Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Recovery from PPP - feeling spaced out

Hello,

I am currently recovering from ppp after 2 stays on an MBU, with my second stay only ending last month. My little one is now 12 months old and certainly active!

I currently take a combination of olanzapine and an antidepressant. My symptoms were mainly delusional with depression also. I have a couple of questions for those in the stages of recovery or who have fully recovered.

One of my most troubling symptoms is feeling confused, to the point of finding it hard to organise simple tasks, such as shopping, organising my bag when going out, cooking meals etc as well as some difficulty following conversations for long periods. Did anyone else experience this and how long did it take to get better? I'm feeling worried that this will become something permanent.

I'm lucky to have a very supportive husband and a gorgeous baby boy, but I'm just desperate to feel 'normal' again.

How many of you remained permanently on medication?

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I was pretty spaced for quite a while. Packing a bag to go out was a major challenge and in the end I stuck a list by the front door as I always forgot something vital. It does get better though, I promise

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Hello Milkybuttons (love this name, - makes me :-)

thank you for your message and everything you write makes sense to me.

I have not been in an MBU, but imagine that you must have been quite poorly and returning to the MBU twice. How are you today?

I have recovered from PPP and took medication for one year only. I was in a psychiatric mixed gender unit as there was no MBU nearby. August and September 2010 was probably the toughest time for my partner and baby. My partner fought hard to get me back home.

Everything was extremely difficult as I was like a vegetable, having to take a combination of drugs. I have had to sleep a lot and do not remember much.

I have had to re-learn and do everything in stepping stones. I could not look after myself. My partner was looking after me for 6 months full time and then part-time.

Strangely enough I started driving again in February 2011 and it boosted my confidence. My partner encouraged me. I participated in Sure Start activities for my baby boy and joined my first support group with MIND.

I finally was able to look after my boy again. Thanks to an amazing partner, but also a fantastic support network by family and the partnership (after-care/once out of hospital)

Support groups are great in order to 'self manage' again.

Be kind to yourself and try to talk to loved ones (journalising helps, too), - healing can not be quantified...I remember saying I will be healthy at such and such a date...only realising that I was stressing myself with those given ultimatums and unrealistic expectations.

Bye for now, look after yourself x

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Wow, that sounds like it was a hard time for you. I can't imagine what it is like on a mixed adult ward. I'm so happy to hear of your recovery and that you too had to 'reteach' yourself the basics. I'm looking forward to a time when everything becomes second nature again and I can be back to my old 'bubbly' self or near as can be.

As I said before its the little nuances of completing day to day things that frustrate me at the moment. I'm just hoping it gets easier with time. It's like I've had a head injury or something?!

I'm so grateful to hear recovery stories as it gives me hope for the path ahead.

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Hi I had the same experience of being on a mixed adult ward I found the whole experience horrible being separated from your children!! Aww I hated it didn't find it helped me at all and then I was taking diazepam 3 times a day on top of quitiapine and sertraline so was heavily sedated for most of it!! I have found now since being out I am on the receiving end from other people's prejudice and biased views due to being admitted to mixed psychiatric ward. I find this the hardest part of the recovery not having ppp to begin with!! I am still not allowed to drive due to being told you aren't allowed to drive for 3 months after home treatment!! Which means that I will have to wait another 2 months!!

I worry as I have read that many women after hospital treatment for ppp attempt suicide rather scary!! As dealing with the hospital care you receive just feeling sedated to the point where you don't have emotions and feel nothing but hungry and tired all the time!! Kind of wonder how this enables me to function like a good mother/ w

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Hi Acid & Milkybuttons, thanks for your comments on this. I know too how difficult it is to be separated, as I was when I was admitted to a general ward when I had PP. It’s one of the hardest things to come to terms with, and lots of women here have said the same… MBU’s are so important. I was one of lucky ones as I was transferred to an MBU after a few weeks and am so grateful for the amazing care I received there.

I’m sorry that you are finding things hard at the moment - we hope that one way of dealing with this is meeting other lovely women who have experienced similar - it helps to talk and find a place where PP is ‘normal!’ We are all here to support & talk and help with any questions as you recover - you will get there and one day the illness will all seem like a distant memory (but still important) - or at least that’s how I’ve felt – it’s been so important to me to connect with others and not feel as lonely recovering as I felt, now almost 8 years on from my PP experience.

Women can feel low after PP, it takes time to recover - around 1400 women experience PP each year, but the number that die is in single figures – although still too many (and that’s something we are trying to combat)… Please try not to worry that because you have had PP you are likely to commit suicide. Have you read APP’s recovery guide? – the link is here app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

It talks through the stages and the info & support available through APP to recovery. It has the "real life" experiences of people who have been there, like us here on the forum.

I’ve also been in touch with the clinical support here at APP, who have given me some additional info to share with you: what we do know is that any discharge from hospital is a particularly vulnerable time for anyone recovering from a major mental illness, going from the high levels of support, knowledge the bed is there etc and then being back in your own environment. For this reason, discharge planning meetings should identify who is going to see a patient and what their crisis contacts are, which should involve family too.

Working with your inpatient and community team to identify support in these early days should help you to feel empowered to request and expect a list of crisis contacts, identified support and planned visits and medical review after discharge.

I hope that this might give you some reassurance about this time; I know myself that when I came out of hospital I felt I should be “better” and back to “normal” – whatever that is with a new baby! But recovery can be a gradual process, and it’s important to take your time, try not to feel pressured or worry too much about things. You can get there, and things will feel better soon for you, as they have for so many people here. You are not alone, please keep chatting to us if helpful to you. Take care, all the best, xx

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Hello Milkybuttons

Welcome to the forum where you will find lots of support and shared experiences. I think many of us can relate to feeling confused after such a traumatic illness and coping with recovery.

I had PP twice many years ago and was sectioned to general mixed psychiatric care without my sons as there were no MBUs at the time. Recovering from the second was a long process as I was hit with what seemed like an endless depression and it took a year or more before I was discharged from outpatient treatment.

Try not to put pressure on yourself. I think being confused is 'normal' as you have been through so much, coping with PP, the effects of medication, recovery and routine. Give yourself time to heal as it has only been a month since you were discharged. There is so much more to think about at home compared to being in the mother and baby unit isn't there?

Thankfully PP is a temporary illness and I wasn't on medication permanently. You will find your place again ..... perhaps you might be able to discuss your worries with your CPN? There is a brilliant blog, ppsoup.com with helpful shared experiences, the link being ppsoup.com/.

Be kind to yourself and take care ...... PP mums are amazing :)

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Hi there Milkybuttons, I just wanted to echo the words of the other mums here just to say it really will start to get easier. i certainly had a lot of confusion, I take Olanzapine and I think it does muddle, particularly when you're getting used to a dose, or adjusting. It can feel like a fog, and I would get so frustrated with not being able to do simple things. But it really does get better through time. please please be kind to yourself, give yourself time and know you are doing an amazing job by being a Mum who has been through so much and is looking after your 12month active baby boy!! X

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Thanks for sharing this. It is so helpful to hear others have been through the same. It's so annoying when trying to just get through a day and feeling so 'slow'. Looking forward to the path to recovery.

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Dear Milkybuttons,

How are you today?

Thank you for replying to me and other mums. It is a busy time for you with your little one. In addition recovery means to continuously reflecting on yourself and wanting to get better;

Here are some suggestions that has helped me to improve...

1. journalising (it helps to improve your concentration level, maybe just summarising on what you have done throughout the day (positive steps), or writing a journal about your child's progression, which makes you focus and observe closely and also gain interactive pleasure and bonding time)

2. brain storming is quite a good technique, where you put your goal in the middle and come up with loads of little stepping stones in how to work towards your aim and then record how you getting on: targets for me would have been shopping or walking through my local town, use of public transport (still practising), being without my partner for a longer period of time...

I believe with the above point the focus is on self management and what is important to you in order to find daily routines easier when defined in "bite sizable chunks", such as time increase... at the beginning it was just going to the super market, then 5 minutes with my partner walking through, managing to stand on my own in an area within the super market...(there are specific courses available i.e. support groups, therapy/counselling sessions etc. with charities, via GP or mental health section within your area)

3. connecting with baby groups; see what is available in your community ...I found it quite overbearing, but was lucky with a baby massaging group where there were only three mums...One mum and her two children I met again in my son's swimming class. Her son and mine have been reunited after 6 years...

4. "me time"...it is still important today...when I was poorly I have had to have constant supervision...I believe being able to start painting again was important, going cycling and enjoying nature, long walks...etc. I took my toddler on my bike whenever I could or used those little toddler Rucksacks for walks...Yoga and Meditation is great, often helps me to get rid of the cobwebs/mind racing...

Anyway, I better finish...my list of recovery-experience is endless...

Wishing you well and enjoy the moments with your toddler...it is such pressures time!!!

x

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Hi and sorry for the late reply. I had PP in January 2016 but wasn't treated until the April when I had a 6 month stay in an MBU. My daughter is now 19 months old and I'm only just feeling like myself, with some bad days thrown in for good measure lol. My main symptoms were extreme anxiety followed by a deep depression which resulted in me having ECT this year. I too was on Olanzapine and antidepressants and the Olanzapine left me very slow and foggy even when I reduced to 2.5mg from my original dose of 20mg. Like others have said it does get easier and you learn coping strategies along the way. I am now in my 5th week of no Olanzapine and withdrawal has been tough with the added confusion as you described but I've been assured by my consultant that this should pass. My main advice would be to be kind to yourself, try not to rush your recovery and know that you are not alone. Take good care or yourself, this forum is great for support so keep us updated of your progress x Beth

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Beth, that sounds like a very difficult ordeal to go through. How was the ECT? Did it help with the depression, did you notice any side effects from this treatment?

I'm happy to hear you are slowly recovering and it helps me feel reassured that recovery is possible. Please do let me know how you get on as its great to hear others experiences and share.

K x

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I stopped taken the olanzapine tablet in December by myself that all I was doing when I was taken that was sleeping thank god I live with my parents at that time because they look after my baby I moved out my parents house end of January and I feel great from not taken it. But checked with u Dr's before u do anything with u medication s

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Great to hear you are off the medication. Are you feeling a lot more clear headed now?

X

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Yeah I feel great we r thinking of having another baby but I don't want that pp back I was great until my daughter had to go to another hospital then it came on me

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Hello Milkybuttons

Just wondering how you are and hope things are easier for you.

Take care. x

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Hi everyone.

Main things bothering me are this complete fogginess and fatigue. Wonder how much is depression and how much is recovery? I just feel so stupid all the time!

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Hello Milkybuttons

Thanks for your update. I'm glad you have found the replies here helpful. For me I think the effects of medication had a lot to do with the fogginess and fatigue. I found the medication kept me stable but made me a lot slower and confused. As I mentioned earlier, I had depression for a year or more and found it so tiring.

Try to remember you have had such a serious illness which although temporary and very treatable takes a lot of energy to cope with each day. Surround yourself with support and you will find the good days will eventually outweigh the not so good.

Take care ..... we are all here for you.

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Hello Milkybuttons

Just wondering how you are and if you're feeling any better?

Take good care of yourself.

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Hi! Sorry hadn’t checked the thread in a while. Dealing with the depths of post natal depression at the moment. Fortunately the confusion is starting to lift a little, thank goodness. Although I still suffer from depersonalisation/derealisation. So grateful to use this forum though and hear from those that have recovered.

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Hi Milkybuttons. I'm recovering from PP that I had in August. I now also have depersonalization/derealization every day. It's really hard to cope with, isn't it? But I guess it's one of the stages of recovering from the psychosis... I hope you are feeling a little better?

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Hi Milkybuttons

Good to hear from you although I'm sorry you're in the depths of depression at the moment. It did at times make me feel helpless and hopeless but eventually I recovered with medication in tandem with treatment.

I just wonder if mindfulness might be helpful with depersonalisation/derealisation (if only it were that easy !). When I had PP many years ago I felt like a completely different person trying to cope in the 'real' world.

The shared experiences are reassuring in a way aren't they? I wonder if you have seen on the frequently asked questions page, app-network.org/what-is-pp/... experiences, the section on personal experiences? "Eve's story' is there in which she talks about confusion and feeling as though she was in a terrible 'dream' world.

Take good care and rest as much as you can. We are all here to lean on.

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It gets better, I was to the point where I wasn’t even talking. Through medication and talk therapy over the last 3 years I’ve come totally back to normal! Take it slow, I know we all just wanna bounce back, forget the ugliness and move on but this takes time. You will get yourself back and you’ll be stronger than you thought you could be! Take care

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Thanks so much Makingprogress for your message. It really helps to know things do get better. I would love to talk to you some more about your recovery.

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I would love to share, if there is a private message feature here you can reach out to me anytime!

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Hi both,

Just to let you know you can private message on here by clicking on someone’s profile (username/image) then there’s an option to ‘message’.

Best wishes,

Jenny

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Thanks!

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