Fashion designer Camilla Franks was in India when she felt the tingling. She was working at the factory that produces her famous bohemian pieces when it came on. There was a headache, too. Then suddenly, one side of her face drooped.
Franks was rushed to the hospital suffering a suspected stroke. After two days, the true diagnosis came. Bell's Palsy, a temporary weakness of the facial muscles. The cause of the condition is unknown, but viral infections are believed to play a role.
For years, Franks' immune system had been battling recurring symptoms of glandular fever. She worked through it all, building on her label's international success (she counts Oprah, Beyonce and Kylie Jenner among her customers). Then this.
"I rehabbed my face back over the six months. And during that six months, I still didn't listen to my body. I kept working, working, working," she told Mamamia's No Filter podcast. "And then it got to the point where I couldn't actually hold a conversation. I was getting panic attacks, anxiety, I wasn't eating, I couldn't function. I couldn't wake up happy."
Franks' friends approached her. They could see she was struggling, that she needed help.
"I hadn't dealt with my past grief."
For two decades, Camilla Franks hid in her work.
It began when she was just out of school, and family friends decided she ought to throw herself into a job to distract herself from her little brother's death.
He'd had an accident on the cliffs near their Sydney home that year. He was 14 years old.
"There are always certain moments in your life that define you," she said. "I felt like, after that, I needed to live the life of two and make sure to please [my parents], to nourish them, to nurture them to make sure I was big enough to fill the hole."
She worked in advertising, as a producer on music videos, ran a restaurant which she turned into a nightclub, and more. In 2004, she started her eponymous fashion label and soon became one of Australia's most high-profile designers.
But as the years wore on, the symptoms of her hidden pain began to manifest.