Bill is a writer, teacher, parent, and master of medieval studies. His book, Witness (currently on my shelf, and brilliant!) won a Next Generation Indie Book Award, and can be bought on various reading devices here. He has just finished a blog tour for his book ‘No Good Deed’, which is part of a series, and has some seriously rave reviews going on here. Bill blogs here, is on twitter as @onemoredraft.
Since he’s a new parent, and every-bloody-person I know right now is pregnant, I assume there is a) something in the water, and b) a space for things that need to be said about parenthood. Bill’s going to say a couple of them.
Shooting The Wild Duck
As is my normal practice, I wrote a long and rambling post for today (several incarnations of it, actually, with each one longer than the one before), until I finally got out all the junk and started listening to what really needed to be said.
And that, that little thing right there, is the most important thing: “what needed to be said.”
See, when Gwen asked me to write about something depression-related, I immediately thought I had nothing to offer. I have some 2nd- or 3rd-hand exposure to depression through some family and friends, but nothing direct (which I realize makes me unfairly lucky).
Then I remembered the first weeks following the birth of our baby girl this past spring.
I won’t bore you with the details because that’s a draining, angry, confused, guilt-ridden couple of pages you don’t need to slog through right now. Basically, if you have children, you probably know what I’m talking about. If you don’t, you can’t. Simple fact.
Kind of like depression.
As I said before, I don’t really know what it’s like inside the head of someone who is truly depressed, but after my first weeks of parenthood, I did some research in medical journals and such and found that all the misery, doubt, fury, powerlessness, fear — even the guilt-multiplying second-guessing — was not an expression of my worthlessness as a human being, but actually fairly normal.
But nobody had ever told us.
Obviously, just talking about a problem won’t cure the problem, but keeping it hidden makes it more likely to fester into something worse. By making a problem public, we can also remove the associated spectre of guilt that hangs on it, allowing us to better address the problem itself. Moreover, we can help prepare others for what may come.
I know, that seems a little hokey, after-school-special-ish of an ending, but the truth is that Gwen has already done a better job than I have. And if you want further proof of the value of such an endeavor, just read some of the comments on her site.
Gwen proves that, difficult though it often (usually) is, knowing is better than not knowing, and sharing makes us all better.