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Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Olanzapine Question

Hey everyone. I posted a little while ago about my wife's recovery from PP and trying to get back into her daily work/home life. She is doing much better, but we aren't out of the woods yet. Bad days are very few and far between and they seem to be just bad moments rather than days. The only concern we both still have is the dosage of Olanzapine she is on and how the side effects are effecting her everyday. She's tired all the time, lazy, unmotivated, trouble concentrating and focusing and occasionally has a "so what?" attitude. She's concerned this feeling/attitude won't go away even though we know its because of the drug. She's on 15mg daily (all at night) and will be reducing to 10mg at the end of the week. Are these side effects other people on this drug experienced and did they subside with a reduced dosage and go away all together once off the medication. Her worse days are when she gets down on herself when these side effects are peaked. Just looking for anyone with experience. Thanks

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Hello Lovin Hubby,

it is such good news that your wife is recovering so well. Those plips come and go. Unfortunately those side effects are something we all have had to struggle with in order to get rid of those hallucinations and episodes and eventually supressing and being cured from PPP.

I was not on Olanzapine, but was administered traditional drugs which I had to take when sectioned. Those drugs were gradually reduced with the help of my Psychiatrist and strict monitoring by my partner, who had to be my full time carer for one year. Observation and communication, but also following the care plan was vital in order to help and support my individual needs subsequently leading to recovery.

Despite being so very poorly and not remembering too much in the first year I managed to wean off Halloperidine, Lorazepam and Risperidone. I have had trouble with my mobility, speech, concentration level, and obviously being knocked out at night with this strong meds. I could not do anything without the help of my partner and had to re-learn primary skills. Anxiety level had been increased and I had to practise tasks such as shopping. I was terrified of crowds and new environments, especially busy ones.

Nothing to do with being lazy, I just have had some good spells throughout the day, where I managed to do things in very small stepping stones...even looking after myself was extremely difficult...,-this is such a traumatising illness and the drugs are extremely strong to keep Psychosis at bay.

There is a lot of related Post on Olanzapine and I am sure that other mums will be able to respond, who have taken this specific drug. As I say note keeping helps and feed back to the professional support network. That is what my partner did routinely!

Wishing you well and I find people like you and my partner absolutely inspirational. Love and kindness and being in my own sanctuary helped me to become a survivor.

x

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I’ve been on olazapine for several months now, starting on a 15 mg dose and slowly lowering. I found that until I dropped to 5 mg the side effects were really bad, I felt uncaring, very hungry, unmotivated, disinterested. Each time the medication is lowered the side effects are less, when off the meds I didn’t feel numb and definitely went back to my original personality. Tell your wife to hang in there and remind her that her mental health is the priority. Sending love to your family 💕

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Thanks for the input. When you were lowering your dose, how much did you lower it by each time?

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2.5mg everytime. Over a series of months.

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Hi,

I was on olanpzine for about 18 months. I felt the same way as your wife - tired all the time and just not wanting to do anything. I feel like I didn’t have any joy for doing my housework which I had enjoyed before (that might sound odd to some people) - slowly I started to enjoy cleaning again, it was probably only after coming of the medication that I felt happy again cleaning - 2/3 years on from having my son, I now have my own successful cleaning business. So what I am trying to say it that - at the moment you might feel that life will never return to normal but hopefully it will and most ladies make a full recovery :)

It is a long road but recovery is achievable

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I experienced exactly the same side effects, but they reduced as my olanzipine dozes dropped. I was also on lithium which made the effects of the olanzipine side effects stronger and of course has side effects of its own. 21 months post PP I am now being weaned off lithium and take only 2.5mg of olanzipine every other day , which will go in a couple of months too. The side effects are rough but now I have virtually none and am back to my old self so hang in there. I have more energy, a clearer head and have already lost most of the weight the olanzipine hunger put on. The medication is needed and I know its hard to get through, but I would also say keep talking to your medical team as they will do what is best for her and reduce the meds when they can safely do so.

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Hi!

Lovely to hear your wife is doing much better :)

I was only on 10mg for around 5 or 6 months before dropping to 5mg for a few weeks until I then took 5mg every other day. I felt all the same feelings/emotions as your wife as well. Within a week of dropping down to 5mg I noticed how much better how felt, and although I was still tired all the time I generally felt like me old myself.

I'm sure she will get back to the way she used to feel, just takes everyone different amounts of time.

Wish you both the best :)

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Glad to hear you are feeling better now off the medication. Did you have any withdrawal side effects when reducing your dosage?

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None at all for me :)

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That's great to hear. Were you on any other medications or just olanzapine?

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Olanzipine and sertraline 100mg x

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In my experience of being Olanzopine, I’ve been on it several times in my life including after PP. Thats still a fairly high dosage and so when it’s gradually reduced, to 10mg and lower your wife will really notice a difference. Particularly under 10mg. They have to take it down slowly which is so frustrating as the symptoms from the meds are such a struggle but hang on in there, it will get better. Trust the professionals that they know what they are doing - it’s always a very cautious approach. Each time I’ve always made a full recovery with Olanzopine so it’s always been a love hate relationship! Hope this helps.

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My husband was on olanzapine for 10 years for the sake of keeping our family together but his heart enlarged due to olanzapine and he came off it, in fact he came off all his medication for his type 1 bipolar disorder. Fortunately I have done research and discovered 5htp stops mania I buy it from Boots and Holland and Barrett, that's what I give him when he is high which he is at the moment - his highs last 3 months

He also takes plenty of fish oil capsules.

Olanzapine is great for stopping mania but is a horrible drug to be on it makes you feel rubbish, Obvs you can't go against the doctors but you could get her to take fish oil capsules - alongside the olanzapine the omega 3 in the fish oil turn into serotonin in the brain which counters the dopamine - excess dopamine is the cause of bipolar

Stephen Fry made a 2 part documentary about bipolar disorder ( which he has ) it was made over 10 years ago, featured in it was a GP with bipolar who kept her bpd under control with fish oil capsules. It is on YouTube and is well worth watching it's absolutely brilliant

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Thanks for the response. She has a doctor appointment Friday and that is something she can bring up to her psychiatrist. How much fish oil did your husband take to notice a change in cognitive function?

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My husband says he takes 3 x 1000mg fish oil but I think he only takes 2 as that is what is usually advised and thats Prob why he is high atm the well respected nutritionist Susanah Olivier recommends 5 x 1000mg please note we are talking about fish oil not cod liver oil which could be toxic in large doses I myself take 3/4 a day of fish oil capsules , another great source of omega 3 is flaxseed oil they sell a really good, one in Sainsburys it's near the olive oil it has a strong taste a desert spoonful a day will do her a lot of good you can also buy flaxseed oil capsules

My husband completely denies he has bipolar so it's not like he said oh I feel better after taking the fish oil capsules my sister on the other hand was much more aware of her bpd but I didn't know back then about alternative treatments she had an awful time of it but hormones played a part in her BP bc she hadn't been high for some years and went to the doctor bc she was feeling queasy the GP said she was on the menopause and put her on HRT it was like rocket fuel she went really high so there are other factors playing a part in bpd and ppp

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Hi I have been taking Olanzipine for 4 years dropping from 10 mg to 2.5mg over the years . I definitely feel better since being on a lower dose , more with it and more interested in home life and work. People have noticed I’m more like my old self. It’s been a long journey to get to this point and the lowering of the doses has been authorised by my mental health nurse . I would say only lower doses in conjunction with a health professional and in 2.5 mg steps . There is light at the end of the tunnel and once you get to 5 mg things seem much better and you feel more motivated about life . Hope this helps

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Hi lovinhubby

I hope it has helped you and your wife to read others experience of being on olanzapine.

I was on olanzapine too and definitely experienced some of the symptoms your wife is experiencing. I also had depression after the psychotic episode so I think I had all that mixed in with it too. But definitely I started to feel more myself when I came off olanzapine. Like your wife too my good days gradually got more and more and the bad days / moments less.

I would definitely say, as others have said, to follow your psychiatrist / mental health team advice and lower the dose gradually. This is what I did and it also helped to reassure me that I wouldn’t relapse as I knew that I was ok on lower and lower doses. coming off anti psychotic very quickly can have really bad affects.

I hope your wife continues to get better. I’m so glad you’ve found the support and information from APP helpful.

Take care

Ellie

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Hi, I started on 20 mg of olanzapine and it made me feel so groggy and apathetic. I felt like I was just in a daze all the time. I slowly reduced to 5 mg a day and noticed a huge difference. I’d say the side effects didn’t completely go away until a few weeks off the medication, but then I felt much better. And they did completely resolve. Hopefully she will feel a little better on the lower dose and that the benefits of the drug are worth the side effects. Doing little bits of exercise and finding things to look forward to each day we’re helpful. And keeping in mind that this is a temporary state and you just have to stay the course and get through it. I hope the bad moments become fewer and she can find some joy in each day until this resolves!

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How long did it take you to go from 20mg to 5 mg? Did you have any issues when dropping the dosages? It's hard to say that this drug is doing more good than harm at this point, so as carefully as possible, I'd love to get her off of it as soon as possible...

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I was on the 20 for about 2 weeks and then quickly dropped to 15. I maintained at 15 for a few weeks and then when they thought I was ready to try dropping it, I lowered by 5mg for 2 weeks at a time until I was off. You definitely need to taper slowly. By that time I was also on Lithium at a therapeutic level and my symptoms had improved so everyone felt more comfortable taking me off the Zyprexa.

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Did you have any withdrawal side effects when tapering off Olanzapine?

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No thankfully I didn’t experience any

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Thanks for all the good advise. Did any of you struggle with side effects in reducing the dosage? If so, what can we expect? When my wife left the hospital, she was on 15mg and then after only 2 weeks they dropped her to 10mg and she was on that dose for about 2 months. She only spent 2 days in the hospital after just one manic episode. Once she got ample sleep, thanks to the medication, and started a better daily routine, she seemed back to herself very quickly. She never had another manic episode, a little bit of paranoia from anxiety she developed from postpartum, but that has gone away almost completely as well. My wife then went back to work after her maternity leave at 12 weeks and that's when she developed some anxiety that spiraled into a depressive state. Work seemed more difficult and overwhelming. Her psychiatrist then increased her dose of olanzapine up to 17.5mg daily! She has worked through the anxiety at work with the help of her employer and intensive therapy sessions 3 days week. I struggle with the idea that my wife is on this pretty high dose of an antipsychotic medication when she has not had any signs of psychotic episodes besides her very initial incident that landed her in this situation. Now, on 15mg, she is still going to work and fighting through the side effects daily but it is noticeably effecting her job performance. Her memory his hindered, focus is terrible...when things get difficult she said it's like her body shuts down because she doesn't have the ability to critically think and everything seems hard. Now I know, it's not all the medication, we are still recovering, but I can't help to think that her anxiety would subside greatly if she didn't have these side effects of this medication hindering her job performance. She's great at home, wonderful with our son, takes great care of herself and our home. She has been enjoying social life without any issues and is keeping up great daily with normal everyday household and family routines, but the minute she has something difficult to work on at work and she can't get through the wall that has been put up by her medication (concentration, memory, motivation...etc) she gets really down on herself and her inability to do her job. It's a very frustrating situation.

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These symptoms are likely from the high dosage of zyprexa. I was on it for 3 years and experienced the same thing. They could be exacerbated by depression and that may be worth looking into especially the “I don’t care” attitude you mentioned. I was able to eventually reduce my dose with the help of my psychiatrist to 5mg and then 2.5mg. On 5mg those negative and difficult side effects were greatly reduced. On 2.5 my bipolar was well controlled and I had no side effects. Also, watch out for her not being able to orgasm on zyprexa - common side effect that can luckily be combatted by adding adderall or another stimulate. Definitely recommend informing your doctor about all of those symptoms as they are greatly debilitating and make it unrealistic to continue indefinitely without a change.

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Thanks for the advice. Her "I dont care" attitude is only with work. She use to have such a drive and passion for her career and now, sometimes she said she just doesnt seem to care as much. I do think that some of this is stemmed from her not really caring for the company she works for as well. She was only there 10 months before our son was born and I think she is realizing that it's not a great fit. That being said, she should still be able to complete the tasks she is assigned. She said her focus and her memory are so bad that it sometimes seems impossible to do anything that involves problem solving or any sort of critical thinking. There are some days she comes home totally normal because she had what she calls "mindless" things to work on. When you tapered off of zyprexa, did you have any side effects? Shes only been on it for 5 months so I hope it's nothing she cant handle. What this boils down to, is that my wife is doing so much better but now has the added stress and anxiety of losing her job if she cant get through these walls, that in itself is causing anxiety some days...hell, it's the only "bad" days that she has anymore.

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Yes thankfully all the symptoms resolved and I got back to my normal level of cognitive functioning within a few days of reducing the dosage. I also have some lack of drive at work but attribute it to the crisis and realizing that life isn’t all about work and there are much more important things that I wasn’t prioritizing before my episode.

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I think that is something she is starting to realize, is that her career is no longer the thing that defines her and is no longer a top priority, however, she still needs to work and this issue is causing that to be difficult. When you were reducing your dose, how much were you reducing it by and for how long?

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Hi

My daughter was on olanzapine and experienced all those side effects but as the dosage reduced so did the side effects and she began to have more energy. Once off the medication she quickly went back to her normal self. Now off the medication for 6 month she has lost the 3 stone she put on and is a busy working mummy. There were times when I thought I would never see the day .

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How long was your daughter on Olanzapine before going off?

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9 months altogether

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Did your daughter have any withdrawal symptoms are was the tapering process pretty easy?

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I had pp 2 & a half years ago & I've been on olanzapine since then. I experienced many of the symptoms your wife has experienced. I started on 20mg and am now weaning off 2.5mg. We reduced the dose very slowly. I'm doing ok.

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I'm glad you're doing well. My wife has only been on Olanzapine for 5 months, first 3 months was on 10mg and the last 2 months 15mg. She was put on a higher dose after she developed anxiety going back to work. From what I've been told and research, olanzapine doesn't help with anxiety or depression, it helps with bi-polar depression along with other drugs, but not so much situationally anxiety. I feel that she didn't need to be put on the higher dose, her anxiety subsided with the help of her employer and therapy and is now dealing with the side effects of Olanzapine. I'm hoping that she won't have any withdrawal side effects when starting to taper off olanzapine since she hasn't been on the higher done for too long and we take our time with it. What dose did you find that the side effects were more manageable? I'm hoping after her appointment on Friday she can be reduced to 10mg, which was her initial prescription she was on.

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It's quite hard to say when the side effects were more manageable, as I've always been on it with other medications; I have bipolar as well.

I certainly feel much more like my old self on 2.5mg.

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You have all been wonderful in response to our situation. One more question, did most of you on Olanzapine/Zyprexa also take it with an anti-depressant? My wife's psychiatrist insist to not mix the 2 because of the possibility of another manic episode occurring when mixing the 2. She want's to taper off Olanzapine and then possibly put her on an anti-depressant, which we are hoping to avoid all together if the tapering of the Olanzapine goes well and be drug free. Has anyone had success with organic or natural supplements for depression or anxiety?

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Hi LovinHubby, I’m so glad that you’ve been able to get some good shared experiences here. I’ve not taken antidepressants with olanzapine but did take lithium as a mood stabiliser at the same time, when I had pp 9 years ago now. Like your wife, I had dosages carefully monitored especially when reducing off the olanzapine, which I took for a year in total. I took the lithium for a further 2 years and successfully reduced that before stopping too. I don’t have any experience of other treatments but anxiety was a big symptom in recovery for me too. I’m sure the psychiatrist or other health professionals can advise about any combinations that might work well for your wife - ensuring that the meds work at the right level to continue her recovery. All the best, take care, xx

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I've heard a lot of success stories about the combination of Olanzapine and Lithium. Did you have any withdrawal side effects when coming off Olanzapine? My wife has never been diagnosed with bi-polar, depression or anxiety ever in her life, and still hasn't since PPP, so this experience was absolutely life shaking (as it is for everyone), so the idea of being on any sort of medication for an extended period of time really bothers her. She has gotten much better at coping with her anxiety, and lets be honest, even new mothers who don't have to go through PPP with develop some sort of anxiety just being a new mom! I can't help but to think that the harsh side effects of the high dose of Olanzapine she is on right now is a cause of some of her anxiety. All in all, this has been a great resource for our family to use. I share the information with my wife but encourage her to stay off the internet all together when looking into medication and symptoms, there are some terrible horror stories that anyone can stumble across. I'm glad I found such a positive platform for us to use.

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Thanks for your reply - like your wife, I'd not had any mental health problems before PP either, so agree that it is a massive shock. I think the combination of meds was one that was right for me so I feel lucky to have responded to it and whilst I too hated taking meds, it's not forever. I can see now how beneficial it was, even though I hated it at the time. To try and answer your question, I didn't really have any notable side-effects from coming off Olanzapine, although I do remember having quite bad headaches and lethargy. In hindsight, they could have been connected but I think it was part of the recovery process too. As you say, being a new Mum is such a big thing that to have recovery from such an awful illness on top of it, that was "an extra layer" for me and seemed to magnify anything else. It's good to hear that you have found the forum to be so beneficial for your family and are able to support your wife in this way. Take care, and thanks for the update, I hope things continue to go well for you all.

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Dear LovinHubby,

I am so glad that you have found this place useful and that you have found experiences to help you and support you and your wife. You really are a ‘LovinHubby’ and your wife is lucky to have you helping her through this time.

Working out what is best in terms of the medication can be quite difficult. Although the side effects and withdrawal symptoms can be quite similar across women, the problem is that it seems to be such an individual thing in terms of when and how to come off the medication. I hope that these replies have armed you with some experiences for when you see your Psychiatrist and mental health team. I would be guided by your team, but also see how your wife feels during the process if she comes off the medication.

I had PP in 2015 and I tried quite a few different anti-psychotics. I don’t remember much about doses I am afraid, but I do remember the awful side effects. I was extremely tired, unmotivated and slept so deeply at night. It is difficult to tell whether some of these side effects were mixed in with the actual illness, but I do know that when the time was right for me and I started to come off medication, I did feel quite different.

Whilst I was on medication, and for some time after coming off, I had real problems with my memory, and my cognitive function. This didn’t really worry me too much until I went back to work. I couldn’t really focus on anything and couldn’t get tasks done, which did affect my ability to work. However, I stuck with it and over time this did change. The only way I can describe it, is that it feels like your brain is re-connecting its pathways and learning how to do things again.

I also remember having that exact same feeling of ‘So what?’ or ‘what’s the point’. Some of that was because of the medication, but I also think it was a part of my recovery. You go through such a big thing, and getting over the shock and trauma of what has happened takes time. I also felt like people at work were getting so caught up in what seemed to be the small things in life and after having gone through what we had as a family, those things just didn’t seem to matter to me and that felt odd. Anyway, long story short, things have changed quite a lot since then and I feel I can function like I used to. I still have bad days some days, but I think that’s all part of life in general, but also a reminder that we need to just be a bit careful with ourselves.

In terms of coming off medication, I was advised by my Psychiatrist and GP. It was quite a slow process, but that was the best way for me. I came off the antipsychotics slowly and then went onto anti-depressants, but that was because I had severe depression after my PP episode. I was scared that I would be on medication forever, but I am not on anything now and I haven’t been for about 2 years. I tended to have a few side effects whilst coming off the medication that were similar to when I started them, so for example, feeling quite sick and dizzy. I monitored how I was feeling and talked to my Psychiatrist and GP if I wasn’t feeling great. I used a diary to rate how my mood was in terms of anxiety and feeling low or stressed. It is really difficult sometimes to work out your progress, so this helped me to look back and see how far I’d come.

Anyway, I am glad these post have helped you and I hope it all goes well with your next appointment. I am so glad that your wife is feeling much better, but we appreciate that it can still be hard some days.

Take care and we are thinking of you,

Sally x

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Hello loving hubby

Firstly I am sorry you have been through such a worrying time, I am so glad your wife is recovering and you are researching her symptoms. What a wonderful hubby! Mine is wonderful too.... He helped me so much.

I can completely relate to these symptoms I suffered in 2016, I took it for about a year, I was exhausted and very numb- like I had no emotion. I felt like a robot and looked forward to sleeping. It was difficult to do anything or get up, doing the slightest thing exhausted me. My consultant reduced my dose slowly, however at one point I did become so fed up and felt quite depressed so was started on sertraline and this did lift my mood although each time the Olanzapine was reduced it helped. I could see clearer and became more awake... It is a frustrating and slow recovery and I look back at holiday photos now and remember it to be a quite time and a very lonely time. My husband said I hardly spoke...

These days and for the past 2 years I have been back at work (Nurse) undertook some study, exercise, have done half marathons, run around and feel and enjoy!!!! Life is great again- I did get off all my medication, however recently took to much on and have started on a low dose of sertraline.

In a way I feel that me and my hubby are now closer and we often talk about how awful it was but how we got through it.

I know it’s so difficult but you will both get there, As you know wife’s brain is recovering, which is brilliant and you are supportive! Well done for reaching out and I promise it will get better. Take care

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… such beautiful heartfelt reply! Thank you for sharing.

x

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Watch to make sure she not falling into depression. Ur doing a great job. How she is may just be a result of side effects or simply a resukt of what she has just experienced ie psychosis. For me it was combined with manic episode

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Hi, I was on 20mg of Olanzapine for 18 months after PP episode, before slowly being withdrawn from it. My husband remarked that I was very much like Kevin the teenager, sleeping, not wanting to do much etc. It is not a pleasant drug side effect wise, but it literally was a life saver for me. My symptoms gradually eased after withdrawal, although as I withdrew from Olanzapine my venlafaxine had to be increased to 350mg just to get me over the lip of withdrawal. This was fine though as the side effect of Ven far outweighed Olanzapine. Listen to your mental health professionals and I'm sure your wife will show signs of improvement on reducing the Olanzapine dosage.

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I felt the same side effects when I was on that medicine. Very unmotivated, but it did really wear off and I became more and more my usual upbeat self again. Good luck to you guys, hope she improves the same as a I did. Keep the faith. Just try to be as supportive as you can. Everything helps. Your wife needs a lot of understanding at this time.

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Thanks again for all the kind words and response. It's been almost a week now on a lower dose and she is feeling better. 10mg of this drug seems to still be quite a bit, considering I've heard stories of people struggling to come off an even smaller doses. For woman who have recovered from PP or even anxiety and depression, how hard was it for you to stay positive during this process? I'm asking this for me. This is the first week my wife has taken on her original duties at work, and it just so happens that her boss is out of the office as well, so the pressure is on. She had a great day Monday and most of the day Tuesday and this followed a good weekend. She is in marketing and writing is a big part of her job. Her work day Monday went well, but then Tuesday afternoon she attempted to do some creative writing for an email ad, and really struggled with it. She thinks she lost her ability to write creatively and suddenly she fell into a negative shell. Immediately thought she wasn't good enough for her job, she was going to get fired and then that spiraled into us having financial hardships, etc...She brings that negative attitude home and all she can focus on then is how there is something wrong with her. She immediately forgets about the good days and the process she has made. Being her husband, I try to be as supportive as possible, but its not easy sitting there listening to her be so hard on herself. How did some of you get through your bad days?

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Hello LovinHubby

I'm so glad you have had a lot of support here. It was very difficult for my husband and family to see me struggling and you are doing all you can. My PP episodes were many years ago and I didn't take Olanzapine so haven't any experience to share about it.

As my PP episodes were so traumatic it took me a good while to recover and find my place again. After recovering I did experience a long bout of depression and found this very hard. It did knock my confidence and I didn't return to work for a few years. It is a temporary illness but during my experiences, six years apart, I didn't feel positive about coping at home and with work although my late husband was very supportive. Is it possible that your wife could have talking therapy as it might be an outlet for her feelings?

There is a short account of a husband's perspective in "Husband in a Storm" which you should find at app-network.org/wp-content/... If the link doesn't work, you can find it by searching 'APP Husband in a Storm' and hopefully you will find it. It might be upsetting to read as his wife was in crisis but on page 15 he does talk about medications, one of which was Olanzapine. Thankfully she did fully recover.

There is also an APP Guide "Postpartum Psychosis : A Guide for Partners" which might be reassuring, the link being app-network.org/what-is-pp/... Remember to take care of yourself too as it must be a challenging time for you. I hope your wife will fully recover in her own time and with your loving support.

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Hello LovinHubby,

some great advise from Lilybeth and the references mentioned above...

My recovery has been a long journey as I was not so fortunate to receive appropriate treatment when sectioned in a mixed psychiatric gender unit.

My meds were old traditional ones and the side effects were a huge handicap at the time. My partner had to be a full time carer within the first year of recovery.

It is so extremely brave of your wife to face a working environment again throughout her journey of recovery.

Only after 5 years did I manage to exhibit my art work with the support of APP, as I did not socialise, because of extreme anxiety issues.

What helped with my recovery!

- a support group for self management (30hrs) 2 yrs after PPP

- talking on the APP forum to like minded women, who can share compassion, because they have had PPP, too

- exercising; swimming, cycling, walking the neighbours dog

- pursuing a hobby as in my case painting

- meditation and yoga

- Reiki treatment

- volunteering

- happiness, because of my sanctuary at home with the love and support of my partner and son

- playing with my son

Just some ideas,

When suffered PPP, one has to be careful with "stressors"... having "me time" and looking after oneself is very important for mums and dads. My partner and I have had both different type of therapies and therapeutic avenues, because of PTS.

Look after yourself.

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Hi LovinHubby,

I think we should award you and other Dads the title, Husband of the Year. I notionally awarded my son-in-law the title two years ago when my daughter, out of the blue was ill with Postpartum Psychosis. ALL the suffering Mums should have an award for bravery and perseverance, each day confronting their struggles to get well. From your words, your knowing that new motherhood and indeed new fatherhood can be difficult enough without the shock and trauma of of PP, shows that you have great understanding and empathy.

You and your wife seem to be trying so hard together, it is not easy, all power to you. Your support will mean such a lot to her even if some days she is unable to voice it. So glad that your found APP. It will get better as lots of Mums on the forum give testament to.

Best wishes to you, your wife and baby son.

nana Judith

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Hi LovinHubby,

How are you two today? I see you have received great advice already. I don't want to repeat on things you are already aware of. But talking about my own experience with olanzapine I can say that it has been life saving for me. I am currently on a 5 mg dosage and the side effects are less but still waking up in the mornings is very hard. I also feel emotionally numb sometimes and I am just going through the motions taking not much pleasure on things. But I keep hearing and believing I will go back to my old self, as so will your wife. From your latest post what you describe as the bad days sounds like the depression that followed my ppp episode last year. I am currently on antidepressants as well and the combination of meds brought me much closer to recovery. I can understand you and your wife's hesitation on long term medication. My ppp episode also came out of the blue with no previous history of severe mental illness. But the prognosis of ppp is full recovery and coming out of medication completely in the case of no mental illness history. Your wife has come an incredible long way already. Going back to work with a baby without having gone through ppp is extremely hard for women. The emotional strain of leaving your baby in somebody else's care and the plain fact that she has been out of work for an extended period of time is already complicated enough. Adding to that the recovery from the incredible trauma of ppp, I can only say that she is a very brave woman.

I am also a tough on myself person, and I struggled to learn self compassion, but I try to practise it everyday :). Hope you have a good day today, thinking of you

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Just an update:

Again, I can't stress enough how great you all have been and how wonderful of a platform this is for people going through such difficult times...

My wife has successfully cut her dose down to 5mg with zero withdrawal side effects and has an appointment with her doctor next week to hopefully discuss lowering the dose again. From 15mg down to 10mg she definitely noticed she had more energy, less "zombie" like, but still struggled with cognitive distortion, especially when it came to work. She was on 10mg for 2 weeks and her doctor approved dropping to 5mg. She dropped to this dose last Tuesday and almost immediately my wife was feeling exponentially better. She wasn't struggling at work, things didn't seem so be daunting and hard anymore. Her remaining work week was full of energy and positive attitude, our weekend was filled with entertainment and joy. Sunday, she said it was the first time in months that she took a shower and actually enjoyed it...it didn't seem like work. All, signs were pointing that she was finally back to herself. This lasted almost a week. Suddenly, yesterday at work, the unmotivated feeling came back, lack of energy and moments of being "stuck", hard to think or concentrate. This then causes some anxiety because it effects her job performance and she constantly thinks about losing her job...clearly a vicious cycle. It carried over again into today and she's getting down on herself again about it. I realize she is still on the medication, but any of you that tapered off this drug notice that side effects would effect you differently on different days? It's like she had zero side effects for an entire week and then just like that, for no reason, that "blah" feeling came back. She's getting hard on herself again because it feels like a big step backwards. I reassured her, that it was just a hiccup and probably just a side effect from the medication sneaking up on her again, but it's hard to tell. It's so tough when the light at the end of the tunnel is so close and then just like that, it get's dark again. Any advice would be great.

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Hi LovinHubby,

recovery can be quite a roller coaster situation for everybody involved. I believe your wife is doing incredibly well juggling with all the challenges of life and being able to go to work. Obviously the meds is the key to her coping mechanisms, including all the up and down feelings.

I do not compare and contrast as every mum is so unique in her template, biologically, psychologically and socio-cultural make-up.

In my opinion mums, who suffered PPP are more sensitised to stressors, often caused by triggers, either because of social influential factors or inner emotional turmoil, often caused by side effect of meds...

In the first 2 years I was still extremely poorly, and even in 2013 recovery seemed to be put on hold, because of loosing my dad and then my mum in law.

Because of being shaken up so much by the illness, mums often lack in confidence. Mums are often too harsh on themselves. It is important to be able to draw to health professionals for advise and support, connecting with friends...allowing me-time and pursuing other events and activities/hobbies, which is helping to improve mental and emotional stamina.

I only managed to do that once I connected with APP and I received, reassurance, confidence and compassionate support.

Knowing that I could not go back to being a lecturer I became an artist and raised awareness of PPP and APP in 2016 via an exhibition...since then I continued with volunteering and some pretty amazing projects.

All in stepping stones...I am so proud of your wife in what she can do and you, such a wonderful hubby. My gratitude goes to my partner, too, who has been my life safer! Some guys are such incredible carers!!!

Take care!!!

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