Writing about post partum psychosis - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Writing about post partum psychosis

EmilyGolds
EmilyGolds

Hi all. I have recently come off all my medication after nearly three years & am experiencing some flashbacks from when I was very poorly.

I wondered if anyone else had experienced this & whether writing about my experience may help?

Just before I had PPP I graduated from University with a degree in literature & psychology & have not had a chance to do much writing since then. I know it can be cathartic to write about traumatic experiences.

Em 😊

25 Replies
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Jenny_at_APP
Jenny_at_APPAdministrator

Hi Emily

That's great that you're off medication, I hope you're feeling ok.

I'm sorry you're experiencing flashbacks.

Personally I found writing about my experience very helpful. I wrote a bit on here, you could do that if you wanted to share your story with others, and I also started writing just for me. It's something I come back to now and then, I haven't finished yet! It's bizarre as I can still recall things in a lot of detail nearly 5 and a half years on and reading what I've written so far takes me right back there.

Writing things down did take me back to upsetting memories and emotions but for me I think it helped me to process it all. I guess I'd say be prepared to relive a lot but it may get things out in a more controlled way than the flashbacks you're having? You can make yourself comfortable, choose your own time etc. But don't pressure yourself, you could start but if it's too hard just try again another time, you might not be ready yet.

Good luck :)

Take care x

Thank you for your reply. It is encouraging to hear that writing has helped you. I did wonder about how the process could cause me to re-live painful memories, however I think that putting them down on paper just for me could help.

I think your advice about having no pressure & just writing in a comfortable way as & when ready is very important. Thank you & good luck with your writing. Xx

Hidden
HiddenVolunteer

Hello Em,

it is lovely to hear from you again and giving us a bit of an up-date. First of all congratulation for coming off the medication "at your pace".

I hope you have settled now nicely into your new home environment, because it is of great importance to feel relaxed and happy in order to flourish and have special family time, simultaneously also to say "no" from external influences, and just be !!!

I believe your previous account was already beautifully written and probably for those mums therapeutic, who find themselves in a similar stage of recovery or need the encouragement and reassurance to get to that level of healing stage. You have done so fabulously well.

"Flash backs"...it is quite a personal baggage depending on what you have experienced. I struggled quite a bit with those three years later, purely because of immense stresses as I was loosing my dad. When you read through some of the stories here I am of the opinion that women who suffered PPP and additional traumatic experiences in their recovery could be more vulnerable to stressful situations and need to have copying mechanisms in place to keep mentally well.

Please, do talk about your flash backs to your GP or other health professional. I believe some therapeutic support would be of great help.

Take care,

x

EmilyGolds
EmilyGolds in reply to Hidden

Hi Jasa,

Thank you for your detailed reply & advice. Yes, we are settled in the new home & looking forward to Christmas & Kaelan's 3rd birthday!

I have spoken with my GP about the flashbacks. We have spoken with the mental health team & I finally have some therapeutic support in place. I believe that medication can only do part of the job & that as you say therapeutic support is also needed in order to heal from trauma.

I agree that coping mechanisms are important & I am much more aware of my mental health & when I am not being as kind to myself as I could be.

I am currently studying a literature & mental health course about how reading can help with certain conditions. This is helping to re-ignite my love of literature. Creative practices such as art, music, reading & writing can be wonderful healing tools too.

Best wishes

Em xx

Hi Emily's I think Writing about it is a great idea if it feels right for you. Recovery is a very personal journey my pps was last year I've done alot to process my experiences including reading my medical notes not something I'd recommend to everyone but for me I wanted to take back the control and own my experience it was shocking to read and painful but it really helped me to heal. I'm planning on writing a book about it from both a patient perspective and health care prospective starting next year. May be we can inspire each other? If you want to chat about it or link up happy too. But for now I wish you well on your journey. Much love Esther xx

Ps I feel amazing right now and so proud of how far I've come what an experience so glad to have this space to share with others who know how hard it's been.

Hi Esther,

Lovely to hear from you & your experiences. I too have thought about reading my medical notes. It is very brave of you to have read them so early on in your recovery. Well done for making such a good recovery.

I am thinking of writing either a short story or book about my journey depending on how it manifests itself. When writing it often takes on a life of its own. I would love to talk to you about it to inspire each other. Is it ok to private message you?

Kindest regards

Emily 😊 x

Yippee for sure let's talk xxx

Hi Em,

I am not a writer but have been thinking the same. It has been three years but I do get some flashbacks.

I wrote a short poem a few months ago while me and my son were at the park. I felt it had to be somewhat vague to not get too intense but I do feel it gave me some sense of peace.

I say follow you instinct with the writing.

Danielle

EmilyGolds
EmilyGolds in reply to flower12

Thanks Danielle. Wonderful that you have written a poem & found it helpful. I am currently doing a course with Futurelearn about literature & mental health. It talks about bibiotherapy & how reading can help with stress & anxiety. Poetry can be particularly soothing & evoke a sense of calm. Xx

flower12
flower12 in reply to EmilyGolds

That sounds like such an interesting course! :)

Think I will do some more. I did find it really calming 😊

Yes! I have to run Off to Pick up my little one,, but I wanted to quickly say yes, I totally have experienced the flashback effect, And yes, writing about it did help me, although it was difficult to do.

EmilyGolds
EmilyGolds in reply to Karysma7

Thanks for your reply. Yes, my feelings tell me it will be beneficial even if it is difficult. I will talk things over with my therapist before I begin the process. Xx

Hazello
HazelloVolunteer

Like you, I studied English LIterature and I feel like writing about my experience of PP would be helpful, and yet I can't quite bring myself to do it! Instead i have started keeping a diary, as I feel that maybe that will get me into writing again. Would love to hear how you get on!

Hazello

EmilyGolds
EmilyGolds in reply to Hazello

Hi Hazello,

Thank you for your reply.

Keeping a diary is a great idea. I remember when doing my creative writing I used to do morning pages. This exercise prompted you to write without thinking or stopping for 5 or 10 minutes each day.

I think the timing is important when writing about deeply traumatic experiences. I am yet to start my writing mine however, I will keep you updated.

Good luck

Em x

Ellie_at_APP
Ellie_at_APPAdministrator in reply to EmilyGolds

Hi em just to say I’m doing morning pages at the mo too... did you read the artists way book? I’ve got such a lot from it!

Ellie

Yes, I got it from The Artist's Way. It is a fantastic book. So glad you are getting a lot from it Ellie.

Kind regards

Em x

Ellie_at_APP
Ellie_at_APPAdministrator in reply to EmilyGolds

Yes such a great book , I read the artists way for parents first and I’m now only on week 2 of the proper book, but yes a really great book!

Hidden
HiddenVolunteer

Hello Em,

just have been reading and refreshing the content of this thread. How are you?

Finding yourself after meds is something truly special and each moment has to be celebrated. I am rather conscious, aware and live with the moment.

Of course meds was part of beating this nasty PPP experience.

One has to be cautious with ambitious goals and make sure stepping stones alow you to cope with the influx of stressors.

How can you move on:

- I do enjoy learning and independent studies with Future. Learn. It has allowed me to keep my mind alert and cognition working

- I walk quite a few people's dogs, it is not just good walking therapy, but I help out people who need a dog sitter...(might you I am a cat woman)

- painting has been part of me after PPP and extremely therapeutic

- togetherness in all aspects with my family, sharing special moments

- creative writing is something I do enjoy a lot...

Just a little summary for self-finding and developing a new path and new avenues for a more enriched life...at the end my priority is health and happiness!

I must have a look at the artist way book...in fact I am looking it up now...(thank you for recommendation Ellie)

Keep journalising and look after yourself Em,

best wishes,

x

EmilyGolds
EmilyGolds in reply to Hidden

Thanks Jasa. Future Learn do have some wonderful courses. I love your summary of finding & developing new paths. Truly inspirational 😊 x

Hidden
HiddenVolunteer in reply to EmilyGolds

Thank you Emily!

How are you getting on with the Literature/Mental Health Course? I was so inspired by some of the guest speakers including Stephen Fry...I started watching Sense and Sensibility again and learnt so much about English Poetry...but also about people and there strategy of self help when in despair...

Wishing you well and have a good weekend.

X

EmilyGolds
EmilyGolds in reply to Hidden

Hi Jasa,

Sorry for late reply, I missed this somewhere along the line.

Yes, really enjoying the course. Steven Fry is fascinating & I love Jonathan Bate as a facilitator. I remember using his books when doing my degree.

I am on the bereavement week at the moment. It's interesting hearing peoples strategies for self help isn't it.

Loving reading & refreshing my mind with all the fabulous poetry & prose. Bibliotherapy really resonates for me Jasa 😊 x

KatG
KatGVolunteer

Hi Emily- thanks for sharing your perspectives, literature and mental health is such an interesting topic.

A few books I have enjoyed include

“The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (a short story recently) and also several PP memoirs including one by Jen Wight who is a forum user here :) There is also a book by Ed Hogan called Blackmoor which I really enjoyed. He’s a lovely guy too, who was in touch with APp while researching one of his characters.

(I’m also tackling my own book on the subject, but it’s very stop-start-stop again at the moment!)

Thanks and best wishes

Kat x

EmilyGolds
EmilyGolds in reply to KatG

Thanks for your reply & the book recommendations Kat.

Well done for tackling your own book. Good luck with the writing process. I am looking to start mine next year.

Best wishes

Em x

Hidden
HiddenVolunteer

Hi Emily & Kat,

such big goals, truly inspirational...and probably very therapeutic, not only journalising, but attempting your biographical story.

Thank you for all these wonderful references. It is great to exchange knowledge and experience on this site.

My biggest problem is disclosure and how much to give away to the wider audience. At the end it is all about awareness raising. I always believe in a democratic approach with transparency and openness, but also gentleness, especially when experiences are deep-felt; thinking about the vulnerability and morality...

Yes, creative writing is another release...I certainly have quite a collection of evidence! ...sometimes I question myself about the validity of publication as I write in my second language, but I am also very wary of privacy and confidential issues...especially always protecting my family.

It would be lovely one day to maybe exchange our lived experience maybe via skype or create a peer/support group for creative writing with the objective of teaching and learning for the wider community...Stigma has to be reduced.

I just finished a book, by Kay Redfield Jamison (1979) "An unquiet Mind-A Memoir of Moods and Madness". She is a Professor of Psychology, who suffers from Bi-Polar...but also has been researching the subject matter.

Wishing you all a happy day,

Sabine

EmilyGolds
EmilyGolds in reply to Hidden

Hi Sabine,

Yes, big goals to be broken down in manageable steps while being aware of ones energy levels & well being. I feel our own health is something to monitor when embarking on biographical writing. While being theraputic it is wise to tackle it with care & compassion for oneself & others.

I think a peer support group sounds like a fabulous idea. Discussion with others who have experienced the same illness would be really helpful. I too puzzle about how to go about writing about my experience whilst being mindful of family & friends. Maybe We could arrange something in the new year.

Thank you too for the book recommendation. It sounds like a fascinating read.

Take care

Em x

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