Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Trying to have hope

It's two months since my wife fell ill & know I need support so I'm new here. She has lived with bipolar disorder before we met & had things pretty under control & the birth of our first child had few problems, save post post birth to change meds. The pregnancy of our next daughter was challenging for the whole duration & she was induced 6 weeks early. Thankfully she's pretty much ok

My wife was sectioned shortly after & spent over a month in psychiatric intensive care unit where she didn't seem to make any progress. I was effectively mom&dad to a newborn & 3 year old girl which was a pretty busy time I must say!

As challenging as it was I got very close to the girls & when a mother & baby unit was offered I rejected the first due to it too far away and waited for a nearer one which was available two weeks later which was the right choice

Although my wife is making some progress, her father passed away recently & she went five steps backward. She's now on her third change of medication (ignoring the sedative)

I'm trying to be positive even though she doesn't have many consecutive days a stable mental state. I'm doing everything to keep things running smoothly so almost daily visits to hospital for me & our 3 year old after nursery which are draining on us but know it helps my daughter not miss her mommy so much & also see her little sister

A local carers network mentioned this site & they're going to facilitate counselling as I feel pretty much on my own. I just have to keep going but discharge date seems so far away, and even then recovery at home is going to take even longer

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Hi and welcome. So sorry to hear you are all having to go through this at the moment and with the added upset.

My wife had pp a few years ago now and was in an MBU for about 3 months and I can understand how alone you can feel, even with family around.

It's a terrible illness, with all the ups and downs that comes along with it but it does get better. There's no doubt you are very supportive and doing everything possible to support but equally it can be so draining on us the husbands/partners.

Can i ask whether you have close family / friends near by that can/ could help support you?

I found it an all consuming time and extremely frightening and we only had the one; the only way I could deal with it was to take it day by day and not look too far ahead.

I ask about friends, family or someone you trust to look after your daughter for a little while; getting a little time to myself, gave me an opportunity to get out and do something for me, in my case that's mountain biking and I found it the only occasional hour that I could get away to myself, for a small amount of time and lessen the thinking about everything that was going on. I only managed it twice over the whole time but it really helped.

I also did the daily visits to and from the MBU but did have a day where my brother in law said "I'll go in today and make sure she's ok, you have a rest" and although it was extremely difficult and I felt guilty,it was equally really needed.

It sounds as if you're doing an amazing job at the moment

I'm sure more people will reply here, there are plenty on this site who have had to go through this illness or been affected by it.

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Hi Zapple

Thanks for your reply and I share many of the same experiences as you. Sadly I don't have many friends & family to count upon (won't go into this for now) but the two people that have genuinely offered help and not under duress have been a huge support as my wife & daughter are a hour away so trying to fit in 'routine' things such as vaccinations is planning akin to a military operation.

Sadly this situation has demonstrated who you can really count upon as people who I previously considered lifelong friends have simply vanished. Don't know why but perhaps the stigma around MH still prevails. I have so much on my plate I won't explore this for now but it still is not very nice. I hope soon to get some support & am making enquiries into getting a child minder to help

My 3 year old is adjusting & nursery staff said they have not noted any change in her behaviour which at least shows I'm supporting her 100%

You're right about taking things one step at a time. When I think about future matters I do get overwhelmed. We love travelling but the thought of transatlantic flights seems many years away judging how difficult to get travel insurance & the chance of a MH crisis whilst away. For now I have to push these thoughts away & deal with the priorities

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Hello Oaktree

Welcome to the forum ..... I'm really pleased you were directed here as you will find lots of support and helpful advice. I'm sure the post above has been very reassuring.

I'm sorry I don't have any experience of bipolar but there are mums here who will be able to help. I did have PP twice many years ago which was a very traumatic time. Your wife will be well in time. If you have looked on the site you might have come across the APP Insider Guides? There is one entitled "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" and also a "Guide for Partners", app-network.org/what-is-pp/getting-help/ There is also a book here "Husband in a Storm" which it might be helpful to read, although I'm sure you don't have much time to yourself at the moment.

Rest assured that with good medical care and support your wife will be well again and home for keeps ....

Take good care of yourself too as this illness is such a strain for everyone.

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Hello Lilybeth

Thanks for your reply. I downloaded both the guides & found them very helpful. I find it difficult to do the whole reading up as reading my wife's symptoms are at times reminds how Ill she's been. I'm sorry to hear you had been afflicted twice by PP but hope you & your partner during and after the 'storm' had support both times.

I appreciate you taking time out to reply

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Hello Oaktree41

You are very welcome. I'm sorry you have so much to cope with at the moment. I was sectioned for my own safety to general psychiatric care and can only imagine how difficult it was for my husband and family. It's early days yet in your wife's recovery and some days will be better than others for her. Right now she is also coping with the loss of her father which is a great sadness in itself to overcome even without bipolar and PP.

A few months ago I did have copies of my medical notes containing details of my psychoses and treatment after my sons were born. I felt quite sad when I read about this young woman and how much she had endured; I hardly recognised myself! It is very hard for you to see your wife so unwell and for the family to be separated but there is always hope and we are all here to help you if we can.

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Hi Oaktree41,

I think some people honestly just don't know how to deal with the situation.

At the time I was very open with my work colleagues / friends about what was going on but I remember sometimes thinking to myself, 'no one can understand what I'm going through and they'll have gone home and be getting on with their life as normal'!

It was a long, up and down road but I got my wife back and it may take some time but you will all be able to continue the travelling as a family.

Thinking of you all at this time.

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Hi Oaktree41, and welcome to the forum. I'm sorry to hear that you are going through a difficult time as a family. Whilst for the Mum, having PP is an awful and terrifying experience, it also impacts on Dads and children. I was ill after the birth of our first child in 2009 and also spent time in an MBU (after a hellish 2 weeks separated from baby on a general ward).

It's wonderful to hear you talk about the support you are giving your wife, and the daily visits. It was absolutely the best part of my days when my husband came to visit and we could spend time together as a family. Even when I was pretty off it, either too high or too low, I still found comfort in him being there, even if I couldn't show it. I hope this reassures you too. If others do need to go on the odd day, please don't feel bad about that either. As Zapple said, we only had the one child, so doing this all with your 3 year old too, I can only imagine. It's good that you have had feedback from nursery that there are no real changes noticed there, that's definitely credit to you.

Have you seen the APP Partners Guide? Here is the link:

app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

And the Recovery Guide might also be useful to you as well. Having lived with bipolar before, I guess you might already be familiar with some of this, but I think they are good (and handy to show others), and have had the input of people who have "been there".

I also wanted to say "hang in there", and I know that is really difficult in some ways, as looking to the future can be daunting. Perhaps that is one of the cruellest elements of PP, aside from it affecting you at a time which should be really happy, with the arrival of a new baby, it's also that it can take time to recover. I spent 3 months in all as an in-patient and took medication for 3 years in total (I don't have any other MH diagnosis). I think the adjustment to being a parent, then with the double-whammy of being ill, it did take time to get fully better. But I was certainly over the moon when I did come home, and know that I couldn't have done any of it without my husband's wonderful support.

I hope you can also find others locally, or through the Carers Network you mention, who can also support you. My husband had good family support, and moved in with his parents, which was the right thing for him at the time, and I am grateful to them for that. He didn't really open up to others, but took up running, something which he still does now and I think allows him to escape from day to day stresses of work and other things. It is important to look out for yourself, and if you need to see your GP as well, as carers are so important.

Hopefully there will be others who can share their stories and offer you hope, showing that you are not alone, and you can get through this terrible time. I do think that we as a family unit are probably stronger because of it, and you can be too. Take care, xx

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Hello Spannerb

It's tough visiting almost everyday but I know how important it is as the sacrifice now will help my 3 year old & wife reconnect when she comes home. I'm hanging in there but I've hit bottom for so long I need things to improve. Losing my father in law was a massive blow to her & she's trying to put on hold the grieving until she can handle it later.

Every reply is helping me feel I'm not alone as I don't have family to lean on at this time. My girls will always have me to support them & that's what I draw strength from

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Hey Oaktree. Welcome to the forum and thanks for posting. My husband found incredible support (from all those replying above, and many others!) here when I was ill and in MBU over three years ago. It was incredible what people would share, no other group would have a hope of understanding what it's like to go through this, so keep on asking questions and lean on us if you need to!

I echo all the above - it's fantastic you're visiting so frequently (especially with 3yo, and a long journey!) but do take steps to protect your own mental health too. we were lucky - my mother in law and wider family were incredible supports to my husband when he was making the arduous daily round trip (and holding down a stressful job as well). The family really came together for him. Friends and such - well nobody really knew what to say or how to approach him about what was going on, so they fell by the wayside (apart from one very persistent couple who pushed through and I am forever grateful to!).

This may be a bad idea, depends on your circumstances, but have you considered speaking to friends more about what you and your wife are going through? A kind neighbour perhaps who could mind your 3yo some evenings so you have a break of sorts? My (limited!) experience is that once people actually KNEW the situation (albeit long after I'd recovered) they were desperately sorry and wanting to help. My family hadn't communicated my illness earlier (I made it "public" some six months later, on facebook of all places!) because they assumed I wouldn't want anyone to know, and that I would be embarrassed. It's a safe assumption to make, when someone is not in a position to make rational choices I guess. But now having spent three years trying to raise awareness and reduce stigma of mental illness, I wish sometimes my husband had said out loud "my wife's in psychiatric hospital actually, it's a very hard time."

But this is of course a very individual decision to make! I hope you don't mind me sharing my experience there.

Just a note about future life adventures. If you had said to me three and a bit years ago that not only would my husband, baby son and I travel together, but be enjoying it so much we packed our bags and moved to the Caribbean for a year - I would NOT have believed you. But we did, and we have! I write this from our island adventure. Recovering from psychosis was the hardest thing I've ever done. But it has given me strength I never knew I had, and pretty much nothing (or nowhere!) in the world fazes me now. :). So do hang in there, and keep those dreams alive for you and your wife. You will get there!

Take care

Kx

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Hi KatG

I have kept some of the neighbours updated - as they saw my wife have a breakdown! They are very understanding & hope my wife isn't too embarrassed when she does come home.

The more people share their experiences the better!

Taking a year out...I'm lost for words

That does give me hope

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Hello Oaktree41,

You are amongst friends here and well done for reaching out for support - its good that you are linked in with local carers and I think counselling will be a great help for you. Your own self care is really important in order for you to support yourself, your wife and family. Often when we are in the middle of a storm it is difficult to see the rainbow - but there is hope - trust that out of this difficult situation only good will follow.

You, your wife and family are in my thoughts.

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Firstly big hug to you....lovely to hear there are supportive caring husbands/dads out there. I have Bipolar and have suffered Puerpual Psychosis twice. She will get better but she needs to pick herself up. One of the best things my close friend did was tough love- when I was very poorly all I seem to talk about was myself and she said "Ask me how my day has been..." Your wife has alot to get well for and sometimes you need to remind her that you and your children need her well....hope it all works out for you x

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Hi Oaktree41

I'm so pleased you're using the forum and finding it helpful - welcome! I'm sorry you have so much on your plate and hope that your wife's recovery goes well. Is she out of intensive care now? I wish you all the best with getting the practical (childminder) and emotional (friends/family) support that you need.

A huge 'well done' to you for holding the family together even in this time of separation, and for coping with the emotional toll, visits to hospital, childcare, work, routine visits etc etc. I have seen my own husband have to go through this and I know it's hard going.

Take care and very best wishes

Spaghetti

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Hi Spaghetti

thanks for your kind thoughts. I know in time my family will emerge stronger. Yours will also. My wife is now in a Mother and Baby Unit which is helping my wife. The death of her father is a huge setback so her long term recovery is uncertain but she will get there.

I normally avoid social media but the situation has made me realise I need to reach out and hear from others going through the same.

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Hello Oaktree41

I'm glad your wife is in a Mother and Baby Unit where she will be receiving specialist care. It's quite a lot for you to get through each day without much support. Some mums here have recovered quicker than others. You are doing so much to be there for your wife and children. I agree that some people react differently in times of crisis, some are very supportive and some don't know what to say and keep their distance.

I hope the carer's network will be able to find a counsellor to listen and help you through this difficult time. Also, a childminder to look after your three year old would be good so that you can have time to yourself during the day.

It might seem a long way off but your wife will fully recover in her own time. You are being such a great support to your family but do take care of yourself too.

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Dear Oaktree41,

Life will get easier and your wife will get better. You are doing an absolutely brilliant job for your children and your poorly wife.

I have been reading about your experience and the great response you have received. This is a good place to talk about your worries, but also gain reassurance and encouragement.

My partner was pretty shell shocked, because nobody wanted to listen that I got so poorly and that it is not only the baby blues or depression. He knew it was something worse then that. It all happened in 2010 & I am so grateful that my partner has shown this immense strengths. I was admitted to a psychiatric unit and this went badly wrong.

However, once at home and with my partners love and cheer determination I was recovering. He was caring for me full time. He is a great communicator and made sure a support network was put into place to look after mum and baby. He went back to work part time after 6 months in order to give me some independence and learning to become more confident again looking after my baby.

I am a very happy mum and both my men are great. Little Josh is nearly 6 now.

Wishing you the strengths of an Oaktree and much more; health and happiness for your unique family, but particularly your wife and soul mate ...

Sabine ;-)

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Hi Sabine

There's so much I could put in this response but your partner has been a real rock. I'm sure your son has been a real pillar of strength too as my girls help me in the toughest of days.

People keep asking how my wife's getting on and are dissapointed to hear she's not better yet. I'm certain anything less than 18 months will be a bonus as on reflection her mental health wasn't in a good state for the entire pregnancy. Let's hope it's less

The travelling isn't getting any easier & am considering options of getting a place to stay nearer but don't want the upheaval of nursery & our home but even weekends may give us some respite and chance for some adventures. Will keep you posted

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Hello Oaktree41

I hope your wife is making progress in the MBU although it does take time. I know you commented that you usually avoid social media but I was just wondering how you are coping.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

Thanks for getting in touch. My wives had a setback this weekend but hope it's a brief one. It's been tough as well for me the last few days especially as I had to move my first counselling session as couldn't arrange decent childcare over the half term. .there was also two carers network meetings that I couldn't also attend so that was tough for me as I still don't have support but I will pull through.

Regards

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Hello Oaktree41

I'm sorry to hear your wife's not been well over the weekend. It's quite usual to have ups and downs ..... I think once the balance of medication and treatment is found, your wife will slowly improve.

It's a shame you missed your counselling session and network meetings but it shows what a brilliant dad you are to put your children's welfare before yourself. Perhaps someone in the family will be able to help if you can book another counselling session or network meeting? You are juggling a lot of things at the moment and it is so important to look after yourself, so please try and let others help if they offer.

Take very good care of yourself ...... your wife is in very good hands and you need a lot of support with all the daily challenges you are facing.

We are here if you need to talk anytime.

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Hi Lilybeth

Thanks for replying I did reply to Spaghetti below as I have seen support for me fade away which I am having all sorts of feelings. My only reliable support is the nursery care that my daughter gets & am very grateful for the staff. I booked my counselling forgetting it was half term but have rebooked. Shame I have to wait 2 weeks but that's the way it is

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Hello Oaktree41

I also read your reply to Spaghetti (which I hope you don't mind) and it is annoying that people who have no knowledge of your wife's condition say she should be better by now There is no line in the sand with PP recovery and you are so understanding to know that everyone's recovery time is different. I wonder if APP's Second Opinion Service, app-network.org/what-is-pp/... would be helpful? You can be referred via your wife's G.P or Psychiatrist if you live in the UK. Prof Jones in Cardiff will be so reassuring and helpful regarding your wife's illness and advice for her care team.

I'm sorry you're not having much support for yourself and travelling to and fro to visit can be very draining, although it will be lovely for your wife. It's not easy waiting for counselling and I hope you will feel the benefit. I had CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) some years ago and found it very helpful just to vocalise all the worries in my head!

I hope you find a minute to yourself this weekend and your wife is slowly improving.

Thinking of you .......

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Hello Oaktree41,

thank you for your response and keeping in touch. It takes a lot of strengths and energy to keep the ball rolling when a loved one is so poorly and prioritising is such a juggle. I believe you are just doing fine. Even trying to do your research shows a huge commitment and communicating with professionals or people, who have been in similar situations with the experience of PPP.

I recently discovered the carer file. My partner was allocated somebody to give him some support. I believe he met him only once. At the time my partner was extremely thin with all the stress and smoked heavily at the time.

My partner's parents helped out as he was trying to look after the baby and visiting me regularly in hospital for many weeks. My family could not cope with the situation at all, but you know, I am in acceptance with that.

I believe what I want to say, listen to your male instinct-the protector, provider and carer-it is such an exhausting time, but you will explore your own organisational skills, outweigh situations, which are best for your unique little family and individual needs. The male cave/your home is going to be the sanctuary for your wife, once she is coming back home. She will gain her confidence and independence and gradually will be able to take on tasks again. Even though I have been through the mill (like many other ladies on this forum including their partners and other loved ones) I have a huge bond with my partner and son. Love and kindness was and has been my remedy.

You take good care of yourself & I hope you find a bit of time out, in order to have a rest bite.

(when I was poorly, my man took me out for little walks and little camping/holidays...we are still loving it - the outdoors is great for meditation-we love)

Sabine :-)

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Hi Oaktree I hope she's doing better now? Sorry to hear about the turn for the worse.

Please stay strong and keep working on getting the support you need, especially with childcare.

Take good care

Spaghetti

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Hello Spaghetti

It's been a bit up and down this week. I feel irritated when people who don't have knowledge of her condition ( they look it up on Internet) and say she should be better now. I'm looking for a good childminder as the only reliable support is the 15 hours of nursery I get so have to fit time for me when my daughters in nursery on top of all the things that need doing. Don't currently have family or friends for support

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Hello Oaktree41

In an earlier reply I mentioned the book here, "Husband in a Storm" and the author did mention that he received support from Sure-Start for his family. Just wondering if that might be helpful?

I hope you are coping and that your wife has a better week.

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Hi Lilybeth

Thanks for the pointer. I've already accessed sure start as my daughters nursery has a children's centre. They are doing their best & given me some advice in my aim for a childminder to give me support so I can attend counselling/ support workshops. It's been a tough fortnight with ups & downs as my wife still isn't stable but her irritability has greatly reduced so that's a great sign. Worried about my 3 year old daughter when my gut tells me (and nursery staff say) that she's doing great. The isolation doesn't help but I will go & speak with someone who's willing to listen in the next few days. Always appreciate your & everyone else's support

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Hello Oaktree41,

I am back home again and was wondering how you were getting on. How is your wife at the moment?

I only can reflect on my own experiences and the memories I have and/or my partner trying to fill in the gaps, & medical file...

Once I got sectioned in a psychiatric mixed gender unit, doctors took a long time to establish effective medication carrying out a lot of trial and error; in my case starting of with a high amount of Haliperidol.

After being discharged (39 days) it was a gradual process in trying to adjust to routines. At home my partner made sure I took my medicine regularly and on time, which then was Lorazepam & Risperidone. In the first few months the Crisis team was working closely together with my partner, my care co-coordinator and my newly appointed Psychiatrist. There also has been an assessment of social services when PPP finally was diagnosed. Evenyually the crisis team was replaced by the mental community health team and my partner took me regularly for visits to my GP and Psychiatrist. I can not remember much, but extract the information from one of many recovery care plans. And then obviously the involvement and support with my partner's family. I believe my partner often felt like drowning, but somehow managed to keep it all together. It was very difficult to manage and organize everybody involved and sometimes the interference just felt too much, as my partner explained. He always made sure that I was safe and protected. It was difficult having to communicate with friends and family, especially the ones abroad. Nevertheless, the professional support network was of vital importance to help us as a family, to look after our baby and to make sure I was recovering gradually.

I weened off my medication and improved in stepping stones & yes, I remember sure start. It was a life line for mum and baby. I started visiting a massaging group and a play group in February 2011. I felt less isolated and gained some of my confidence back. By early Summer 2011 I stopped taking medication, which was like having crossed a mile stone, a very important one.

I hope my open and honest account will help you a bit and life will improve pretty soon for you and your family.

Good luck,

Sabine

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Hello Oaktree

Thanks for taking the time to update as you must be so tired. I hope Sure-Start will be able to help in finding a registered childminder for your daughter so that you can have counselling. I think you will be relieved to have this opportunity to talk to someone about anything and everything (much like the forum here) though we are anonymous!

I'm sorry you've had a rough few weeks. There will be ups and downs but it sounds as though the medication has kicked in if your wife is less irritable. I can remember being irritable as I was hearing voices and had delusions which I couldn't explain ...

Did you consider the Second Opinion Service, mentioned earlier? Prof Jones is very reassuring which I think will give you hope. It's not easy coping and not being able to share your thoughts one to one. Is there a friend at work you can confide in and ask round for a tea and chat, or someone at your daughter's nursery who might understand?

It's not easy all being separated but your wife is in the best place for now and she will slowly recover. She is fighting her own battle .... sometimes things she might say are borne out of frustration and not meant to be hurtful.

Try and rest yourself and don't worry about replying as you are doing a great job for your family. We are all here anytime you would like to talk ........

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Hi Lilybeth

Thank you for your support.

I know I'm not in a good place. I had a message from one of my wife's friends a few days back asking how things are. I simply said my support network has vanished & that I'm on my own especially as my wife is still very ill. She was shocked to say the least. We met up later for a brew where I said I couldn't do the counselling / carers support network as couldn't secure a decent childminder in time (will come back to that matter later) a couple of friends have texted asking how things are a month after they said they would meet. I have now deleted one of their numbers & seriously considering the same with the other....I considered them lifelong friends & I would do anything for them. Family are not providing any help just rowing for shore saying they're busy with their work & hobbies & that other family should be helping

My wife's friend was apologetic & said would she would help

A few childminders I've discussed helping with childcare so I could get support & enable me to return to work part time have displayed I'll best describe as Victorian attitudes to mental health. One said she didn't mean to interfere but should I really be taking my daughter to see my wife & newborn daughter in hospital!!

The other asked 'what services are my family recieving support from'

I used to work in a safeguarding role so i know fully what that meant. (Police, social services etc) but I politely replied that we are just seeing the health visitor. She did not reply.

It's no surprise I'm not in the best frame of mind. I have to fight back the tears constantly & am sceptical of most people I encounter. Sorry if this message sounds negative but I feel I've got a few more kilos in my rucksack than usual this week & realised I rarely hold my head up or look people in the eye. I find it very hard to hear of acquitances who say how much help they had from their family/friends when they were in a difficult patch, and that 'they would love to see me & the girls but' I'll leave it there as I'm seriously considering changing my phone number- im going to think through this carefully if only my wife was available to advise me but she is aware of the lack of support & is upset

My wife is still struggling but seems a little able to manage some of her impulsive thoughts. Although my 3 year old has returned to nursery, my mornings this week have largely been spent dealing with matters relating to my wife's condition so my mornings seem stressful.

I will bounce back. My wife is wonderful & girls always make me feel proud. I know my wife will one day realise how much I've done the last few months behind the scenes to keep everything going smoothly. My search for a childminder will uncover someone with similar values to me & my wife to give my daughter continuity.

I'm going to my rescheduled counselling next week. Have to be strong as I will get support to help me cope.

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Hello Oaktree

Thank you for replying. I'm sorry you are so weighed down and things are stressful at the moment, not least by the attitudes of some people towards mental illness. It must be so hard to see friends and family keeping their distance.

It's a shame you missed counselling again as you really need support for yourself. Mental health is coming out of the shadows but there are still people yet to be convinced that we are not crazy! I had a good friend whom I met once a month for a brew and on the last occasion we were talking about mental health. I 'came out' about my illness and being sectioned years ago, feeling more confident supported by APP. Unfortunately her mood towards me completely changed. At the end of our meeting she said she would call me to catch up ..... needless to say I haven't heard from her since! It took the wind out of my sails for a while but I just had to move on and leave my so called 'friend' behind.

I hope your wife's friend is genuine in her offer of help, even if only for a few hours. Is it possible that your daughter's nursery has a list of registered childminders (hopefully without negative attitudes towards mental health)? Even some mums in the playground are childminders aren't they?

It's good that your wife is managing her impulsive thoughts a little. When she is fully recovered she will be very proud that you were so strong, never showing your stress to her, coping with daily routine and her illness so well. The love of your wife and children is keeping you strong throughout all these difficulties. I'm sure the activities with your daughter around the Queen's birthday were a good distraction. I found colouring with my sons years ago very calming.

I hope you have a better week and can manage to go to counselling, although you always put your daughter first. It's very important for you to have such support as you are holding everything together, which is very stressful. Your wife is slowly recovering and you will all be home together eventually. In the meantime take good care of yourself and please come back to talk if it helps.

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Hello Oaktree, I hope this week has gone OK for you and your family. It can be annoying when people don't understand PP, I hope that finding others on this forum has been a comfort to you. Your wife will get better with time and you sound to be doing an amazing job holding things for your children. Good nurseries are a great support to. I hope you have managed to make some of the carers meetings and the counselling for you is progressing too. Take care, post here as and when you can and need to, we're all here to listen and lean on. All the best, xx

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Hi Spannerb

Its been a tough week as my above reply to Lilybeth

I will look forward to a better one next week. Let's hope it's like the Friday & Saturday as & had some nice Queens birthday related activities. Can't beat a bit of cutting out & sticking newspaper pictures onto card!

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Hello Oaktree

Did you manage to reschedule counselling for yourself? I hope your wife is improving and you're not feeling so weighed down. Did your wife's friend help as she had offered?

Thinking of you. We are all here to lean on ...... take care.

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Hi Lilybeth. Counselling I'm afraid was cancelled (staff shortage) so trying the NHS route in the next few days & if the initial consultation doesn't go to plan, arrange another private counselling session. I have arranged for one of my wife's friend to help collect my daughter so I can attend a carers network meeting. I had a difficult week as my wife is still very ill & I struggled to cope so I ended up feeling run down. I have compiled a list of what I normally do on a daily basis which helps me put in perspective how well I'm doing & that I need to look after myself. Thoughts of girls and wife are keeping me going

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Hi Lilybeth. Counselling I'm afraid was cancelled (staff shortage) so trying the NHS route in the next few days & if the initial consultation doesn't go to plan, arrange another private counselling session. I have arranged for one of my wife's friend to help collect my daughter so I can attend a carers network meeting. I had a difficult week as my wife is still very ill & I struggled to cope so I ended up feeling run down. I have compiled a list of what I normally do on a daily basis which helps me put in perspective how well I'm doing & that I need to look after myself. Thoughts of my wonderful girls and wife are keeping me going

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Hello Oaktree41,

Sorry to hear that the counselling was cancelled, I hope you get further on with the NHS one. Always good to have a back-up and look at the private sessions too to complement it and get as much support for yourself as possible. You are doing such a great job and it's lovely to hear that thoughts of your girls and wife are keeping you going. And it's good that a friend can help with collecting your daughter so you can get to the carers network meeting. Have someone to talk to, and listen, is so valuable isn't it?

I really like the idea of writing down the things you are doing, not only will it help you see what you have achieved and how you've managed, it may also be something to share with your wife when she is feeling better. I know that in time, I was eager to know the things I had not been there for. It made me all the more proud of my husband for being such a great Dad too.

Take care, and I hope the rest of the week is a little easier for you and you get chance to rest up.

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Hello Oaktree41

I'm sorry to hear your wife is so unwell and this led to you feeling run down. It's very important to remember to take care of yourself as it must seem as though everyone is depending on you, which in itself is a lot of pressure. I hope the NHS counsellor will be available and supportive. Some GPs have in-house counselling services but it's good to have a private counsellor in the wings if needed.

Your wife will eventually recover and the MBU is the best place for her. It's a good plan to chart your routine and progress as it should be helpful to see where you need to take more time out for yourself. When your wife is home she will be able to read the journal and see how much you did for your family in these early days.

I hope counselling will make you feel more positive. Your wife will be so proud of you for coping with so much.

Take good care .... we are all here to lean on.

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Hello Oaktree

Did you manage to arrange NHS counselling for yourself? I hope this week has been a little easier for you although I'm sure it's a worry if your wife is still very ill. Were you able to go to the network carers' meeting?

You are doing so well and I hope your wife will slowly improve. In the meantime take good care. I'm sure the list you are keeping will be a good indication of your health so that you are not run down again .......

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Hi Lilybeth

This week has been easier as I prioritised my activities so to let me recover. I'm awaiting a date for my first session of NHS counselling so hope I get an idea this week or I will start plan c which is booking another fee paying session. My carers network is next week - it can't come a minute sooner as need to meet people who are carers in a similar place to me.

Getting run down is a warning sign that I need to take care of myself. I'm going to have a few days of relative downtime later this week as the visits aren't at times easy in every sense. I feel deeply for my wife & her struggle. Her ups and downs. Her fatigue & concern over her recent weight gain (due to the meds) so pulling out the stops to support her every way I can. I'm attending a care plan meeting this week & will take my baby daughter for treatment at another hospital, so yes will have good cause for a few days away from the unit...just need to think of things to do that will help me recharge the batteries

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Hello Oaktree41

I'm sorry to hear your wife is still struggling with the ups and downs of this illness. Did you consider a referral by your G.P to the Second Opinion Service, mentioned here with a link earlier? Prof Jones is a specialist in his field and has helped many women here with advice and support for professionals. Perhaps you could mention this at the care plan meeting?

I'm glad this week has been easier for you as you have taken a little more care of yourself. I hope you will be able to find out how far along the waiting list you are for NHS counselling. You're very wise to have a second plan in hand.

That's a shame you have to take your baby daughter for treatment to another hospital. You are coping with so much so you really do need to monitor your stress levels. I think walking in the fresh air is a good stress release, when you can make time for yourself, or even just time spent relaxing for a change. I'm sure you will receive a lot of support and empathy at the carers' network meeting this week.

Time to yourself, away from the unit, will also be a good time for you to think about how your wife will cope with the sadness of losing her father. Perhaps you could talk to the two people who offered their help so readily?

Take good care ....

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Dear Oaktree 41,

I have been reading the dialogue between you and Lilybeth. I am sorry that things are still so difficult. I am always questioning the support for carers in our health system, not enough is being done! It is a bit like the role positioning of a housewife...not recognized and not being paid for, but so vital for the once who need to receive the care.

I have been thinking about childcare...I wondered whether Sure Start could be a contact point? They were a life safer for me and some of the employers have been wonderful listeners and also helped with personal issues. They usually have good contacts and knowledge with regards to child development, support and care & financial support for families. In addition I can think of community centers, who might have specific organizations, who could help with child care (lots of broshues and leaflets on premises, but also contact points). How about the health visitor? Any chance of advise from them? And then, there are children centers, nurseries and schools, educationalists and teachers, who may know of child minders/child care.

Developing a support network by contacting organizations i.e. charities/NHS and appropriate professionals, especially the crisis team, care co-coordinator, possible support worker...They need to be able to give you more support in all sorts of aspects. You may already have tried all these avenues...

I am so sorry about the let down of friends. I believe that since my illness I certainly have lost people, who just could not handle what has happened and they wanted me back like the way I used to be before. Impossible! You certainly get to know who ayour friends are and quickly establish the most supportive family members, when one is in crisis.

Keep fighting...you will not regret it...my partner never did.

Take care, Sabine

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Hello Sabine

This situation has affected my own mental health & I'm looking after myself as best I can.

The Childcare is being addressed with weighing up pros and cons of keeping my 3 year old in nursery ( she's there in the mornings) it's helped her a lot but doesn't do full days but could get a childminder to pickup & look after her. Or take her out & put into a private nursery that has flexibility to provide extra hours (at cost of course!) I don't want to change but realising that the move may be best option especially as I need to plan a return to work

I'm establishing a network of professionals & friends to see what support they provide to me & my family now & when my wife & daughter come home. Some have helped. Some have rowed for shore. Like my friends & family who for whatever reason they cannot help I will note who has done what & in time my wife will hear my side & perhaps she will want to hear their side. I find their inaction very hard to stomach but I will not burn bridges at this point.

This battle is one that will affect my family for years to come & I will need as few enemies as possible. Those who have let my family down for now will be allies, others have demonstrated that they can be relied upon in this struggle. I don't want my wife to relapse when she comes home & we need to ensure that our girls in time know the importance of maintaining good mental health

Your partner sounds like the person I try to be every day. Hope you both stay strong and look after one another

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Thank you for replying. I will have to get my son ready-school run. You are immensely strong and I believe will-powered. I admire that in my partner. Do not worry about the long term implication...try to live with the here and now.

You will get your wife back and you will be able to work as a team again. We've grown even stronger in our relationship and enjoy our time of togetherness as a family with our nearly 6 year old son very much. Lots of laughter and happiness.

The future will be fine.

Wishing you a good day :-)

Sabine

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Hello Oaktree

I hope your wife has had a better week and the care plan meeting went well. Did you manage to go to the carers' network meeting? Perhaps you will hear shortly when your NHS counselling will be or have to plan privately for yourself. All the meetings and decisions can be very tiring so I hope you found the few days away from the unit helpful.

You are coping really well with so much. Take good care.

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Hi Lilybeth

My wife's state has worsened significantly the last few days. I'm praying it's a blip as she doesn't feel in a good place & doesn't want to see us which she thinks is the right course of action but I do reassure her as she's overwhelmed. I miss my wife & daughter terribly. On a positive note I have carers network meeting this week & NHS counselling the week after but trying not to expect too much from the first sessions as it might not be easy. Lots to consider with regards the future but best not to rush decisions.

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Hello Oaktree41

I'm so sorry your wife has not been too well for the last few days. There are a few ups and downs to recovery but once the right balance of medication and treatment is found, you will see an improvement.

It's very hard for you to watch your wife in such distress. Perhaps she recognises this and is trying to give you time away from seeing her? It took me a long time to be 'back in the room' and different medications were tried. Eventually, a treatment was found that worked for me and I went on to fully recover.

It's good that the carers' meeting is this week. I think it will be helpful to meet other people taking on such a vital role. The counselling will be a good time to unburden yourself as you must have so much stress at the moment. Perhaps you just need to have a good cry (which I know men are not good at doing) to release all the tension you are holding back so as not to upset your wife.

As you say, there is a lot to consider but for now I think it best to take a day at a time. It's not easy for you right now but your wife will eventually fully recover and be so proud of how you have coped with everything thrown at you.

Take good care ..... not easy but try not to worry. Please keep writing here if it helps you.

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Hi Oaktree

I know I haven't written on here much, but I have been following your thread. I just wanted to write too. I'm so sorry you are having such a difficult time, and that your wife continues to be poorly and you are looking after your other children, it's hugely traumatic and difficult.

I had PP in 2011, and was in a mother and baby unit for 4 months, but I have to say it took over a year to fully recover, and each person is different. I'm sorry your wife is having a 'blip'. I just wanted to say that my experience of PP was that it was an up and down road - I recovered well initially but then had a big blip and went into depression. I remember not wanting to talk to or see my partner at times. It's so hard, but she will get better and be herself again, maybe even stronger, with a new outlook on life.

I do hope that you can get the support you need around you and your family, from the friends and family who are there for you as well as childcare etc, and also that the counselling and carer meetings are helpful for you. It sounds like you are being one amazing husband and dad, you are inspirational.

Thinking of you a lot X

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Hi Ellie

Thank you for taking time to reply to me and also sharing your struggles with PP. It's certainly an up and down road and it seems the best way at the moment for me to cope is accepting its a long process to recover and her health could worsen in future.

Its challenging trying to plan for the future and also a return to work. When she has insight we have spoken about her bad times and I will support her in the event of her having more. Wish me luck for the counselling.

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Hi oaktree

It's lovely to hear from you. It really sounds like you're giving your wife amazing support.

I know it doesn't seem possible at the moment but from my experience, your wife will get better, she will be fully herself again... there were times I never thought I would but here i am recovered. It did completely change my perspective on life, but I would say even for the better. I feel so thankful for everything in my life, something I didn't feel so strongly or aware if before.

I really hope you get your counselling soon and that it's helpful.

Thinking of you and your family x

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Hello Oaktree41

I hope your wife has improved slightly and agreed that you can visit again. Were there any changes made to her care plan at the meeting recently? I think I've mentioned before that a number of mums here have benefited from the APP Second Opinion Service where Prof Ian Jones can advise professionals and family regarding PP and Bipolar, app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

It's not easy for you both but you are being very supportive. Were you able to attend the carers' network meeting and find support for yourself? I hope the company of your three year old daughter is keeping you positive and strong.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

Hope you're keeping well

My wife's still having ups & downs which I'm trying my best to not to be too demanding on myself. There are a few subtle changes to her care plan. I'm still trying to understand PP & all the science. It's a huge help that you and everyone else provide in your support.

I will hold off the second opinion service for now as I still feel the death of my father in law is a big factor that is retarding a linear recovery (my term). I could never replace him but my unwavering love & support I pray will help her mind accept what's happened.

I keep trying my best to raise our 3 year old as best I can & keep on thinking of how her mind is coping so working on a list of great things to do over the summer come rain or shine.

I attended both the carers meeting & counselling. Both were very difficult to do but I will follow through as I know I need help. I will say on a positive note I've started to do random acts of kindness, such as paying for a child at a soft play as the parents didnt have cash and the centre couldn't take a card). It's a small thing but that's what counts in our lives that we all need a little bit of help...

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Hello Oaktree

Thank you for taking the time to reply. I'm sorry your wife is still having ups and downs in her recovery. I imagine it is very difficult for her to grieve for her father and fight PP at the same time. PP is very difficult to understand, such a cruel illness that takes away the joy of a new baby in those first few days. On a positive note, the specialist care in the MBU will be very helpful and supportive to your wife and baby.

I was very ill during my two episodes of PP and the medication had little or no effect. Unlike your wife who is communicating, I was mute for a while. It was decided that ECT treatment should be given which made such a difference and I was back in the room eventually. With my second PP I had what seemed like an enduring depression which lasted for almost a year but I did make a full recovery. So, we have all had the same illness but each recovery journey is different. When I think back to how ill I was, it's hard to imagine I would have recovered from such a traumatic time in my life. So there is lots of hope for your wife although perhaps she might also need bereavement counselling at some stage?

You are such a great dad to your three year old daughter, keeping things on an even keel while juggling all that's happening day to day. Well done for going to the carers' network and counselling meetings although they were tough. I think as you settle in, the sessions will be easier, as I found when I had counselling unrelated to PP. It's very hard to talk about your feelings when you have tried to compose yourself for so long but you will feel the benefit .... so please don't give up.

I hope you find a minute or two to relax this weekend in between entertaining your daughter and visiting your wife and baby. I think being in the world of little people can be a lot of fun and their hugs are priceless.

It's not easy for you but try to stay positive ....... we are all here for you.

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Hi Oaktree,

I just read your latest reply. I can imagine counselling / carers group can be hard, I imagine it is hard to look at things that really painful and difficult? Well done though for committing to persevere with it, I guess it takes time to build trust etc in a group or with a person, and it may take a bit to feel the benefits?

Your wife will improve, I promise, and you can be reassured that she is in the best place in the MBU, where they are specialised in supporting her and getting her better.

I hope too you have a good weekend as much is possible with your 3 year old. It sounds like you're doing an absolutely amazing job of supporting your family.

As I'm sure you know we are here whenever you want to chat. I am thinking of you

Ellie X

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Hello Oaktree

I hope you found your counselling session a little easier this week. How has your wife been coping? I'm sure you have found lots to do in the sunny weather with your daughter.

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

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Hello Lilybeth

I have managed to attend the latest counselling session but it was in the backdrop of another setback. Our biggest one by far. I'm sorry if the rest of this reply gets you upset

My wife had a serious reaction to the meds she was on & is now in critical care unit. I was told initially she was admitted to A&E for a fever & it may be measles but I broke down at my daughters nursery as my gut told me it was something more serious. It took me two hours & a call to Samaritans to prepare myself to visit my wife. I'm glad I prepared myself as she looked dreadful & I shared my concerns to A&E staff that I felt it was an reaction to the medication. I'm so glad I did.

She was admitted to Critical Care later & her condition worsened & the consultant warned me that she might not make it. She is currently stable but I'm finding it so difficult to keep it together but I visit her everyday and am understanding all the risk factors in her condition by researching & speaking to the disciplines who are involved in her care (critical care, dermatology, burns unit) so I can help her recovery.

Our our month daughter is out of the MBU and home with me which is great but under such desperate circumstances. Childcare is a challenge as the girls clearly can't attend the critical care unit but I have managed to get help from my wife's friends

I'm just taking things one day at a time & praying she gets through this. Our 3 year old knows mommy is very poorly & wants to see her but I'm doing my best to help her understand she can't right now

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hello oaktree41

I am so sorry to read your update. I can't imagine how awful this must be for you and am keeping you in my thoughts. I hope that your children are providing you with some comfort and that you get some support too. Will the counselling continue for you or is there any support available for relatives at the critical care unit? Thinking of you, take care and we are all here for you. Xx

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Hi oaktree I was so so sorry and shocked to read this latest post. There are no words for what to say to you... I am sending lots of love and light your way, that your wife will come through this and you and your children will be given strength to cope somehow. She is in the right place by the sound of it, with the right professionals supporting her.

We are here for you oaktree whenever you want to write. I hope that you are getting the support you need. I will be thinking of you a lot xx

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Hello Oaktree41

What an awful time for you ...... it must have been very upsetting to see your wife. Thankfully though in the midst of all your distress you had the presence of mind to alert A & E staff to what might be a reaction to medication.

I'm so glad your wife is now stable. In some way it must be a comfort to have your girls at home and although a challenge, I'm sure you will cope as you have with all the ups and downs you have had. It's good to hear that your wife's friends have rallied round to help you.

As you say, this is your biggest setback ...... perhaps you might feel counselling should be postponed? On the other hand I think it would do you good to talk face to face with someone as you are dealing with so much stress. It was a good idea you had to contact the Samaritans before confronting what must have been such distressing circumstances.

I honestly hope you wife remains stable and continues to improve a little each day. In an earlier post you did say the situation has affected your own mental health so please take care under this added pressure.

We are all thinking of you and your family .... here to support you at any time.

Take very good care of yourself.

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Hello Oaktree

We have all been thinking of you and your family this week, especially your wife. I hope you are ok.

Take care .......

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Thank you all for your support & concern. I have had to step away from this group briefly so I can try to process some very difficult thoughts which I'm sure you can imagine what I've had to consider. Setting the mobile on loud & fully charged, expecting a call at any time from the critical care unit to urgently return was so draining. I couldn't sleep nor eat much. When I learned she was out of danger the adrenalin eased off & I was just exhausted from the ordeal but so relieved.

My wife's recovery from the reaction to the meds continues slowly but surely. She is now back on the mother & baby unit as her injuries have improved enough so she can be treated there by the nurses. It was tough handing our youngest daughter back as she's so wonderful but know it's for the best with regards my wife's recovery.

I will continue counselling as I owe it to my family as I do worry what my children see when they look at me & how I'm coping. I know I've done so well to come this far & deal with so much, for so long but it takes its toll...

I'm hoping when we next get a warm spell of weather & she's well enough that we share a nice meal together.. There's going to be many such meals in the future...can't wait

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Hello Oaktree

Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know how you have been coping with your wife being so ill. I'm really pleased to hear she has improved so much to be back in the MBU with your baby daughter. I can imagine how much of a wrench it must have been for you to part with her but as always you made the right decision for your family to whom you are dedicated.

I'm glad you will be continuing with counselling. I think it will be a good release for you. I don't think you need worry what your children think about how you are coping ..... from this thread I can see what a great dad you have been to shield them from the daily stresses you have faced. They know you love them and your care has been amazing in spite of how, at times, you have been weighed down by witnessing your wife's struggles.

I hope the weather gets warmer so that you can share a meal together .... one in celebration of what you have both overcome and many more, to look forward to all the happier times to come.

Take very good care of yourself ..... you have shown great strength in support of your wife and family. Please keep in touch if it helps you to talk here.

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hello Oaktree41 and thankyou for your update. I am so pleased to hear that your wife is getting better and is back on the MBU, although I realise you must miss your youngest, it will be an important part of the recovery process for you all.

All the best with your continued counselling too and I am sure there will be lots of wonderful meals together, it os such a great way to look forward and make memories together.

Take care, we are all continuing to keep you in our thoughts. Xx

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Hi Oaktree

I was so happy to read your latest message and to hear that your wife is out of danger and back on the MBU. I can't believe what you have been through. You are really amazing to be coping with it all. It is strange isn't it that even out of the most awful darkest situation something good can come of it, like in this situation that you were able to spend more time with your baby daughter. Yes, you must be worrying about your other children, but I really do think children are very resilient.

I don't know if this feels helpful / relevant at all (and please ignore if not) but my mum was actually mentally unwell in my childhood and had periods in hospital, but though of course I have some painful memories etc, what I actually really admire and appreciate is that my mum and dad came through it together, and I am particularly inspired, as I got older and reflected, by my dad's strength to stick with it. You are showing your children something very special in how you are managing as best you can, they are seeing how strong your love is for them and your wife, and that's such a beautiful and important thing to pass onto them.

I hope your wife continues to get better and better and that she will be home with you soon. I know it is hard to believe it but she will be better, and fully herself again.

Take care X

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Hi Ellie

Hope you're keeping well

I'm trying to be in many ways like your father as I'm aware my girls are absorbing many experiences & I want to lessen the pain that they may feel about my wife's illness. They maybe young but I want to show them the unwavering love I have to help our family keep in check this illness & in turn instill the right values to help them in later life

The world can be a tough place to be in with this condition as its life changing for their carers & families also. The more support we get from different places will make the challenge easier.

My wife is extremely tired back in the MBU & is still recovering from her ordeal with the reaction she had to the meds. I've supported my wife in requesting more time before she goes onto a new course of meds. She's been through so much & is struggling so don't see the benefit to move her onto new meds this week.

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Hi Oaktree

Sorry it's taken me a couple of days for your reply. It does sound like you're being an amazing father and showing them, as you say, your unwavering love.

Yes, the world can be tough being with this condition. It is life changing, but you will get back to normal life again. It isn't always going to be like this. I know that is hard to believe now. But your wife will be back home, and you will have a normal family life again, she will be herself again, and the longer time goes on the more it will feel in the past.

I still can't believe the reaction your wife had to the meds. I do hope that she will recover fully from that, as much as she can, and that when she does try the new meds they will have a good affect.

I'm thinking of you and your family a lot

Ellie

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HelloOaktree

Good to hear from you. I'm glad your wife is back in the MBU and hope she will soon be fully recovered from the reaction to meds which was a very worrying time for you both. Did you continue with your counselling sessions?

I'm sure you can see from this thread what a great husband and dad you have been throughout your wife's illness. I hope you have support in place for yourself too as you have been through so much.

Take good care of yourself. We are all here to lean on.

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Hi Lilybeth

Yes I'm still persevering with counselling sessions which at the moment seem to be going in all directions as I have so many challenges to address and I'm doing it alone without support.

Of course I don't want my girls to endure what my wife is going through should they ever have health problems, but I will ensure that they and their partners will get the help that I am sorely lacking.

My wife, I understand will take 2/3 months to physically recover from the injuries & will have lasting scars but I'm doing all I can to help her get closure on this terrible phase so we can work on the PPP

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Hello Oaktree41

It must be very difficult for you to cope with everything without support. There are such a lot of challenges right now so you are doing really well to keep focused.

I'm of the same mind, in that I would never want my grandaughters to endure what I went through. Hopefully, a world away into the future, there will be more awareness of PP but I do worry for them. Thankfully my daughter-in-laws were fine following their pregnancies and births.

I'm so sorry that it will take some time for your wife to physically recover from her injuries. I can understand how you must feel wary of new medications in light of what has happened. It must be so hard for her to move on and concentrate on recovering from PP but with your support she will get there. I hope you are managing to have a break yourself ..... I'm sure your daughter is a delight and enjoying special times with you.

I think the counselling sessions will be a good place for you to unburden yourself and hope you are given time to do that.

Thinking of you and your family ...... we are all here to lean on.

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Hello Lilybeth & Ellie ( and everyone else who is on this journey)

I made some arrangements for some much needed respite in the way of 10 days childcare for our 3 year old which started today. As you know my wife had a very rare but serious reaction to the meds & was back on the MBU but she went to A&e yesterday as having other health serious issues (unsure if it's related to the meds reaction) so after dropping my daughter off & then attending counselling I then spent the rest of the on a ward with my wife & bringing our baby home... My best laid plans had been changed.

Hoping my wife's health will improve so she can return to MBU. We're having such bad luck

On a good note my daughter had a great first day & her baby sister was there to greet her afterwards- such a lovely moment

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Hello Oaktree

Sorry to hear that you had to change your plans due to your wife having other serious health issues ...... she is really going through the mill at the moment. I hope the doctors can find a solution to these issues before too long. It's a case of a day at a time for now and I'm sure your wife was comforted by knowing you were there for her today.

I hope you found the counselling session helpful, although I'm sure with everything going on it has been hard for you to focus on yourself. I'm glad your daughter had a great first day and I think moments such as today with her baby sister will give you hope.

Your wife is having to fight so hard but with your great support she will be content that your children are with you and enjoying special times. Hopefully with good medical care she will be well enough to return to the MBU and continue her PP recovery.

Please take care of yourself too ...... we are all here to lean on.

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Hi oaktree

I'm really sorry to hear your wife is in hospital again, I do hope they find out what is wrong and are able to make her better. I can't believe everything you're having to go through. ..

I'm glad to hear your daughters child care went well

Take care oaktree I'm thinking of you a lot xx

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Hello Oaktree

Just wondering how you are coping with all your stress at the moment? I hope your wife is making progress although she is fighting so much at the moment. I hope your daughter's childcare is a brief respite for you. I imagine it will be difficult for you to attend counselling as you are also looking after your baby?

Take good care of yourself ..... we are all here for you.

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Hi Lilybeth & Ellie

I'm trying to be strong & patient as my wife remains in hospital awaiting tests. I didn't share the MBU views that she'd be out in a day or so. I was right it takes as long as it takes as a week has passed.

Although our 3 year old daughter is in childcare, I don't have any rest as I take our 5 month daughter to hospital each day as know how important it is as well as feed my wife as she's still very weak. The childcare is going we'll but it's such a wrench dropping her off each day. I'm still struggling & even with the childcare I can honestly say I can't remember when I was last able to drink a coffee in peace.

Next session of counselling beckons which I admit isn't addressing the big issues, but it's dealing with the crisis situations that have presented themselves but I will persevere

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. I'm sorry your wife isn't well enough to return to the MBU and that you are under a lot of stress.

I'm sure you miss the company of your 3 year old daughter and I can recall how hard it was to leave my children at nursery. I expect the only free time for you at the moment is late at night when you treasured girls are in bed?

It must be very tiring for you at the moment without much support. It's good that you are persevering with counselling .... at least you might be able to offload some of your worries. You have been very strong and I hope your wife will slowly improve day by day.

Take good care of yourself ..... thinking of you.

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Hi Oaktree

I'm so sorry that things continue to be tough and that your wife isn't back at the MBU yet. I do hope the tests help, and that they find out what is wrong, and most importantly help your wife.

I'm thinking of you all so much, I can't believe everything you have been through. We are here for you whenever you need to write. It is amazing how you are managing...as Lilybeth says you are being so strong and I do hope too that your wife will slowly get better.

Take care, XXX

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Glad to report my wife is returning to mother & baby unit after the latest setback. We had some amazing support from the nurses when she was being treated on the ward. That said I had to get my way with asking for additional tests which will take a while to come back.

The only free time I have is when the girls in bed but even though I'm exhausted I still have things to do to keep things going. I do try to look after myself but I have lost a lot of weight & people say I look tired but they add I'm doing an amazing job caring for the girls. I just need to work on my mood

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Hi Oaktree, sorry I didn't reply earlier - I'm sure I had but maybe it somehow didn't work.

It's great to hear that your wife is returning to the MBU. And well done you for insisting on the tests, amazing.

You are doing amazing.... do look after yourself, you are in an unbelieveably stressful situation. Can you prioritise things that help you switch off and relax for example? I know for my partner he loved playing playstation and did have one close friend he would prioritise in going to see or even talking to on the phone. I'm not surprised you're exhausted, it would be strange if you weren't

Thinking of you alot, really hoping your wife keeps improving from now on... keep writing whenever you need to, take care X

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The first week back on mother & baby unit hasn't been smooth & on my visits I haven't been able to ask my wife questions as her mind really seems to struggle which isn't easy but ensuring our visits aren't too stressful.

I've got some health problems of my own & have had to put everyone else's needs first so rescheduled on three occasions scans that I need but got them done today.

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Hello Oaktree

Sorry to hear you are coping with so much and that it has taken its toll on your own health. I expect your wife is struggling to make sense of all that has happened. You are very thoughtful making sure that she isn't too stressed by questions when you visit.

I really hope your own scans will put your mind at rest and you will have the all clear. You are amazing to carry on as best you can in supporting your wife and children. I hope you have been able to confide in a friend about your own health worries, as you really need support.

We are always here to listen ..... please make sure to take care of yourself. It's very important to go to any appointments so that you can be assessed and treated. I'm really hoping you have good news about the results of your scans ... you so deserve a break.

Take very good care of yourself and I hope step by step your wife is very slowly recovering in the MBU.

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Hello Oaktree41

Good to hear from you, I was wondering how you and your family have been this week. That's great news that your wife must have improved to be returning to the MBU. I hope the results of tests will be positive for you as a family.

I suppose you will miss having your baby daughter around but she will be such a comfort to your wife. I'm sure her 'big' sister will miss her too. Hopefully by just having one daughter at home you will be able to rest more, although trips back and forth to the hospital can be taxing. Please try and make sure you eat, although in this hot weather it is difficult. I echo what people have said, i.e. that you are doing an amazing job caring for your girls. Just be careful ...... you need to unwind and take time out for yourself and your own wellbeing. I hope the counselling is continuing to help a little ...... at the moment your mood might be flat as you are coping with so much stress? Make sure you monitor how you are and visit your GP if need be.

Take good care ...... we are all thinking of you. Please give our best wishes to your wife.

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Hello Oaktree41, I'm sorry to hear that things are hard for you. I hope that your wife is getting a little better and you are also able to get some support. Thinking of you, xx

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Hello Oaktree

I hope your wife is more settled in the MBU than she was the first week and that the results of your own scans were all clear but of course, private. You have had to cope with more than most with your wife being so unwell.

Take care ..... thinking of you and your family.

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Hi all...things have been if I could call it stable this week-although I still feel unable to talk to my wife as need her to not be weighed down with my concerns. She does ask me certain things such as my health & I just brush it away which I don't like to do as shes my soulmate. In time when she's better i hope to open up more. Have been chasing my HV for last two weeks & she finally got back to me. I've asked again for some respite as didn't get any downtime over the school break and my to do list as well as my stress levels have been too much. Hope I get some support soon & my counselling can restart this week after a two week pause

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Hello Oaktree

You are doing so well to cope when your energy levels must be running on empty. I hope your wife continues to improve day by day and perhaps as she becomes stronger you will be able to talk about your own concerns. I'm glad the HV finally responded and hope much needed support can be offered to you.

Well done for persevering with the counselling, which is a good place for you to unburden yourself, as is this forum if needed.

Take very good care ...... I'm sure the love of your wife and children is your strength.

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Hello Oaktree

I hope your wife is continuing to slowly recover. Did you manage to go to counselling this week and was respite arranged for you?

Stay strong and take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

Although I have yet to get any respite (wife's friends who helped look after the girls while I visited my wife in hospital now have family health challenges of their own) I did get to counselling & glad to report my wife's condition appears more stable. I still don't feel ready to talk with her properly but hope this is the sign of good things to come - early days

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Hi Oaktree, I'm glad to hear your wife is more stable, that's good to hear. It is early days, such a trauma you have been through, slowly slowly I'm sure you'll connect again, and be able to talk, and will come through this. I hope the last couple of days have been OK, and that your children are alright. You are in my thoughts a lot. Take care

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Hello Oaktree

Thanks for taking the time to reply when you have so much going on. I'm so glad that your wife's health is more stable. It's good that you managed to go to counselling as I think talking things over is helpful. You are very caring not to worry your wife about your own ups and downs and you will know when the time is right to calmly share your thoughts.

These are early days but there are so many good times ahead for your family and when your wife eventually knows how much you have coped with, she will be so proud.

Take good care and try to find space in your day to have a break.

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Hi Oaktree no pressure to reply at all, just wanted to say I'm thinking of you and your family. I'm hoping your wife is continue to stabilise and that you are able to find the support that you really need. You really are doing an amazing job of supporting your wife and children...

Ellie

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Hi Ellie

Thanks for your thoughts, things seem a bit calmer with my wifes treatment which after seven months seems so long in coming. Our family has been put under great strain and she is starting to see the effects it had on me trying to keep things together. The girls are doing well and we both take comfort from that. I know she wont be home for a while yet but I'm grateful for her progress

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. I'm glad things are a bit calmer with your wife's recovery. It is a very stressful time and I expect that as your wife is gradually improving, she can see how much you have had to cope with on your own.

I hope your counselling sessions continue to be helpful. I think the love of your wife and children has been your strength to stay positive.

Take good care ....... we are all thinking of you and your family.

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Hello Oaktree

I hope your wife is continuing to improve and things are a little easier for you.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

My wife's condition is improving from a MH point of view and she has some recollection of her manic phase. She still at times feels frustrated & low over the length of time it's taken but there is now discussion over being well enough for discharge. It's still a while off but that's progress

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear your wife is improving slowly but surely. I'm sure your reassurance is a great comfort to her. She has done really well to battle this illness as well as overcoming the other health issues with you by her side. I'm so pleased you can see her progress and this might help to relieve any stress you might have.

I hope you can find some space in your day for yourself. Take good care :)

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Dear Oaktree,

I have not forgotten about you and my thoughts are with you. I have been reading what happened so far and pleased that your wife is improving gradually.

Your wife will feel safe and reassured by your love. My partner also was on tip toes with regards to answering my questions once I surpassed the stage of PPP. He protected me from reality for quite some time...time will heal and if your love and souls are intertwined, you will be able to open up again to each other about what has happened. All in time though!

Now, only the momentum counts and you need to look after yourself, too. Stepping stones...

Sabine x

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Hi & thanks for keeping my family in your thoughts. My wife seems stable so far but physically she's still as weak as she was in July so while I'm encouraged by her progress, she would struggle to care for herself & the girls. I am drip feeding her with what I've gone through all these months but she's starting to realise what's been happening. As you say we have time to heal and rebuild our lives

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Hi oaktree I'm sorry I just realised you had replied to me and I never replied not sure how I didn't spot that. It's really good to hear your wife is beginning to stabilise, phew you have been through so much... it's good to hear your children are well ...

Thinking of you and your family and hope things continue to improve and you're also able to find support for yourself xx

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear that your wife seems stable so far although physically weak. She has been through so much, not only recovering from PP but also her other serious health issue and you have been so patient and understanding. During my first PP I was in various mental health units for six months so that must have been very tiring for my husband and family at the time.

You have shown such strength and caring during your wife's illness. I hope she continues to improve so that she might have an overnight home visit when she is stronger.

Take good care of yourself.

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Hi Lilybeth

Thank you for your warm comments. I've become very patient with my wife's stabilisation and recovery. It's taken a toll on my health so have started a mood diary & although my first phase of counselling ended I'm going to arrange some more as although my family gives me strength I can't be superman like I've been for so long without support

I'm glad to report my wife has been well enough for some home leave which has been long overdue. Lots to reflect on and prepare for the next visit

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Hello Oaktree

Thanks for your update. I'm not surprised after giving so much of yourself to caring for your wife and children that you are wobbling a little yourself. I'm glad to hear you are going to arrange more counselling ..... it's very important to keep yourself on track. Although with your screen name I visualise a strong oak tree, it's very true that sometimes even superman needs to stop for support. :)

What a relief that your wife is well enough to be considered for home leave. How emotional that visit will be when you can reflect and close the door on one chapter and relax in the comfort of home with your wife and children. An exciting time ahead ....... In the meantime take good care of yourself.

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Hello Oaktree

I hope you have had a good week. Did your wife have a home visit? I hope everything is going well for you and that you can find more counselling for yourself to talk about issues that might be worrying you.

Take good care of yourself. We are all thinking of you.

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Hi Lilybeth

Sorry for not replying to your first email. There has been so much going on regarding my wife's home visits. It's great times in the brief visits but it's a lot to juggle especially as we're being a family together which has been long overdue.

I've got some more counselling which I hope will run for the next few months as I know my mood struggles so doing all I can to put it right. The girls are doing so well & always keep us smiling. My wife's recovery is still slow but in the right direction. No news yet on discharge but it's hopefully soon

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Hi Oaktree

It was really nice to hear that your wife has been having home visits, and they've been going OK, and that your girls are really well, that's so fantastic and huge huge credit to you, and everything you've managed and coped with these last months.

It's really good to hear that you've found some counselling for a few months, much needed. I hope that you can slowly begin to heal too, and get the support you need to cope with everything you've been through, and you're still holding.

Thinking of you XX

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you although it's only ever if and when you feel like it or have time. I'm really pleased your wife has been having brief home visits. That must be such a joy to be all together, even for a short time.

I'm glad you still have a few more counselling sessions to help with your mood. You have coped with so much on your own. It must be a great comfort to see your girls doing so well and your wife's health slowly going in the right direction.

Make sure to take care of yourself. So glad your wife is on the mend ......

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Hello Oaktree

I hope your wife continues to improve and you have been able to enjoy time at home together as a family.

Take good care.

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Hi Lilybeth

Things are going well. My wife's recovery continues albeit slowly. I heard that the 100 Year War was actually 116 years , I wonder if it just felt that it was longer than it was. Hope that makes sense but I'm trying to not have a date for her discharge. For now I'm glad for the home visits even though I don't sleep or rest much. The next few weeks will be demanding as she's got all manner of out patient appointments but they're absolutely necessary.

For home visits I know I take the lead but have forced myself on a few occasions to go out for a coffee to allow her to be with our youngest. It is going well but she struggles in the early evening. It is still progress

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear things are going well. With my first PP I was in and out of various hospitals for six months which must have seemed endless to my husband. I'm sure your wife is very comforted by all you do to make the home visits special. Even out patient appointments are a turning point in a way as your wife is not confined as she once was.

I'm sure home visits are an anxious time as you are probably only half asleep .... listening for your wife or children who might call or cry out during the night. Try and rest when you can. Although you have a busy time ahead it's important you look after yourself and manage your stress levels. Going out for a coffee will probably give you a few minutes to yourself as well as being good for your wife to have time to herself with your newest treasure.

Take care and try to go to your last few counselling sessions as it's good to talk about your worries.

We are all here for you.

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Thank you Lilybeth

My wife is on home leave and it's going pretty well although it's pretty tiring but I seem to find the energy to keep going. It is so good having time together especially with the girls who get on. It is very tough letting go but my wife fully understands that she needs to phase her activities at home. It will get easier soon and then I will be able to relax a little

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Hello Oaktree

Thanks for taking time out of your busy day to reply. I'm really pleased to hear your wife is on home leave. You are so understanding not to rush your wife and overwhelm her. It must be tiring for you but how lovely to have your girls together and enjoying all the comforts of home.

Take care.

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Hello Oaktree

I hope your wife is continuing her recovery and home visits are more frequent. You have been so supportive and I hope your wife is enjoying family time once more.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

I'm pleased to inform you that my wife has just been discharged and she's doing well. It's wonderful to have her home in time for Christmas even though she still has some way to go. I will all I can to help her recovery and for us to be a family together after so long apart.

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Hello Oaktree

I'm so happy for you ..... what wonderful news!! I'm sure your wife will be so much better with your kindness and caring at home. Over the moon for you :) .... so well deserved after all you have been through as a family. How special this Christmas will be to wrap yourself in the comfort blanket of home with your family at last.

Wishing you the best of times ...... do take care of yourself though and keep an eye on your stress levels.

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Great to hear your update Oaktree! I hope you enjoy a very special (& relaxing where possible) family Christmas together. All the best, xx

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Hi Lilybeth, Hannah, Ellie and all those who have helped me so far with achieving this milestone. We are all trying to take one day at a time but we're very much looking forward to a wonderful Christmas together.

It's certainly challenging at the moment as it seems there's not enough hours in the day but I'm sure things will settle down. I'm starting to share some of what's happened. My wife continually says sorry but don't know why she does. She can see what I've gone through and I know I can say, I'm giving 110% support to our family unit at such a demanding time. Will keep you posted tc x

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Hello Oaktree

So good to hear from you. It must be very challenging but so rewarding to all be at home together. I think your wife realises, little by little, how much you have coped with and your distress when she was so ill. Your constant reasssurance and support when you were strugglng yourself has been amazing. I can relate to being sorry for everything I put my husband through but eventually as I found my place again there was so much to look forward to as a family.

Wishing you a very happy Christmas in the comfort of home surrounded by your treasured family. Try and have a few minutes to yourself amidst all the excitement :) As always, take care.

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Hi oaktree sorry for taking a few days to reply . It's wonderful to hear your wife is home, what a milestone, you have been amazing how you have supported them. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and that your wife keeps getting better and better . We are here whenever you need to talk x

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Hello oaktree

I hope you have had a lovely family Christmas and wish you the happiest New Year :)

Remember to take time out for yourself too.

Very best wishes ....... take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

Great to hear from you.. I did all I could to ensure we had a relaxed Christmas and on the whole it went went well. Here's to a healthy and happy 2017 x

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Hello Oaktree41

So pleased to hear you did everything to give your girls a relaxing happy Christmas. I'm sure you can breathe a big sigh of relief that you and your wife have overcome so many hurdles together. I think you have done so well to take everything in your stride and not rush your wife in her recovery.

Take very good care of yourself too. Wrap yourselves in the comfort blanket of home .... let the good times roll. :)

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Hello Oaktree, good to read your updates. All the best for health, happiness and continued recovery in 2017. Take care, xx

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Hi oaktree

That's good you generally had a good Christmas. And yes I hope your wife and yourself continue to recover and gain strength after everything you've been through. I hope youre able to get support as well to come to terms with everything.

Ellie

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Hi Lilybeth, Ellie, Hannah and the other Angels

Hope you all had some rest and time with your nearest and dearest

Progress is slow but it will get easier given time. Despite putting our youngest in nursery a few days a week, my wife is still struggling to cope but we're working on ways forward, we've already had some frank conversations with her perinatal psychiatrist. We are looking forward to 2017 and the good times we will share

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. As you have recognised it is still early days in your wife's recovery and some days will be better than others. With your encourgement, support, and input from the perinatal psychiatrist she will fully recover eventually. There will be so much to look forward to.

Take good care of yourself too as it can be a stressful time.

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Hi Lilybeth

My wife has struggled with being able to cope without me which has led to me taking last minute leave but we're trying to get a routine arranged so she can try to help care for the girls (with me being away) but know that I can be close to hand- no easy feat but until that's achieved I won't be able to resume work properly. We managed it for three days this week so that's encouraging. I'm not getting any respite as when I'm home which is very draining as we still don't have much support from family or friends but I'm hopeful of my wife getting up tomorrow so I can stay in bed a few hours!

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Hello Oaktree41

Good to hear from you. I can remember how daunting it was for me when my husband left for work. I think it's because you have been her strength throughout all her struggles and it's not easy for her to even imagine that she will cope without you. As you say it's a good sign that you managed it for three days this week. When I was recovering I did try to hold onto my husband's coat tails, dreading the thought of coping without him, so your wife has done very well to manage for three days without you. My tactic, which I've read from my notes, was to stay in bed so my husband wouldn't leave home but he took advice from the care team and one day, against his better judgment, he went to work and left me in bed. Thankfully I rose to the challenge and got out of bed to care for my six year old son and baby. I think it is a challenge to rise above the effects of medication which are keeping us stable and get into a routine. I'm sure your encouragement means such a lot to your wife.

It must be very draining for you coping more or less on your own with so much. Do monitor your own well being as my husband was ill for a while coping with the unknown as it was many years ago. Hopefully knowing that you are only a phone call away will encourage your wife to continue to manage at home without you in time.

Take it easy and take care.

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Hi Oaktree,

Good to hear your updates. Another "me too" on this one, I remember struggling on my own without my husband and would dread being on my own (that was just with my baby so your wife has more to do too with older child as well).

As with everything, achieving a balance is key but can be hard at first. I remember weekends being relieved my husband was there but then staying in bed and really he needed the rest too. I tried to fill my days (but not with too much, perhaps just one little thing, even a phone call or walk round the block) to make the time pass. Reading, even trashy mags, or doing a little colouring can b helpful if time allows, or perhaps an activity involving the girls. I hope your wife can also find things that work for her.

All the best and remember to take care of yourself too, xx

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Hi Hannah & Lilybeth

Thank you both for your replies. It's been a mixed week as my wife wasn't coping well so despite me going to work I had to race home as she needed help looking after the girls two out of the three days I was meant to go to work but I knew it wasn't going to be a smooth recovery.

What keeps me going is that I'm aware it won't be like this and my family love me dearly as much i them. The rest will come given time

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. It took me a while to feel confident at home without my husband. I think it was because I had been in hospital for so long and when I came home there was so much more to think about and I could never imagine coping with two children and routine. Eventually though, day by day, I became more confident and my husband was able to relax a little.

As long as your wife knows you are only a phone call away she will be reassured and as you say the rest will come given time. Perhaps you could bring some holiday brochures home for your wife to flick through to give her a focus, knowing that there are good times ahead to plan for her loving family.

Don't forget to take care of yourself too .....

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Hello Oaktree

I hope you have had a better week and your wife is a little more settled.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

Thank you for your recent supportive comments about your experiences. Although things haven't progressed much in the last few weeks as my wife is still struggling but I'm helping with finding the way forward. She's come a long way but much more to go. I booked a weekend break in Devon so we're all looking forward to that. Our eldest daughter has yet to be told but will be thrilled to learn.

It is difficult for me at times as I do feel that few people truly understand what PP is. This forum has been invaluable in not only boosting my knowledge but also giving me hope that things will significantly improve given time

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Hi Oaktree

It's really nice to hear your update. Sorry to hear your wife is still struggling, but honestly it isn't surprising considering everything she (and all of you) have been through with PP, but also the awful reaction and health problems she had too. You really went through a hugely traumatic time. She will get there, it was a very up and down road to recovery for me too, battling particularly with depression and anxiety afterwards for over a year, but I promise she will get there and fully recover, and slowly all of you will. I remember many a time having to call my partner home from work because I just couldn't cope, it felt so overwhelming. It was really tough, but she's going to get there.

You have been such an amazing husband and father, I do hope that you are getting some support for you as well. Have you managed to get some regular counselling that is helpful?

I hope that your weekend break in Devon goes well, that sounds really lovely, and great for your eldest child too.

Take care, we are here for you whenever you need us :) X

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Hello Oaktree

Thank you for taking the time to let us know how you are. I'm sure you're a great support to your wife as she slowly but surely finds her place again. You are so caring to recognise that she has progressed but there is more to do. I'm sure a weekend break in Devon will be a delight for your eldest daughter and the whole family.

It has been a struggle for you but at least your employer seems to be on board if you need time out. We are privileged to share this time with you and can honestly say that with your loving care and support your wife will fully recover eventually.

Wishing you lots of happy memories during your break. Have fun :)

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Hello Oaktree

Thinking of you and your family. I hope your wife is progressing slowly with all your TLC :) Have you been on your break to Devon yet or is that for half term?

Remember to take good care of yourself too.

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Hi Lilybeth

We're still being patient and strong. My wife still struggles especially in the mornings which still impacts on work but can see the progress she's making even if it is slow. We go to Devon the week after next and yet to tell our 4 year old as know she will be over the moon. I will be around for most of half term break

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear your update. I remember finding mornings a struggle and keeping my husband late for work. I think it was a mixture of the affects of medication making me drowsy when I awoke and a lack of confidence in the early weeks of coming home from hospital to cope with my sons, one six and the other six months, but eventually I found my routine and place. A few short breaks to the coast, even for a day, were a great incentive when my husband had time off work. You have been a great strength for your wife to depend on and so patient to support her slow recovery as she has been through so much. Remember to take care of yourself too.

I'm sure your eldest daughter will be super excited and counting how many sleeps when she knows about going to Devon and it will be so good for you and your family to relax and unwind.

Take care.

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Thank you Lilybeth for sharing what my wife must be going through at home & not wanting me to go to work. As the morning progresses the side effects of medication subside and her confidence increases. It is difficult for me to have me time with the demands of family life and little support. A lazy morning is what I dream of right now. The Devon trip isn't long away and I'm realistic that it's not a break for me but my wife & girls will benefit from it as we were unable to have even a day away

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Glad to read your updates... it sounds like your wife is slowly improving but it is hard going isn't it. You have really been amazing.

I too remember really struggling with mornings too , it was often when I felt most anxious and depressed. And I remember very well my partner having to ring into work and not go in sometimes because I felt so overwhelmed. luckily they were really understanding.

Take care, I hope you'll get to rest a bit soon x

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Hello Oaktree

It's not easy for you is it? At times it must have been like walking on eggshells for my husband .... trying to cope with the children first thing and then trying to encourage me to get out of bed.

I suppose your counselling sessions have been put on hold? Perhaps when you return from your break it might be an idea to rebook one or two as it's a good way for you to have space and time to talk about yourself? You are always welcome to do that here too :)

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your much deserved family break with all the fresh air and delights of the seaside for your children.

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Hi Lilybeth & Ellie

I'm going back for counselling as I know of the continuing need to look after myself. The trip was great but tiring for us both. So glad we dipped our toe in the water so to speak as our four year old said she wanted to stay in Devon!

My wife continues to struggle in the morning which is difficult for us both but I'm being patient. She knows her struggle is not unique and I have shared your battles upon readjusting to home life.

Thank you for sharing those difficult times as I know in time she will make a good recovery

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Hi Oaktree, it's good to hear your update.

I'm glad you had a good time in Devon, though sorry it was tiring.

Sorry to hear too your wife is still struggling in the morning... thinking of you all... I wish I had a magic wand I could wave and make it all better instantly... I know we've said it before but she will get there...

I do hope that you'll find returning to counselling helpful.

Thinking of you all X

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear that you had a great time in Devon, although tiring. I'm glad you're returning to counselling .... I think it will be a good outlet as you are holding everything together for your family.

It will take your wife time to adjust to coping with routine in the mornings but with your patience and care it will become easier day by day. I'm glad you have shared our experiences with your wife as she will know she's not on her own and has come through so much with your support.

Take good care of yourself .......

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Hello Oaktree

I hope you have managed to book counselling for yourself as a way to unwind. It might take a while for your wife to get into a routine but I'm sure with your support and patience she is doing all she can.

Easter is not too far away so I hope you will both be able to relax with your treasured children.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth & Ellie

While I've restarted counselling I have come to realisation that I need to leave my job in order to help my wife with her recovery and ensure stability at home. I gave my notice yesterday which feels like a weight lifted even though financially & in a potential good phase in my career ahead. The family comes first.

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Hi oaktree

That's a really big decision but one I'm sure you've not made lightly. You are being such an amazing, supportive husband and father. I hope that you will be able to cope financially? I think you may be able to get some financial support for being a carer?

The fact you feel a weight has been lifted probably shows its the right decision.

Thinking of you and your family with this change, I do hope it will be a good one and that you'll also experience less pressure and maybe will have some more time for yourself as well.

Take care oaktree x

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Hello Oaktree

Not an easy decision to leave your job but in a way I think it will give you peace of mind. Your wife will be so comforted knowing that you are at home and it will help a great deal in her recovery after you have been through so much together. It might be a strain on finances at first but you have weighed things up so well for the love of your family. I'm sure your children will also be delighted :)

It's good that you have restarted your counselling to give you space to think about yourself. Take good care.

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While there is a deal of financial concern, I know I will regret it if I don't focus on my wife's recovery as she finds it so difficult with her low mood in the mornings. It's affecting me a great deal so it's best I don't make mistakes at work. At least I could return when things improve. I will seek advice from CAB about what carers financial support & will get an updated carers Assessment

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. Are you feeling any benefit from counselling? I think you have been so patient and supportive to your wife as she struggles to lift her mood and function in the mornings. Does she have support from the doctor for reviews? I think I've mentioned how difficult it was for me trying to focus on the day ahead.

It must be a worry without an income but I think there are allowances which might help in the interim. With my second PP I've read that I was depressed for almost a year so that must have been very hard for my husband trying to cope with work and my moods. Stay strong .... your wife will eventually be back on her feet and it will mean everything to have you at home to lean on for now.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

Counselling has been paused through no fault of my own but I should get at least one session in this week.

I'm trying not to worry about the obvious financial issue as I'm sure we can manage for a good while. Reviews are helpful but recovery is slow going. I'm looking forward to spending more time with my wife and kids as i know I'm a lucky guy.

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Hi Oaktree41, it's good to hear your updates, your support will be a tremendous boost to your wife, even if it is not immediately apparent to you. It's amazing how supportive you are being and I too hope that the counselling is benefiting your wellbeing as well. Just being there and spending time with your wife and kids will be such a boost to you all, I'm sure. I hope that CAB and other agencies have been helpful to you as well. Take care, xx

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Hello Oaktree

Just wondering how you are holding everything together without little support for yourself? I'm sure your wife feels very reassured as she slowly recovers. I hope you will be able to find a little time for yourself until counselling resumes but in the meantime I'm sure your loving family is delighted you are at home for now.

Take good care.

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Hi Lilybeth & Hannah

I feel as if I'm yet to settle into a routine but the girls certainly sleep better since I stopped work! We have tried to reduce medication gradually to see if we could manage and so reduce the side effects but it didn't work out & I could see what was happening, my wife took a bit longer so we're now trying to stabilise things. It's a relief that I chose to take time out & have sought advice on financial help to tide us over. Counselling is helping with off loading some concerns but I need to hang in there a bit longer for some respite

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Hello Oaktree

I think settling into a routine will take a while yet as you are coping with so much until your wife is fully back on her feet. I've read from my notes that I also tried to reduce my medication but it didn't work for me either and I had quite a setback. I'm glad counselling is helping and that time out from work has lightened the load a little but you also need to find space in the day just for you.

Take good care.

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Hello Oaktree

How are you? I hope your wife is continuing to slowly recover with all your care and you are coping with routine.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

It's been a busy time as lots to juggle especially with both the girls feeling under the weather, but I'm managing. I've even had a couple of daytime sleeps which even though they were brief (managed an hour yesterday) it's a step in the right direction. My wife still struggles most days but at least I'm home to take the pressure of her and let her rest

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. I'm sorry your wife still struggles but it must be so reassuring for her to have your great support at home for as long as it takes. I'm glad you managed to 'switch off' and sleep even for a short time during the day.

Take care.

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Hello Oaktree

I hope you are managing at home and your wife is recovering slowly. Are you able to continue with your counselling? It's a good space to unload any worries you have as you are such a great support to your family. Likewise, we are always here to listen.

I hope you find time to enjoy the half-term. Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

I'm still spinning the plates but I'm buoyed by my wife's comments that she sees me as the better parent. I disagree as she is a wonderful, caring mother and I know in time her relationship with the girls will be stronger. I've had to take a pause with counselling as GP only provides so many sessions but I've learned to be patient. I do selectively share my concerns with my wife as I don't want her to carry too much but I do write it down so to discuss at a later stage. Half term has been ok so far and managed to have some family time out

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Hello Oaktree

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I hope the counselling sessions will resume if you feel they are still worthwhile. You are so considerate to selectively share concerns with your wife as she recovers. She must feel so comforted that you are at the helm for now. I can remember how relieved I was when my husband was there for me. I'm glad you have managed to have family time out and hope your wife continues to improve.

Take good care of yourself too.

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Hi Lilybeth

I attended a local support group (for MH carers ) although it wasn't easy opening up it was worthwhile as i now have booked a carers assessment booked as I go from service to LA and each have been saying the other should do it! For now I'll hold off he counselling and focus on getting the answers I need to do the best I can. Yes my wife is overjoyed with all that I've done under such difficult circumstances and it has brought us much closer together

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Hello Oaktree

I'm glad it was worthwhile going to the support group.. It's always good to find someone to listen and understand so I hope the assessment goes well. You're a great support to your family and I hope your wife's progress continues.

Take care.

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Hello Oaktree,

so pleased to hear about the up-date and progression of you, your wife and girls.

Your name "Oaktree" represents your strengths...to hold onto and to be hugged. You have been doing exceptionally well considering the traumatic experience of your wife's illness.

I am not sure whether you remember my story, - but my partner reminds me of you as he had been my full time carer when struck with PPP in the Summer 2010 and after being released from a psychiatric mixed gender unit.

My partner always has believed in me and gradually enhanced my lost confidence by helping supporting and reassuring, so that I was able to regain skills in order to establish my own routine, subsequently being able to care and look after my son.

I particularly applaud your approaches in trying to be as sensitive as possible to communicate & inform your wife, but still treating her as an equal and unique partner. My partner has never off-loaded his worries throughout the beginning of my recovery, - only when I improved quite considerably we started sharing some of our experiences of this traumatising journey.

It has been now seven years...and our relationship and family unit is strong. We are happy!

It is going to be fine for you as well.

Take good care,

Sabine :-)

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Hi Jasa

yes I remember your struggles- i feel like I have a bond with anybody who is affected by PP as its so misunderstood and I'm sure your family have and continue to go through difficult times. I've really tried to put myself in my wife's situation to help her come to terms with what's happened but also to push away certain difficult issues.

Your husband is a real support and gives me encouragement that my approach seems to be the correct one. Thank you for getting back in touch

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Hi all

Just giving you all a brief update as to how things are... I've had to tweak my wife's meds twice recently as I could see early signs that she was getting unwell. Thankfully it seems to have kept the wolf at bay for now.

While I've become accustomed to the many hats I'm wearing such as the runnning of the home and anticipating challenges with regards my wife's recovery. I don't think things will ever be the same again but I see it as a good thing. I do need respite though as I'm run down so have been chasing the LA with regards some support in the event of an emergency. It's best that way as I don't want to be found wanting when there's a really sticky situation. Finally should get a plan in place in the next few weeks

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Hello Oaktree41,

I am so pleased to hear from you again. It is so kind of you to let us know how you and your family is doing. I will keep it brief as I need to get my son ready for school in a minute.

I admire your strengths in trying to keep it altogether; looking after your pressures family and protecting and caring for your wife. It must be so exhausting. I am pleased that you try and get your feelers out in order to get your support network manifested and in place.

It is important to find some rest-bite and to look after yourself.

Thus, take care,

x

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. Is it possible for your wife to have a review of her meds with your G.P and also have a check-up yourself as you are run down? I hope the LA will be able to let you know about respite as it's important to have time out when you are juggling so much at home. Have you been able to go back to the local support group in the meantime?

Take good care of yourself ...... you're a great support to your family but try to find space in the day for you. :)

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Hello Oaktree

I hope your wife is a little better and you have managed to access support/respite for yourself. Do take care of yourself as you are trying to balance so much until your wife fully recovers.

Thinking of you ......

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Hi Lilybeth

Things are pretty static- i see it as a good thing as I seem to 'catch' it in time. My wife has monthly formal reviews and I know who to call but it's the side effects such as lethargy that are so challenging for the entire family to cope with.

My wife is planning to go out for a coffee with a local charity so it will be great to let her get some time away from home. I'll force myself not to do the chores when she nips out as I'm in need to just stop for a bit

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. I'm glad your wife is having regular reviews. I think the side effects must have been a challenge for my husband too, especially as I found it difficult to leave the sanctuary of my bed when I went home! I'm not sure if it was the side effects of medication keeping me 'quiet'. I do remember wanting to motivate myself but I was so tired and did lean on my family for support. Gradually my confidence improved and I felt ready to cope with the routine at home after being in the hospital environment for so long where there was only 'me' to think about.

That's good that your wife is planning time out and it will be a break for you too. Make sure to put your feet up, even have a power nap, in the short time you will have to yourself. You're such a great support to your wife and family and need to switch off when you can .... chores can wait a while :)

I hope your wife continues to improve with all your TLC and you have more time to relax during half term with your family.

As always, take good care of yourself.

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Hello Oaktree

I hope your wife is the continuing to slowly improve and you are finding space in the day to have a little time to yourself. Perhaps after the holiday you might find support from the carers' network or resume counselling? You are such a strong support to your family so don't forget to look after yourself.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

Thank you for your replies which I have only just got round to responding. The respite that was put in place my wife cancelled at the last minute as she said she felt she lacked confidence to go through with it which I did see coming. I understand how PPP can remove a large part of sufferers confidence upon returning home however my wife seems fine with me taking the reigns but knows I do need a little time out which I know will come given time. On my side i cancelled my carers network at the last minute- but there's always September and I will drop by the carers centre next week just so I can have a chat about how I'm coping

With the summer break in full swing I'm trying to make the most - one day I will feel confident in not just booking a holiday but feeling it will be a great experience- at this stage it seems there's too many uncertainties- for now I'll just research on TripAdvisor- any suggestions are welcome!

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Hello Oaktree

Thank you for taking the time to reply. You have great insight as confidence is a big hurdle to get over in recovery. I think I mentioned before that I had depression for a year or more following my second PP so it took a while to recover and rebuild my confidence at home. I must have been a strain on my husband at times as he did so much around the house, with our children and caring for me but eventually I fully recovered. I think the carers' network will be a good outlet for you just to chat about how you are coping.

I can understand that you are a little hesitant about booking a holiday but it's good to have something to look forward to even if it's not possible this year.

Take good care of yourself and enjoy the rest of summer .... your wife has come so far with her determination to be well again and your comforting support.

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Hi Lilybeth

Your husband sounds like a great person for helping keep things as normal as they could be while you suffered depression. My wife doesn't currently have low moods but she is frustrated at how the side effects from the meds (fatigue) affects her confidence & ability to play a bigger role at home. I've learned to be patient but her impulsive nature at times can get the better of her. I took the step of renewing my expired passport and applied for a new one for our youngest so that's a hint of optimism!

I've applied for some more counselling & know I can contact the carers centre if things start to feel overwhelming

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. I can relate to feeling frustrated by the effects of medication and I've read from my notes that I was quite challenging at home; very much out of character. I'm really pleased you are thinking ahead to a time when you might consider a trip abroad, although it's now possible to fly to Cornwall! There are so many happy family days on the horizon .......

I hope the waiting time for counselling is not too long but it's good that you can contact the carers' centre if need be. Try to find a few minutes to yourself during the day, or when your treasured children are sleeping. I hope your wife continues to improve with all your support.

Take care.

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Hello Oaktree

I hope you are continuing to enjoy the summer with your family and your wife is improving in her own time.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

There's been quite a bit happening with the decision that my wife is being transitioned on to new medication as we need to be sure that an alternative can reduce the side effects. Currently she has two antipsychotics (one will be gradually increased and the other reduced over the next few months) the mood stabiliser will remain the same. We haven't taken the decision lightly as a) don't want to risk a relapse b) unsettle things too much at home especially as our 4 year starts reception year shortly but we are going ahead. I know to be extra vigilant and at times I've really struggled with it all but this is being undertaken at home and I know it won't be easy but it's worth it. I left my job end of march so I'm around. I have a regime in place to ensure the appropriate medication is given and also what to do if things don't seem right. I keep reminding my wife she's initially going to have even more side effects as she's got both drugs in her system but they should subside. She seems to be sleeping ok most nights so that's cause for a small victory!

I'm trying to encourage her to do more but in small steps as the meds really affect her motivation. It's been a strange summer as I don't feel that we've been able to do much but compared to last years it is a massive improvement- in any case the weather has been yuck!

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Hello Oaktree

Thank you for the update after so much has been happening. I hope the new medication will help your wife and reduce the side effects eventually. It must be so reassuring for your wife to know that you are around to help her with the new regime. It must be a relief that your wife is sleeping most nights. I can remember how restless I was at night so it must have been very unsettling and challenging until I was given medication to help.

You're very wise to encourage your wife in small steps, all in her own time. It's a great achievement just to be all at home together as a happy family. It seems you have a good plan in place so I hope your wife will eventually feel the benefit.

Take care and try to find a few minutes to yourself to unwind if needed.

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Hello Oaktree,

I am always so pleased to hear an up-date from you.

Stepping stones as Lilybeth suggested are of great significance for recovery.

When there was a transition for my boy I was emotionally affected. Thus, my partner and/or another family member were supporting me, but also making sure my son had a smooth start to a new learning environment. I wanted to be strong for my son.

I have had to get used to the new educational environment in both cases nursery and school and familiarise myself with the surroundings. Walking to the school before reception year, doing school runs with my partner for the induction period (gradual increase of hours for children). Informal chats with the teacher on a one to one (including partner).

My anxiety was great and I often was emotionally exhausted, but repeating tasks and developing relationships gradually helped tremendously.

The biggest worry was always that my behaviour will transfer onto my son, but rest assured my son is emotionally and socially in tune and enjoys school.

I am now able to attend events and activities at school, even though it is still exhausting, but I usually keep on the fringe/away from the lime light and use coping mechanisms.

Like I said previously, for us it was of great importance that we communicated with the appropriate teachers, who are responsible for our son.

It all worked out fine.

I remember that my partner always had a close eye on my medication and administration. You are such a kind and considered person from what I am reading in your messages. My partner has also always been so patient with me and now we can celebrate and appreciate the momentums even more. It is not an easy road, but you are doing so well.

Look after yourself (by the way great lakes/seaside in Devon, Cornwall for watersport, fishing, cycling etc...camping is good fun...still prefer to be away from crowds)

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Hi Lilybeth & Jasa

Thank you for both your encouraging and insightful views of your recovery. The transition isn't easy despite being on what I call the second phase as she's very lethargic & sleeping has increased. I was expecting this & keep reassuring my wife that at this critical phase that she has too much sleep rather than too little. What I wasn't expecting was an sudden injury - my put her back out which was extremely painful as well as debilitating. She's been unable to do everyday tasks such as getting dressed and getting out of bed without my help. It's slowly improving but it goes to show that life has habit of throwing unexpected things at you.

School starts for our eldest (reception)so will report back on how we fare through this milestone

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Hello Oaktree

I'm sorry to hear your wife has had a setback with a sudden injury and the new medication is having an affect on her sleeping. With medication I think it's a case of finding the right balance with the dosage, as that seems to be what I've read from my notes. I think my husband and family must have had a great deal of patience while I struggled to find my feet.

I'm sure you're so glad that you made the decision to take time out from work to care for your family although you must feel exhausted at times. I hope you wife continues to improve day by day with all your good care and attention.

Hope all goes well with your eldest daughter going into reception ..... which can be very emotional for everyone. I'm sure you're very busy at home but try to find a few minutes in the day to have a break and be proud of how you have coped with all the unexpected things thrown at you :) Take care.

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Hello Oaktree

I hope your wife is slowly recovering from her back injury as well as the effects of medication on her sleep. It's such a shame that she has had other health issues to overcome as well as PP.

I'm sure it's difficult to find time for yourself, especially with the added nursery school run now but hopefully you can find a few minutes in between all your caring to have a break.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

My wife's back injury is nearly better now but im still careful to remind her not to overdo things as she could undo the progress made but at least it's one less ailment to worry about now -phew

The transition of medication is still ongoing and we're nearly at stage 3 so can expect more side effects but doing my best to give her coping mechanisms (having a sip of water first instead of eating) to try to manage the hunger pangs. Other pangs I'm doing my best with are of course relating to our eldest daughter starting at reception. I feel very proud in doing what I'm doing and reassuring my wife not to worry if she doesn't feel up to accompanying us on the school run every day.

Respite is still grabbing 10 minutes alone in the bedroom but I do feel refreshed for it.

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Hello Oaktree

Thanks for taking time to reply in your busy schedule. I'm glad your wife's back injury is nearly better and she's progressing under your care. I'm sure your wife is very proud of you too, knowing that you are so understanding will be such a comfort as she slowly recovers.

I'm glad you're proud of yourself, keeping your family ticking over must be a challenge at times but very rewarding. It's good you're managing to find a few minutes in your day to feel refreshed.

Take care.

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Dear Oaktree,

I hope your daughter has had a smooth start with her new reception year. It is all busy and go,-isn't it? My son is back, too. Children do settle quickly into a new routine, especially when its fun and play with other children. Learning is happening through play at this level.

I am sorry about your wife's back injury. This reminds me a bit about of my "frozen shoulders", once I stopped taking the Lorazepam. They were actually injuries and my partner had to help me with my primary needs such as washing, getting dressed, eating etc. Full time caring is a full on job. Thus, I do completely understand how much strain it puts on you.

Not everybody would be able to cope, but now I know that there are quite a few strong men out there who go the extra mile for their family. You all deserve a medal, those partners, husbands and family members.

Look after yourself,

x

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HiLilybeth and Jasa

My daughters start to school is going ok thanks. A few matters I'm monitoring such as fussiness around eating but nothing that isn't expected at this early stage. My wife continues to struggle in the morning but she does endeavour to help me pick up our daughter at 3pm

We have a couple of days this week where various reviews and tests will be carried out. I'm hoping the drowsiness subsides in time once she gets used to the new meds

WilL keep you posted

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Hello Oaktree41

Good to hear from you. It's a shame your wife is still struggling in the morning. I can well remember how I also felt drowsy and everything was such an effort. I have read from my notes that I sometimes stayed in bed until mid afternoon which sounds so unlike me! I did slowly manage to overcome the challenge with a lot of encouragement and patience from my husband. I hope the reviews are helpful and your wife will soon feel the benefit of the new medication.

Remember to have a break if you can ...... you're a great support to your family.

Take care.

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Dear Oaktree,

it is great to hear from you...just getting my son ready for school.

Just to let you know I was very similar to the way how Lilybeth described her battle throughout illness.

I was like a sleeping pill in the mornings and only came to life in the afternoon, where I started to re-learn lost skills and my partner teaching me how to look after our pressures boy.

Wishing you a good day and please, look after yourself.

x

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Hello Oaktree41

I hope the reviews and tests were positive. I'm sure your wife is steadily progressing with all your TLC. Remember to step back and have a few minutes to yourself (or tea with your wife) after the school run :)

Take good care.

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Hi Lilybeth

Thanks for getting in touch- the review went okish. Had further changes to medication which means I'll be monitoring things to see if the change has less side effects. Although I've not had much respite (at best I get to try and have a coffee alone in the bedroom) but even that feels like such a relief.

Although I am very proud of how well I've managed it's not without a cost. I know the benefits of positive mood so I imagine I'm walking on a sandy beach or in the countryside on a hot day.

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. Although rewarding it must be tiring caring for your wife as she continues to progress slowly. I've read my notes and realised what a challenge my illness must have been to my husband, having to be alert to side effects and mood. I also had many changes to medication before finding a combination which worked in tandem with other interventions.

You are juggling so much at the moment so I think you also need to monitor your own wellbeing. Perhaps you could visit your GP, not so much for medication but just to talk openly about how you feel, or even contact the carers' support group?

I have a similar image of walking along a sandy beach when I'm carrying heavy shopping bags home :) but I think you need more support to maintain your strength for your family as you are coping alone.

Take good care of yourself.

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Hello Oaktree,

I fancy that, too...a sandy beach and just staring at the ocean and how beautifully expressed by Lilybeth and her shopping bags...it can be quite a challenge when there are holes in them :-)

I agree with Lilybeth that looking full time after your family and particularly caring for your wife puts an enormous strain on your own well being.

My partner has not only had to deal with my illness, but other upsetting issues throughout my recovery. In addition we lost two very important links in our family, - his mum and my dad.

I believe, it is important that you have your own support network in order to avoid Post Traumatic Stress. Receiving some guidance by your GP, counselling or carers support groups etc. - I am sure there are more avenues available i.e. advise and support via mental health charities such as MIND.

Take care of yourself,

thinking of you & your family,

x

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Hi Jasa and Lilybeth

I'm going back to the carers network this week & also see my GP as I admit I have neglected my own health for far too long but I honestly couldn't see any other way I felt we had so little support, so many rejections when I did ask (with the exception of the amazing people on healthunlocked 😀) I know my family would have been even more badly affected by the seperation whilst my wife was ill and needed to provide stability for our eldest daughter.

I took so much on that I've had to let some things go. We had some bereavements one of which I've had to put aside my grief in order to keep things going. Like you it's a terrible added strain losing loved ones at such a tough time.

With my daughter starting school it's an added concern ensuring she settles well. I know she's in good hands but its still hard to drop her off. Like Lilybeth I do the same carrying the shopping 😀

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Hello Oaktree

I'm really pleased that you're going back to the carers network this week and to your GP. You have been through so much as a family and kept everything ticking over but you do need to find support for yourself until your wife recovers. In the meantime, we are all here to lean on.

I always felt anxious leaving my sons at school too ..... our children are such priceless gifts aren't they?

Take care.

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Hi Oaktree,

Life is much more complex, isn't it!?

Pleased you are going to connect with professionals and others to get a bit more cushioned.

Me, too. Still finding it difficult of letting go of my son, but it is all for the benefit of them becoming unique confident little people. In fact got to dash as I have to get my son ready for school.

always on the other end, if you need to communicate.

Kind wishes,

x

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Hello Oaktree

Just wondering how you are and whether you managed to go back to the carers' network for support and also visit your GP? I hope your wife will eventually feel a bit better on the new medication. It's an awful feeling to be held back from doing things due to side effects but with your good care your wife will slowly improve.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth, Jasa and all you wonderful people out there helping me with coping as a carer.

I would have replied sooner but my counselling has stalled (the inevitable waiting list) but not before I had a assessment of my situation and it got very difficult for me not just I talked about tough it was last year but I found it difficult to cope for a good few days afterwards. I was meant to go to a carers meeting but had to cancel on the morning as things at home meant that not going was the right choice.

I have pulled myself out this difficult frame of mind as my wife is frustrated that she can't yet gain more independence & help care for the children. She is the most generous person I know and she knows we are a team. The latest change of medication is going ok (we discuss things every day) but while they are not going to give her the optimum level she needs (weight gain/electric shock feeling in legs) we won't consider yet another change of meds for a while as we need to get things settled for a while. The main positive I keep saying is she hasn't had to be an inpatient for these changes of treatment which shows how well I'm doing in supporting her and the children 😀

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Hello Oaktree

Thanks for taking time out from your busy routine to reply. I'm sorry to hear the counselling has stalled and you are now on a waiting list after a stressful assessment. I'm not surprised you found it difficult to cope afterwards as in a way you had to relive all the trauma you have been through with your family and the distress you have felt with your wife being so unwell, not only with PP. Hopefully the assessor will prioritise counselling for you and you won't have to wait too long.

It is very frustrating for your wife to be held back from regaining her place and independence. Fighting against the sedating effects of medication is very hard but it's a good sign that the latest medication is going ok. It must be so reassuring for your wife to be able to discuss things with you everyday and your patience and care is invaluable as she slowly finds her feet.

You really are a great support to your family. It hasn't been easy for you to keep your wife out of hospital with changes of treatment but with all your good care this has been such an achievement. I hope you can fit a visit to the carers' meeting into your busy schedule as it's important to find support for yourself even though we are all here for you :)

Take care.

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Hi oak tree

Sorry I haven’t written for a while but I’ve been reading all your messages on here.

It sounds like you’ve been amazing in the support you’ve given your family. I do hope though you can carve out time for yourself too, and get the support you need, it’s so important you keep as well as you can but I know that can be so difficult with all the demands on you. I do hope you can get some more counselling, and that you find it helpful and have a good connection with whoever supports you. I’m really glad the carers meetings have been helpful, I hope you feel you have made some connections there with people who can really understand what you’ve been through.

Thinking of you and hoping your wife continues to recover.

Take care Ellie x

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Hi Ellie

Great to hear from you 😀

Getting time out is made all the more difficult when my wife tries to let me, only at the last minute say she's going to struggle but I will persevere. We both know I will be refreshed and ready to muck in again if I get a break. When counselling starts it should help me deal with some matters.

Speak soon

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Hi Oaktree,

Lovely to hear from you.

That sounds so hard that your wife struggles to manage on her own. Is it to do with confidence / anxiety and her mental health, or physical problems as well? I know she has been through so much physically as well after the awful reaction to the medication.

I remember being so anxious about my partner working all day, and my parents not being able to come one day, but I have to say, hard as it was, when I was forced to do it, with help from a psychologist at my mental health team who helped me to plan my day and boosted my confidence a bit that I could do it, I did manage it and that all helped to build my confidence. Perhaps its worth exploring with her, if it is anxiety etc, what exactly she is anxious about? what does she think she couldn't manage to do? It is so hard...

I really hope you can manage to get some rest and a break, you must be tired. You have been amazing in the support you have given, and I hope that when your counselling restarts that's helpful for you.

Take care, and of course you know you can write here whenever you need to

Ellie

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. It must be hard for your wife to believe that she can cope on her own when you have been there for her at every turn to lean on. I hope your wife is continuing to improve on the new medication regime.

I hope you will feel the benefit of a rest from the nursery run with half-term around the corner. Take good care of yourself and stay positive as with all your good care you have encouraged your wife to come so far. :)

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Hi Ellie, lilyBeth and Jasa

My wife's struggle to cope with what would be considered everyday matters are both physical and anxiety. I really have tried all manner of methods but in the end it was too difficult for me to hear my wife pleading with me not to leave her at home (she struggles to care for the children especially when she goes outdoors) and try to resume work. In time I'm sure she will recover. It is difficult to explain-so many aspects and I'm feeling pretty tired right now!

I feel relief at taking the huge step of being a full time carer as she may not have made the progress she's made and lessened the impact on our kids.

Caring is very tiring but it is rewarding. With the half term break it's time to give the kids some rewards- a bit of pumpkin carving for starters!

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Hello Oaktree

I'm sure there are days when you're exhausted as you are having to be so strong for your wife and children. For me, recovery was a very slow process second time around as I also had what seemed like an endless depression. I think I mentioned before that I didn't get out of bed as I wanted my husband to stay at home and couldn't imagine coping without him. Eventually though I regained my place at the helm with all the good care around me.

I know you are coping really well but wonder if there's a Home Start group in your area as I think they might be able to offer practical help? The link being home-start.org.uk/Pages/Cat...

I hope you're having a great half term.

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Hi Lilybeth

Half term is going well as can be expected- girls are enjoying time with each other and mom/dad.

Homestart doesn't operate where I live as I made enquiries into this a while back. I've also made enquiries with local authority and charities to no avail as yet.

I'm sorry to hear about how low you felt during your recovery. My wife illness features more highs than lows- it's the fear that she has of getting things wrong that holds her back but with me there's no rush

Take care and thank you for being in touch

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. I'm sorry Homestart isn't available to you. I think Social Services might offer a homecare service for help around the home at nhs.uk/Conditions/social-ca... Apologies if you have already been in contact.

Sounds like half-term has been a lovely family time and you're a great strength. Please remember to take care of yourself as you're coping with so much very well on the surface.

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Hi Oaktree,

I've been offline for a few days and just read your message. Thank you for keeping us up-dated.

What can I say. Assessments are such a daunting experience. I have had continuous assessments in the first few years, especially trying to get appropriate support by professionals and we, as a family additional financial support...At the time the DWP was incompetent with regards to assessing people with mental health issues and caused my partner a lot of stress.

There had been not much support for my partner's well being whilst he was so busy with the care and welfare of baby and very poorly wife. I am pleased that you attended some of the carers meetings. My partner never went. In the long term stress accumulated, because there was so much to sort out. It is quite incredible how many people have been involved with my recovery, but my partner actually was the one, who saved my life and kept me afloat.

I am so happy that you can have your wife at home. I only started to recover properly when in my own sanctuary and with my partner and baby.

I am always proud of my partner and very grateful. Your wife and you sound like a great team!

Always thinking of you and your family,-

x

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Hi Oaktree,

thinking of you!

Hope counselling sessions will help you to implement some coping strategies and your ship is as always steering forward more or less :-) , meaning you are managing your own health and welfare.

Gosh, I am so truly proud of you! You are such a role model as dad and husband and I am so grateful that you have been sharing your experience with us. I have been learning and understanding about the worries my partner must have gone through with your voice...(and my medical file).

Please, as always take good care of yourself

x

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Hi Jasa

Thank you for your insight into how you were and how your partner stepped up to adjust to the situation. I am drip feeding my wife how things were and how I am coping on a daily basis. It is a relief when I do as the whole situation is isolating. Still waiting for counselling- patience is a virtue so I must have it in abundance!

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Hello Oaktree 41,

It has been 5 months since the birth of our son and unfortunately my wife was immediately diagnosed with PPP. I understand your reference to the war and it makes total sense, she was admitted into MBU an hour away and like others suggested I too got someone to go up for me in the odd day it helped massively.

What I can tell you is... it will get better I’m so pleased your trying not to put a date on things because it’s impossible. The day my wife was to be discharged she had a blip and was kept back in for 3 more weeks, I was always ready for this and it helped me care for myself and my family by not putting time limits to things. 5 months on now and she is home, she is well, she has stabilised with lithium come off olanzapine completely and loves her son so very much. So take what you can from this that it’s not all doom and gloom and your a great Dad staying strong for your two little ones and partner! But give yourself some rest if you can!

It only took one night of sleep to make it this way and took one more night of sleep to bring her back to being herself, keep strong and you will quickly forget about all these tough times and you will all be healthy when the time is right.

Ryan

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Hi Ryan

Thank you for getting in touch. It is great to hear that your wife is now in a better place. It must have been really scary seeing her like that. It is very challenging to carve out some downtime due to the lack of support but I get as much rest as circumstances permit. When our eldest is at school that lessens the demand. Most important of all is when my family are having fun together that is a relief. There's no sign of medication being removed for some time to come but am grateful that the meds enable my wife to be at home. Spending nearly a year in hospital is something we are all still coming to terms with.

My wife's illness displayed itself mostly with mania. Was your wife the same or was it depression that debilitated her

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Good morning Oaktree41,

thank you for taking the time in responding.

I am sorry to hear that you still have to wait for counselling. Is that via the NHS? Do you think that there is access to any support groups via charity run organisations such as Mind or Samaritan?

Isolation can be quite daunting. Do you have any friends to talk to? Can you get any relief? I wonder whether you have any down-time, whereby somebody else could step in just for a few hours. My partner's mum and dad have been very good, especially in the first 2 years & my partner knew which friends he could rely on and in confidence.

It is half term and it makes me happy that you mention "most important of all is when my family is having fun." Of course poorliness affects family life, but it also shows incredible strengths and love, which is all what matters.

Take care of yourself.

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Hi Jasa

It would appear that my local MH services are under some strain as I'm in waiting lists for both GP arranged counselling & also through MIND. Why my extended family have been since my wife was sectioned is a mystery. In time I hope to get more support as it does seem most are too caught up in their own lives...anyway I mustn't dwell on this as it does get me down.

My wife wants me around as she knows I've been her rock no matter how difficult things have been. I've learned that there's a very small group of friends/family to rely on.

I am enjoying the daily routines and have reset my expectations. People always comment positively when they see my kids, that they seem to be thriving.

Sending my regards to your wonderful family

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Hello Oaktree,

thank you so much for your update.

Life circumstances does change perspectives. Health and happiness is our priority within our little family. Since my partner's mum passed away, I developed some friendships with a few selective mums and others.

As our children get older, we will find more slots in spending some quality time with our partners; call it new found rendezvous - promise, it will happen :-) ...sleep overs are on the agenda and quite popular in my son's year group.

I hope you will be at the top of the waiting list pretty, soon.

Take good care of yourself.

x

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Hi Jasa and everyone else who's on this journey - no matter what stage you're at

Encouraging news, I was informed of a last minute cancellation for counselling so will take that- its a short session but it may be for the best for the initial one.

..new found rendezvous, ill for now settle for a bit more snooze time 😄Yes in time things will lighten up x

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That's great news Oaktree .... I think it will do you good to have counselling so you can talk openly and release some of your thoughts, even in a short session.

Take care.

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Hurray, I am so happy for you Oaktree...even a "gentle" Oaktree needs TLC...in order to stay strong.

It is quite a journey. Do take good care of yourself.

x

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Hi oak tree

I hope the counselling was helpful and that you can manage to access some regularly. I hope your daughters continue to be well, and your wife continues to make progress ...

Thinking of you x

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Hi Ellie, Jasa, Lilybeth

I'm glad I've started to get some support. At this stage it will just be fire fighting - dealing with how I can pick myself up each day (mornings are currently the most challenging on my mood as I do the nights) I'm sure I'll find ways to overcome it

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Hi Oaktree, I'm not surprised you're tired in the morning with looking after your children, as you look after them during the night too, do you get disturbed still quite a bit? Disturbed sleep has such a huge affect. And I imagine you help with the whole morning routine with the children too. I know I find it hard just getting my son to school in the morning it is such a stress and struggle sometimes (he refused to leave the house this morning!)

Yes I found when I had counselling at first I needed some basic 'tools' just to help me get through the day, which sounds like what you need at the moment. I do hope it can help you, and that you can find a couple of life giving things you can do just to help you manage your days.

Take care, thinking of you and your family, Ellie

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Hi Ellie

I wish I could 'give back' more to the APP community as there are so many affected by this condition. I've found reading some posts by others to be upsetting mainly because they trigger events that my famil are going through. On the other hand it's helped give me insight & also made me feel less isolated. In time I hope to be able to do more to support others on this site. Right now it's a morning and the night before I had to contend with my youngest teething. Nights are disturbed also by the need to be mindful of my wife's quality of sleep. I'm not a procrastinator but when it comes to going to sleep I find any reason to put it off even though I know of the importance (magical healing powers)

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Hi Oaktree

Yes, you do need to take care when reading other posts, particularly if you're struggling yourself, and it brings up painful memories, or even painful times you're going through... APP won't be going anywhere, so when it feels right and you're ready and you'd like to help others, we will be here :) As you know from using the forum we have volunteer peer supporters who we train and support.

Yes, I put off going to bed sometimes too, for me I think it's about wanting time to myself after my son is in bed, so then I end up staying late and don't want it to end :) even though I like to have time to myself in the morning before he's up too so I try and get up early! You must be struggling at nights with the teething, and yes, worrying and making sure your wife is sleeping OK too...

Take care, I'm so glad that you found us, and you keep writing whenever you need to...

Ellie

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Hello Oaktree

Sorry to hear how much you are having to cope with. It's good that you have felt less isolated by 'talking' here. I hope the counselling, however basic, will give you a voice and some comfort. It's very important that you find some time for yourself even though disturbed nights have been common for you lately.

I think I mentioned before that due to the stress my husband suffered, he did have a breakdown during my recovery from my second PP. It was a very difficult time for us but we went on to have lots of happy years with our children, as you and your wife will.

We are all here to listen and help if you need us. You are an amazing support to your family. Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

The strain your husband has endured for so long is something I can relate to and as much as I tried to keep going I ran out of coping but then I had to keep going. I'm sure if I didn't have insight in time then I knew I would have fallen ill myself. Although my wife & kids mean everything to me we all have our limits.

Things are a little up and down the last few days & the sleep situation isn't helping but I'm giving her as many opportunities to rest & encouraging contact with extended family & her friends.

Your husbands struggle will be something that makes your relationship stronger as it has done for me & my wife

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Hello Oaktree

Apologies that you might have received half of my post as it was submitted before I had finished .....

I think you are such a great strength to your wife and family and you definitely need support as you have coped with so much on your own. We are not quite asleep when we have children, always listening out if they might wake :) I hope your wife will feel comfortable contacting extended family and friends as it will be good for you too.

I've mentioned before how your posts have helped with insight into how my husband must have struggled. Unfortunately we never talked about my illness at the time inside or outside our home due to my parents' feeling I would be judged. There was more stigma around mental illness then. This was a shame as I buried unfounded guilt for years until I found APP so I admire how you are able to talk openly together.

On the other hand we had so many happy family holidays. Although it must feel like an uphill struggle for you now, there are great family adventures yet to be made when your wife is fully recovered.

Take really good care. I hope you manage to find a little time to yourself this weekend with your loving family.

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Hi Oaktree,

how are you today?

Sorry for not coming back, sooner. I have had to understand your expression of "fire fighting first".

You see when I hallucinated I spoke in my native language a lot, which caused quite a lot of problems for the professionals, the once who tried to treat me. As you probably gathered EU languages have been in decline :-)

Anyhow, going back to "fire fighting", I seriously thought that this was your profession. I am trying to cheer you up, with a bit of my "double-Dutch", though I am not Dutch. :-)

I am so impressed about your in-put and kindness and the way how you find the strengths to keep going. At this moment we are here for you and you are not on your own. Yes, as Ellie mentioned APP does not go away as this forum really helps so much...

I can not express my gratitude enough to APP when I came out after 5 years of feeling pretty lonely inside my head. Being helped and supported by APP with the preparation of my art exhibition in order to raise awareness, but also receiving therapeutic encouragement helped me finally to be able to become a volunteer.

I come to the realisation that "dad support" is of vital importance throughout the "care path way", not only because of my personal case, - but now I am meeting other dads, like you.

All in stepping stones, - my partner always has a lot on his plate, but priorities are with his nuclear family and his own mental health focus.

I am giving my son lots of TLC today as he has a nasty cold, thus off school. My big man just returned from 3 days fishing, his way of relaxing. Life will be different for you as well again...we are ordinary families with some unique traits. :-)

Take good care...it is always a pleasure talking to you

x

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Hi Jasa

It's great to be able to share experiences with other families so I can start to feel my family will get on top of this condition. Fire fighting to me is dealing with the symptoms, not the cause. The struggles I have each day are as my counsellor said it's not just the trauma of seeing my wife in a manic phase (I have witnessed other forms of MH schizophrenia & depression) before I met my wife but it's the reality of how our families hopes for the future have been suddenly jolted.

The pace of my life now is no longer at 80 miles an hour as it was before. Progress for me is my kids eating a meal well, my wife having a good nights sleep, the bins being emptied every fortnight, the girls getting on together.

I can relate to how the professionals must have struggled to communicate with you as I've done quite a bit of study (currently on hold) in mania & number of disciplines in the evenings last year. I also read that the babies maternal grandmother is meant to play an important role in recovery. Sadly my mother in law has passed on so it's all the more important that I be like a rock or an oaktree to provide unwavering support to my family.

This response may seem a little disjointed and I apologise as I'm rather tired. Right now I can't deal with the causes that affect me as I'm keeping everything running, but I do hope counselling will help me find ways to boost my low mood in the mornings as everything does seem to get to me.

On a lighter note I'm now checking into some very nice hotels almost everyday. Not in real life of course but looking at their online sites. It's therapeutic imagining myself relaxing in a huge marble bath with peace and quiet😄 One day I'll treat myself but I'm sure I'll miss the family too much so perhaps we can all have some downtime together. The girls can take part in some activities arranged by the hotel (Alice in wonderland tea) and my wife has a pampering session while I switch off for a while

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Dear Oak tree,

thank you for giving us an update and thoughts.

I am pleased that you receive counselling.

Your involvement as carer is 24:7 and you are emotionally attached as dad and husband. It is your life and they are part of your heart, that is at least how I feel about your situation, when reflecting on our circumstances back then.

...and yes there will be a future and dreams about planning and looking ahead or living with the momentum. My big man said it's been 8 years ago, but I know it's been 7 years and 3 months ago when I became poorly. However, it is not so much of relevance anymore, because we live with the hear and now and we enjoy our happy moments and the usual ups and downs.

Yes, when going through recovery I believe a routine helps the person with mental health issues to learn subconsciously in stepping stones again. Our life had to go at a very slow pace, I believe this happens when the original tools can not be used anymore and one has to either re-adjust or regain new survival mechanisms. This applied to my partner as well, because like your family, we were thrown into the deep end and this affected everybody involved.

It is always good to look forward to something...I remember vaguely our first time abroad again. My big man took us (son & I) on a holiday and he told me just recently I did not want to stay in Lanzarote for 2 weeks. Thus, he upgraded to a five star hotel for one week only...That was 1.5 years after PPP. :-) Remember we all recover in different ways! I have learnt not to set myself deadlines, but this works for me...

Switching off and pampering! What a great idea.

Look after yourself

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Hello Oaktree

I hope your counselling sessions are helpful and a good space to talk about how much you have been coping with on your own, for the love of your family.

As time goes on I hope your wife will improve as she has had so much courage to be at this stage in recovery, unconditionally supported by you.

It's good to think forward to holidays, even if only online ...... I'm still focused on walking on a beach when I'm carrying heavy shopping :)

Take good care of yourself.

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Hi Lilybeth & Jasa

I'm afraid my counselling is in limbo - long story but been moved to another counsellor with a 5-7 week wait (I'm hopeful of a last minute cancellation) which is a shame but I'll keep on plodding 😀

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Hello Oaktree

Thanks for taking time to update. Really sorry you might have to wait to see another counsellor but hopefully there might be a cancellation you can fit into at short notice.

Take care .... we are all behind you in support :)

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Hi Oaktree, how frustrating! I do hope you get the counselling soon... it seems that services are so stretched...

I hope that you are managing OK, and that you are continuing to get some support from your carers group. As Lilybeth says, we are all behind you in support!

Take care,

Ellie X

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Thinking of you, Oaktree!

Kind wishes,

x :-)

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Thanks for your support- I'll keep on saying that this forum has been such a help in challenging times and although things have dipped a little (explain later) I'm doing all I can to know to rise above it. After all a plane does take off against the wind!

My counselling ceased as the interventions that were recommended for me to try were unachievable without support to enable me to do it. I put my families needs ahead of my own and things are that busy I rarely have time to have a shower. My counsellor even tried to get adult social care on board (he was surprised to hear that my previous attempts were unsuccessful) but they seem to have set the bar so high that it's not going to happen right now which is disappointing to say the least.

This week I've had early starts (4/5am) on top of disturbed sleep and my wife is struggling to keep active. I encourage but also reassure her that her reluctance to go outdoors may improve the next day.

Realistically I understand that there will be no counselling until the new year so will do my best to cope. I force myself to get 40 winks in the day when our youngest is sleeping and it does help even though when I'm woken I feel I could sleep for 2 days! When the mega early starts stop I'll be able to drop into the local carers support group.

Above all I feel like my little unit is pulling together and i know the benefits of being positive and trying to take care of myself

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Hello Oaktree,

here in the South-West the wind has been rather blowy, in a literate sense :-) I do love your expressions! :-)

I am so sorry to hear that this year is still going to be a stretch for you without the requested counselling. I am not sure whether I do understand correctly, - what were the recommended interventions? Are there any plans in trying to offer you some relief (somebody to be able to look after your wife or her attending an activity or being with a friend?), so that you can attend a carer support group?

Is there any care path way put into place for your wife with regards to recovery? Somehow it sounds as if you are left to fight your own battle, which is not recommendable with regards to your well being. Carers need some time-out, too!

Do you have a health visitor? Ours was very good and of great help in tackling arising problems with managing life and household and baby/toddler issues. Because I had been so poorly the health visitor was assigned to our family for 2 years.

I wonder whether you could circulate your issues with other trusting professionals such as your GP.

With regards to my case the NHS partnership for mental health was "switched on" once I got out of hospital...but obviously this was in 2010...

I am not sure about your circumstances exactly, but wondered, if you could connect with other dads, who are in a similar situation like you. For example contact the nearest MBU and ask whether there is any chance of peer support for dads...you should not be on your own with your worries... just an idea...

Thinking of you and look after yourself...

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Hello Oaktree

So sorry to hear you have had such little sleep this week. Are you able to call on extended family for support during the day? As you mentioned the local authority and MIND charity earlier, I wonder if you have had any response yet?

Perhaps the team supporting your wife can access support for you as coping 24/7 will eventually take its toll on your own health? Perhaps when your wife is feeling a little stronger you might all go as a family to a swimming session as I think this can be relaxing?

Take good care of yourself and try to rest over the weekend ...... we are all here to support you.

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Hi Jasa & Lilybeth

The matter of me getting respite is a difficult topic as I've previously had offers of help from extended family & 'friends' and when they are called upon then there seems to be a reason why they can't assist...some say they will visit next week and then nothing is heard, when they are reminded an excuse is given. I've learned that when it comes to MH matters it's not a good idea to be realistic & not dash people's hopes... it kind of defeats the purpose of me having respite- how can I switch off for even an hour if I know the support isn't reliable to book. The LA seem to work on the basis that I shouldn't get any respite as I'm 'well' if I fell apart or became an absent father then it would be a different situation as I have witnessed others. Mums in mind was tried but my wife got cold feet at the last minute

I'm totally reliant on my wife to be well enough for me to go to the care meeting & watch my youngest daughter which accounts for why I've only been to so few meetings. My wife's MH has struggled lately so I've started to increase her meds in order to try and restore balance.

On a good note MIND have got me down to start counselling sooner (a couple weeks wait) so that's encouraging 😀

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Hello Oaktree

That's a shame that your wife was hesitant about Mums in Mind although I can understand her apprehension. It's very hard to open up to strangers. Would she feel more comfortable with a home visit from their team as you would be there for support? Apologies if this is what she tried.

You mention increasing your wife's medication as her mental health has struggled. I'm sure you have done so with supervision from her care team as it's very important to monitor the dose. Some medication I took was very sedating to keep me stable but I was monitored regularly. Has your wife had a review recently if you think she's struggling?

That must be very encouraging for you to know that you will be able to start counselling sooner. In the meantime try to find a few minutes to yourself in your busy, loving family home.

Take care.

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Hi oak tree

Things sound difficult, recovery is up and down. This was my experience too.

Like lilybeth says, I was wondering as well if your wife sees a mental health team regularly and if changes in medication are done in consultation with her care team? Any changes in meds are tricky I know, from personal experience, so it’s important to have professional opinion before changing anything.

I really hope the counselling you’re trying soon will be helpful, you really need it as you’re supporting so much and have so much to cope with. I do hope you’re able somehow to find more support for your wife so you can have a break too though I know you’ve tried a lot of avenues already.

I wondered if you have tried home start, where volunteers can come to your home to support your wife? I can’t remember if we’ve mentioned that before.

Thinking of you

Ellie x

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Hi Lilybeth & Ellie

The very early warning signs are mostly poor/disturbed sleep so already have discussed a range of situations with my wife in consultation with her psychiatrist. Even though there is a crisis team I can contact in unsocial hours I don't want it to get to that stage of course so have the advice on increasing dosage (to strict rules of course) this situation we've seen coming as our youngest is having a number of very early wake ups so we are preventing my wife's sleep from worsening. It's pleasing that I can be trusted to do this and less disruption at 2am when my wife is struggling to sleep. She does have regular reviews & I ensure I'm present to give my frank view on her recovery. She does seem a bit better today. One day at a time.

Sadly home start isn't in operation in my area & we did try mums in mind introduction with me present but when she feels more prepared to consider this again then we can reconsider.

This journey has tested me with patience, resourcefulness among other aspects so I will keep considering other ways i can get respite/support but I know we are making progress and our partnership has been strengthened through this time

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Hello Oaktree

Thanks for taking the time to reply. Managing your wife's medication is another responsibility on your shoulders. You must be so exhausted attending to your youngest and your wife in the early hours. I'm glad your wife has had a better day today. It can be a slow process but you are doing everything possible to care for your family.

During recovery from my second PP struggling to sleep was a problem for me. I became very difficult for my husband and family to manage as my first son was six years old. In times of crisis I was admitted for treatment to local psychiatric units for inpatient treatment.

It must take a lot of patience and strength to cope day to day but I really hope you can find some respite. I've been looking on the Rethink Mental Illness site and under Respite - useful contacts there's a list at rethink.org/carers-family-f... One of which, i.e. Respite Care, offers tailor made respite care for both adult and carer. They can offer a break in Bournemouth or France (!) so that might be hopeful.

I'm really thinking about you and your family. You honestly will all emerge from this unsettled stage and as you say, your partnership and loving family will go from strength to strength together.

Take extra care of yourself.

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Hi Oaktree,

it is such a roller coaster time for you. Thank you so much for your up-date. We've been following closely and really hope so much that support will be there for you in due course.

Ellie and Lilybeth already have been in touch, thus I will just keep it briefly...at least you know, you are not on your own with your worries. The link given by Lilybeth for respite care sounds promising!

I am pleased that you have the support network when your wife's condition is fluctuating. My partner and my Psychiatrist at the time did the team work. Eventually I learnt to take my own medication. It is good to know that you have an emergency contact in the background such as the crisis team.

Always thinking of you and your family...

Take care

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Hello Oaktree

Just wondering how you are and hope your wife is slowly improving with your good care. I also hope you won't have to wait much longer for counselling.

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth & Jasa

Thank you for your kind thoughts.

I'm pleased to say my wife's condition has eased to the point where I've stopped giving the extra medication despite the kids sleep being interrupted by the bugs that they picked up. Counselling will commence in the next week but I will go to a carers meeting this week.

Some days I've really been hit for six with the demands (3/4am starts) but I'm grateful today for my wife to be able to let me catch 40winks once I'd dropped the eldest off to school so not much respite but badly needed 'shuteye'

Thanks for the link re: respite I have looked at the site previously & when the situation permits (I found the break earlier this year to be very stressful) we can plan something. It's such a comfort to have familiar surroundings especially with a fussy eater!

Will keep you all posted X

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Hello Oaktree

So pleased you were able to have a nap today ... early starts take their toll as the day goes on don't they? It must be such a relief to feel that your wife is making steady progress so that she doesn't need the extra medication.

I'm glad the link to respite breaks might be helpful a little further along the line. I think it's a good idea not to travel too far from home at first. There are some great places in the UK and a bonus if the sun shines :)

I hope you feel the benefit of the carers' support meeting and counselling sessions. You are such a great support to your family.

Take good care of yourself.

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Hi oaktree

Goodness those early starts must be taking its toll! My son seems to be waking up at 5 or 5.30 at the moment and I'm struggling with that!

Do take care of yourself, I really hope the counselling will be helpful when you can go, and I hope your wife will slowly be able to feel more confident in being left alone.

Take care, I am in total awe of everything you are holding and supporting, and as you know write on here whenever you need to

Ellie X

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Hi Oaktree,

gosh, so pleased that things are on the up...focusing on progression helps, even if in stepping stones. Sometimes I have to have an eye-opener how far I've come with my recovery...thus, so happy that your wife is improving gradually!

Being on stand by 24/7 with only a minimum of sleep can take its toll, I empathise so much as I have been struggling with Insomnia. However, I can see that some help is at hand in your case such as carers support, counselling and maybe "respite"...

Always thinking of you and your family...

x

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Hi Lilybeth, Jasa & Ellie

I started counselling last week but ending the session I realised as I’m tired I would benefit more from an hour having a coffee somewhere near ti home rather than talk about the challenges which I know I’m doing very well to overcome. That’s what I will plan this week as well as all the routine matters (another review meeting with psychiatrist and more blood tests). I will continue to attend carers support group. The early starts haven’t stopped yet so not a surprise I’ve come down with a cold today. My little ‘unit’ are very happy I’m pleased to report

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Hi oak tree

It’s good to hear your update. Yes it sounds like you just need a break sometimes , I hope the carers support group continues to help you.

Perhaps counselling will be better when you aren’t still in the thick of it, dealing with everything practically...

I’m glad your family are well... I hope the Christmas preparations aren’t too much, I find it can get so busy and overwhelming!

Take care oak tree

Ellie x

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Hi Ellie, Jasa and Lilybeth

The carers support group is only once a month and I've attended it so although it has compromises (I'm the only one in the group with caring duties relating to PPP) but they are all in different places which helps with insight. It is difficult as I'm usually quite anxious sharing my journey (have had to tell so many professionals with varying support) I will do the best with the resources at my disposal especially with Christmas imminent which I consider myself quite organised and keen to focus on the good things but also to think of others. I mustn't be so tough on myself this Christmas & be proud of what's been achieved. My wife's review went as well as it could & have had to get my MP to enquire into the patchy support from DWP (issues with carers allowance payments and HMRC (significant underpayment of tax credits). Hopefully it will get resolved soon.

We're looking forward to the festive season and having some wonderful memories. Seasons greetings to you and your amazing, resilient families

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. It's a shame the carers group is only once a month. Is there anyone in the group you could meet in between for support even though your experience is unique?

Please don't be tough on yourself this year. You have been such a tower of strength for your wife to lean on while at the same time being able to cover all the bases for your family to move forward.

Seasons greetings to you and your family too. It's a magical time for children .... I'm sure there will be many happy family moments to record.

Take care.

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Hi Oaktree

It's good to read your reply. I hope the lead up to Christmas isn't causing you too much stress, and that you are enjoying it...

I do hope you're able to get the financial support you need sorted...

I hope you have a lovely festive season too...

Take care XX

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Hello Oaktree,

thank you for your message and pleased that your little unit is happy :-)

Only you can decide which direction you want to pursue with regards to your own therapeutic support. Do you believe the carers support is your preferred choice to counselling at the moment!? It does not matter; at the end this is therapeutic, too...as long as you can share your experience with likeminded and kind people.

When I started the support group...I felt completely alien and asked myself whether I should be there at all...however it became a life line. this weekly session became an important part of routine, me-time and helped in a way not to feel so extremely isolated. In addition other group members were very empathetic and strangely enough good listeners...

Hope you enjoy a bit of festive spirit with your family...I love Christmas...so happy to be able to share the joy with big and little man.

Wishing you well, - thinking of you and your family!

x

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. I think you're right to do whatever is more comfortable for you. As long as you go to the Carers' group you will have an outlet for a little time to yourself and their support.

It sounds as though you have a busy week supporting your wife with appointments and early starts. Take care and keep warm, surrounded by your loving family.

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Hello Oaktree,

yes, it is always good to concentrate on "a glass half full..."

I am pleased you can focus on what matters most, - like you I put my emphasis on my big and little man and of course the Christmas festivities, which is such a joy when having children.

I am pleased your wife's review went OK; gradual and in stepping stones is just fine.

I do remember the hassle with the DWP...I have had to undergo some dreadful and useless assessment procedures and my partner took a while to filter out facts, individual rights and entitlements.

You are an amazing husband and dad and in my eyes a big Oaktree :-)

I hope you can develop some contacts and maybe friendships amongst the carer circle.

Wishing you some magical moments with your loved ones.

x

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Hello Oaktree41

I hope you managed to enjoy the festive season with your family without too much stress. You have been an amazing strength to your family and should be proud of every achievement :)

Take care.

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Hello Jasa, Lilybeth &Ellie

Our small but strong family unit is enjoying the Christmas occasion and so far it’s been better than last years in many aspects. My wife has made progress if I look back at how she was last Christmas and the children are very loved and secure- mind you our youngest does wail if I go out of the home even to put a black bag outside!

I have really tried to take it easy and keep reminding myself to be very proud & keep my head up more as I have been too hard on myself. My wife always marvels how I keep going but she knows the family are the thing which does.

I’ve had some response back from DWP (the contact with my MP seems to have done the trick) and had some back dated payments but the matter is not fully resolved but I’m grateful that my MP’s intervention has made a difference. This seems to be not an isolated case as there are others who are trying to get support and the bewildering systems aka ESA, DLA, PIP carers allowance appears to be a full time role. Even though I currently have no job I have ensured that we make an effort to support local charities and reminded our eldest daughter to be considerate and generous to others

No thoughts about New Years resolutions- as I’m doing the best I can. Hope I can continue this

Happy new year! x

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Hello Oaktree41

Good to hear you think this Christmas was better than last. Your wife's progress has been helped immensely by all your good care. I'm not surprised she marvels at how you keep going as it's not been easy for you at times with the challenges you have faced together.

You're doing more than your best for your loving family. Happy new year! Take care.

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Hello Oaktree,

gradual improvement and being with the one you love is what matters most...family is such a pressures unit and you will fire off sparks from each other, once your wife gets stronger...

...in our case the experience of such upheaval and traumatising events has strengthened our relationship and little family unit.

We appreciate life and the momentums together with our son...yes, we celebrate cultural and traditional festivities more or less, but I am certainly not affected by New Years resolutions...our moral believes are manifested anyway...

Thinking of you and wishing you, your wife and children health and happiness. x

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Hi Oaktree, it's really good to hear that you had a good Christmas, and that it was better than last year, it's good to acknowledge progress.

You are being such an amazing support for your family... I'm glad that you have got some of the financial issues sorted, I know that the benefits system is hugely confusing and hard to navigate, I hope you are able to get it fully sorted, as worries about money can have such an impact.

Take care, and I hope you have a good new year. Definitely don't put pressure on yourself for any new years resolution, as you say you are doing enough already!

X

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Hello Oaktree

I hope the first week of 2018 has been good for you and family. Perhaps you will be able to find an hour to yourself for coffee rather than attend counselling which you suggested earlier. I think the monthly carers' meeting will also be an outlet in your busy daily caring routine.

Take good care of yourself. Best wishes to you and your family.

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Hi Lilybeth, Jasa & Ellie

Great to hear from you & even better to know that through the roller coaster that our family has gone through you continue to support us. Can't thank you enough⭐️

My wife has by her own admission 'dipped' but it appears that its other health matters that are at play here. She's overly tired but the good news is that we've been proactive in addressing it & hopefully it will improve soon

Our eldest daughter has been such a gem over the last month so on her first day back at school today I had a new lego set waiting for her to thank her for being so good

I went for a lunchtime meal with some of carers group and it was great seeing those who I haven't seen for a while- as was having a pint of Guinness which has been just as long!

So while I don't get much downtime I appreciate the 15 minutes to sip a coffee before I start the next to do list

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Hi Oaktree

So good to hear your positive reply although I'm sorry your wife's health has been a slight concern. Perhaps the build up to Christmas and New Year has taken its toll as it's so hectic at times isn't it? I hope that with all your good care and attention she will feel brighter soon.

What a wonderful surprise for your eldest daughter after her first day back at school, such a loving thoughtful thing to do.

I'm so glad you were able to meet with some of the carers for lunch .... how good that Guiness must have tasted after so long!

Take good care of yourself and make sure you plan your coffee breaks in between all your daily chores for the love of your family.

We are all here to support you along the way :)

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It is great to hear from you, especially on such a positive note with regards to some quality time for yourself and catching up with other carers. I bet the pint was tasty :-)

It is such a lot to take on board when responsibilities are shifting. Children tune in pretty quickly and can be such great support. Even as a toddler I remember my son being so supportive, when mum needed down time.

Thinking of you and wishing you health and happiness for this year!

:-)

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Hi oaktree

It was lovely to hear your update. Sorry your wife has had a bit of a dip, I hope things will pick up for her soon, and you are managing OK?

That's lovely you bought your eldest daughter a lego set on her first day back at school. I think children are much more resilient than we give them credit for, and intuitive too, it sounds like you have such a lovely family, and you are all looking after each other, and what an amazing daddy and husband you are, really...

It's good too that you managed to go out with the carers group, and have a pint of Guinness too! really good...

Take care Oaktree, it's always lovely to read your updates, and as you know we're here whenever you need to let off steam, just to chat... X

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Hello Oaktree

I hope your wife is feeling slightly better after being overly tired. Do you plan to meet your counsellor this month, or perhaps you find some of the carers support more comfortable for now?

Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth, Ellie & Jasa

Although it's too soon to see an improvement in my wife's physical condition (it may apparently take some time for the changes to stabilise) we remain positive. Everyday I remind myself that if I wasn't as diligent in planning my wife's care & supporting our girls the situation would probably be worse. So grateful to the NHS for what they have done. I had my carers meet up already this month but I have met up with a friend for a coffee despite a cold trying to deflect me. I'm a pretty persistent guy😀

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Lovely to hear your update oak tree... yes you are being such an amazing support to your family... hence your forum name oak tree 😊 that’s great you managed to meet up with a friend today. I hope your wife feels better and stronger soon x

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Hi Ellie... and you & everyone who reads my posts are a great support at a time when others are unable to for whatever reason. I'm glad I made the effort to meet my friend. My youngest certainly enjoyed running off when she could when we were outdoors!

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Hi oaktree, oh yes I have a runner too :) he doesn't like sitting still for very long unless occupied with something, and he is six now! I'm glad you had a good time with your friend...

Take care X

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Hi Oaktree

Good to hear your positive reply about your wife's continuing recovery. You should be very proud of how far she has progressed with all your good care, time patience and happy family. So glad that you made time to meet a friend with your youngest. Being outdoors can be very refreshing, especially for children, who have boundless energy :)

Take care ..... best wishes to your wife and family.

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Hi Oaktree,

it is cold in the South-West as well. A lot of hail yesterday, but no snow. Our son and his school friends were so excited with the hail stones, but rather would prefer to build a snow man/woman :-)

Yes, outdoor activities are great, kids need that outburst! It is great for adults, too...I do enjoy fresh air and a brisk walk. Pleased, you've found a moment to catch up with a friend.

I thought I just let you know what sort of mile stones I worked towards between 1.5 & 2 yrs....baring in mind that recovery is individual and very tailor-made. I am also very grateful to the partnership in my area with regards to the after-care (but not the hospital experience).

I remember my partner taking us on a holiday 1.5 yrs. after PPP (2010), but I asked him to just go for 1 week instead of 2 weeks. (thus, holiday was upgraded) My confidence must have been still quite low.

I had to have support with going to public places for a long time and only after a couple of years I am much better with people and socialising. I still practised with a support worker in 2015/16 going to places and being amongst people, because of my anxieties.

I started taking my boy to Sure Start activities and play groups. I usually managed it twice per week, before he started nursery with 2...

The nursery helped tremendously and professionals there supported our situation. Whilst my son was 15 hours at kindergarten I started to participate in support groups. My self esteem and confidence was very low and I have to admit it was of great help to meet people and it was like a welcoming extension of my specific weekly routine and in a way "me time".

My partner wanted me to gain more independence and pursue activities and self manage my routine throughout the day, which included not only some of the house chores, but getting my son to nursery and picking him up again.

PPP has caused a lot of challenges for our family and illness and medication affected my body emotionally, cognitively and physically.

My partner, like you has been putting a lot of effort into his family and trying to get me back on my feet in order to look after myself and our boy!

I hope your wife will get an extended tool-kit for self management, which maybe suggested in the care plan. In my case it was meditation, Yoga and group therapy-tried art therapy, but I did not like the full beard of the therapist :-)

It was important for me to understand that I will not be the same as before the illness and that I could not change what has happened in the past. I learnt to identify my triggers and managed to journalise the stepping stones of my goals, split in loads of little objectives. This was difficult for me as my mind is rather complex and simplifying is not easy, despite the cobwebs. in my case it is just the emotional outburst, which occasionally stops the pragmatic half of the brain from functioning accordingly :-)

I am often thinking of you and your family...sending your wife my love and kindness...time will heal...and all in stepping stones.

x

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Hi Lilybeth, Ellie & Jasa

We're all at different parts of this journey with regarding recovery & there's so much to consider it does get overwhelming when something else unexpected happens.

I try and prepare for most situations but having a letter from DWP the other day really knocked me sideways. They wanted an update on my wife's condition-which meant lots of form filling which my wife clearly wasn't up to doing & it was upsetting having to explain yet again what happened and how she is on a daily basis. I was low for 24 hours with figuring out how to get it done amongst everything else to do each day but then snapped out of it and got it all completed-I'm ready to fight if this doesnt get resolved. I have to be more resilient when it comes to communicating the background despite the seemingly constant rejections from professionals for support

I recall how my wife was before she fell ill that she wasn't very good in unfamiliar social situations so I can understand it's going to be challenging to try to encourage her independence.

The girls continue to excel & surprise us with their thoughtfulness ( eldest wanting to help with dishwashing, making tea, vacuuming even ironing) and our youngest being such a bundle of joy👼👼

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. It seems unfair when you are coping with so much that you have to yet again fill in forms with details of your wife's illness and recovery. It must have been overwhelming to recall, so you have done really well to accept the request and be ready for the next stage.

If after all your co-operation the matter is not resolved, perhaps you might find support from the Citizens Advice Bureau who have offices in most areas. I think they can intercede if you are in agreement? Also your local councillor might offer face to face advice and support in your community.

It might be challenging for your wife but you have been so strong in spite of everything you have faced together. Children have a gift of lifting our spirits to keep us hopeful :)

Take care. Best wishes to you, your wife and family.

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Thank you Lilybeth

By the accompanying letter I've sent to dwp I've got things prepared if they don't go as desired. It really upsets me having to read my journal in those dark months but know I've extracted the pertinent information i can now use that in future without having to read the original journal. I will also seek support from CAB and local carers group- I don't give up easily 😀

As I sit writing this reply my youngest daughter is toddling around with her moms handbag with a huge smile on her face- it's the best medicine in the world 👍 X

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Hello Oaktree

It must be very stressful to revisit those dark months when your wife was so ill, especially as she was also coping with another illness at the time. I've realised after having sight of my medical records during my PP episodes how awful things must have been for my husband and family. I really admire how supportive you have been throughout your wife's illness and recovery.

I think it would be a good idea to seek support from CAB and your carers group as it's important to feel you have someone fighting in your corner ..... as we all are here for you. I'm sure your loving family keeps you positive :) Take care.

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Hi Lilybeth

I did drop by the carers centre to speak to the staff and have made plans to meet later this week as I agree I do need the additional support as although I’m in a routine it’s pretty relentless especially with the disrupted sleep & being strong for the girls.

Yes it’s pretty horrible looking back but we got through it & are trying to do all I can to avoid it and if it does happen again then ensure I’m better prepared as i didn’t expect friends and family to not support us

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Hi Oaktree

Good to hear from you. I'm glad you're thinking about your own needs too as well as always putting your family first. I'm sure your daily 'to do' list is exhausting but you are amazing to do all that you can for the sake of your loving family.

Take good care and try to have a rest along the way .... I've had another day of walking along the beach, in my head, carrying shopping!! :)

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Hello Oaktree,

you are such a fighter like my man. I admire your dedication and being persistent with authorities.

I can truly say that the DWP had been a pain in the back side, mildly expressed :-)

I have had to experience the incompetence of assessment procedures by a specific company contracted at the time on numerous occasions, but also those so called professionals by DWP intruding our personal space.

The male nurse who was assigned for the first assessment had to ask my partner what PPP was. In addition I was checked out for the reaction of my knees...anyhow to cut it short their procedures and allocated point system had flaws ... the DWP did not know how to cope with "users" and mental health issues and was pretty clueless. There had been a lot of evidence about their incompetence and unfair treatment towards individual cases.

...my partner put in a complaint and contested their analysis. Eventually the first results were disputed and my case was re-examined (we included plenty of written evidence) and the right points allocated in order to receive financial support.

I hope you do not have to cope with all that stuff on your own (research on net/citizens advise/unions/ carer support/care coordinator). My GP always had been of great help. In the first few years I kept records of continuous sick notes highlighting that I still was recovering! In addition my care-coordinator continued helping me with the administrative bombardment by the DWP once my partner was fully involved with work again.

My partner had to deal with so many aspects baring in mind that I struggled so much and in the first 2 years unable to talk to relevant members of staff by the DWP, never mind talking over the phone.

Thus, I do empathise so much for your struggles.

Take good care as always, - thinking of you and your family!

x

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Hi Jasa

I'm sorry to hear that your partner had to do so much in order to get DWP to help support your family on top of everything else. I hope my wife doesn't have to go for an assessment (I had a nightmare recently about me taking her to one and she relapsed during the interview). I will do my best to challenge the finding if it doesn't go how we want it to.

I recall the DWP form provides an straightforward process for cancer sufferers which shows they are aware of the bureaucratic strains but not for MH sufferers. Your experience shows how lacking in knowledge some assessors are.

Sending my best wishes to you and your amazing family x

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Hi oaktree

Sorry I'm late replying to your latest posts. I can imagine applying for benefits must be so stressful, and yes having to revisit such difficult times in order to fill out the forms must be really hard. Oh goodness, your nightmare sounds horrible...

I just wanted to signpost you to the Mind web pages about getting financial support, which may be helpful. It has FAQ about applying for benefits, it may be helpful, you may have seen it already: mind.org.uk/information-sup...

I do hope you get a good assessor, and that it does go smoothly and you can manage to get the support you need.

Take care, and I hope this finds you generally well, and I hope you can keep finding those windows of support for yourself.

XX

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Thank you Ellie for the link. I sincerely hope I don’t have to complain as I’ve got more than enough going on. My kids continue to excel and I’m very proud of how they’re doing 😀

I am trying to take care of myself with the 20 or so minutes I have each day (it seems) with imagining myself relaxing in a five star hotel (the top hotel websites show some amazing rooms) I’m not sure though how I’d cope with staff fussing over me but one day Rodney- one day😀

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That’s so wonderful your kids are doing well!

Yes I do hope that all the benefits application goes smoothly... yes dreaming of 5* hotels ... ahh 😀

Take care x

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Dear Oaktree,

my imagination is endless, when I want to be somewhere else (always dream of sunshine, ocean and beach :-)

I am sorry about your nightmarish dream...you are trying to work out things day and night!

Thinking about distracting yourself and "me-time" ...comedy is quite good (30 minutes Episodes to wind down), I like to have a good laugh...and watch Netflix or BBC I player at night. Nowadays I prefer English to American humour...guess I've become culturally adapted :-)

Hope you will get through this paper work.

Good luck!

I will be off to my Yoga in a minute...

Look after yourself,

:-)

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Hi Jasa, Lilybeth & Ellie

Not much to report back on this week other than things are pretty much the same which of course is a good thing. I’m trying to involve my wife in matters relating to the kids but she is very tired- she just about managed this morning school run. She’s back in bed resting afterwards. Just planning the weekends (probably soft play & McDonald’s) things to do x

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Hello Oaktree,

one is very focused when in a routine. My man always keeps the ball rolling! :-)

Step by step and yes, when I feel under the weather I usually rest for a bit. Obviously with improvement of health one starts to complement and support each other. "Ups and downs" is part of running a family.

Your wife will improve gradually...I never thought I would get there where I am today!

Enjoy your weekend. No plans here, getting the log burner going, very cold in the South West.

Take care,

x

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Hi oak tree

Good to hear how you’re doing, I hope your wife gets more energy as she recovers, the medication did make me very sluggish.

McDonald’s and soft play definitely sounds like a plan, my son would love that! The other week we went to a trampoline park and McDonald’s he loved it 😊

Take care, lovely to hear from you as always x

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. I remember the school run being very hectic. I think the medication had a sedating effect on me at times and everything was an effort. Funnily enough these days I find the bedtime hour on CBBC very relaxing, especially story time for tiny tots :)

Half term is not far away so hopefully you will find more time to have fun and relax with your loving family. Take good care of yourself.

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Hi Lilybeth

Pleased to report the girls had a wonderful weekend. The soft play/ McDonald’s went down a treat on Saturday as did play dough on Sunday. They hardly mentioned the cold weather

With half term around the corner it should be a good one- it’s chinese New Year celebrations this weekend which we will give a miss this year but hope we can go and see the events next year. My wife is very pleased with how I’m managing but I think I’ve said before she feels bad that she can’t do more but given time perhaps that will change

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Hi Oaktree

Lovely to hear that you had a wonderful weekend ..... it's so uplifting to see children having fun, even in cold weather isn't it? :)

So good that you're in tune with your wife's limits so that she stays in her comfort zone for now. I'm sure she's amazed with how you're managing and appreciates your reassurance that she'll be back at the helm when the time is right.

I hope you're finding the carers' group supportive. Hopefully you can take time in the slower lane at half term with your loving family.

Too wet to 'walk' on the beach today with shopping :( Take good care of yourself.

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Hi Oaktree,

It is going to be "soundproof" , your wife will be gradually finding her way;

Confidence boosting, being supportive and listened to by you. It is great to have a soulmate :-)

Look after yourself. Yes, hope the carer's group helps you to feel supported, too.

Sending you my love and well wishes to your family!

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Hi Jasa, lilybeth and Ellie

Hope the last week has been great for you, your nearest & dearest

Half term has a mixed bag although still positive despite on Sunday night having to take my wife to hospital as she wouldn’t be able to sleep unless her concerns were addressed. It was ok in the end & the kids were glad to come along in their pyjamas & coats. With all the adrenaline in me I wasn’t aware I strained my back putting the double buggy back into the car. I certainly felt it when I awoke on Monday!

While I’m still affected by it nearly a week later it’s one of those occupational hazards of being a carer but the girls have understood daddy can’t lift them up as much but our youngest gets to sleep in our bed 😀

So it’s not all bad news for some 😄

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Hi Oaktree

I'm sorry to hear about your wife feeling unsettled last Sunday. How comforted she must have been when you acted on her concerns and took her to hospital for her own peace of mind with your children in tow.

I hope your back pain is a little better and you are taking things as easy as you can for now. I find children's hugs are the best medicine :)

Take good care of yourself.

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Hello Oaktree,

I hope your wife's concerns have been addressed at the hospital and she managed to sleep again after "the ordeal". You are man, who takes the initiative and cares so much about the well being of the family and your wife's needs.

Take it easy and no heavy lifting anymore...remember always to look after yourself, too.

Wishing you a great Sunday without too many adventures!

:-)

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Hi Oaktree

It was good to hear from you and your update. Sorry to hear you had a trip to the hospital, I hope too your wife felt reassured. Bit of an adventure for you all... And sorry that you hurt your back, I hope you are feeling better too...

As others have said, you're doing such an amazing job of looking after your family... take care...

Ellie X

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Hi Ellie, Lilybeth & Jasa

Pleased to report that my backs 90% better and things are pretty stable (my wife still struggles most days with getting out and about) we’re being positive as we’ve had so much to contend with but I’ve gained so much admiration for my wife. This is what gets me up in the mornings no matter how tired I feel. With our daughters second birthday around the corner we reach another milestone 😀

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Hi oak tree it’s great to hear your update.

that’s great to hear that your back is almost better. I’m glad things are pretty stable, it sounds like your wife just needs to build up her confidence slowly.

Wow! I can’t believe your daughter will be two! Yes it’s another milestone as you say. I hope it’s a positive and special time.

I hope you managed the snow 😊 the sun is shining here now which is lovely .

Ellie x

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Hello Oaktree,

wishing your gorgeous daughter a very happy birthday!

We've had snow in the South-West and that was a very rare occasion. My boy loved it! Snow was good for sledging, but not creating "a snow woman" as a love token :-)

However, I had to remind both my men of "mother's day", maybe they just pretended that it is not on! The German one is not till May. Might you I should celebrate twice! :-)

If I could I would love to hug your wife for being such a fighter!!!

... sending you as a unique family a virtual hug and greatest admiration for you Oaktree, because of your kindness and love for your wife and beautiful children.

Look after yourself, too.

x

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Hello Oaktree

So glad to hear your back's on the mend and your wife is stable. How proud you must be of your wife as she has battled such an awful illness with your good care and is slowly recovering. Enjoy the celebrations on your daughter's birthday ..... such a milestone in more ways than one for you.

I hope you are still finding the carers' support group helpful. Take care.

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Hi Ellie, Jasa & Lilybeth

My daughters second birthday went well. Lots of good times & the chocolate cake that our eldest picked was a huge hit 😀

Mother’s Day went well despite my wife being laid out for most of the day but everything was in hand and she had some lovely home made cards- Jasa I believe you should have more than one Mother’s Day each year😀

Next week we’ll be in hospital for outpatient appointments nearly every day which is a necessary thing I guess. Likely to have more tweaking of medication dosages. I don’t know how anyone can hold down a job with the demands that managing the condition places on families. Such a strain on relationships but we know it won’t be like this always.

Phew thought I’d lost this reply.... sending my best wishes to your nearest and dearest and of course my amazing sources of support- Ellie, Jasa & Lilybeth

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Wow, what a lovely compliment-it is such a pleasure to be able to listen to you and hopefully giving you in a way some support and comfort, Oaktree41!

Thank you for this marvellous up-date.

I am pleased that everything was sound-proof with regards to mother's day and the special birthday of your daughter. I bare that in mind...celebrating twice... :-) A reason for celebration is always up-lifting.

My surrogate mum is on her way and I prepared her a special lunch. My big man is off and cleaning the patio with a German power pressure machine (you know what I mean)...You see, routine is just routine and part of our life's pleasures or obstacles...Experiences!!!

She is here now, my second mum, sorry got to go! Hope everything goes well with your wife's appointments...

Bye for now :-)

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Hello Oaktree41

It's good to hear from you. I'm glad the family celebrations went well although your wife was poorly. You're a great support to your wife and family and I hope the appointments next week won't be too stressful. I think finding the right balance of medication makes a difference even though it might take a while to find it. It is a strain but you are strong together and as you say, you know it won't be like this always.

It sounds like a busy week but I hope you can find a little time to yourself. I know your family will always come first but you need to make sure you have support, even just by going to the carer's group.

Sending very best wishes to you and your loving family. Take good care of yourself. We are all here for you.

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Hi oak tree

It’s lovely to hear your update... as the others have said you give such amazing support for your wife, I’m so glad we can somehow walk alongside you.

Sounds like your daughters birthday went well... yummy chocolate cake 😊 sorry your wife wasn’t well on Mother’s Day, it’s an emotive day I imagine...

I do hope you will all manage the week ahead with all the appointments and that they’re positive and you can get what you and your wife think you need out of them.

This weekend my mother in law is visiting so I hope we will have a lovely weekend, though it’s threatening snow! I hope you have a lovely weekend too x

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Hi Ellie, Lilybeth & Jasa

Thought I’d give a brief update as our eldest daughter picked up chicken pox a week ago & while it created a few challenges not least with hospital/ health tests and checks visits which were held over three seperate days this week, we managed it without too much drama

The chickenpox seems healing up so back to school on Monday before the Easter break. Got the Easter eggs already😀

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Hi Oaktree

Good to hear your update. What a shame your daughter had chickenpox ..... I'm glad it seems to be healing. I remember covering my sons in calamine lotion to stop the itching :) I hope your wife was ok as it can be stressful watching your children if they're not well.

Clocks forward tonight ...... I think it's a good idea to stock up on eggs as the Easter bunny might not be able to get through the snow, forecast for the UK, next weekend !!!

Take good care of yourself. I hope you will find time to relax without the school run for two weeks in the Easter break. :)

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Hi Lilybeth it’s good you raised about concerns of my wife regarding the health of our kids when they’re unwell while she does raise concerns she knows 100% that I can make an informed decision on what’s best. She kind of lets me make the decisions but of course discuss things first.

While I’m reasonably organised for Easter, I’m counting down to Father’s Day as I hope I can get a rest in bed on the morning as I haven’t had a lie since last years Father’s Day 😩

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Hi Oaktree

Your support must mean so much to your wife and a great comfort to know she can always depend on you to make the right decisions for you family.

Father's Day isn't round the corner but on the horizon :) Hopefully in the Easter break you might have time for a well earned rest. Take really good care of yourself .... you're being amazing to your loving family :)

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Hi lilybeth

I’m trying to shoulder as much as I can as I can see it’s too much for one person, so all the little things I know is taking pressure off my wife. I forgot to say the review meeting recommended an increase in medication which we both knew was going to happen so it was fine despite knowing even more lethargy will be a side effect but know it’s better to be safe.

I am thinking of sometime out over the Easter break apart from the carers meeting. I’ll take the family out for a pizza and I’ll aim to visit a coffeehouse by myself - anything more will be a bonus👍

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Hello Oaktree

Thanks for the update about the review meeting. Although it will be a little difficult with the side effects of medication, as you say it's better for your wife to be safe. With your help she has battled through so much.

You have been coping for so long without a break to take pressure off your wife but I think you need to monitor your own health needs so that you are not too stressed.

The family pizza sounds great and taking time out for yourself is a good idea, as well as support at the carers meeting. I hope you will be able to switch off a little and have some relaxing moments with your loving family.

Take good care of yourself. Best wishes to your wife and family. :)

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Hi Oaktree

It's good to read your updates, sorry I've taken a few days to reply. Ah sorry your daughter had chicken pox, that must have taken it's toll. Glad it's out of the way now though by the sound of it, and hopefully she will be immune now!

I hope that your wife will cope with the increase in medication, and the side affects. You are holding so much, I hope that, as you say, you can get some moments and time to yourself. And yes, I hope that you can enjoy Easter too, with Easter egg hunts etc. We are stocking up on our eggs for a little hunt in our house :)

Take care, Ellie XX

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Hello Oaktree,

good to hear from you and that you've been able to correspond with Lilybeth.

Chickenpox- yes, I remember it well when my son looked like a "poked chicken" :-), he still has two little scars, could not stop scratching.

There is so much happening in your little family unit and you've been rolling the dice ever since your wife got poorly. You are not in an easy position, because decision making can be so pressurising.

Nevertheless, I can feel that there are happy occasions, beautiful momentums and laughter and loads of love within your relationship/and with your children.

My partner and I were just talking this morning about the way how people seem to over- organise. I wonder whether there is a lot of peer pressure going on in general not only amongst children, but parents? Y

My partner and I agreed (6am before he had to go to work), that It is absolutely fine to focus on our own pace and identify what is best for our family needs. A lot of people always try to keep their schedule fully booked and children so busy throughout the holidays...

...not us, we are colouring eggs today. Our German Easter tradition!

Wishing you and your family a very happy Easter :-)

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Hi Jasa, Ellie & Lilybeth

Hope you had a great Easter weekend and ate as much chocolate as you could manage 😀 while the eldest has shaken off the chickenpox, our youngest has it now. While it’s affected my sleep we seem to be coping well.

Apart from going out for a pizza (which went very well) we haven’t done much partly due to the chickenpox, but we haven’t heard much from extended family & friends. We did get an invite for a restaurant meal but even if we didn’t have chicken pox to contend with, we would have refused as my wife would have taken about two days to recover from the late evening.

We still feel very cut off from family & friends which is painful but I’m proud I’ve done all I can to understand the effects of the illness on my wife & children. We try to have a routine with the odd surprise thrown in for good measure.

The last couple of days I’ve been making an Easter Bonnet as my eldest daughter has a parade to take part in at school when she returns. Think I’ll give a sneak peak by loading it onto my profile 😀

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Hi Oaktree

Wow .... being creative can be added to your list of talents :) The Easter bonnet is lovely and I'm sure your daughter will be very proud wearing it in the parade. I bought bonnets to decorate and we had great fun.

I'm sorry to hear your youngest daughter now has chickenpox but that the pizza visit went very well. It's a shame you couldn't go out to the restaurant but as always you put your family first, knowing it would have taken its toll on your wife. Perhaps further into recovery, when your wife is feeling stronger, you might be able to link up with family and friends.

It goes without saying how brilliant you have been to understand and support your wife and I'm glad you feel proud, as you should be. I hope your youngest daughter feels better soon and you enjoy the rest of the Easter break with your loving family.

Take good care of yourself and rest .... if you can find space in your busy days :)

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As always I am sending my love to you and your marvelous females in your household.

Our Easter break is coming back to an end as school starts this Monday. It has been busy and most enjoyable spending a lot of time with my son.

Great stuff! The bonnet looks brilliant & is the turtle a family member, too? Is that your garden? It is nice to have a homely sanctuary where everybody can relax and just be...so important to me.

There is no rush in connecting and involving extensively...I have been taken my time and like your wife, I do feel exhausted after a social event. I usually tend to take a break the following day, trying to avoid appointments...and never two bookings on the same day...

Always remember to look after yourself first, wise Buddhist philosophy...otherwise giving is so much harder...doing such an amazing job!!!

Bye for now, (the chicken pox will disappear!)

:-)

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Hi oak tree

Wow your Easter bonnet is lovely 😊

I’m glad you had a good Easter , sorry you’ve been having to cope with chicken pox still though. I hope you’re all well now.

It is hard, feeling isolated from friends and family. And very painful. I didn’t feel connected to too many people either just a very small amount (our parents and one or two friends, particularly one whose daughter had bipolar, she knew perfectly how to support and what we needed). I hope you’re able to build on friendships again or in some way find new ones, with time. As the others say you are amazing in your unwavering support for your family...

It’s so lovely to hear your updates always as well... I had a good Easter, ate lots of chocolate 🍫 we still have a week off school here so planning some nice things to do!

Take care xxx

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Hi Ellie, Jasa & Lilybeth

Great to hear your responses. The chicken pox has finally gone (given time hopefully the marks will fade) The Easter bonnet went down a storm at school and our eldest got a Easter egg & certificate for doing so well 👍

The tortoise we met when we on our last holiday in 2015 and he did (assume it’s a he) made a big impression. We have the tiniest of gardens but one day Rodney..One day 😀

Feeling isolated isn’t easy and things do trigger painful memories of what we went through but I am trying to block those feelings but when you’re tired it can feel worse. Just keep plodding on, like our tortoise friend

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Hello Oaktree

Good to hear from you. I'm glad the chickenpox has gone :) Your daughter must have been so proud of her daddy making such a great bonnet so that she received an Easter egg and certificate.

I'm sorry to hear that feeling isolated can trigger painful memories of what you have been through with your wife. Some memories can float in and out of our thoughts while others get stuck and are harder to dismiss especially if we are tired. I think mindfulness is a good technique for reminding ourselves of being in the present moment when our thoughts wander. Perhaps you might try it? I think it's good for you to also remember what a great strength you have been to your family and through all the ups and downs you have been there. I hope you will be able to find time to go to the carers group for a break. Also perhaps planning a virtual holiday as you have before might be a distraction in your busy days?

Take good care of yourself ..... best wishes to your wife and family.

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Hi Lilybeth

Thank you for your response. I’ll certainly consider mindfulness as it has been suggested before. Im not averse to finding ways forward.

I have some significant news... my wife is expecting again! Ive been meaning to share this for a while (expected due date in August) but there’s been so many tests and checks to monitor baby’s development with regards medication my wife’s on & also how my wife is managing. I feel now is a good time to share as we are pleased but taking one week at a time

The girls are equally thrilled to hear the news.

As mentioned above there’s been no end of tests & appointments- we’re going to need get a care/birth plan together in good time to try and minimise the risk of relapse. It’s a huge step considering what we’ve been through but it’s what we really want..and a holiday lol 😆

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Wow ! What exciting news Oaktree :) Congratulations !! Thank you so much for sharing with us. I'm glad your wife is being closely monitored and is, as always, supported by you.

I'm sure you know there are lots of resources here and the APP "Planning pregnancy: - a guide for women at high risk of Postpartum Psychosis" might be a helpful start. There are also mums here for whom PP did not return and who will be able to share their care/birth plans with you to consider.

As you say it is a huge step but lovely news for your family. I hope you will be able to find time to consider mindfulness and continue with your carers' support group.

Take good care ..... best wishes to you, your wife and family :)

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Hi oak tree

Congratulations!! What amazing news... though I’m sure a lot to process and think about but it sounds like you have some good support? Do you have a perinatal mental health team in your area who can give specialist support? I hope your wife is feeling ok, I know that pregnancy isn’t always the easiest physically 😊 so lovely your girls are excited too... 😊

Take care , thinking of you all!

Ellie x

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Hi Ellie & Lilybeth

Yes it’s a lot to process and while it currently seems we’re spending two days a week in a healthcare environment it’s necessary.

We’re aleady seeing the Perinatal mental health team who are helping to provide support. Hopefully we get more support from family as things progress & of course when the baby is delivered. My wife although very tired is doing ok it’s still a struggle for her to be outdoors for long but there’s more important things right now and that’s being at home with me & the girls.

I have read the resources on AAP which are very useful but haven’t got access to any care plans from other mothers - if you can point me in the right direction as a well considered care plan will help identify any issues and also reassure us.

The girls are thrilled & our youngest (now two😀) is busy practicing (putting a nappy on & dressing a dolly) the girls are clearly going to be very hands on 👍I’m a very proud daddy

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Hello Oaktree

I think as has been suggested you might have supportive advice with care plans from mums on the forum if you start another post. I have searched 'Care Plans' in the top right hand corner and there are some posts which might be helpful. It's good that you have support from the Perinatal team and I hope your wife continues to remain well with your care.

Prof Jones has also given invaluable advice in the APP Second Opinion Service to some mums here. I also met him some years ago and he was very kind and reassuring. Your wife's GP or Consultant can refer via app-network.org/what-is-pp/... and there is no charge.

I hope some of this is helpful. Take good care and try to find space for yourself too.

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Hi Lilybeth

I’ll take a look at the care plans as suggested on the site. I have previously mentioned the APP Second Opinion Service to my wife and I will do again. It’s more likely to be considered after baby is born but we are of course interested in having my wife’s condition reconsidered as I read up on the illness in the limited free time I get. I will certainly support my wife in the second opinion and go to the ends of the earth - she’s an amazing person

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Hi Oaktree, congratulations on your news. I know we’ve not been in touch much but I’ve sent you a few messages here and have followed your family’s progress from your updates too.

I had a second child (pp after my first) and found a care plan really helpful. Unfortunately there is no PMH service where I live (this was 2013 and it’s sadly still the case now) so it’s great to hear you and your wife have been able to access good support so far. The care plan I wrote was with shared info and experiences from APP Guides and being very open and honest from my pp 4 years earlier.

Perhaps your local PMH service will have paperwork to complete? If not, the areas I covered were loosely:

- history, possible triggers, family and professional support in place, (including contact numbers and wishes around who would be where and when)

- what treatment I’d had (what worked and what didn’t previously, what I’d like to do second time if possible)

- preferences around the birth (I opted for a planned c section after a horrid emergency one first time, also stayed in a little longer for monitoring )

- feeding preferences

- medication preferences

- plans for my eldest (he went to stay with family for a bit and also had special things planned, which we saw as important whether I’d been ill or not)

I’m happy to say that I had no recurrence of pp after my second child. I took a low dose of antipsychotic on delivery and whilst it was a worrying time, we stayed cautiously optimistic and tried to enjoy the pregnancy. I did get mh input from my local general team late on in pregnancy and they also used the info we’d written in their own care plan. The hospital I gave birth in also put it in my handheld maternity notes. If you wanted to start another thread on here asking about pregnancy experiences after pp, you might get more replies there too.

Hope this is helpful and please feel free to ask any more questions. Take care and all the best to you all. Xx

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Hello Hannah

Thank you so much for sharing how you prepared for your second child and afterwards. It’s been really tough at times for me as I’m sure you understand nobody wants to go through getting ill again yet am determined to reduce the severity of relapse.

I’m sure my Perinatal Mental health service has paperwork. However I’m leaving nothing to chance especially as I feel the rug was pulled under us last time....thank you for your information I will use this and the online guidance to get my wife’s wishes and care plan in a rough outline which will help if the situation changes. Thanks it is appreciated from me, my wife and of course daughters who were giving ‘bump’ a hug & kiss earlier xx