Rebuilding life on the other side.. - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Rebuilding life on the other side..

Learninglion
Learninglion

im new here , this is my first post. So Im dealing with the fallout after the initial postpartum psychosis diagnosis. Although I'm relieved to know what happened, knowing what this is is also scary. For me the fallout is:

The crazy things you did

The relationships destroyed by the above

The bone tiredness

The brain fog

The fear.. fear of what your brain is capable of.. fear that you cant go on and you may not be capable of raising your children

The worry

I'm only 5months out from my initial break. Which tbh I dont know how I'm still alive or how I survived till now lol. I cant believe there are people on here who are 8 years out! I didnt know it was possible.

But anyways, what helped you get through if your are already recovered? Is recovery a life long thing? Or do you get to a point where you feel recovered and then it's just normal maintenance of mental health? Is there anyone who has survived postpartum psychosis and is no longer on medication? I'm just wondering at the possibilities.. when in reality I need to focus on today i suppose. The rest will sort itself out.

Honestly just typing this makes me feel better. Knowing theres a whole community of people who've been through, who are going through it - though I wouldn't wish this illness on my worst enemy - it is comforting to know I'm not alone.

9 Replies
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Hi sounds like you have been through a tough time but I am sure you will find this community helpful

I haven t had pp but my sister did I think now what caused it was the dramatic drop in progesterone that happens after giving birth , progesterone modifies the effects of estrogen without it estrogen causes excititory reactions ie psychosis in some women

Hormones play a big role pp - hormones are all over the place after giving birth and it's the drop in progesterone which is most significant

it's a pity there aren't any celebs that come out with suffering from pp as they would be very useful role models

Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Learinglion

Congratulations on the birth of your baby :) Thank you so much for reaching out to the forum ... I’m glad typing your post makes you feel better. You are definitely not alone as there are so many mums here to share their experiences and offer support. Are you in the UK?

I had PP many years ago and eventually fully recovered. I also had depression so I’m mindful of triggers and the importance of stepping back. PP hit me out of the bIue and I can relate to the fallout of the crazy things. Honestly it was as if I was a different person! I really went to the edge and had unthinkable thoughts so, like you, feel lucky to have survived.

I recovered without having the benefit of a diagnosis or of knowing what had happened. My parents thought I would be judged, so told my husband not to talk about ‘it’ so we never did. Mental health was in the shadows at the time. I was so relived when I found the forum years later to know I wasn’t alone. Mums reminded me that it wasn’t my fault and I had no control over what had happened!

As you mentioned that some people are 8 years out, I wonder if you have already seen the PP Insider Guide “Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis” at app-network.org/what-is-pp/...? I am more that eight years out. I did take various medications and there were other interventions but thankfully I have been meds free for years

I think you are doing well to post only five months into recovery from such a traumatic illness. For now I think you should rest as much as you can, try to sleep when your baby sleeps and take good care of yourself. If you are in the UK, do you have support from a perinatal team until baby is one year, or a CPN for support?

Welcome to this unique band of amazing PP mums! Be kind to yourself.

Hannah_at_APP
Hannah_at_APPAdministrator

Hello Learninglion and welcome to the forum. I’m glad you’ve found typing out your thoughts and fears so helpful - it has been for so many of us and I know continues to be so too.

I had PP when my eldest was born, 11 years ago. It was a horrible time, not just for me but for those around me too.

I found recovery to be a gradual thing; I came home from hospital and felt partly better, then I felt better again after getting used to all the things that being at home brought and as time went on; I felt better bit by bit, then my meds reduced and it was a pretty much gradual thing until I felt back to myself. At the time, it felt like this was taking forever but taking things slowly was really helpful too. I also found it positive to be able to look back at different points and recognise the changes and celebrate them, no matter how small.

I took medication for almost 3 years and it was really important in keeping me well. I’ve been meds free for a long time now and also had another child, 4 years after my PP episode - and was fortunate to have no relapse after that birth.

We all learnt a lot from when PP struck and although I’d never been unwell before, I now have an appreciation for my mental health and that of others that I could never have imagined.

The Recovery Guide that Lilybeth has shared has some good info and tips. There’s many of us here that have really benefitted from sharing our stories and the info and support from APP. I feel really fortunate to now be doing this role & hope it’s been helpful for you to hear some of my experience too.

I hope you are able to start enjoying and recognising how far you have come - we’re all here to chat, we’ve “been there” too. Take care, xx

Hi Learninglion,

Congratulations on your baby. I am so very sorry you experienced pp after the birth, but I am pleased that writing here is already helping. While recovering from pp in 2018 I also found that writing down and sharing my thoughts helped, but it took me a while to do it as some of my delusions when unwell drove me to hurriedly write down incongrous notes to myself and it sort of reminded me of that time (I got so many surprises going through the notepad in my phone months after).

I am sorry you are experiencing the feeling of loss at the moment. Pp is such an upheaval that it doesn't spare any aspects of your life. While in recovery I found that CBT helped me inmensely to come to terms with that loss. Is this something you have used or are using at the moment?

I know it sounds quite trite, but the passing of time does help, with time its easier to accept the memories of that period. Like you I also feel lucky to come out alive of the experience, and those thoughts and memories have been the toughest. Be kind to yourself, don't push yourself to feel better at the drop of a hat. Hannah mentions what a great motivator it is to look back and admire how far you've come. Celebrate those milestones.

In terms of medication I was on it for a year and a few months. In spring this year I had to go back on an antidepressant (I am not horribly surprised about it given what this year threw at everyone) and I am weaning off it since last week. I have felt stable for the past 2 years, with bumps on the road due to family bereavements and other that's life situations. If I am honest I do feel I am more sensitive now than before, I know a mum who used a beautiful methaphor of a glass already more than halfway full, and situations that I would overcome more easily in the past can lead me to feeling more overwhelmed now. On the other hand I have gained so much self awareness that I can tell when I feel like I could be slipping and I take action proactive action to feel better again. The same as anyone who has suffered a physical illness or injury, you tend to be more careful and tuned into that part of your body, without it becoming an obsession of course.

Write here whenever you feel like, we are all here for each other

Postpartum anxiety/psychosis did change a lot of things for me. Some friends left. That did hurt, but then maybe it's better to let go. I think I am very grateful now for just being able to raise my children. I really enjoy the little girl that grew from the baby I was so afraid to hold 4 years ago. I am so thankful that she's a happy, spunky, healthy child, and sometimes I just feel so happy because I got everything I ever wanted by being able to enjoy time with her. Although postpartum problems are horrible, I agree with the post above that it makes you more grateful, and perhaps a bit more understanding of challenges with mental health.

Hi Learninglion,

I felt like I would never get back to being myself when I was 5 months into my recovery too. It was so hard back then to do even simple things and I felt overwhelmed all the time.

It's been a gradual process of recovery for me. Everyone's recovery is different, for me it's involved working with a psychologist and psychiatrist that I trust, a lot of exercise, yoga, setting boundaries with family, asking for help, daily cafe trips with my baby, medication, a lot of tears and journaling.

It's been almost 17 months since I've been out of hospital. I've got a really strong bond with my son now and have been back at work as a youth counsellor for 6 months part-time. I just stopped taking medication 2 weeks ago (after slowly dropping down with the help of my dr). I also started EMDR therapy (eye movement desensitisation reprocessing) for the trauma linked with being an involuntary patient- it has taken a long time for me to be ready to do this and has been so helpful in shifting the anxiety.

I still feel a lot of loss around the first few months of my son's life, but I honestly think I'm in a better place now than I ever have been before.

I still live with the fear that I could relapse, but the longer ago it was and the more stress I can manage, the less worried I am.

I really feel for you. 5 months in was a really shit time for me.

Take care x

You're doing exactly right: posting on this forum, learning from the experience of others, expressing your worries. Every new mum is terrified by being responsible for another life, and mental health worries make it so much worse, but hopefully there is someone you can trust to talk to about this.

I kept all my worries to myself, refused all help and stopped taking the meds. I survived and didn't relaspe, but I don't recommend it. 13 years on, I have two happy, healthy children. I'm on meds for bipolar, but a very low dose and I did get some therapy in the end! I think you can see from the posts above that some people are able to stop the meds entirely (working with the doctor). I hope you are enjoying cuddles with your baby. All the best.

Hi love. I am 10 years recovered and though I talk about PP all the time , I rarely think about my own experience now. For around 3 years I did and I thought I never would stop thinking about it but you do I promise . I stayed on a much reduced dose of meds but not anti psychotics - antidepressants and I feel completely like me . I wrote about recovery here smalltimemum1.wordpress.com... xx

Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Learninglion

I hope the support and links here have been reassuring. As you say you’re only 5 months on from such a traumatic experience so please be proud of how far you have come.

Wrap yourself in the comfort blanket of home and take care. We are always here to listen. xx

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