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Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Dealing with Postpartum Depression and Anxiety

So I had my beautiful twin boys on February of this year. It was a huge surprise and blessing! The first couple months were hard but I was coping okay with it. I noticed the first sign when I was in the middle of pumping and I had the sudden thought of “ hurting myself and my kids.” I immediately ran to my fiancé and had a full fledge panic attack (the first I have ever had). 2 months or so went by since that incident and I started to get worried and more depressed I guess but didn’t quite noticed. Then the intrusive thoughts came (and I’m still dealing with them). This has been the most HORRIBLE THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME. Having thoughts of hurting my kids on a record playing each and everyday day is such a horrible and scary feeling. I live in fear everyday. I went to my OBGYN and she prescribed me Xanax and some other medication that had a horrific reaction too. I had all the side effects that came with it. After that I went to my PCP doctor and she recommended I go to a mental facility to get evaluated. Let tell you THE WORST MISTAKE EVER!!! First off I was away from my babies and my family. I’m clearly suffering from a mental illness but not to that extent. The abuse I witness in that facility was horrible. They didn’t treat you like you were a human being. I was suffering but I couldn’t show my emotions because they could’ve potentially kept me in longer. I drove there voluntarily to the facility but was later told I was “baker acted” which till this I don’t know who baker acted me. I was misdiagnosed. They told me I was maniac and bi polar which wasn’t true at all. The whole purpose of me going to this facility was for to speak with a psychiatrist and I spoke with one for maybe less than 4 mins the whole 6 days I was there. I have trauma from that place till this day. I later was referred to another psychiatrist that specializes with PPD and anxiety and he indeed told me I had that. I have been on medication and it has helped me a bit with the intrusive thought but I feel like they are getting louder. I also have a Christian counselor that has been helping as well. I honestly feel like I’m going crazy and I feel judged and misunderstood. I have reached to ever medical professional I can and I feel like they are causing more harm and because of that I have trust issues with the medical professionals. This has also put a strain on my relationship with my fiancée. Things aren’t like they use but we don’t ever have time for each other and I’m dealing with this that is totally out of my control. I’ve been praying and trying my best to get closer to God. Throughout this my whole family has been super supportive but they just don’t understand. With this depression I’ve been over eating which is making super self conscious and quite honestly I just hate myself. I feel like thee worst mother for having such horrible thoughts about my children, wife just everything in general. I’m sharing my story in hopes that their is someone that is possibly going through the same thing. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. May Hod bless you <3

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I'm really sorry to hear what happened to you. I luckily had milder symptoms but I totally understand what you are going through, please don't be hard on yourself you simply can't help it, you will get better! I struggled to talk to my family at some point and there's nothing worse than feeling alone in your own house; find someone you can talk to about your thoughts...or just write them down and chuck them in the bin! You will feel better! You are a wonderful mother because you've asked for help!

Sending hugs!

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Congratulations on your babies! I’m so sorry you’ve had such an ordeal both with this illness and the care you’ve received.

Many women struggle with these thoughts of harming their baby’s - you’re not alone in this. clearly they’re very very distressing to you. my thoughts revolves around obsessive illnesses and dying . Someone explained them as the protective instinct going into overdrive where you even see harm claiming from yourself - this made sense to me.

A lady who runs the site pni.org.uk had similar symptoms to you. Medication helped her plus talking therapy. Cognitive behavioural therapy can be great for tackling negative though patterns and these thoughts can become quite ingrained quite quickly and pop into your head automatically. Combined with antidepressants meds it can help recovery hugely. Im sorry your experience of meds hasn’t been good - it’s common for it to take several goes before finding some that work.

I also found exercise helped me hugely - I imagine with the babies you done have much time but a brisk walk can really lift you. If possible try to incorporate this into your routine.

I’m not medically qualified at all so it’s best to get professional advice on therapy/meds but maybe this can give you a few ideas. You’re doing an amazing job and these symptoms don’t reflect on you at all x

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Hi Ngarciaaa

Welcome to the forum .... congratulations on the birth of your twins :) Thank you for sharing your experience which sounds very frightening. Here you will find other mums and families to support and share their experiences. Are you in the UK?

I had Postpartum Psychosis with intrusive thoughts which were all very real and frightening at the time. I also had delusions with a commanding voice. I was sectioned to mixed general psychiatric care as there were no mother and baby units at the time. After six months, depression hit and I was in and out of hospital care in times of crisis. A similar pattern followed my second PP six years later. If your thoughts are getting louder perhaps you need a review of your medication and treatment?

Have you seen the PP Insider Guide "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" with a page on ups and downs and depression? There is also a guide for partners, the link being app-network.org/what-is-pp/... which might be helpful. There are also shared experiences on the page.

The thoughts and feelings you have are all part of an awful illness and not your fault. You are not the 'worst mother' ..... coping with twins, the effects of medication, routine and recovering from such an awful illness is a great achievement! I think you just need a lot of support and understanding. Perhaps when your partner reads the PP Guide he might understand?

Be kind to yourself .... we are all here to talk if it helps.

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You are a wonderful mother, which might be hard to believe, but it is expressed simply by the fact you want to be there for them, and want to get better.

Truthfully, for me, it came down to making a choice. I think we all have thoughts, to different degrees. Know the truth in spite of them. Find yourself, who you want to be, as a mother, and fiance, and be that person, in spite of your thoughts. Find support to take care of the twins, even if you think you can manage it. It is most important to take time to rest, and take care of yourself: have time to shower without babies crying beside you, have time to eat, and sleep. Help 2 hours a day would do wonders. If anyone is willing to prepare meals you can freeze, even better.

Jesus had the devil tempt him in the wilderness. He quoted scriptures back to those thoughts. Stand strong on a scripture. Mine was "trust in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart". When what I was facing was not my heart's desire, I stood strong my faith would lead me there.

I do think it comes down to choice. Choice to get support to help with your tasks. Choice to sleep. Choice to know the truth. You are loved. You are the best mom for your children.

God bless,

Emjay

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I’m sorry you have had the experiences you have and you haven’t found the right medical help yet. I can relate. I tried natural means for 2 months when I found out I was suffering from this and I had severe intrusive thoughts. I finally signed myself into a mental ward bc I was desperate and the psychiatrist I was seeing said I just needed xanex it was just anxiety causing it. I begged to be put on a anti psychotic. While the experience was horrendous and when I left I felt like I had been raped bc of how they treated those people and not being in the right place. I did experience my first positive response to meds. The psychiatrist told me it’s like trying to find the right puzzle pieces to fit in your brain. Don’t look at them as this or that but what neurotransmitters your missing or are not working right. I went on countless meds that did not work and made me worse. Luckily I had another mother who went through something similar pushing me to find the right meds. That I would know when I found the right one. I had to take a combat of anti depressants and anti psychotics to get better. You need to find the right meds. I know that’s hard to hear when you’ve had such bad reactions. I went to a depression center for 30 days and tried all diff kinds of meds with no result they gave up on me and as soon as I got home I went to another mental facility and there I found prosac. It was the key I was missing. You need to find the right doctor that will help fight to get you on the right med combo. Keep fighting to find the right doctor. Also you can take Solary L-theanine for imtrusive thoughts. That’s one of the things my doctor told me to take and it does help. I had severe PPD and OCD and I have recovered. It is possible. Don’t stop fighting.

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Dear Ngarciaaa,

I am sorry for your struggles and want to say a warm welcome to you on this forum

I have had PPP in 2010. I have had to have a support network in place as I was rather poorly and sectioned. After five years I found APP and this forum, who helped me tremendously with my ongoing anxiety issues.

Throughout the recovery I struggled in many ways, but also because of loss and grief of two significant family members in my life.

We all have to find our path of recovery and need to figure out what is most suitable for us and covering our needs.

Beside professional support I continued with group therapy in 2012 where I learnt to self manage, but also delved more and more into peer support.

It helps so much to talk, but also knowing that you are listened to.

I am very analytical and my mood swings have been a huge challenge not only for me, but for my partner. We came to the conclusion that a second opinion with 2 consultations was the best move we could have done. I was diagnosed with Bipolar; but I am at a much happier place and can work with my chronical illness rather than against it.

How are you? We are thinking of you.

x

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Hi, I HAD THE EXACT SAME THING HAPPEN TO ME!!!! Except I didn't have twins. How hard it must be. My story and my FULL RECOVERY:

My daughter was born in November of 2016. 5 weeks later, I was with my boyfriend upstairs when I had the horrible almost IMPULSE to drop her from the top. It was a conversation I had in my head and I had to tell myself no don't do it that's crazy she would die. It was like I didn't want to hurt her, I hoped she landed well, but I had that awful thought/impulse. I told my boyfriend and my mother about it, and also my friend, but they kept leaving me alone with my baby. Then I started reading about it and I had more and more thoughts about everything. I don't want to detail the rest of my intrusive thoughts because I know it's a trigger for you to have them too. But while the main one was dropping, it spread to everything. I was afraid to do everything with my baby. I developed rituals to deal with it. I was so worried that I would hurt her. I called my best friend and told her I was going to tell my obgyn about it. I told her I knew I'd go to the psych ward for it but I needed help. I told my boyfriend I was going and I started to try a bottle with my breastfed baby, to help transition her because I was going to be on meds. Sure enough, my obgyn immediately admitted me to the ER which then admitted me to the psych ward. I was there for two days. I missed my baby horribly. The psychiatrist put me on ABILIFY which made me feel claustrophobic and I couldn't sit down for more than a few moments. I was released, because I had a nice psychiatrist, but oh it wasn't over. I wasn't really better. I told my boyfriend that he would live with the two kids (i have an older daughter with him who was 6 at the time) and I would visit him for a few hours with the kids each day. but live at my parents, 20 min away. I told him to NOT TRUST ME WITH THE BABY and to watch me at all times, especially on the staircase. I was so afraid I'd hurt my baby.

I started an outpatient postpartum group three days a week. There, they diagnosed me as BIPOLAR (which was later reversed), gave me lithium and risperidol because the ABILIFY was having bad side effects. The best thing: a woman in the group introduced me to a book called DROPPING THE BABY AND OTHER THOUGHTS. That book was EXTREMELY helpful. I exited the group to go back to work, earlier than planned, because I couldn't stay at my parents house with the thoughts. Work helped, but I had a dark month when I was afraid of hurting other people, myself, my mother, and I don't want to detail it because it can be a trigger for you. I tried to visit my daughters less and less, going to every other day or everyday for 2 hours. It was very hard on my older daughter who has blocked that out and says she can't remember when I didn't that. At that time though, she started having behavior at school and was always asking when mommy would be there and insisted I stay everyday until she fell asleep. We were as close as could be before my second daughter was born and this was hard. Interestingly, I only had intrusive thoughts about her a handful of times. Mostly, I felt very comfortable around her. But onto my story.

I saw a postpartum psychiatrist who put me on ZOLOFT, took me off lithium. Still on risperidol. I went to three different therapist s 3 days a week. I didn't tell each therapist that I was seeing two other. I was turned down my one therapist who didn't like me for my intrusive thoughts. I think she was a child advocate and couldn't stand my story. I tried meditation, didn't work. I READ the DROPPING THE BABY and other thoughts book religiously. I came with a REBUTTAL TO THE THOUGHTS: Yes, I'm having that thought, and it's scary, but I wouldn't do it. Thinking something doesn't make it happen. Good mothers can have intrusive thoughts. My advice: write down your rebuttals to every intrusive thought. I also became very religious. I went to every service and read the bible all the time, I put it in my purse. I prayed constantly for my daughters safety and would kiss her forehead and pray that she'd be safe. So, to outline it: ZOLOFT (150 mg), RISPERIDOL (3 mg), individual therapy 3 days a week, BIBLE and DROPPING THE BABY book constantly, exercise, sleep, good nutrition,omega 3 fatty acids. Best friends and boyfriend and mother to confide in and handle every intrusive thought i had. I had the thoughts in December. By February, they started decreasing. I started visiting my kids everyday all day. By April, I was having fewer and fewer thoughts. After a few months, I moved in with my boyfriend and kids. I celebrated my daughters first birthday with relief.

Now my baby is 2. We are as close as can be. My older daughter is now closer to her father, probably in part due to this whole journey, but she doesn't need counseling in school anymore and is doing great academically. I drop off the baby in the morning at daycare, and I pick her up, juggle the two kids, homework, dinner, no intrusive thoughts. I deal with 2 year old temper tantrums, occasional sickness (vomit in the car, diarrhea everywhere, things that cause stress), but no intrusive thoughts. I have the summers off (YAY being a teacher!) and have the kids all day while my boyfriend works: no intrusive thoughts. I deal with the stress of work, of my cat dying: you guessed it, no intrusive thoughts. They dwindled so much that I don't have them anymore. It's once in a blue moon. The staircase: she can do that almost by herself (she thinks, I still hold her hand).

I've been weaned off the risperidol so now I'm down to .5mg, to be taken off next month.

My two year old baby is great. She's as happy as can be, healthy, and developmentally right on track. She talks a lot, and is very active. My story has a happy ending. :)

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Thank you so much for sharing! You can’t help but think you’re in this alone and are going crazy. I know with this process you need patiences, but it’s just so tough.

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Hello Ngarciaa

I'm glad you found the replies helpful .... you're really not alone! I wonder if you are not in the UK whether you might find support at Postpartum Support International where there are groups locally, the link being postpartum.net? On the home page under "About perinatal mental health" there is a link to Postpartum Psychosis Help and a list of countries under International Support. You are very welcome to write here too :)

Your experience sounds very traumatic and it will take time to come to terms with everything so please give yourself time to heal. Take care.

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No I don’t live in the UK! I live in Florida. But I definitely will take a look at it. Thank you everyone really. It’s been a hard road but I’m doing my best ❤️

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Hello Ngarciaaa

Best wishes to you from across the pond :) I hope you will find local support at PSI but we are all here too.

PP mums are amazing ..... it is a hard road with ups and downs to recovery, especially with depression, but with good support and medical care you will find your place again. Take care <3

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hi just a quick note to remind you that you have an illness. Its like diabetes. Its not your fault. Secondly, when you find the right meds balance and support regime you will get back to your old self. In the meantime you are recovering. So you need support and rest. The distressing thoughts are a symptom. Try and see them as a separate thing to you, nothing to do with the real you. They will disappear when treatment is got right. Ive been through it with wife. Give yourself a break.

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