Feeling low and hopeless again 11 mon... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Feeling low and hopeless again 11 months on

Hi all I'm after some words of encouragement. As most of you will be aware I had my PP episode back in January but wasn't properly diagnosed until March/April time when I was hospitalised. I spent four months in hospital on and off and have since got better and am home and managing to cope with my daughter on my own. I have also met with Hannah at a perinatal networking event albeit with anxiety in parts. I have been volunteering at a local school two days a week as well but over the past week I have become low and just feel empty. I have little enjoyment in things I used to enjoy and this worries me. I have been having suicidal thoughts again and feel incredibly weepy and anxious. I have been seeing a clinical psychologist finally one day a week but all she wants to talk about is my childhood and not my illness. I see my psychiatrist next week but am unsure what to say as I feel I should be better by now. Is it normal to feel like this 11 months on? I just can't take anymore feeling rubbish it's never ending and I feel that something else is wrong with me as others have recovered and I am still on this roller coaster of emotion and battling my thoughts. Can someone offer me some advice or guidance? It feels like really really bad PMT with the crying and mood swings but the bleak thoughts don't seem to fit with this. X

11 Replies
Lilybeth profile image

Hello bethanylj

So glad you have reached out here ....... I'm sorry you're feeling low and have frightening thoughts which I can relate to as mine were similar. I think it's very early days in your recovery, especially if you have been coping on your own with your daughter.

Sometimes it's difficult to meet all the challenges recovering from PP can throw at you ... some days are better than others whereas other days seem endless. So try not to worry, I remember feeling helpless and hopeless. Trying to put on my "I'm fine" face to the outside world and feeling dreadful.

I think you have condensed how you feel very well here so perhaps you could let your psychiatrist know that this is how you have felt? You could make a note of your moods from now until your appointment to show the psychiatrist rather than talking. I always used to be tongue tied in front of professionals so this would have been a good idea if I had thought about it at the time but I was lost in space for a good while .....:)

It's very difficult to feel you can ever be well when you feel so low. I was the same but my PP was a long time ago and recovery is quicker now. That said, everyone must recover at their own pace and eventually you honestly will. Perhaps you could tell the psychiatrist that you're not sure whether the psychologist's input is helpful but this might be a way of talking openly about your childhood up to the present day. It's not easy opening up and accepting we have had a mental illness, sometimes we feel judged. Although it doesn't feel like it at the moment, it is only temporary.

Try to be as honest with your psychiatrist about your feelings as you have been here. Crying is a stress release in a way, letting all that built up tension go, so don't be too worried about that. Try to surround yourself with as much support ..... talk about how you feel with your family so they understand. Go to your GP before you see your Psychiatrist if you are really struggling over the weekend.

Stay safe and take good care ..... we are all here for you.

Hi bethanylj

I'm really sorry to hear you're struggling. I definitely wouldn't say you should be recovered by now... I had depression after and I still had bouts of it at about 12 months... different people recover at different amount of times... but you will get there. I know it's hard to believe when you're in the middle of it, but you will be fully yourself again.

I would agree with lilybeth, definitely be honest with your psychiatrist. It could be your meds may need to be adjusted a bit? It may be good to keep a mood diary too, just so you can give really clear information to the psychiatrist when you see them.

Things that helped? ... having a plan for the day helped, with small tasks to achieve. Writing at the end of the day one or two things that were good even if at times I couldn't appreciate them that much it just helped to build the positivity. Exercise helps too I think though I didn't manage much.

Take care, we are all here for you.


Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer in reply to Ellie_at_APP

Hello bethanylj

If the open forum is not what you need and in case you would like to communicate with someone personally through messaging online with one of the peer supporters, please complete the registration form for this service via app-network.org/peer-support.

No rush ..... think about it in your own time. It's only whatever suits you.

Take care.

Dear bethanylj,

how are you today? My son is 6 years now and 'you tubing' right now, thus a bit of time to send you a little message. I am so sorry that you feel under the weather. It must certainly feel like a roller coaster.

Journalising your moods and day to day events does help. I still do it when I need to get rid off some cob webs.

I found this forum very helpful, but preferred to talk on a one to one basis with a volunteer (APP peer support as mentioned by Lilybeth above). I discovered the forum only in 2015.

With regards to my support system at home, I quite often attended group therapy in order to confront my agora and social phobia once I weaned off the medication in 2016. In addition I visited sure start programmes.

Each year gets better, I even have had my art exhibition despite my fears at the beginning of this year with the help and support of APP. Socialising is still not my thing, but I get much better at it..

All in stepping stones.

Take care,

Sabine :-)

Hi bethanylj,

I'm so sorry to hear that things are hard. It can feel like two steps forward and one (or more at times) back on occasion can't it? I guess we are all different and recovery can take as long as it takes. I hope you will feel able to talk to the professionals about how you are feeling and whether a meds review or other input might help you. The 1:1 mentioned can be a good fit too.

I hope you have nice things planned for the weekend, including some time to relax and do things that can make you smile. Listening to music, a trashy magazine or playing with my little one were all things that helped me at times like this.

Please take care and know that we are all thinking of you and wishing you well. Have a virtual hug too, it was so lovely to meet you recently and hope to see you again in the future too. Hxx

Lilybeth profile image

Hello bethanylj

I hope you had a good weekend. I noticed in your supportive reply to Riham that you are still struggling with depression which comes and goes.

I hope your Consultant listens and is supportive on Wednesday. It's quite difficult to go out with a baby in this cold weather isn't it? Perhaps your G.P will have a list of groups in your area where you can meet other mums? It's not easy coping with a baby when you are feeling unwell yourself.

Take care .... sending you a virtual hug :)

Many thanks for all your replies. I'm feeling slightly better than I did on Saturday. That's not to say I'm not struggling because I still am. It's hard being in the house all day with Harriet and feeling as i do but am planning small things to keep me distracted. I hope to go out this afternoon for a walk with the pram and hope that lifts my mood. I have an appointment with my consultant on Wednesday so hoping to get some support from him. The thing I am struggling most with at the moment is the medication side of things as inreally don't like taking the olanzapine as I have gained weight and am still confused about my diagnosis and whether I need to take it at all. One consultant gave a diagnosis of psychosis, the other acute anxiety and therefore I'm not sure whether I should be taking olanzapine or not. I have tried stopping it but my mood took a nose dive so may ask for a trial titration on Wednesday and see how I go with just antidepressants. It's all very confusing ;-( thanks again for all your support and will keep in touch and let you all know how i get on x

Ellie_at_APP profile image
Ellie_at_APPPartner in reply to

Hi bethanylj

I was on Olanzapine, I found it quite sedating. I know what you mean too about the weight gain but I personally didn't find that really difficult (I mean, it wasn't something that worried me too much) but I know that a lot of people really struggled with it.

You mentioned you have had a couple of different diagnosis? Are you being supported by a perinatal psychiatrist at the moment? I was wondering if it may be helpful for you, if they are not a perinatal psychiatrist, to ask them to refer you to the APP second opinion psychiatry service? It is completely free and doesn't cost them or you anything. And I have heard nothing but positive feedback from it. Dr Ian Jones is a leading perinatal psychiatrist and specialises particularly with PP. The link is here: app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

He would look at your notes, and speak to you, and recommend different treatment / meds, and clarify the diagnosis etc.

I think some psychiatrists are reluctant to refer but maybe if you explain it's not so much 'second opinion' more 'expert opinion' - and I feel if it's there and it's free anyone who needs it should access it. And remember to emphasise that it's completely free and won't cost them anything to refer you.

I would definitely say never come off meds yourself. I know anti psychotics and anti depressants definitely need to be weaned off gradually as well or people seem to react badly (as you say you did).

I hope this helps.


Lilybeth profile image

Hello bethanylj

I hope you managed to go for a walk with your daughter today. You are doing really well to plan small things to try and lift your mood and distract your thoughts. I don't have any experience with the medication you are on as my PP episodes were a long time ago. I know there are mums here who have been on olanzapine so I'm sure they will be able to share their experiences. I can relate to your mood taking a nose dive when you tried to stop your medication. I also did the same and went downhill ..... I promised the consultant I would never try to reduce my medication again!

I hope your consultant can decide on your diagnosis and give you all the support you need. We are all here for you.

Take care.

Hi Bethanylj,

I hope your appointment goes well today and you feel supported and listened to. I can also really recommend Dr Jones and the APP 2nd Opinion Service (although that was in connection with a further pregnancy, it may also be helpful for you). I felt that professionals were actually a little relieved to get that "Expert" view as without being seen by the same psychiatrist, or a perinatal team, it can be difficult to get a firm diagnosis.

My experience of Olanzapine was everything that you describe around the weight gain (which I still haven't really done much about if I'm honest!) and I found it quite a sedating drug. When I was in planned reductions, I could definitely feel the difference but I can also see why I needed to take it as it kept me where I needed to be at that time and through recovery up to a year or so post PP. I also had a mood stabilizer (Lithium) added before going home from MBU as I was too up and down and anxiety really featured for me too. I took that for 3 years in total. At the time I hated the thought of being on meds, but it did help and I couldn't have recovered without them. Again, everyone is different but hopefully you will be able to get some information from your appointment today to help in this.

Take care, we are all thinking of you and wishing you the very best, xx

Lilybeth profile image

Hello bethanylj

I hope the appointment with your Consultant went well and you were able to let him know how you have been struggling with the medication. Did you ask if you can be referred to Prof Jones at the Second Opinion Service for confirmation of diagnosis, as suggested earlier by Ellie?

Make sure to rest and take good care of yourself ..... we are all here to lean on.

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