Something told me to tell you about the time I gave birth to a beautiful boy and then got Bell’s Palsy, post partum depression and post-traumatic stress syndrome. Something told me to tell you that today. Someone who reads this needs to know that these things happen to all of us. These things happen to someone who gets it in her head to write a blog about inspiration. At the time, I had witnessed depression in family, in friends, in colleagues. Until I walked a mile in those shoes, I didn’t truly know what it was to see that world in that way. One friend with depression who is a highly successful literary agent, and had read The Noonday Demon, explained to me that it’s like looking through a fish bowl, that things are all distorted. That distorted view, however, is your reality.
I was fortunate in my case to experience a fear of going out into the world. I just wanted to care for my baby and be left alone. Getting dressed, taking a shower, could take me ages. I saw a therapist that specialized in post-partum depression and leaving my son, taking the bus to my appointment, it was all practice. Practice to learn how to live in the world again, as I used to. Over time, I did learn to live in the world again. My mother-in-law, who could see what was happening, told me, “Paso por paso.” Step by step. That was better advice than I got from the therapist. And so I did. I brushed my teeth. I took a shower. I got dressed. I took the bus. I went back to work. I became a better version of myself. The version that could now experience a new level of compassion and understanding for people in the world trying to find a way to take the next step.