Gosh, the last few days I’ve been waking up feeling enormously stressed and tense.

Sometimes when I get like this, I can remember which odd dream sparked it off, or I know what situation I have in my real, actual life that is triggering it.

But at the moment, things are as ‘calm’ as they ever are in my household (i.e. not very, but more than usual) – so there is nothing specific that I’m agonising over that’s stressing me out like this.

I know this sounds like a weird idea, but God uses environmental factors to create situations where a certain ‘feeling’ or group of feelings becomes prevalent in the ‘outside world’. If you’re not doing regular hitbodedut (personal prayer) than it’s very hard to figure out when your feelings are intrinsic to you, and when you’re actually ‘absorbing’ them more from the outside.

If you saw my post on Why NIBIRUR = More Illness a little while back, you’ll probably already know that I think God is sending a huge amount of ‘crazy’ vibes down to the world at the moment, that is part of the spiritual process of birur, or clarification, humanity has to go through before Moshiach shows up.

It’s no coincidence that more and more people are literally losing it and acting in the most terrible ways at the moment (the recent, heart-wrenching murder in Migdal is one of the more extreme symptoms of this, but by no means the only one.)

The more we clear out our own bad middot, the more we try to face down all the little lies we keep telling ourselves about how we really behave, and act, and think, and treat others, and how much responsibility we really take for our own lives and relationships, and the more we try and connect ourselves to God and His true Tzaddikim, the easier this process is going to be.

But if we’re not willing to do any of those things?

Then we’ll either get a bumper prescription of psych meds, AND / OR we’ll go completely bonkers, AND / OR we will spend every spare moment we have surfing the net, watching movies, hanging out on Facebook, shopping, or doing other ‘escapist’ things like running 6 marathons a week or appearing in eight back-to-back theatrical productions.

Yesterday, when I was getting that yucky anxious / antsy / waiting for something / jumpy feeling that comes along with all the external stress and tension currently flooding the world, I suddenly realised that if I was a more ‘normal’ person, I would be watching movies or YouTube back-to-back to try and escape from these very uncomfortable feelings.

But I don’t do that, and that’s not an option, so instead I’m just having to sit here and deal with it all by upping my hitbodedut, going to more graves of holy people and (my secret weapon…) booking a trip to Uman.

If I wasn’t doing all those things, and also not trying to figure out what bad middot I still need to acknowledge and fix, I would be going stark, raving bonkers right now. Even WITH doing all those things, I’m still pretty jumpy and ‘wired’ at the moment.

Stress is what triggers our bad middot off. God is upping the ‘stress’ in the world so all of us can see what we have to work on, and so that we stop trying to ignore it and run away from it.

It’s so yucky to wake up scared, the way I’m doing at the moment.

But I realised, it would be so much worse if I was scared to ‘wake up’ and acknowledge all the stuff I really need to work on in order to be ready for Moshiach.

Why popping pills really doesn’t ‘solve’ the problem of emotional illness

In the secular world, there is very little understanding of the soul’s impact on a human being, or of the spiritual imperative that is the foundation of human life.

Believing Jews know that people are here to get to know God, and to work on rectifying their souls, which is primarily accomplished by acknowledging and fixing our negative character traits and flaws, and asking God to help us uproot them.

Now, people just don’t tend to do that sort of tough ‘inner work’ when their life is fine and dandy. It usually takes a health crisis, a cash crunch, a personal relationship that’s really going off the rails, or some other form of serious suffering before a person will wake up, re-examine their lives, and start doing the spiritual work described above which is the whole point of being alive.

When we hit these very difficult patches, situations and experiences, they often (usually…) completely take the legs out from under us.

Again, this has been carefully designed by God to show us our own hopelessness and frailty, so that we’ll turn to Him and include Him more in our lives (and stop believing all that ‘masters of our own destiny’ arrogant baloney that’s so common in the West).

Tough experiences and tests doesn’t just mean things happening to us from the outside. In 2017, more than ever, they also include all the head-trips, paranoia, panic attacks, anxiety, difficult emotional states, and other feelings of depression and despair that every single one of us is going through right now.

Writing in the Garden of Healing, Rav Shalom Arush tells us:

“The modern world is characterized by emotional weakness and its associated diseases. In the past, there were life-threatening situations, but people lived with a spirit of vitality: they enjoyed life and they looked forward to ‘living’ each day.

“Today, the most tranquil and comfortable life is really no life at all, because people lack basic joy and contentment in their lives and they really have little will to live. This is the biggest problem we face today in these final days of our exile: weak souls that are filled with constant pain.”

The Gemara teaches us that: there is no suffering without prior sin.

But where this is often misunderstood is that the ‘sin’ doesn’t necessarily have to have happened in our present lifetime. Reincarnation is a basic tenet of the Jewish faith, and our Sages teach us that whatever we messed up in a previous lifetime, particularly in the area of interpersonal relationships, we will be sent down here again to rectify and fix it.

As mentioned above, nearly all our ‘rectification’ work will revolve around two things:

  • Getting to know God better, and strengthening our emuna in His Divine providence and goodness
  • Identifying, acknowledging and uprooting our bad middot and negative character traits.

WHY THE PILLS DON’T WORK TO SOLVE EMOTIONAL ILLNESSES

With that basis set out, now we can start to see why the pills don’t work to cure mental and emotional illnesses. Firstly, those negative emotions are coming to give us a message from Shemayim about what needs to changed, examined or fixed in our lives.

The single biggest reason adults feel clinically depressed (according to scientific research!) is because they were emotionally abused and emotionally neglected as children.

Pssst, here’s a secret: Every single one of us comes from a really screwed-up, dysfunctional family these days, and the more ‘perfect’ it looks on the outside the more messed-up it really is.

Moshiach is coming, and God wants us to finally get to grips with all the bad character traits, unpleasant beliefs and attitudes, and horrible behavior that we’ve all been indulging in over the last 3,300 years, and to finally uproot them from our souls.

That’s why all these emotional illnesses are coming to the fore more than ever before, because God is making it SO CLEAR that something needs to change in the way we interact with each other, and particularly with our kids.

So now, what happens if we go the ‘pills and shrinks’ route to dealing with things like serious depression, instead of doing what I’ve described above, and coming clean about what’s really causing our emotional issues?

  • We try to ‘turn off’ the warning light that God is sending us via our strong emotions.
  • That means we don’t fix the problem, we at best cover it up.
  • We continue to excuse all the bad, horrible behavior (ours and other people’s) that made us emotionally ill.
  • We pass the problem on to the people around us, especially our children, because we don’t fix our bad middot and continue to mistreat others the way we ourselves were mistreated.
  • We fail to fix our souls – which is the whole point of coming down here in the first place.
  • We fail to get closer to Hashem, or to work on our emuna, which is the other whole point of coming down here in the first place.

And the last thing to say is that whatever the parents don’t fix, just gets passed along to their children to have to deal with and fix.

So if mom’s depression problem was seriously bad, her kid’s depression (and ADHD, and BPD, and C-PTSD…) is going to be three times worse…

(As a side note on how this works in the ‘natural’ world: when people take anti-depressants, they typically become much more superficial, cut off from their feelings (and other people’s feelings) and less empathetic. A lack of parental empathy and real caring is a key factor in emotional neglect and emotional abuse. When a kid grows up in a house with an emotionally-absent parent, that in turn skyrockets their own probability of becoming clinically depressed (amongst other emotional illnesses…) as an adult.)

There are no short-cuts!

We are down here to work on our souls. We are down here to fix things. We are down here to feel bad in order to motivate us to learn some emuna and to stop behaving like jerks.

A while back, a correspondent told me that she liked anti-depressants because they ‘let her function like a normal human being, without having to do the work.’

That sounds great – except doing the work is the whole point of being alive. And THAT’s why God is simply not going to let us get away with popping pills instead of praying and working on our bad middot.

To do otherwise would be undermining the very purpose of creation.

One of the more perplexing phenomenon that I’ve witnessed time and time again is how you can get a truly amazing, big, holy Tzaddik – the real deal, 100% – but they’ll be surrounded by some of the most mentally-ill, disturbed characters you’re ever likely to meet.

This has happened so many times, in so many different situations, and with so many different Tzaddikim, that a couple of years’ back I realized it must be some sort of ‘spiritual rule’.

In fact, the bigger the Tzaddik, the crazier so many of the people on the inside of his ‘inner circle’. Then I learned that King David taught: ‘The wicked surround the tzaddik’.

Aha! I wasn’t going bonkers. I knew there must be something ‘deep’ going on here, because if someone on the low level of yours truly can figure out that these people are nasty and mentally ill, surely huge Tzaddikim – who can see right through a person, to the innermost recesses of their soul – couldn’t be fooled so easily?!

This is not a ‘theoretical’ discussion, at least, not for me.

As you know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, my husband and I got burned by one ‘false’, mentally-ill spiritual guide after another, all of who came with impeccable credentials. They looked the part (from a distance…); they talked the part (as long as you kept the conversation short, felt hugely honored for having the ‘privilege’ of being spoken to, and didn’t do anything else expect stroke their massive egos…); and most disturbing of all, they came with a patina of having been ‘pre-approved’ as a kosher, upright person by their (highly publicized…) associations with bona fide Tzaddikim.

After the last one exploded in our faces two years’ ago, leaving me with a ginormous crisis of faith that very nearly took me out, I decided I had to go and find out why the tzaddikim in the middle of the circle of madness hadn’t done more to warn me and protect me from these dangerous, mentally-ill, spiritually-corrupt individuals.

The discussion (in my hitbodedut…) went something like this:

“Do you know how bad, spiritually, these people really are?” They did. “Do you know how much suffering they caused me and my family, and how they nearly destroyed my faith in Hashem and his true Tzaddikim?” They did. “So, then why didn’t you stop them? Why are still keeping them so close? Why are you allowing them to continue to fool people, and to hurt them?”

The answers I got back were truly enlightening, and I’m sharing them with you here, dear reader, in case they can help you, too.

The true Tzaddikim know 100% about just how bad their mentally-ill ‘circle’ is. So why are they keeping them around?

There’s a few answers:

  • Firstly, some of the crazies are actually useful, as long as you don’t get too close to them. As we said, from a distance they play the part of a pious, upright Jew very well, and as long as you’re only dealing with them ‘at a distance’, they can’t do you a lot of harm, and they’re also probably giving you more ‘straight’ information and advice then many other people today, by sheer dent of the fact that they are at least connected to real Tzaddikim.

The problem comes when people take them too seriously, and actually believe that these people are ‘tzaddikim’ in their own right, but that’s not a problem for most of the people out there today.

  • If these people weren’t ‘encircling’ the Tzaddikim, they’d be out there doing much more damage to mankind. The point here is that these people are spiritually-corrupt, mentally ill, and (usually…) ruthlessly ambitious. The Tzaddik acts as a kind of ‘brake’ on their behavior, so at least it won’t go too far.

 

  • Whatever happened to me and my husband, we were meant to go through it as part of our Tikkun, or spiritual rectification. If it hadn’t been those particular nasty people who caused us so many difficulties, it would have been others. But it had to happen, and the fact that it happened ‘under the aegis’ of the bona fide Tzaddikim meant that we also enjoyed their spiritual protection to pull us through the experience in one piece.

 

  • The Tzaddikim themselves suffer incredibly from having to keep these people happy. The first people the crazies mistreat and cause problems for are the Tzaddikim they’re encircling. They can’t help it: as we noted, they’re mentally ill. They’ll keep a limit on their bad behavior and lack of respect towards the Tzaddikim in public, but in private they yell at them, rant at them, make ridiculous demands of them, treat them like ‘mates’, instead of holy Tzaddikim, and generally try to control them and manipulate them in a million different ways.

 

Now, I’m no Tzaddik. If I had to spend any time around such spiritually-corrupt, horrible people like this, I’d vomit.

But our Tzaddikim are even more atuned to evil and corruption, and even more affected by it. Which means that it’s a huge, enormous effort of will for them to keep these people in their inner circle, and to not boot them out. Which brings us to our next point:

  • The Tzaddikim keep these people close, because that’s what God wants. God wants these mentally-ill individuals to have the very best chance of ultimately making Teshuva, so he sticks a huge Tzaddik in front of their face to show them how they should really be acting, in the hopes that one day, the lesson will be learned. (God is clearly a huge optimist.)

The true Tzaddikim want to give God what He wants, even when it entails huge suffering and self-nullification on their behalf. Even if it means they end up being apparently ‘controlled’, at least on some level, by the mentally-ill people they’re surrounded by.

For as long as God wants that to be happening, the Tzaddikim will continue to give it to Him.

As noted above, I’m SOOOO not a Tzaddik. We can’t understand the level of self-control and self-nullification (or bitul) to God’s will these people have. If it was us, we’d complain! We’d clean house! We’d get rid of all these disgusting people who are making our lives miserable and tarnishing our reputations in 10 seconds! But the Tzaddikim aren’t like us – they’re Tzaddikim!

Time and again, I keep telling people that without doing regular hitbodedut (personal prayer), you have no chance of really understanding what’s going on today. Without my hitbodedut discussion, I would have harbored a huge grudge against the ‘tzaddikim’ that had apparently closed their eyes to the terrible spiritual corruption in their midst.

I would have got so self-righteous, judgmental and slanderous, God forbid.

With hitbodedut, it’s still been a real struggle to understand what’s going on (at least enough to have peace of mind…) But eventually, I got there. Thank God, I didn’t shoot my mouth off until God showed me what was really happening! Thank God, I didn’t rush to attack holy Tzaddikim, just because they’re surrounded by some very difficult, nasty people!

Thank God, that even though I was sorely tempted to ‘name and shame’ the individuals involved, I’ve kept my mouth shut. Sure, I hate what they’re up to. Sure, I still wish that they will be unmasked, so that other people won’t be hurt by them the way I got hurt. But God knows what He’s doing, the true Tzaddikim know what they’re doing, and when all is said and done, I really no nothing at all.

The last piece of good that came out of all this stuff is that I turned a lot of my insights and experiences into my book, Unlocking the Secret of the Erev Rav. While I can’t tell people WHO the crazies are, I can still describe how they act, so you’ll hopefully be able to work it out for yourselves.

You can buy Unlocking the Secret of the Erev Rav on Amazon and on The Book Depository

Recently, I’ve been pondering the mechanism that’s going on in a person’s brain and / or soul that prevents them from assimilating new information when it’s presented to them, and changing course as a result.

There’s been many prompts for my ponderings, vis:

  • Individuals who frequently treat others in a very selfish, manipulative and destructive way, and who continue their behavior even when repeatedly told what the problem is, and being asked to stop. (This is one of the classical behavioral issues of people with Cluster ‘B’ type personality disorders, particularly Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Anti-Social Behavior PD)
  • Individuals who continue to insist that chemical imbalances in the brain:
    1. Actually exist, despite there being no scientific evidence to support this conclusion; and
    2. That these chemical imbalances are the cause of mental and emotional issues such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia etc; and
    3. That psychotropic drugs ‘cure’ these pretend chemical imbalances and their associated emotional issues, again even though there is no scientific evidence to prove that, and plenty of scientific evidence proving that this is NOT the case.
  • Individuals who continue to defend their position, or actions, or belief system even when clearly shown evidence and facts that flat-out contradict them. The examples of this abound, but to name a few of the more notable ones:
    1. Adherents of Darwin’s ‘theory’ of evolution, who continue to trot it out as ‘fact’ and ‘science’ and the ‘height of objective rationality’ when in fact (and I urge you to research this yourself) NOT ONE SHRED OF EVIDENCE HAS EVER BEEN FOUND, OVER THE LAST 100 YEARS, TO PROVE IT. To put this another way, believing in Darwinism is actually probably even more bonkers than believing in Scientology. And that’s saying something.
    2. People who continue to claim that yoga is ‘just exercise’ despite repeated references to the Hindu religion and idolatrous practices and texts, plus the requirement to spend 30 hours immersed in pagan texts simply to be able to teach it.
    3. People who claim the Palestinians ‘want peace’, and that Islam is a religion of peace.

 

Nuff said.

All of us have come up against these types of people or issues over time, and probably all of us have been left scratching our heads as to what exactly is going on, because on some level we can see that the failure to integrate and to respond to information is clearly a sign of mental ill-health.

Two options present themselves:

Either, there really is some sort of cognitive impairment going on (more on this in a moment); or, the people involved are morally corrupt and deliberately going out there to hurt and mislead other people by ‘playing dumb’.

The more I’ve researched this issue, the more I’m starting to believe that the issue really is one of cognitive impairment, aka brain damage.

Here’s why: I did this infographic a little while back to show how important our frontal lobes are, when it comes to things like exercising free choice, assimilating new information, and overcoming our primitive, knee-jerk reactions to act like a mensch.

When the frontal lobes are ‘off-line’, the ability to choose how to react, to weigh out our options, to see other people’s points of view, to empathise, and to respond to new information and stimulus and really internalize it is very impaired, or even non-existent.

This type of ‘brain damage’ is caused by trauma, especially the type of trauma that results from emotional neglect and abuse in childhood, plus other more obviously traumatic experiences like being bulled, being seriously ill, losing a parent via divorce or bereavement, or experiencing a bad car crash, physical assault or terrorist attack.

To put this another way: Most people today are traumatized, and the effects of being traumatized are to amplify the influence or emotional and primitive parts of the brain, and to shut down the part of the brain that enables people to process new information, consider their actions, behavior and beliefs in a rational way, and to choose to act, think or believe different, as a result.

Here’s the good news: the brain is ‘plastic’, and new research is building up by the day to prove that the function of the brain is shaped by our experiences, and that our brains continue to grow and evolve and change until we take our last breath.

Traumatised brains can be ‘un-traumatised’, and when that occurs people regain their humanity, their ability to change and to aspire, and their connection to their souls, their higher selves, and to God.

(God willing, I’m currently pulling together a whole bunch of information on the best, easiest and most effective ways of ‘un-traumatising’, and I’ll post it up when it’s ready.)

But until and unless that happens – you’re dealing with brain-damaged individuals who really can’t process the new information or facts that potentially change the whole picture.

They really AREN’T doing it just be stubborn, obnoxious, hurtful, destructive, although of course we often still experience their behavior like that, and we have to take any steps required to protect ourselves from the fall-out.

Jewishly, this appears to be very connected to the idea of karet, or being cut-off from God and the Jewish people.

Traumatised people are literally cut-off from their frontal lobes, and their ability to actualize the higher potential and spiritual light they most definitely still contain.

But I’m optimistic that as more of the research starts to build up, and as more of the daat, or intrinsic knowledge of how the world really works, starts to flow down to us in anticipation of Moshiach and redemption, the very challenged individuals in our midst (including ourselves!) will be given all the help we need to truly start to heal, and to be the enormous forces for true spiritual good in the world that God created us to be.

 

Ken yiyeh ratzon, Amen.

You know, I’ve been learning a lot from all this ‘yoja’ stuff, not least about how much hypocrisy is floating around the place.

When I first started researching yoja, from a perspective of being truly interested in its apparent health and healing benefits, I had no idea that I was going to uncover such an avalanche of obvious idol worship and very dodgy spiritual practices.

But then, as all the evidence started to stack up so spectacularly, it raised another very big question, namely: How could the ‘orthodox’ practitioners of yoga in our midst be so blind to all this stuff?

I’d always assumed, before I started really researching this subject, that yoja was a bunch of exercises that had tenuous connections to idolatrous religions. But it quickly became SO obvious that yoga is drenched in and permeated by idol worship to such an extreme degree, that you’d literally have to have some issues with your cognitive functioning to not recognize the problem, if you’re an orthodox Jew.

Which then raised the next awkward question:

Are the ‘orthodox’ practitioners of yoga cognitively impaired in some way, or are they actually deliberately trying to mislead people?

This is not a sarcastic question. We all make mistakes some times, and we all get it wrong some times. I’m certainly not infallible, and I’ve had more than one episode in my life when I followed after a person, or a shita, or a belief system that ultimately ended up being a very negative force, and spiritually-corrupt in some ways.

In this mixed-up world, that stuff unfortunately happens and it happens a lot. We all have blindspots, we all have flaws, we all have difficulties being able to ascertain what’s true, particularly when it comes to matters of the soul.

But here is what’s starting to disturb me so much with all this ‘kosher’ yoja stuff: Even when you repeatedly bring clear evidence of the problem, and repeatedly point out the huge halachic and spiritual issues involved with practicing yoja, not only are the ‘orthodox’ practitioners not even a little bit chastened or confused or concerned about whether they may be barking up the wrong tree (and misleading a whole bunch of other less-informed people in the process…) – they come back at you with sniping personal attacks that are dripping with misplaced self-righteousness, harsh judgment and anger. (peace n’ love, man).

Yes, it’s very upsetting when we find out the truth we believed in may be a lie; or that the path that we chose in good faith is actually leading us to perdition, but the mark of a healthy soul is that it can ultimately recognize its mistakes, and at least try to make Teshuva.

A few years’ back, me and my husband got caught up in a very spiritually-unhealthy ‘Breslev cult’ type organization, that came packaged with a big Rabbinic backer who we both really respected.

It took us three long years to figure out just how much damage our association with that ‘cult’ had done to us and other people. But once we realized our mistake, we did our best to rectify it. I apologized to a whole bunch of people who I may have inadvertently hurt, and I ate a lot of humble pie.

I made a mistake!

That happens sometimes, even when we have the best intentions.

So what I was expecting to hear from all these ‘orthodox’ yoja teachers was maybe some contrition, some concern that they’d been involved in such a negative spiritual practice, and some worry that they’d also been encouraging other orthodox Jews to do it, too.

In short, I was expecting a tiny bit of humility.

But that really hasn’t shown up in any way, shape or form, and in fact, I’ve been getting the opposite: sniping personal attacks, a complete avoidance of the real issues, misleading statements about people having rabbinic backers when they really don’t, and a bunch of such obviously bad middot that is frankly makes all the spiritual benefits being claimed for yoja a farce.

So I’m back to the question:

Are the ‘orthodox’ yoja people out there cognitively impaired in some way (which clearly would explain a lot…) OR, are they deliberately trying to mislead people?

If it’s the former, I have some theories about how that might have happened (which is definitely a post for another time.) If it’s the latter, then the whole thing suddenly takes on a much more sinister spiritual hue.

It’s like this: Jews for J may also be very nice, well-meaning people, but I still wouldn’t invite them for Shabbat or have anything much to do with them.

Why not?

The answer is obvious (or at least, I hope it’s obvious).

Yoshkianity, Hinduism and Buddhism are all alien religions, and complete poison to a Jewish soul. If someone wants to cling on to their asanas for dear life, it’s a free country and they’re allowed. But just as I wouldn’t want anything to do with an evangelical Jew for Yoshki, I also don’t want anything to do with an evangelical Jew for Yoja, either.

And for exactly the same reason.

A little while ago, I had the privilege of attending one of those ‘women’s entertainment things’ in Jerusalem.

I stopped doing that stuff when I was going through my fanatical frum stage, but the last few months they’ve come back on my radar, and broadly speaking, I usually quite enjoy them.

A friend of mine happened to treat me to this production, and when I showed up at the theatre I found I was seated next to a whole bunch of people who I used to know from the first place I lived in Israel – the place we had to sell up our massive house and leave, because both mine and my husband’s businesses went bust.

Whoah Bessy.

For years, I couldn’t even go back to that place for a visit, as it would inevitably spark off so many feelings of self-loathing and despair

– ie, I would start reliving my last few, incredibly difficult, months there. Now I know that’s a common thing that happens when you went through a very traumatic experience, but for years I was blaming the place itself, the people, everything, really.

But that’s not all: there were also a bunch of people there that I hadn’t seen for years from the second place we lived in, that we had to sell up our massive house and leave because I was having enormous panic attacks and living in fear that terrorists were going to break into my house and murder me, God forbid.

It got so bad, that I still can’t spend more than five minutes in that yishuv, and I’ve never really been back to visit anyone. Bad associations, again.

And then, there were a handful of people there from the last place we had to sell up our massive house and leave, because we ran out of money and were basically going bonkers there.

Whoah Bessy, again.

That’s quite a lot of traumatic situations, difficult memories and overwhelming emotional triggers to deal with in one night. But you know what? God helped me, and I mostly even enjoyed myself.

Until this morning.

I woke up this morning feeling the beginnings of that ‘down’ feeling that if you don’t acknowledge it ASAP and go and find out what’s sparking it off and what you need to do to counter it, can quickly spiral down into the blackest depression.

Luckily, I’ve worked out enough things to quickly recognize the following:

  • Someone or something at the event had made me feel worthless in some way
  • I just had to figure out what was going on, and take it back to God, to side-step the impending depression
  • These things always show up THE DAY AFTER

So after a bit of reflecting on who’d I’d spoken to and what they’d said, I came up with the following:

  • I was still feeling a little guilty about moving my kids around so much, albeit they’ve actually come through it all amazingly, and are far more resilient, confident and mature than most kids their age, as a result. They also find it much easier to just be ‘them’, and to make friends with people who are different, which is a huge gift.

Still, when someone commented that my kids were like ‘army brats’, that still stung enough to make me feel pretty down about my worth as a mother, the morning after.

  • I’m still struggling on some level to accept that us not being in any position to buy a house here – despite having lived here for more than a decade, despite trying to do what God wants – is for my good.

I see Mrs X – and I remember the 5 bedroom house with basement I had next to hers, that she’s still living in, and I’m not. I see Mrs Y – and I remember the garden of my house that I worked on for two years, down the road from the house that she is still living in. I see Mrs W, and I wonder why it is God has let these people stay in the same place for years, while I’m still pinging all over the place like some crazy jukebox game at the age of 42.

And then, that causes me some difficulties with God.

I start to feel like maybe, He doesn’t really care about me; that I’m invisible to Him; that He’s punishing me, for something.

These are not new thoughts. They are the thoughts that I’ve had to work so hard to counter the last few years, and I guess God was just showing me that on some level, there’s still work to do.

What snapped me out of all the impending misery and gloom that was gathering around me was two things (apparently, there’s going to be lots of numbered lists in this post):

  • Saying thank you, even though sometimes it’s a struggle to say thank you. I don’t KNOW why all this stuff is good, but I want to BELIEVE that it is, and that’s enough to turn things around internally.
  • Realising that I’m still suffering from some PTSD from all the traumatic experiences we’ve gone through the last 10 years, and that seeing these people are triggering off old stuff.

Sure, the ‘army brats’ comment was insensitive, but really I reacted so strongly this morning because I started to feel that I was back there again, in those places of complete despair and shame that I had to pass through on the way out my gashmius bubble.

Once I’m done typing, I’m going to do some EFT, or a TAT, or maybe even some EMDR, to start clearing up that residual ikky stuff, and start liking myself again. Because mostly, my life is so good. And I want to be able to remember that even when I’m spending time around a bunch of blasts from the past.