Panic attacks after PP?

Hello All,

This is my first post. I am very thankful to have found this forum, it helps a lot to know that I am not alone..

I was diagnosed with PP in July, spent three weeks in hospital. It was three months after my beautiful baby girl was born.

I am on medication and seeing a psychologist and a psychiatrist but recently had two panic attacks (breathlessness, faint, racing heart, heat waves). I also feel down a lot and have some very bad thoughts which are difficult to manage. I wonder if it is a side effect of the medication (I am on 5mg Zyprexa in the evening and 15mg Abilify in the morning) being too strong? Has anyone else experienced this?

I need to learn to get this under control, very scary.... I want to be able to take care of my little sweetheart again and just can't see the light at the end of the tunnel right now...

Thanks,

Cangra

10 Replies

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  • Hi Cangra, I have only just discovered this forum too. I was in hospital in April put on 20mg zyprexa daily. The bad thoughts were still there for 2 weeks then they went away thank god but that's only because I really felt like I just came out of the episode and got a bit better each day. So far 6 months later I haven't relapsed but I think it's possible to have periods where you get really down again. When that happens to me I try to really get 8 hrs sleep most nights and do some rewarding things like swimming with my baby and going out for fresh juices or just little things like that and those things can lift my mood sometimes. It hasn't been too long that you've been out of hospital so sometimes the road can be bumpy. My medication was so strong it made me a zombie until I got used to it a bit. But if I were you from what I know now I'd start keeping a diary of your thoughts and feelings and then read over it before your psych appointments so you can be more clear and see what they think. Psych meds are pretty gnarly drugs and can cause all sorts of side effects so it could be the meds that need altering or maybe you are being triggered to have panic attacks from some emotional stresses. It won't be long and you will get everything sorted and be able to look back on when you had horrible scary thoughts. Hope you have a better day tomorrow take lots of care of yourself and don't beat yourself up for anything xx

  • Hello Cangra,

    So pleased you have found the forum where you will receive lots of help and support. Congratulations on the birth of your daughter. I think it's early days in your recovery so there might be ups and downs to cope with. Feeling down and having bad thoughts can be very frightening, so perhaps your medication might need to be reviewed? I can remember feeling very unsettled by the thoughts I had but with good medical care they eventually faded. It is very difficult for you but we all understand.

    I'm sorry to hear you are also struggling with panic attacks. I don't know the medication you have been prescribed as my PP was so long ago. Perhaps the website, choiceandmedication.org/ncm... might be helpful?

    Have you looked at the Insider Guides, "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" and "Postpartum Psychosis : A Guide for Partners" the link being app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

    Try not to worry ..... we are all here to help you.

  • Hi Cangra

    I'm really sorry to hear you're struggling, and that you've had panic attacks. Have you talked to the professionals who are supporting you? It's good to hear you're seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist, I hope that helps? You may have contacted them already, but first of all I would say do get in touch with them, especially if you are feeling low, and have had the panic attacks. I'm sure they could help you, and maybe adjust the meds if needed?

    I was on an anti psychotic (Olanzapine) and an anti depressant (Escitilipram) as I was also really low. So I know how hard that is too (suffering from depression). It is horrible. Some days were such a struggle. I just want to reassure you really that they really do get better, I found slowly i would have more better days, but then like you have had now, i would have a blip. I have to say I was up and down for quite a while (quite a few months)...

    As Angviolet has said, I found having a routine, having little goals for myself each day really helped - even very simple things like I'll wash up, put on laundry, watch X on TV, then go for a walk etc... I think it just helped me to feel I was achieving something somehow. Sometimes I would write in a diary 3 things I'd enjoyed / that were good about the day - sometimes I could only manage very small things (like my baby smiled, or it was sunny) but again it helped build up some positive thoughts.

    I didn't manage exercise at the time but I've heard so many people say that's helpful - running, yoga? I wonder if there's a class you could maybe attend regularly? I also regret not going to any groups with baby - not mum and baby groups necessarily (as sometimes I found that actually hard, being with other mum's who hadn't gone through what I had gone through) but maybe another group to do with something your interested in (art? gardening? exercise? etc) and maybe one that accepts babies too? you may find that helpful?

    You really will get better, and come through it. Thinking of you XX

  • Hello All,

    Thank you so much for the lovely responses! They are full of great advice. I had a good night's sleep of 8 hours and feel better today. I also started journaling which helped to get clarity of the root cause of the panic attacks. The one thing that kept me going and helped me not to pass out was the thought of it just being a thought and not real. And of course that I had to push through for my little daughter. It is not real just a thought... In both situations I felt overwhelmed and helpless.

    So I took some steps yesterday after going through sad, worry, angry, disappointed motions. I have two appointments to see my psychologist and psychiatrist. I also made an appointment with a hypnotherapist to get over my fear of driving (which triggered the first panic attack). My psychiatrist recommended to take 1mg Temesta in case of another panic attack. I also started journaling and started to look at things that I enjoy (like baking cakes) again.

    Did anyone have experience with hypnotherapy treating PP?

    Thanks so much for your responses, they meant a lot. It is so helpful to know that I am not alone with this.

    Best wishes,

    Cangra

  • Hello cangra

    I'm really pleased that you found good support and advice here. It is sometimes hard to deal with upsetting thoughts ..... some seem to get stuck so we dwell on them but these thoughts are your illness and not your own.

    I don't have any experience of hypnotherapy. I think journalising is a good idea as you can look back and see how far you have come and perhaps recognise triggers to your panic attacks? This will also be useful for your psychiatrist and psychologist to read.

    You really are not alone ..... we are all with you for as long as you would like to drop in and chat here. Take good care of yourself.

  • Dear Cangra,

    I have been reading the dialogues above and I am very proud of you and how much inner strengths you have in order to focus on self-help. Well done.

    I have had PPP in 2010 and recovered from it after hospitalisation and taking medication for one year. Very traditional once, thus, I am not experienced with the once you are taking.

    Despite the medication I managed to drive after 7 months. My partner made sure to inject a lot of confidence in me in order to have a bit of independence as we are living in the country side. I have had to learn from scratch again such as looking after my hygiene, learning to look after the baby with the help of my partner and lots more. Just to give you an idea about my poorliness- my partner and soul mate was my full time carer in 2010 and p.t carer in 2011. This way of recovery was so much better than staying in a hospital. There was no MBU nearby.

    I did a sure start class when my son was 6 months old (baby massage). I believe it is very positive to pick up on things you enjoy thoroughly, but simultaneously to make sure that you connect with others in order not to isolate yourself. Communication helps a lot.

    I still struggle with fear and anxiety...but I have my copying mechanism i.e. meditation, walks and cycling, and loads of painting. I suppose practise in trying to face obstacles help to improve fears and subsequently panic attacks. I attended support groups and simple things have had to be practised again such as crowd control at the super market. Professional help is of great importance, if you have any phobias...

    Wishing you good luck with everything...and just to let you know I live now a fulfilling and happy life and with my little family (my son is 6 now :-)

    Sabine

  • My psychologist said panic attacks was common after psychosis, part of the illness not the medicine (I was on different medicine). She said if i recognised it as a panic attack it was a good sign I was getting better, not that I was relapsing. It only happened once to me.

  • Hello All, thanks so much for your replies. I am feeling better. Some days are better than others. Spoke to my doctor and he will change the medication to add SSRIs from next week.

    It is so nice to know that there are mammies out there experiencing or who have experienced the same. I find it difficult to explain how exactly I feel to someone who does not know this illness. From the outside it all looks ok.

  • Hello cangra

    Good to hear from you. I remember how some days were better than others. Hopefully the change in medication will be better for you, although it might take time to kick in.

    It's a comfort to know there are others here who can relate so well to how you are feeling. When I first found APP a few years ago I was amazed that other mums had the same experiences. I know how difficult trying to explain this illness to someone can be ...... when it first hit me I thought everyone else had a problem and I was completely in denial :) I did eventually fully recover and found my place again.

    We are all here anytime you would like to chat. Take care.

  • Hello cangra

    I hope the medication change has helped you to have a better week.

    Thinking of you ... take care.

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