I met Rebekah, also known as Radha, through mutual friends, 6 years ago in San Francisco, where she led meditation and spiritual study groups. She welcomed me into her home and told me about the book she was writing and many of her life experiences. In the chaotic city of San Francisco, I went to her home most weeks for awhile and it felt like a grounding respite amidst a lot of seemingly randomness and unfamiliar people and things in a city that was new to me.
I saw Rebekah/Radha make her dreams of finishing and publishing her book, Just a Girl From Kansas, into a reality over the next year or so. She also has a blog and does audio recordings of her entries.
Radha is someone who is committed to spirituality in a structured and grounded way, and who lives to be a support and inspiration for others through her writing and connections. I’m grateful she was willing to be interviewed here and recommend you check out her work.
Chaya: Was there ever a time in your life when psychiatry was a consideration?
Rebekah: Yes. I have (had?) an anxiety disorder and one of my therapists suggested I try medication to get me over a hurdle. I had trouble sleeping throughout the night because my anxiety was so high. She thought if I took anti-anxiety meds, I’d start sleeping better and then my life in general would improve so I could stop taking them.
Chaya: How did you choose your path instead?
Rebekah: Primarily because of your influence, I resisted the idea of medication. There’s something about taking that sort of medication that unnerves me. I also read some more about it and came across an article called, “The Shaman’s View of Mental Illness,” something like that, and the writer suggested when a person has anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, etc. it’s a call for a great spiritual awakening. Or ancestors are trying to get in touch, or heal the family through us, that sort of thing. It made sense to me particularly because I felt the presence of my grandmother a lot, a Holocaust survivor, so I decided to pursue other avenues instead; namely, switching therapists.
Chaya: Why are you glad you did?
Rebekah: I’m glad I did because now I’ve addressed the source of my anxiety — a belief I’m not safe because there’s no one to protect me. I’ve done a lot of work on believing I can and will protect myself, that I will keep me safe. That other people don’t want to mess with me, because if they do, they’ll regret it. Now I can walk through life feeling more at ease because I’m not relying on external factors to keep me safe — the safety comes from me. Also, I’ve had quite a few healing experiences/moments/insights I don’t think I would have otherwise had if I started medicating.
For more info on the cross disciplinary interview series and to participate, please visit the first blog about this series.