relationship challenges: hi, I feel... - Action on Postpar...

Action on Postpartum Psychosis

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relationship challenges

Spaghetti profile image
8 Replies

hi, I feel like I have so much to say! I had PP / onset of postnatal bipolar in 2013 - so a long time ago, and I take a low dose of ariprazole (antipsychotic) atm. My illness has really damaged my relationship with my partner. Today he said I wouldn't be able to do Improv comedy (not that I've ever tried or would want to) because I take meditation and that stops the creative free-flow of my thoughts. I felt hurt. He pill shames me often and is very, very opposed to medication. But I've had 2 severe psychotic episodes and possibly a third and currently yes, I choose to take it.

At times he can be domineering, aggressive, and really look down on me as being a less intelligent, spontaneous, creative, sociable etc person - all due to meds. I think he may be right about some of the stuff, at points in the past, but to me it's a much more nuanced story to do with the effects of depression, stigma, loneliness, cognitive impact of illness, etc etc. I don't want to leave him - I wish we could wind back the clock to better times in our relationship. I try to set boundaries but he's dismissive of them. Thanks for reading 💚

8 Replies
KatG profile image

Hi Spaghetti

Thank you for sharing some of your story here, it’s really moving. I had my PP episode in late 2012, and subsequently diagnosed with bipolar. I had another “mini” psychotic episode a year and a half ago, but generally speaking I stay pretty well. I take a combination of Mirtazapine and quetiapine and don’t see that changing any time soon. Absolutely no shame in taking psychiatric medication, they can be life changers!

I’m so sorry you’re having these problems with your partner. He sounds quite bitter about things, and I wonder if there are some underlying things going on that he’s dealing with - by taking out his frustrations on you! It almost sounds like he is gas-lighting you with respect to your medication, when he should be well aware of the dangers of another psychotic episode.

Have you ever tried any form of relationship counselling? Or failing that some individual counselling for you both? You mention much happier times in the past, and it’s good to hold onto those memories - hopefully you can get back to that, but not at the expense of your self esteem and happiness! Nothing is worth that.

Do keep posting here if it helps - we are all here for you!

Best wishes


Ps I work for a mental health Recovery College and we run an Improvisation course alongside The Comedy School - so I can confidently say that your partner is totally wrong on that score! We get some very unwell service users come along to the course and absolutely blow us all away with how funny and creative they are!

NanaJudith_APP_Vol profile image

Hello Spaghetti,

Welcome to APP, you will find lots of support here from the wonderful brave Mums, all with similar but different experiences all without judgement. I am so very sorry that you are so low and unhappy and that you have a diagnosis of bipolar after having suffered the awful illness of Postpartum Psychosis. I did not suffer PP myself, my daughter did six years ago, she is better now. I am sorry, I have little knowledge of bipolar but I do know how devastating PP can be, how recovery can be up and down, take time and how it can take away your confidence and leave you feeling depressed. It is so important to surround yourself with loving, caring supportive family and friends if you can, I am sorry then that you do not seem to have that in your partner.

We all need people to be kind to us and you certainly should not be not put down for something that is absolutely not your fault. I wonder if you have a mental health team and whether you could speak to them together with your partner. Perhaps he needs educating about your illness and be reassured that you are doing your best to get better and that the tablets are part of that, or perhaps you could speak to your doctor. I also wonder if you have thought of marriage/partner counselling. Do confide in someone you can trust all that you have written here.

I hope that the replies you get here will help with all your feelings and leave you feeling less lonely, your post does not imply any lack of intelligence, you are not alone here. Please write any time if it helps. Sending a virtual hug.

Love and very best wishes

Judith x

EmiMum profile image

Hi Spaghetti,Welcome to the forum and thanks for sharing part of your story. I hope that just writing things down has offered you an opportunity to vent out.

I think you have it clear what is helping you at the moment and what is not, and it is important that you feel empowered to follow whatever treatment plan is helping you.

I had pp in 2018 and have a diagnosis of bipolar as well. I take antidepressant and anti psychotic medication for it and I am feeling better on the medication than without it, that's my personal experience. We are all unique in our own needs and our own chemistry.

I think as KatG and NanaJudith have said that your partner may benefit from seeing things from your perspective. Maybe some family therapy could be an avenue to explore?

Your post touched me as I do believe that in a partnership we should not be disrespected because we don't comply with the other person's belief system, and we should not feel coerced into compliance either.

Take really good care, write here whenever you feel like it

Jenny_at_APP profile image

Hello Spaghetti,

It’s nice to see you here :) I’m sorry to read of the reasons for posting though. It must be so hard to deal with the comments and behaviour you describe, I hope sharing here is helpful in expressing how it makes you feel. 

I agree with others that some kind of relationship counselling or family therapy may be good to look into, if it’s not an avenue you’ve tried. And I also agree that it might help for your partner to have a better understanding of what you’ve been through and are managing on a daily basis - in my eyes this shows you have enormous strength, you deserve support and compassion, not to be ‘shamed’ and looked down on :(

I hope you have support around you, trusted friends and family you can lean on? And I hope your partner has support around him too. I hope you can find ways to work through the issues causing what sounds like an upsetting dynamic where there should be mutual respect and understanding.

Do know we’re all here to listen, please write any time and take really good care.

Best wishes,

Jenny x

Spaghetti profile image

Hi! Spaghetti here - I wanted to thank all of you so, so much for your support and advice. I am weirdly over-tired at the moment and can't string two thoughts together to be able to reply properly - but I will in time. Thank you. Thanks so much xx

DM_110 profile image

Hi Spaghetti

I can relate to your experience. I had pp with my second child in 2021 and I saw the drastic change in my partner’s behavior. I could not recognize him and never knew how much of a monster he was until I hit this terrible illness.

When I was going through the episode, he never took me to the hospital or sought any medical attention for me. This delayed my treatment and made recovery longer. Mind you he is a physician and well aware of Pp. However he chose to keep me at home and told everyone that I was doing ok. He strengthened my delusions and enjoyed bossing over me during my pp. He explicitly admitted that he “enjoyed” that feeling of me being totally reliant on him when I had come back from the hospital. (Obviously in the state of Pp I was unable to properly function so I had to rely on him)

He knew very well about my weak emotional and mental state after returning from the hospital but he mistreated me severely. I did try marital therapy but it didn’t help at all. Anyhow, the end result after a year and half was divorce in my case. It’s during times of difficulty and illness that you truly know a person. I’m of course not saying that you might end up separating. However please don’t hesitate to be assertive and make sure your partner respects your boundaries. Just because you had a postpartum illness, doesn’t give him any right to look down on you or mistreat you. Like others have suggested, seek marital therapy if you deem it appropriate.

I hope things get better for you! The last thing you need during your recovery is more unnecessary stress. Take care and feel better!

Spaghetti profile image

Hi Kat, Judith, Emi, Jenny and DM

You are all wonderful, brilliantly supportive women - thank you. It feels so good to have your support and I think you're right to say that counselling would be helpful. We've talked about it many times but I think my husband doesn't really want to pay and also has the feeling/belief that "it would be pointless as all that needs to happen is for Spaghetti to come off the meds - anything else is just talk". I will keep chipping away at him though, maybe one day.....

Thank you again for your warm understanding


MotherOfBears profile image

I’m pleased you have had such kind, supportive, informative answers from the volunteers on here.

I would encourage you to really consider having your own counselling, whether your partner and you have counselling together or not. Everyone deserves love and kindness, not least when we have had health difficulties as traumatic as PPP. I think it is important for you to have someone to talk to about that. If you are in the UK you should be able to get some appointments on the NHS via your GP

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