look for the girl with the broken smile
ask her if she wants to stay awhile
and she will be loved
she will be loved

~ maroon5 ~

it was stormy day, one of those mornings when you wish you were inside out of the icy wind and snuggled deep down in your warm bed. a time to escape what was to be a stormy life-changing day for me.

i had gotten up early to be ready for my teacher placement at a school on the other side of christchurch, which consequently meant i had to catch two buses and walk a distance to arrive on time. i vividly remember not bothering with my umbrella because every person i saw was struggling and being tossed around like they were in a fight with an invisible opponent.

i also recall the intense pain in my ears from the wind. trying to pull my hood-less coat collar up to relieve the intense cold as i neared the corner to the school. they felt frozen.

big smile ~ on the far left ~ pre-university days

i arrived and quickly found the right classroom and became focused on my duties for the day. from there my memory blurs a little; observing classes, getting to know year 7 students i would soon teach, gleaning ideas from a fantastic mentor teacher. but a commonality throughout those days was intense headaches that had begun to creep in and dominate my days. ones that felt different to any experienced before… little did I know this was a precursor to something i would grapple with for a long time afterwards. i remember the day it happened. october 18, 2000.

“over the last three years christchurch has received around eight gale force wind events, the most notable being the storm in october 2000. this storm is estimated to have caused about $8m worth of damages to the incomplete lyttelton marina, sinking many yachts in the process. in christchurch, some power lines were bought down, many trees were blown down across the city, some people had to be evacuated and damage was made to roofs and fences. one woman had a narrow escape when a tree fell and crushed the car that she was in.” christchurch city environmental trends 2003 publication
very vividly, very detailed. these environmental factors mirroring the life i was living.
turmoil ~ unrest ~ loss


my early morning routine began as usual but was interrupted that day by a sharp shooting pain from the back of my ear to my nose and suddenly the right hand side of my face dropped. frozen, a consuming pain behind that same ear.

i remember sitting up in my bed in complete shock, stretching and squinting but with no response. moving to the mirror to see a broken smile.

questions soon flooded my mind…
~ where has my smile gone? ~ have I had a stroke? ~ is this a bad dream? ~

the story continues… read my story [part 2] // thank you disillusionment here


we all have a story. this is one part of mine. i want to share this in hope that others will know and understand about bell’s palsy and it’s rehabilitation. please feel free to ask questions or share experiences. we can all learn so much from one another.

12 replies on “my bp story [part 1] // the girl with a broken smile

  1. Hi Clare, I've been directed to your blog and this post about Bells Palsy by 'jacksta' πŸ™‚
    I, too, contracted Bells Palsy (in 2005) and still only have half a smile…!
    Thank you for starting to share your story – I've tried to start a post about my experience but it still remains as a draft… I'm now encouraged to maybe actually revisit and complete it!
    I'm looking forward to reading about your experience in full πŸ™‚
    Feel free to check out my blog at http://brigitte-stayathomemamma.blogspot.co.uk/


  2. Hi there Brigitte,

    Thanks for stopping by and connecting! I'm really touched that someone else who experienced BP and is able to relate. It truly means a lot! I really hope this encourages you to consider sharing… I know this has been something I have toiled with for a very long time. And in some ways I think looking back and going through what happened really helps me to look forward to the future in some way. I love your blog! Hubby and I were in the UK 6 months before moving to SoKo as he is first gen NZ ~ his parents are from northern Eng. We loved our experience and have popped back a couple of times. Well stay in touch and maybe we can share more as I explore sharing about BP.

    All the best!


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