Coping the aftermath of pp - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Coping the aftermath of pp

I need help. I suffered from postpartum psychosis in January. I've been struggling with major anxiety snd depression and seemed to have lost a zest for life. I have a beautiful baby and hes healthy and amazing I just wish I wasnt feeling this way. I'm taking lithium I'm not liking the side effects its causing severe ache. Does anyone have any advice?

10 Replies

Hello redcrimlen

Congratulations on the birth of your son :) It's such a shame that the joy of a baby should be tarnished by such an awful illness isn't it? You have come to the right place for help as there are amazing mums here to support you and share experiences.

I'm so sorry to hear you are struggling with the aftermath of PP. I think you have done really well in such a short time. I had PP many years ago and suffered with what seemed like an endless depression afterwards. It is an awful feeling of being helpless and hopeless but with time and good medical care you will find your place again. Is it possible you could go to a relaxation class? Anxiety is also difficult to manage and perhaps it might help you to have counselling or CBT so that you can talk openly about your feelings? I think being a new mum is like a step into the unknown even without PP and I hope you have good support around you. Do you have input from the Perinatal Mental Health Team?

Do you think mindfulness might help .... to keep you in the present moment? Mind, the mental health charity, has a page on this which you might find helpful at I do think it would be good for you to talk face to face with a therapist though as they are so understanding. Perhaps you could keep a diary of your moods (just emoji faces) so that you can look back and see how you progress or dip. I think this will give professionals an idea of how you have been since your last appointment.

There is a brilliant blog "PP Soup" which also might be helpful at with shared experiences. There is also a Radio 4 Woman's Hour documentary there which is very interesting. At 19.33 into the broadcast the mums in the workshop discuss depression. I'm sorry I don't have any experience of Lithium but other mums here will probably be able to share how it affected them. I hope some of this is helpful .... I'm sorry if it's too long as I know it's difficult to concentrate when you are depressed. Take good care and please write again if it helps.


Don't have any SSRI antidepressants as this could result in an overload of serotonin

Taking lithium puts you at risk of developing hypothyroidism so I suggest you buy some organic sea kelp as a source of iodine, sprinkle a teeny bit on toast every day that's what I do to keep my iodine levels optimum

Coffee is a good way to cheer up it has dopermine in it which has the feel good factor

Maybe ask to go on another medication - not olanzapine though , some people on here have recently been mentioning an alternative drug which they get on better with

Hope you find a solution soon


Hi redcrimlen

I’m really sorry you’ve experienced postpartum psychosis and are now struggling with anxiety and depression. It’s so great you’ve found us and reached out for support.

I had pp in 2011 after the birth of my son and really struggled afterwards like you do now... it was horrible. Like you say I just wanted to be better and enjoy my beautiful son more, I felt so sad and traumatised. I know it’s so hard, but it honestly does get better, you will come through it and perhaps even look back and think that some good has come out of it, as I did eventually.

Definitely do discuss medication with your mental health team, especially if you are struggling with side effects.

In terms of general things that helped me, I found it really helpful to have a plan for the day, even planning small tasks I would do each day just to make myself feel like I had achieved something (like small household tasks) and that just made me feel safer somehow to have a plan. I found it really hard at times to go out and see anyone or do any socialising but I found that if I made myself I usually felt better afterwards.

Do you have support from a mental health team? I received cognitive behaviour therapy and that really helped me too.

Take care, and know you can write anything here and reach out to us

Ellie xx


Hi redcrimlen, I don't have anything else to add really from what has been written by Ellie, but I wanted to say "hang in there" - I too remember feeling that awful anxiety in recovery (although I didn't have depression as such). I also took lithium and know that I was monitored carefully in terms of levels and any side-effects. Would it be possible to ask for a review with your GP or mental health team to see if there's anything they can do in terms of the side effects you describe? I didn't really have many, although I do remember getting terrible headaches from time to time which I went to see my GP about it, and he was very reassuring and helpful.

I don't think you've had the link to the APP Insider Guide on Recovery shared here as yet, so here is the link if helpful (& for anyone else reading):

Thinking of you, things can get better; you can do this & be the Mum to your baby that you want to be - I can see from the way you write about him that he means the world to you, as all of our children do (perhaps even more so after PP). All the best, xx


Hello Redcrimlen,

I am so sorry that you are suffering depression after the trauma of Postpartum Psychosis. This is probably not unusual and recovery can be up and down, however, everyone is different. If you feel that your medication is not suiting you, I wonder if you are able to discuss with your Doctor or someone else in the medical team, maybe there is an alternative.

I should say that I did not suffer PP myself, my daughter did.

I would also say that you are doing well, being proactive, seeking advice and that Lillybeth in her post had some great suggestions.

Keep being strong, you will get there.

Best wishes x


Congratulations on the birth of your little boy. So sorry to hear you feeling low try not to be hard on yourself . The illness is horrible but you will get better. I can honestly say I’m stronger then I’ve ever been but at times it has been a mountain to climb, which I did one step at a time.

I’ve had pp twice in the last 3 years (I have a 1 year old and a 3 year old in October)

The first time I had pp I had horrible depression and anxiety. The second time just over a year ago although horrendous at the start I’ve made a much better recovery and much faster. Comparing the difference in recovery I would say I didn’t really accept help the first time and the second time I took all help I could. I tried lots of things such as adult colouring books (just simple ones to start nothing that took more then 10 minutes as my brain was frazzled with in 15 minutes. I am not at all arty but to complete something was hugely rewarding.

I’ve also had counselling sessions which really helped too.

At any point I was struggling or feeling low my health care professional said to get in contact so I did, I tried to not look at is at a negative thing more that I was in control not the illness and that I was really aware how I was feeling.

One of the biggest things that I’ve found that has helped is chatting to others mums about it, chatting to other mums that have gone through pp has really helped but also just chatting to a few mums about it and being quite open about the illness (not for everyone I know, but it has helped me hugely and the amount of mums that have opened up back is staggering so many mums suffer in silence).

Another thing that really helped me was setting goals, at the start it was things like making my bed every morning, brushing my hair and over time I would build on these. I also tried to do things that I used to enjoy, some “me time” which hugely helped and also I did go back to work when I was ready to, I started with a few hours a week and built on that.

Definitely talk to your health professional about how your feeling re medication, I had to change some of my medication which helped me hugely.

Take little steps, write things down when you can and you can look back on how your improving over time.

I hope your feeling more like your old self soon, take each day as they come x


Hello Redcrimlen,

Welcome to the forum. Well done for posting on here, I hope it helps to hear from other mums (and family members of people who’ve had PP), that it’ll be ok.

I had PP after the birth of my little boy in Dec 2016. A winter baby boy like yours!

I can read how much you love your little one, and the fact your posting here shows too how you’re fighting to continue getting better.

Recognising how I was feeling was part of my recovery. I can empathise about feeling the ill effects of medication I was on. However ultimately the medication helped me recover and stay well. Do always reach out to your trained medical professionals (GP, Specialist Perinatal Mental Health staff etc) for their advice and help managing the medication.

In terms of what helped me, pacing myself. Or trying to. It’s so hard being a mummy anyway... throw PP into the mix and it’s tough... so so tough. Be kind to yourself. As Ellie said try to maybe have a short little plan for the day. Breaking the day into bite sized chunks helped me when I was feeling anxious. Small things like that helped me.

Do you have family / friends around you to help at all? Particularly around the home, so what energy you do have you can nurture yourself and of course your little one.

In time, exercise and fresh air definitely helped me no end. But again pace yourself. Being in nature helped me anyway. I found it really grounding.

Thinking of you. Always post here if it helps. Remember you’re not on your own, there are so many lovely people here on the forum. Whilst no two experiences can ever be the same lots of people do understand the shock and trauma PP brings.

Take care xxx


I’m rubbish at commenting on these threads but I felt the need to reply to your post 😊 You have some lovely supportive replies. I too had my daughter in the month of January (2016) and three and a half years on I would now be confident in saying I am fully recovered. One of my struggles was debilitating anxiety followed by a very deep depression. Hang on in there as things do get better with time. In hospital someone once said to me “this too shall pass” and it has always stuck with me. Perhaps it may for you? Take care and be kind to yourself. You have the support of so many women who have been where you have on this forum x x Beth


Hello redcrimlen

I hope you found the support here helpful and that you have managed to find help for your anxiety and depression. Perhaps, as suggested, your GP might be able to change your medication if lithium is not agreeing with you? During my recovery, different medications were tried until the right balance was found for me.

Take good care of yourself ..... you are doing really well to cope with such symptoms, as well as a new precious treasure, side effects of medication and routine. We are all here for you. xx


I had an acute episode of PP just a couple months ago so I am still trying to get better myself but there were a few things that helped me the most:

1. Join a support group - I chose Postpartum Support International (PSI). They have online meetings at least once a week called "Perinatal Mood Disorders" that I have found very helpful

2. Medications - Zyprexa, Remeron, and Zoloft seem to be working well for me.

3. Regular exercise - This made a HUGE difference for me. I try to get some type of exercise every single day.

4. Getting enough sleep - A severe lack of sleep was one of the factors that caused me to have a psychotic episode.

I hope this helps, know that you are not alone!

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