before, because your whole life has changed too. All the mums I know say they are totally changed since being a mum, so I think throw pp into the mix and it means you feel a stranger to your own self sometimes."

  • Thanks Ceew, I really thought I was on my own with experiences of psychosis, I knew there were other mum's who'd experienced it after giving birth but I had no idea how similar our experiences would be. I really hope you're doing ok and that things are getting better with time. It's such a difficult thing to explain isn't it? I had psychosis before having Josie too, over a period of 10 years. People were so very very supportive, but I've found that while people have been absolutely amazing since having PPP I also feel there is no time to explain it or come to terms with it. But I'm hoping, since finding this website, that I'm processing it more and finding ways of working it through. I really hope you're able to work through it all. It's a lot isn't it! x

  • Hi Roz2203

    Just to add that your question about not feeling so mentally sharp really struck a chord with me as it's something I think about a lot, but what I'm finding really amazing about this site is hearing from mums who have experienced similar things. Before finding this site I asked myself these questions but thought it was just me. The fact that we share similar experiences really gives me so much hope. I've read posts by mums who describe exactly what I'd experienced - and they have fully recovered. I'm a year on, and I thought I'd completely recovered but was just slower. Since I've found this site I've found I've a way to go, but that I will get there - which is an incredible feeling. I really hope others' posts help you to have that too.


  • Hi Roz,

    Thank you for posting your comment/question. I can relate to your feelings of a handicap feeling. I have noticed thinking and reacting slower since pp. my episode was in April 2014. I started to come out of the fog once I got off my anti psychotic but I still feel like I'm still slightly in a mist sometimes. I'm a teacher so I am publicly speaking all of the time. And I stumble over my words, I'll have to back track what I say and sometimes I feel incinerate in my train of thought. It's really frustrating and embarrassing!

    My old psychiatrist explained pp as being similar to a brain injury trauma. That our brains change a bit once we had pp. he didn't say that our brain is non functional in that area but that it literally needs to heal. So I try not to beat myself up about it.

    I was seriously depressed for about 6 months after pp and I never thought I would recover and I did! So I try to stay positive that clear mental thinking will come back.

    Also my whole life got turned upside down by being a mom and pp and it made me reconsider religion, my lifestyle and my job. So I constantly think about those things to the point that I think it takes up most of my mental capacity!

    I hope you grow in confidence. Know that you are strong and resilient for going through a major illness.

    Also I'm in the U.S. and I know a lot of people joke about mental illness especially about psych hospitals but I feel like society is slowly but surely coming around to treating it like a true illness. Something that is not our choice and we should not be ashamed of.

    Take care

  • Thank you it definitly helps to know I'm not the only one who has gone through this.

  • Hi Roz I think it is important to remember that stress can effect how you think and remember things so not sure how helpful it is to see yourself as mentally handicapped. Perhaps a bit like if you broke a leg you might have a vulnerability. I do think since I was unwell with PPP over twenty years ago, that I probably have to take care of myself not to be overloaded however I do lead a busy life working and as a carer. It is great that you see it as positive taking less medication. I wish you all the best.

  • Hi I've been on this site a lot since I had pp in June of 2014. I am not as far long the road to recovery as you are and I'm still on antipsychotics and antidepressant too. Im glad I came across your posting because I was starting to wonder the same thing about me. I remember having serious brain fog for a while after I came out of hospital but the other day, whilst I was evaluating wither or not I should replace my antipsychotic with lamictal (mainly because of the weight gain) my husband commented on other ways in which I am different to before I had pp. He says I have a mind like a seive now - I am always forgetting things and struggle to recall words and so replace them with 'the thing, you know, the thing' but I call so many things 'the thing' now that my husband says he has no idea what I'm talking about! There are of course a few positives too but for the time being, I'm putting my slowed cognitive function down to my meds. I am tapering off my antipsychotic and started lamictal so fingers crossed this helps! I remember in the months following my pp, there were so many things about me that I thought had changed forever and I'm pleased to say that most things went back to normal as soon as my illness disappeared! I'm hoping this last thing will be the same too! Ive read plenty places where mums are proud to wear their 'tiger stripes' (stretch marks) because they earned them by carrying their bundles for 9 months before bringing them into the world. Well I think us pp mums should be proud to wear our 'tiger stripes' too, no matter what they my be (for me maybe it is my slowed cognitive function) because we sure as heck earned them as PP mums! :-)

  • Hi roz2203, Thanks for posting and sharing your feelings.

    PP is still a relatively unknown and unspoken illness, even within mental health, and I've also found it great to be able to share experiences on here and through APP. I also relate to the things you describe and the different thinking somehow after PP (my episode was in 2009).

    I'm in the UK and was lucky to spend time in a MBU (although also in a general psych ward, which was not the best experience). I too have no previous mental health problems but really lost all confidence after I was ill. It's certainly taken time to come back and I felt like I had to re-learn everything in my life from before, that felt like it had been shattered into a million tiny pieces, and then add in a new baby and all the changes that can bring without any illness to contend with too. I took medication for 3 years altogether and definitely noticed the difference when it was reduced and then finally stopped, so some of what you are feeling and describing may be linked to the meds. It might be worth a chat with your Drs.

    I think everything that happens to us affects and makes us the people we are, so it's probably only natural that there have been changes. I'm also of the opinion that everything in my life, good and bad, has made me into the person I am and I try and take the positives and minimise the negatives where possible. I can't change the past, but I can learn from it and move forward and enjoy everything in my life as much as I can. And I think I'm OK with that.

    All the best with your continued recovery, it can be quite a journey. But you will feel like yourself, and it may have changed, but I honestly think that is just life in some ways. I hope this helps, take care, xx

  • Hello there. I do agree with you that we come out of PP stronger as a result of what we have coped with and experienced. I do remember being denied life insurance and a new driving licence because of what I had been through but over time that has all been resolved. Like you I had no experience of mental illness prior to PP. I experienced it in 1988 so I am a long way from it and I did have two other girls with no PP so that restored my confidence somewhat. I think we can empathise now with anyone struggling with depression/psychosis and to be able to say "I really do know how you feel" I have found to be very helpful to people who then feel they can share exactly how they are feeling. I took Lithium and Amytriptyline for a year after my episode and I do remember feeling what I can only describe as a bit vague at that time but as I gradually came off all medication I did feel better. I went back to work a few years later and that restored my confidence but I only ever did part time work. I think we need to be kind to ourselves and rest when we need to rest. Singing helps me a great deal and being outside looking at nature is very inspiring. Mindfulness seems to be the in thing here right now and I don't know if you can find anything on the internet or in a little book but just being in the moment and appreciating things, being creative, colouring in, all these things seem to help restore a balance. x

  • Thanks for your post it's great that you can talk to others who have been threw the same as you like you I never had mental health problems then in March 2014 I had my son and ended up with post partum psychosis like you I was put on a psychiatric ward I have made a full recovery still on a lot of meds but I too feel as tough it has changed me as a person I used to be such a confident girl I have lost all confidence very Insucure I gained a lot of weight so this hasn't helped either it's now been nearly two years and I'm still having good days and bad days I guess that's just life we all have good days and bad days but I wonder if I will ever be back to my self again I hope this has helped you and let you know that you are not the only one feeling like this but as taking to a lot of others on here this is all part of it things do fall back into place it just takes time

  • Hi Fiona24,

    You're right, it's great to be able to "meet" and "chat" to others on here, such a valuable experience to share with others who really have been there and understand.

    I just wanted to say that I too lost all confidence but that it does come back and you will get to where you want to be. The weight gain I also experience (antipsychotic meds were great for getting me well, not so much for my waistline, but this too will come over time!) I think you're absolutely right that good days and bad days are part of life, of being a Mum, and having had such an awful start we can sometimes worry that we're constantly on an uphill stretch without the easier downhill bits!

    Take care, thanks for sharing your experience too, xx

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