Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Turning Tides: Sailing Stormy Seas

As told to Leah Gebber

A diagnosis is perhaps the ultimate fear and the ultimate comfort. Ah, so there’s a name for the crazy way I’ve been feeling. Ah, there’s something very real and very frightening going on in my life. And Aaaaah, there might be a way forward.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

I had been married for over a decade, had a houseful of children, and if you looked at me, you’d see yet another housewife, utterly ordinary. But my inner world roiled with emotion — grief, sadness, anger, disappointment. It was almost like I had no skin to protect me from the elements, so every passing whisper of feeling became a veritable storm. I was left buffeted, desperate, and fearful. I remember the time I asked my husband to bring me a tea. He added a heaping teaspoon of sugar instead of sweetener. Telling it over, it sounds ridiculous, but the disappointment I felt plunged me into a pit. “Don’t you know that I don’t take sugar?” I yelled. “You don’t care about me! You don’t even know me!” My husband was completely and utterly bewildered. What exactly did he do wrong? I didn’t know myself, only that my inner world was screaming that he didn’t care, that he would abandon me, that the world was a fearful place wherein everything that could go wrong would do so. And all of this about a teaspoon of sugar. Most of the time, and definitely on the outside, I’m just your average nice person. Inside, though, there are extremes fighting to get out. I found that I could keep the dike closed for a few days, weeks even, but eventually the pressure got too great and I would break down emotionally, feeling despair and terrible fear. I felt like my husband wasn’t supporting me enough through it and I was, at the same time, terrified that he would abandon me. I would cry, unceasing, racking sobs that brought no relief, but only hurt me more, and dug me deeper into my rut. I used the physical pain of the crying to cover up and distract myself from the emotional pain that I had no clue how to deal with. I tried therapist after therapist, and some of them helped a little, but nothing really hit the spot. Some I blame for incompetence, others told me what I wasn’t ready to hear. Like that I should visit a psychiatrist. Me? A psychiatric disorder? It was too much to contemplate. I desperately wanted to be a regular person, but just wanting to be a regular person is not enough. It’s hard enough to contemplate going through therapy, let alone having some kind of psychiatric disorder.

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

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.

What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you