Sleepissues: I had my second baby in... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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Katiesmum82 profile image

I had my second baby in December 2021. After a long stay in hospital I couldn’t sleep on my first night home and have struggled to sleep since. In the early days I had severe anxiety, it was like physical panic. I have the most awful chest pain. On the 28th January I had a psychotic episode after not being able to sleep for 5 days. I began getting bad intrusive suicidal thoughts and my brain just wouldn’t stop. I also had songs in my head which I still suffer with. I have severe issues with sleep. I can’t sleep naturally and take olazipene every night. The reason I don’t sleep is I have no need for it. My brain is racing 24/7 I’m terrified to go to my bed at night incase I don’t sleep. I’m never tired, like never!!!!! I wake up in the morning and feel like I could run a marathon. I just feel like this is never ending and I’m never going to get better. Has anyone else experience this and came out the other side?


11 Replies
EmiMum profile image

Hi Katiesmum82,

Welcome to the forum and congratulations on your daughter! I am sorry to hear that you have been struggling with sleep and racing thoughts and that you had a psychotic episode in January this year.

I was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis in 2018 after the birth of my eldest daughter. It is quite terrifying and traumatic, and at the same time a very recoverable illness. The many mums on this forum are proof that you can come back from it and go on to live a full life.

I also took olanzapine in 2018 and 2019 for a year and some months and it did help a lot with my sleep as I was not able to fall asleep naturally either. I was an impatient for 3 months first in an acute psychiatric ward and then in a mother and baby unit. I am wondering were you treated at home or have you been to an mbu? It sounds as if it may be a good idea to check up with the mental health team following you about your racing thoughts and how you are feeling perhaps more wired up and not able to switch off. For me I had a setback while at the mbu when my paranoia and intrusive thoughts came back in full force and it was due to coming off the medication too fast.

I can assure you that things will definitrly get better, this is not at all a forever situation and you will come back to yourself.

Take good care and reach out for help because it is out there for all of us.

Katiesmum82 profile image
Katiesmum82 in reply to EmiMum

Thank you, I was treated at home. This week has been particularly bad and I’m concerned I am becoming reliant on Zoplicone with us a sleeping tablet. The chatter in my head is non stop and I’m not tired when I go to bed which makes it very hard for me to drift off straight away. It takes me s wee bout an hour to fall asleep.

Just struggling to see light at the end of the tunnel just now.

EmiMum profile image
EmiMumVolunteer in reply to Katiesmum82

Hi Katiesmum82,

I would try and ask for a review of medication as it feels like you could do with some help to manage your racing thoughts and help you sleep better. I found zoplicone did not suit me, I was still waking up in the middle of the night and had quite some headaches the following day. I hope you are able to get through your team very soon and you can find a dosage and medication that works for you.

Are you also receiving some form of therapy at the moment? Is this something that could be offered by the team looking after you?

Take really good care, things can get better for sure, will be thinking of you

Katiesmum82 profile image
Katiesmum82 in reply to EmiMum

Thank you so much. I was doing therapy, however I have stopped it as I didn’t think I needed it as much. The main thing I fixate over is sleep. Can I ask how long it took you to recover? Thanks xxx

EmiMum profile image
EmiMumVolunteer in reply to Katiesmum82

Hi Katiesmum82,

I hope last night was better in comparisson. How are you feeling thia morning?

I think my recovery was in 2 parts, I stopped having symptoms of psychosis after a couple of months but then my recovery from the trauma that pp was took me much longer, a year and some months. It was also a huge period of adjustement as I had it with my first baby and the transition to motherhood is already a whirlwind not even taking pp into account.

Regarding sleep there were a few things I tried that worked with some measure of success, I kept a winding down routine before bed I will drink my nightime tea and put some classical music on for 15 mins. Deep muscle relaxation or meditation clips in youtube were also very useful. I am sorry if you have tried these things and I just preaching to the choir.

I think it may be useful to raise your current struggles to the team looking after you so that they are aware. You deserve to be feeling better and not dreading the nights.

Take really good care, will be thinking of you

Fatimahg profile image
Fatimahg in reply to Katiesmum82

Zoplicone is a bad idea in the longer term. It produces rebound insomnia after only a few days of use. It also messes with REM sleep and could possibly make psychosis worse. Rebound anxiety is also a problem. Recent evidence has shown it likely to be addictive. Be aware that when you stop taking this drug, PP may worsen. I would keep any support structure close to you during this period. Olanzapine withdrawal is also potentially problematic, but not like Zoplicone. Does olanzapine help you sleep at all? Wishing you all the best!

Olazipene does help me to sleep, I just take the zoplicone incase I need it. I don’t take it every night. I’m meeting the mental heath nurse tomorrow. Could I ask for an alternative? Thanks for getting back to me xxx

Dear Katiesmum82, occasional use of zoplicone might be appropriate. But using it often can be a problem. More than three nights in a row is not good! Hoping for the best for you!

Katiesmum82 profile image
Katiesmum82 in reply to Fatimahg

Thank you. I’m meeting the mental health team today so hopefully they can offer some support with different medication x

Hi Katiesmum82,

I'm sorry you're struggling with sleep after experiencing pp. I think it's something a lot of us have struggled with at different points - how to stop our mind from thinking / racing.

I actually had a bout of struggling with insomnia recently, and saw it as my body being in quite a 'high alert' / stressed state, and that I needed to very consciously think of ways to bring my body down. Perhaps this is the case for you, having been through everything you have, going through PP is a huge stress.

I have managed, for the moment!, to get my sleep back on track. I can really relate to dreading going to sleep, and worrying you won't sleep, which is a vicious cycle, and something I struggled with too. Some of the things that helped me:

A good, calming bedtime routine: night time tea, no screens for the last hour before bed, reading or doing something else relaxing (like colouring / doodling), a hot bath... I've incorporated these into my bedtime routine and I found that has helped to relax my mind.

Exercising in the day, to wear myself out physically for the evening. I found late afternoon / early evening was good for this. I have a cross trainer I try to go on.

Something my therapist suggested that I found really helpful: lay down in bed, and first imagine a protective figure - it can be an animal, a character from a film, religious if that's your thing. Say - I'm handing over everything I'm holding at the moment to you to look after overnight so I can rest and I'll take it back in the morning.

Then lie down, close your eyes, and start naming everything you are thankful for, very specifically. It can be big things like people in your life, or really small things you experienced that day such as lovely weather, or a flower etc.

I found that this helped to put me in a relaxed state that helped me to fall asleep.

Some nights I did take medication to help, but tried to take a herbal / natural one, rather than chemical, which I found also helped relax me.

I do hope it does get better, and you can find ways to switch off, and relax.

Ellie X

Hi Katiesmum82,

I was just wondering how you've been and how you got on with seeing the mental health team last week?

I do hope they were able to make some helpful suggestions and that you're doing ok.

Best wishes,

Jenny x

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