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Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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A year on..

KeiraMarie profile image

Hey everyone..

So it's now been a year since I was admitted & discharged from my local mother & baby unit with what they classed as "stress induced psychosis"

I was admitted when my baby was just 6 days old & he is now a happy healthy 14month old who I absolutely LOVE to the moon & back! Him & my eldest son who's 6 are my two saving graces..

What I'm wanting to ask is do any of you still have flashbacks of you're time in a MBU or psychiatric ward during you're illness??

I do ALOT...

I would say its becoming an everyday thing now..

I still think about my time in the MBU & it stirs up the emotions of how I was feeling at that very time..

I'm terrified of the psychosis suddenly just coming back again one day out of the blue without any warning..

During my stay in the mbu I was an inpatient for 7weeks receiving treatment & support from the fantastic staff who I will forever be externally thankful for..

What scares me now is if I was to have another episode & be admitted to a general psychiatric ward not an mbu as my son is now over a year old..

I dunno how I would cope with that if that was to ever happen..

I miss the safety, warmth & friendly security of having the mbu as my security blanket..& now knowing that's now not here for me it's a worry everyday..

Recovery overall has been up & down at times but I would say I have recovered well considering how unwell I was during the last few weeks of my pregnancy/delivery & the first few days that followed..

Does anyone else feel how I feel?

I have a fab support system with my family, other half & friends I just feel I'm still suffering trauma from the events that have taken place..

To even look back at pictures of my baby at that time stirs up how I was feeling during that time period..

Somone please tell me I am not alone in feeling this way.. I feel a huge sense of loss, grief & heartbreak that my sons first few weeks of life I was too unwell to soak in & enjoy the newborn bubble & be the mummy to my two boy's then that I am today..

15 Replies

Hi Keira I know exactly how you feel, particularly when you look back on photos and memories of your baby’s first weeks, it’s incredibly painful and sobering knowing that you can’t turn the clock back and have that time again. It’s 8 years ago for me and I still have pangs of pain when I look back. But, it does lessen and the pain becomes less intense as you make memories with your kids as they grow. The baby stage is fleeting which was what upsets me most and I spent about 18 months getting better but I promise this intense feeling won’t last forever- the fear of going back, the pain at missing out on those early days, they will be over taken with the joy of day to day living and the memories you’re making from now on in will dominate the way you feel, not the pain of your past. Hang tight, you’ve been through a huge life upheaval and it’s early days. It does get better I promise

I can assure you, that you are not alone.. I remember it took a long time to begin to look back at photos of my daughter in our first few months of me being so ilI, it has taken a long time to beable to even comprehend my experiences in the general psychiatric hospital, mainly because I locked it all away deeply inside fearing that if I thought about it or talking about would somehow break me again, it has been 26 years today since my daughters birth only in the last 6 years I have been coming to terms with what happened because I felt there was noone I could turn to, so glad you have reached out the feeling of being alone is awful I wish I had found here many years ago.... what I would say is if you feel worried about these flashbacks and fears is try to talk to your gp, you went through a very traumatic experience, especially being in a psychiatric hospital , it is natural to have fears and to be able to talk about them will help, understanding what happened, maybe when you are ready make a memory box of that time ... it will get better with time.. take care xx

I have PTSD from everything that happened around my daughter's birth. It was her birthday yesterday and I'm really struggling with the flashbacks and nightmares. You're not on your own with this.

Pikorua profile image

Hello KeiraMarie,

thank you for sharing your thoughts and worries with mums, who have suffered PPP. Those questions are very helpful for your healing process. It is all part of self-reflection and trying to make sense of this trauma.

Sometimes words can resonate with my experiences, like your fears. When I felt so terribly lonely and suffered insomnia I just kept on painting at night. Very therapeutic, and only one part of the tools for my unique recovery.

Yes. I agree with the other forum members that it is very important to communicate your feelings. Maybe with people you trust, figuring out options of therapeutic avenues such as learning how to meditate, yoga, reiki etc. , pursuing something you really enjoy and maybe can involve your little ones with, or ask for support of your kind family, when you need some me-time for joining a venue.

Unfortunately I was not in an MBU, but felt very cushioned in my own sanctuary at home once I was released from a Psychiatric hospital.

Confidence building in stepping stones is important. The after-care was a gradual process where I had to learn to look after myself again, taking care of my baby, despite being an Educationalist/teacher...it was like re-scaffolding lost skills and acquiring new ones. My partner was my full time carer for 6 months and then went back to work part time for another couple of months.

Flash backs always have been with me, but remember we are all different! I never knew about my disposition of bipolar, thus, I very much can relate to your anxious moments always when my pendulum dips into a low frequency.

You will find your path, too. A toolkit for coping mechanisms helps a lot. Maybe some brainstorming in what you would like to enjoy and how you can achieve your goals. Yet, remember take it at your own time and pace, without competing or comparing. Your needs are different to my needs...stressors need to be kept to a minimum, especially in the first 2 yrs. in my opinion, and still continue to be gentle and kind to yourself. Remember you have a voice and a choice.

Sending you hugs, you will recover !

Ellie_at_APP profile image

Hi KeiraMarie

My name is Ellie, I had PP after my son was born in 2011.

I'm so sorry to hear you had psychosis after your second son was born. You've already got such lovely replies, I hope you don't feel so alone with the feelings you describe.

Everything you have written resonated with me too - I think it's such normal feelings after having PP, having talked to so many women now who have had pp (I'm APP's national peer support coordinator).

Psychosis is such a huge trauma I think, you describe this so well in your post. I too felt so much sadness and grief about the lost weeks with my son, and how things hadn't happened the way I'd wanted. I struggled a lot with depression afterwards too. In terms of flashbacks from MBU, yes I definitely experienced that too and still have memories that come back strongly at times.

Be reassured, things will get better - as they already have. It sounds like you are doing so well and it's so good that you're also recognising the things you're still struggling with.

I remember I would be hit by the loss, grief or memories at random moments.

Even a month or so ago I found some paper work from my time in the MBU and some cards I had received from friends at that time, and had a cry reading them, it bought back a lot of memories and sadness from that time.

Somehow I've tried to fully feel and express all my feelings rather than suppress them. For me, suppressing things doesn't do any good in the long run, and in fact research about recovery from psychosis shows that people do recover better if they take an active role in recovery (e.g. talk about what happened, seek support and information etc).

APP has been a huge part of that for me - talking with others who have had PP was absolutely essential to my full emotional recovery, and it feels very safe in some way because I know others have been through the same thing and I won't be judged. I feel so lucky and privileged now to give what I received from APP back to others who contact us. Which is why I'm so glad you've found us, as I hope it will help you too.

I also wonder if you might ask your GP for some therapy too? I know that it's possible to get therapy around trauma, and it may be helpful? I'm not sure if you have accessed any therapeutic support?

Take care, Ellie

Thankyou to you all for reading my post & taking the time to comment..It really does mean a lot to me.. It's comforting to know I am not alone in how I am now feeling & for having flashbacks from the trauma..

I find myself really thinking about my time in the mbu way more now than I did at the time..

It's very hard & I question at times if I'm setting myself up for a relapse by going over & over recent events xx

Lilly53 profile image
Lilly53Volunteer in reply to KeiraMarie

Hi KeiraMarie,

I’m glad you’ve found the forum and are finding comfort from people’s shared experiences.

I’ve had PP twice now with the birth of my two sons (9 years ago and again 6 years ago). I didn’t spend time in an MBU but I remember the relief of feeling less alone after sharing my story with others on here. First time around my PP wasn’t even detected but thankfully second time it was and I had regular CPN home visits.

I personally don’t think going over what happened sets you up for relapse. Instead I think reflecting on your experience (with the help of a professional if possible/wanted?) can really help to process what happened and why. I think it can also help better understand how to stay well and look after ourselves in the future. PP is such a traumatic illness to experience it takes time to recover. But you will fully recover as the mass of positive stories on here show.

I’ve experienced some flashbacks over the years (usually in the early hours lying in bed) and they were originally truly terrifying as I would immediately panic that my PP was back as I lay there in the darkness my thoughts spiralling back. But often these flashbacks were triggered by a period of stress and a run of very poor sleep. So I try to manage those aspects of my life better if I can. I also tried to actively keep calm in those flashback moments and not engage with the thoughts. For example, deep breathing while the difficult feelings passed really helped along with saying positive phrases over and over like “I am strong” (even when my heart was racing and I didn’t feel it at first!!). I also tried to imagined a really positive/funny image in those moments of terror to steer my brain down a different path. I’m glad to say I very rarely get flashbacks now :)

I wish you every success in your recovery. You will be stronger than you know. Please do share on here whenever you need to.


I’m so sorry to hear what happened to you. I also suffered a PPP in Dec 2018 after the birth of my son. It really is a terrible thing to go through.

I had really bad flash back initially which has now settled but still suffer with triggers of painful memories for my time in the MBU. I’ve been told it’s not a sign of psychosis but a response to the traumatic experience. I actually got diagnosed with PTSD a few months ago due to what happened. This lead to more talking therapy to unpick these painful memories & I have to say it’s helped a lot. I, like you thought this would never end but I’m starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Hang in there & like Ellie said chat to your GP to see if there is more support out there.

It sounds like you’re terrified of a relapse. This was a huge fear for me too. The talking therapy has helped to lessen this fear. I thought I’d done a lot of talking through my recovery with my nurse but the recent input from the physiologist has been excellent to come to terms with things. I do hope you can get some more support, give yourself time, be kind to yourself & let us know how you get on. xxx

Hi, I can totally relate to how you are feeling. You are doing the right thing reaching out and talking about it. I had postpartum psychosis after the birth of my son in 2018, we spent 8 weeks in a mother and baby unit. I have found the road to recovery to be a long one, I share your worries of the illness returning and can understand the distress you have felt having flashbacks. During my illness I became much more active on social media something that was usual for me. Seeing photographs from when I was really ill still stirs up feeling of guilt and shame for me. I’ve started seeing a counsellor to hopefully put things behind me. You are doing the right thing talking about your feeling and you are not alone xxx

Thankyou all of you for taking the time to comment, I do appreciate it & I have red every reply 😊I think I may benefit from some counselling, as although I had the perinatal team therapy sessions once I was discharged home I still feel I'm not fully "over" what happened to me or as to why it did & I feel I haven't yet accepted what took place nor have I made peace with all I've gone through..

I have noticed tho that for the last few months I've become really short temperered & I feel I have zero patience to deal with & handle my six year olds tantrums..

It doesn't take a lot lately for me to fly of the handle & I then feel so much guilt for raising my voice..

I feel like I've lost my sparkle as a mum & have turned in to this awful short tempered monster!

That's not who I am nor ever want to be!I don't want my boy's always remembering their mummy as "she was always shouting"

I dunno if how I am feeling is again all down to the on going trauma & undiagnosed PTSD?xx

Treat2019 profile image
Treat2019 in reply to KeiraMarie


Thank you for being honest. Dealing with tantrums can be really hard. One of the common symptoms of PTSD can be anger. I think it’s worth seeing your GP to discuss all of this and getting the right support.

My talking therapy has started to help me accept what’s happened. I couldn’t move on from it. I real feel I needed help with this and it’s slowly getting better.

I do hope you can get the support you need. Let us know what they say. xxx

Rachel_at_APP profile image
Rachel_at_APPAdministrator in reply to KeiraMarie

Hi KeiraMarie,

So good you’ve had chance to read everyone’s replies to your post. You’re definitely not alone in how you’re feeling as everyone has said.

I had PP in December 2016 after the birth of my first child. Completely out of the blue with no previous mental health history. It is such a traumatic and horrifying thing to go through, it’s not surprising that it takes time to heal.

I definitely had some of the flash backs you describe. And at times of stress, my husband and my mum would definitely say I was short tempered sometimes. Stupid things like the freezer drawers used to set me off when they got stuck, I had a lot of baggage with that freezer!

It can feel EXHAUSTING healing from PP, and keeping it together for your family whilst you try and heal too. Some days it all just felt too much for me. So again not surprising that when you’re trying to heal little things can be a stressor. Tantrums are certainly not a little thing, supporting your children with their own emotional development is exhausting in of itself.

I had Counselling for what I went through. For a lot of the first sessions I just sat and sobbed with a box of tissues and the counsellor. That was all part of my healing, accepting the loss of a normal start to motherhood. My counsellor described elements of it as like dealing with grief. Gradually talking about it helped, as did time, channelling my short tempered-ness into running, yoga and journaling. Talking, lots of talking. And acceptance of what I was feeling as a normal part of healing from the illness.

I’m sure you’re not the short tempered monster you describe. Motherhood is HARD! And with what you’ve been through on top you deserve to be wearing a super mum cape!

Maybe a trip to your GP would be good to help chat through your worries about undiagnosed PTSD. Mind has a useful article about PTSD on their website here: mind.org.uk/information-sup...

Keep in touch and chat here if it helps. Sorry this is a bit of a long post, your feelings just so resonated with me. It does get better. Take care.

Rachel x

Hey guys, again thankyou so much for taking the time to comment & read my post..You're right I do think I need to make an appointment with my GP & explain to him/her as to just how I'm feeling..

Like last night I had an awful dream where I was back in the MBU going through all the motions again & it felt SO real, so much so that I woke up a little dazed & questioned if the psychosis was coming back..

I think I do have some deep rooted underlying trauma from my last pregnancy/birth & at how unwell I became xx

Rachel_at_APP profile image
Rachel_at_APPAdministrator in reply to KeiraMarie

You poor thing KeiraMarie, that sounds like a horrid dream. They can be so so real dreams sometimes and super unsettling to wake up like that in the night. Is there someone you can wake up to chat to if you need to if it happens again? Having reassurance on hand helped me hugely.

Hope you’re taking great care of yourself today.

How are doctors appointments in your area at the moment? Hope you’re able to make an appointment easily if you’d like to go get some advice and support.

Rachel x

Hello keiraI can so relate to what you have shared, and thank you for your bravery and for reaching out x I have not been back to the area where the MBU unit I stayed in is located due to the pain/trauma associated with that place. It's something I'm just starting to consider now, and my son is 2 years old.

Perhaps you can access counselling, cbt or other anxiety or trauma therapy?

I really do wish you all the best


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