Is 'Catatonia' part of the healing process

It happened to my wife. She become so aggresive and so much tension, hallucination and delusion. After that, my wife gradually become muted and passive. Also, she unable to move properly. Refused to eat and shower. Just staying on the bed the whole day. It is already two month she in that condition.

I searched in the internet and found the symptom called catatonia (stupor).

I am happy that she gradually losse her anxiety and aggresiveness, but, seeing her in 'sloth' like person, make me feel worried.

Ps: sorry for my bad english...

15 Replies

  • Im like this ha

  • Wish u n my wife will getting better soon as possible.

  • This happened to my mum a long time ago, in the 70s, but is less common now with treatment. Is your wife being treated by a doctor? It sounds like something that was described to me as retarded depression, when the body and mind slow down.

  • The doctor was giving the medication for her. I think you are right about retarded depression.

    Just wonder whether other mom who in recovery process, having this symptom. As just you said, this symtom is rare nowadays. Is it?

    Btw, Thank you for the reply.

  • Hello MrQahhar,

    Welcome to the forum, I'm sorry you and your wife are going through this.

    Are you in the UK? Is your wife receiving treatment and support?

    I don't know about catatonia, I think I've read people describing being in that state when in the psychotic stage. I'm sure others will reply with their experiences. Do you think your wife could be depressed? Depression seems to be very common following the psychosis and having no energy and no interest in anything are symptoms of this, almost like the body shuts down after all that trauma - perhaps the catatonia is a part of this?

    Has your wife seen a doctor since being like this? Is she on medication?

    I hope you have support too and support in looking after your baby.

    Things will get better with the right treatment. I do hope you are getting support in all this and I'm sure you'll get support here.

    Sending you very best wishes,

    J x

  • Hi

    Actually I am not in UK. I am from Malaysia. In our country, mental illness is rarely treated due to lack of information about it. And still the stigma still strong.

    We already refered to the psichiatrist. the doctor said that she in that state because of depression. The doctor also give some medication to take. As just you said, it might be some sort of depression. I think you are right about 'she having no energy to do anything'. Maybe catatonia is just the term.

    Lucky, we got strong support from her parents.

    Btw, Thank you for the wishes.

  • I'm sorry treatment isn't good for you in Malaysia, it's awful that mental illness still has so much stigma attached to it.

    That's good your wife is on medication and I hope seeing the psychiatrist will help and they can get the balance of medication right for her. Really good news that you have good support from your wife's parents and you are clearly a great support to your wife, trying to get as informed as you can about what she's going through.

    It can be a long road to recovery but it will happen.

  • Hi MrQahhar,

    I'm so sorry that your wife is going through this, but really glad you've found this forum and that her parents are supporting you both.

    Catatonia was one of my main symptoms (along with the delirium / more typical "florid" psychosis symtoms as well). At other times the doctors also noted I displayed "psychomotor retardation" - where my movements would slow right down. So not catatonic, but slothful like you mention.

    During my catatonias I was hallucinating but unable to articulate or respond to anyone - because the hallucinations and delusions were so horrifically frightening I couldn't work out how to respond. So my brain shut down. Does that make sense?

    Later on, when i wasn't catatonic or psychotic as such (more like severely depressed) I also stayed in my bed a lot and had no wish to do anything or speak to anyone. This was treated with antidepressants, and unfailing support and encouragement from my family and the nurses!

    I'm not sure whether it is more like the former (psychotic catatonia) or the latter (severe depression) with your wife. However, either way, I would suggest:

    - hold her hand. Reassure her you are there and that you and your love for her are very real.

    - keep talking to her. Don't demand a response if she is unable to give one. Talk to her about anything and everything - where she is, what everyone is doing, how the baby is, the weather...

    - take lots of breaks yourself. Caring for someone in this state is exhausting and emotionally hard as well. So make sure you are eating and exercising well and also that you can spend quality time with the baby?

    Hope this helps


  • Hi Kat...

    It is so much relieve for me, when reading your comment here. It is a relieve to know that my wife is not alone with the symptom.

    It is about 1 month and half, since my wife 'blew' after the psychosis episode. Now, in this situation, I really didnt know the 'do n dont' on how to treat her. Your suggestion and tips are so much helpful to me.


    My oldest daughter (5yrsold) ask me, "Why I am sad daddy? Why I am crying?" She having a mix feeling while she is looking at a picture of her mother in my laptop. I keep hiding my tear and say, "dont be sad dear, your mother will get better. Just pray for her".


    I am so happy because, my wife gave twice big 'smile' while having dinner.

    Yes, everything matter

    APP and this forum bring a spark for 'hope' to our family.

    Thanks for the reply.

  • Really glad to help. Sounds like you are doing all the right things. The wife you know and love will return to you. Hold on to that hope. And do reassure your older child too. Mummy is still in there, behind the illness!

    Sending you and your family all best wishes for a speedy recovery


  • There's no point me writing a reply as my symptoms mirror yours, catatonic and delirious - lasted about 2.5 weeks (meds started and 1.5 weeks I improved) - I remember sleeping for almost days for a while though and being exhausted x

  • Mr. Qahhar,

    welcome to the forum. My name is Sabine and I have had Post Partum Psychosis in 2010.

    I believe you are trying your utter must in trying to improve your wife's health and welfare, because of connecting with this forum, but simultaneously getting some professional help. I am so pleased for you that you have supportive family members.

    My partner looked after me and his family was great whilst my baby and I needed the support. Love and kindness, but also the right diagnosis and treatment is of great importance.

    Hope your wife will get better, soon with your established support network.

    Take good care, of yourself and your wife and baby.


  • Hello MrQahhar

    I'm so glad you have been reassured by the replies here. I'm sorry that your wife is so unwell and it is upsetting for you and your children to see her so helpless. There are APP Insider Guides which might be helpful, "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" and "Postpartum Psychosis : A Guide for Partners". I'm not too good with links but other mums here will be able to help.

    I had PP many years ago and was treated under general psychiatric care. I was very surprised to read my notes a few months ago which described a completely different person. It was noted that I was psychotically depressed, evidenced extreme psycho-motor retardation, was virtually mute and when my expression was not vacant, appeared hostile and suspicious. When encouraged to speak I was exceptionally slow, brief and spoke in the softest whisper. I also harboured paranoid delusions.

    Your wife will be fighting so hard to be well. With your loving support and good medical care she will fully recover eventually. There is always hope ......

    Take very good care of yourself too as this can be a very distressing time.

  • Hi Mr Qahhar,

    When my wife had pp, some of the first real symptoms I remember, was a ghost like appearance, she would just sit bolt upright in bed, say nothing, do nothing. She didn't want to get up, eat, shower, neither did she talk, everything was very slow.

    She needed the right medical treatment and support, the medication, although generally similar across many stories, seems to require their own cocktail.

    My wife had since said she could hear me but she was also fighting an enormous and terrifying battle inside.

    So as KatG said, be calm and reassure her, she knows you are there supporting her as well.

    It is an awful illness to go through but also to watch, you can feel any number of the different emotions, at times I wanted to scream! In front of my wife though I had to be calm and reassuring, my frustrations etc. were let out elsewhere; so make sure you get some time to look after yourself as well, it's good to have helpful family.

    The APP site has some great resources well worth a look.

    Best wishes and thoughts

  • Hi Zapple

    My wife just exactly be as you decribe your wife. In my place, the weather is so hot that require her to get shower daily. It is very physically and emotionally exausted to get her shower. Getting her to eat and take the medication is also a challenging task.

    Yes, i also tend to scream when everything get overwhelming. I really have to be stronger, otherwise, i also might blew myself. Hopefully, not...

    After near two month, today, my wife already recognize her baby. I think it is quite a milestone for us. But, she still look confused and worried a lot.

    Thanks for your wish...

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