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Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Postpartum psychosis

Hi,

I am new to the forum.

My partner has postpartum psychosis, she was diagnosed this week and it's totally out of the blue with no family illness, nothing.

It's been horrendous seeing my usually happy independent outgoing girlfriend now be a different person.

It's crushing me to bits but their is lots of support from family and friends she was so looking forward to being a mum and now says things like the baby is dead when it's not.

Please can some one respond who has had this terrible illness and come through the other side -

How long did it take you to start feeling better

How long did you need medicine

Did you find treatment helpful

Thank you.

21 Replies
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Hi there welcome to the forum.

Sorry to hear that your going through a hard time. I got ill after 4 weeks giving birth... i was taking medication but it was only 8weeks I started to feel the effect unfortunately I got worse and my community support team ended up making the decision for me to be admitted to a mother and baby unit I was in there for 3months and I can't thank them for the support they gave me.

I went in a woman who wanted to kill herself and her child and could hear voices everyday.. to a woman that loves and adores her child and wants to tresure every moment off her life to her family. There is a light at the end but u need the right support and help

Good luck

We are all here if u need support

Mammfie

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Hello Lb8787

I’m so sorry your girlfriend is going through this awful illness - it has such an impact on everyone and is devastating at what should be such a happy time.

Please be reassured that PP is temporary and treatable. I had PP after my first son was born in 2012. Like your girlfriend, I had no history of mental illness and it happened completely out of the blue. I was luckily in a mother and baby unit very quickly and responded to treatment quickly. I spent a month in the MBU. I took antipsychotic medication (quetiapine) for 15 months, the last 3 of which was a period of reducing off them. I’d say I was mostly ‘recovered’ long before that but most women stay on medication for at least 12 months and it’s important to follow professional advice around this. The acute phase of my psychosis lasted a couple of weeks then the paranoia and confusion lasted a bit longer - I was discharged home after a month so was much much better by then but there was then a long period of gaining back confidence and processing what had happened.

Is your girlfriend in a mother and baby unit? Are you in the UK?

It’s great that she has good support, and I’m so glad you’ve found the forum. It’s important you get support too.

APP has some excellent guides, including one for partners which you may find helpful - app-network.org/what-is-pp/... - there is a lot of information and resources on the website.

I have a happy and healthy 5 and a half year old who was in no way affected by my illness and have gone on to have another child with no recurrence of PP.

I do hope your girlfriend responds to treatment quickly and you start to see some improvement soon - it may take some time but she will be herself again.

Any questions please just ask.

Take good care.

Jenny

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Hello Lb8787

Welcome to the forum which is a great place for you to find support. I'm sorry to hear that your partner has been diagnosed out of the blue with PP. I think many of us were struck by it without warning. It's such a shame that the joy of having a baby should be tarnished by such an awful illness. That said, PP is a very treatable, temporary illness.

I had PP many years ago and it must have been upsetting for my husband and family to see me in such distress but I didn't realise I was ill, struggling with delusions and hearing voices. Eventually I was sectioned to mixed general psychiatric care as there were no mother and baby units at the time. With good medical care and treatment I made a full recovery. Are you in the UK?

Is your partner being cared for in a mother and baby unit? I wonder if you have had chance to look at the APP Insider Guides, one being "Postpartum Psychosis : A Guide for Partners" which might be helpful to you and the other "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" which perhaps your partner might read when she is further along in her recovery, both at www.app-network/what-is-pp/... There is also a brilliant blog "PP Soup" at ppsoup.com with helpful clips including "What to say to someone with PP"

It must be very difficult for you to hear such a diagnosis but please be reassured that in time your partner will fully recover. It's good that you have lots of family support around in these very early days. Remember to take care of yourself ... we are all here for you.

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Hi. So sorry to hear what your both going through. It's so horrible and i promise there is light at the end of the tunnel. Although it definitely doesn't feel like it at the time. I had pp when my daughter was 3 months old. She was born in Spet 2013. Sounding very similar to your partner, no history of anything like this. Mine started a bit after she was born but escalated the week before she was 3months old, which unfortunately was the week before her 1st xmas. I was having very strong delusions and was so paranoid. I thought all the men in my life were dying and my mum was poisoning my new baby. It must of been so scary for my family as within a week i rapidly got worse. I was sectioned 2 days before xmas then spent a month in a psychiatric ward on my own. I was allowed visitors but i used to get distressed if my partner brought my daughter to see me. I was put on olazapine and anti deppresents and had 4 lots of ECT which is what i think saved me. When i returned home i had a care worker, who came to see me regulary and visited my own dr weekly. I stayed on olazapine for 6 moths then 18 moths later i came off antidepressants. I am now 100 % better and still have regular visits to my dr. It is so frightening for everyone but there is help out there. I wish you both all the best and please cotact me if you need anything. Take care. Best wishes Anna x

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Hi there stay strong she will recover from this and your support love and trust can help more than you imagine. I had psychosis 11 years ago in 2006, 3 weeks after my son was born, I was admitted to a mixed psychiatric hospital as we didn’t have a mother and baby unit close by. I was completely delusional and also thought my baby was severely burned or dead, or that I had miscarriages and the baby carrier was empty. I didn’t trust anyone and even my husband, my complete rock had to use a secret code (the place where we had a 4d scan done) so that I knew it was definitely him. Took me about a year to fully recover and be signed off the mental health register and probably a good six months to function somewhat ‘normally’. I’m not gonna lie it’s not an easy journey and my hubby found it tough. However, with love support and understanding you can get through this. Our relationship is stronger than ever and somehow I’m a better version of myself for this experience and 3 years after had my daughter. Sending you all much love 💕

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Hi brother,

I am also a husband of a PP wife. My wife gave birth just 3 weeks ago thus 13th feb. And now having PP. She refuses to take medicine, refusing professional advices etc. She had it 2 yrs ago when we had our first son and now again this time. I mean its still ongoing. I got her, the prescribed meds which was olazapine but she refuse to take any. Sometimes i have u put it in water, or food but still refuses. I Know that she will recover one day as she did the first time. But before that, it frautrating, dishearting, and all. I do my best to give her the love, care abd understanding but sometimes i get tired of it when she refuses help. We are in Canada, and can only take her to the hospital when she becomes more aggressive. Until now shes not been that aggressive only wasting and refusing med. Got her mum here to assist also. See her recover the first time gave assurance that she will recover again but its time. So please be calm they are lost and will not have behaved that way if all is well. This is the time they need us Husbands. We she recovered the first time, aww men u cold just imagaine the joy and love and hapiness. Above all i will say let the fear of God and His love that surpasses all understanding keep your hearts at peace. NOTE: SHE WILL RECOVER. My wife took meds only for a 2 weeks after 3 months hospitalized for the first one. This time hope she go back and get treatment faster.

Wish u well as a man will say to his fellow man in distress. NOTE AGAIN: SHE WILL RECOVER.

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Hi, so so sorry your girlfriend has this happening to her. It’s awful, truely awful but she will come through it. I’m not going to lie, the memories will be with her (and you) for the rest of her life but hopefully the acute part will be short and she’ll be able to be the mummy she dreamt of being.

I had PP two days after my first little boy was born at Christmas 2016. I too thought terrible things about my baby. I was in a mother and baby unit for a relatively short time compared to others, and then discharged back to the community team. The drugs did help (about 7 months for me), I wouldn’t have got better without them.

It’s a roller coaster, wrap her in your love and warmth, you’ll all get there. Don’t loose heart. Be strong, she will come back. This too shall pass x

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Hello Lb8787,

I am very sorry about your partner being so poorly, when the birth of a child suppose to be such a happy occasion.

What helps tremendously is that your partner has been given the right diagnosis and that you were able to find this forum. You already had a lot of great responses from this thread and it gives you a bit of a guidance.

In addition you said that you are not on your own and that your family is supporting you. This is so important. My partner was like you overwhelmed or as you said "crushed to bits"...when I became so terribly poorly in 2010. After birth and within 2 weeks I gradually went downhill and my partner needed external help. In the first instance nobody wanted to believe him and even in hospital, when sectioned, I was misdiagnosed by the head of department.

Anyhow, I recovered like all the other women on this forum. We all have had PPP, but our experience and treatment have been unique. You will also find a few dads on this forum who have had to cope with the same traumatic experience like you and who have been journalising and corresponding with us in order to get advise and emotional support.

Unfortunately there was no mother and baby unit nearby. My partner had to work with what was available at the time.

Your girl friend has to have a voice (if she can) in focusing on a "recovery care plan", which helps her to improve gradually via developing an ongoing and flexible support network and subsequently learning to self-manage...here is an example what it looked like in my case in the first year...I have given you the information below, because my partner always wanted honesty and facts. In my opinion the only way forward for recovery is establishing good communication with those once, who can help your partner, you and your family.

my support at the time when I was poorly:

- offering prescribed medication, and if not willing to take orally to administer it intramuscularly

- looking at affect and effect of medication and eventually putting a weaning off programme into place

- being included in decision-making and learning to self manage with the support of professionals and family

- regular contact with the mental health team

- out patient appointments with the Psychiatrist

- full time carer/my partner

- Care coordinator

- Health Visitor (for two years)

Bye for now, - thinking of you...we, on this forum are here to listen and remember it is going to be all in stepping stones.

Take good care of yourself (ask for carers support)

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Hi,

Sorry to hear PP has affected u and your partner, it really is a horrible illness, but it does get better, very very quickly if the right medications are taken :)

I was sectioned 2 weeks after my daughter was born, alot of it was caused by sleep deprivation, I'm also a midwife and had a traumatic birth so that didn't help either! I spent a week in an adult mental health ward (where I was commenced on Olanizpine) before being transferred to a mother and baby unit, I stayed there for a week before being discharged home, that's how quickly I recovered from it. a nurse from a perinatal mental health team came to visit me at home once a week, then fortnightly and so on, and she's due to discharge me soon. I started anti depressants when i came home because I was very sad about what had happened to me but feeling back to normal now. tell your partner to accept all the help offerred :)

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Wish you and your wife were not having to deal with the horrible illness called postpartum psychosis. It does get better. I have been blessed to share my journey overcoming the illness. Many loved ones have reported how much my book helped them understand and support their loved one that was experiencing the horrific illness. APP Network is an amazing resource. If you are interested in learning more about my journey, you can learn more at jenniferhmoyer.com.

Hang in there. It does get better with proper help. Encourage your wife as she is not alone or to blame. The illness can strike any mother. I had no previous history in myself or my family.

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I am about 4 months out from episode of PPP--I honestly started feeling more like myself after about 6-8 weeks. a combination of therapy and meds helped me. I am on Seroquel and Effexor and am weaning off the Seroquel slowly...down to half of where I started. Having a strong support system is key--just be there to listen and offer support. This network was also helpful to me in understanding PPP and helped me not feel so alone.

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Hi All,

Thank you so much for all the kind messages, I really appreciate all the stories and the courage shown to discuss your terrible illnesses or those who have partners going through the experience.

It is truely heart warming to hear from kind indiviuals who are living examples of success stories and that it is treatable and beatable.

My partner has been saying she has voices in her head and that her baby has passed away which is not true, and says she has done terrible things to the baby, all which is not true, she is now taking her medication fine and is up and about in her room and talking about her problems - all positive one at a time steps.

I will keep you all posted, but again thank you!

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Hi Lb8787,

There is hope!! All of us on this forum are proof that recovery is possible. I was extremely lucky and mine was quite short lived - about 4/5 months.

It's great that she has you for support and I found my relationship with my husband was much stronger afterwards. I did feel sometimes that he put pressure on me to be "normal" again and for it all to be over, so just remember to take it slowly and make sure you are getting some support too and looking after yourself.

Thinking of you all and sending positive thoughts.

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It took me about nine months from admission to hospital (June 2014) to going back to work (April 2015). Took medication until around July 2015. I’m back to my usual self again. Please don’t worry, it will work out - it’s a temporary illness, try not to get disheartened if there are relapses on the road to recovery.

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Hi Lb8787 ,

I am so very sorry to hear about your poor girlfriend bless her and you too .

I had PP in 2016 and was in hospital for a week this was very hard for my boyfriend as he had no idea what was wrong with me before I was admitted and I was saying some really mad things and being very strange it was very worrying for him as he didn’t know what to do I had been to the GP but no one seemed to know what was wrong at first .

It’s been just over a year now since i first had PP and only now can I say I feel recovered but the memory of this horrific illness won’t ever leave me I am thankful that I did get better as at times I felt that I would always feel poorly .

I took medication for three months and had counselling and lots of support from my manager my dr and the community care team and my family and this really did help me to feel better . After the episode of the actual psychosis I got quite depressed and then coming off my tablets I had really bad anxiety but in time all this gradually went away .

I hope this helps you , everyone’s recovery is different and I think it’s a long road to feel better again . This forum has been a huge help to me and I hope it will be to you too , I hope your girlfriend is feeling better soon and that your doing okay too best wishes and much love for you both x

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Hello Lb8787

Thank you so much for taking the time to update here. That's so good to hear that your partner is taking her medication and is up and about in her room. It must be very hopeful for you at such a stressful time.

There is a short account on the site by a dad whose partner had PP and I wondered if it would be helpful to read, at app-network.org/wp-content/... ?

As you say, all positive one at a time steps. Take care.

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Thank you Lb8787 for giving us an up-date on your situation.

Thinking of you and your partner,

- we are always here to listen!

Take care.

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I can’t add anything to the comments above. It’s such an awful thing to experience and there may be further ups and downs on the road ahead but time, Love, support and professional care will get you and your wife through this. The MBU is a life saver but it’s still one of the most shocking events that can happen.. again time (a year to 18 months) is needed.. wishing you the very best and glad you are already seeing things move in the right direction..

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Try to have hope. My husband has told me that he felt the same as you, and that he wasn't sure if he'd ever get me back. I was very poorly and it was recommended that as well as the anti depressants and anti-psychotics that I have electro convulsive therapy. I hated the idea but eventually agreed after a lot of persuasion. It worked and I gradually improved. I was in hospital for nearly 2 months but 6 months later I was drug free and 11 months later back to work. I've just finishing my occupational therapy training and it's nearly 5 years on. I had counselling the last two years and attended the recovery college in the year I was recovering. Baby groups and peer support help. She'll get there and all you can do is love and support her. All the best. Remember it's an illness and she'll get better with the right treatment.

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Hello Lb8787

I hope your partner is continuing to improve. It was good to read in your last post that she is up and about and talking about her problems. As you say, all positive one at a time steps.

Please take good care of yourself too. We are all here anytime.

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Hello Lb8787

Just wondering how you partner is since you last posted? I hope she is feeling better and the voices have faded, as mine did with medication. Take care of yourself too.

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