Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Struggling again

I gave birth to my 4th baby in April 2015. I have 3 children previously and no mental health issues or psychosis. In April 2014 my dad who i was very close to committed suicide he had depression and anxiety for 2 months prior but we were not expecting it at all. I found it so so hard, in September that year i found out i was expecting and due in April. As he was  not growing properly i had to be induced early I was taken in for induction the day before the anniversary of my dads death. The induction was long and I spent the day of the anniversary in the delivery room this was very stressful. My son was born by c section a few hours after the anniversary. I can remember feeling very stressed and arguementive with the staff after I had him. 5 weeks later and i was struggling to breast feed and decided to stop. At this point my thoughts started to become strange. I couldnt sleep and was convinced one of the children would stop breathing i would go from each childs room each night. I was full of energy and wired, I was obsessed that we all had pinworms and was scrubbing the house daily. I thought there was a link to people having worms and suicide ( emailing professers etc). Anxiety was awful and i was conviced a helicopter would crash into the house. Hence when i heard one i would run outside. I spoke to my health visitor who referred me to the mental health team and a nurse came round. At first they thought anxiety but it started to get worse and i left the house in the middle of the night as I was sure my house was going to kill me after a few hours he persuaded me back home and called the mental health team. The consultant prescribed quinipeine and sertaline. I started to take them but was sure they were going to kill me. (I didnt tell consultant this.) They considered admission but I was adamant against this and they felt this was ok as long  I was seen daily at home and my husband was at home with me at all times. They kept trying different meds but I would take a few days then stop. The periods of phycosis lessened, and would come on and off I thought my husband was gay at one point. By the end of September I became very depressed, my husband was lucky enough to get 2 months off work and he cared for the children while I just rested.  I disengaged with the mental health team and would not see them or would say I was fine .By Christmas I felt 70 per cent better having good days and bad days with anxiety. I started back at work part time in January, by the end of Jan i was starting to struggle with the anxiety. But felt it was managable. But since start of march i feel angry and short tempered again, my thoughts arent switching off and feeling very very stressed at work. I went back to the doctors and have an appointment with my consultant on 11th April, I am going to be honest and tell them how scared i am about th medication hurting me. We have been put into consultation at work and I find out which job I have on my dads anniversary. I am so worried about having time off because of the consultation, but I was in the toilet crying on my last shift. I am a manager there so it is hard. I tried to talk to my manager but couldnt get the words out properly and was so angry. They are aware of the diagnosis I had and one manager is helpful but the other is awful and i dont feel supported at all. I emailed the higher boss shift but as yet nothing back. The stress of this all on top of the anniversary coming up I know is making things much worse. Sleep is starting to become an issue again and noises seem much louder. Has anyone got any words of wisdom.

9 Replies

Hello Claire

Welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing what must have been such  difficult times in your life.  I'm so sorry to hear about your dad which not surprisingly impacted on your health.

I had PP twice many years ago.  The psychosis and delusions are all very frightening and real at the time.  It's good that your husband was so understanding and looked after your children while you rested.  To my cost, like you, I tried to limit my medication but became very ill in doing so.  It must be so hard that due to all your stress at the moment, the voices have returned and magnified.  There are so many ups and downs to recovery without the added sadness you feel about your dad's passing.

It seems quite early for you to have returned to work, although I know it's necessary to make ends meet.  Is it possible that the consultation at work can be arranged for you on another day as it is such an upsetting date to recall?  Unfortunately some managers are not at all compassionate or understanding.  Some years ago the manager I had at work caused me so much stress due to her conduct towards me.  My health was going downhill; I wasn't sleeping and became very anxious.  Eventually I made the decision to leave.  I found a less well paid job but peace of mind was everything and I regained my confidence.

I'm not sure there are any words of wisdom here that you asked for.  All this stress is not good for you, although I am sure the stress of your dad's loss is ever present.  I think you need time out from work especially if they are aware of your diagnosis.  Is it possible your GP can sign you off due to work related stress until you see the Consultant on 11th April?  It must be so hard to cope at work if the voices are intrusive.  At times it is good to cry as a stress release but you really need to stop trying to carry on with work and routine.  You are worth so much to your family that you need to take very good care of yourself and think of what's best for you.

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Sorry to hear of your situation Claire. Losing a parent especially to suicide must have been devastating and you have a lot of stress to deal with, so please don't be afraid of medication right now. I had psychosis after my 1st son, not after my 2nd as I was medicated for 4 months after to prevent it, and it worked, I was well. I took sertraline and olanzapine. I still take sertraline as it keeps me emotionally stable (without it, I sometimes feel anxious and low before my cycle). I normally don't take olanzapine anymore. But when I am going through a more stressful period I do find my mind can start racing again a little and my sleep can be affected. So I then take olanzapine again at the lowest dose (my perinatal psychiatrist said it was okay to do so) and it stops my racing thoughts and calms me down within a few days  (but I don't know if your medication would be so fast acting). But you do need something right now. You should have a frank discussion about medication. I am a big believer in natural medicine (I work in that field) and have tried lots of natural products- believe me, but none of them work for me for mental health. And drugs keep me functioning really well. So don't be afraid to discuss the best ones for you and properly give those ones they prescribed you a proper go. It could really make all the difference. Have this discussion with them, shows you want to do the right thing by your family. 

But I think of drugs as a really important plaster to hold me together, but to fully recover, you also need to reduce your stress as well where you can. As the other lady mentioned you will still be mourning your father's death, I agree perhaps considering a break from work to decompress (GP signing you off) as that is a big added pressure. Or eventually looking for something different. I also hang in a good job for financial security but it was so stressful it sent me over the edge. I wish now I had left and got something less demanding. 

I wish you all the very best. You will get there, I promise. Sending you strength and warm wishes


Hi Claire

I'm so sorry to read of your situation and everything you have been through, your dad's death, PP, and now your work situation all of which sounds really stressful. I'm not surprised you're struggling.

You've already received some good replies. I understand that you are afraid of taking the medication but I have to say from my own personal experience and experience of being on this forum and being in touch with many women who have had PP, if women take the anti psychotic medication in consultation with their psychiatrist, people recover much quicker than trying to cope on their own, or stopping the medication etc on their own. There is often a real risk that people relapse if they reduce their own medication. But your fears about taking medication are real for you, and it is how you feel, so definitely tell your consultant how you feel about taking meds, and hopefully they will listen to you and help you.

Do try and be as open as you can to any professionals who will be supporting you, it is the only way they can give you support. I would agree that medication in some way is only one thing you need to get better, you also need other things such as reducing stress in your life, or talking therapy, or whatever might help you (e.g. some people find mindfulness / meditation helpful). But anti psychotic / anti anxiety medication is key to help with the psychotic / anxious thoughts.

Take care, keep writing whenever you need, and again I'm so sorry that you're going through a tough time. You will get better and come through this.



Hello Claire34,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts so honestly, it's a bit step to write it all down and I hope you found it helpful.  It sounds like you've had a really tough time with being ill and losing your Dad.  I had PP in 2009 and was very obsessed at times in my illness with dates and them coinciding with bad things that had happened previously.  I also had a difficult birth and struggled to feed my baby and lots of the things you mention such as not sleeping also ring true with me from my own experience, so can completely relate to what you describe.

It's really important to be as open as you can with the professionals and as others have said, I found that medication really helped me.  Unfortunately I was resistive to it initially so this didn't help me getting the help I needed.  But I honestly think the medication I took, whilst heavy going at times, was absolutely life saving.  The way I saw it too, it was much more preferable than being ill.  It sounds as though you have great family and professional support, and being able to stay at home during your illness must have been hard but worthwhile too.  It sounds as though you have had good responses when you have reached out before, so I hope that you can find the same at your appointment in a week or so.

Anxiety can be really hard and feel so unfair when you have already come through so much, as I also struggled with anxiety towards the end of my PP.  And probably for a while afterwards too if I'm honest.  I found that small things to aim for each day made them more passable.  And when I was back at work, I know how hard I found it so can only imagine how awful it must be with people not being understanding.  I hope you are able to get a response from your higher manager soon.  Is there anyone else you can go to, Occupational Health or similar?  I know my work also has a staff support line that anyone can ring and ask for additional input.  You might also find it useful to keep a note of what you are doing in trying to ask for support and not getting it, if you need to raise it at a later date.

I guess all of the work things can be overwhelming, but I hope you have been able to manage some sleep and rest in the last couple of days since you wrote.  Trying to make time for yourself away from all of that, even if it is occupying yourself with family life, might help in shifting the focus a little.

I hope that some of what I have written has been helpful to you.  Hold on, just know that things will get better, we have all been there.  If you feel you need to see someone before the appointment you mention, you could always ask to see your GP or ask if there is an earlier appointment.  Take care, feel free to come back and ask any more questions or let us know how you are getting on, we are all thinking of you, xx


Hello Claire34

How are you?  I'm sorry this month must be very hard for you.  I hope your       appointment with the Consultant went well yesterday and you were able to be honest about how you felt the medication affected you.  Did you mention the intrusive thoughts and voices you were experiencing? 

Are you still trying to cope at work as well as home?  Did you receive a reply to your email from the more understanding boss?  I think you really need to take a break and I hope you are being well supported by your care team.

We are all here for you ...................


Hi, I went back to the gp on Friday before my appointment Monday, She has signed me off for 2 weeks. So at the moment not back at work. No my other boss did not get in touch at all. I wen had my appointment on Monday, I assumed would be with the same team at the mother and baby unit as before. But was a bit disappointed. I saw a mental health assessement nurse and talked to him he said he feels I need another assessment from a consultant but as my little boy is 2 days over 1 that it wont be at the baby unit and their is a huge waiting list to see the consultant. He said he will push it as quick as poss but looking at 3 weeks as they only have 1 consultant and very short staffed. So at the minute he has advised to go back to the GP until then and speak with her about short term sleeping tablets. He said he didn't think that it was the phycosis returning but extreme anxiety. So back at the GP this week and will speak with her about signing me off until I see the consultant.


Hi Claire34

Thanks for letting us know how your appointment went. I'm so sorry though that you weren't able to see the same team at the mother and baby unit, and that you now have to wait 3 weeks for a consultant appointment. I really hope that you will get some support from your GP. Sleeping is a key to feeling better and recovering I always found, lack of sleep can affect everything so I hope you can find some help with that.

I hope that the work situation works out too. Thinking of you and hoping you'll get the support you need soon




Hello Claire34

Good to hear from you.  I'm really pleased to hear you are having a break from your very stressful job and the managers.  It must have been unsettling not to see the care team you had in the MBU so you did really well to meet a new team.  

Perhaps you might find short term sleeping tablets helpful?  A restful sleep will be good for you, although as mums we are always listening for our children so sometimes we are half asleep and half awake!  I hope your GP will be able to give you another note to cover the waiting time to see a Consultant.  The more you can rest, the better you will feel although this must be a very difficult month with the memory of losing your dad.

Take very good care of yourself.  We are here whenever you would like to talk.


Hello Claire34

Have you had an appointment yet with your Consultant for another assessment?  I hope your GP signed you off work until this happens and that youhave been able to rest in the meantime.

Be good to yourself, take things easy ............


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