Thirty-six years ago I had a postpartum psychosis. After delivering a premature baby and being sleep-deprived for almost two weeks, I was definitely out of touch with reality, and definitely had a postpartum psychosis. That diagnosis was correct.
But when I became unstable a few months later, due to additional family stress, I was diagnosed as being bipolar and told that I needed to be on lithium for the rest of my life. It just didn’t make sense. I had been so happy and normal before this horrendous experience. And I had experienced no issues with my first child. The psychosis was with my second childbirth.
I rejected the diagnosis and stopped seeing my psychiatrist. I’m not recommending this course of action to anyone. Luckily I gradually became stable and have remained stable for thirty-six years. I’ve written a novel “Back In Six Weeks” about my experience. The effort has led me to connect with a lot of other women who have experienced postpartum psychosis. I’ve connected with one other mom, who like me was diagnosed as bipolar and rejected that diagnosis. I’m curious if there are other moms out there with a similar experience.
I’ve connected with one other mom, who like me was diagnosed as bipolar and rejected that diagnosis. I’m curious if there are other moms out there with a similar experience. I’m also concerned that various public websites equate postpartum psychosis with bipolar disorder. Research shows that the majority of women who experience a postpartum psychosis are bipolar, but that does not justify branding them all as bipolar. I’ve also heard from women who are bipolar and have been misdiagnosed as having a postpartum psychosis.
Postpartum psychosis is a medical emergency, and demands immediate treatment. There was an excellent research study in the Netherlands that addresses treatment options. “Treatment of Psychosis and Mania in the Postpartum Period.” This study provides for initial treatment to restore sleep. I believe that had I received this treatment, my psychosis would have resolved much sooner. It also recommends that women who are stable after nine months are weaned off of medication.
With an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment, most moms can go on to completely recover. What’s your experience?