Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Update on treatment for PPS in Spain

Hi Everyone,

In my first post, "I'm new here", I went into the specifics of my daughter's tragedy after two episodes of PPS.

In that post, I promised to update the community on advances, if any, on the treatment of PPS in Spain (that I became ware of).

After hearing fantastic things (all true) about the work of Dr. Anne Buist at the University of Melbourne in Australia, I contacted her. She was so supportive and helpful and immediately put me in contact with one of her colleges who works in the Barcelona area.

Dr. Miguel Sandonís Vicente, who is adjunct psychiatrist in the Perinatal Psychiatry Program at Vall d'Hebrón University Hospital in Barcelona.

The program is still in its infancy and the team is organizing the program. Dr. Sandonís has invited me (date still to be determined) to come to Barcelona and share our families experiences with the team.

Needless to say, I am very excited at this opportunity to help in some small way to "raise the bar" in the treatment of PPS here in Spain.

A big hug to all those with or in recovery from PPS and their loved ones!

Peter and Rosa

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Dear Peter (and Rosa)

This is so wonderful to hear of what you have been doing in Spain, and the contacts you have made. That is really amazing, how you're transforming the tragedy of your daughter to ensure others get better support. I hope that the team in Barcelona can manage to start something there.

Do let us know if there is anything we can help you with. I hope the meetings all go ok, you have so much important insight and experience to give.

Take care, I hope that you are doing OK, through it all.

Ellie XX

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Dearest Peter and Rosa,

How are you? I have been thinking of you. First of all thank you so much for coming back to us.

It is so important that further research is being undertaken not only in main land Europe, but all over the world.

It is so kind and of significance to share your given information. It is always interesting to find out about the health systems internationally and specifically the welfare for mums with peri & after care of PPP & other post natal mental health issues in other countries. Unfortunately in many places still in its infancies!

I investigated the important existence of Mother and Baby Units in other countries & not only the UK and identified that particularly Canada and France are putting a lot of effort into the subject matter.

I am so happy for the both of you to have received positive responses from 2 caring professionals. Exchanging experiences via families is so vital in order to reassure treatments are appropriate. Keep us up-dated about the outcome of a possible visit with Dr. Miguel Sandonís Vicente.

On a different note I wonder where you are located!? I am going regularly to Spain in order to visit my mum. Maybe you would like to send me a private note.

Take care and hope you have a good support network and lovely people around you...and plenty of sunshine :-)

x

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Thanks so much for the encouragement Jasa!

It was other Forum members who keep us going in the hard moments with their wonderful stories of survival of the human spirit even after crushing losses and examples of selfless love for one another.

So thanks to all the Admins, Moderators, Volunteers, and participants of the APP forum for being here for us!

Most of all, I wouldn't feel right if I didn't say that our families support network comes from our faith in God. We believe that He has a plan for our lives and somehow (I honestly don't know how!? He told us we would understand later.) all that has happened to us fits into it.

We also believe that death of the physical body is not the end of our existence and one day will be reunited with our loved ones who have passed into eternity.

We also understand, for various reasons, a lot of people can't accept that, or it doesn't work for them and the last thing we want to do is add any more stress or pain to someone going through PPS. That doesn't mean we don't mourn intensely the loss of our beloved Sara, on the contrary, we miss her more than words can express.

I know this is hard to hear, especially those who had "super religious experiences" or delusions during manic or psychotic episodes of PPS. We hope and pray with all our heart that doctors will soon find the cure/prevention of PPS so that no families have to suffer from this illness.

Anyone from the forum (especially you Jasa), is welcome to come and visit us in sunny Spain!

We live in Zaragoza, about 330 KMs northeast of Madrid and about 300 KMs west of Barcelona, connected by the high speed train to both of those cites!

For you English, we have a direct flight from Stansted (London) to Zaragoza (courtesy of Ryan Air) which is usually cheap (except for holidays, go figure). Be careful, as they are a point to point airline, the return fare can be much, much higher than the outward journey.

A friend from London came for Sara's funeral (spur of the moment) and paid 11 pounds to get here (good deal huh) and did not book her return. The cheapest return she could find was 110 pounds! Still if you divide the sum paid by two its 60 pounds each way!

A big hug and lots of spring weather from Sunny Spain!

Peter and Rosa

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Dear Peter,

I just wanted to write to say I was really moved by your response, your faith in something greater, and a deeper meaning / plan somehow is really inspiring... I really believe any awful experiences can be transformed... this has certainly been my own experience of going through PP, but also witnessing others who have had to cope with such difficult situations, and somehow finding faith and meaning in it all.

take care, thinking of you and your family,

Ellie X

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Hi Peter,

I'm so glad you got in touch with Anne and she was helpful. How fantastic! Fingers crossed and prayers that the outcome of your next meeting is what you are hoping for.

Best wishes, Sarah

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Thank you Peter for your lovely response to all of us. Yes, it is important to feel connected and strive for a good cause.

I feel so terribly passionate about the appropriate support for mums and babies. Something I was not allowed to experience in the first 6 months and probably because of that carry a few more scars.

Especially the after-care and path of recovery needs to be "put under a microscope", even still in some regions within the UK.

Wishing you well on your healing journey.

All the best to you and your wife. Thank you for sharing your story and passionate in-put into the subject matter, - which is so extremely personal and life changing to all of us.

x

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Hello Peter

What a great achievement that in the depths of your despair you have made such progress in raising the profile of PP in Spain.

My PP episodes were too traumatic to recall here. Following my first episode in the mid 70's I was sectioned to a Victorian asylum as there was such a stigma attached to mental illness at that time and no mother and baby units. Six years later I was again sectioned and under mixed general psychiatric care following my second PP.

I've read that you have very good contacts in Barcelona but also wonder if Postpartum Support International might be helpful at postpartum.net? There is information en Espanol and under the 'Learn More' section Postpartum Psychosis is listed. I thought perhaps this might be another avenue of research and contact in your quest to highlight such a devastating illness.

I am sure your grandchild is a delight and a great comfort in remembrance of your daughter. I too hope and pray that in time PP will be recognised and nipped in the bud before tragic consequences occur.

Thank you so much for your kindness and strength at such a heartbreaking time for your family.

With best wishes to your wife and family.

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Hi Lilybeth,

As far as my "very good contacts" in Barcelona, I feel a tiny bit like the apostle Paul before Felix (governor of Caesarea,),

"...Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. " Acts 24:25

So far the "convenient season" hasn't come, but I have to learn to be patient (not my strong suit!).

XXX

Peter

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Dear Lilybeth,

I had seen postpartum.net and dismiss it as US based and focused without investigating properly the international section. There were three Spanish coordinators listed (no support groups mentioned, no webs, no emails, one cell phone number). At least I have three more names to chase!

Our two grandsons are cracks! The oldest just turned two and is a real handful having discovered the word "no" and delights using it constantly! The baby is now 6 months and is as handsome as his granddad, lol.

Thank goodness they both reflect the beauty, physical and spiritual, of their mom.

I'm so sorry that you had to experience PPS at a time when its treatment (and the treatment of all mental health issues) was so inhumane.

Thank you for your encouragement, send all the joy that the present and future holds for you!

Peter and Rosa

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Dear Peter and Rosa

Thank you so much for taking time to reply.

I hope the Spanish co-ordinators will prove to be helpful when you track them down. I was also wondering if the personal experiences on the APP site at app-network.org/what-is-pp/... might be helpful when you meet with the team in Barcelona, although your own experience will be invaluable?

Your two grandsons must be your light in the darkness especially having qualities of your daughter and a measure of good looks from grandad!

In a way Peter, my psychotic episodes were much like your daughter's and I was extremely lucky to survive. So I haven't wanted to impose on your grief but understand how your faith keeps your hopes alive.

Wishing you a sunny day and success in your commitment to the programme in Barcelona :) Take care ..... we are all here for you.

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Hi Lilybeth,

I had not seen the person experiences page; I'm not as good an investigator as I would like to think! It will be an excellent resource as the personal accounts are so valuable.

During my visit to Barcelona, I plan to refer to the whole APP site as I feel it is the "gold standard" for what a support network should look like.

Dr. Ibone Olza, from the Medical Faculty of the University of Alcalá de Henares (Province of Madrid), is the director of the European Institute of Perinatal Mental Health (Madrid) and is also one of the coordinators for Postpartum Support International (PSI) Spain.

I have contacted her, and although she is not in Spain at the moment, in May, she has promised to get back in touch.

So more good news to follow, I hope.

PS. How did I turn on italic font? Can I turn it off? Oh bother Winnie the Pooh!

XXX

Peter

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Hello Peter

Good to hear from you. I'm glad the experiences page will be a great help. Thank you for your kind comments about the support network .... a fitting tribute to the mum who had great insight to set up APP to give mums and families a voice and share experiences.

You have made such progress in your list of of contacts and have done well to raise awareness at this early stage. It must be very rewarding to see everything coming together.

I also wonder if you have seen the blog 'PP Soup' at ppsoup.com where there are other shared experiences and info? I'm sorry to bombard you with all the resources but I hope they will help in your meetings to set an example for a similar programme in Spain.

By now you have probably figured out how you turned on the italic font? Pressing Ctrl plus letter i turns it on ...... Ctrl plus letter i then turns it off. I'm not too good with technology myself Peter so I hope that works :)

Take care. Best wishes to you and Rosa. xx

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