Action on Postpartum Psychosis

Recovery

Hello, I had my first daughter in august 2016, shortly after her traumatic birth I developed post natal psychosis and was hospitalised. Since this I have had post natal depression and severe anxiety. To say it's been horrendous is the understatement of the year as u are all aware. I just want to know if anyone has recovered fully from this as sometimes I feel there is no light and the end of a dark tunnel. I'm on medication and having therapy. Some days I don't want to be here anymore and think everyone is better off without me, sometimes I feel the worse mum ever for having thoughts of not wanting her and then when I feel 'ok' and not having thoughts I think how can I think that. It's so cruel. I went back to work after maternity leave but had a relapse and had to be on sick since. When do you know when you are ready to go back to work? I don't want to effect my recovery but money is an issue

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Hello Natalie1293

So pleased you have reached out here as you will find lots of support and shared experiences. I'm sorry to hear you have been having an awful time and on leave due to a relapse.

Please don't despair ..... there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel and you are not alone in your thinking. I had PP twice many years ago and had similar thoughts that I was a hopeless mum. I think it's partly the remnants of the trauma of your PP and also depression and anxiety. During recovery from my second PP I had what seemed like an endless depression which with therapy and medication eventually lifted.

It's quite early in your recovery as you are going through so much. It must have been very hard to return to work although I understand the financial commitments. As my recoveries took longer than expected it took me some time to rebuild my confidence and think about returning to work. I opted to apply for temporary work via an agency so that I could choose my hours and build my confidence and social skills. This helped me to eventually find a job I was comfortable with and eventually accepted a permanent position.

I don't know whether you have come across the APP Insider Guides here, "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" which might be reassuring for you? There is also a guide for partners "Postpartum Psychosis : A guide for Partners" the link being app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

There are also shared experiences in a brilliant blog, 'PP Soup', ppsoup.com. It's good to hear you are receiving therapy and medication. I think if you can be honest and open in your therapy sessions about how low you are feeling at times your care team will know how to support you. Plodding on through depression and anxiety is very hard but with good medical care and support you will fully recover in your own time.

You're a great mum and you will get through all these negative thoughts and feelings. Take care and be good to yourself. We are all here for you.

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I had the same after my first born - it is the worst feeling and illness as you feel marginalised.

I am 70 and have six grand children so just thin-k would you want your child to suffer from your loss? That is the trouble with this illness your brain has been flooded with strange chemicals but

you have everything ahead of you so if you need support then there are mental health support agencies who might help. You are not the worst mum in the world - it just takes as much as two years for your hormones to settle down after the birth of a child. What you might find will help

you is to look at your diet to see if you have any vitamin deficiencies which are making you tired.

Your iron levels might be lower than normal. You could ask the doctor for blood tests for

thyroid, iron, and vitamin B12. If you have any other illnesses which might be dragging you down

give yourself a break and get tests done. After my episode which was induced by a kidney infection, I was given injections of parentrovite, which is a vitamin B and C complex. It is used

to help nerve function for illness. You might benefit from a course of B12 injections, or

iron injections. If not slow release iron with vitamin C will help, until your levels are normal.

Look at getting well and being strong enough to go back to work as if you are not well then

the financial worry you have may make you feel worse. If you are underweight may be this should be checked. If you have a thyroid problem this can make you feel extremely depressed and sensitive on top of everything else.

Any help you can get at home from family and friends to help run your home should be welcomed.

Look at your life and ask if there are any relationship problems which are hindering your recovery.

Your family needs you and may not be aware of the inner feelings you are experiencing.

Keep in touch. This website is very helpful with shared experiences. You are not the only one feeling like rubbish!

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Thank you for your replies they are very helpful and give me some hope that this will all be over one day and I will feel like me again. I have all my thyroid and iron levels checked and all came back normal. I am seeing my physiatrist end of October so will discuss with them and my care corordinator how I'm feeling. I need to go back to work but the thought is just very scary as I still don't feel well.

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Hi Natalie. Hope four months you are feeling better. Have been looking at various info on postpartum psychosis. 1 in every 100,000 women experience this as a complication after child birth. There are different causal factors such as ill health in pregnancy with flu, and infection after birth with urinary tract infection, kidney infection, thyroid disease after birth such as postnatal thyroiditis. Recently read that some people have a susceptibility to a deficiency of calcitonin which is made by the para follicular cells in the thyroid gland. This can give rise to bipolar postnatal psychosis. with mood swings.Calcitonin is found in fish bones. so supplementing with calcitonin helps you during pre natally with hormones for lactation and after wards. A lot of misdiagnosis of post natal depression, or pyschosis, is due to vitamin deficiency, and the causal factors, and is more a neuro endocrine disorder than a psychiatric disorder. Have recently watched a video on autism concerning mental health conditions which shows that allergens such as gluten, and other foods can block chemical path ways in the gut giving rise to behavioural symptoms which are connected to the Allegan. Recently I had an allergen test as I had IBS since childhood which was only diagnosed about 10 years ago. I thought I had gluten allergy but it turned out from this new test I was allergic to wheat rye barley, rice and corn, eggs, and cows' milk. Apparently these allergens may show no symptoms for years in children, but they have behavioural and attention deficit which can be helped by removing allergens from their food.

The website is brokenbrain.com- which is a series on autism and the favourable outlook from changing diet in mental health. This is a bit of a ramble

but if you think it might be worthwhile to check for allergies then you can locate Alphega pharmacies in your region which do the test. Hope you are having fun with the little one. Take care.

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Hi gadgrantgg

Thank you for sharing this information, it’s really interesting to consider all of this in relation to mental health.

It’s estimated that postpartum psychosis actually occurs in 1-2 in every 1000 births. It’s not clear what causes PP - factors are likely hormonal, perhaps genetic, maybe biological (what is clear is it’s not the woman’s fault). There is more information at app-network.org/what-is-pp/ and app-network.org/what-is-pp/...

We’re waiting to hear from our clinical and research colleagues at APP regarding your calcitonin query, an interesting one.

We want to support more research into the causes of PP and if you’re interested in taking part please email app@app-network.org or check out our newsletter or social media where we advertise opportunities.

Thank you again for sharing.

Best wishes,

Jenny x

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Thank you so much for your up to date information- I can honestly say that historical archives over two hundred years ago, confirm the symptoms of puerperal fever, after a baby is born. So many women were sent to asylums, left to deteriorate in horrid conditions. The puerperal fever was usually caused by infection post natally. I had this after birth and wanting to know how I developed my past partum psychosis, I found from old records I had a severe E coli infection which affected my colon and kidneys. I was given injections of penicillin which saved my life. It was a vile experience - like a Victorian novelette without the romance! People today still assume women with post partum psychosis are mad bad and wicked from their own devices. Popular culture dwells on the dark side of mental health without any scientific information - another one has fallen off the wagon!

It is refreshing to know about new trials or research and how relevant the experiences are if they are 50 years old. What does a participant have to do in the new research ?- as many records are erased after a certain time, it is hard to find back notes - this makes it impossible for some people to reconcile what happened to their parents or their relatives as information is concealed.

The data protection act is not helping PP sufferers if medical records are made available to third parties without authorisation. Publicity stigmatises sufferers and makes no attempt to exonerate them.

I will certainly consider your research application when I understand how the research Is conducted. Anne.

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Hello Natalie1293

Thanks for taking the time to reply. It's good that you have the support of your psychiatrist and care co-ordinator. It's not easy but try not to put too much pressure on yourself about returning to work as recovery is different for all of us and you are coping with so much.

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I'm going through a similar situation of not knowing when I will feel well enough to get back to everything. Life has really thrown a curve ball and I'm looking for opportunities to adjust.

Stay positive and keep the little one in mind. Easier said than done, but sometimes it can help.

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Hello Natalie1293 and welcome to the forum, you have had some great shared experiences here but to add mine too - I had PP in 2009 and went back to work after 9 months, as had been the plan - because I am stubborn I think! In hindsight it was too soon and I struggled a lot mainly with low self-confidence and being tired/ spaced out (partly meds but also due to having a small baby - no little issue for all Mums, we just have an extra "layer" on there as PP Mums though!)

What really helped me was an Occupational Health referral, I don't know if this is an option for your work? They really helped me feel listened to and understood, and really luckily I was seen for my assessment by a former midwife who basically congratulated me on being there and really boosted me. I felt my colleagues did not understand at times though and it was hard, but also necessary at the time.

I hope you have found the info and links with others here helpful and things start to get easier for you soon, take care, xx

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