You Are Not Alone in the Struggle

Hi, everyone! Today’s blog post was originally a lot longer. It delved a bit deeper into what is happening in my life right now. I started writing it as a way to cope with everything that was happening, but it wasn’t meant to be shared with the world. Over the past few weeks, though, I’ve gone back to it time after time. I feel like the Lord is calling me to share some of my intent behind that post, even if it never gets published.

So, here we go. I’m struggling right now. A lot. I’m struggling because of things that are out of my control. Since January, I’ve been trying to get food accommodations at my school. I have a lot of food intolerances, so I can’t eat at the cafe (the cafeteria’s manager refunded my meal plan after three weeks of only being able to eat plain lettuce and occasionally a plain sweet potato or grilled chicken). I’ve gotten some accommodations, but not what I need. As a result, I’ve lost a dangerous amount of weight since starting school. I’m very underweight. I’m malnourished. The school’s disability services department is saying I’m not sick enough to get different accommodations for the spring semester. The truth is that if I lose any more weight, I will end up back in the hospital. Disability services may not be concerned with my health, but I’ve reached out to some other outlets on campus that are. They are helping advocate for me, and I’m so thankful and continually praying it helps soon.

And that’s where my physical health begins to affect my mental health. This time four years ago, I lost a large amount of weight from some adverse medicine side effects. After a mentally and physically excruciating year of trying to get weight restored, I spent fourteen weeks in the hospital. They were the worst fourteen weeks of my life. They saved my life, but I’ve lived with post traumatic stress since then. I remember sitting with my dietician shortly after I was weight restored and sobbing so hard I could barely breathe. “I’m just so scared I’m going to lose the weight again,” I would cry. “I’m so scared. I can’t do it again. I can’t ever do this again.” I would repeat those words over and over. “I can’t do this again, I can’t ever do this again, I can’t do it again.” She would reassure me that I would never have to.

Here I am.

I am not where I was before. But I’m closer to that point then I am to a healthy weight, which is terrifying

Everything is terrifying right now. I know I am not back where I was four years ago, but trauma is tricky. I recognize that I am not back in the fall of 2015, but my that doesn’t stop the anxiety and panic. It doesn’t help that I’m starting to get all the symptoms I had back then when I was really sick, which makes it even harder to separate the two events. I often feel like I am repeating a horrible history. I feel like I am trapped in an endless loop of suffering.

It’s easy to become upset. The truth is that there is no reason it should take nine months for me to receive the basic accommodations I need to stay healthy. I shouldn’t have to fight for everything and advocate for myself all the time. Even before this, I spent three months fighting to take the classes I deserve to take as someone with an associate’s degree and be exempt from the classes I don’t have to take because of that degree. Because I’m younger than the typical junior, it was a really long, really difficult battle. But in the end, it worked out, just like I try to have faith this current battle will work out.

I’m so tired. It feels like I can’t keep fighting. But the great thing is that I don’t have to, because I’m not alone. Part of the reason I am not sharing the details of what has happened because of my school’s apathy regarding my health is because I don’t want that to be what people think of when they think of my school. Because I love my school so, so much. I love my classmates and my new friends. I love my professors; they are some of the kindest, most caring individuals I’ve ever met. I love my classes, and my department, and I’ve already learned so much in a short amount of time.

For every bad experience I’ve had with an administrative member, I’ve had countless positive experiences with other employees. For every awful experience I’ve had, I’ve received so much kindness. I love my school. This doesn’t make the bad things okay, but those bad things don’t get to override the good ones.

The truth is that the start of a new school year is always hard. I know that I am not the only one struggling right now. Your struggles don’t have to look like mine. But if you’re working through some hard things right now, I want you to know what you’re not alone.

I am not in this alone. I have a wonderful support group made up of my family, faculty members, and friends. But the true source of my peace, of my help, of my hope, is my God. It’s through Him that I get to have all of these other groups in my life, but He is enough on His own. And if you are feeling completely alone right now, please know that you aren’t. God loves you, and He is close by you during this time. He understands. He cares. He wants the best for you, even when it seems like everything is crashing down. It’s also okay if you don’t feel this. It’s okay if you feel alone. If you feel betrayed. I’ve been there before too, friend. But on the other side of those understandable, valid feelings was the truth that He never left me even when I thought I was all alone.

I want to end this post with some of my favorite Bible verses for the really difficult times in life. Life can really suck sometimes. It’s difficult, and frustrating, and scary. But Jesus is good through it all. He never leaves us. When no one else quite understands what we are going through, He understands it perfectly. Even when we don’t feel it, He loves us so, so much, and He wants so much more for us than this heartache.

If you share my faith, I would really appreciate your prayers. If you have an encouraging Bible verse you’d like to share, please leave a comment or send me a message. But if you’re here for some encouragement, these verses are for you. You are not alone. Leave a prayer request in the comments, or contact me. The last verse I include below is extra special to me. We are not meant to face tough things on our own. You are not alone in the struggle.

Psalm 34:18: The Lord is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit.

Matthew 28:20: … And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

Psalm 61: 1-4: God, hear my cry; pay attention to my prayer. I call to you from the ends of the earth when my heart is without strength. Lead me to a rock that is high above me, for you have been a refuge for me, a strong tower in the face of the enemy. I will dwell in your tent forever and take refuge under the shelter of your wings.

Psalm 73: 26: My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, my portion forever.

Psalm 121: 2: My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Romans 15:13: Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Galatians 6:2: Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.