Previous mental illness/psychosis? - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Previous mental illness/psychosis?


I was just thinking I wonder if many people who suffer from pp after having a baby have any previous mental illness or psychosis? I have had both, ongoing depression and anxiety and I had a psychotic episode around 6 years ago also.

17 Replies

Hi Nara -

I didn't have any Psychosis prior to the PP but I did have quite severe off-and-on periods of depression. Mixed with periods of hypomania too, it turns out. So now I have this diagnosis of bipolar disorder too. I'm managing it fairly well right now but it is definitely an ongoing project (keeping mentally healthy) and something I've had to learn a lot about over time.

Feel free to ask any questions if you like?

Best wishes

Kat x

in reply to KatG

Hi KatG,

Thank you for your reply. Do you find it easier to deal with depressed feelings after your pp episode? I'm hoping mine will get easier to deal with when I get more over the pp.

in reply to Nara1

Hi Nara - I'm not sure about "easier" exactly - but certainly I'm more alert to my moods and can usually catch it earlier, and do more to stop it becoming too prolonged. It hasn't stopped it becoming quite debilitating at times, but I do feel more empowered about it all, if that makes sense? On the flip side, I also have to watch out for racing thoughts, usually after periods of high activity/business, which can become periods of hypomania.

Over time though the mood monitoring has become more natural and not something which takes over my life at all...

Hope this helps x

in reply to KatG

Hi Kat

Are you on medication for your bipolar? I haven't been able to wean off my medication as I can't sleep without it. I'm looking for advice as to how to deal with been on medication long term.

in reply to Janellec

Hi Janelle -

Yes I take 150mg of Quetiapine at night. Like you, it really helps me sleep and I find sleeping very hard without it. I would quite like to wean off it for that reason, but I'm conscious that it probably does help my moods and certainly my tendency to get racing thoughts and so on... it's a balancing act for me, and right now I think I'm better off with the Meds.

Hope that helps

Kat x

in reply to KatG

Thank you very much for your reply. It is so helpful to know other mothers are in the same situation.

Hi Nara1, prior to having postpartum psychosis after my second child I have had depression in my teenage years (due to persistent bullying), anxiety during uni (probably stress related) and postnatal depression after my first was born. After having a manic episode whilst still trying to wean off quetiapine I now have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder also. I hope this helps.

I have bipolar too. I've found that literally counting my blessings every day helps - I try and find ten new things to be appreciative of every day. Today one of them was being thankful to have electricity, so that I can have nice bright light on full days. It does seem to work. At the back of my mind I keep on the lookout for new things I can add to my list. Needless to say, having APP as an outlet has featured!

Good luck with it all x


Hello Nara1,

it is always very interesting to figure out whether there has been any genealogical connection with the illness. I believe there is still a lot of stigma around mental health issues, because family members do not always find it very easy to talk about traumatising events, and maybe issues of embarrassment &/or guilt feeling: a close and important family member had been in denial in my case when asked by professionals.

Officially there has been no mental health issues in my family, but after a bit of research I figured out no family is "plain sailing". I do not know of any PPP cases in my roots, at least I am the first one to speak publicly about it through my art work.

Since my illness I have been suffering from Insomnia, which has mellowed down this year. I am so terribly grateful for this...I can get some beauty sleep back!

Then there is my continuous struggle with anxiety and fears. The after care has been so much better than my hospital experience.

I must say that at the beginning of the first three years support groups and my own in-put of volunteering for this groups have helped me to cope better with self managing my life style. Stresses such as grieving has slowed down my recovery...any kind of stress is still affecting my life i.e. extreme mood swings, but simultaneously I do appreciate life itself and each moment with my son and partner.

Stay safe,


No I never suffer with anything until I had my daughter

Hi Nara, I didn't have any mental health issues before the birth of my daughter and had no problems since. However, my son, in his early 30''s has recently been diagnosed with bi- polar disorder so I. do wonder if there is a genetic link.


Hello Nara1

I didn't have any mental health problems before my first PP and then six years later my second episode followed. I think I've mentioned before that I had what seemed like an endless depression for a year or more during recovery from my second PP.

Take care.

It's interesting that there doesn't seem to be a correlation between pp and previous mental health issues, for some reason I thought there would be more of that. I do still wonder if there is specific characteristics with women who get pp compared with those who do not.


Hi Nara

Just to let you know Information about who is more at risk from pp is on our website. If you have a bipolar diagnosis your risk of getting pp is high but also it can come 'out of the blue' with no previous history and 50% of cases of pp is with no previous history. The link to our FAQ is here:



I think there are definite "risk factors" that seem to be at play - particularly if more than one happen at once (eg for me: previous mental illness, genetics, sleep deprivation, infection). But other than that it really does seem to often happen without rhyme or reason! My theory is that it is the brain's response to severe trauma - but I'm not a scientist!!

Hi Nara1. I am just in recovery from ppp. I had a breakdown in 2013. No psychosis though. I have battled depression and anxiety all my life. I also took a serious overdose when I was 18 and I almost died.

I really believe that I have schizoaffective disorder and I may be bipolar so I think ( and I have read), that if you have previous mental health issues, in particular bipolar disorder, that you are predisposed to becoming ill after giving birth.

I also think that ppp is still the unspoken illness and I would like to do more to help educate on the subject. Most people I've spoken to kind of glaze over when I've mentioned my post natal illness. They either don't understand or don't want to know. We as women who have suffered from this debilitating illness need to educate our peers.....

Hi Nara1 Yes I suffered from panic attacks as a child and from anxiety, depression and psychotic episodes in later life and then a diagnosis of bi polar disorder all prior to having pp after my first and only child. I made a complete recovery from the pp but the bi polar still remains and to keep it at bay I have to take a number of meds which help me sleep and continue a full and active life. I am also back in full time work. Sleep prevents me having racing thoughts and the exhaustion of mental illness.

I really, really hope you have a good relationship with your GP and that you receive all the help and treatment available to you during any future and ongoing episodes of depression, anxiety or psychosis. It really is a nightmare world and I can understand what you have gone through. Love and thoughts.

Best wishes

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