Early recovery - this is brutal

Hi forum community,

I was shocked, traumatised and deeply saddened to find that my dream of having a family started in what I can only describe as a nightmare.

My wonderful son is truly beautiful and healthy and I cling onto the extraordinary proud feeling I have being his mummy every day.

...but now only six weeks after having him and five six weeks on from diagnosis I feel so poorly still and so alone.

My family are amazing and have been so supportive in what has been a shocking situation for everyone.

But I certainly didn't expect motherhood to start with a daily battle as it does, of me trying to be a 'normal' mummy but falling short and tiring myself out by lunchtime every day. The tiredness is painful, and I'm left mourning all the things I want to be able to do with my son.

I've been home from hospital for three weeks so I know it's "early days" but when will I start to feel better. I seem to have one good day to every two bad ones.

The hardest part is that I'm surrounded by loving family and professionals, the latter of whom have been very open about not having treated anyone with PP before. So I'm left feeling as though no one will ever understand. How can I ever come to terms and move on from what's happened?

But today, while lying under a duvet warm and cosy while little one is taken for a walk by his nana, I started reading the forum posts. And found a few glimmers of light.

For a start, I'm definitely not as alone in my feelings as I first thought.

Thank you,

Revans

x

17 Replies

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  • Hi Revans,

    Welcome to the forum and thankyou for sharing your story and how you're currently feeling. I had PP back in 2009 and I think you are doing amazingly well to be here and writing to us. I can tell you that things will get better, you will get to where you want to be - it just takes time, cliche'd as that is. It's good to hear that you have got good family and professional support. I wondered if you had seen the APP website and information on there, including Guides (including about Recovery)? Here is the link, which could also be helpful for the professionals involved if they are not experienced in dealing with PP: app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

    I'm sure you will get lots of other replies here, in the meantime please feel free to ask more questions and all the best with your continued recovery. Take care, xx

  • Thanks for your reply Hannah. My mum found the organisation APP and the online guides etc, thank you so much for being there. It means a huge amount to know that what I'm feeling is 'normal' for where I'm at. I really appreciate the replies.

    REvans xxx

  • Hello Revan86

    You really are not alone as we are all here for you ...... Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the birth of your son.

    Here you will find lots of help and support from mums with shared experiences. It is such a shame that the joy of having a baby can be tarnished by PP but as brutal as it is for you now, it is only a temporary illness and with good medical care and support you will fully recover eventually.

    It's very early days for you so you are doing very well to be so aware. I had PP many years ago and wasn't communicating at all for a while but with good general psychiatric care and family support I did fully recover in time.

    While you were under the duvet, I wonder if you came across the APP Insider Guides, i.e. "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" and "Postpartum Psychosis - A Guide for Partners" at app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

    There will be other mums here to share their more recent experiences. We really do all understand and are here to support you in any way we can. PP is a very traumatic illness but you really can move on and come to terms with what happened. It' s a very frightening experience, happening for many of us 'out of the blue' but you will slowly but surely recover.

    Take good care of yourself and try to rest when your son is sleeping. It's good that your family is very supportive. It's a stressful time for everyone but it is possible to make a full recovery.

  • Thanks for your reply Lilybeth, really appreciate it. My Mum ordered the guides you mentioned which introduced me to APP. Really appreciate the support I've found from reading the personal stories and the replies on here.

    REvans x

  • All the best. You are doing the right thing having a break, rest is important. For me things took about a month. Baby was easier at nine weeks of age. Then I joined myfitnesspal as I gained so much weight on medicine, and calorie counting helped as well as Leslie sansone youtube..she was nice and upbeat and baby liked the music.

  • Thanks Suzannah, really appreciate your reply.

    I'll take a look at Leslie.

    REvans x

  • Please continue to have hope. You will get better. Use this forum to find out more information about the illness and also as a support from so many of us who know exactly what it feels like. Sending you hugs xxxx

  • Thanks Kcha, Really appreciate your reply. REvans x

  • Hi Revans,

    It is so difficult when you're feeling awful and every day feels like it takes so much effort just to get through, but it will get better. The other thing is you've got a new born which is completely draining and energy sapping even if you're not recovering from psychosis.

    I was diagnosed with PP 5 days after my wee boy was born and spent a month in the mother and baby unit and the psychosis itself was relatively quick for me to move on from but the aftermath of exhaustion,depression and anxiety took longer. I'm now in a much better place and feel almost back to myself.

    It's horrible but it will get easier with time, plus your wee one will grow and develop and that helped me a lot as the newborn stage is incredibly tough.

    Hazel x

  • Thanks so much for your reply Hazel, your story sounds very similar to mine.

    Helps so much to hear from others who have been there.

    REvans x

  • HI Revans,

    Welcome to the forum. You most definitely aren't alone. I had PP back in 2011 after the birth of my son. It came completely 'out of the blue', I had no previous mental health history, totally unexpected.

    I can totally relate to your feelings: a dream of starting a family being completely broken, and the loneliness, and exhaustion... it wasn't at all how I expected starting a family to be. Like you I was completely traumatised, shocked, sad, grieving...

    But...I can honestly say I somehow battled through it all, slowly I recovered and got better, the bad days got less and less and the good days more and more. And this will happen for you too.

    How did I come to terms with it? I had amazing professional support from the early intervention in psychosis team (who treat anyone with a first episode of psychosis) including psychology support etc, and this helped me recover in terms of the days being less of a struggle.

    But in terms of fully coming to terms with it (which I think is what you ask?), I have to say probably APP was one of the main factors. I found APP about a year after my PP episode, and the relief was amazing...I didn't feel alone anymore, and different from other mum's I knew. I realised that everything I had experienced and felt was 'normal' for PP. Giving and receiving support, and just writing here helped me process what happened. And that developed to now being the Peer Support Coordinator for APP. It has turned something that was so negative and traumatic into something so positive and life giving, it's given the whole experience meaning for me. Now, over five years later, I can honestly say, hand on my heart, that I am even thankful in some way that it happened.

    And my son was a huge healing thing for me too, that's wonderful you feel that too. There isn't a day goes by I don't feel so thankful for my son, we have an amazing bond, and I think it is partly due to what happened. He was always this light in the midst of the darkness of the PP and the depression afterwards.

    I also have to say spirituality / faith helped me a lot but this is something really personal to each person. I do pray/meditate, and read quite a bit of spiritual books - I found Buddhist books particularly helpful (Tich Naht Hanh for example, and a series of novels called 'the Daliai Llama's cat') - I think it is because they speak so much about the meaning of suffering, and what good can come out of it somehow, and also gratitude, acceptance and mindfulness, all things that can really help. And I have an amazing friend who was such a support spiritually (in the widest sense of the word), who was totally there for me, and held the light when I couldn't see or feel it at all.

    I do hope that you will experience the same thing, in time, but it's something you can't rush too I think. For me recovery happened slowly. You have to live with and feel the pain and grief as well I think.

    Sorry for writing such a long reply, something in your post touched me. Do take or leave anything I've written.

    Take care X

  • Thank you so much for your reply, really kind of you to take the time.

    You're right that time will be the best healer, with each day it is helping. It's just some days are a LOT harder than others. I've started a little note book with a log of how I'm feeling which I think is helping me remember the good stuff. The balance will shift. In the meantime I can take each hour as it comes.

    Many thanks again for your reply, really means a lot to hear from others. Thank heavens APP exists. Noone seems to have heard of the illness, which makes it tricky to explain to people. I just keep sending people your way to help explain it. A friend text me the other day and said she'd read one of the personal stories written by a Dad that's on the APP website. She said she'd cried the whole way through reading it, which helped me to know that she's wanting to know what I've been through and try to understand.

    Many thanks for all you're doing.

    REvans xx

  • That's great to hear this forum is helping, and also the website and info so you can explain to friends without having to explain...

    It's such a great idea to keep a diary. Like you say it can help you remember the good things. Also it's probably helpful when you're seeing professionals etc too.

    Take care, it's lovely to have you on here x

  • Hey! Have you just found us recently? We have all been through the hell that is pp and I promise you will get better. It's just one day at a time. Some days will be really tough but looking at your baby should make you feel better and make the battle all worth it. Tell your doctors everything you are feeling and look elsewhere for more professional support if you need. There are a lot of people on here that can help you with that. We are all here to chat if you need. Don't hols back. Motherhood didn't start out the way we planned either. Good to come together. Know your never alone!

  • Thanks UKSarah, really appreciate your reply. I've been taking each hour as it comes on the bad days which helps I think. Just focusing on the task in hand, rather than overthinking anything too much.

    I WILL get there!

    Thanks again. REvans x

  • You are definitely not alone and I found this forum very comforting too. Can I ask where do you live? Are you in the U.K.? I'm still yet to find someone local who I can talk to about PP experiences. I was diagnosed 3 months after having my daughter because the home treatment team were lacking in knowledge of PP. I spent 6 months in hospital being diagnosed with PP, PND and acute anxiety. I was discharged in August of last year and am still not back at work yet as I still struggle with anxiety and flashbacks of what has happened. I hope you continue to get better and I'm here to chat if needs be x x stay strong x Beth

  • Hi Beth,

    I'm in Sussex (UK). Its helped no end reading peoples replies to my post. Yes just found the forum. In the dark times it is all to easy to think you're on your own. Clearly I'm not, and I've taken heart that I am getting there and I'm on the right track.

    You're all super stars for taking the time to reply.

    REvans x

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