Going back to work anxiety: Hi everyone... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Going back to work anxiety


Hi everyone my name is Sandra and I was diagnosed with PP 2 weeks after the birth of my son. I ended up spending 4 weeks in an MBU and put on olanzapine to help with my symptoms. 9 months later and I am coming off the olanzapine but they have me on sertraline to help with the depressive symptoms I was having. I will continue to take this for another 6 months on the advice of my psychiatrist.

I am due back at work in less than a months time and I'm feeling anxious about it. I do want to get back into a routine but I'm worried I'll relapse due to the stressful nature of my job. My boss knows about the PP but I don't think they'll make allowances because of it. How did everyone else cope with work after recovery?

4 Replies

Hi Sandra and welcome to the forum,

I had PP in 2009 and also took Olanzapine, which I was reduced from by a year after becoming ill, but I also went back to work after about 9 months too. My job is very busy and can be stressful too, so I understand your anxiety about going back to it. For me, I saw it as a way to get some sense of normality, although it was hard going at times.

It's good that your boss knows about the PP and I hope you also have supportive colleagues. What I found helped me was to get through each task and each day and then find enough time to sit down on an evening and gather myself ready for the next day. Over time, this would then increase my confidence and I found I could get through longer stretches without being so tired out. I think this was also the effects of the meds too and when that reduced and stopped, together with an increased confidence, work became more enjoyable again.

I really valued my job as part of "me" rather than just being "mum", if you know what I mean. It can be a tricky balance, and a very personal one, but I believe it helped in my recovery ultimately to have something else to focus on. It is important to look after yourself though, so I hope you can find the right balance for you.

Does your work have an Occupational Health? I had an assessment and found that beneficial. I also had good support from my GP and CPN. I think it's important to build up to it too, so if there's a way of phasing your return (I worked full time, and started by just doing mornings, then a few afternoons, then full days, before going to my full time hours after about 6 weeks). Even thinking about it now and preparing yourself is a really positive step.

Being aware of any triggers or symptoms will help you in staying well, and I hope you can get support to keep an eye on this. Ultimately it's about weighing up risks and with the right support, and determination, I am sure you can get through the return to work. Take care and feel free to ask any more questions, all the best, xx

Thanks for your reply Spannerb. I don't have occupational health cover unfortunately but hopefully I won't need it. I have asked for a phased return though so that should help. Thanks again.

Hi Sandra

I went back to work 12 months after having PP and I felt very anxious about the whole thing. I worried that I couldn't hold proper conversations after PP and how I'd cope with the stress, and on top of that, we have the worry of leaving our little ones for hours at a time. But in saying that, I found that returning to work really helped me to find 'me' again and regain my shattered confidence. I've been back at work for a year now, part time and I absolutely love it.

It took maybe 3 months for me to really settle back in and for the anxiety about it eased gradually over that time. Good luck with it all x

I enjoy going back to work as I forget about myself. Most of my friends who are mums have some worries re leaving baby. On meds I'm sure the dr will say you r unlikely to relapse

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