I'm heartbroken this morning to learn that the woman driving the car in Washington DC who was shot to death by Capitol police after running over a member of the Secret Service and driving erratically in the mall area suffered from postpartum depression.
Actually, chances are that she suffered from postpartum psychosis, which is a different disorder, but since I'm not a shrink and I've never met the woman, I'll refrain from diagnosing her myself.
What kills me is that PPD and PPP are known disorders with effective treatments available, and yet so many women suffer in shame and silence.
I know the pain of PPD. I have felt helpless, wanting the pain to end so badly that I might have done anything to make it stop. Instead of doing anything, though, I called my husband or my mom, I called my sister, I called a friend. I got help.
I'm heartbroken that this woman didn't have the support she needed so desperately. I'm heartbroken for her baby who will never know her mother.
And I'm writing this today because I know that there are women out there who are in the throes of PPD and who will read this story and think, "Might I do something like that too?" and it'll send them spiraling downward - as any bad news will do when you're in that place.
Listen to me - help is out there. There are plenty of places you can go. Call someone you love. Call the crisis line - 1-800-273-TALK. Call your doctor. Call the hospital where you gave birth. Don't suffer alone.
You are not alone. Perinatal Anxiety and Mood Disorders affect thousands and thousands of women every year - nearly a million women in the US per year, according to Postpartum Progress. Only when we're honest with each other and willing to be vulnerable and admit, "Yeah, this happened to me," can we get help or help each other. Which is why I am brutally honest about my experience on this blog. It happened to me. It was awful. But I GOT BETTER and you can too. Please, if you're suffering right now, ask for help.
Rest in peace, Miriam Carey.