Our PPP episode and relapse - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Our PPP episode and relapse

Bubblesbae profile image
13 Replies

My wife had PP after the delivery of our first child in late July 2017. She was admitted into a private hospital for psychiatric care by early August of same year. The crisis and treatment lasted for about a month. Because we were not properly informed, by early September, thinking that we were clear as she was very stable, we stopped going for the doctors appointment and by extension the drugs too.

We had our second child by February 2019. This time the delivery and aftermath was devoid of PP. Come early September 2020, we had another crisis and she was again admitted for psychiatric care. This episode lasted for about two weeks. After leaving the hospital she went into self denial mode and totally refused to continue her drugs nor keep her outpatient appointments. I let her be when I couldn't convince her otherwise. Moreover she had become very stable or so I thought.

By mid December 2021, I started observing some symptoms which I had become aware of to be the prelude of the crisis (delusion, paranoia), I immediately took her to the hospital. I am more aware now and we have agreed she will stay more longer in the hospital in order to go through CBT as part of the treatment. She is presently back home.

I will be grateful if anyone can share their relapse story and what this consequently meant? I mean will this relapse be referred to as a postpartum illness or something else? Thank you.

13 Replies
Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Bubblesbae

Welcome to the forum where you will find lots of support. I’m sorry to hear your wife had PP following the birth of your first child and has had times of crisis. It must be very unsettling for you to witness as I know how hard it was for my husband when I had PP twice, many years ago, after our sons were born.

I did relapse during my recovery in my first episode. At the time the medication which was keeping me stable was making me very slow. So I decided to limit the dosage and frequency which was a very bad idea. I was very unwell and almost went back to square one. I promised my psychiatrist that I would not do this again. I eventually recovered and found my place.

Six years later our second son was born and unfortunately PP hit me again. As with your experience, it was my husband who noticed similarities in my behaviour to my first PP, so the emergency team was contacted. My recoveries were long as I also needed ECT treatment as a last resort and severe depression followed. In times of crisis during my recoveries I was also admitted to mixed general psychiatric care for further treatment.

Can I ask if your wife is waiting to return to hospital? I’m sorry that as I’m not a medic I don’t know if her relapse will be considered as a postpartum illness or something else. I’m not sure if you are aware of Postpartum Support International at postpartum.net or whether this is how you found the forum? On their website you will find a list of international countries listed, Nigeria being there. Perhaps you might be able to connect with local services for support and advice?

I do hope you have family and friends to lean on as it’s not easy so see your treasured wife struggling. We are all here to listen across the miles. Take care ... thinking of you.

Bubblesbae profile image
Bubblesbae in reply to Lilybeth

Thank you Lilybeth. I am very grateful for your kind words. This means a lot to me I can assure you.

She is not waiting to go back to the hospital. She was in the hospital from late December through late January 2022. A total of five weeks altogether. The symptoms have been crashed and we are now seeing the team on an outpatient basis. We had the first outpatient appointment just two days ago.

I have checked up Postpartum Support International for the local support and resources. I will be following up on that. I have also joined some support groups on the platform.

The stigma surrounding mental health illness in Nigeria is a massive one for now. Getting the right support can be quite challenging. I am very happy to have found this forum.

Thanks a lot.

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer in reply to Bubblesbae

Hello Bubblesbae

Thank you so much for taking time to reply. I hope your wife’s first outpatient appointment was helpful and that perhaps you were able to ask if the relapse can be referred to as postpartum? Whatever the definitive diagnosis it has certainly been a stressful time for you and your treasured family.

Following my episodes I did need outpatient care in times of crisis but with additional treatment I eventually recovered.

It’s good that you checked the link to Postpartum Support International and that you have also joined some support groups. I think it can be helpful to exchange experiences.

I’m sorry to hear the stigma surrounding mental health is a massive one at the moment. When I suffered my first PP years ago, mental health here in England was very much in the shadows. So much so that my parents warned my husband not to talk about it outside our home for fear I would be judged. So my illness became the family secret as I wasn’t aware of my diagnoses until years later when I had the good fortune to find APP and the forum.

Thankfully today there is more awareness so that people realise it’s ok not to be ok. After all it is such a traumatic illness that there should be more understanding.

I am so happy you found the forum as we are all here to support you at such a stressful time. I hope your wife will feel the benefit of the outpatient care offered. Please remember to take care of yourself too. Thinking of you and your family ... thank you for writing.

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Bubblesbae

Following on from my earlier post, I wonder if you have seen the APP frequently asked questions at app-network.org/what-is-pp/...? The last question “Am I likely to have an episode of psychiatric illness at other times?” might be helpful to read.

Take care. Best wishes to your wife.

Bubblesbae profile image
Bubblesbae in reply to Lilybeth

Hello Lilybeth,

Words alone cannot express my gratitude for the massive support that you have been showing. I am indeed very grateful.

We didn't see the psychiatrist proper during the outpatient appointment. We spent time mostly in therapy with the social worker. I will definitely be asking him by the next appointment date.

My wife's parent and siblings have also been some sort of pain in the neck for me too during the episodes. We should set very firm boundaries, but for the cultural values and considerations we have here, that seems a bit challenging.

I am delighted for all the resources that you are pointing me towards. These has been of great benefit to me. Thanks a lot.

Warm regards to you and your husband

EstherLinton40 profile image
EstherLinton40

Hi,

What an amazing husband you are to be seeking out support like this and Making sense of your and your wife's situation. PP is a very serious illness however there is light at the end of the tunnel. I had PP in 2016 4 weeks after giving birth. I tried my hardest to hide it from others but there came a point with PP that you just can not any longer all filters are lost and your mixed up thoughts and feelings are there on display. I was admitted to an acute mental health ward (UK) after going in and out of A&E several times 10day addmitted, followed by a month on a mother and baby unit I was so well looked after and will be forever grateful for this.

However I was determined to get well and after 6months came off meds as I didn't want to put on weight. Terrible decision I relapse much worse 2 months in hospital couldn't see my baby. I took medication more serviously and have been taken some form of meds ever since, from that second episode I was diagnose with Bi-polar I was definitely very manic I do question this diagnosis at times but feel the PP and second episode were all related as one.

I could potentially come off the meds now however due to many changes in my life I decided to wait another year or so. I now feel the best I have felt in a very long time I am fully me again, I'm happy its taken a lot of hard work but I came back. I remember my partner at the time wondering "will she ever come back" the answer is yes. I have worked in mental health and have delivered trainings on mental health I did this once to a group of African women and I heard first hand the difficulties around stigma in there country, I had never heard these types of experiences before. So the fact you are contact us on here with your positive attitude to support your wife whilst she is going through this I admire you.

Bubblesbae profile image
Bubblesbae in reply to EstherLinton40

Hello Esther,

Thank you for your nice compliments.

I can relate a lot to the situations that you have been through. This is very motivating and inspiring for me. My wife too has taken her medications seriously now. I remember I was told that she'll likely be on the drugs for a minimum of two years. We are also worried about weight gain, but she has been working hard on resisting the urge to eat a lot, ever since she got back home.

I believe she will bounce back. It's just very hard to see one's spouse, who used to be the life of the party become very sullen. I see you have some experience in the mental health profession. Your re-assurances is more comforting in that regard. I am very appreciative.

Thank you.

EstherLinton40 profile image
EstherLinton40 in reply to Bubblesbae

My pleasure your wife will be the life and soul of the party again all in good time. I am also that way very friendly and bubbly person. I have changed but for the better when I want to be the life and soul I am but I am better at judging when I just want to be in a quiet space not because I feel any depression but just because I have learnt being still is just as valuable as being bubbly. I wish you both well, your wife will find her way, any questions happy to answer. One last thing I have lots of lovely friends/family and a comment I heard as I had made a full recovery was "yippee Esthers back" that's when I really knew I had recovered. I tried to rush it but you just can't it takes as long as it take. Good well.

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Bubblesbae

Thank you so much for your kind words. We are all privileged to be in conversation with you as you gather resources and information. Your treasured wife must be very comforted by your patience and care as she battles to be well.

I wonder if you can see your post on the forum page and Related Posts on the right hand side? One of which is “Medication query for relapse episode”. I think the last reply there might be interesting from a mum whose daughter swapped medications four months after her second relapse because she didn’t like the weight gain, which I think is a worry for your wife.

I hope you will have more time with the psychiatrist at your wife’s next appointment. Perhaps you might also have time to ask about an ongoing care plan as it can be quite stressful coping at home.

I’m glad the links I have given to resources have been helpful. I hope not to overwhelm you with another, “PP Soup” - a nourishing mix of all things Postpartum Psychosis” at ppsoupdotcom.wordpress.com. Put together by a mum who suffered PP with input from other mums and professionals.

Thank you for your warm wishes.

Take care ... thinking of you and your family.

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Bubblesbae

I hope you have found Postpartum Support International helpful for local support and resources. It is difficult to see a loved one suffering but with time and care your wife will be well again. Take care.

Bubblesbae profile image
Bubblesbae in reply to Lilybeth

Hello Lilybeth,

How sweet of you to continue to think of us. I am very delighted to get this message from you. I am sorry I have not been frequent here to give update.

We are still in the maintenance phase right now. We keep our psychiatrist, CBT and social worker appointments regularly. The drugs have been varied at intervals to reduce side effects. We are still on haloperidol, which I want the psychiatrist to knock off but he said he tried that previously when she was on admission but symptoms became more pronounced.

Generally speaking, we are holding fort but it is very challenging and can be extremely hard sometimes. We are considering relocating to the UK for her educational advancement and healthcare opportunities.

Thank you for reaching out. We really appreciate this.

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Bubblesbae

So good to hear from you too. No need to apologise about updates .... it’s only if and when you feel like it as you both must be busy attending the various appointments.

It is difficult weighing up side effects of medication and trying to find the right balance which will suit your wife’s needs. I agree, it can be very challenging at times but it’s good that together you are finding a way. I hope relocating to the UK might be an option for you both to consider as you look forward to opportunities ahead.

Thank you for writing. Best wishes to you, your wife and family. Take care.

Lilybeth profile image
LilybethVolunteer

Hello Bubblesbae

I hope your wife is making steady progress with the various support appointments in place. I think it is a challenge finding the right combination of medication to make a difference.

I hope the other support groups you found have also been helpful to you as it is upsetting to see your wife struggling. Take care.

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