4 months in

I had PP at the end of April this year when I was 5 months postpartum. I haven't felt good on any of the meds I've been given. I was given 3 injections of Invega Sustenna, and am on 1 mg Risperidone. I am now 5 months past my initial PP and have had akathisia, depersonalization, anhedonia, and severe depression and anxiety. Right now, the depersonalization and anhedonia are worst and thoughts of death and suffering keep entering my mind. I feel trapped and like I'm on the ledge of a clif. I feel like my family and the world around me are going on normally while I've fallen apart and feel continual sense of doom. I am also aware of destruction and turmoil in the world which overwhelms me. I cannot drive, find motivation to do simple things or enjoy things I used to, and cannot care for my 11 months old son without help. Has anyone else felt similarly at 4 months after having PP and gotten past this?

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  • I also was a very faith driven, fairly optimistic person before all this and am questioning the existence of God in my struggles.

  • Hello kaylasingleton

    Thanks for reaching out here and sharing your experience. I hope you will be comforted to know that after such a serious illness many of us had similar thoughts and feelings and have fully recovered. There will be lots of support and advice here to help you through the challenging time you are having.

    Do you live in the UK? I think if your medications aren't working for you, you need to contact your GP or care team so that they can find alternatives. When I had PP it took a while to find the right balance of medication and treatment to help in my recovery.

    The thoughts of feeling helpless and hopeless are just your illness holding you back but with good medical care and support you will eventually fully recover. Five months past your initial PP is quite early so you will need to give yourself time and not rush to be well.

    The APP Insider Guides "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" and "Recovery : A Guide for Partners" might be helpful for you to read. There is also a brilliant blog PP Soup at ppsoup.com with shared experiences and info.

    You honestly can get past the place you are in at the moment and there will be other mums here to share their experiences ....... you're not alone. Stay safe and take good care of yourself.

  • Thank you for the reply Lilybeth. No, I'm not from the UK, I'm from Arizona, USA. I'll look into the APP Insider Guides.

  • My daughter has struggled just as you are but a cocktail of medication has finally lifted the terrible depression and other symptoms. When you find the right balance of medication it does work but it also takes time to work and you need time to heal within yourself. Psycotherapy has also helped her enormously. You will get passed all of this just keep talking to your health professionals and keep having help with your son and eventually your confidence will grow again and the light will come back into your life.

  • Hi Kayla

    Welcome to the forum. Im so glad you have found us. Im so sorry you are struggling. I had pp 6 years ago after my son, in the middle of recovery I could have written all you have written, I felt so similar. I felt absolute turmoil and as you say an impending sense of gloom while yes my family and everyone around me was carrying on. It felt like a dark cloud enveloping me at times and I felt disconnected from everyone.

    You are not alone, how you feel will not last forever, your mood will lift. My experience was that the good days gradually got more and the down days slowly decreased.

    I wonder what support you have? I had good professional support and found particularly helpful psychological therapy (cbt) to help combat negative thoughts. Do open up to professionals, perhaps you could keep a mood diary, as sometimes an adjustment in meds etc can make a big difference.

    I found planning the day helped me , just planning a couple of small things to achieve that day (a short walk, or household tasks) helped me feel I had achieved something and gave me much needed structure.

    I have faith too, I know it's such an individual thing so I don't like to share or say or presume too much but I struggled with this too, it was a source of sorrow for me and I felt a lot of guilt. I was so lucky I had a friend who held the light for me at the time and mirrored a unconditionally loving god for me, and nourished me in that way when I struggled and couldn't really feel it. You will come through this, for me my faith has grown and changed because of the darkness I went through but it's hard to feel at the time but you will come out the other side stronger...

    Take care, thinking of you, do write anything to us here, we are here for you

    Ellie

  • Thank you for the reply Ellie and for your support.

    I have good family support, a psychiatrist with an ACT team, and a counselor specialized in cbt. I have also spoken with an OT who wants me on a schedule and to stay busy, it's just so hard to when going through this. The life, motivation, and sense of joy and satisfaction aren't there like before. It's even hard to get out of bed in the morning and get dressed for another day.

    I appreciate what you have written here.

  • Hi Kayla

    It's good to hear from you. It's really good to hear you have a lot of support, professional and family... I know that doesn't necessarily make it easier sometimes but you can hopefully gain some strategies from them to help you to cope.

    To be honest with you with schedule / routine it's not like it made things easier or helped instantly or straight away, some days I would have to force myself to get up, have a shower, and do things, and sometimes I didn't manage and would be just curled up on the sofa not able to talk to anyone. But I guess it's in hindsight for me I can see that by keeping fighting it and forcing myself to do things did help my recovery in the end... someone said to me once you have to fake it to make it and I think there was a lot of truth in that for me.

    You really are going to recover and get better, hold on in there, just take one day at a time but also allow time for yourself to recover too, I think our bodies way of shutting down is a way of dealing with the trauma of what happened, I really believe that. And with time passing and the right support we slowly heal, just as if we'd broken our leg, it's just our mind!

    Take care

    Ellie

  • Hi Ellie,

    You mentioned how our bodies try to deal with the trauma, and I was wondering if you had any ptsd like experience from what you went through? I'm already finding that I think I do and have fears about the illness and the bad side effects I went through and feel vulnerable and on edge about life. Do you have any suggestions for this?

  • Hi Kayla,

    Yes I do think that PP is a huge trauma for all of us, and we experienced that all in individual and different ways, some people receiving better care than others, for example, and this has an impact.

    I wasn't formally diagnosed with PTSD, but I think any recovery of PP has elements of recovering from the trauma. Things like flashbacks, or not being struck with the emotion of what happened unexpectedly. I had a huge fear of becoming unwell again too, which I think is really natural and common.

    I do think talking therapy can help hugely, but I am also aware that I wasn't in a place for the first couple of years, of talking through everything that had happened - I just needed strategies of how to get through the day, and get well, and find joy again. It sounds like this is the support you need, and I hope all the professional support you're receiving will help you with that?

    Take care - time really is a great healer - you are going to get better, I know it doesn't feel like that right now, but you really will

    Ellie X

  • Hello kaylasingleton738,

    you are very eloquent in the way you express your feelings & I can identify with all of them.

    Obviously the medication needs to be taken in order to recover from PPP, but also affects our life.

    I had been on a variety of traditional antidepressants, but also Risperidone. I have had lots of side effects such as speech problems, low concentration level, not able to walk properly, extremely tiredness, sluggishness and loads more...I believe my body had shut off for a while in order to protect itself as I do not remember the second half of 2010.

    Like Ellie mentioned, a support network would be of great help. In my case I have had an ongoing care plan, whereby professionals (Chrisis Team/Social Worker/ Care-Coordinator/Psychiatrist/GP/Health Visitor) were communicating regularly with each other and everybody else involved, including my registered carer/my partner & family members including friends and neighbours. Priority was health and welfare of my baby and mum's recovery...

    Belief is an interesting one and I do not mind sharing this with you. I was a member of a Buddhist Centre for 6 years and learnt how to meditate and was pretty flexible, because of my Yoga regime. Only now did I read in my medical file that I tried to practise yoga and was holding on to a Buddhist book. When I left the hospital I passed the book of Buddhist poems on to another female patient.

    I am able to practise my Yoga again and try to meditate. In addition I find painting very therapeutically rewarding.

    Wishing you all the best,

    we are listening!

    xxx

  • I find for me upping my dose of risperidone helps when I am feeling unwell like this and talk therapy. Ask your team about this. I'm two months ppp and life circumstances don't always make it straightforward to linearly decrease medicine

  • Hello Kayla

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. It's good to hear that you have good family support as well as professional care in the USA. Like you, I had similar support and professionals visited me at home but some days it was so hard to even get out of bed. I think it can be the effects of medication which will keep you stable but make everything move in slow motion.

    Try not to worry, PP is a temporary illness which is very treatable so hopefully with all the support you have it won't be too long before you're feeling more positive. Your motivation and sense of joy will slowly return as you respond to medication and treatment. You will soon be back on your feet and find your place again.

    I hope the Insider Guides were helpful as well as the shared experiences here.

    Take very good care of yourself ...... we are all here to listen and help if we can.

  • Hi Kayla - I just wanted to quickly reply to say how well you are doing (with a huge list of horrible symptoms!) and to try not to worry about not feeling back to yourself yet. Four months in is still pretty "fresh" and as others have said what you've gone through is incredibly traumatic. So number one thing is to be hugely kind to yourself, and set yourself very attainable goals each day. Eg today I'm going to go for a walk. Today I'm going to wash my hair. Today I'm going to watch a movie. Etc!

    And I would 100% agree with the Insider Guides recommendation - there is so much useful support and suggestions in these.

    Best wishes

    Kat x

  • Hello Kayla,

    wishing you a good day.

    Things can be worked towards in little stepping stones. I completely had to re-think in how to manage life. It is actually about thinking of an aim and then putting it down into achievable objectives.

    I know from my own experience that it can be frustrating, in not completing the tasks straight away i.e at the beginning getting dressed and washed, looking after myself, making a cup of tea, supermarket and lots more.

    I attended a 10 hours support group three times and despite using the same publication from the NHS 'managing life skills', each course was very different, but still trying to establish a 'sufficient toolkit' with coping mechanisms. The groups did help me as we all had mental health issues and similar problems. However, this maybe not suitable for everybody. I was the only person with PPP experience.

    I do not know the insider guide book, but self-help books and trying to journalise could be helpful to your recovery path.

    Thinking of you, just take a step back and then when you feel a bit stronger two steps forward...

    x

  • Hello Kayla

    Just wondering how you are since your last post? I hope the replies were helpful and you have good support around you.

    Take good care of yourself. We are all here to support you.

  • Hi Lilybeth, I am feeling somewhat better than my last post and yes, the replies were helpful and encouraging. I'm still getting help with my son. I continue to have some troubling thoughts preoccupied with death and suffering, anxiety about my recovery, and wondering if there's a point to life. That's really important to me to have a purpose and feel safe, but this whole experience has offset my sense of purpose and security. I don't know how long it will take to get past that. Thanks for checking on me.

  • Hello Kayla

    Thanks for taking the time to reply. It's good to hear you're feeling somewhat better but continue to have troubling thoughts. Recovery is so different for all of us and I think if you are only five months into it you will feel vulnerable. Following my first PP I was in hospital for six months without my son and re-admitted in times of crisis.

    As I mentioned earlier my PP episodes were a long time ago and in the early days of recovery I had troubling thoughts and anxiety. With anxiety everything is magnified ... don't worry that you are still having help with your son, it's important that you have time to heal.

    I hope you have been reassured by your care team that eventually the thoughts you are having will fade and you will fully recover. Sometimes it's a question of finding the right balance of medication and treatment that works for you.

    Recovery from PP can't be rushed but in time and with the good professional care you have in place you will feel much better about yourself. For now wrap yourself in the security blanket of home and accept all the support around you until you feel well enough to cope. It's not easy for you but we are all here to talk if it helps.

    Take care.

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