November 10, 2014 by Courtney
I don’t know how to start.
These past 5 years have been so up and down.
5 years ago on November 30th, I lost my only sibling (brother) to a gruesome suicide. I had my third baby (in less than 4 years) a few months later. We moved 4 1/2 hours away a few months after that. I’ve taught in different schools, trying desperately to have some semblance of a “normal” life (whatever that is). I have battled severe depression and anxiety. I ended up in the hospital (inpatient) last winter and had to quit my job. I received intense counseling, new meds, and started Celebrate Recovery. During that period of time, I felt like a whole new person and that I could do anything.
I was wrong.
I started teaching at a new school (again) this fall and immediately started struggling with depression and severe anxiety (again). I was coping with it in unhealthy ways.
It all came to a “head” this past week when I had two panic attacks with-in a few hours. I had to leave work not long after I got there on Tuesday because of this. I made an appointment with my doctor (well, the nurse practitioner) who told me if I wasn’t better the next day, I needed to go into the hospital for an assessment. I went to my counselor later that day and she wouldn’t let me leave until I made it clear that I would go ahead and go in.
I went in the next day and they told me they suggested inpatient (again). Robert and I talked and felt that outpatient would be sufficient. So, that’s what we decided to do.
So, I’m back in the hospital (outpatient), and today, after a lot of prayer and seeking counsel, I quit my job (again). This time I have decided that I need to take several YEARS to recover and heal. I have a lot of work to do. Next year I might sub at my kids’ school, but until then, I’m just going to focus on healing and being mama and wife. I’m starting to realize that teaching full time may be a thing of the past for me. It may just be something that I won’t be able to do anymore. I can’t say that I’m okay with that today, but I trust that if it is God’s plan, He will give me peace about it.
Another thing that I need to do is figure out what is important to me. I have been “quiet” for a while because I felt that was expected of me. But that’s not me. I feel that it is important to be open, transparent, and real. If I had cancer, or epilepsy, or diabetes, or any other kind of illness, it would be socially okay to share. So why is it not socially okay to share about mental illness? It’s all something that we don’t choose. It is all illness.
This is my story, and I feel it is important to share. Not just for me, but because I know I am not the only one struggling in this life. So many are scared to share because of the stigma of mental illness, and they feel alone. So much of what is shared on social media is fake- it’s only the good. I am here to share the real. Life is hard. But God is good. He has a plan for it all. He can take a hard situation and use it for good. I trust Him and His plan.
I follow an organization on Facebook called “To Write Love on Her Arms” and advertised this shirt:
Here I am. Me. The real me.