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Shock waves from “Call the Midwife.”

Today’s definition of irony: When a character on a television show you love suffers a bout of PTSD and it triggers your own PTSD experience.

I don’t think I”m exaggerating. In last night’s episode of “Call the Midwife,” the doctor character dealt with an experience that triggered a return of depression. The actor portrayed such a breakdown beautifully. So well, in fact, that I could barely stand to watch.

As his wife supported him, tucked him into bed, and cried out her fears on a friend’s shoulder, I relived the long, desolate years of my own husband’s deep depression. Almost literally, the wind was knocked out of me as I watched. All that emotion was suddenly right there again, front and center.

Of course that’s a resounding endorsement of the power of this particular program and of the actor. But it also says a lot about how very deeply depression affects not only the depressed person, but also those who are closest to him or her, even years after recovery.

I still feel just a bit shaky today, but I’ll get over it. Things are much, much better now.

But I doubt I’ll ever fully forget that pain.


If you’re not familiar with “Call the Midwife,” which is in its fourth season, I hope you’ll seek it out. It’s currently running on PBS on Sunday evenings at 7:00 p.m. Central, with earlier season four episodes on http://www.pbs.org. Seasons 1-3 are available on Netflix.

6 Responses

  1. Call the Midwife is just the epitome of Sunday night BBC telly. Which means I don’t always get to watch it. But when I do my God I cry!!!
    Several kids I know have appeared in it too – all the more reason to love it, although it can detract from the story when you’re trying to spot a particular urchin! When they have a featured role though then you might as well just surround me in absorbable fabrics.

    • Imagine me gasping for breath and screaming with shock!!! You actually know kids who have been on the show?!?!?!? I am in awe.

      Truly, I think this may be the best show I have ever watched. Every single element – writing, acting, filming, scenery, costumes, research – is absolutely perfect. Have you read the memoirs? I recently finished the third one.

      • No, I haven’t read them. I think I would find it hard to see the words through the tears.

      • Definitely. Jennifer Worth was not only an awesome midwife, but she was an excellent writer (not to mention a professional concert pianist, for Pete’s sake!). All the stories from the shows are developed and deepened in her words. Beautiful.

  2. I’ve had a similar experience after watching a completely different TV programme and luckily for me I got some support soon afterwards and was able to move forward, but I do recall the horrendous shock and pain of the initial reaction.

    I agree that Call the Midwife is an amazing show. I am literally glued to the screen whenever it’s on.

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