Was it psychosis or clinical depression? - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Was it psychosis or clinical depression?


Hello again - I'm feeling much better compared to 2 months ago. I feel probably 95% back to myself with the exception of some lack of motivation and anxiety. I'm hoping I can overcome this with therapy and natural methods to fill the remaining bit that I struggle with. One question I am left with through all of this is what exactly happened to me?

My psychiatrist was not too sure on an actual diagnosis so I ended up not having an official one. I am reading a book by a man called Robert Bloch called Healing from Depression. He suffered a major depressive episode. His recollection or manifestation of the depression is exactly the same as how I experienced it. He had inner agitation, HORRIBLE morning fear, dread, terror. Dysphoric terror for no obvious reason. Like one never ending panic attack.

My PPD manifested as dread, terror, panic, anxiety and like a physical force stopping me from feeling emotion except fear. I couldn't watch TV or read or do anything but pace around. I couldn't eat. The only time I felt normal was in the evenings which I hear is a common cycle in severe clinical depression. I did not have hallucenations.

I did, however, take Prozac...and some people have paradoxical reactions to Prozac, which I did. It was literally like taking poison for my body. My liver enzymes increased and I got 10x worse and I felt like I maybe was hovering on the edge of a complete psychotic break.

Im trying to figure out whether or not I had true PPP, or just severe agitated clinical depression. I was a hypochondriac before PPD so I was very scared and was convinced I was dying. The doctors say this was a "delusion" but the Prozac made me feel so nauseous, disoriented and out of my mind it would be hard for anyone NOT to think they were dying...I do not see how this was a "delusion". I think of all the people I know who go to the doctor with an ache or pain thinking its cancer...are they psychotic then? I feel like there is this huge grey area for the term "psychosis". I never detached from reality only in derealization from the huge amounts of anxiety I had...which happened occassionally before PPD also.

Could it possibly be clinical depression with psychotic features? Or true PPD? I have only read one story similar to mine and it was PPP as diagnosed by the doctors. But in my book, he only had depression...it just manifested with HUGE amounts of anxiety which is quite common (85%). So it created this inner agitation...like an endogenous internal depression where something very obviously was chemically or hormonally unbalanced and out of control. My main symptom was extreme hopelessness, fear and dread like a force of darkness had come over my entire mind, soul and spirit.

I am putting together the pieces of what happened and desperately trying to figure out what exactly happened to me. It all started with nausea, acid reflux and throwing up/loss of appetite. I can't help but think that our gut health is strongly contributing to the illness, not causing but not helping either as I had no mental symptoms until my physical sickness started.

I could not look at my baby without having a panic attack, couldn't think about my eldest. I wanted to sleep but could not. I wanted to do things but it was like walking through thick molasses. I couldn't even shower. I felt overwhelmingly hopeless. It were as if someone had a gun to my head and was about to pull the trigger. The emptiness was out of this world. I tried to feel any spark, there was nothing there. Just fear and anxiety. I lost 20 pounds under my pre baby weight and almost became malnourished. Again, I never hallucenated. I only felt as though I were dying, because I was not eating and was having a paradoxical reaction to Prozac.

Any input would be greatly appreciated.

2 Replies

Hi ripley

Thanks for your post. It sounds like you’ve been through a really awful time. And it’s natural now that you’re looking for some answers and a clear diagnosis.

Diagnosis is tricky. I am obviously no clinician but from what I understand severe depression can tip over into psychosis and from what I have heard on here some people are diagnosed with depression with psychotic features.

My experience of postpartum psychosis was very different from yours. When my son was 3 days old I was acutely unwell very quickly and suddenly, completely out of touch with reality. I had many delusions including that my son had died, that it was the end of the world, that I had locked in syndrome. I’ve been told that I had a very classic, typical episode of what they would diagnose as Postpartum Psychosis. As you can see what I experienced was very different from yours.

I was struck with severe depression a few weeks after the psychosis and my experience of that sounds very similar to what you describe. I suffered a lot of fear and anxiety and total helplessness.

I hope that hearing my experience helps to put into context maybe what you experienced?

I hope that you continue to recover and feel more and more like yourself

Take care


Hi Ripley,

Your story sounds so familiar, reading this has made me think about my own diagnosis. Sadly I have bi polar which needs to be managed and I am in hospital getting my meds on track.

When I have looked back at what happened to me when I was sectioned and now where I am in hospital again against my best judgement I think that clinical depression perhaps spiralled. When my medication is back on track hopefully I will know more.

Thanks for sharing


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