I’m writing to you to thank you for the opportunity to share your experience with postpartum depression and anxiety. You are in a class where the most courageous of the courageous live. I remember when I told you that and you asked,
Why? Why do you say that? I can hardly get up in the morning. When I think about going into public places, I want to throw up! I don’t look people in the eye. I avoid everyone. I know they will see that I am crazy. I am ashamed.
When I drive, I have to pull over at least once every two miles to catch my breath.
Some days, I don’t shower. I smell. I don’t eat so my breath stinks too. I don’t want to exist. Why would you say that about me?
And that is exactly why. That and the fact that you pushed despite the wall of fear and bottomless gloom and came through our office doors. You came again. You swallowed medications you at first didn’t believe in. You took chances every time you put hand-to-mouth, hand-to-mouth, with those damn and blessed pills that remind you every time that you have this illness. You did that long enough to start believing and to hope again. You do that even when you think you don’t need to anymore.
You are brave.
There are too many of us out in our community who don’t know about this incredible heroism. It is heroism when mother fights for her health, wife fights for her health, fighting for her family. You have the guts to start with yourself. Over and over again. You are the hero who, when it feels like regression to say the words, “I need help for the way I feel,” when it feels like failure to take pills, “…to live better,” when thoughts don’t make sense with feelings and are collectively, exactly at that point in time, when the word “crazy” is broken out into all it’s bright rainbow glory, you are the hero just then.
You are courageous getting here. Getting here in the first place was and is no small feat. But you took it further. You take it further still. I am inspired.
Dear Farida, Thank you for letting me be your physician. Thank you for letting me believe a little more that I am more than my own emotions and behaviors. For driving me to discover my identity. I am scared too. I’m scared of being that vulnerable to something as seemingly sure, like “brain health.” My own beliefs are being challenged by it. It changes how I see the world. And, I know our community is challenged by you too.
You help me hope, in the context of being someone with a changing body and mind. I’m learning about what I can control and cannot. I’m learning about goodness that is more than cooking a meal for someone, bringing in a paycheck, or basic needs.
You are a part of this journey-discovery.
And agenda – as doctors are not supposed to have any… (Ahem! Anyway!) Your bravery lets me bravely disclose even to myself. My agenda. Being your physician, in the face of so much courage, I think about what I’m working with you for. Thank you for giving me your life story as an opportunity to discover more of why I want to know Me. You are my teacher as well as my patient. I hope to live each day with courage too.