Haunted by the experience. - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Haunted by the experience.

ontheup profile image

Now I am finally "well" again, I am finding myself plagued by thoughts, memories and upsetting feelings surrounding the psychosis. Has this happened to anyone else?

Also I have been told I have to stay on antipsychotic medication for at least 1 year even though I've been discharged from the mental health team. Is this really necessary?

Hope you are all healthy and happy.

16 Replies
Lilybeth profile image

Hello ontheup

I think we are all happy to hear you are finally 'well' again after everything you faced with dignity and courage.

As your full recovery is quite recent it is more than likely that some of the memories and feelings will pop into your head. I had a similar experiences, although it was years ago now. The memories were vivid but did fade with time.

I'm not sure about the antipsychotic medication. With my second PP I had an enduring depression after 'recovery' so perhaps it's just a precaution. I'm sure other mums will be able to advise you. Perhaps you can ask your care team for confirmation of the need to take this medication when you have your next appointment?

It's really good to hear from you.

As always, take good care.

Ellie_at_APP profile image

Hi ontheup

It's really wonderful to hear from you again and to hear you're generally well.

It's amazing to hear you've been discharged from the mental health team, that is a big step.

The meds thing is hard, I was on antipsychotic for about a year after the psychotic symptoms finished. I would really advise you to follow your psychiatrist views on it and do keep taking it, the last thing you want is to become ill again. I know it's hard, I remember really wanting to come off meds but it is important it's done at the right time, and very gradually.

The memories etc of the psychosis is hard.... I just wanted to let you know you're not alone in that.... I remember when my son went to nursery (I think I wrote about it on here) and he was screaming for me and I found it so hard, I was crying and felt really traumatised, and I realised it was all linked into memories of the MBU and not being able to be with him even when he was crying to be fed...

only the other week I had a flashback to a psychosis I had that I had completely blocked out which was disturbing. Perhaps one way of looking at it is that they come back when you may be ready to deal with them a bit more, now you are over the worst and recovered?

Have you had any counselling? Maybe this would help to process and deal with the memories, but I would only see a counsellor if you feel ready and you really want to as I imagine sessions could bring up memories.

Lovely to hear from you ontheup and to hear you are doing so much better , keep writing whenever you need to XX


Yes I felt the same way, I kept on thinking about the past and it would bring up thoughts and feelings. It felt like I was reliving it all over again. I thought I would never be able to move on. I had CBT which really helped (unfortunately there is a long wait on the nhs, I had pp in Nov 13 and didn't have CBT until Oct 14 - this was private else nhs was Jan 15)

I would really advise to look into it xxx

Also yes I had to stay on meds from Nov 13 until March 15, it's a long time but it's worth staying well.

In my experience . Only once I had stopped the antipsyscotic tablets did I start to feel better but also free myself from the mentally abusive partner who was not aiding my recovery. Look to what's around you before you lay blame at your door . Take care . It took me over 3 years by the way . But I have lost my child to my ex partner because of it

Dear ontheup,

Psychosis is a horribly traumatic experience so it is very normal to carry onto memories and upset feelings. They DO fade with time (just like memories of any bad event) and the mind has a clever way of healing - just like memories of childbirth pain go over time. Even now, three years after PPP and one year after a relapse, I still see 'normal' things in day to day life that trigger memories. The first few months after discharge are the worst because you are also having to come to terms with what has happened to you as well which can also be terribly painful. I was so traumatised about my stays in the adult psyc ward that I requested my notes but haven't yet found the right time/strength to read them a year on.

Have you been offered therapy? If you are in the UK you can request CBT/psychology help. I personally found this very useful and had a great relationship with my psychologist. In terms of the meds, one year is the clinical guidelines; the first three months is the most critical in terms of a potential relapse which can be worse. Your Consultant can reduce the dose over the year if you are recovering well and may even take you off slightly before. The most important thing is to prevent relapse so the meds are there as a cover while your brain 'heals' (just like you need to rest if you had a bad psychical injury).

There are posts on here about common experiences during psychosis - others may be able to point you to them. You may find comfort in reading that your experiences are not unique.

Take care & best wishes

Sarah x

Yes I had the same where I got a lot of flashbacks and horrible memories of my time with psychosis but it does eventually fade with time. Try and do things you love and get your mind off it as much as you can - easier said than done I know. Staying on the meds is a good idea - you don't want any psychotic thoughts coming back - and it is important to keep you well. I hope you are doing ok. Happy to chat anytime.

Hannah_at_APP profile image

Hello ontheup,

Lovely to hear from you again and that you are doing so much better. Just to share my experience, I too was on anti-psychotic meds for a year although over time the dose reduced before stopping. Perhaps this will also be the case for you? It might be worth asking the professionals to see what they advise. As others have said though, it is important to keep taking them, as although it certainly feels like something you can do without at the time, it really is vital in recovery.

It's also completely normal to have the thoughts and feelings you describe, looking back to when you were ill. It's part of the processing of it all I guess. And this too will fade over time. I think some things will always be with us, as with anything in life, but it will certainly be less painful for you, I hope this reassures you.

Keep chatting to us here, I think "offloading" it all can only be helpful to you. We've all been there and do completely understand and are wishing you all the best. Take care, xx

Thank you so much for investing your time and effort in replying to me, your responses have been really useful and so reassuring. It's so nice to have people who care about the journey through the illness to the present day with me, you've all been a tremendous support to me and my family. I am so pleased to be discharged from the mental health team and feeling better finally, it's been a difficult two and a half years for everyone surrounding me, thank you for being a vital part of that and continuing to support us as we begin to learn how to move forward.

Lilybeth profile image

Hello ontheup

Good to hear from you. I'm really happy that you are feeling better and have been discharged from the care team. It's been a privilege to share your journey and we are all here for you to lean on at anytime.

As always, take care ...... you're an amazing mum.

Hi ontheup

I'm so glad you're well! I've been reading all your responses and I'm also glad to hear that the memories eventually fade. I'm two years on and everything is still so vivid, it doesn't take much to trigger the bad memories. I went to a friends wedding last year and saw someone who I thought looked familiar but I couldn't work out where I knew her from. I asked her and she awkwardly replied with 'the psych centre' my heart skipped a few beats then I vomited on the spot (very embarrassing) so I can completely understand how you feel, it's such a traumatic, life changing event I don't think the memories will fade quickly. But I have recently found (thanks to this page) that 'acceptance' about what happened and knowing that it wasn't our fault really helps with the whole 'moving on' process.

Lilybeth profile image

Hello ontheup

I hope you don’t mind me here but your other thread is so long that I can’t post a reply and have been trying for a while ……

Your thread is full of ups and downs in your recovery and I think you might read it in a few years as you’re not strong enough now. Even then it might be hard for you to read. I recently had sight of my records during my two episodes of PP. My parents thought it was for the best not to talk about ‘it’ at the time, so my husband didn’t talk about it either.

I can recall a lot that happened to me except some parts, especially at the beginning, were blank. I have to say that even after all these years I found some of the contents upsetting and felt very sorry for the young woman of 23 and 29 who I didn’t recognise as me! So I think you need to be really strong to look through your thread and make sure you’re not alone when you read it.

The main thing to know is you were amazing and had great strength to go through all that you did but it’s better to wait until you are much stronger. Also that your husband was a rock …… taking you anywhere on a whim; keeping you safe.

As always, take good care of yourself. It was a privilege for all of us to be with you and we are here if ever you would like to talk.

Ellie_at_APP profile image

Hi ontheup

I saw your post on your other thread and thought it easier to reply on here too. It's a big decision to read through your old threads isn't it? I didn't find this forum until I was through the worst so I don't have personal experience of the dilemma! I'm sure you will know when you feel ready to read it. How are you? I hope you continue to stay well. I still think of you often


ontheup profile image
ontheup in reply to Ellie_at_APP

Thank you for thinking of me. I am still doing well. It's sometimes hard getting back into normal life but I'm learning very slowly to be kinder on myself than I have been in the past. I'm so grateful for this group, I know it got me through the darkest of times but maybe I'm not ready to read the thread yet, I'd like to someday though. I hope you are well too.

LilyBeth thank you for your response too, I am grateful to you for summing it up for me. My husband is wonderful so I am sure he was a rock, I am lucky to have him. Thank you for sharing your experiences too, I feel you're right and I won't be strong enough to read the thread for some time.

I don't think I'd have lived to tell the tale of it wasn't for you all and the incredible support you give. Thank you always for keeping Ben and I safe.

Lilybeth profile image

I'm glad you're still doing well. It is hard settling into a routine and good to know you are being kind to yourself. I think sometimes we are so busy taking care of everyone that we forget about ourselves .......... It's hard to find time in a busy day but very important that you make sure to have time to yourself, albeit five minutes on the sofa with a cup of tea or coffee, meeting friends or a relaxing bath ......

I've read some of your thread again today. There's a lot in there about how strong you were to carry on and how your husband was your rock. I think you'll know when you're ready. In the meantime take good care ....... we're thinking of you. Please come back anytime to talk.

Hannah_at_APP profile image

Hi Ontheup,

Good to hear from you!

I too think you'll know when the time is right and you are ready to read the other thread. It's hard, but we do need to find time for ourselves and to look after our wellbeing. Life can get so busy.

It's lovely to hear too how much the forum has helped you through. It's a valuable thing to know you're not alone isn't it?

Take care, I hope you continue to keep taking these steps forward in your recovery. Xx

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