Postpartum Psychosis relapse? - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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Postpartum Psychosis relapse?

a_sh1898
a_sh1898
20 Replies

Hi all.

I contact you today as the husband of a wife who has/had postpartum psychosis. We had our beautiful baby boy on 7th March and soon after, my wife was diagnosed with this condition. 3 days after the birth, she started to experience the worst of her symptoms: delusions, hallucinations, hypersensitivity, restlessness, paranoia etc. She spent around 3 months in a mother and baby unit with interim releases. She only took olanzapine throughout her treatment (anxiety medication and sleep medication was offered but she was able to fight off taking anything else).

Through a course of olanzapine and support from myself and one other family member, we were able to nurse her back to a somewhat 'normal' state (she was still anxious and confused about things, and sometimes had mood swings). It is now 10 months after the initial onset and she seemed to be fine and stable, dare i say even back to normal. she stopped taking her olanzapine around 7 weeks ago.

We recently spoke about her experiences again and she shared that what she had experienced months ago was a lot worse than she initially let on and that she hadnt told anyone. she did tell me some additional things which opened my eyes as to the true extent of it. Not thinking anything of the conversation, we both continued as normal. An hour later, and she seems like she is back in the suspicious state she was in months ago. This happened last night and she hasnt changed much overnight. Today she has been trying to provoke me by teasing us splitting up, accusing me of hurting our boy, suspiciousness over my mother (suspicion over her MIL was one of the original issues as well) and some more.

I know she is not normal but what can I do to help? We are supposed to have our 'last' review tomorrow with the perinatal team and I will bring this up with them. As it stands, I think its too early to release her from their care even though progress was so good for so long. Almost seems like a relapse. I would greatly appreciate any help or advice!

Ash

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Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Ash

So pleased you have reached out to the forum where you will find lots of support and shared experiences. Congratulations on the birth of your son :) I'm so sorry to hear that your wife suffered PP and all the awful hallucinations and delusions, which I had too.

I can relate to your wife not letting on to how much worse she had felt. I had PP twice many years ago and was very reluctant to share my thoughts as they were so frightening to me and I wondered what professionals might think! I was sectioned to mixed general psychiatric care for my own safety. I did relapse during my second recovery as I was limiting my medication intake without supervision, so I was quite a challenge to my husband!

It's good that you have a review with the perinatal team tomorrow to talk about your worries and hopefully they might be able to continue care or advise you on alternatives. Perhaps a medication review might be an idea too?

I'm not sure if it would be helpful for you to have a look at the PP Insider Guides at app-network.org/what-is-pp/... entitled "Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis" and "Postpartum Psychosis : A guide for partners".

I hope your wife's review goes well tomorrow and you will feel reassured. It's not easy for you either so please take care of yourself too.

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a_sh1898
a_sh1898
in reply to Lilybeth

Hi Lilybeth.

Thanks so much for the reply. Your words sound so familiar, she was also sectioned which I forgot to mention in the first message. I appreciate you sharing your story, Im sorry for what you went through and appreciative of the message of support.

I think a medication review will certainly help. We will see what the day brings in terms of future care. Thanks for the resources, I will read them. And again, thanks for the message of support. I already feel reassured somewhat.

Best regards, Ash

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Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer
in reply to a_sh1898

Hi Ash

Good to hear from you. I hope your wife's review goes well today and the resources will also be reassuring. Take care.

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Jenny_at_APP
Jenny_at_APPAdministrator

Hello as_h1898

I’m sorry some of your wife’s suspicions seem to be re-surfacing since you spoke yesterday, it must be very worrying for you. Do bring it up with the perinatal team tomorrow, it’s important they’re aware and I’m sure they’ll be able to reassure you both - as lilybeth says, it may be a medication review is needed if she’s recently come off her meds. I’m sure they’ll be able to advise.

Good luck tomorrow, recovery can be very up and down but I’m sure everything will be ok.

Take good care.

Jenny

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a_sh1898

Hi Jenny. Thanks for the reply and reassurance.

Its difficult because as an engineer, I try to ascribe cause and effect to what might be happening. So my mind is trying to make sense of what is happening and why, if there even is a why.

Look forward to speaking to the perinatal team who can hopefully advise on the best course of action. Thanks so much for the reassuring message.

Best regards, Ash

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Gem169
Gem169Volunteer
in reply to a_sh1898

Morning Ash, It sounds like when you did talk there was lots that you both wanted to talk about and perhaps things she had never spoken before about. I felt the same way, some thoughts I hadn’t shared at all until I was recovered as I was too ashamed, but I would really recommend counseling for a safe private environment to thrash out some of these thoughts gradually and in a safe space. I can imagine that if I had tackled some of those topics on my own it could have definitely triggered some older memories so I can understand it to some extent. It might be worth exploring what the perinatal team could offer in this space. Lots of luck for today, you seem a very supportive and stable partner-really welldone. Gemma

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a_sh1898
a_sh1898
in reply to Gem169

Hi Gemma,

Thanks for the reply and message. After the most recent conversation I feel this was indeed the case. She told me that she hadnt told anyone some of these things - she had CBT sessions with the perinatal team but didnt tell the practitioner these which i fully understand.

We discussed counselling for her but in the end i were under the impression the cbt sessions had worked for her. We both decided against it for this reason.

Only a matter of hours before we have the review which cant seem to come quick enough.

Best regards for your message and positive words, Ash

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Pikorua
PikoruaVolunteer

Hello Ash,

a warm welcome to this forum.

I wish my partner would have found this site, but APP was only in its beginning stages in 2010. He researched a lot as he had no clue what was happening to me. My health was declining drastically in the first 2 weeks after birth.

I can resonate with your experience. My partner is also an engineer. Our boy is nine years old. Our ordeal had been very traumatising as I was sectioned to a mixed gender Psychiatric hospital without appropriate support and unreasonable treatment for 2 months, and often kept in isolation. This hospital was refurbished just a few months after my release.

My partner, like you, had been so incredibly strong and was my life saver. Once in my own sanctuary and at home, but also reunited with my baby I finally could start my recovery. My partner was my full time carer for a long time and luckily his company was very supportive.

Your wife is doing incredibly well. My professional support network improved with the after care. I have had a health visitor for 2 years, a care coordinator for many years and a fab Psychiatrist who managed to help me wean off my medication after 1 year, and they were " a cocktail of drugs", traditional and lots of side effects.

In the beginning stages I attended art therapy, I accessed a support group for 30 hours, but also attended classes together with my baby (play groups and baby massage after 10 months after acute illness)

My brain shut off for a while and my partner protected me for many years and only occassionally spoke of our ordeal.

You will find your own way through this with love and kindness towards each other and if necessary, some professional support. In my case, I never said no to therapeutic avenues, if it was available. Self-management is good, but one needs to re-scaffold some tools and skills after such a traumatising experience.

I hope the review went well and wishing you both and your son health and happiness

in 2020.

Take good care of yourself, too.

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a_sh1898
a_sh1898
in reply to Pikorua

Hi pikorua and thanks for the email.

Please see my reply to kellbell regarding the overall situation.

Im sorry you went through such an ordeal and Im glad you are in a better place. It seems to be such a long way away at the moment but every passing day is one day closer to normality i suppose.

The professional help we are receiving this time is exceptional and we are closer to family but its still difficult to see her like this. I hope that some day in the future I can read your reply back and smile but it seems so far away. We have almost started from scratch again.

I am finding it more difficult this time round and have been struggling with sleep myself but our beautiful boy is helping me through this. I also have support from family this time and friends, who have been incredible. I just wish for us to be happy again, like we once were. Time to knuckle down and do it again i suppose.

Best regards, Ash

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Pikorua
PikoruaVolunteer
in reply to a_sh1898

Wishing you strengths, Ash. I am so sorry about the relapse of your wife.

On the other hand I am pleased that you have emotional back up via family members and professional support.

Some good advise given to your needs. I am pleased that Dan has responded. Dad's need emotional support, too in a crisis like this. In my opinion it is very therapeutic to share compassion amongst fathers.

My partner is often taking on the role of a carer, when I get poorly with my chronical condition (Bipolar). He does not shy away from receiving help...Traumatising experiences can lead to PTS.

Just to let you know it will improve and life quality will return. Our relationship is strong and we lead a happy life, despite the obstacles of life cycle, applicable to every family unit and relationship.

Recovery of PPP is very unique for each mum and one has to be extremely patient! I have learnt to live a fulfilled life again, but at my own pace.

Take good care of yourself, please.

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musicalmum

Hopefully you have had some help from your appointment. I had PPP in 2010. It's taken years to get over the traumatic feelings associated with what happened. It sounds like your wife opened up to you the other day, then this brought up a lot of negative memories and emotions which might have made her feel crap and then she took it out on you. I know I was probably a bit of a bitch to my other half for several months after "recovery". There was also a lot of anger and shame associated with what I had said and done whilst unwell. It takes a lot of processing and I hope she continues to recover.

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a_sh1898
a_sh1898
in reply to musicalmum

Hi musicalmum,

Thanks for the reply. Re the overall situation, please see my reply to kellbell.

I understand that its not in her control and the positive is that many of these things I have heard before so i can deal with them easier than the first time. I dont feel bad about her attitude towards me, Im just trying my hardest to get my wife back. I will be there for her as per your advice.

Thanks, Ash

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kellbell

Sending love to you both. I experienced PP after the birth of both my boys & my youngest is now 6. Right now I don’t think or talk about my experiences that often but anytime I do some of the old feelings can start to bubble up so it’s understandable that following your chat about it things have started to surface again, especially given her original episode only started 9-10 months ago. That said you are right to be concerned & I hope the discussion with the perinatal team went well.

Your wife has done so well to have come so far so soon & that is a great thing but you both have to understand it takes longer than you think. After my 1st son (I was sectioned & ended up on a very high dose of olanzapine) I was so pleased to be off my meds by his 1st birthday & by his 2nd birthday I was already pregnant with the our 2nd. I again experienced PP & went into the same MBU but this time at our own request. Following discharge my olanzapine was being reduced under the community team but I expressed concerns to them that I was feeling low. They didn’t want to risk any anti depressants in case I developed manic symptoms again so instead switched me to quetiapine, I am still on a low dose now. It’s being reduced very gradually with my GP.

For the last few years I’d felt like I was fully recovered & most people accepted that also & some people who I’ve met since having the boys had no clue I’d ever been unwell. However my husband & parents had noticed I wasn’t quite back to myself, almost there but not quite. They didn’t say anything as they didn’t want to upset or worry me. In the last few months I feel that I’m finally there & that I’ve got my sparkle & energy back.

My point being your wife has done amazingly well & that’s great that she’s stable but you may find like for me she can recover to a safe, stable & fully functioning place very quickly but the last little bits of recovery can take much longer.

The important thing is you’re both being open & honest about it & seeking help.

I wish you both all the very best, she has done so well & so have you it’s one of the hardest things to have to see someone you love go through & can often leave you feeling helpless.

Keep at it & never loose hope. Recovery is definitely a marathon, not a sprint & must not be rushed,

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a_sh1898
a_sh1898
in reply to kellbell

Hi kellbell and thanks for reply. My suspicion is we came off the medication too early and she wasnt ready to talk about some of the things that had transpired. Following the review, the doctor agreed she shouldnt be discharged and things have gone from bad to worse.

She has now relapsed fully, we are currently around family who have been understanding of our situation but its difficult. I am doing whatever I can to make sure she isnt admitted again (i couldnt take seeing her in a hospital again) and we have restarted on a higher dose of olanzapine. The doctors recommended some medication for anxiety as well.

Thankfully, many of things shes saying are repeats of previous conversations so consoling her is straightforward. The difficulty is in trying to make people understand that the personal attacks are not from her. Also, she has not been sectioned again so there is a glimmer of hope.

We are taking things on a daily basis and every day is certainly a struggle but we came a long way before and will continue to fight the battle. I will take your advice of the timeframes involved onboard and not rush anything. Really appreciate the post and a lot of it is resonating. I will stay strong for us.

With best regards, Ash

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kellbell
kellbell
in reply to a_sh1898

Hi Ash, so sorry to hear that things have deteriorated. It sounds like you are both going through a very hard time again but things will get better. Try to look after yourself too.

I fully understand that you don’t want to see her in hospital again & hopefully with the right support it can be avoided but please don’t put too much pressure on yourselves trying to avoid hospital.

When I was pregnant with our second we said whatever happens after the birth we wanted to keep me out of hospital & actually for us it made things worse. Even with support from both our families my husband was exhausted trying to care for us all & on top of the olanzapine I was on diazepam as trying to cope at home was a lot of pressure. In the end it was a relief to go I into hospital for around 6-8 weeks. As soon as I was admitted they started work on withdrawing the diazepam as their thought was I was that was only needed because my home environment was too busy for me.

Another stay in hospital may not be necessary but please keep an open mind about it. It may turn out that an admission is what is best for your family the same as it was for ours. If you’re both fighting hard to keep her home that is pressure that neither of us should be putting on yourselves.

Hopefully getting your wife back on medication will help a lot. Even if it doesn’t feel like it at times I’m sure she is glad of your support & you both will come through this together. The road to recovery is never a straight line & we can all expect bumps in the road or set backs but they don’t mean that you’re not still heading in the right direction.

Take care!!!

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fatsculler

Hi Ash,

My name is Dan and I'm one of the Peer Support volunteers with APP. If you want to talk through anything away from an open forum then please feel free to get in touch app-network.org/peer-suppor...

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a_sh1898
a_sh1898
in reply to fatsculler

Thanks for the reply Dan.

Once things are a bit more settled, I will certainly get in touch. Best regards, Ash

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Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Ash

I've read your reply to Kellbell and am so sorry that your wife has fully relapsed. I also relapsed when I tried to limit my medication as it was making me so slow and I thought I didn't need it! It was a very stressful time for my husband and family. It took me a while to find my place again but I did eventually get better.

I admire your fight to keep your wife out of hospital but please take care of yourself too, trying to keep things under control. It's a good idea to take things on a daily basis as you mentioned.

Don't worry about replying, just take care. I think there is always hope .... we are all thinking of you and your family.

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Jenny_at_APP
Jenny_at_APPAdministrator

Hi Ash,

I’m sorry to read that your wife has relapsed since your last post. I hope the medication starts to take effect quickly, and that you are getting good support and guidance from your wife’s doctors.

Just take things a day at a time as you are doing, we’re here to listen any time if it helps but as lilybeth said please don’t worry about replying.

Take good care of yourself too, you can get through this.

Thinking of you both.

Jenny

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Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer

Hello a_sh1898

Thinking of you and hope your wife is slowly making progress, taking one day at a time.

Best wishes to your wife and family .... I hope you are also taking care of yourself at what must be a very stressful time.

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