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Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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If you're recovering from PP, should you read other people's blogs?

Do you find it helpful to read other people's stories? At what stage of PP is it best to read them? Do you find them upsetting & can they trigger you? Do partners, family & friends find them useful?

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I think it'd be a good idea to include a warning at the start of each one if it contains anything graphic or possibly upsetting. It could be something along the lines of this:

"If you are feeling fragile or vulnerable, please read this with caution. It contains detailed content that may be better to read once you have recovered".

What does everyone else think?

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I think that is a really sensible idea HKPhooey. Whilst in the middle of a psychosis or in the months just after, I would have found it hard to read or listen to graphic details from other people. I think it would have been a trigger for me, and I may even have taken on other people's negative thoughts as my own if that makes sense. So a *warning* would definitely help people. Also, even years later, it can be difficult to read detailed stories of PP as it could trigger flashbacks or nightmares - that has happened to me. We just have to get the right balance and make sure that if we do start to feel wobbly afterwards that we give ourselves space and a good dose of tlc. Always be kind to ourselves!

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I agree with HKPhooey too. I personally find reading them now I am well beneficial and helpful, but I know that in a few weeks as I approach birth again I will be giving sites like this a wide birth as I need to concentrate on myself and I do find sometimes that I take on other peoples problems and worry for them. I think everybody has to take responsibility for themselves, but think when I was ill that family may have found sites like this useful, hopefully they won't need the information this time round.

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Hi Hel212000, that sounds sensible staying clear form the sites when you're pregnant too, good point! Yes, you're right about taking on other people's worries, it's easily done when we care so much. Also taking responsibility for ourselves, it's important to know when to switch off & walk away & as HopeafterPP says, 'Always be kind to ourselves!' I need to update my story, (I missed lots of important bits out!), so I'll add the warning at the top when I do :-)

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Yes i agree with you all to keep well away frm negative people and sites as we tend to take on their problems too! We must just concentrate ongetting ourselves well to be able to function properly and be able to then look after our little loved ones! My sisters were brilliant when i suffered with PP and always made me feel brilliant! My Mum who is and always was negative used to come and so call help me but used to put negtive thoughts in my head that the babys feet were cold etc ,this made me think i was not a goo mum an if i had relised at the time that negativepeople visiting us would make us negative too i would hav banned her from visiting me ! I kno it sounds awful as she is m mum but i have always tried to be a postive person with my 2 boys and altho they came from a broken home it just shows that aslog as you can kep positive yourself then it reflects on them and i must say im a very very well extremely proud Mummy to my sons!!! Keep nice positive thoughts in your mind and if your not sure about something then get advie from someone you trust and IS POSITIVE!!!! Hope my exprience will help anyone! Kind regards Lavender123 x P.S didnt realise i could write so much lol!! Its like an essay! lol!!

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I agree Lavender123, even when you're well I find it's always best to surround yourself with good people - family & friends that have your best interests at heart, are positive & are there when you need them. x

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I agree with all of you. It is very important to have a warning sign at the start of each post. To ensure people are aware that the content of the post could be upsetting. Even after recovery we should be mindful to look after ourselves and take time out if needed. x

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I agree too, and would also add that I feel its important to try answer the questions asked.

I personally am finding it helpful to read other people's stories and answers.

It is all to easy for me to remember how I felt when thinking back to when I was ill 27 years ago - writing my thoughts into helpful answers, is not quite so straightforward As a peer support network, I know we can help each other to be just that and I hope too that further understanding of PP for those suffering, or recovering from the illness, and their partners and families will come from our thinking together.

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Catherine, Those are my thoughts exactly. Hoping to raise the profile and awareness of PP so others have a greater understanding and how to support women and their families.

When you were poorly 27 years ago, were you lucky enough to go to an MBU? x

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No, louloubexs, I was sectioned in a general psychiatric ward where they had two rooms with a small separate area which was designed for you to keep your baby with you. However there were men and women in separate rooms across the corridor, and a mixed ward next door too. There was another mother in the room next to me, however she was French and neither of us were able to communicate easily together! She left soon after I arrived.

Having no experience of mentaI illness beforehand, I think if someone had taken the time to explain to me what they thought I was suffering from in a way I could understand, and if I had been asked if I would like to talk to a mother who had recovered from PP, I would have found that very re assuring.

I hope things are different now in our hospitals.

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Hi Catharine, I would like to say it has changed, but sadly I don't think things have moved forward enough. I like yourself spent time in a mixed psychiatric ward where I spent 4 days separated from my son.

Not one person tried to explain what was going on. There were obs panels on the doors, so anyone could look through when you were getting change, it's the one thing that still makes me feel sick. That place scared the life out of me, and the staff weren't very helpful.

I was very blessed and manged to get a place in an mbu in Eastbourne where I spent just over 3 months.

Like you, there just wasn't anyone to talk to, and it was about 18 months later, I meet another lady who had recovered from PP, who gave me hope.

xx

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I have to say I'm finding all the suff on here really useful. But I'm nearly 3 years on and I don't think it'd've helped me in the early days. But I think this peer support is really useful and informative, thanks to all for sharing.

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I am going through a stage of a trigger after 23 years suffer ppl and find the stories upsetting at the moment as it brings back flashbacks and triggers that I am not ready for so am just taking it easy just a little at the time. Am going to seek guidence from my gp as think it could push me either way, but I think it will also be beneficial with time, enabling me to process what happened and come to a better understanding. Back in the day there was less understanding and you really just got to function to be to care for yourself and baby, but not the mental side to understand and process, even though they knew the mental hospital seperated from baby has done a lot of different..it seems a lot better now with support and help and encouraging talking about it...I think warnings on content is a good idea, plus you can find what would be relevant to your experience so can go easy, with small steps.

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Thanks so much for replying to this thread guinea1. As you say, it's so important to take care when accessing this forum, or any of APP's content where people share experience. It is hard isn't it, to get the balance of not reading things that can trigger your own painful memories, but at the same time by sharing with others, and hearing others experience, you don't feel so alone, and may help us come to terms with what happened.

I did want to say that if you live in the UK we do offer one to one peer support too, with one of our peer support volunteers, which could be helpful if you are finding accessing the general forum too triggering at times, and that it would be more helpful just to share experience with one person.

Take care,

Ellie

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Thank you Ellie, I will have a think about what you have suggested, thing is what troubles me, most isn't so much being I'll, but the way I was treated in the psychiatric hospital, they had no idea what my needs were for a new mother, I was sedated for 3 days and was left with a maternity pad on for that time maybe longer, they didn't like me walking about at night..I was terrified of everyone and used to cower in the corner with them trying to get me to change my bed, an angry patient ripped a door off its hinges, phones ringing still remind me of the place.and came out worse than when I went in, as was then terrified of my baby and felt suicidal though I told none through fear of going back there. I cant accept this was done to me and locked it away for all these years, like a hot oven that burnt if I touch it.. this and coming to terms with PP is pretty hard going at the moment...by the time I got to MBU I had given up, but the were wonderful..it was at Eastborne and we were one of the first mother and babies to go there and they went on to make 8 more beds available and it really got me well.

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I am so sorry for your experience guinea1. I share my compassion! Recovery is such a different path, when you have not had the experience of an MBU.

I very much can relate to you as I have been in a mixed gender Psychiatric unit for 39 days and without my baby, & spending most of the time in isolation and experiencing "unreasonable behaviour" by members of staff, but also other patients. I have had no gynaecological support. This still has happened in England in 2010...

I hope you have a support network and a toolkit in order to manage your set backs. I can recommend one to one with APP. It helped me tremendously in 2015/16...

Look after yourself x

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Thank you Jasa, i am so sorry you have suffered in the same way as me, makes me very sad....I haven't got a toolbox in place yet, am trying mindfulness at the moment, but my gp and I are working on it until other help is available, seeing him today and we have regular appointments and if I need him he will phone me if needed..think one to one would be a good bet...I hope with my experience I will be able to make a change for future mums and babies and their families as none should have to enjour a psychiatric hospital ward away from baby...this needs specialist care.i not sure how to and have to look after myself first..but helping other is an am and will aid in my recovery..we are treated like this and none has ever apologised for what happened and you feel it was your fault, but I know different now and have found this place..will chat with my doctor and see how to go on.

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Hello guinea1,

thank you for sharing your thoughts.

My way of coping strategy is trying to live in the moment.

3 years after PPP I lost my dad after 2 months of suffering (a bike accident) and then my mum in law. My recovery was much slower, because of pain and grief including the traumatising experience in hospital.

I have no regrets in what has happened, even the horrific time in hospital. I could have traced back all the scenarios through legal processes.

In order to improve my health it was better to keep the lid on and let go.

My purpose has been of much greater importance than anything else in life; which is my big and little man, the most important people in my life.

My experiences have helped me to be who I am now and despite my chronical condition with all the ups and downs I lead a much happier life than I ever used to in my previous life, which was before PPP.

Wishing you peace and hope you find your path of therapeutic recovery!

x

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Dear guinea1

It is heartbreaking to hear that you have experienced what you did, really awful. I am not surprised you are still trying to come to terms with everything that happened, and still suffering some side effects... I hope on here you will find some mutual support and sharing experiences, which can help heal some wounds...

I'm so glad you did get that MBU support eventually... and do you know I was at Eastbourne too, in 2011... they were wonderful...

I got almost perfect professional support, going to the MBU straight away, and as others shared experience below shows, it has such a huge detrimental and traumatising affect to be in a general psychiatric ward... but despite getting the perfect professional support I still found experiencing PP really traumatising and it took nearly 2 years to recover...

I'm thinking of you, I hope you can find all the support and 'tool box' you need to help you with all your awful memories.... you are an amazing strong woman, to have been through everything you did...

Ellie X

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Hello Andrea,

it was lovely to finally put a face to a name at the APP gathering and meeting you, Andrea!

With regards to your question, I believe in the first year I was unable to manage myself and could not read or write for a long time.

My partner and I truly suffered, because of the treatment we received...APP was just in its founding stages in 2010 and my path of recovery has been an ongoing battle for many years. I would not have been able to follow the stories of other ladies on this forum. However, I probably could have benefited with the one to one support probably 2 years into my recovery.

I am convinced that APP, and specifically two ladies both with the same name :-) actually helped me to swim again...one of the reasons why I wanted to manage the APP meeting so desperately in order to meet one of the ladies in person...just to hug and thank her for healing some of my deep wounds...

… in fact I can not thank Jess Heron enough for creating APP, something so special-and literally helping me to breath again (anxiety and panic attacks) and to get more sleep at night...there is no room in my house without canvases, because I just kept on painting every night and each night...cycling at night was too dangerous...I do not have to paint that much anymore since I have become a volunteer for APP :-)

Wishing you and all the APP members a very merry Christmas.

x

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