Hello all, My question relates to how people have 'moved on' from their episodes of PP - is it ever a good idea to look back and remember?

I've quite recently been discharged from an MBU, after a 3 month episode of PP following the traumatic birth of my first child. I've been symptom free for approaching two months now, and feel truly blessed to have a happy and healthy son and my own health back. However I've not really come to terms with what happened - my memory of the psychosis is extremely patchy. I wonder what is best - to look forward with my husband and family and focus on the future, or to talk through what happened, what I did during my episodes, and try to get some sort of perspective on it. My husband I know found this site really useful when I was unwell, and I'd be really keen to hear other survivors' stories of moving on.

Thanks so much in advance.

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  • Hi KatG

    I am so sorry to hear of your very recent experience of PP after a traumatic birth. My gut feeling is that this is incredibly early days and if you are beginning to enjoy your little boy and feel pretty symptom-free then enjoy everyday life as much as you can just now! Don't feel guilty about just having time at home or 'out and about' with him that you missed in the early weeks in the MBU.

    We know from our recovery research that many mums (and indeed dads) do go through a process of revisiting their experiences, making sense of them, finding their own way to tell their story and this is tremendously healing but takes a lot of time. For many mums this process can take around 18-24 months. I'd say even now that I'm training NHS staff using some of 'my story' it's a revisiting process each time.

    For other people, however, their preference is to move on and not talk too much about what happened during the psychosis phase. It's a part of life which is over now, and their recovery focus is on building a new life, maybe taking on new challenges or getting back eventually in to work.

    Neither approach is best & you will probably find a mix which works best for you. Have you had a look at the Recovery Guide written from based on other mums' ideas?

    app-network.org/wp-content/...

    So glad to hear you are home and much better now

    N

  • Wow thanks for that Naomi that's all really useful, especially the Recovery Guide. Sounds like I might be better off focusing on the here and now for the moment at least. One good thing about having had PP is that I really really appreciate all the moments I have with my family, and how fortunate I am.

    Thanks again

  • Pleased to hear you are home with your family. I think you should to do what feels right for you and not force yourself to either forget or remember- you will know when and if the time comes to talk and share your experience. Being honest with yourself is probably the most important thing you can do for yourself and your new little one. Best wishes.

  • Hi KatG,

    Couldn't agree more with Naomi and it's such a personal journey; as a husband I found it hard to revisit anything for probably over 2 years and never thought I'd want to look back but then I wrote about the experience which didn't get finished for 5 years after it all, it helped me tremendously though but then I know others prefer to move on in different ways. It takes time but you'll find your own way which will work for you.

    Best wishes to you and family

  • Hi KatG,

    I totally agree with what everyone has said.

    I always feel it`s good to talk it through as and when you need to. As time has gone on I still find it helpful to talk about my experience of PP. I must admit I feel a little reluctant to talk to those very close to me because they have lived with me throughout it and i am conscious that they wont want me to talk about it. Having said that my Mum is always happy to let me talk and talk when I feel the need even though i had PP 18 years ago!

    There are times when I feel the need to get some perspective, I look forward to things more now and i try not to look back too much but it is important to think and talk about it to see how far we have moved forward.

    It`s great to hear you are symptom free and have got your health back and you can enjoy time with your little one.

    I have found talking and writing about my experience very helpful and makes me always remember how I took my health for granted and its helps to get some perspective.

    Hope all goes well for you all, look after yourself.

    Sarah :)

  • So glad to hear you are enjoying things now you are better.

    I had a period of about five weeks of psychosis followed by seven or eight months of severe post natal depression. I wrote about my experiences as a way to get them out of my head. My husband read early drafts and found it hard at times. We were then able to use this as an opportunity for him to talk about his experience of my illness and he told me some of the things I did that I don't remember. It was hard but I think helpful for him as he wasn't sure whether to tell me or not and this knowledge weighed heavily on him.

    Writing and talking about things has definitely made things better for me but I agree with the other answers that it is about doing what you feel is best for you and you family.

    My son is now 13 months and i enjoy looking after him so much more now. it is such a relief.

    I recently read through my book and it is amazing some of the things that happened to us. I'm so glad to be out the other side, though the experience has made me more resilient in some ways. The good news is that I have a publisher interested. If it does get published I'm hoping it will help raise awareness around ill mental health and having a baby, especially PPP.

    J

  • Hi KatG,

    As others have said, there's no right or wrong answer to this and it will probably evolve over time too. I also had a traumatic birth experience and emergency C-section that those involved thing could well have contributed to my episode of PP. Like you I also spent 3 months in hospital and remember the intense relief (and feeling of being quite daunted at times) when I did get home and could get on with my life and my new family.

    I probably think about or remember my PP every day, but not necessarily in a negative way. Through becoming involved in APP I have emails pinging in about this site, or something will be on the news, or a friend will talk about a recent baby etc etc... A very physical reminder for me was the input of the community team I had on discharge, through a CPN (which decreased over time) then consultant appointments. I was only discharged from that last autumn, and I was ill after the birth of my son in September 2009. I know that I was keen for the appointments to end as it felt like a reminder I could do without, although I do realise that it helped me move on and keep well. Taking medication was also a reminder and I am thankful that has stopped; I think it was also a psychological thing when my meds weren't reduced or stopped quicker, and I was anxious to prove that I was OK - I was symptom free pretty much by the time I got home and although I wasn't clinically depressed, I had a massive knock of confidence which took some time to come back.

    Talking has helped me, both on here, with professionals and family and friends. Again, I don't remember the first month or so of my illness; my husband has told me the odd anecdote which we can laugh about now (some really odd behaviour, throwing plates of food at people, anything else in reach really) but I know were really awful for him at the time. It's good that your husband has had access to this site; I know mine google-d PP and then stopped looking as the information was just too scarey at that point and it was too soon. I also talk to friends and family in varying degrees of detail, depending on how they accept it. I had some wider family problems and know that my relationship with some people has been damaged by my behaviour when ill, but I firmly see that as their problem, not mine - their behaviour wasn't great either. But I also talk to good friends and even friends I have met through toddler groups; early conversations such as "how was your baby born, which hospital, how were the early days" were just too difficult to skip over, so I took a deep breath and educated them about PP! I have to say I've had nothing but positive experiences of this approach, but it's probably now for everyone. I think the lack of awareness out there is a massive problem and in my experience, people have been interested to know and that's a plus for me.

    I look forward to every day now though. Clichéd but true, that the little things mean more and I've found I've gained some really valuable perspective on life in general after my PP. Some things really don't matter and I find myself thankful for so much. I hope you find the best way for you and some valuable info and shared experiences on here too. Take care.

  • Wow, thanks to all for the replies, it is just so heartening to hear your stories of recovery. It's a tricky one, deciding whether or not to open up to people about PP. Psychosis is still such a scary word! But maybe that is all the more reason to talk about it openly and break down the stigma...

    Thanks again,

    Kat

    Ps, I think I'm Mrs TVR... Thanks too from the bottom of my heart for all the advice and support you gave my husband during some really tough months.

  • Hi Kat (Mrs Tvr :-)

    Really good to hear you're out and doing well & best wishes to Mr Tvr & little Tvr.

  • cause of a tranatic birth and baby needing life suppot (shes fanadtic now) and mental health issues after social service tryed to take long story but i have made some fanadtic friends thougth it and i cherissh every moment i have while she still little it an experianve u had and has made u who u are now stronger as a person i alwayss find turning an unpleasant or negative experiance into a postive weathet that b volintre work wiv this type illness or somthing along these lines my advice would b is enjoy the moment now

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