Googling - the bad, the ugly and the good

Hello again,

I've been thinking a bit about how I came to find out more about what had happened to me, and my googling habits during illness and post recovery.

I did a lot of googling whilst I was unwell, lots of anxious questions like 'how do I know if baby is getting enough milk from breast' etc. I even looked up post natal depression thinking my partner had it, not understanding that the reason I thought he was so 'down', was because I was high as a kite. My phone got taken away from me as I got progressively unwell. Bad times.

Then when I googled when in recovery, trying to find out what had happened, first I found the ugly stories. It was horrifying and so upsetting. I won't ever forget that day.

Then, I watched an episode of Call the midwife and it spurred me to have another peek online. Expecting the worst, but I found the good! And oh my, it was good. Other people sharing their experiences on Twitter. Talking openly. I devoured all the blogs I could find following on from this (special shout out for the Mutha Courage blog which was heart wrenching to read but put into words everything I couldn't), personal stories I could find on the APP website, videos, people discussing pp on twitter, this forum. So therapeutic. It gave me such hope. The best day was when a lovely lady I 'met' on Twitter invited me to a meet up on the London Southbank and I met not one, but 2 people that had had PP! That was a good day. The best day.

So Googling can be bad and ugly but it can be very good too.


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6 Replies

  • I can relate to your story! Instead of googling when heading into my psychosis state. I was on Facebook sending odd messages to old boyfriends and old friends. How embarrassing!! But during recovery the internet was invaluable. It has led me to others with pp and so many ideas and advice on staying well. I always think of the ladies in history and even recent history who didn't have the internet to connect with others. How isolating and shameful that must of felt. And confusing because they wouldn't have had a diagnosis. Other than probably possessed. Thanks for the post. You have a good writing style too😀

  • I went insane (literally) on the googling and diagnosed myself with quite literally every disease and condition documented! My husband now jokes that because of my medical background, I knew enough to be dangerous. I took all the information and obsessively looked into every thought, action or symptom I've ever had and in my mind, convinced myself I had that disease. Very exhausting to say the least. Unfortunately that was just ONE component of my craziness. I can't believe I survived the last two years! Lol

  • I was lucky - my smart phone was stolen when I was pregnant, so I had no access to the Internet while ill... Grateful for that now! Occasionally, in a more morbid state, I still sometimes read the Wikipedia stories (Andrea Yates' story dragged me in for hours it was so tragic).

    But I agree - in balance the Internet has given me far more positives than negatives. I've met amazing people (like you!) and had so many different opportunities to speak out and share recovery stories. For that, I am always grateful to the creators of Twitter, Facebook, and the rest! :)

  • Hi Jessie, I can really relate to what you've said. Unfortunately much of my googling when first unwell was to find things to buy and holidays to book as I developed an obsessive overspending habit with my mania. We ended up with a lot of debt after that. So that's another peril of too much ready access to the internet when unwell. However as I recovered, and particularly in more recent years, my googling provided a wealth of useful information from APP, including this forum, and helped me to connect with other ladies with similar experiences via twitter and their blogs. Like you Jessie, I found it really helpful to read other women's stories - and eventually being able to meet some of those women who've had PP has been so helpful in helping me finally come to terms with what happened to me. That never would have happened without the power of google as it's so rare to find women local to you who have been through this.

    I definitely agree that googling can have both good and bad consequences. In this internet age I think it's important for everyone's mental wellbeing (and especially those recovering from PP) to remain tuned in to whether their online activities are making them feel better or worse, and try to walk away when it's hindering rather than helping recovery. Easier said than done I know, but personally I realised I had to leave certain social media sites alone when I noticed they were reinforcing some negative self beliefs and were feeding into a lot of negative thinking. That never happened with this forum though, as everyone shares their experiences in such an open non judgemental way. Hopefully that helps keep people away from some of the totally unhelpful inaccurate info that's around online.

    Tracey x

  • Hi Jessie,

    I think I'm lucky that I didn't really do much googling when ill (not sure it occurred to me to be honest, I was too out of it) and also although it wasn't that long ago (2009) there didn't seem to be as much out there then as there is now. That might be just my increased awareness now I suppose. I think my husband did google PP when I got my diagnosis and was in a general psych ward and it terrified him, so he stopped.

    My first forays on the internet for PP awareness were probably a few months after coming out of hospital and looking up APP, as I'd been given a print-out whilst in the MBU, which was like a fact sheet. At that time, the organisation was more research driven, so it was useful to read something. I then signed up to the newsletter/ mailing list, attended the first peer support training (2012 I think) and the rest is history!

    I'm not much of a blogger (too old fashioned I think, I can't get into i-tunes either and will never get rid of my CDs!) but I know there are some great ladies out there writing. It's lovely that there's things on Twitter too like PNDHour and lots of links to good info which will hopefully be the good sort (not the bad or ugly)

    I think it's great that there is more info out there now, or it feels like it, and hopefully of a better quality so googling would hopefully bring the helpful bits, like this site and APP, instead of the awful stories. There's still lots to go I'm sure, thanks for such an interesting post. xx

  • Hi Jessie,

    I was the same with spending too much time online in the lead up to becoming unwell. I seemed to be up all night feeding and became increasingly convinced my son was feeding so frequently and for so long because I wasn't doing it right. So I'd spend my nights looking up what the problems could be - trawling discussion forums for much information, too much!

    I distinctly remember the moment I switched my phone off when I went into hospital, just before the psychosis really took hold, and all these distant voices saying "we've lost her".

    Luckily I think my sister had found the APP website while I was in the MBU and that was probably one of the first websites I looked at when I was ready. The forum in particular has been so important in my recovery, it's just wonderful and like you I've met some amazing people :)

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