What most people fail to realise when it comes to depression is that it’s not always visible to the naked eye. Depressed people may look okay, and at times even happy, but what goes on in their heads is entirely different.
That’s why when they finally come clean about it, their friends and loved ones are surprised.
That’s how Allison Goldstein’s friends and family felt when she took her own life after battling with depression.
On the outside it seemed as if she had it all. She was healthy, worked a good job, had a loving husband and an adorable daughter.
Then one day she dropped her four-month-old at the daycare, drove down a dirt road, and killed herself.
But not before writing a goodbye letter in her e-mail, apologising to her family.
“I’m so sorry that I didn’t know how to describe this pain [to you] and [how to] seek help,” she wrote.
But hers was not just mere depression. Instead it was the kind called Postpartum Depression, an affliction that affects new mothers.
Now Allison’s parents David and Carol Matthews are raising awareness to the disorder, because if it could happen to their Allison, it could happen to any mother.
“If this can happen to Allison, it can happen to anybody,” her mother told NBC in an interview.
“Just the days before, she was just the happiest, smiling, showing no signs at all of any internal emotional distress,” said her father David.
It’s important to note that PPD’s symptoms vary, and that they are usually internal, including feelings of fear, anxiety, worthlessness, guilt, numbness, emptiness, hopelessness, and despair.
Many mothers tend to hide these thoughts and keep it inside because they’re ashamed that people may discredit their feelings, or that they may be judged.
As a result they end up feeling like bad wives, terrible mothers, and feel as though there’s nothing they can do about it.
According to the founder of Postpartum Support Virginia, Adrienne Griffen, suicide is the leading cause of death for women in the first year postpartum.
Now the question is this: how can people help women if PPD’s symptoms are internal and can’t easily be detected?
Adrienne says that sometimes even the smallest things like asking simple and sincere questions can be the best thing one can do.
“There is so much emphasis on the baby,” she says. “It’s really important to ask the mom, you know, how are you doing? How are you dealing with these changes?”
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