Trigger Warning: The content below contains information on mental illness and suicide which some readers may find triggering. If you need support, please contact the Ontario Shores crisis line: 1-800-263-2679.
On September 27th, 2020, Lisa ran in the Run for Women in support of the LOVE YOU by Shoppers Drug Mart Women's Clinic (Women's Clinic) at Ontario Shores.
“On that sunny September day, I ran,” Lisa says. “But two years prior, life had come abruptly to a halt, with no clear path forward.”
In November of 2018, at 39 weeks pregnant, Lisa woke up one morning to find the right side of her face was paralyzed. She was diagnosed with Bell’s Palsy.
“While most people with Bell’s Palsy recover completely, the disease is more severe in pregnant women and results in permanent damage 50% of the time,” she explains. “I was not one of the lucky 50%.”
The first months postpartum were not filled with joy for Lisa.
“I woke every day wondering if it had been a dream,” she describes. “The hormones, sleeplessness, darkness of winter, crying baby and the paralyzed face – I would go straight to the mirror, only to be crushed by the same realization that my face would never be the same.”
Other than medical appointments and a few visits with family, she refused to leave the house. Lisa’s life, which used to be vibrant and full, became contained within four walls.
“I was overwhelmed by profound sadness,” she says.
In March of 2019, Lisa was referred to Ontario Shores and diagnosed with
Postpartum Major Depressive Disorder. She started weekly outpatient
psychotherapy at the Women's Clinic and with the help of her therapist Bernadette, she was able to navigate her mental illness.
“Bernadette guided me through the program with compassion, validating my feelings and challenging me to step outside the walls that were holding me back,” she explains. “I discovered many things about myself during this time and learned important coping skills that I had previously lacked.”
Lisa says that recovery wasn’t a linear process, but with consistent effort, it was possible.
“I can smile at my son without reservation, I use the skills learned in therapy every day to maintain my wellness. I am forever grateful to Bernadette and the Women’s Clinic at Ontario Shores for the excellent care I received.”