Relapse?: Hi I haven’t been on here for... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Relapse?

Bumblebeeee profile image

Hi I haven’t been on here for afew years now. I was very unwell in 2018. My daughter is now 3. I have only just realised that I took my illness and locked it away in a box. I don’t talk about it and don’t think about it. I managed to get discharged from the mh team and up till now I really thought I was fine. This is where I need help. I have a friend (not someone I know well) who has recently started getting intrusive thoughts, is suicidal etc. I think she may have psychosis but drs saying BPD. She keeps texting me and wanting to talk as she knows what I went through before and we have very similar symptoms. I know I’m going to sound horrible but this is making me feel ill. I want to help her but I feel like I’m trying to cut myself off from it all. I didn’t realise how much I hadn’t dealt with anything that’s happened until today when it all feels too much. Can you relapse because of someone else bringing up the past? I feel like such an idiot. My brain keeps telling me that I’m being a drama queen inventing symptoms that I don’t even have now like I’m trying to turn it around on me? I still hear horrible voices a lot but I block them out. Today is the first time I have actually noticed they are still there. They are just background noise. But today I feel like I’m imagining all this. Sorry if this doesn’t make sense. I’m very confused what I’m trying to ask here, but basically, can someone else’s illness trigger yours again? I didn’t realise how much I haven’t dealt with any of it and feel like Iv locked it away in a box and not let my mind even talk about it or acknowledge any of it. I literally fell off the face of the earth and didn’t speak to anyone and I think that’s how I thought I was healing. But now it’s all becoming undone like a downward spiral 🌀

18 Replies
Rachel_at_APP profile image
Rachel_at_APPAdministrator

Evening Bumblebeeee,

I am so sorry to hear that you're struggling at the moment. But I am glad you remembered to reach out here after a few years of being away. Hello again, x.

I am sorry to hear that your friend is poorly, that is sad and clearly hard for them. It's tricky by the sound of it, that your symptoms are similar and she is therefore reaching out to you. I think you should definitely feel able to protect yourself, don't feel bad for politely saying to her something like, "I'm really sorry you're poorly at the moment. I want to be able to help, but that time in my life is raw and difficult for me to talk about still, so please don't ask me about it." Gently suggest that she go back to her doctor and seek mental health support. It is totally ok to do this! Don't try and be a hero helping someone and end up putting yourself in harms way. You need to wrap yourself up in bubble wrap sometimes.

Postpartum Psychosis is a huge trauma to go through. I know from my own experience that the legacy of it can stay with you for a long time, so someone mentioning similar symptoms to your own could cause a very natural reaction in you of fear and worry. It doesn't necessarily mean you're having a relapse. Don't hesitate to go to the doctors yourself for support as you're worried about this, particularly the voices you feel are still there. If you do feel that you have bottled up everything that has happened, it's never too late to access help and talk through it all. It's so important. Do you have family with you who can be there to support you?

I went for counselling myself, I am a natural "bottlerupper"! It was hard to start with, opening up - I cried a lot. But in the long term it really helped me. I wonder if this is something you have considered before, or another form of talking therapy. Other women I know have managed to access cognitive behavioural therapy which they may be able to tell you about in replies too.

You're not an idiot, far from it. You're very brave for acknowledging how you're feeling and reaching out here for help and words of support. This doesn't have to be a downward spiral, you've already so brilliantly acknowledged how you're feeling. Legitimate feelings. Do you have family you can talk to? Perhaps they can support you too and maybe help you visit your GP? Talking is good, don't be afraid to access a bit of extra help for yourself.

Take care over the weekend. We're here anytime.

Rachel x

Thank you lovely. Your reply is so helpful. I really think I do need some counselling. I haven’t dealt with any of it I don’t think so maybe it’s time now to unlock the box and let it all out. Do I just go to the gp now and ask to be referred for counselling? I have never had any sort of it before as I have never really opened up. I used to have email support from Ellie who was actually amazing and saved my life many times, but I cut myself off from her too without even realising until now. I think I have tried to say ‘I’m fine’ without really dealing with any of it x

Rachel_at_APP profile image
Rachel_at_APPAdministrator in reply to Bumblebeeee

Morning Bumblebeeee,

I’m really glad you reached out here.

Yes, absolutely you can go and see your GP and ask if there is anything they can refer you to like counselling. Sometimes there can be a little wait, so worth ringing your GP to get booked in.

I think shutting away what happened is a natural reaction. Dealing with hard things is super difficult.

Aw, lovely Ellie. She was the first person I ever spoke to who’d had PP. I cried a lot then too! Bless her, Ellie is amazing. She’d love to hear from you again I’m sure. Take care.

Rachel x

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Bumblebeeee

It’s good that you have reached out for support. I’m sorry to hear you are struggling. I think it’s important when we have had such a traumatic illness that we look after ourselves, which might mean having space from a friend, especially if interaction is making you feel ill. You’re not being horrible, just protecting yourself from possible triggers.

As you might remember from my previous replies I had PP many years ago. Like you and many here I fought so hard to get my mental health back, so I try to step away if I’m feeling vulnerable, as you have with your friend. Sometimes we have to put ourselves first.

I think it would be a good idea for you to contact your mental health team although you have been discharged. If you can ask for an appointment just for reassurance and also talk about your worries which you have kept hidden and ignored. Hopefully you will feel much better in time but you need to take good care of yourself first and talk openly to the care team who can look after you.

Stay safe and take care ..... we are all here to listen if it helps.

Bumblebeeee profile image
Bumblebeeee in reply to Lilybeth

Thank you Lilybeth. I am feeling a lot more positive today. I think I was majorly overthinking things last night and was worrying myself. I do feel a lot better this morning. Thank you for always being here. I forgot what an amazing group this is and your help really changes things for people. You are all so incredible ❤️

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Bumblebeeee

Good to hear from you. I’m glad you’re feeling a lot more positive today and feel a lot better than last night. Remember to be kind to yourself and take care.

PP mums are amazing and we are all here for each other ❤️ Thinking of you .....

Hi Lilybeth I was ill a few years ago and relapsed I remember you. Thankyou for your support s

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer in reply to Becciandbump

Hi Becciandbump

Good to hear from you. I remember you too and hope you are well.

We are all here for each other ... take care. x

Thankyou

Hello Bumblebeeee

I'm Ailania and I was ill in 2019. Like you I've had these worries, especially when people I know become pregnant and give birth. I'm so glad you found your way back here, because when I'm struggling these amazing women and men lift my spirits so much. I hope you will find the words to explain your boundaries to your friend. Take care and speak soon

Hi Bumblebeeee.So sorry to hear you're having a rough time at the mo. I had postpartum psychosis in 2013 when my baby was 3 months old. I got through it, like yourself, didn't really talk about it for a good few years. With time you will talk about it more. I found it really helpful talking about it to aid the recovery long term. A neighbour suffered with psychosis last year and ended up getting sectioned. I helped her as no one else seemed to do anything. It brought me down a lot ☹ brought back all the dark memories. But I couldn't sit back and watch her suffer. It did effect me, but after upping my anti depressants a bit and talking it through with close friends, I came out the other side. I'm always here if u need a chat. This makes us stronger people. Take care. Anna x

Hi dear Bumblebeeee. so sorry to hear that you are having a hard time. Actually i once asked two of my psychiatric doctors the question you ask and both of them they said that no, postpartum psychosis can not be induced by other people’s words or actions, as its nature is postpartum and PP is the reaction of your body and brain to the fact, the shock, the trauma and the biochemistry of labour processes.

On the subject of voices - do you think you really hear voices now like auditory hallucinations you probably had during PP or you just can remember vividly how it feels to hear voices and you can replay this sensation in your head now?

And actually as far as i learned from different psychiatrists you were not doing the wrong thing. There is a school of thought among psychiatrists that it’s better to live like nothing happened after PP because it’s just like other stuff linked to labour- just something not really relevant to our daily life.

Although after PP statistically we become more prone to psychosis later in our lifetime, yet something big in terms of our body should happen to trigger it - like another labour, or menopause, or severe Covid-19, or many sleepless nights in a row due to a loss of an important person, for example. As much as you might be very sorry and sympathetic for your friend, in its nature it can not be a traumatic event for you in particular, and you mention it’s not a close friend.

Of course there’s another approach , to study this horrible illness thoroughly, and try to find answers to all the questions , and to do talking therapy.

But both ways are valid.

Im not an expert , just a PP survivor, but to me it sounds like PTSD, the trauma from PP raising its head and its voice, not psychosis.

Sending you a big hug and lots of nourishing peace ♥️

Thank you for your reply. I don’t think I hear voices now. I think I was panicking and was imagining hearing them again like you said. I do feel abit better after posting on here. I have decided I probably need some sort of talking therapies so I am going to see my gp next week to see if I can get some or maybe just pay privately for some x

Hi bumblebee So sorry to hear you are struggling right now, plus your friend being unwell.

It must be very hard wanting to help, but the feelings that you personally felt, memories surging upwards that you have held at bay for all this time.

I personally had PP in 1995... I found the whole experience very traumatic, I to thought I had "got past" this aweful time and literally Locked it away for about 18 years.. it was too huge to even think about.. if I saw anything on TV about mental illness I had to go out the room..

It was when I had a hospital appointment with a consultant, about tummy pains, he was very abrupt and said there was nothing wrong with me and when I ask why I was in so much pain, he harshly told me he didn't know... thinks from that day began to unravel... luckily I met a GP a few years later who gained my trust and then everything gradually came out. Been a long process as thing were tightly locked away for so long... with help I am gradually getting there.. though it has been a long journey.

I can't tell you what to do, but I really would say if you are struggling with memories , feeling from that aweful time raising their ugly heads.... then don't try to suppress them or try to lock them away... as they just get worse and down the line with the journey of life it becomes more and more difficult.... as the time that was so aweful that is difficult to think about will fill up the glass with this unprocessed terrible time..

At the end of the day you need to look after yourself.. it isn't being harse to do this as you will be unable to help your friend if you become too unwell ... I am so glad you have APP to support you , talk to your friend and say how things are with you... I know I have a friend, who suffers from depression and we help each other.

If things are coming back to the surface the maybe it is time to start dealing with them.. my GP was very helpful..remember you are not alone and it can take time to fully process the trauma that took place .

Take care of yourself x

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Bumblebeeee

I hope you will be able to book an appointment this week with your GP to find out about any talking therapy which might help you. Take care ... we are here. x

Pikorua profile image
PikoruaVolunteer

Hello Bublebeeee with for e's, I always have to count :-)

How are you today? You raise a very important topic and I think it is extremely useful to share your lived experience for our forum readers.

It is vital to learn when to say "No" in a gentle and kind manner. Rachel used a phrase as an example, and honestly this is so terribly useful !!!

"I'm really sorry you're poorly at the moment. I want to be able to help, but that time in my life is raw and difficult for me to talk about still, so please don't ask me about it."

Sometimes when you do not want to cut your ties,...AT THE MOMENT...is of great significance. It is in a way explanatory that the door is still open, but I can not deal with this right now, you give yourself some cushion.

It is important to give yourself time and space. One has to self reflect and understand own coping mechanism, which can be further developed through therapeutic avenues and professional therapy.

Just to let you know that it is extremely difficult to turn down somebodies request. However, I have had friendships, who were like "energy vampires", and it took me a while to figure out how exploitative they were. Deep down it has been a very difficult experience to cut off bonds, but I know that I need to priorities:

My family and keeping my mental health balanced to live a purposeful life is my choice! Your choice is detrimental for your well being. Do not feel guilty, but learn to admire your inner strengths of decission making.

Sending you a big hug and it is so good to hear from you again. Always here for you in the background. Mums are super on this forum! x

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Bumblebeeee

Just wondering whether you found time to book an appointment with your GP to find out about any talking therapy which might be helpful? I hope you are keeping well. Take care .... sending hugs.

Pikorua profile image
PikoruaVolunteer

Dearest Bumblebeeee, thinking of you, too. Wishing you well. Sending you much love x

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