New here! Not sure whether to tell employer about pp

I just stumbled across this forum and could really have done with this a year ago 🙄 I developed pp in the hours after giving birth and had two episodes within the following week. Thankfully, I responded to treatment with olanzapine and have been mostly fine since. I say fine, I haven't had pp again but have been left pretty anxious and socially awkward.

I went back to work last week following a year off and started in a new team and new role as my old post was made redundant. New manager hasn't met me previously and I'm really unsure as to whether to disclose what happened? I feel confident in my ability to cope at work but could definitely do with some understanding from my colleagues.

Anyone have any thoughts as to whether I should mention it or not?

6 Replies

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  • Hello ZacsmumLou

    Welcome to the forum ...... I'm sorry you didn't find it sooner for support. You have done very well to be returning to work in such a short space of time. I can relate to feeling socially awkward as I was always reluctant to discuss my traumatic PP experiences in contrast to other mums who had textbook births.

    Are you working on a phased return just to ease you back into the new role? Make sure to factor in a few breaks during your day. There's a good post on here by benedicte a year ago if you can search "Return to work" with replies you might find helpful. I returned to work much later as I had to find my way out of depression following my second PP but I didn't disclose my illness to employers or friends at the time.

    Take care ..... there will be other mums here to share their experiences. Please drop in anytime now you have found the forum :)

  • Hello zacsmumLou, I'm sorry to hear you've had such a bad time of it. I can definitely relate to the anxiety, social awkwardness you're experiencing. I think it's understandable if you were hitherto a fairly straightforward person, confident speaking your mind, and now you're having to adapt to holding back quite a lot of significant information in your social encounters. I can't really comment or offer advice on what might be appropriate in your workplace. But I wonder, it's just a thought, whether you have been able to disclose, discuss, your experiences in a therapeutic context? It might leave you feeling less 'bottled up' and more able to assess your feelings about work, even come up with some strategies for disclosure if you would be more comfortable that way. But it sounds as if you're coping really well, in a new role, with a new team... I hope it all goes well with you....

    JHW

  • Work has never known. Its made things easier this way for me. Ive seen a lot of discrimination, unhelpful sympathy, and crossing emotional boundaries With coworkers in many places because of their previous mental health. I work in health and education, so very kind, well meaning colleagues. But they just dont understand, not even psychologists. This has happened to people Including postnatal depression, bipolar, undisclosed diagnoses. If things get hard at work you dont want someone blaming your mental health for all the work problems.

    One of my housemates had a breakdown at work and said she wasnt sure but she had a physical illness and needed to go home and see a dr (tummy ache or headache i think) and other housemate who was a nurse said that was an excellent strategy. Mental health does have a lot of physical symptoms.

  • I have told my work about what happened because I thought that I wanted my team leader to take account of my mental health as she supervises me, ie she may be able to adjust my work load or provide me with support to build up my confidence. I am yet to find out if there will be any drawbacks to having shared this as not back at work until a couple of weeks time.

    I personally prefer to be open with people in general because it's my one woman attempt to stand up to stigma! But it does leave me feeling vulnerable at times, as kind and supportive as people are they just can't really understand (or at least I don't always feel understood but that may be about residual social awkwardness more than anything else).

    I think it's a very personal thing and it's important that you do what is right for you.

    Maybe if you feel like you'd like more support you could say something vague about low confidence or previous mental health problems and see how they react. Or that you had a tough time on Mat leave. If you're getting bad vibes leave it at that but if you think they'd be understanding you could elaborate.

    Really glad you are feeling confident about doing the work, after all you've been through. I'm still worrying about my ability to do my job but hopeful that it will all come flooding back to me once I start...

    Hazello

  • Hi zacsmumlou

    I hope things are going ok for you at work. To share my experience, I also went back to a slightly different job and what really helped me was an Occupational Health referral, I don't know if this is available to you? They helped me plan my phased return and I felt more supported (I had disclosed to my manager what had happened with pp). Going back gradually also really helped me to gain confidence. I too found anxiety and being withdrawn hard going when going back to work but I persevered and with some supportive colleagues (& a good dose of stubbornness!) things got easier over time. Try not to push yourself too hard and do what feels right for you. Take care, all the best with it. Xx

  • Dear ZacsmumLou,

    it was your decision to go back to work and well done for gathering your strengths in achieving your goal.

    With regards to your question I can not fully answer, as I have not been able to return to work. However, I have the compassion to share your worries and or as you stated being anxious. I have been diagnosed with agora and social phobia since I have weened off anti-depressant meds.

    I feel quite passionate about education and thus, try to raise awareness about PPP.

    Yes, I have experienced stigma, not only within the wider community. I do not hide the facts of my previous illness and my present condition and it is quite interesting to experience the various responses.

    I often try to express myself through art and have had a successful exhibition promoting mental health and PPP within Somerset involving the partnership & local charities.

    It is a personal decision. Do not feel pressurized by anyone. Only you know whether you are ready to talk openly about it.

    Take care and have a break of mindfulness!

    Sabine :-)

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