I’ve kept quiet about how I’m doing as of late because it just felt too depressing to share. These pretty little images are just quick shots that I take when I am feeling well enough. I’m usually exhausted by the end of them, quickly change back into gym shorts and lie down for an hour. I take photos and paint and knit because creativity helps lift my spirits and gives me an outlet that is not too taxing on my limited strength.

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The reality as opposed to my insta-feed and blog photos, is quite different. I mostly wear leggings and gym shorts and drink tea in huge non-photogenic mugs. The kids books lie on the floor, my bedroom is a disaster area, the leaves will probably never be raked, and we mostly eat non-home cooked food. This is so far from the ideal that I have previously striven to live by.

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During the summer, while recovering from my traumatic brain injury, I survived much on my own strength- I knew I just had to get through a few months and mostly viewed it as a forced vacation and kept my spirits up. I had daily garden sessions where I would sit beside my garden and count the new buds and seedlings. I knew nearly each plant (there were many) by sight and remembered them from the little buds that pushed through the dark, cold soil into the light.

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In a sense, that is what I am now going through. The recent car accident messed up my previous traumatic brain injury to a great extent. Almost immediately I fell in and out a deep depression that wasn’t based on anything terribly wrong in my life. The injured part of my brain controls emotions. Yes, it was annoying to be bed ridden again, but I had dealt with that before. This time it was much deeper and I began to lose the part of myself that holds everything in check. I go from feeling cheerful, having tea with my best friends to suddenly being triggered into the strongest urge to self harm. (To be clear, I do not mean suicide and I haven’t “done” anything.) The urge seems to get stronger as my body feels like it is growing weaker. I’ve been throwing up everyday, having headaches and extreme fatigue- where I don’t feel like sleeping as much as that my body has no strength. Sitting in a chair is too tiring. Walking to the bathroom can make me so tired that I have to take a break on the way to sit down. I caught myself lying on the floor of my closet while trying to get dressed. These are little snapshots of the worst moments. I do have bursts of energy here and there and I am not sad all of the time. Matt made me laugh so much last night that I was nearly in tears. It is more like I have these intermittent episodes where my body and brain are too overwhelmed and shut down immediately. It is hard finding the balance of what I can physically manage when I have the energy and what will throw me into these downward spirals from doing too much.

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Now, to turn to a element that perhaps only few of you will relate to- I have found that I am forced to trust God- in a deeper way than I’ve ever had to previously. Worrying and praying about finances is rough, but begging God that you will have the strength to not harm yourself is a place where I find that my inner self is gone; I am weak, but Christ gives me the strength to resist. Of course I have strong medications that help quite a lot too, but they don’t take it all away. I see a weekly therapist, a psychiatrist, neurologist, have a refuge through the sacrament of confession to my spiritual father and in prayer. These things give me the strength to combat the urge that feels as strong as hunger.

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I am sharing this not for sympathy but because I am passionate about raising awareness to mental health. I hope that if even one reader is encouraged to seek help, it will have been worth sharing such personal, raw experiences. You can fight this. It is hard, but there are so many people out there to help and who want to help. “Self care” can only go so far. We are not meant to be islands, suffering alone, but part of a community that loves and supports us.

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 “I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.” – Psalms 40:1-3

19 thoughts on “Gym shorts and Ativan

  1. Rebekah, your honesty is so precious. Thank you for opening up about this. I know it must be terrifying, but am just as certain that it will make a difference, both to you and others. Shining a light on all of this rids it of much of its power. And your faith is strengthening my own.

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    1. Thanks, Kate ❤️ I wanted to tell you all of this one the phone but I’ve been too exhausted! I got a sudden boost of writing energy when I woke up today and finally got it all out. You are the type of friend though that I’d much rather tell in person than have to read on my blog!

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  2. I work with people in mental health crisis everyday in the ER… Thank you for giving me some insight that years of professional experience has not given me. I hope today brings you some peace. XO

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  3. I don’t have a TBI to date back my own depression; I was just born broken. I thank God for medication and sympathetic doctors who listen, my long-suffering spiritual father, and my very loving and patient husband who has never given up on me. This is a battle I will fight until the end. I hope it will be a means of salvation and not destruction.

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      1. someone told me (about things we have been going through) that God is doing something through this and leading us to a higher place through the suffering. I fully believe this is the same for you. I wish I had words that expressed more adequately how deeply I feel for the suffering you are feeling and for the hope that I believe in for you, even when the road is so very difficult….

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  4. Again I’m honored to be one of your readers and admire greatly your vulnerability. Your weakness makes the beauty you find in the world all the more glorious. Your family is lucky to have you.

    Your comment on self care was really thought provoking too. Thanks for sharing all of this. Praying for you.

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