Emerging. But First, Hell

The last article I wrote was on February 12, 2019, just 5 days following my bike accident. In a way, I can’t believe I’ve gone over a year without writing on my blog. In another way, it makes perfect sense. The reason? To put it bluntly…hell.

My accident messed up my face. It healed pretty quickly, but for a while, I was ugly. There was no concussion according to the doctors. I don’t believe that, but no matter. After a CT scan and three MRIs, they found no damage to my brain. Thank God.

But something about the head trauma set off a year long bout with depression and anxiety. In addition to the daily torture of intense fear, zero motivation, long days in bed, crying, crying, and more crying, a total lack of communication, and losing 25 pounds, I endured a few fascinating experiences, all grueling, some helpful.

  • TMS, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation – a procedure during which I wore a helmet and my skull was repeatedly and aggressively tapped over a period of about 30 -45 minutes for at least 40 sessions. Most of time, I didn’t mind it because I hoped it would work. Sometimes it sent me into a panic attack. It didn’t work after all.
  • Sessions with numerous psychiatrists – different circumstances led to this frustration. I am now with someone I like and trust.
  • Experimentation with various prescriptions – at one point, I was taking more than 10 medicines! I’ve got it down to six now and plan to get it down to one.
  • Residential treatment at La Amistad – after two 6-week stays at this facility, I recovered but then relapsed. My time there will remain one of the most intense and profound times in my life. I look back on it with disbelief, yet with some nostalgia. It turns out that you can’t recover by running away.
  • Bi-weekly sessions with a therapist – uncomfortable and torturous, yet extremely helpful. I am forever grateful to the woman who has led me to recovery.
medicines

About a month ago, approximately one year and 5 weeks following my accident, I began to emerge. The anxiety remained but I was able to beat it by exercising. I had been exercising a little bit here and there (a sad representation) but I finally felt good enough to walk and ride our Peloton. Then the anxiety faded and I continued to start my day with exercise. I was smiling, laughing, talking, engaging, moving, and feeling happy. I had done so very little of that for over a year! Those who know me well couldn’t believe how low I had gotten.

The torture was over. I couldn’t believe it. For the first week, I expected it to revert back. I didn’t trust it one bit. A brief reprieve had happened once before, only fooling me. I wasn’t going to be fooled again.

emerging

Here I am a month later still feeling happy, content, inspired, and healthy. But I have a long and hereditary history of depression and anxiety. I have had minor setbacks before. I know that this might attack me again. Painful things happen and we don’t necessarily handle them so well. My only hope is that I will never fall to the kind of place I fell this time around. I was as low as I could go and it honestly felt like I was being tortured.

Now, there are lots of things to be thankful for. I credit my recovery to three of them:

  • Medicine – pure and simple. Do I love the thought of being on medicine for the rest of my life? Absolutely not. But I know that it works and I’m good with it.
  • Therapy – digging deep and way back; facing unpleasant memories; forgiveness; admitting all; discovering myself; facing the truth – a journey with no regrets

And finally. Prayers.

I begged God to take this from me. It was from a place of desperation, however, and not a place of hope and faith. Not sure it was really all that effective.

I’m talking about the prayers of others. Whenever people would ask me, “What can I do for you?” or “How can I help you?” My answer was always the same.

Just pray for me.

I will never be able to express the gratitude I feel for the thousands of prayers that continued throughout the year. Since I couldn’t pray without feeling desperation, I always knew that others’ prayers contained more hope, belief, faith, and love. They were more able to pray. They were closer to God. They had happiness in their hearts and wanted that happiness for me. What a gift.

Well, I finally received that gift. I am happy. I am myself. I am whole.

From hell to whole. I have emerged.

faith

Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People?

Ha! What a silly question! Why DO bad things happen to good people???? Well, why not? No one is immune to bad things. The test comes with how you deal with it and what lesson you allow yourself to learn from it.

So, how am I dealing with my bicycle accident? And what lesson have I allowed myself to learn? Well, I’ll tell ya.

Dealing:

  • Laughing. It’s really kind of funny when someone sees my face for the first time. Some examples: holy cow!, you poor thing, you don’t look as bad as I thought you would, I’ll hug you gently, it looks like eye make-up gone wrong, what happened to you?, you didn’t break your nose? no concussion? you just fell off your bike?, etc. etc. etc. And here’s one that makes everybody else laugh: Right after it happened, my daughter screamed and ran away, and said, “I’ll be at home, Mommy!” What the hell??
  • Being positive. I am pretty damn lucky that I have no broken bones and no serious head trauma. When I think about the moment my face hit the sidewalk and how it bounced back (have to stop thinking about that), I am stunned that nothing broke and I didn’t have a concussion.
  • Being grateful. This happened during school dismissal. There were so many people around willing to help me make phone calls, stop the bleeding, bring me supplies. It is amazing what my close friends, and even strangers, will do for me and my daughter. Despite the fact that she was ready to leave me in the dust (literally), she stayed and people surrounded her and comforted her. It was NOT a pretty sight and I don’t blame her for wanting to leave. In fact, the next day was her birthday. She was already in celebration mode! My close friends took care of us. They dropped everything and jumped into action. Thank you Carolyn, Heidi, and Bronwen. I am so blessed by you.

Learning:

  • WEAR YOUR FREAKING HELMET!!!!!!!!! Can’t stress this enough. There is no excuse. Wear it.
  • Be Mindful. Slow down. Be aware of your surroundings. Take your time doing everything. Be careful. Full of care. No excuses. Do it.
  • Don’t let this depress you. You’ve been through some shit, Libby. This has not been an easy ride lately. This is just another setback and you will persevere.
  • Do NOT look for the next bad thing to happen. Resist that dangerous habit with all your might.

Final thought:

There is something profound about injuring your face. Even if you aren’t a vain person, it really makes life hard. Your face is what people see. It is your identity. It is what people look at when they talk to you. I found myself wishing I had broken a limb or something other than my face and then immediately regretting that thought. It creates a vulnerability I’ve never experienced; the need to say, “Pardon my face. I fell off my bike and my face took the fall.” Luckily, people are kind. Thank goodness for that. But I look forward to the day when I won’t be frightened by my mirror image. This ain’t pretty!

When your face takes the fall.

Gratitude for Full Moon Yoga

After already feeling gratitude for my Full Moon Yoga class last night, I was extra pleased to come outside and see the moon between the clouds. We had tapped into our divine feminine energy and filled the indoor space with such beauty. Now the sky was gorgeous as well.

Rarely do I capture a decent shot of the moon, but these aren’t too shabby. At every stop light on my way home, I took a few shots. The street lights often got in the way, but some views were spectacular. Of course, the camera never does it justice.

It really never seems to matter how my day has unfolded. I can be frustrated, uptight, sad, angry, discouraged when I arrive at the studio to teach. But, a mere five minutes in, it all melts away. It is the sacred space, the people, the breathing, and the energy that soothes and restores me. Gratitude.

Here is a wonderful article by Jen Reviews about the Benefits of Yoga.

gratitude

Merry Christmas from Shanti Mom!

Blessings to all for a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year! Get ready to make 2017 a year of love, light, peace, and truth as we stand together as one. Thank you for the opportunity to share my inner most thoughts with you.

JOY TO THE WORLD!

shanti mom

 

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