• Stress, Anxiety, Social Anxiety, and Phobias
  • Depression
  • Shame, Guilt, and Low self-esteem
  • Personal growth challenges
  • Issues related to one's work environment
  • Loss and Grief
  • Healing from trauma
  • Relationships
  • Pre-Marital Counseling
  • Marriage / Couple Counseling
  • Recovering from infidelity
  • Separation, Divorce, End of Relationship Transitions
  • Parenting Issues

Shoulder to cry on!

I heard the most horrific story. A woman, reportedly suffering from Postpartum Depression, suffocated her 4 children, burned them and then hung herself! Leaving everything to be discovered by her husband when he returned home from work!

I first heard the story from a friend that happened to have been acquainted with her and then I read several accounts/opinions on social media.
The first thing that comes to everyone’s mind is shock. My friend couldn’t understand how someone so normal, so put together, so friendly could do something so horrific. In social media the responses were similar, “was she frail unable to take care of her children” …”how could she be like me?” Other people trying to be helpful offer their own ear and support to any friend that might be feeling depressed.
As a psychotherapist I work with many people who suffer from depression and other psychiatric conditions. I think the most important thing to realize is that this woman battled a mental illness. She wasn’t like you and me… overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, etc. She had a neurological condition that defied every human instinct! Everyone that is gifted with a healthy brain is born with a will to live, but when we give birth, we acquire a stronger will… for our children to live. What this woman experienced was a total disruption of her cognitive/emotional control. Believe me, going to a friend would not have helped. Suggesting that, would be similar to suggesting for a brain cancer patient to just ‘find a friend’. She was not feeling alone. She was experiencing psychosis. What she needed was therapy and medication in a hospital setting.
I know that people who are offering their ‘shoulders to cry’ on or who are suggesting that we as women just spend more time caring for ourselves, mean well. Unfortunately that will never be enough. Please remember that if you ever encountered a friend or a relative or just an acquaintance who you think is suffering from depression… beg them to get help. If they express thoughts of self harm or harming others, please don’t think that they just need attention… call 911! Please don’t think that you can handle that burden.
This woman did not suffer quietly for 2 years. People around her knew…they just didn’t know how bad it could get.
Depression is deadly, if you want to save a life don’t just offered your shoulder, but push the person to seek professional help and follow up, to make sure they are getting it!