Friday, September 11, 2015

Rosh Hashanah

 On the Jewish calendar a new year is upon us, Rosh Hashanah. A time of new beginnings, starting over, but, hopefully, not leaving the past and the lessons we've learned behind. It's a bitter sweet time for me. For years I could feel it in my bones when the holiday was approaching, and I was filled with a delicious yet painful longing to be in the synagogue attending services. I don't feel that way now. Last year I was away from my family, in lock down in a psychiatric hospital during the holiday. I'm home now and healthy and that is good and fills me with gratitude. However, all the preparations that go with the holiday, the cleaning and cooking, which were always difficult for me, are even more so. My mind is overloaded when I think about making a meal. The thought of each ingredient brings me closer to a melt down. I have a tightening in the pit of my stomach when I think about cooking dinner tonight. It feels like it comes down to me, the woman, to ultimately make the holiday shine at home, and yet I am not a typical woman or person for that matter. Even seemingly small things can be extremely difficult for me. I feel a pressure to perform, to create beauty for my family, and quite frankly the stress of it is eating away at my mental health. How to explain this to anyone who does not struggle with mental health problems?

I'm not the woman that my husband married, it's true. I wasn't diagnosed bipolar and I had never had a breakdown. Now I am and I have. In subtle ways my mind feels as though its borders have expanded since my breakdown, in other ways my mind feels like it has a very weak link now. I've stretched and expanded and yet I need a certain tightness and support to hold my mind and emotions in.

I am my biggest critic. I frequently struggle with feeling guilty because I believe that I am a failure and have let everyone down. I pray that this new year I can become kinder to myself while finding ways to provide my family with the spiritual richness that they need me to contribute. I pray for tolerance, I pray for my mental health, I pray for serenity and yet I have doubts. Yes, I have doubts.

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