Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Anxiety or something else?

I'm back at work after a year off following my son. I spent a lot of time alone with my son in that year, rarely going to baby groups and the like. I just didn't click with other mums and found it all too much effort. I took my son to swimming lessons and we met with friends with children and my mum came over weekly. I suppose I'm saying I wasn't always on my own with my son. Anyway, since going back to work I've had anxiety off and on. I'm fine with my actual job but I'm struggling with my new colleagues. I feel really unliked by some of them and I can't shake the feeling. There's been big changes following a restructure durin my maternity leave and my team now work alongside another team.

I now work part time which I know makes feeling part of things tricky but this feels more than that. I suspect that my anxiety is making me come across as arrogant or disinterested and I'm not sure how to deal with it? I'm naturally a bit of a loner but feeling on the outside of everything and not included is really getting to me.

I'm not sure how to make things better...anyone had anything similar or have any tips?

5 Replies

Hello ZacsmumLou,

first of all congratulations on finding your feet so quickly and returning back to work.

My anxiety has been very challenging after PPP. It has been 7 years and I have been trying to overcome obstacles by implementing coping mechanisms. Make-up, experiences of PPP and recovery, but also impact of additional mental health issues affect us all differently.

I am convinced that I am not only hyper sensitive, but can be rather critical with myself which subsequently confronts me with challenging times due to lack of confidence and/or self esteem. If we look at our progression after our traumatic experience, the positives actually outweigh the negatives.

Meta cognition-Self-reflection

1. How do I feel each day within my working environment? Am I emotional or pragmatic?

2. Why do I get upset?

3. How important are the work colleagues?

4. Do I want to share my feelings and worries?

5. Or do I just want to talk to somebody within the company who might be able to give me some support?

Just some ideas. It is worthwhile to write a work diary, where you can track down your emotions and why you feel the way you feel. It is also part of evidence and memory-system.

I am happy with my own company, but I have to be careful that I do not stop socialising completely. When I am too emotional I try to reduce stress factors in order to avoid triggers. I have the tendency trying to tackle the post difficult things when I am poorly...this can be rather frustrating...

Take care,

Sabine :-)

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Thanks Sabine, some great suggestions in your reply. I think I'll try the work diary thing actually.

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Hi Lou,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on returning to work. I am new to the forum, and have just returned to work myself after a year off with my first child. I developed PP shortly after my son was born in May 2016, and was subsequently sectioned. I spent 4 weeks in a mother and baby unit, but I am lucky to say that I had a fairly speedy recovery and I am no longer taking medication. I have returned to work on a part-time basis and can completely relate to what you say about feeling anxious about new colleagues. My team has expanded, and although I should feel relieved that the pressure has been lifted, I cannot help but feel upset that my job has significantly changed and I am finding it much harder than I thought to settle in. I haven't talked about my illness at work, and I'm still unsure about whether I will. I'm afraid that my team will think I can't cope? Some days however, I wonder whether it is natural to feel anxious after returning to work after 12 months off and perhaps we need to give ourselves some credit! I can be too hard on myself; I was in complete denial about my illness which is what led to me being sectioned, and I feel that I need to remind myself of what I've been through. Going back to work after having a baby is a difficult and emotional time for anybody, and I'm sure with time we will be back to feeling more confident about working life. Take care, and I hope your anxiety eases soon. Jess


You're right. It's a huge change for anyone going back after maternity let alone given what we've been through.

I spoke to some of my team about the pp but not all and actually it's none of the people that I've shared it with that I'm struggling with.

Maybe I just need to give it more time and remember that I don't necessarily have to get along with everyone there.

Thanks x

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I went back to work at the end of March and can relate to much of what you and Jess are saying. My job has changed a lot (in my view not for the better) and my team has had loads of staff changes. I'm usually quite an extroverted chatty person but I think because of my anxiety and feeling like I have too much work to do in part time hours I feel like I'm not making as much effort with people as I would have before.

I told my line manager about my pp and anxiety struggles and she said in supervision that she would take some work off me until I'm settled in but the very next week she gave me additional tasks to do, one of which I've never done before, so i feel like her words were meaningless.

I'm getting CBT currently and I feel like that can be really helpful because I can write in my thought diary the aspects worrying me and it helps me to be more realistic about what I can and can't do.

I am not a loner naturally, I have become more introverted after being ill but I'm trying to make a conscious effort to fight that so have invited some individual colleagues to go for lunch with me because i feel like i lost touch with them having off a year and in an open plan office it's hard to have personal conversations. However I can relate to feeling self conscious and I wonder if that's directly related to anxiety? Certainly that's what I've attributed it to in myself.

Quite reassured the other day when I met someone who does the same role who has 2 children and she said it took at least 6 months to get back into work after a year off and I assumed she was not contending with mental health issues (although who knows? )

We will get there although I think having so long away has made me realise I don't want to carry on in my job in the long term.

I hope you both start to feel more settled soon, and me too!

Hazello x

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