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Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Stuck in a vicious cycle

Has anyone any experience of completely changing their life after PPP? 

I'm currently stuck in a horrible vicious cycle and would value any suggestions to move forwards. I feel I'm still being impacted by my PPP three years on and it's defining me as a person and what I am capable of doing. I feel really trapped and its having a detrimental impact on my relationship as well. 

I had PPP this time in 2013 and had a relapse in February 2015 after chronic work stress for six months, being physically run-down and lack of sleep. I had been given the all-clear to come off my anti-psychotic but because of another work stress a few weeks ago that made me anxious again (the same awful project) this is on hold (although I've been reducing it myself monitored by my partner and am ok). The trouble I have is that I have awful sedation which means I can't start work until 11am and sometimes feel groggy all day. My consultant doesn't want to switch my meds. I'm trying tomorrow to get a prescription for the slow-release version which I'm aware is 16x as expensive which is why they don't lie to prescribe it. 

I want to take a few months off so I can come off my medication which would essentially be off 'sick'. I've used up all my company sick leave from last year so I wouldn't be paid and I've had trouble claiming on my income protection as I've discovered they are not so keen to pay up for mental health issues. My partner is really worried about money and doesn't want me using my savings to fund myself being out of work. So, basically I can't work properly because of my side-effects to the Quetiapine anti-psychotic and I can't come off them because I'm currently working on the same stressful project. I also therefore can't get another job (or certainly one that would help enough towards our bills) easily either. I discussed with my partner selling our house and moving to a cheaper part of the country (we live in the expensive South of the UK) and he got really upset about that idea. Ideally I'd love my own business and have lots of ideas but my partner is worried about the stress that might cause and the insecurity of income.

I feel really trapped and am not sure what to do. Has anyone had a life/career change because of going through PPP or had to do a similar downshift in their living costs? It's making me really sad that we are still living the after effects several years on. I know I can't go on like this and I get different advice from family, health professionals who I've spoken to.

Sorry for the long post by the way.

11 Replies

Hello bluestarlady

Thanks for posting so honestly how you are feeling.  It's not surprising that you still feel weighed down by your PP experience as your relapse was only last year.  It does sound as though your job is very stressful and not helping at all.  How awful that your income protection scheme is not keen on paying out regarding mental health issues!  That really is going back to the dark ages ........

It's very natural for you and your partner to be worried about your finances, which is an added stress for you.  I'm not sure if Citizens Advice Bureau would be helpful?  I've had work / making ends meet issues in the past and found it helpful to talk to someone there.  They have people who specialise in different areas and I always found their advice helpful.

I'm sure your Psychiatrist doesn't want to change your medication if it's keeping you stable.  I think if we get our mental health back we really need to take care of it, especially as you have been through a relapse.  I think eventually you will need to find a less stressful job.

As you have probably read here I had PP twice many years ago.  I was in a quandary too but not so much financially at the time.  As my PP was not discussed I felt awful about how I had behaved, not knowing at the time I had suffered PP.  So I persuaded my husband that if we moved house, I would be free of the awful memories.   Although he didn't want to move, he was very agreeable.  As I had PP twice we moved house a few times in the six years between episodes and beyond, which is quite sad to recall now from notes I have read.  This was easier to do financially as the housing market was not so expensive at that time.

I'm not sure if any of this has been helpful but I think as it's only been a year since your relapse, it's still early days to return to such a stressful job and routine.  Perhaps if you could go out to dinner with your partner to discuss your options in a calm setting that might help? 

It's hard to strike a good work life balance when money is tight but your health really is priceless so take very good care of yourself.


Thanks for coming back to me so quickly and for your sound advice. I really don't enjoy working for my current employer so adding on the stressful nature of the job at times and it's not a great mix. I do think perhaps I need to investigate alternative careers.

I love your advice about talking over dinner. I tried on a long-ish car journey yesterday but it backfired on me as he just clammed up. 

Hopefully my GP will be helpful with the tablets tomorrow and let me have the more expensive ones!

S x


Thank you .......discussing something so important  while one of you is concentrating on driving must have been difficult.  I think a 'date night' would be good as you have been through so much together.  Too much stress and not enjoying working  for your employer can take its toll on your health so I hope you can weigh up your options with your partner.

I hope your GP will be understanding and agree to your medication tomorrow ..... you deserve the best care after all you have endured.

V x


Poor you. Is there anyway you can get by on very little money by resigning and concentrating on getting better, then you can take six months to properly get better and then look for a new, less stressful job? I'm sure in six months time, you wouldn't look back and it will give you the time to re evaluate your life and career etc. 

After a bad depressive episode three years ago, I did exactly that after struggling to see the woods for the trees with a horrible, unsupporting work environment. 

After a few months, I felt better and then volunteered in a museum to get my confidence up. I then got offered a job and still work there and love it. I work less hours and get paid a lot less than my old high flying job but am so much happier in so many ways. 

I don't regret it for a second but do have recurrent nightmares about my old boss! 

 It's really hard though and thinking of you xx


PS I am just coming out of my first postpartum psychosis after my first child and am now on quitapine. I was over sedated by the normal dose so they put me on the XL and am a lot better after a few days of getting used to it. Hopefully your GP would prescribe XL in your case x


Hello TabithaSparkle

Good to hear from you.  Welcome and thank you for your great reply here.  I'm glad to read you are recovering from your first PP and your medication is a lot better.  I hope you have found information on this site helpful.  Have you read the APP Insider Guide "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis?"  There is also a guide for partners ......

Take very good care of yourself.   We are all here if you need support at any time.


Hello bluestarlady

I hope your GP was understanding today and prescribed the less sedating dose of Quetiapine.

Take care.

V x


Hi Bluestarlady

Thanks for your post, there is so much in what you have written... it struck a chord with me.

I had PP over 4 years ago. It completely changed my life and my partner's life too but not necessarily negative in the end. I was lucky in that I had a very understanding employer, but my job was really stressful (I was registered manager of four care homes). When our son was two my partner actually left his job after he went off work with stress, basically delayed post traumatic stress from everything that had happened, and so we took a drop in income and I was the main wage earner.

Before I left my job I wanted to leave my job for a few months. It wasn't so much my health but more that I just had different priorities and needs after having my son, him starting school in September was a bit of catalyist for me - I just wanted to be around more for him (I worked 4 days per week), to drop off and pick up. I realised he was growing so fast, and I was potentially missing out on time with him... I also felt my 'passion' was more in APP, my volunteer job, rather than in my paid work (which I did used to feel really passionate about). Anyway, to cut a long story short, I'm now working freelance for APP and I also have another job where I live, also in mental health and during school hours, and I've never been happier. It's like things were meant to be, and somehow fell into place, when I took a risk (e.g. taking on APP work when my partner didn't have another job which would have been a massive drop in income and financial security - but my partner is back working full time too so things worked out).

Anyway, my point is  what someone else also wrote, I found that when I followed my heart things happened somehow...and that when I made a decision that just felt right things somehow fell into place.  I am amazed now how something so awful in my life (PP) has become something positive, really because of APP and the peer support I gave, and received. My experience is money isn't everything at all, me and my family's health and happiness is most important (e.g. my partner stopping work when he did, otherwise he was heading for a possible breakdown and was so unhappy - he needed a break).

I know though what you mean about the expensive south...I live in the south too. We have thought about moving, it's difficult isn't it when you have friends / networks etc...but cost of living rent/mortgage is just a nightmare... its crazy... and it is awful when you really are living on a tight budget and at times I even had to borrow money from my parents to survive month to month, which was not a good position to be in...

Anyway, I hope some of my waffle helped. I think a lot of your dilemnas maybe aren't just your PP but just about being a mum, and the dilemna's we face, balancing work / family life / our own time / our own things we're passionate about.

Re with your husband, maybe as others have suggested, going out and just talking, try to be really honest with how you feel, and work things out together somehow, it is important that you are making decisions together isn't it?....it is hard though, our relationship took a real knocking after PP too but things did get better slowly...

Take care X

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Hi bluestarlady,

I'm sorry to hear about your struggles lately. It seems that you are at a true crossroads I'm your life. 

I had pp in April/May of 2014. And hospitalized for that then several weeks later had a severe depressive episode and had the joy of going back to the hospital! (Total sarcasm) the hospital had some really traumatic events. I was on the psychotic Invega which turned me into a zombie and made me walk like I was in my 90s. In the shower and doing dishes and such I would have to lean on things it was awful. During this time I was off for summer vacation because I'm a teacher. when I went back to school(which I could not wait to get back to because I needed an escape) I hated it. I was slow to respond felt completely overwhelmed did not care about the kids at all. I almost quit. There were about 2 months in the fall where I would swear I wasn't going back the next day. Then in late fall so October I think. We found out that I was having hormonal issues with the antipsychotic my psych said he thought it was too soon to not have an anti psychotic ( I was also on Prozac) and he wanted to put me on zyprexa. Which he said that it would cause more weight gain which I was experiencing then and more drowsiness. Around the same time I was in 2 car accidents where I totaled my car because I accidentally went through red lights. I was constantly falling asleep at the wheel on my 50 min car commute. It was basically the worst time in my life. Not rock bottom but pretty close. However it went up from there. 

I decided to get a new psychiatrist. The other guy did get me off of Invega and put me on lamictal as a mood stabilizer. The new psych was open to me eventually getting off my meds but wanted to be safe. After the slight withdraws of coming off Invega went away I felt like I had woke up. It was around Christmas time. Our school switched to a new semester so I could start over fresh with new students. I started to bond more with my son ( which I had major issues with) I started doing weekly accupuncture. We have a clinic that does it for 20$ a session so it's really affordable. I started paying attention and changing my diet to be more plant based. Which I'm a huge proponent on. And I began listening to podcasts. I owe a ton of my recovery to my therapist too she was a game changer. I also started reading and listening to spiritual speakers such as Wayne dyer, deepok chopra and Byron Katie. I feel like that's when I started realizing no pp did not happen to me by accident and it was not a horrible burden in my life it was a chance for me to wake up and grow in my life. I'm finally at the point I feel thankful for my illness. I definitely couldn't say that a year ago. It sometimes sounds corny to hear this but the power to change is within you. 

I still have times where I think I'm not meant to be a teacher and that's why I wanted out so bad last fall but I think it's where I'm supposed to be now while I'm doing all of my personal and spiritual growth. So take it easy on yourself and my best advice is to read watch and listen to those who inspire you! Take care bluestarlady keep us updated! 


Also if u are interested in podcasts let me know and I can send you a list of some good ones!


Hello bluestarlady

You sound like you are really overwhelmed at the moment, I have been there and really feel for you - it is so important that you take the time to look after yourself and allow yourself the time you need in your healing - listen to your body's signals to slow down.

In addition to Wayne Dyer I can also recommend Louise Hay and Christiane Northrup - I am yet to listen to Deepak Chopra and Byron Katie but will give them a try thank you bravesurvivor411 :-)

Take care xxx

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