I am recovering from postpartum psychosis. I feel really dissociated from myself right now and from who I am. Did anyone find a way of getting back to themselves?
Postpartum Psychosis Recovery - Action on Postpar...
Action on Postpartum Psychosis
Hello! Thanks for writing and sorry to hear you feel like this, I imagine it’s extremely common to feel this way, I certainly felt it. Postpartum psychosis is such a horrible illness. I was really unwell with Ppp in 2018 and can completely relate to that feeling you mention of being disassociate. I felt that for a while after getting out of hospital but thankfully it did improve. I guess first thing someone said to me that I found useful was ‘give yourself a break’ recognising you’ve been through the absolute horror that is PPP and your sense of self has been shaken. You absolutely will get better and feel well but it does take time and that’s ok. I guess the biggest thing that helped me was trying to do ‘normal’ things. Going to baby rhyme time classes, trying mum baby yoga although very hard at first once I was there was so busy concentrating I forgot everything I’d been through. Planning a walk with a good friend. Remembering the things I used to enjoy- maybe brainstorm a list. I currently love going to beautiful gardens/ woodland anywhere with nature, I like listening to meditations and doing a bit of yoga really really helps me, there is a website I joined called movementformodernlife I like, yoga might not be your thing but if you think you might like it give it a go. I like that you can do them whenever you like and there are all sorts of classes - yoga nidra is almost sleeping so that’s a winner! Could you ask your care team if they might work up a Occupational therapy program with you? I know some people really like writing a a journal. So self care to the max, maybe also a day trip somewhere change of scene? Be super gentle with you, sending lots of love and hope you feel more connected soon and let us know if you find a few things that you think help. Big hugs. X
Thank you so much for your reply! I am actually really into yoga and meditation and nature. I have been working a lot on just doing normal things this week and not being so consumed with “getting better” and that’s been making me feel better. So thank you do your reply it is confirmation that I am on the right track
Hi CassandraAronow, sorry to hear you're not feeling great. Can I ask how long it is since you had pp? I had pp back in 2016 with another brief episode in 2018. It went in stages for me. The first year was a bit of a haze of being very ill and heavily medicated most of the time! The second year I started to do more stuff I had done before, seeing close friends, taking the girls to small groups with my mum, building things up very gradually. I went to a baby group at my old MBU til my girls were 1 as I felt comfortable there. I started volunteering for APP when my girls were 3 and now my girls are at school (both 5) I do a Saturday shift at the greengrocers!
In the early days, taking things very gradually and using any support possible helped me. Also, being aware of my triggers. I found situations with lots of people, like trains stations and big crowds very overwhelming so would generally avoid doing them.
And nowadays it feels nice when I tell people my story and they say, wow you overcame that! And you will too. Take things slowly and be aware of what you need. And keep talking to us on here, we get it. Keep in touch x
I am so sorry that you have had Postpartum Psychosis, its an awful illness isn't. I hope you have lots of support from health professionals, friends and family through this time? How long ago did it happen?
I had PP after the birth of my first baby back in 2016. It was completely out of the blue and a total shock. It is such a trauma to go through isn't it, so sadly it can take time to recover from. I can definitely relate to that feeling of disassociation and not feeling like yourself. When I was so poorly I was so far away from being myself that it took time to rebuild, but I did find a way, as do many others. Each story of recovery will be different and unique to each person. For me, my maternity leave I often describe as my "battle leave" as sometimes it felt like every day was a fight to get better. It can feel exhausting can't it.
I think for me, as it was my first baby, there was also an element in finding a new and improved me as I had also become a Mummy in amongst my illness - so to an extent that was a new "me" growing and evolving as we all do in life. I would never have said this at the time, but PP has helped me in some ways too. I am much more confident and outgoing than I was before my illness, and I am very lucky to now be in a position to support other women too as they get better from PP.
Take heart that you will get there, take each day as it comes. Try different things to support you in your recovery, talk lots if you can, access counselling maybe at the right time for you, take exercise and get fresh air (both were instrumental in my recovery), take help from health professionals and access medication on their advice. And so important that you give yourself enormous credit and heaps of kindness for coming this far.
You've had two lovely replies about recovery already, I hope our words help in some way and show you that what you're feeling is temporary. Just as the psychosis was temporary. You have got this! I believe in you.
Thank you so much for your kind words and reply! I had ppp starting around 4/5 months postpartum and I am now 7 months postpartum
Hi CassandraAronow, thank you for taking the time to reply. I think you’re amazing to be writing here only seven months postpartum. Take each day as it comes. Glad to hear people’s words have been helpful. Do write again anytime. Take care. Rachel x
Hi Cassandra, good for you for reaching out it is what we are all here for.What you describe as not feeling yourself was one of the hardest parts of having PP.
How far along in your journey are you?
I had pp in feb 2020 so relatively recently. The hardest thing I found was people telling me that I would get better and I would feel like myself but they couldn’t give a timeframe and as they weren’t going though they didn’t understand. This is why this forum is so good as we really do get it. I would have periods where I felt myself then periods of not. I can only echoe the other ladies and say keep yourself busy doing the things that you enjoy. Also reach out to the help that is there be it friends and family or health professionals. I always found it easier as it takes your mind off going over it again and again.
Here if you want to chat?
Congratulations on the birth of your baby. I’m sorry to read that you suffered PP .... such a shame that, for some, the precious gift of a baby is tarnished by such a traumatic illness. As I was recovering there were days when I felt “I can do this”but other days when I didn’t feel anything apart from trying to understand what just happened and who I was.
As has already been said, it’s time to be super kind to yourself after all you have been through. Try not to put pressure on yourself to be well, just go with the flow. I wonder as you are in the USA whether you know about Postpartum Support International at postpartum.net? Depending on which State you live in there might be local support available to you, although you are always welcome here. Just a thought but this might be how you found the forum.
There are also PP Guides .... “Recovery after Postpartum Psychosis” being one, at app-network.org/what-is-pp/... which might be helpful to know that you’re not alone. One day and step at a time and you will begin to find your place. Take care, we are all here for each other.
I am in the recovery phase of Pp as well and can totally relate to this. My MD says going back to work and slowly increasing days at work can be helpful to connect to the older self. My therapist also recommends exercise and developing a self care routine - Tbh I’m not good at doing this at all. Basically doing the things you used to before being unwell helps. I’ve personally noticed spending time with close family (parents, siblings etc) is helpful. Good luck and take care!!
Yeah I noticed this week I’ve been doing things I used to do and that has been helping me feel better instead of only focusing on recovering and “getting better”
I’ve just gone back to work after having PP almost a year ago. I did two days a week for a month and then two months of three days and although I wasn’t looking forward to it, it’s actually helped my recovery dramatically as I finally feel like myself again. I appreciate the time I have with my son all the more and feel able to make the most of the time we have together now that it’s more limited.
Sorry to hear you have had pp and about how you are feeling at the moment. I had pp in 2018 after my first baby, and I can relate to what you describe.
I felt like a shell of a person for a while, going through the motions of the day, but nothing resonated inside of me. At first, it was not even sadness, just emptiness. Later I also mourned my old personality and wondered how it could have vanished all of a sudden and thought that this is how things will be from now on. Slowly I started to reconnect with old parts of myself by bringing activities I used to enjoy, nothing too complicated at the beginning, playing a simple card game, helping with the cooking, doing some yoga or going for a walk. I took it very gently, never trying to push myself or give myself any target except for trying it out and see how it goes.
You are still there my dear and with the help of time you'll be back to your old self. The recovery guides Lilybeth mentions were of great help to me, as well as reading the experiences of others that went through this and came back. For all the trauma that pp is, it is very recoverable, mums go back to live rich lives, enjoy motherhood, their work, their hobbies, their friends and family.
Take good care and write here whenever you want to.
Thank you so much for your reply and encouragement ♥️
I am glad you have felt encouraged by the stories of other mums here. There is no timeline for getting back to yourself, which can be a bit frustrating sometimes, but taking the focus out of that and just starting with doing things for yourself as you have been doing is very wise. I found when the good days started to become more frequently my mood will keep on improving and I could weather setbacks much better. Take good care, I am glad to read about the support you have in place with postpartum international.
I am pleased you found this forum and a warm welcome!
Yes, I have struggled with disassociation for a long time after PPP. I was sectioned in 2010.
- traditional meds
- because of Psychosis and its symptoms
- ongoing stressors throughout recovery
I do believe it very much depends on your home environment and living conditions and prioritising and allowing yourself healing time i.e. stopping the breaks for a while and attempt goals only in stepping stones.
In order to re-focus I find meditation extremely useful. Especially when mind-racing and drifting. I live with bi-polar, thus concentration level can be diminished and dissociation is actually part of my existence whether the waves are high or low.
I often try and learn or focus on specific tasks at hand that are enjoyable and contribute to my well being. When you read through the lived experiences you will find that we all have been struggling with who we are, who we are going to become.
A lot of women say I want to go back as I was or back to normal. However, you can not change the past, but carry on with the hear and now. In addition our perception of normality is diverse. There is no average normal in my opinion.
I see my mental health issues as part of me, being in acceptance that a chronical condition will be with me for good. Nevertheless in the case of PPP, - you will recover! Your learning and lived experience throughout the traumatising illness and recovery will change your outlook of life. I am grateful for my experiences as I have learnt to establish my toolkit and dealing with coping mechanisms. My moral compass of humanism has been intensified.
Take good care, you will get there.
I hope you are continuing to go with the flow and not putting pressure on yourself to be “getting better”. Thinking of you .... take care.
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