What to look for!: Hi everyone...again... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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What to look for!

LovinHubby
LovinHubby
4 Replies

Hi everyone...again!

Just a separate post from my last few that I'd like to get some opinions on. This is something my wife and I have been talking about lately and not sure really how to approach it. So, I posted a few times the last few days about my wife having, what appeared to be, a slight relapse, what appeared to be a minor manic episode (triggered by alcohol?), something she recovered from almost immediately (less than a day). As we sat down and discussed what happened and if there were any warning signs, we began comparing her happiness to concern. I hate that this is something we need to tread lightly with. My wife came off olanzapine back in late June, early July. Like most woman on this forum, her journey was a difficult one. Though I've heard much more extreme cases of PPP, this process still was not easy for us. Her initial psychosis landed her in the hospital for just 2 days where they prescribed her Olanzapine, 15mg daily. It helped with mania almost immediately but of course came with other side effects. Like most others on here, my wife then battled with bouts of anxiety and depression before full recovery. She had some minor side effects coming off the medication but nothing that she couldn't control and nothing that lasted more than just a few days. During this entire process, my wife realized that she hated her job once she returned to it. Even though she came off her medication, she was still pretty miserable and struggled to find a new job right away. Well, long story short, she found a new job and about 5 weeks ago put in her notice with her old job and just 2 weeks ago started her new job. During that time, I haven't seen my wife so happy and joyful. She was finally off the medication that made her a walking zombie for 7 months, she finally got out of the job she hated and for the first time, it seemed that that portion of our life was finally behind us. My wife is on her 3rd week of her new job and she loves it!! Well, as I stated earlier, a week and a half ago she had a very short minor episode that came under control after just hours. No hospitalization, no medication. She's been sleeping pretty well most nights and has no issues going to work and getting through her day. She works out regularly and has a pretty healthy routine. My wife has no prior mental health condition and wasn't diagnosed with anything after PPP. We sit here now and wonder if her happiness and joy the last 4-5 weeks were signs of hypomania that led to that little episode or is it just happiness. Even since her slight episode a week ago, after being shook up for a just a few days, she is right back to her normal self. I can vividly remember my wife the first 6 weeks our son was born before her psychosis and those weeks resembled mania way more that her last 5 weeks, or even 5 months since coming off the medication. It's just been so long since I've seen my wife this happy that I don't want to discredit it or assume there is something wrong. I don't want her to think that every time she is in a joyful mood that there is something wrong. Has anyone else ever battled with this line?

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Teresa_K_S
Teresa_K_SVolunteer

Hi LovinHubby,

How lovely to hear that you are able to sit down and discuss these things with your wife. She must really feel supported by you.

I cannot fully answer your query as obviously your wife would need to see a doctor to confirm any possibility of bipolar. I am assuming that this is where your worries lie regarding your wife's elevated happiness?.

I can only tell you a little of myself which may help you decided whether your wife should enquire further with a doctor.

I have bipolar following Postpartum Psychosis. I had a relapse 6months after my initial PP and had to be hospitalised a second time. As far as I am aware I have always thought a person had to have more than one episode of mania to be diagnosed as bipolar.

You have mentioned your wife has days where she is really happy then you say she had a short episode which returns to normal quickly. I'm unsure what you mean by an episode in your wife's case so I'll describe a little of what an episode is like for myself.

For myself it usually starts with elevated mood, coupled with endless energy and inability to sleep or less sleep needed. I become very irritable and concentration is difficult. My judgement is poor and I am more inclined to do things that I wouldn't ordinarily do. Noise I also find irritating. Eventually my body usually gives in to the lack of sleep as I go from one extreme to the other as I then start to oversleep, I suppose my body is clawing back the sleep deprivation of the previous days. At this point I sometimes hit a low where I cry for seemingly little reason and I find it hard to motivate myself even for things that I usually enjoy. Things usually settle down then until the next time. I am on medications so that does take the edge off the roller coaster ride.

I hope that your wife's happiness is simply due to the circumstances. She is doing great if she has the confidence to do a new job and all this following having come off medication

Maybe encourage your wife to see a doctor anyway just to be sure and to give you both peace of mind

Take Care

Teresa x

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Ellie_at_APP
Ellie_at_APPAdministrator

Hi LovinHubby

Thanks for your post, it's great you're seeking our support and experience here. How is your wife doing now?

What I hear, in your post, is a lot of fear from you, and your wife, about whether she may become unwell again, and whether the happiness she experiences is a sign she is becoming unwell, or not. I think this is something that everyone experiences, after having PP. I certainly did. Even several years later, after a really stressful time with work and a sleepless night I felt very panicky that I might become unwell again, but I was fine. It's important I find to try not to think every normal emotion (whether stress or joy / happiness) could be a sign of becoming unwell again.

Having said that, I find I need to counterbalance that with the knowledge that there is a risk of relapse after having pp, as Teresa_K_S experience shows. Some women do have further relapses and an ongoing diagnosis of bipolar, and then many others don't have any other episodes and remain well.

I'd really recommend talking to her psychiatrist / mental health nurse if you can, just to sound them out and get their advice, though I know you say there isn't much support where you live. I have stayed well since my pp experience, but personally I just try to look after myself - like not drinking too much alcohol, don't stay up too late, make sure I get enough sleep etc. I recognise that I am vulnerable (particularly if I don't sleep well) and so I must safeguard that. Perhaps your wife can have a think about what she can do to stay well, to avoid any 'blips', if she can?

I do hope she is well now, and feeling stable again? And I hope everything I have written makes a bit of sense? It's so difficult to answer, other than sharing our personal experiences, as each person's journey is so individual and different.

Take care,

Ellie

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LovinHubby

Thanks for responding! My wife met with her psychiatrist yesterday. Both the doctor and her therapist beleive that what happened was a one time isolated incident and her reaction afterwards was just heightened anxiety that brought on some sort of ptsd from her psychosis almost a year ago. Neither beleive she needs to be medicated again and that her incident was substance triggered (possibly mixed with other stresses and emotions) and that it wasnt a manic or hypomanic episode because of how short it was and how well she recovered. It's a great piece of mind for both of us that 2 professionals dont believe it was a relapse and that we shouldn't have anything to worry about, but to just monitor her stress the rest of this holiday season. I think itll still be some time, though, until we can both totally relax and stop analyzing every little mood and emotion that she shows. Thanks for all the support!

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Ellie_at_APP
Ellie_at_APPAdministrator

Hi lovinhubby

That’s so good your wife managed to see the psychiatrist and that you were reassured by the psychiatrist and doctor, it must be a relief for you both.

I do hope you all have a lovely Christmas season, never hesitate to write here 😊

Ellie

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