Woman Suffers from Psychotic Postpartum Episode; Seeking Local Saviors

Postpartum psychosis manifests in many ways, however few as dramatic and public as Heather Coleman’s. She shared bits of her experience on the blog Postpartum Progress in 2010:

On a late Friday afternoon in October 2008, I was standing stark naked on the side of a DC highway, nearly facing death because of a mental illness I didn’t know I had.

Thankfully, two couples stopped their cars when they saw me running, naked, in the breakdown lane, and encountered me screaming something about being baptized. I literally thought the world was ending. Soon I was on a bridge being restrained by police officers.

Heather Coleman's vehicle
Heather Coleman’s 2006 Chrysler Pacifica that she drove the day of the episode, courtesy Washington Post.

According to the Washington Post,  “Traffic on the Inner Loop trudged along. Coleman said she became convinced the world was coming to an end. She pulled into the breakdown lane and drove a little faster. As she came to the exit for I-295, she took it and headed toward D.C., and the bridge over the Potomac River.”

She then pulled her shirt up over her head and started heading for the bridge’s edge and the water. Although the incident occurred near northern Virginia, according to the 911 recording a gentleman and his sister, from Richmond called to report it and stayed with Heather to ensure she was safe.

Heather Coleman
Heather Coleman and her children shortly before the episode, courtesy Washington Post.

It’s been four years, and her Facebook page seeking the kind Samaritans, believed to be from Richmond, is still quite active.

A friend of Heather’s contacted me via Twitter and yet another friend reached back out to ask that we share her story; this band of women is determined to find the people who pulled over that day and likely saved Heather’s life. Heather speaks out in a video attached below.

If you know anything about this incident and the kind strangers that helped Heather that day, please reach out to her through her Facebook page, helpmesaythankyou.

For more information on postpartum depression and resources, click here.