Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Anyone who doesn’t think they need their meds?

I wasn’t diagnosed until after I stopped breastfeeding and was having delusions and a failed attempt. Does anyone fight the meds they are put on. I feel like I don’t need them and they are making me into someone I am not.

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Hello Hmcw

Thank you for your post and welcome to the forum where you will find lots of shared experiences and support. I'm sorry you weren't diagnosed until you stopped breastfeeding. Are you now home or in hospital?

I had PP many years ago and experienced hallucinations and delusions which were all very real and frightening at the time. I received a combination of medication and treatment and eventually fully recovered. I can relate to your feelings about your medication as I felt the same. The medications made me feel very tired and slow and I was also anxious to prove to my family that I was fine, when in fact I was far from it. I decided that I didn't need my medication and refused to take it! This was a very bad decision as I went downhill very quickly and I later assured my psychiatrist that I wouldn't do that again.

I think for now your medication is probably keeping you stable so it is important to take it regularly. During my recovery I was prescribed different medications until the right balance was found, so perhaps you could ask your GP to review?

There are PP Insider Guides, i.e. "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" and there is also a guide for partners, at app-network.org/what-is-pp/... which might be helpful for you to read. Please take your time and don't rush to be well. PP is such a traumatic illness and you need time to heal. Take care.

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Hello Hmcw,

pleased to meet you on this APP site A warm welcome to you.

I was eventually diagnosed with PPP in 2010 once I was admitted to hospital and sectioned. Thus, I was pretty much in a very bad shape.

I am a very health conscious person and dislike chemicals, but admittedly they saved my life. When poorly I was put on lots of trial and error meds. I have had ongoing episodes and staff did not know how to manage me and thus, was the majority of time in seclusion until the right cocktail of some very traditional anti-psychotics were found. Gosh, I would have loved to be in a mother and baby unit!

However, meds for PPP has to have the right dosage and combination, and we are all very unique in the way how we react to drugs, therefore being tailor-made for each mum with this traumatising illness...even in the second half of my hospital stay I was not responsive and for a while they thought they've lost me completely and ready to be sectioned (3) again.

In my opinion there is no other way forward than taking medication for Post Partum Psychosis. I was so rebellious that they had to inject me most of the time.

There is a happy ending to the story. Eventually I was completely weaned off from Lorazepam and Risperidone, the meds I took after I was discharged from the Psychiatric Unit.

We are all survivors & mums and recovery is like self-discovery all over again. It is always good to communicate and get your meds plan continuously revised by a psychiatrist, GP etc..

Wishing you well, strengths and happiness.

x

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What medications were you both on. I’m on respidone and lithium. I also have trouble sleeping. Any suggestions? Thank you both for taking the time to reply

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Hello Hmcw

As my PP episodes were so long ago I think medications now will be different. I have looked through my notes and was prescribed various antipsychotics Stelazine, Disapal (which controlled my hallucinations) and Chlorpromazine. I was hit by depression and took Prothiaden and Amitriptyline in tandem with other interventions.

Do you think your tremors are caused by your medication? Not being able to sleep is stressful. Perhaps you might be anxious about being at home with your baby .... I think we have all been on alert listening out for our children during the night! Have you tried having a relaxing bath before bed? Meditation is also very calming. I have also found a good way to unwind is by listening to relaxing piano music on YouTube.

I hope you manage to sleep tonight. Take care and please write again as we are all here for you.

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Hi Hmcw, just to add to the info shared by other ladies - I too took lithium and also olanzapine (a different antipsychotic to quetiapine) when I had pp, 9 years ago now. At the time I hated taking medication and in the early days certainly thought I didn’t need it - but I got no better without it. I know it’s hard and the side effects can be tough but in the long run the meds really did help me. Perhaps you could ask for a review with your mental health worker or GP if you are finding the doses hard to live with. I know that adjustments were needed for me and I noticed the difference when I had controlled reductions with the support of professionals later down the line. I’m afraid I can’t help with the sleep issue as I slept quite soundly - at times too much I think but I also saw it as my brain repairing and resting after the trauma of the pp. I know that “good sleep hygiene” in terms of minimising screen time, some relaxation and wind down, perhaps a good book or other distraction, can also help. Take care, I hope things get easier for you soon. We are here to listen and help where we can. Xx

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I’ve suffered normal psychosis about 8 times but never postpartum oddly and after every episode when I feel better still sometimes have pangs of what if I’m ok now and I’m stronger and can cope. This I feel is a normal part of recovery because it’s a sign you are getting better however I’d really have to stress that you should seek advice from your consultant or gp before stopping anything it should be done under guidance and very slowly- some of my relapses were due to coming off meds too soon (I’ve been on lithium, olanzapine, quetiapine etc e) because I felt they made me feel groggy foggy and just awful quite frankly- so they found me a new drug and it’s the best drug I’ve ever taken for bipolar I don’t seem to feel the side effects. I hope you start to feel better soon xxx

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Sorry I’d meant to add that my experiences are slightly different in that I have an underlying diagnosis so I’ve now accepted that I will continue taking my drugs because they keep me really well. I imagine for postpartum psychosis it’s a bit different so that once you are recovered you can taper them off. I wish you luck in your recovery x

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I was really against my meds, I had tried so many different ones nothing seemed to work for me I felt they were making me feel blank and spacey . It was hard for me because even when the pp had gone they like you to stay on your meds up to a year to keep it away lowering the dose gradually.. I found this frustrating as I felt the meds were making me blank emotionless but truth is I don't know , I don't know if I'd have felt the same without taking them or if the psychosis would have came back.. I guess I had to decide and chose to follow advise stay on them but I said I wanted to Wean off them sooner then they wanted.. but at the very start of pp you need these meds because they will help you! But there are so many options just don't come off them talk with your doctor you could try something different.. do some research.. but above all be careful and once you have a plan that you feel your happy with or could compromise maybe might help x

It is different for everyone this is just my personal experience

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Hi Hmcw,

Sorry to hear you’ve been so unwell. Sending my best wishes of support in your recovery.

I had PP in 2016/17 and I can relate to your feelings on the medication in some ways. I knew I needed them, however, I hated the way I thought they made me feel. I felt so exhausted, obviously as a new mum anyway, but the medication also knocked me out it was really hard... at times I resented the meds I was angry at them!

HOWEVER, and it’s a big however. The medication was what got me better and was so so needed.

Always talk to your health professional about your meds. They are there to help. I was only a small handful of drugs (most notably Risperidone), however I have heard from others that they’ve tried different ones at times as not all meds work on people in the same way. The best thing is to talk to your professional(s). Tell them how you’re feeling too, but do also use the forum. There are some brilliant listeners. I’ve had great support reading other people’s stories myself. Know we’re all here for you.

Hang in there. You’re still you, I promise. You just need a bit of help at the moment, but it can get better. Xxxx

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Hi Hmcw - you must be exhausted being at home and trying to go back to normal.

As anybody will tell you lack of sleep from any cause including breastfeeding, in the early hours of the morning will undermine your health. Underlying reasons for insomnia might be thyrotoxicosis which is an overactive thyroid. It can lead to delusions. Also kidney or urinary problems infections - can lead to the same - but as you know your diagnosis ways

of helping you relax and sleep so that you can feel normal again is important. I found after

several months of no sleep, plus diabetes, I was not thinking properly. I could not get to sleep, and when I did wake up I had to go to the loo, as I take water tablets and had an infection. I was eventually diagnosed with a sleep disorder and have to take sleeping pills.

If I miss a night dose I am awake all night long.

Other methods of going to sleep are to activate the melatonin which triggers a sleep hormone. It is said that too much light in the bedroom will prevent you sleeping.

Pitch black is recommended but I don't like to turn of the lights. Instead I keep my curtains open to let distant street light, and the moon light, to soften the lighting.

I also have a nightlight under the bed on a surge plug lead to give a bit of light.

It is important to keep in touch with your team - and hope you feel better soon with their support.

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