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Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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How long until recovery?

For those who have gotten passed your PPP, how long did recovery take? And was there anything you did that made things better or worse? I’m 6 months in and still struggling a bit. Things are much better but I find myself reliving the past a lot and what I went through. It’s hard to make sense of it all and move on. I have very vivid memories still and certain things seem to trigger a memory and bring up fear and anxiety.

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Hello Rimhoff

Im six years since my last episode of PP. For me recovery has come in stages, there was the stay in the MBU, after 7 weeks i was definately a bit better, then i think being at home was another step. The first few years felt like 2 steps forward one step back but i think by the time my lb was 2 i felt confident I wasnt going to slip back down. I would say im still in recovery 6 years later i have started schema therapy 5 months ago to look at some of the issues i am still having with my MH. The things that help me are, getting a good diet, exercise (cycling for me and now running!) i have made myself a self care box for when im feeling low. I also accessed all and every course and therapy that was offered by the NHS and asked for a CPN who visited me every week for a year. I hope this helps xx

Meridyth

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Hi Meridyth, thanks for responding. 6 years is longer than I was hoping to hear for a recovery but sounds more realistic. I'll be on meds for another 3 months at least and then will re-evaluate. I was hoping by then I would feel like myself again. I'm getting there, but the experience was still so recent it's hard to adjust. It sounds like the UK really has a good support program after. I would have loved a visiting nurse to come and check in on me. Once I got discharged from the Psychiatric unit I felt like my support was cut off other than my Psychiatrist who was managing my meds.

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Hello rimhoff

So pleased you found the forum ...... there will be lots of support here for you. Congratulations on the birth of your baby :) My PP was a long time ago and there will be other mums here with their more up to date experiences but finding the forum was a great comfort to me as I hope you will find too.

Sorry to hear you're struggling a bit. I think 6 months into recovery is still quite early and your memories will still be quite raw. I've noticed that you are in the US? Do you have any professional medical support as I'm not sure what is available abroad? Here in the UK we have mother and baby units but years ago I was treated under general psychiatric care so full recovery is possible with professional input.

PP is a very treatable illness although a frightening experience. I wonder if you have seen the APP Insider Guides "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" which might be helpful to read? There is also a Guide for partners at app-support.org/what-is-pp/... Have you been able to talk to a doctor about your fear and anxiety? Perhaps talking therapy might be helpful ..... just to clear your head of the thoughts that pop up and share them with someone who will understand (much like the forum really) but receiving professional input?

I don't think we realise how much we have been through. You are doing really well in such a short time and I think you will need to be kind to yourself and not rush to be 'over it'. In time, with good medical care and family support you will slowly be able to move on. For now you need to rest and try to sleep when your baby sleeps, even though your instinct is to tidy the house!

As you are in the US you might also find Postpartum Support International a good resource at postpartum.net/. On their page you will find "Postpartum Psychosis Help" listed and their support might be local to you, although you are always welcome here.

Take good care of yourself ...... we are all here to support you.

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Hi Lilybeth, thanks for the response and support. I'm in the US and am currently being followed closely by a Psychiatrist who is managing my meds and a Psychologist for therapy. They are both helping but there is only so much they can do. I am working through my lingering anxiety issues but I think only time will really help which is why I was curious how long it took others to recover!

I did read the APP recovery guide but didn't know about the postpartum.net so will have to check it out. It's good to hear from others who have recovered and are doing well so long after. THanks again!

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Hello Rimhoff,

welcome to the forum and congratulation on your baby.

I have had PPP nearly eight years ago. It is difficult to put a time limit on recovery with regards to your mental health as we are all very different and unique physically and emotionally.

Despite having had a bad time when sectioned I somehow managed to get through this horrific experience in the Psychiatric mixed gender unit.

The after care with the help of my partner as full time carer and the support network of professionals and partner's family helped me to gradually improve.

Like you I have been supported by a Psychiatrist and my GP, who worked closely together. In addition we have had a health visitor for 2 years.

I keep a close check on my mental health and need to listen to my body as I struggle with hyper activity and short nights.

I can recommend to read up on a therapeutic path, beside your meds such as starting to exercise, yoga and meditation, pursue a hobby, attend baby and toddler groups...obviously all in moderation and only at your pace.

I stopped listening to other peoples expectations, because at the end you are number one and you re-charge your own batteries in stepping stones.

Wishing you all the best and we are here to listen whenever you feel like talking or journalising...

:-)

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Hello Rimhoff,

Congratulations on the birth of your baby. You have already come a long way, though as others have mentioned it can take some time as each person is different. I have just passed the 12 month mark since my first episode of PPP and I am about to return to work in the next few weeks. I found that by 6 months I was well enough to come off the anti-psychotic medication, but I am still taking anti depressants. Day to day life became much better as I wasn’t feeling so sedated, but like you I still struggled with anxiety and trying to make sense of my experience. I found counselling really helped me to talk through the trauma from my psychosis and the related feelings that I was having. Is this something that you have access to?

Please be kind to yourself and allow yourself plenty of time to grieve and to heal. PPP is a life changing experience so whilst you may never feel like the same person you once were, I promise that you will slowly begin to start feeling like your old self again. Only that you are now much stronger than you think! I wish you all the best in your recovery xxx

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I'd say it took me 2-3 months to be well enough to go home from MBU. Then it was around 4-5 months of gradually increasing confidence and going out and later reducing drugs so I could 'feel' again. Then it's been about 3 years of ups and downs. Since starting counselling 2 years ago I've definitely seen a massive improvement in my functioning, self-esteem and mood. I'd recommend therapy coupled with gradually increasing activity levels (hobbies, sports, socialising, etc.), eating well, and self-care including time for you. Hope that helps. You'll get there but it takes time and quite a lot of motivation, which I've found is often hard to come by! 😂

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Hi Rimhoff!

I am in the US as well so I will let you know about my American experience. As you know, we do not have MBUs so I was placed on a psych ward. All good people inside, but confusing as to why I was with them. They say it was to monitor medications. I was hospitalized multiple times and decided to have ECT because I was not responding to the medications. After going through ECT, I went back to work and really went full-speed ahead for three years. During this time, my psychiatrist and I decided I was able to come off all meds and I relapsed. It was very scary for myself and my husband. I opted for another round of ECT. My three children were aware that mommy was going to the hospital for treatment. After treatments, my anxiety level was very high. My husband was my only at home support. No health professional came to visit or checked up on me. My psychiatrist and my therapist were/are both great at really listening to me. I'm up front and honest with them. I keep a journal for anything I may want to bring up in our meetings. I've let everyone know I'm about 95% myself after 6 months. Attending a group meeting (DBSA) has really helped me not feel alone. Again, good people there and they can make sure I'm thinking clearly and logically. My psychiatrist allows me to text her on an as needed basis. I'm in the process of decreasing/getting off medications. My group reminds me there is nothing wrong with taking meds if they are helping. I remind myself that returning to the hospital is not an option, so I must practice self-care. All things that seem so basic and yet I need to remind myself daily. There is an acronym for it SEEDS- sleep, exercise, education, diet, and social interactions. Generally, if I hit all those basics I feel pretty good. Currently, I'm not going to work. My health is the most important thing. A job is supposed to add to my quality of life. I'll add that in when necessary.

Listen to yourself. You will know what you need and what is most important. I was also taught CARESS- communicate alternatively, release endorphins, and self-soothe. It has not been as helpful to me, but may be helpful to you.

Best wishes on your journey! This forum has been instrumental in helping me not feel so alone and isolated. Great job reaching out.

Gina

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Hi Rimoff

Welcome to the forum ! 🙂

It looks like you have had some really useful responses to your post so I don't know if I can add much.... but having recovered from three psychotic episodes myself I can totally relate to the feeling that you describe, I also spent a lot of time in the following months going back over memories of the episodes -I guess trying to make sense of it all and trying to accept my illness , it can be a very frightening time and the anti psychotics did cause my mood to drop so I spent a lot of time ruminating but I think that's all part of the healing process. I remember being impatient and hard on myself, thinking that I should be feeling better and time did drag.

Looking back I should have been kinder to myself and not in so much of a rush to be fully better and back to work etc but it's very hard .keep reaching out to those around you for support - thinking of you with very best wishes

Jas xxg

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Dear Rimhoff

Welcome to the group. I had Pp in September 16. I certainly did not know how ill I actually was, Pp is a horrible illness but you will get better. I was in a psych unit, then home and then I went to mbu for a month. I started to feel well around six months with good and very bad days. I remember feeling more and more like my old self around ten months. I think you get better gradually. I know at my son's first birthday I was like hey I am feeling even better and then again every three months I look back and think yes I am even better. I thought at 12 months I was well but at 18 months i feel even better and yesterday my son was 20 months and I feel amazing. Pp does change your outlook on life but we are survivors. what helped me to achieve recovery was I am very open about what happened to me and I have shared with people what happened, the support I have received as been amazing and has really helped. I avoided stress as much as possible and gave decision making away to my husband and family I did not need to worry about every pathetic little thing. I also slept when I needed to which was the best advice I was given by someone I met who had recovered from p.p. I wish you all the best and feel free to msg me. This forum is also great, so any little question pop it on here and the support will come flooding in. This is my little go to place, my little Pp family as I like to think of it, where everyone understands best wishes Marie x

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I love the end of this comment! I'm so glad you've found us!

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