Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Hijacked to Health

As told to Chany Rosengarten

When Ressy hijacked me in her car, boy, did I kick up a fuss. Ressy is my wife, but that that doesn’t mean I follow her blindly. She has an obsession with health and a compulsion with nutrients and I must stay on guard. Mung beans are her potato chips. She visits the chiropractor like other women visit the spa. She spent thirty dollars — thirty — on an organic papaya. I guess, though, I should tell you why she bought it in the first place.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

There I sat, buckled into our Honda Odyssey, because Ressy issued a “Let’s talk” order, and she was behind the wheel. Instead of the usual scenic throughway we take whenever we need to smooth out an issue, we were surrounded by towering skyscrapers and the honk and din ofManhattan.

I had known Ressy would want to talk after last night. It had been an unusually hard day for me. My boss didn’t realize what a good job I was doing under difficult conditions. He came down really heavy. When I came home, Ressy was busy serving dinner to the children, and she barely listened to me. And that wasn’t right, I told her. Husband before children, isn’t that the order of priorities?

Ressy went all cold and she wasn’t even there for me later, when I started punching my pillow to vent my frustration. She walked out the house, so I followed her and blocked her way. This morning, she didn’t say a word. Until she picked me up from Shacharis, and instead of driving me home, or even out into the wide open spaces, we were stuck inManhattan’s snarl.

“Why are we here?” We stopped at a red light and people bobbed across the street.

“We’re going to Dr. Frey.” Ressy’s shoulders leaned in on the steering wheel.

“Who’s this Frey guy?”

“A chiropractor,” she said simply, glancing at me before turning back to the traffic light.

“I don’t need one,” I said, putting on the smile that usually wins my way.

She ignored me.

“You’ve been doing well for the last few weeks, but I want you to be well. I want you to be healthy, completely healed.”

She was talking, of course, about my emotional state, which fluctuated from down in the depths to up in the heavens, crashing and rising like a broken barometer. I’ve used every medication the psychiatrist has in his bag of tricks, some with better results than others. I’ve been fat, lethargic, angry (lethal), drugged, bugged, everything.

But now I was doing fine. Not too many outbursts. No swaying, rocking (just a little), crying. I went out to my job and brought home a paycheck. Six weeks had passed on a plateau, neither dipping sharply nor rising like the inflated economy. I was fine.

I must grant it to Ressy, she’s an eishes chayil if ever there was one. She’s been by my side and tried to understand, even though anyone who’s never tried mental illness can’t possibly understand. She’s tolerated my daily bawling and thrashing, my angry outbursts. She kept up cheerful banter when I stared into the depths of space, my eyes focused on an unseen dot. She laughed with me good-naturedly when I told her my belief that henceforth I’m earning a six-figure wage. But at some point, even the deepest well of patience runs dry.

And then, late last night when I’d finally calmed down, she said, “It’s your illness or me. Choose which one you want to live with.”

This was no threat. This was for real.

 

 To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha. To sign up for a weekly subscription click here.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Not a Newspaper
Shoshana Friedman A deeper difference between newspapers and magazines
Services in Shards
Rabbi Moshe Grylak “Such a painful, malicious lie!”
The Pittsburgh Protests: All Politics All the Time
Yonoson Rosenblum The old rule — “no enemies on the left” — still applies
Danger: School Crossing
Eytan Kobre The hypocrisy of YAFFED’s assertion is breathtaking
Real Laughter and Real Tears
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger The two sides of a life lived with emunah
Work/Life Solutions with Eli Langer
Moe Mernick I was proud to be “that guy with the yarmulke”
Is Ktchong! a Mitzvah? When Prayer and Charity Collide
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman These cannot both be done effectively at the same time
An Honest Shidduch
Jacob L. Freedman “Baruch Hashem I’m cured, and this will be my secret”
A Blessing in Disguise
Riki Goldstein “I never thought the song would catch on as it has”
Ishay and Motti Strike a Common Chord
Riki Goldstein Bringing together two worlds of Jewish music
What’s your favorite Motzaei Shabbos niggun?
Riki Goldstein From the holy and separate back to the mundane
Rightfully Mine
Faigy Peritzman Don’t regret the job you didn’t land; it was never yours
Growing Greener Grass
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Nurture your blessings and watch them blossom
My Way or the High Way
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt We know what we want — but do we know what He wants?