Postpartum psychosis recovery - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Postpartum psychosis recovery

J42018
J42018

Hi, apologies if I’m posting too much in this group. It’s coming up to the 2 year anniversary shall I say of the day my world came crashing down when I was at a very bad point suffering with postpartum psychosis (unknown at the time). My beautiful boy was nearly 12 weeks old and was taken from my arms and my family drove me to the local psychiatric unit based in the same hospital I gave birth to him to be admitted against my will. I now know it was for the best however I’m just finding it difficult to process the horrible memories at the moment and it’s causing manic feelings and anxiety to resurface. I’m in contact with my cpn and know how to manage these feelings so I know they will pass. I guess I’m just sad some symptoms have reared their ugly head 2 years later. Postpartum psychosis really is a long recovery road. X

12 Replies
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EmiMum
EmiMumVolunteer

Hi J42018

It is so true that anniversaries bring up lots of emotions and scars resurface. I am sorry you are going through that at the moment because it is not pleasant at all and can be frightening. It happens to me with my little one's bday as I went to a general psychiatric unit when she was just 10 days old and the time between her birth and my section was a complete blur. Mine is also 2 years old, which is a lovely and challenging age, right?

I am glad to hear that you keep in contact with your cpn and know how to manage the anxiety and manic feelings these times bring.

I wrote here to say that you are not alone in feeling this way. I think even a few years down the line, reading someone else's experience will stir some things in me and that's the person I am now. Yes, I need to be more careful and self-aware after having gone through pp but at the same time I've gained a lot of insight and some empathy.

Take good care my dear, please write here about anything you want to share, I always think that writing and sharing is a huge help in the healing process.

hgallo
hgalloVolunteer

Hi j42018, thanks for your post. Please don't ever feel you're posting too much, that's what we're here for. I had pp after the birth my twin girls in 2016. You are right to say it's a long road for recovery. 2 years down the line I remember I was having very vivid dreams about my experiences and a lot of social anxiety. It doesn't mean you're not recovering or you're not doing well it's just your brain processing it I think.

I was lucky to go to an MBU. Some of the ladies here were on general pscyh wards too. I bet that is much more difficult. MBUs are much more set up for mum's with PP.

It's good you've been in contact with your cpn. Hopefully she will support you too. You've done well to get this far, please don't be too hard on yourself.

Taking small steps and trying to regain a bit of myself too has helped me. I did an IT course 2 years after through a mental health scheme and that helped me refresh some rusty skills! And all the people there had previous mh issues. I also find yoga helps me reconnect with my mind and body too, very calming.

Please post as often as you like, we're here to support you, and if it helps your healing all the better x

J42018
J42018 in reply to hgallo

I was lucky to get a place in a specialist mum and baby unit and be reunited with my son after 6 days in general psychiatric care. I feel really lucky for this however it raised its own challenges. It was over an hour from my home and meant I could hardly see my 3 daughters. As much as I have always been honest about my experience with Postpartum psychosis it wasn’t until I found this group that I felt anyone could relate to or understand what My family suffered from with me having postpartum psychosis and I’m so thankful to have found this group.

I went back to work a month after being released from hospital. I spent just short of 8 weeks in psychiatric care. I think I am

Realising now I’ve rushed things and as you say my Brain is processing things. Whilst this is difficult it’s part of the healing process. I’ve asked my cpn to arrange counselling as I finally feel in a place where I can deal with this.

Thanks so much for your response xx

Hi j42018I am so glad you are able to reach out to the mums here and it doesn't matter how many time you want to talk here that is exactly what this is for. To go to the psychiatric ward is a very very traumatic experience in itself, you don't say if this was out of the blue PP, ready between the lines I feel it was which also makes it an extra frightening ordeal, I wasn't sectioned to a degree but only went as felt if I didn't cooperate things would have gone far worse, unfortunately back in the day care wasn't good for the needs of a new mum, so I never got any benefit from being in a psychiatric hospital and still feel traumatised by the whole ordeal which I am having treatment for, as there I locked it away for so long, until I had a break down many years later, so I am so glad you are reaching out to others... the anniversaries of that aweful time is going to be there as what should have been a happy time has been clouded by this horrible experience, it is important to keep talking about how you are feeling and to seek help to process what happened..if needed. it makes me feel so sad each time I read another mum has had to endure a psychiatric hospital seperated from their baby , no mother should have to go through this... it is positive that it did help you going to the psychiatric ward, though the experience is difficult to explain... I have had some counselling to help me to process the ordeal, plus now waiting for some talking therapy in secondary care as I left everything far to long(23yrs) before I had to help. Keep talking take care and if you do need extra help it is there, please take care of yourself xx

Thank you so much for the comments. I am still writing this tonight as an anxious slightly manic mother although less so than yesterday evening.

I have contacted my cpn to arrange counselling as I’m now well aware I came home from hospital and fought so hard to return to what was normality that I have hardly spoke about what happened to me and my family except in a very matter of fact way. “Yeah I had postpartum psychosis, but I’m fine now “

I’ve tried to keep so many of my feelings to myself as the one thing that still haunts me with this illness is that my kids suffered because of it. As much as I’ve always had mental health problems, depression and

Suicidal ideation I knew how to hide, postpartum psychosis changed me into a person no one knew. Looking back now I can see I had it from the min my son was born however life was so busy being lived I just thought I was so lucky to have as much energy as a mum of 4. My beautiful baby boy was born and he was/is the absolute double of my older brother who had took his own life 14 years earlier. My boy also had a lot of typical baby boy issues in the early days, he was tongue tied, had severe colic we thought but turned out to be severe cows milk protein allergy. He needed me to help him, and I forgot to look after myself. My perinatal cpn signed me off at 6 weeks, I just thought I was a worried mother and that all I needed was a rest and that boy had I got off lightly with the girls when they were babies. They followed the ready steady baby book, my boy fired it out the window lol.

When my son was 11 weeks and finally beginning to settle I asked his gran to watch him for a few days till I got myself better. She was a great help. That week I attended my local GP’s office 3 separate days that week, one gave me my old meds trazadone, and another gp diagnosed a womb infection. At no point did they offer any other help than antibiotics and my old meds. I’ve been told trazadone would have further increased manic behaviour. Looking back there were so many warning signs and so many missed opportunities for professionals to help me. It’s sad however if they can learn from the mistakes in my case and I can raise awareness of postpartum psychosis that’s a small comfort.

Sadly as much as I was aware there was something not right with me I still suffered a psychotic episode causing in-laws to lock me in their house and call my parents. My stepdad picked me and the two younger kids up took me to my mums house where she took my boy from my arms and told me I had to go get help. I was then dropped at the local psychiatric unit on a busy Friday night and treated like a drug addict. I think my family thought I was on drugs, can’t blame them as I was 5ft 8 and about 7st and unable to sit down for 30 seconds.

After a short stay in general psychiatric care my psychiatrist got me a place at the 6 bed mother and baby unit in Glasgow where we stayed for nearly 7 weeks. Because I was in a different county it was difficult to see my girls and for them their mum and baby brother had been taken from them. I now know I was really lucky to get the specialist bed, scares me to think some areas don’t have any specialist mum and baby units.

Well aware I’m rambling slightly here however it’s proving helpful to write this down xxx

Well-read
Well-read in reply to J42018

Wow. That is a description of trauma. Completely normal that you are still struggling with it now. I agree with others that you’re doing the best thing by sharing and getting counselling. There’s no rhyme or reason to who gets PP and who doesn’t. But I do think this forum is a great help. 🙂 Take care.

Lilybeth
LilybethVolunteer

My heart goes out to you J42018 ..... how awful that you have kept a lid on so much hurt for so long. It must be heartbreaking that your brother died in such tragic circumstances .... one of my son’s friends took his life and it was beyond sad how everyone was affected.

I can relate to just getting on with things .... dismissing the unknown that I had a mental health issue. I had PP twice, six years apart, years ago and in those days there was such stigma that my illness was a family secret for fear I would be judged. I was sectioned for my own safety and went to an asylum via A&E as mother and baby units didn’t exist. At the time I was very ‘switched off’ and woke up in this grey room with my late mother’s words “She shouldn’t be here ... she’s only had a baby” bouncing off the walls. With my first son I was in different psychiatric units for six months, without him. Similarly with my second son, although I had support from the Home Support Mental Health Team, as my first son was six by then.

I’m so glad that you have asked your CPN about counselling. I think it’s a really good idea to hear your thoughts and feelings ‘out loud’.

Please ramble here as much as you like. When I first found APP and the forum this was the safe space to share my experiences which I had never spoken about before. I was so comforted by the support and reality that what happened wasn’t my fault and I had no control.

I hope you can have a restful sleep. It’s time now for you to get the help you need to come to terms with all that you have hidden over the years. Be so proud of yourself that against all odds you have coped and your children are blessed to have you as their mum. Be kind to yourself .... we are all here to lean on. xxx

EmiMum
EmiMumVolunteer

Hi J42018,

I am sending you a hug from the distance. I am so sorry about your brother, can't imagine how that would feel, and how meeting your son for the first time evoked some painful memories by association. I think it is perfectly understandable to have bottled it all up and carry on with a busy life. At the time we may feel we owe it to our family to put on a brave face and carry on, but there is nothing to owe as having pp was not a decision you made, it was as unfortunate as being a passenger on a car accident.

I agree with Lilybeth now is a good time to seek out help to deal with the trauma. Talking therapy did wonders for me, there is something about hearing your own thoughts aloud.

You take very good care, I hope the night was better yesterday and be kind to yourself, you are an amazing mum

What I have also found is writing about what happened, my gp encouraged me to do this... it kind of gets it out of your head .... you have been through a lot of trauma and remember none of this is your fault.... It took me a long time to realise that... you are strong, keep talking and wishing you all the best with your journey. Take care of yourself

Thank you so much for your comments. I can write on here tonight feeling less anxious and manic. My work are going to arrange counselling for me which will hopefully be much quicker than nhs counselling, this is a positive step forward. I’ve been able to speak to my cpn however I’ve not been completely honest about how I’ve been feeling for fear of my psychiatrist wanting to up my Olanzapine dosage or prescribe drugs from the diazepam family. Whilst I know that would help short term to treat symptoms I feel I am on enough meds already and that I really need to process what happened to me and my family not just block it out. Xxx

EmiMum
EmiMumVolunteer

Hi J42018,

Good news on the counselling front, I hope you get in touch with a good therapist soon.

I am not sure if you are already aware, so apologies if I am repeating the information, but app also offers one to one peer support and more information can be found here:

app-network.org/peer-support/

Hope that the nights continue to be better and the anxiety more mangeable, take good care

J42018
J42018 in reply to EmiMum

Thank you so much, I didn’t realise there was one to one peer support. I will look into it. I have been in touch with a therapist today through my work, I’ve been lucky it’s been arranged so quickly.

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