Postpartum Pyschosis...now what? - Action on Postpar...

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Postpartum Pyschosis...now what?

chadlink
chadlink

Hi,

I am curious how many women on here after being diagnosed with post partnum Pyschosis became bipolar? Have any women fully recovered from PP and are currently not on any meds?

47 Replies
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Ellie_at_APP
Ellie_at_APPAdministrator

Hi Chadlink

Thanks for your post. It is a interesting and important question. There is actually some research and statistics concerning whether you will become unwell again after PP, or not. What is known at the moment is on our FAQ section of our website, but more research is needed.

The link is here: app-network.org/what-is-pp/... and the last question is "am I likely to have a psychiatric illness at other times?" It says:

"Just over half of women with Postpartum Psychosis will experience an episode of depression, bipolar disorder or related illness at some point in their lifetime. (This estimate includes women with and without experience of mental illness before their PP episode, and so the risk may be lower for women whose PP episode was ‘out of the blue’.) "

Personally, I had PP 5 years ago now, and I had no previous history of mental illness. I was off all meds after 2 years, and have remained well since. I would definitely say I am fully recovered, though I do think the experience of PP does stay with you, and this forum and APP have been so important in helping me come to terms with it all, and to process everything that has happened, and to bring positive things out of the experience. I am much more conscious now of my mental health, and I do try and live a balanced and positive lifestyle (e.g. do things I enjoy, that are relaxing, and and make me feel good).

I do hope that you are well, and recovering? I hope others will be able to share their experience here too. From hearing many women's stories, each person's recovery and experience is unique and different, and some people do develop bipolar after PP, and do have to take medication for much longer than I did.

Ellie

Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer in reply to Ellie_at_APP

Hello Chadlink

I had PP twice many years ago and did not become bipolar. After so many years I can say that I have fully recovered and am not on any medication.

I was treated under general psychiatric care and was very fortunate to defeat PP twice as I was very ill for a long time, also suffering depression afterwards which lasted for a year.

Are you recovering from PP? I hope all the links above which Ellie has given will be helpful.

Take care.

Bindy7
Bindy7 in reply to Lilybeth

Is this common depression after pychosis? I had the same...

I was in the hospitalized for depression 2 weeks after being released from the PP episode. My husband and I learned from the hospital that it is very common.

chadlink
chadlink in reply to Lilybeth

Hi Lily, thank you and so happy you recovered both times. My wife is recovering. It's been 4 weeks. 2 weeks in the hospital and 2 weeks at home now. Did you take any medication to recover? Antipsychotics, mood stablizers, etc? Also after each episode how long did it take you to become stable and get rid of your symptoms.

benedicte
benedicte in reply to chadlink

Hi again,

I had a lot of different medication during my stay at the MBU which lasted just over 3 months. When i was discharged I was on Olanzapine (anti-psychotic) for several more months as well as Lithium (mood stabiliser). As I wrote in my other post my Lithium is being reduced each month. By the time I will be off it (November) it will have been 20 months of taking medication). I can say that I am now fully recovered. But of course there is no guarantee i will stay happy and calm once I am off the Lithium.. we will just have to wait and see and make sure to spot signs of mania/depressiom in order to prevent it from escalating.

I know you are eager to understand the timeframes. For me it was over 3 months in MBU of which 5 weeks without seeing my daughter as I was really unwell. But after my delusions and mania disappeared and i could stay at home I was depressed and all i wanted to do was sleep. However after I stopped Olanzapine my energy levels increased and when my daughter was 8 months old I managed to return to work 3 days a week. For me that was good. Looking after a baby 24/7 wad not for me. Mixing it up with work made me better at enjoying time with my daughter.

Good luck to your wife and you and the family. It takes time but all will be well eventually! Just don't expect it to be over quickly. I would say a year is the usual time you should anticipate for her to recover but of course each case is different.

Best wishes!

Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer in reply to chadlink

Hello chadlink

Thank you so much. I'm sorry I couldn't reply earlier as I was at work but you have had some really good replies here. Your wife is doing very well to have only been in hospital for two weeks although it will take her a while to find her place again.

Medications have changed so much since my PP episodes. From my records in I was prescribed Largactil which is used to treat psychotic illness. Another medication was Imipramine, used to treat depression. I was prescribed Amitriptyline at night, also Stelazine, an anti-psychotic medication which helped to settle my delusions. During both episodes other interventions were tried in tandem with medication and I eventually fully recovered.

I was sectioned to general psychiatric care without my son and then transferred to another mental health unit and my son was allowed to join me. I spent six months in various mental health units and it took me well over a year or more to feel fully recovered.

Six years later, following the birth of my second son, I was mostly treated at home with a Psychiatrist, CPN and Health Visitor coming to our home, except in times of crisis when I was hospitalised. I did have a deep depression for almost a year and must have been a nightmare to live with. From my notes I've read that I was argumentative, which was a great surprise and at times it felt as though I was reading about a completely different person.

There's a short book on here "Husband in a Storm" which you might find helpful to read. It is a worry to see your wife struggling but she will eventually fully recover. Please take care of yourself too and keep writing here if it helps ....... sorry for rambling on :)

Hi Ellie, thank you so much for your response. My wife has never had any mental illness prior to this nor in her family. She was always the most stable person I have ever met and it's just been hard to deal with. She spent 16 days in the hospital and has been home for 15 days. She is not hallucinating or delusional anymore, but still has a lot of anxiety, paranoia, confusion, and hard time processing information. She also is pretty moody. Mornings and days she is energetic but has a hard time focusing on a single task for long periods and at night she struggles with sadness.

Did you have any similar symptoms and how long did they last?

Ellie_at_APP
Ellie_at_APPAdministrator in reply to chadlink

Hi chadlink

Sorry it's taken me a day or two to reply. Everything you've described above I wanted to say yes I did experience! I did suffer from depression after the psychosis which is very common. I found I felt more low in the mornings. I also felt really overwhelmed / anxious I'm public places, particularly when there were lots of people.

I know it's so traumatic and you must be really scared that your wife will never be herself again but she will definitely get better and be fully herself again.

I wanted to give you the link to our recovery guide and guide for partners. I think you'll find them really helpful. They were written by clinicians and women who had pp. It's on our website under 'getting help'. I'm sorry I'm writing on my phone and it doesn't seem to be letting me copy the link . I'll try and do it later.

I'll be honest and say it probably did take me about 18 months to fully recover. It was up and down recovery so I would have good and bad days but gradually the bad days got less. But some people recover in a shorter or longer times, it's so individual.

Take care and keep writing whenever you need to x

Ellie_at_APP
Ellie_at_APPAdministrator in reply to Ellie_at_APP

Here is the link for the insider guides app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

Ellie_at_APP
Ellie_at_APPAdministrator in reply to Ellie_at_APP

I also thought you may find this blog helpful 'what to say to someone who has pp'. It was written by a woman who had pp and details what she would have liked to have heard from different people. .. I could really relate to it. ppsoup.com/2016/01/26/what-...

I did. I couldn't focus at all. And I had this restlessness that would not go away. I had depression but it was weird, it wasn't a sadness it was more a worry and fear. I felt very strange. I longed for my body to stop cycling but it would not!

Hi, I suffered twice with out of the blue PP with no previous history of mental illness. The first time I was admitted to a Mother and Baby unit for one week and then returned home and recovered quickly under medication. I took Olazapine for 4 or 6 months under advice and experienced no more delusions, I was back at work by 10 months fully recovered. I then experienced it again two years later after my second birth. In a similar situation it was acute delusions for about a week and then recovered quickly taking Olzapine for about 3 months. (This time I started meds whilst in labour and managed the episode at home with support) I was lucky to not experience depression and have not been diagnosed with any mental illness. I'm back at work full time after enjoying the full year of maternity leave. I would say I am fully recovered. I still have the odd flashes of existentialist thoughts which are completely normal and I allow them to occur. I think under PP (for me) these thoughts would just run away with themselves and they couldn't be contained and I would find my mind out of control. It's so hard for everyone especially the partners. Stay positive. I found talking through my fears and thoughts really helpful as chatting it through with my partner he was able to help me try to see that there was no logic to them. (That might not work for everyone though).

Hope that's helpful. Sending positive thoughts. X

Hannah_at_APP
Hannah_at_APPAdministrator

Hi Chadlink, to share my experience, I had PP in 2009 "out of the blue" with no previous MH problems. I spent time in a general ward and also a MBU, 3 months in total. I was then taking medication for 3 years (Lithium) and olanzapine as an anti-psychotic for the first year, both in reducing doses before stopping.

I had another baby in 2013 and remained well, with some good support in place and a low dose of olanzapine for a few months after delivery.

I think it is very common to be depressed and anxious after the initial PP episode. I was such a zombie, completely shot of all confidence, and a real shell of my former self. It does take time to come back, but with time and patience, it will for your wife too I am sure.

I have not been diagnosed with bipolar or any other diagnosis, and the links given above will hopefully offer you some further information, although much more research is needed.

PP is such an awful, debilitating illness and seems like a cruel blow at what should be the happiest of times. But women can and do recover, we are all proof of that. I know that it can be tough for families and friends too, but I hope that you are pulling together and can come through this stronger. Take care and please ask any more questions you would like. All the best, xx

Hi,

From what i understand from discussions with my psychiatrist: the fact that i had a severe episode of PPP and at the time was diagnosed with bipolar affective disorder effectively means I am bipolar but it could be that the postpartum episode ends up being the only bipolar episode i have. I am still taking Lithium but reducing it by 100mg each month so by November I will be off it completely.

I watched a documentary about two women with PPP where one (Jenny a solicitor) had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder before having PPP and the other (cannot remember her name) was diagnosed bipolar at the time of the PPP, so I raised this with my psychiatrist. I do not know if evey woman who has had PPP keeps the label bipolar. But because i was manic as well as severely depressed I got the diagnosis bipolor affective disorder. I did also speak to my psychiatrist about the documentary on bipolar disorder which stephen fry took part in and that before he got the diagnosis bipolar he had been told he had cyclothemia, which i understood to be a mild form of bipolar disorder. My psychiatrist says cyclothemia is not a disorder. It is just something you are. If you are cyclothemic your mood swings are simply higher/lower than the average person. That doesn't make you a sick person. Just as nobody today would argue that a person is sick if they are sexually attracted to the same sex and labelled gay/lesbian.

Curious to hear more people's views on PPP/bipolar diagnosis!

Thanks for raising this important topic!

Bindy7
Bindy7 in reply to benedicte

I loved that documentary. It was so informative especially for the US where we don't have that, level of care

Jenny_at_APP
Jenny_at_APPAdministrator

Hello chadlink,

I had PP in 2012 after the birth of my first son. I had no history of mental illness and it was completely out of the blue.

I spent a month in a mother and baby unit and was on antipsychotic medication (Quetiapine) for a year before reducing off it over 3 months.

I would say I was 'well' by the time I was discharged from the MBU, I responded very well to the medication and fortunately made a quick recovery from the psychosis. However it did take some time to fully recover and process everything, and I'd say I didn't feel completely back to myself until I was off the medication. I was definitely knocked down and it left me quite flat (partly the medication I'm sure) and I was sad for a long time that I was robbed of those early weeks of motherhood.

I've always tried to be open about my PP which helped me a lot in my recovery, being able to talk about it and also write things down. I appreciate this is not something everyone is able, or wants, to do however.

I've had no symptoms since then and have had a second son who is 6 months old, happily without recurrence. I went on a low dose of Quetiapine after the birth and am reducing off that now. Obviously I hope to then remain medication free and symptom free but am aware that there will always be a risk of relapse in the future. I don't have a diagnosis of bipolar.

I hope your wife continues to recover well. It is early days and it sounds like she is doing very well. On top of coming through the psychosis she will still be dealing with hormonal changes post childbirth and side effects of medication. I remember well the period of intense confusion and paranoia. Recovery can be a long process and like I said, despite my quick recovery from PP it still took a long time to process it all, it's a very scary and traumatic experience.

I hope you find others' experiences here helpful.

Very best wishes, J x

Hi Chadlink,

I wondered a lot about this myself too so I have old questions on here about bi polar and PP uf you want to look them up. My son is almost 2 1/2 and I have been completely off meds as on this past January. I was on an anti psychotic called Invega for 6 months and had major hormonal disruption from it. So I was taken off I opted not to go on another antipsychotic and focus more on mood stabilator meds. I also started taking Prozac about 2 months after the PP episode because I went back to the psychiatric hospital because of severe depression. When I came off Invega they weaned me off of that and Prozac and started me on lamictal which is a mood stabilizer. My 1 st psychiatrist said there is a high chance that I am bi polar and that it was my first episode. Even though it happened when I was 30 and I had absolutely no mental illness in my past. However my grand father spent some time in a mental hospital so that was a red flag for bi polar. I got a second opinion because I had a hard time trusting the 1 st doc( I thought he was a total drug pusher) the second one basically said the same time. That there was a good chance I was bi polar but only time would tell and to keep track of moods. The part that bothered me was I didn't want to be on meds for the rest of my life just because there is a chance. It just didn't make sense. So I found a 3rd doc. (I liked the 2nd one but her location was out of the way) the 3 rd one supported me eventually coming off meds to see how I did. She was a little hesitant I think because I was so ill with the PP and psychosis but I was glad in the end that she was caucious. I stepped down off lamictal for like 6 months. I did it really slowly. I was on a lower dose in the first place. The last month that I was on them I was really nervous to be med free and I think I psyched my self out. And had to keep taking them for another month. I have been very stable the past 8 months and feel very fortunate for my mental state. I really worked hard to get healthy too. I changed some things about my diet, I make sure I get enough sleep, get accupuncture for stress. I ask for help when I am feeling frazzled and I see my therapist every 6 weeks. I never had to be concerned this much before with my mental state so instead of taking meds I really make sure I'm doing a lot of self care. I hope this helps. Hope your family is doing well.

I'm not sure if your wife is someone hesitant about meds but if she is ...... Make sure she Never stops taking them with out your doc knowing. There were several times I almost cold-turkey quit them. I am so glad I didn't. It was hard to be patient and run the course of them but I had faith that I was slowly getting better.

Thank you so much to everyone who has responded. It was so helpful to hear your stories and wish you all the absolute best!

My wife seems to be doing very well it seems. She is currently on only two medications. Latuda for antipsychotic and Zoloft for anxiety/depression. She just started these drugs after respridal seemed to plateau.

Did any one have increased anxiety and confusion/paranoia when going to public places like say the grocery store? And if so how long until you where able to start enjoying things like going out to dinner, movies, etc?

Is there any thing you would recommend I do to help as a partner?

Jenny_at_APP
Jenny_at_APPAdministrator

Hi chadlink,

I'm glad you're finding all the replies helpful. The guides Ellie has linked to above are excellent resources.

I do remember being very anxious and paranoid in public places early on, especially towards the end of my stay in the MBU - we were allowed to go to the local supermarket and I hated it, I felt like everyone was staring at me, whispering about me and knew I was a terrible mother. This got better over time as the paranoia went away. I felt anxious for some time, mostly around looking after my baby. It was a real blow to my confidence and I needed a lot of reassurance. My husband and mum were great, supportive and calming (my mum's stock response when I was in a fluster about something I'd done / not done to make me feel like a crap mum was "we've all been there and worse"). Spending time with a couple of new mums I'd met at antenatal classes was great for me as time went on, seeing a lot of the anxieties I felt weren't particular to my PP and were normal for all of us.

If your wife is feeling like this, I'm sure anything you can say to reassure her and reinforce what a good mum she is will help; even if it doesn't immediately seem to register I'm sure it will be going in. I remember the staff in the unit saying things like "oh look, he definitely knows his mum" - that was very early on when I was still delusional but I remember it.

I was very lucky not to go on to suffer depression. I don't remember when we first went out but I guess try and go at your wife's pace - she will be herself again.

I hope you are getting support too.

Take good care x

Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Chadlink

I was very anxious during my recovery from PP. I was even described as an "anxious mother" by my GP when my first son was not very well and he was referred to hospital. In the referal letter the GP added that I would "hardly let the wind blow on him" ......

We all have the same diagnosis but some of us have recovered quicker than others. I can't honestly remember when we first went out. It took me a while to regain my confidence and it was a slow process. I'm sure as much as I wanted to be well there were days which were better than others, especially when depression set in after my second PP.

I think just being there for your partner, reassuring her that she will get better will be a comfort. Try not to rush her to be well ...... it does take time. As mums who have had PP we sometimes rush to be well and back to 'normal' for the sake of our families but if we are not quite ready we do struggle.

After fully recovering by 1977 (two years after my first PP) we did go to a 'one night only' dance class. We had such a good time together ..... Perhaps when your wife feels more able to cope in public, you might go out together on a 'date' as a change from routine?

It's very early days for your wife but she has done really well in a short time. I hope the new medications will be helpful. With your great support and patience your wife will fully recover.

Take good care ...... we are here if you would like to talk.

Dear Chadlink,

I am writing from the U.S. I had a psychosis 37 years ago and my doctor wanted to diagnose me as bipolar. However, I rejected the diagnosis and have been completely well and medication free for 37 years. I think that doctors in the U.S. are more likely to diagnose women who have Postpartum Psychosis as bipolar. They want to say 90% of women with PPP are bipolar, but I think that is way too high.

I am a firm believer that careful adherence to a balanced diet, good sleep practices, and methods for stress reduction will help women to avoid future incidents. My psychosis only happened with my second child, and I had no issues with my first or third, even though both were stressful. I feel that the reason for my psychosis was sleep deprivation, combined with a stressful birth experience.

Good luck to you. Believing that you will be well again is good medicine!

chadlink
chadlink in reply to skgerdes

Hi,

Thank you for sharing. Did they have to hospitalize and medicate you still? Do you remember how long it took you to get back. The hardest thing for me right now is the delusional thinking.

Thanks!

Hi Everyone,

How many of you had to be hospitalized twice? I'm getting little concerned her latest medicine change isn't working that well or has plateaued out. She still seems stable but has a lot of confusion and maybe racing thoughts. It is just so scary because she is doing so well but still not herself so sometimes it feels like it could happen all over again.

Thanks!

Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer

Hello chadlink

It's very difficult for you to watch your wife struggling but at least she is stable. It's early days and the new medications will take a while to kick in.

I was in hospital more than once with my recovery in 1981 when I was mainly treated at home. In times of crisis, I was hospitalised sometimes for a few days, sometimes longer. As for your wife not being herself I can totally understand. I've read my notes and hardly recognised the young woman described. One letter from the Psychiatrist described a visit where I would say something and take ages to get to the point .... sometimes never getting to the end of what I wanted to say. At other times I was described as hysterical when medication was mentioned and that by giving my tablets to my husband I would be tempted to take them all. My moods seemed to be very high and low and unfortunately I did experience depression.

Just listen and believe everything she says to you, as it is all very real and frightening to her. It is scary for you but I think once the right balance of medication and treatment is found your wife will slowly improve. Sometimes it can feel like one step forward and two back but as long as you are able to reassure your wife that you are there for her she will be so comforted.

It's not easy after only two weeks in hospital and two at home but in time your wife will fully recover.

Take care .... we are all here for you.

chadlink
chadlink in reply to Lilybeth

Would you say you had a lot of delusional thinking and disorganized thinking/memory loss?

A lot of times She seems to have a hard time finishing her sentences and changes topics/feelings pretty rapidly. Very hard to explain.

Do you remember how long it took for your Pyschosis symptoms to go away? Meaning th racing thoughts, confusions, delusional thinking, hallucinations, etc?

Ellie_at_APP
Ellie_at_APPAdministrator in reply to chadlink

Hi Chadlink

I know it can be really scary with your wife acting like this. I had exactly what you described, disorganised thinking and memory loss. I couldn't remember anything, and I remember not being able to finish my sentences, and my moods changing etc. One day I would feel fine and the next I would feel completely different, even sometimes within one day my moods would change.

For me my recovery was up and down. Within 3 or 4 weeks the worse of my psychotic symptoms stopped and I recovered very rapidly, but then after about 6 weeks I became very anxious and they came back a bit (I became quite paranoid) and then I felt very down. I don't want to say anything to make you feel oh goodness it's going to go on and on, but for me it was very up and down. I would have very good days / weeks and then I would have a 'blip' (never full psychosis, more anxiety and depression). However each person really does seem to be different - some people report feeling completely well and recovered after 4 or 6 months. For me it was more 18 months to 2 years before I felt fully myself again. That was when I came off all the meds too as they do have an affect.

I hope this is helpful, and reassuring that really everything you describe about your wife is, from my experience but also from meeting other PP mums, very typical of postpartum psychosis.

I hope you are doing OK. Keep coming on here and asking anything you want.

Take care x

Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer in reply to chadlink

Hello chadlink

I definitely had a lot of delusional thinking .... all very real to me but very hard for others to understand. I was disorganised and I'm not sure whether it was all the medication I was taking that played its part in this.

It's quite distressing to see how my moods fluctuated. It was noted that although at times I was reluctant to communicate, at other times I was aggressive and suspicious and then rambling. This really was not 'me'.

I did have other interventions as well as medication which worked. One of the medications was Stelazine which lessened my delusions. My second PP followed the birth of my son in July 1981 and in October the Psychiatrist wrote that I was returning to normal house routines. Unfortunately, I was hospitalised again as I had an enduring depression for a long time.

I agree with Ellie that each one of us has had a different path to recovery .... some longer than others. In spite of all the ups and downs, with good medical care and your support your wife will fully recover in her own time.

I hope you have support for yourself too. Take care.

Is there any one thing you all think I should avoid? I do believe she is recovery very well. Just still very moody and unpredictable at times which can be scary

Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer

Hello chadlink

I'm not sure whether there is any one thing you should avoid saying. The trouble is when we are just getting over PP we are really not aware of what we are saying or hearing. I could be very argumentative with my husband or very moody but didn't realise this at the time. It's only by reading my notes that I have seen the 'other side' of me. So if your wife is saying things out of character be reassured that it's part of her recovery and she doesn't mean any hurtful things she might say.

I was very unpredictable and must have been a nightmare for my husband and family. I was so ill at one point that I had to be watched 24 / 7 for my own safety.

With my first PP recovery I do remember I had retreated to my bed as no one believed my delusions. I clearly remember my sister coming to my room and tugging at the bedclothes, shouting at me "pull yourself together, you have a baby to look after downstairs" but I couldn't leave what was my sanctuary and safe place. So that probably is a thing to avoid saying, which I'm sure you know anyway ........

Do you live in the UK? If so I wondered if Sure Start might be able to offer their support? Also I've had a look at the book mentioned earlier "Husband in a Storm" and from page 8 the husband records that he noticed a difference in his wife, "normally a happy, good natured person, she seemed to question herself and her abilities to be a good mum .....". It might be a good idea for you to read it from that page as he goes through each week and comments on changes in his wife, noticed by himself, family and professionals.

I think Ellie also gave you the link to ppsoup which is brilliantly written, about what to say to someone with PP. Although your wife is recovering well I understand how scary it is for you, sometimes like walking on eggshells, trying to find the right words. You are doing really well so try and get as much support as you can. If you live in the UK does your wife have regular visits from a care team? At one point I remember commenting there were too many people in the house as there were so many people looking after me!

As time goes on your wife will settle into her new medications and you will see an improvement. Sometimes just a reassuring hug is all we need ......

chadlink
chadlink in reply to Lilybeth

Thank you! I will read the book/off ! I found it online. My biggest fear is just not recovering. She was always the most stable person I have every met and always a good normal happy. And stability seems to be so far away. That was always her biggest strength!

Thinking back on all my wife's symptoms. The one thing I did notice while she was in the hospital with Pyschosis so during would would be her mania if she was actually bipolar somehow was an increased sex drive which is not the norm for my wife. Meaning she kept mentioning I can't wait until after our 6 week check up. I can't wait to have more kids etc.

Did any one with just PP ever experience something like this?

Bramble7
Bramble7 in reply to chadlink

Hi chadlink,

There is a really helpful list of signs and symptoms on the APP website that may be worth a look at to help you pick out any indicators to keep an eye out for, when your wife is feeling much better then she may find this useful/reassuring to look at too - not all, but some women do have an increased sex drive and it is one of the symptoms/indicators of Postpartum Psychosis.

chadlink
chadlink in reply to Bramble7

The list for bipolar or post partnum Pyschosis? Do you have a link?

I just want to reassure you, that your wife will get better.

I personally, had PP back in 2012 after the birth of my first child, I was hospitalised 10 days after his birth, and sectioned.

I was in psychosis for about 2 weeks, and was obviously clear of it when I was discharged from hospital after having stayed there for a month.

What I would say is that, I think when I got out of hospital, initially, everyone thought that that was me ok, and I was better now (I suppose they all longed for it) but it took me a while to recover, and it was some time before I felt like "me" again and my Husband got his wife back.

It will take your wife a little while to "trust herself" again.

You can go very high or very low with PP, I went very high and when I came back down to earth I felt terribly depressed, anxious and socially phobic, none of which are me at all!

But with time, love and support (both from family, friends and APP) I made a full recovery.

If you'd have told me back then that I would ever feel like "me" again, I would never have believed you, but I am back to my old self now and in a very happy place.

We also went on to have a second child in 2014 (I used APP peer support, had a care plan in place, and took preventative medication after delivery, and I was fine this time)

It might be useful to have a look at the early symptoms section of the APP website, this may help you to identify symptoms/indicators/triggers - be mindful of them, but try not to overanalyse too much.

This forum has been a wonderful support to me, perhaps when your wife is feeling a bit better you could point her towards here, and/or APP peer support too, in the meantime, credit to you for seeking out the information and forum.

chadlink
chadlink in reply to Bramble7

Hi Bramble7,

Thank you so much. Did you have any previous mental health issues at all? Also once you got home you said all the Pyschosis stopped...did you still have other symptoms like anxiety, paranoia, mood swings (high energy in the AMs and tired at nights), confusion, difficulty communicating at times, etc. I just can't accept that my wife may be "bipolar" it just wouldn't make sense.

I need to take all your advice and put it to action. It's been roughly 7 weeks. 3-4 weeks at home already and I just want to be able to go to dinner and have a glass of wine.

I feel so much for you ladies. I plan on opening a facility here in the states for women with post partnum issues. I have the resources to do so, but want to give this time to pass.

Thank you all!

Ellie_at_APP
Ellie_at_APPAdministrator

Hi Chadlink

Thanks for writing. That's amazing that you are considering opening a facility for women with postpartum issues in the states, I've heard that support is really patchy in the states and not good at all. It sounds like that would be much needed. I can't tell you how important it was for me and my recovery to be in a mother and baby unit and not separated from my son, I think that would have exasaperated the illness and made it even worse. Here support could be better (the research shows there aren't enough MBU beds) but it's still better than where you are I think.

The web page that Bramble7 mentions is here, 'early symptoms' app-network.org/early-sympt...

You may find reading the frequently asked questions helpful as well, if you haven't read it already: app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

7 weeks is still very early for your wife's recovery. I know you want her to be well as soon as possible, but she will in time. As I wrote before recovery is up and down, but it does sound like it's well on the way.

Take care, I hope the links are helpful

Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer

Hello chadlink

I think Bramble7 has already reassured you that your wife will fully recover in time. Before we had this unique mental illness we were all stable, happy young women, so looking forward to adding a baby to our family. PP is such a game changer and there are lots of ups and downs to recovery. We have all been through the mill but come out the other side, much stronger, happier, with a great zest for life.

I'm sorry mental health is not as recognised in the States as here in the UK. Have the doctors mentioned bipolar in relation to your wife's illness? In the UK we do have Bipolar UK which has an eCommunity and forum so I don't know if you will be able to access via the net?

You are doing really well to cope with your wife's illness at home. 3 /4 weeks is very early days but I'm sure she is enjoying all the comforts of home with you and your baby.

Take good care ..... the 'dates' with your wife are on hold for now but will mean so much more in time.

chadlink
chadlink in reply to Lilybeth

Hi Lilybeth,

Her current doctor after one visit (45 mins) said she is bipolar. I do not believe given her previous Health and only being 4 weeks out she could make that diagnosis. Here in the states pretty much every pyschtrist believes it is bipolar so it's hard not to get that label.

Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer

Hello chadlink

That seems to be a quick diagnosis of such an illness.

I was looking on this thread and there's a reply from skgerdes, five days ago, who is also in the US. She had PP 37 years ago and the doctors wanted to diagnose her as bipolar but she rejected their diagnosis and has been completely well and medication free for 37 years. She thinks doctors in the US are more likely to diagnose women who have PP as bipolar. They want to say 90% of women with PP are bipolar but she thinks that's way too high. She had PP with her second child, no issues with first or third.

It's very hard to go against professional advice isn't it? I think your wife needs time to recover from PP first and then her bipolar traits can be properly assessed afterwards.

It's not easy in these early days so I hope you have family support for yourself too.

Hi all,

How many of you still had delusional thoughts after your hospitalization? It seems like 1 or 2 a week my wife in public still feels people are watching or talking about her. At this time I am just charting the events so her dr's have good background. When every one says it take 12-24 months for recovery does that include things like delusional thoughts?

Thank all so much for all the information. It really helps!

Hannah_at_APP
Hannah_at_APPAdministrator

Hi Chadlink, I think each recovery is slightly different, but a lot of symptoms can remain, to some extent, for the time it takes us to recover. I think the feelings of being watched or talked about were one of my main issues too. Being able to go out in public at all is a big step though, so as others have said, it is small things to be marking and then looking back, to see how far you have all come. I know that this helped me and I wasn't able to go out much at all, or for longer than up to an hour, for a long time.

It's good that you are recording the events to feed into reviews with the Drs. This may also be helpful to your wife, as I know I struggled to give examples when asked how things were going.

It is also amazing to hear that you are thinking of opening a facility in the US, as Ellie says whilst we are ahead in the UK in some ways, having more support for every woman and family really is key.

All the best, xx

Hi Hannah,

Do you remember how long the thoughts lasted? Thank for all the info I agree with it all.

Thanks!

Hannah_at_APP
Hannah_at_APPAdministrator in reply to chadlink

Hi Chadlink, I don't remember exact length of time, but definitely over the course of a 6 months - a year, things got better. It was quite gradual, but it helped me to look back at last time/ week/ month and see the difference. I am sure it will get there for you and your wife too, take care, xx

Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer

Hello chadlink

I think your wife is doing very well at such an early stage in recovery to go out in public. I've mentioned in an earlier reply here about being suspicious of people, although with my first PP I was in various mental health units for six months. With my second PP I was mainly treated at home but was in an out of hospital for treatment in times of crisis.

I wonder if you have heard of Jennifer Moyer who is a mental health advocate in the States and has written a book "A Mother's Climb out of Darkness" in which she shares her journey into and out of PP? I don't think you can put an 'end' date on recovery as PP is such a shock to the system and all mums have a different route. It will take time and patience for your wife to rebuild her confidence and find her place again. Your wife is trying so hard to be well but unfortunately recovery can't be rushed.

I agree that it's a good idea to keep a mood diary or chart so that the doctors can see at a glance how your wife is progressing at home.

Take care.

Sorry I am asking so many questions I am just trying to learn everything I can to be better prepared. Did any one hear voices? Or was so paranoid that people talking around you made you think they were saying things about you. Very specific things?

Thank you!

Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer

Hello chadlink

Don't worry about questions, we all understand that you are trying to help your wife. There's a post on the forum from a few years ago entitled "Delusions of Grandeur and religious experiences' which you might find interesting to read.

Best wishes.

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