On June 28, 2016, a 32-year-old teacher from Virginia, Allison Goldstein, took her own life.
In suicide note, she explained the pain she had been enduring, and apologized to her loved ones, reports Independent Journal. “I’m so sorry that I didn’t know how to describe this pain and seek help,” she wrote.
Goldstein had postpartum depression.
The National Institute of Mental Health describes the condition as “a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth. Mothers with postpartum depression experience feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that may make it difficult for them to complete daily care activities for themselves or for others.”
As for the cause, the government agency elaborates:
Postpartum depression does not have a single cause, but likely results from a combination of physical and emotional factors. Postpartum depression does not occur because of something a mother does or does not do.
After childbirth, the levels of hormones (estrogen and progesterone) in a woman’s body quickly drop. This leads to chemical changes in her brain that may trigger mood swings. In addition, many mothers are unable to get the rest they need to fully recover from giving birth. Constant sleep deprivation can lead to physical discomfort and exhaustion, which can contribute to the symptoms of postpartum depression.
The suicide reportedly took Goldstein’s family by surprise, which is why they are trying to raise awareness of the condition by going public with their tragedy. They want others to recognize the symptoms of the disorder before it is too late.
As summarized by the Independent Journal, common symptoms of PPD include:
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, emptiness.
- Feeling overwhelmed or overly anxious.
- Mood swings that include periods of extreme sadness and uncontrollable crying and excessive irritability, anger, or agitation.
- Loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed.
- Inability to concentrate or make decisions.
- Overeating or under eating.
- Withdrawing from family and friends.
Goldstein's family summed up her life in an obituary published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “Amidst all the joy and love she shared with the world, Allison silently suffered from postpartum depression. We take comfort in knowing with Christian certainty that she now rests peacefully in the loving arms of her Savior, Jesus Christ, fully healed and relieved of all her pain and burdens.”