When will it end?

I'm new here and I'm a new mom who experienced PP for the first time with my baby boy. It was horrific! It has been about 6-7 months since I was released from the hospital. I am constantly having set backs with depression and intrusive thoughts. I have horrible flashbacks of things I did and said during my episode. It has shaken all my confidence as a mother. I love my baby boy so much that I try to do too much with him and then we both get overwhelmed. I just want to know when will I recover? When will the memories fade? When will the horrible intrusive thoughts disappear? When will I be the mom I always wanted to be?

10 Replies

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  • Hello NewMama3016

    Thanks for sharing your experience and welcome to the forum where you will find lots of help and support from mums with similar experiences. I think it's early days for you trying to come to terms with all that has happened and dealing with the aftermath of such a traumatic illness. I had PP many years ago and didn't know where to turn until I had the good fortune to find all the virtual mums here.

    Can I ask if you are in the UK? If so do you have a CPN or Health Visitor in these early days of recovery? There are APP Insider Guides here, "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" and also "Postpartum Psychosis : A Guide for Partners" which you might find helpful to read, the link being app-network.org/what-is-pp/... Are you having any sort of counselling for your intrusive thoughts and flashbacks? I did some strange things too during my PP episodes but it wasn't our fault and was the illness taking over at that time. For me, it was like being a different person.

    Depression is an awful hurdle. I had depression which seemed endless at the time but with good medical care and treatment I eventually fully recovered. The time scale to recovery is different for all of us, some shorter than others. I know it seems a long way off for you at the moment but you will get there with help. Have you been referred for talking therapy? CBT (Cognitive Behaviour Therapy) has been very good for some mums here. Just talking to a professional about your intrusive thoughts and flashbacks can be helpful. Your GP will be able to refer you or perhaps you are still having outpatient appointments with your psychiatrist?

    So sorry you're struggling at the moment ...... you're a great mum battling your way through such an awful time in your life for the love of your son. Give yourself time to heal and your confidence will build. PP mums are amazing as we all have to go that extra mile and are all here for you however long it takes.

    Take very good care of yourself and please drop in here again if it helps. Sending a virtual hug :)

  • Thank you for replying to my post. I am actually in America where they don't have those programs. In fact, it took over a week for me to even be diagnosed. They all just thought it was postpartum depression but what I was going through was MUCH worse. Eventually my GP diagnosed me and sent me to an emergency room. The thing is I only spent a week in the psych ward and I know for sure that was not enough time. On the hand I was happy to be home with my baby boy but I still have horrible symptoms. Now I meet with a counselor and a behavior specialist. I am on an antidepressant, a mood stabilizer, an antipsychotic, a sleep med, and a medication for night terrors. Even with all of these medications I am still having symptoms like OCD, depression, intrusive thoughts and anxiety. I can't seem to be alone by myself because my mind just starts racing and sends me back to when it started. I wish I had learned some tools to help me stay in the present and not dwell on the past. My husband says just don't dwell but I DONT KNOW HOW! If you have any ideas I would love to hear them. Thank you for your input. Also, it might help to know that I am Bipolar. I was actually diagnosed with that after I was diagnosed with PP.

  • Hi NewMama,

    So sorry to hear you are struggling - PP and depression are very dibilitating illnesses.

    As Lilybeth has said everyone takes a different time to recover, for me at 6-7months post birth I was still in a very nasty depression, but over the following 6 months I gradually got better and by the time my daughter was 16-17months I would say I was fully recovered. Unfortunately there isn't a quick fix but know that with time you WILL get better and thing will get easier.

    Are you getting treatment for your depression? I found that combination of anti-depressants and therapy so helpful and definitely wouldn't have recovered in the way I did without them.

    I hope you are getting help from friends and family too - it is important to by kind to yourself and give yourself the time to recover. At the beginning I wanted to run from it all and just get over it, but I needed to address what had happened to fully recover

    It's also interesting you say 'when will you be the mum you wanted to be'... I am sure you are an amazing mum, if not the one you wanted to be. For me the expectation of what being a mum was, was actually different from the reality - and this was something that therapy helped with.

    Xxx

  • See reply on Lilybeth.

  • Hello NewMama

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. It sounds as though you had an awful time getting a proper diagnosis. Have you told the professionals that in spite of all the medication you are still suffering? It must be so hard for you trying to cope with a new baby, the effects of medication and your ongoing symptoms.

    Perhaps it might be helpful for your husband to read the APP guide for partners which he can see via the link given earlier so that he can have a better understanding how difficult it is for you, an excerpt being "The experience of PP does not need to be 'done and dusted'. You won't be able to control how long your partner takes to get over the illness ...." You must be given time to heal and probably counselling is helping but your husband will need to be patient. You can't just move on from all that you have been through and continue to deal with, especially with the added diagnosis of bipolar. Your memories of PP are so raw at this early stage in your recovery. I don't think you're dwelling on the past, it's more a case of saying out loud what's in your head. Depression is very hard to lift yourself up from and it took me quite a while to recover. There is a clip on Youtube, OCD Treatment : Understanding "Intrusive" thoughts by Katie d'Ath who is a CBT Therapist which has been suggested on the forum as being helpful.

    I don't know if you have already contacted support groups in the USA but the link to Postpartum Support International, postpartum.net

    There's also a map about accessing support in different area of the USA, postpartum.net/get-help/loc...

    Also a Postpartum Psychosis Co-ordinator at postpartum.net/get-help/spe...

    I hope some of this is helpful. There will be other mums here to offer their experiences and coping strategies. Don't rush to be well. I know it's hard to accept that you're not functioning as you did before PP but it's very early days and you will fully recover in time. Take good care of yourself ..... we all understand and are here for you.

  • Hey NewMama3016,

    I can really relate to a lot of what you're saying in your post.

    I had ppp in march 2016 after my first baby and I'm still adjusting. I feel like there's the me before ppp and the me after. Although It's hard to separate what changes are from ppp and what are from becoming a mum, finally.

    Keep accessing treatment, keep talking and go easy on yourself. Your son thinks youre wonderful whether you do stuff or not and on the days where you're not up to it your son really won't mind! Promise.

    Some days it's ok to stay in your pjs watching CBeebies.

    I have suffered from flashbacks and uncomfortable memories of things I'd said, done and thought while in the grips of ppp but they're lessening in frequency and severity and I'm even beginning to find the humour in it all.

    I think you might be putting too much pressure on yourself to be the Mum you always wanted and that expectation might be contributing to you feeling a bit rubbish. You sound like a fab mum and that you care about being a good mum is truly half the battle.

    Be kind to yourself and I promise if you're anything like me it will keep getting easier x

  • My episode was 2 and a half years ago and I want to let you know it does get better.

    I found the first year espically difficult. I still have memories but they are usually manageable.

    Hang in there I know it is hard.

    I found that eventually everything does fall into place and you will be the mom you want to be.

    I think also being the mom you want is a constant journey for every mom so don't pressure your self too much.

    All the best 💜

  • Hello NewMama3016

    Just wondering how you are since you last posted. Did you manage to find extra support for yourself in America apart from your counsellor? I hope you are ok.

    Take care.

  • Hi Lillybeth

    I have not found another supporter but I am doing a little better. I am on a higher dose of my antipsychotic. It seems to be working a little bit. The intrusive thoughts still come but the are short and aren't too often. I might actually see if I can go up just a little more on the dose. I am having difficulty falling asleep now. I lie awake for hours and go over and over the memories that have started coming back. I try to think of something else but it doesn't really work. I am going to ask my doctor for a new sleep med because the one I am using is obviously not working. Other than that I am enjoying my time with my little one and taking one day at a time. I am doing the best I can to stay in the moment.

  • Hello Newmama

    Thanks for your update. I'm glad you're doing a little better without more support. It sounds as though you are doing well to keep the intrusive thoughts under control. The medication I had eventually faded my thoughts so as you say it might be an idea to ask if a little increase is possible.

    Sorry to hear you're having difficulty falling asleep and awake for hours; that must be so tiring for you during the day. Perhaps your doctor can help. Also, I found the mindfulness sleep music on YouTube very relaxing after a stressful day so that might be a distraction. You should also take a nap during the day when your little one sleeps. I know we think of it as a chance to catch up with things but you really should take time to sleep during the day when you have chance. One day at a time is good ...... take it easy and take care.

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