Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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What does recovery feel like?

Hello, I'm only on my 8th day of treatment from postpartum psychosis. I did not reach a very severe stage because I almost always maintained a level of "insight", in the sense that I knew something was wrong and I didn't do anything although what I've been through mentally was torturous. It's still very very very hard to get through the day and night. I'm just wondering what recovery feels like? I still feel like I'm separate from the rest of the world, and it's hard for me to imagine getting better. I'm so scared. I feel so alone even though I have family support.

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I guess my main question is.. when did the meds start to kick in?

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I was on Olanzapine I refused meds at the start so took a while to kick in it took at least 2 weeks for it to start to work for me. Once they worked I didn't have any symptoms of Psychosis but just very heavy, tired and exhausted from the whole experience. I did suffer from some anxiety but managed this with different techniques and meds for a few days. I stopped taking meds after 6months I put on alot of weight with the meds but it's dropped off now.

Esther

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Hi Kaktus

My name is Esther and my PP happened last Dec it was a big one for me so my recover may look different to yours. However what I would say is that it is so individual so many aspects play a part in your recovery such as your life experience, your environment, your support and your understanding of what has happened etc.

For me although mine was on the severe end because of my life experience I believe I recovered more quickly for example I work in mental health so know the system and know what recover means. I also had a psychotic episode 20 years ago after taking recreational drugs so understand it from that point of view.

Recovery can take a life time or it can be very short but I believe all life experiences change us we never stay the same it's part of being alive. The biggest part of my recovery took 6 month it's only the last 2 or 3 months that I really feel completely my self again but I also think this is because we change from adjusting to being a mother and now my daughter is sleeping more this has had a big impact on my wellbeing (sleep deprivation didn't agree with me).

I hope this is of some help to you. remember to be patient with your self and do what makes you feel good and you will make sense of it all as and when your ready there is no rush. I have a tenancy to rush things so kept saying to myself ah now I am recovered but actually it is life long different things come up at different times. Sorry this is a long answer it's just so nice to share my experience with others. So comforting to know I am not the only one that had PP after giving birth.

Take care sweetie

Esther

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Thank you for your reply. Yes it's very good to hear from someone else because it's such a bizarre experience, so isolating, and feels so "real".. like I'll never get through it and I'm not part of this world anymore.

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I empathise with where you are, I gave birth to my daughter nearly 19 weeks ago and am still in recovery from pp although I am feeling much better than at the start. My illness hit in very quickly, I've read that others it was gradual but in a matter of hours after the birth it took hold of me and I felt powerless over my thoughts and extreme fear and anxiety. I'm still getting the feelings but not the psychotic paranoid thoughts that characterised the worst of my illness. I believed my partner was going to hurt my baby if I left him alone with her, in reality he's lovely and trustworthy but that's how ill I was. I thought lots of paranoid things but once the meds started working and I'd gotten some sleep the thoughts were less intrusive.

Now I have mostly just normal fears and worrys that are just amplified by the illness. I hope you start to feel better soon, everyone on here has been so helpful and kind so even though you can feel alone and isolated, here there are people who care and want you to be well.

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Hi Kaktus -

Recovery can be as long as a piece of string (she says, somewhat unhelpfully!)... for me it took probably a good 3 to 4 weeks for the olanzapine to start to work. So almost four weeks of florid, excruciating, Psychosis. And then from when I regained some lucidity I then had a couple of months of severe depression and anxiety (which seemed almost insurmountable at the time). I was in hospital for 12 weeks and had very good support from both staff and family. Even so, it was very hard to re-enter the world and even once at home I felt quite separate from all the other new mum's around. But recovery happened nonetheless. It's hard work, for sure, but totally worth it! :). You're at such an early stage and are doing really well, so remain patient and follow all the advice etc and I'm sure you will be very well again soon.

Best wishes

Kat

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Hello kaktus

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on the birth of your baby :) As you can see by the replies here you're definitely not alone. There will be lots of support and shared experiences to help you. Even though you had a level of insight, PP is such a frightening experience at any level.

My PP was a long time ago and to be honest I'm not sure when the medication kicked in as I wasn't communicating for a while after being sectioned to general psychiatric care. However, with a mixture of medication and treatment I eventually fully recovered, as you will in time. Being only eight days into recovery is very early and you will need to be kind to yourself and not rush to be well.

The APP Insider Guides might be helpful, "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" and "Postpartum Psychosis : A Guide for Partners", the link being app-network.org/what-is-pp/... There is also a brilliant blog at ppsoup.com with shared experiences and advice.

Do you have ongoing support from your mental health team? It might be an idea to let them know how hard it is for you during the day and night so that they can help and reassure you. It's not easy but try not to worry as with good medical care and family support you will get better. For now, rest as much as you can ..... try to sleep during the day when your baby sleeps.

Take good care of yourself ...... we are all here for you and understand how you feel.

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Hello, just to reply to your question, I think recovery is very individual, as is your ppp experience.

I'm also in recovery and I find the best way is to not rush it. It's also important for me to manage my stress levels and to not try and pack too much into one day.

Ppp is such a serious illness and even with family support, I too felt extremely isolated at times. In this instance, I would openly encourage you to talk about this to family members or if not, your nurse or support worker. I have also found that this forum really helps as you can meet people with similar experiences of the same illness.

I was very similar to yourself as I maintained a level of insight also. However, this can also leave you feeling confused and upset because you can't understand the hallucinations or voices in my case.

I would just recommend taking your time. The good days soon outweigh the bad days. Eventually, you will be able to look back on your experience and make sense of it all xx

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Thank you all for your replies. I don't live in the UK so I'm not eligible for the one-on-one email support so it's VERY helpful to connect to others this way. I'm so happy I found this forum. Today I had my mediation slightly adjusted to help with sleep which I still have a lot of trouble with. I never had hallucinations or voices.. just a kind of loss of sense of reality and a feeling of impending doom (and that my "destiny" was to die, so I guess that's a kind of hallucination). I also didn't have the high mood and lots of energy but rather low mood and anxiety which made me unable to do anything but pace around. I still deal with that and with the disconnection from the world, but it's better every day. I guess it's such a "trip", trying to grasp what happened to me and what is currently happening. It's like being taken for a ride by my brain every day.

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Hello kaktus

Thanks for your update. This is such a good space to find support isn't it and was such a relief to me when I found mums who had similar experiences. I hope the medication adjustment will help with your sleep.

With my PP I had delusions, hallucinations and heard a commanding voice which were all very real .... your feeling of impending doom sounds very frightening During recovery I had an endless depression which was very draining so I understand how low mood must be hard for you. I had anxiety too which held me back from feeling confident as a new mum.

PP recovery has been described as a 'rollercoaster' with all its ups and downs so it's definitely a "trip"! I think I was disconnected from my true self as some of my behaviour was totally out of character ..... as if I was a different person at that time :)

I'm glad it's getting better for you every day. You're doing really well in such a short time so take things easy. With good medical care and in your own time your low mood will lift and the anxiety will become manageable.

Take good care. I hope the links will help you to grasp what happened and reassure you that you will fully recover.

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