Sarah Short Circuit

Heal, Nourish, Nurture

Category: Enlighten (page 1 of 4)

Nina’s Story

Having had no previous mental health issues she was diagnosed with Postpartum Psychosis 8 days after Heidi’s birth and was sectioned under the mental health act. Nina agreed to be interviewed for this blog to tell her story of Postpartum Psychosis illness and recovery, and to raise awareness.

I was tired and in pain. I was feeling overwhelmed, vulnerable and wrecked. I was looking at the other new Mums they looked so happy, they had their little angels whereas I felt on edge, permanently. I was so upset but nobody asked me how I was feeling or coping.

The postnatal Midwife was less able to detect how ill I was because she didn’t know me.

I listened to music and made myself go out of the house. My memory was still poor though, I couldn’t remember what I had done the previous day so I started to take photographs.

If my mental health had been discussed more in general and if I had been told of the warning signs of postpartum psychosis in the antenatal or early postnatal period we may have been able to notice the signs earlier.

Source: Postpartum Psychosis -Nina’s Story – Birthing Mamas Blog

Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

A Mom’s Story : Postpartum Psychosis Amanda Taylor’s Story

For my fourth episode I sat down with my friend Amanda Taylor to discuss her journey through postpartum psychosis, depression and anxiety. Amanda shares her vulnerable story with such bravery and authenticity. Her goal in sharing her story is to bring awareness to postpartum illnesses and help other moms know that they aren’t alone if they are dealing with any of these illnesses. We also talk about how you can help someone you know who might be experiencing a postpartum illness. I hope you have a better understanding of these illnesses after this episode.

Pregnant with my fourth baby…felt like another routine pregnancy, my health was great, everything was good, there no reason for anything to go off track

All seemed normal, things just got progressively with worse just mentally with me. From my perspective everything was great, I thought life as so great, I was overly joyful, everything was amazing. My husband took me to the emergency room 12 days after birth because he knew things were just not right… I left with the diagnosis of postpartum psychosis.

Dealing with all of the postpartum, I was 100% not myself

Remember thinking everything made perfect sense. It’s a bizarre state of mind, it’s not healthy, rational or real.

It was the most painful moment as the police officer escorted me and then my husband walked the opposite direction to go home and I was all by myself.

I think of hard it was but how much good was in that

I was at the lowest point in my life when I could do nothing…we can’t do any of our struggles, it may not be postpartum psychosis but whatever the struggle is, we can’t do it alone and we got to have people around us, fighting with us and for us and alongside us

Coming up on the one year anniversary and I still didn’t feel like Amanda at all, I didn’t know who I was, I didn’t feel normal…I needed more help in where I was at the time

There’s a lot of times our counsellor said this is the perfect grounds for divorce, it’s too hard for anyone to walk through so its easy to say I’m done… and my husband never took that approach, what an opportunity I get to fight for my wife and kids

Source: A Mom’s Story : Postpartum Psychosis Amanda Taylor’s Story [Ep 004]

Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

Your Loved One’s Life May Depend on You Watching This Film

When the Bough Breaks, a documentary film on postpartum depression tells some stories we ALL need to hear—and share.

When The Bough Breaks is available to stream NOW on Netflix as well as Itunes!

The reason I think we ALL need to sit down and watch this documentary is that we ALL need to be aware of the RISK factors for postpartum depression and psychosis, so that we can look for these in ourselves as we continue to grow our families, and in any loved ones who are new moms.

Ensure you watch this documentary when you are feeling mentally strong and better to watch with someone by your side.

Source: Your Loved One’s Life May Depend on You Watching This Film On Postpartum Depression

 Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

You might have heard of postpartum depression

You might have heard of postpartum depression, but what about postpartum psychosis?

It’s a condition that affects 1 in 500 new mothers within the first two weeks of delivery, and symptoms include paranoia, hallucinations and delusions.

23 April at 13:14

You might have heard of postpartum depression, but what about postpartum psychosis?It's a condition that affects 1 in 500 new mothers within the first two weeks of delivery, and symptoms include paranoia, hallucinations and delusions.

Posted by ABC News on Saturday, 22 April 2017

 

Great to see ABC News raising awareness of postpartum psychosis in the Australia community! This short clip has been viewed over 45K, which is incredible!

 

Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

 

Full recovery is possible

My story of postpartum psychosis has been published in The Guardian today alongside some great new research! I am so proud of the mother I have become and proud to be a PANDA Community Champion raising awareness of postpartum psychosis in our community.

“People can mistakenly describe what women like me go through as ‘baby blues’ or ‘depression’, but I was definitely not depressed,” West says.

West received treatment after a friend told her she was not behaving like her usual self and called the National Perinatal Anxiety and Depression Helpline [Panda]. They advised that West should be taken to hospital immediately for psychiatric care, and West is now a strong advocate for the helpline.

“I have to speak up because I don’t like the thought of other families going through what we did. This has to change and to do that we need better recognition of the condition.”

Source: Postpartum psychosis: research reveals full recovery possible within weeks | Life and style | The Guardian

 

Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

Mum ‘intentionally’ drowns baby

The mother of a baby girl who drowned in a bathtub has pleaded not guilty to murder, on the grounds she was suffering a mental illness at the time, but guilty to manslaughter.

Source: Mother of baby girl who drowned in bathtub pleads guilty to manslaughter

Additional source:  Mum ‘intentionally’ drowns baby over mistaken fears she had dwarfism

Another mother who did not receive the support she needed, though the article does not specifically refer to the mental illness as postpartum psychosis. It highlights the importance of having support around you as a new mum, with no mention of a husband or family only friends who were ‘fed up’ with her obsessions.

Soon after the girl was born in April 2010, the mother had begun worrying obsessively that her daughter had genetic abnormalities.

This mum was in North Strathfield, only about 10 minutes away from NSW’s only Mother Baby Unit, though it’s private. It highlights the lack of support in the NSW health system yet in the same week Queensland Health announce the first public Mother Baby Unit and the week before Bendigo, Victoria announced its new public Mother Baby Unit. How many other mothers have to reach this stage and how many more deaths have to occur before the NSW government recognises perinatal mental health and the importance of early intervention. #ActNowNSWPublicMBU

“This is an important step forward because we know that intervention during the perinatal period is critical to improving the health of mothers and their ability to care for their baby.

– Queensland Health

Every year, PANDA helps thousands of Australian families affected by perinatal anxiety and depression. We believe it’s a journey no one should go through alone. Know the signs and seek help early. PANDA National Helpline 1300 729 360 panda.org.au

Postpartum and the Thyroid

Listening to Dr Kelly Brogan on the Thyroid Sessions back in 2014 was the first realisation that my thyroid may be a piece of my postpartum psychosis puzzle. Dr Kelly discussed the triangle of psychiatric symptoms, gluten intolerance and thyroid dysfunction and this was the first time I heard a medical doctor discuss postpartum psychosis directly. Women with first episode postpartum psychosis were 19% positive for thyroid antibodies and within 9 months 67% had a higher risk to develop autoimmune hypothyroidism (1). Dr Kelly discussed how postpartum thyroid symptoms can be easily attributed to being a new mum, such as lead limbs, feeling fatigued, super forgetful, mentally disorganised which at 9 months postpartum could be symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease or postpartum thyroiditis. Postpartum issues lead straight to psychiatry, no acknowledgement of the female hormones, not even a test for thyroid function. Dr Kelly says that psychiatric symptoms are usually endocrine related: thyroid or adrenal or blood sugar regulation with insulin or leptin or your sex hormones progesterone or oestrogen. Also, zinc, selenium, magnesium and iodine are key nutrients in thyroid function. To find out more about these psychiatric pretenders I recommend reading A Mind of Your Own.

Typically when you go to your General Practitioner, the thyroid test is limited to blood test TSH, which is a pituitary hormone measure, an indirect measure of thyroid function. To get the full picture of your thyroid free thyroid levels T3 and T4, reverse T3 and thyroid autoantibodies. My GP was reluctant to do further tests as my TSH came back ‘normal’ until I showed him a copy of the research paper (1). Remember there is not one size fits all, you may have symptoms even being in the ‘normal’ range.

The Thyroid Secret is on now and I am looking forward to tuning in to Episode 7: Motherhood Interrupted to discover more about the role of thyroid in the postpartum period (starts on Wednesday 8 March 10am Sydney time).

PS: My test results including my thyroid antibodies came back all good and my GP has noted on my file to check and monitor my thyroid function  if and when I fall pregnant.

References

1. Prevalence of autoimmune thyroid dysfunction in postpartum psychosis. The British Journal of Psychiatry Mar 2011, 198 (4) 264-268

Further Reading

 

Pharmacological Lactation Suppression

Contemporary models of severe psychotic forms of mental illness assume it is triggered by dysregulation of dopamine, i.e. chemical imbalance, arising from adverse interaction of predisposing risk genes and environmental factors. All successful antipsychotic agents have the ability to act as a D2 receptor antagonist (dopamine inhibitor), raising the question as to whether those with have or at risk of psychosis are susceptible to onset or exacerbation of psychosis when prescribed D2 agonists (dopamine activator).

Early postnatal period is a time of high risk for psychosis. The underlying pathophysiological mechanisms of postpartum psychosis are poor understood.

FDA recommends against the practice of prescribing D2 agonists (activator) due to longstanding evidence about cardiovascular disease and neurological risks.

Pharmacological Lactation Suppression with D2 Receptor Agonists and Risk of Postpartum Psychosis – Dr Josephine Power, International Marce Society Conference 2016.

Reference

Snellen et al. 2016. Pharmacological lactation suppression with D2 receptor agonists and risk of postpartum psychosis: A systematic review.

Transmission of Trauma

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the long lasting effects of stress. In the flight/fight response to a threat, the sympathetic nervous system is activated, adrenaline is released to cope with the stress, then cortisol is released to stop the stress response and breaks down when the threat is removed. In PTSD the cortisol levels are lower, which are a reflection of a greater dysregulation of the HPA axis, including circadian rhythm alteration, glucocorticoid receptivity and alterations in cortisol metabolism.

In trauma survivors the stress responsive can be a transformative experience. The offspring of trauma survivors, such as the Holocaust, were also more likely to experience anxiety and depression and have lower levels of cortisol associated with child adversity.

Offspring make their own changes – is this transmission or accommodation? Developmentally programmed changes allow more flexible responding but may be a mismatch for the offspring.

Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma – Epigenetic mechanisms, the in Utero Environment and Early Attachment – Dr Rachel Yehuda, International Marce Society Conference 2016.

Further reading

Yehuda & Le Doux 2007. Response variation following trauma: a translational neuroscience approach to understanding PTSD.

Yehuda & Bierer 2008. Transgenerational transmission of cortisol and PTSD risk.

Prenatal stress

A mother’s emotional state while pregnant has long lasting effects with cultural, environmental and biological differences. Foetal programming has different sensitive periods and our environment starts in the womb. Sensitive early mothering helps attachment, and can counteract some of what happens in the womb.

It is not just toxic stress that is associated with changes in development and behaviour. Prenatal stress can be pregnancy specific anxiety, maternal mental health and daily hassles. The associated risks in children are that they are more likely to have anxiety and depression, increased aggression, impaired cognitive development, sleep problems, temperament issues. There are risks of physical changes including low birth weight, preterm delivery, decreased telomere length (impacts longevity), decreased immune function and altered microbiome. Some are more affected than others due to the gene-environment interactions, for example, the more depressed, more methylation, more epigenetic changes. 

Just think of the impact globally stress may be having on the next generations. For more info check out http://www.beginbeforebirth.org/

Effects of prenatal anxiety, depression and stress on the child: global implications – Professor Vivette Glover, International Marce Society Conference 2016.

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