Life is so precious, it can be lost in an instant. Many people to not associate death with depression, it is often just thought of as sadness and moping. While death is not always associated with depression, it most certainly can be. It’s often called murder, or suicide.
I read an article this morning about a woman who killed her two young children, ages three and five, and then attempted to kill herself. So far she was unsuccessful in her suicide attempt, but authorities are unsure if she will survive. Here is the link to the article: Mother Kills 2 Children, Shoots Herself.
As a woman and a mother who has survived postpartum, and is fighting depression, I can’t help but feel for her. I obviously do not know if she was depressed, so maybe I am just making up excuses for her. However, with what I do know, I can’t help but let my mind jump to that conclusion. A woman kills her two young children, and then tries to kill herself just screams, to me anyway, depression. My own experiences with dark thoughts towards myself and my daughter might be clouding my head with assumptions on this, but my heart is screaming.
I do not condone such actions. Killing your children, and attempting suicide is wrong. With that said, my heart feels for this woman. I have had my share of dark thoughts towards my daughter, so I understand how overwhelming and strong they can be. I have had my share of dark thoughts towards myself, and I again understand how overwhelming and strong they can be. I was able to stop myself, able to snap out of it. This woman was not able to, and now this world has lost two young souls, and possibly a third.
There are so many questions running through my head. Had she sought out treatment? Did she have the means to seek treatment? Did she feel shame and hatred towards herself for feeling this way, which in turn prevented her from seeking treatment? Did anyone else know how she was feeling? Could this have been prevented?
There have been a few women in the news because of similar actions. Andrea Yates is the first to come to mind. She had suffered from postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis. She drowned her five children in the family bathtub. Horribly tragic crime, but I understand. I understand the dark thoughts, and how they can overtake you. Everything feels so real and normal, like the pain and the thoughts are just something you think of every day. You just kind of slip into a trance of sorts. Mine never lasted longer than a couple of minutes, if that long, but they are very powerful. I can see how a woman who suffers from a more severe form of postpartum depression can fall into that trance a lot longer than I did. That longer trance might have been the difference between myself, and them.
I used to cringe at these kinds of stories, spew anger and hatred towards these women. How could someone, especially a mother, kill her children?! I am still angry. Angry that the mother did this, and also angry that it could have been prevented. Postpartum depression, and depression in general, is not something to be taken lightly. There needs to be more resources available for those less fortunate. There needs to be more awareness of the signs and symptoms. There needs to be more conversation about the stigma surrounding depression. Women need to know they can feel normal again, that they do not have to suffer in silence. The pain can be taken away, but in a healthy way so that you can still live the life you’re meant to live!
I wish I could have helped that woman. I wish somebody could have helped that woman. She was most definitely not alone in her illness. Not only did she NEED to know that, but the rest of the world NEEDS to know that. Typically, I have found after a story like this that people get angry that the defense uses depression as an excuse, and sometimes it may not be the case. Sometimes the defense can abuse that excuse, which may be why the public doesn’t believe it. Maybe, though, the public does not believe it because they do not understand the excuse. Many people who have never experienced depression in any form will not understand what it feels like, what a person who does is thinking. There needs to be more awareness. This is an illness, and it can be treated. It’s not something to roll your eyes at. It’s not something to brush off, like the person is just crazy, or like it’s all in their head. It is in their head, but it’s not something that can be fixed with a smile and a happy thought.
If you’re reading this, and you suffer from postpartum depression, seek help. Please seek help. Seek help from the proper type of doctors, like a therapist. Not only will they not judge you, but they will help you. Your life, and the lives of your children, are worth it. This pain can be eased, and taken away. PPD can be treated, and you can feel normal again.
You are not alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
*This article is my opinion. It’s not meant as a diagnosis, or a defense. I just thought that should be stated.