Breakthrough or breakdown?

Posted on February 22, 2008

I saw my counselor again today and had one of the most intense sessions I think I’ve ever had. All of the feelings, the seeking, the anxiety, even the depression that usually comes this time of year all came to a head this morning.

My counselor took notes on what I was saying and made a copy for me. She says this is what we really need to work on. It is as if the chemical part of the depression and anxiety is more or less stabilized so now the rest of what I keep locked inside can finally come out.

I read her notes on the way home and was sobbing again. I wanted to share them here but I don’t have the energy to go through it again. I will try again after Shabbos.

I am exhausted and shaking. Already I feel like I spent that hour in counseling just whining and complaining about “poor me.” My husband came with me today because I was in no shape to drive and he thought this might be a good session for his input (it was) and he says I did a lot of very hard emotional work and hopefully this means I can start to heal.

I am still afraid I am being too self-absorbed but I am too tired to argue.


  1. Shira Salamone

    Rivka, you haven’t posted in over a month. Are you okay?

  2. Rivka

    this is my 3rd try to leave a comment. You all really provide a reality check and keep me from being too much in myself.

    Anonymous: I am so glad you wrote. it is very special and touching to get posts like yours. Sometimes knowing I’m not the only one going through something helps. for now it is enough that we are here together.

  3. Leora

    Dear Anonymous,

    Whoever you are, thank you for commenting on Rivka’s blog. I think there are a lot of hidden “depressives” out there, a lot of people suffering the “alienation beast”, as I sometimes call it. I feel fortunate that I started treatment at age 17 (I’m now 45). Like Rivka, it is important to hear your story, too. Building connections helps people become stronger.

  4. Anonymous

    I just wanted to tell you how much I can relate to so much of what you write – from feeling distant with your shul community and unable at times to communicate with your rabbi, to familial concerns. I have been a longtime lurker and this last, most recent post has left me with feeling that I must write you.

    I feel like I am in a very similar place to you (given, of course, that everyone’s journey is different). The chemical part of my depression has also, at this point, been more or less stabilized – a very recent development following many years of ups and downs, and finally an emergency hospitalization earlier this year. What is left at this point is a huge mess of emotional work to be untangled and laid gently to rest.

    But oh, is it overwhelming. The profoundly deep sadness, grief and anger that comes with all of that is just unbelievable – like nothing I’ve ever felt before, like nothing I’ve ever imagined possible. I know in the deepest recesses of my heart that this incredible pain is real – far more real then the hopeless desperation I have felt for years, and ultimately a very necessary step in my regaining my old personhood. That only by living through this pain will it come to be a natural, not-overwhelming piece of me.

    But that does not make it any easier.

    Rivka, I am in awe of you. You are far stronger then you know.

    I hope your Shabbos was restful and filled with peace of heart and mind.

  5. Keli Ata

    An angel comes to visit Rivka to see what she needs. She needs peace, so the angels gather thousand doves and release them toward the heavens to make certain Hashem knows what Rivka needs—


    Ha’azina Elohim tfilati
    ve’al na titalem mitchinti.

    Mi yiten li kanaf kayona,
    a’ufa li ve’eshkona.

    Ani el Elohai ekra
    vehu yoshieni.

    Listen God to my prayer
    and don’t over look my plea.

    Who will give me a wing
    so I can FLY and LIVE like a bird?

    I will call God
    and He WILL save me!

    The angels take Rivka’s request directly to the thrown of Hashem and He answers her and gives her wings to fly and soar above her troubles and have peace.

    I hope you’re feeling more relaxed and at ease 🙂

    I wasn’t sure what to say to try and comfort you; this is the best I could do but I did it with a good heart.

  6. Ayelet

    Ugh, I know how draining and physically/mentally/emotionally exhausting that can be. Rest up over Shabbat and try to fell the peace of the day. *hugs*

  7. Leora

    So good to hear from you! Allow yourself the self-absorption while you are at therapy (and other times, too). “Eem ayn ani lee, me lee?” It’s OK to cry. It’s good to let it out. If you can take care of yourself first, you will have more energy later to take care of others.

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