Surviving Monsters

Breathe in, breathe out. Don’t cry. Repeat. In ten, out ten. Hold it in. Do not cry. Do not cry. Do not… dang it.

Here are My Top Ten Rules to Surviving My Senior Year of College:

1.) Stop caring what other people think.
2.) Stop letting a sport dictate your life.
3.) Do what makes you the happiest.
4.) Take care of your brain.
5.) Do a face mask every Thursday.
6.) Stay off of VolleyTalk.
7.) If it doesn’t affect you, don’t effect it.
8.) Watch the Office when sad.
9.) Learn about what you love about you.
10.) Trust God.

I neglected to do all these things the first month of my senior season. Let me tell you, your girl was a wreck. Why? My psychologist said it was a chemical imbalance in my brain, a lack of serotonin, that caused me to have a severe drop in my normal behavior. I was agitated, irritable, disinterested, over life and all minuscule things that people stressed so much about. I was depressed she said, and my trigger was volleyball.
Of course I knew this. I hated getting up in the morning, hated closing my eyes to go to sleep. Without fail, every single time I stepped foot on the court I teared up. I couldn’t even fake happiness because that was like lifting a weight twice my size and it left me too drained to even play volleyball. So I had to choose, did I want to burn energy that day being “happy” or playing volleyball? It’s really hard to put into words that type of inner turmoil. The struggle to decide who I was going to be that day. Even harder to cope with the fact that no one understood. Not my friends, family, anyone really. I couldn’t tell them about how I was slowly being cooked alive from the inside out because that also took too much energy away from me.

So I left the team. Only for a week. That week was spent laying on the floor in my bedroom, nauseas, dizzy, feeling like I was going to die because of the Cymbalta my psychologist prescribed to me to make me feel “better”. And then once I thought I was emotionally stable enough I came back, “the old Ebony” had returned. Kinda.

Why am I telling you all of this? My heart was so broken by so many things, volleyball, my escape but also my captor, wasn’t helping me anymore. But what did help me was our Texas Volleyball fans. The amount of positivity and love I received from people that didn’t even know I was going through something so big. It was obvious I was mentally checked out, I decided not to travel to a game, and people took note. So if someone like me, could receive so much support from people I don’t know, that didn’t know what I was going through at the time, don’t you think that someone you love could receive the same? Not everyone is as open as I am about mental illness. The odds of someone you know having depression or anxiety is higher than you think.

This fall, I lost my former USC teammate, a friend, a sister, to suicide. I had no clue she was even depressed, and from the shock I witnessed when news of her passing spread, not a lot of other people did either. If Kiara had the same influx of messages of positivity, support and love, if I, or someone else reached out to make sure she was okay, would the outcome have been different? Every single life is so valuable. Hers, yours, mine. We all matter to someone, even when we feel alone.

We are never alone though. Even in the dark, God is still with us.

If you need to talk to someone but don’t feel like you have anyone to fall back on, talk to God, He is always there for you, He knows your heart better than you do, He can heal you in ways nothing and no-one else can. He is always eager to listen to you, whenever, wherever. Talk to a therapist or a psychologist, they went to school and get paid to help you. When you’re a student they are typically free if offered by your school. They understand the brain, and have answers and solutions to help you get better. And if neither options interests you, please talk to me. I’m only 22, but I’ve been through some things. And I will fight for mental health awareness until I physically can’t anymore. I can’t guarantee I that I can help you, but I can listen. Talking about depression/ anxiety is the first step to feeling better.

Please reach out to someone and make sure they are okay. 

Please talk to someone if your world is spiraling.

God created you for a purpose. He has a plan designed just for YOU. You matter and are so important. You are enough.

Here are My Top Ten Rules to Survive Life:

1.) Stop caring what other people think.

Who honestly gives a flip? As long as you love yourself and know your worth then the opinions and validation of others shouldn’t matter to you. People will always have something to say. Let them say it, smile, and live the fabulous life God gifted YOU to have.

2.) Stop letting a sport dictate your life.

Once you stop defining yourself by the level you play at or the quality of your team, you’ll be ten times happier. You are not your sport, the sport is not you. It is something you started playing when you were younger because it made you happy. So stop trying to be perfect and just be happy.

3.) Do what makes you the happiest.

Baking, hiking, hanging out with friends, staying in your room all day watching Netflix, whatever calms your mind, do it! Who cares what exotic place your old classmates are at via Instagram, so what if all your friends are downtown without you via Snapchat. FOMO is real, but do you really want to be doing those things? If yes, well go do it. If no, then don’t stress.

4.) Take care of your brain.

One of the most important. For obvious reasons. See entire blog above. lol

5.) Do a face mask every Thursday.

Can I just tell you how insanely relaxing it is to know that impurities and toxins are literally being pulled from your body? Plus the better you look, the better you feel. (Not scientifically proven)

6.) Stay off of VolleyTalk.

Okay I’m going to say it because I know no one will admit to it. But almost every volleyball player I know has been on this website. Probably looking for some sort of validation, gossip, something to stroke their ego, I don’t know. But as rule 1 said, stop caring. It can make you feel really good, or really bad, do not chance it. Just stay off. Seriously. (written by a victim haha)

7.) If it doesn’t affect you, don’t effect it.

Something so hard for girls to do. Drama. I’ve learned that if it doesn’t concern me stay the heck away from it. The second you put half your foot in the door you’re in the mix, and no good things come from being an ingredient in drama tea.

8.) Watch the Office when sad.

The Office is hilarious. I don’t care what anyone else says. Even on your worst day when tears are flowing down your face and snot dripping into your mouth, this show will guarantee a smile, maybe even a laugh.

9.) Learn about what you love about you.

Find a hobby and find out if you’re good at it. Look in the mirror and find something to admire about yourself. Self confidence, goes a long way.

10.) Trust God.

He is alwayssssssss going to be there for you no matter your past, present or your future. After all, He already knows what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and what you will do.

 

If you need help:

-PRAY.

-Contact your school councilors, therapist or psychologist

-DM me via instagram, Twitter really isn’t my thing sorryyyyyy: @ebbsnwanebu

-Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

 

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4 thoughts on “Surviving Monsters”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing your story Ebony. Hopefully someone else going through the same feelings will reach out for help. Kiara wasn’t as open and upfront about the mental illness and didn’t want the word to see her as different. Thank you for being a good friend to Kiara!! #youarenotalone #suicideawareness #teamkiara #teamebony

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  2. I am a huge fan of your abilities and beautiful spirit on and off the court. Continue being you and inspiring us all to be better people to one another.
    -Another UT Alum

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  3. Very powerful words said here Ebony! Keep on writing and stay strong! Always remember one day at a time and know you’re never alone my friend! May God continue to bless and keep you! D

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  4. I’m so amazed and moved by you and your life path. Though I don’t know you, I’m so very proud of you, the risks you take, the courage you show, the vulnerability you’re willing to share. I was a college prof for the better part of 20 years and “know” your time in life from both sides, inside and our, personal and professional, as a student, a parent and a prof. YOU also need your outlets. Just as you have offered yourself to strangers, I offer myself to you. No, I’m not an professional. I’m just another human, adding my link to the chain of human connections that keep the world united. So, reach for me if you want or need a benevolent witness to a moment, to a feeling, to a phase … I am here for you. I am here for anyone who reaches.

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