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.
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.