My complicated thoughts on the election

(disclaimer: some of it is religious in nature)

This is a tough time to be American. I’m sure glad I don’t live there right now. Passions are running high, everyone has an opinion. Some are grieving, some are ecstatic. My facebook feed is a mix actually. I have friends on both sides as I friend people based on things we have in common like autism, writing and blogging. Their political leaning held no interest for me.

My thoughts on the election outcome are very complicated. I have refrained from openly discussing my views on Facebook as I don’t want to hurt or offend anyone and I use facebook as a place to make contacts with other writers or support other parents with high functioning autistic children. Politics is also not my thing and I have never cared much and especially not in the country I live in (Europe). I voted because I had to and only made sure not to vote for those openly saying that Muslims don’t belong here because we all know they’ll include Jews as well in the end and I hate racism. Also, us Europeans are much less passionate than our American brethren. So one part is cultural.

Then it becomes complicated. If you know me, you know I grew up and still belong to one of the strictest sects of Hasidism. I grew up very sheltered and insular.  I’m not supposed to be online, much less so on FB. I am anonymous and still hope that no one in my real life knows it’s me. I use FB as a tool to get my writing out there and make some connections and also originally started an account to open up a support group and page for parents of HFA children as my son is autistic and there wasn’t enough support for our challenges. I don’t use FB for the social aspect although, after a few years, the connections deepened and some real friendships were made. I started caring for some people, cared about their opinions. I read lots of political posts and started to open my mind to things it hadn’t been before. I didn’t know (and still don’t understand much) what feminism is, what white privilege meant and all these terms thrown around.

I’m also a very non-confrontational and mellow person. I don’t have strong opinions and lots of time don’t care one way or another. I have issues with organizing my thoughts to express what I really mean so I mostly prefer to stay quiet and go about my business.

Being a non-American I didn’t really have any strong feelings for any candidate. I don’t even understand all the politics there and what it all means. So I was never pro or anti-Clinton. I knew Trump from TV as I watched The apprentice years ago. I thought it was funny that he ran for president but that was all.

He then opened his mouth. What I hated the most about him were all the stuff I read about sexual assault. As a rape and molestation survivor that was very hurtful. I kept reading my friends accounts of how he treats and feels about disabled people. It wouldn’t affect me personally because I don’t live there but it affects all my fellow autism parents. He started to disgust me.

I started wondering who I would vote for IF I would be American. It became quite complicated. The way I see it, the last 8 years were not very good for Israeli relations with the US and this, as an ultra-Orthodox Jew, matters to me. The political correctness sometimes got to me too. Why not call  an attack that was clearly terrorism-related a “terrorist attack”? (in Israel). There were lots more some moments like that, that had my head in my hands in despair. So I probably wouldn’t have voted for someone who would continue in the same vein.

Now it becomes sensitive. (I’m trying the best I can to phrase all this right but I’m human) I’m a peace loving person and I would like nothing more than to have everyone live their lives according to the way they think is right. I have my beliefs which are rooted in the Torah and live according to them. I would never impose them onto others as that’s not what G-d wants. A non-Jew doesn’t need to keep our laws or believe what we believe in. G-d asks of the nations to be decent people and live morally correct lives. I’m not G-ds police and I don’t think He intended for anyone to be.

Most of you know that our Torah is against the gay lifestyle, is anti-abortion and so on. Here is where it gets tricky. I have some dear friends on FB who have gay children or are gay themselves. I love them and respect them and don’t judge them or the way they live. Who am I to say “your lifestyle is immoral/wrong/whatever”. *I* need to be ok in G-d’s eyes and HE has not asked me to change others or make them see the light. I would never do that. So we mostly don’t discuss that issue and I say live and let live. Yes, it might be hurtful to them that in my heart I can’t agree with that lifestyle bc my Torah says no (and I love my Torah and my G-d) but I hope they can respect me anyway. I don’t agree with those who are vocal and try to change others because I believe that’s not what G-d wants. (for those asking what I would do if my son would become gay, I have truly no idea but one thing I know, I will continue to love him)

What this long-winded post was meant to say is that although I empathize so much with my Clinton supporter friends, I actually identify with *some* (not all) of Trump’s views. I hate the way he talks about his views, I hate the way he treats women and minimizes sexual assault. But some of his views align with mine BECAUSE I’m a Hasidic Jew.

But our Torah also says to love all people. I don’t have much interaction in real life with non-Jews as we live very insular. (I mean close interaction). I am friendly and cordial to everyone I meet, even some Muslims who look at me as if they want to kill me (yes, there are some like that), I smile to each and every person and have had some great conversations with people who asked interesting questions and wanted to learn more about my faith. I don’t hate black people (why should I) and I don’t hate Muslims either or any person. I only hate those that hate me for no reason other than that I’m a Jew.

This is the reason I didn’t clearly say who I support on FB. Because it’s not clear cut. I like Hillary because she is more normal than Donald Trump and the world would probably stay more stable. I don’t like Trump because the way he spoke, the fear he sowed and the real disgusting people who are now being more open with their racist comments and actions because of him. But then, I do support some of his views.

As I didn’t have a clear-cut answer as to who I support, I didn’t chime in on my friend’s posts. I only tried to empathize with their feelings because they are all valid. They have legitimate concerns. I hear them on their fears for their children,  fear for their human rights and so on. On the other side, I don’t TOTALLY disagree with the Trump supporters (not the thugs, the rational, normal people) either. And since I’m no American, I didn’t think my voice mattered much to begin with.

But here, on my personal space, I wanted to do a little explaining. Not sure I did a good job because I’m truly bad at getting my point across and organize my thoughts on paper.

I’m glad I didn’t have to make that difficult choice. As a believing Jew, I know that if G-d got him elected, this is the way it must be. There is no other logical explanation other that that it’s G-d’s will. We believe in the coming of the Messiah (Moshiach) and our holy books predict turbulent times before the redemption. A lot that has been predicted has come to pass. I can only pray for our future, the future of our children. The rest I leave up to my G-d.

 

(food struggle) Progress of PSE treatment

Katya asked me to come back after 4 weeks. It’s now two weeks after that appointment so I have been busy with the treatment for 6 weeks now. She had told me that patience was needed as this would not be a quick fix. I’d like to be honest here so I won’t pretend I have been perfect. She had told me to eat gluten free. The first three weeks went very well but then, I fell back into my old pattern and cheated a bit here and there. Nothing too terrible but I’m not happy with myself.

Katya also gave me two medications for helping my intestine issues which I have stopped taking because they are just so disgusting. (trying to get myself to take them again)

When I got to my appointment, she went on to check my energy levels. She was happy to see that my mental energy has  gone up from 23% to 44%. I find it interesting because I haven’t felt a difference. I still feel like I have a blocked brain. She had warned me though that I shouldn’t expect miracles so I’m still being patient.

I’m taking the drops religiously, though. She upped the dosage. After two weeks of taking the higher dose, I started feeling quite blue. I got insulted by a family member who has a habit of being tactless and stupid. This spiraled me into a very down mood. I was having sad thoughts and I didn’t recognize myself. I’m usually a very positive person and if I’m in a bad mood, it’s never for too long. I just don’t have the energy for staying in a bad mood😀. It took me a few days to realize that my blues might be a reaction to the drops. The whole idea of this treatment is to release the traumas. Since this person who insulted me was the one who abused me my thoughts went into that direction. I was remembering and feeling intense feelings of hatred for that person. It started on Saturday. By now, my feelings have calmed somewhat. I have a therapy appointment this afternoon and I will explore all that with her.

Although I didn’t like the way I felt, I’m relieved the drops are starting to work and hopefully I will feel a positive difference soon.

In two weeks I have the next appointment and I will keep you all updated.

Link: https://myfoodstruggle.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/progress-of-pse-treatment/

(Food struggle) Psychosomatic energetics.

There I was, sitting in the office of Katya, a naturopath from Germany. She invites me to sit next to her and starts by asking me some questions. What are my problems? Well, I have many but I talk about my very frequent stomachaches and my non-stop sinus infections. These are my “safe” problems. At the table, I see a machine. Later, I read that this is called a Reba machine, designed to measure a person’s energy. It measures four parts; the mental, vital, emotional and causal energy. If they aren’t optimal, you’ll feel it in different ways.

Before I tell you what that Reba device said about me, I’ll explain some of the issues I have had over the years. I have been going to a therapist to explore and get over childhood abuse. I have been trying to explain to her what I actually felt. I knew I had no energy, mostly a bit in the morning but that was it. I also felt like I had some kind of mental fatigue. A tired brain. The only thing I felt like doing was sitting on the couch, surfing mindlessly. Just the thought of getting up and doing something made me tired.

I also had been feeling numb inside. My feelings had been shut off. I had no idea when it happened. It could be after the loss of my baby. I just didn’t feel anything. When I tried EMDR to try and get over the trauma of the abuse, it just didn’t work. The therapist told me I likely stuffed my feelings way-way down. These were the things my therapist and I were discussing all the time.

Back to Katya. The only thing I had told her before we started were my physical ailments. She had no way of knowing all of the above. The whole procedure was very interesting. She tied a string around my wrists that was connected to the machine and she was adding little vials of somethings to the machine and holding my hands on and off. This went on for about 15 minutes. The things she then told me were scary. First, she asks me what happened when I was 15. My abuse happened when I was way younger but I knew very well what she was talking about. There is not a soul in my world (real life) who knows about this well kept secret (besides therapist). I couldn’t believe she saw that (molestation). She claimed that traumatic event froze my feelings and just locked them up.

She then told me my energy levels. VITAL=45% which I expected and explained why I never have energy. EMOTIONAL= 50% which means I’m not especially unhappy but not happy either. CAUSAL=40 out of 50 which means I’m very sensitive, intuitive and connected to the world around me. MENTAL=23%

She explained that all my mental energy went to making sure the trauma stays deeply hidden. So it’s no wonder there isn’t any left for all the other things. I actually teared up hearing her say this! So it’s not all in my mind! With only 23% of my mental energy working, is it a wonder I’m forever overwhelmed by every little thing? That I cannot retain a single bit of information in my mind? That I can’t think or remember anything? No wonder I thought I had ADD! My husband keeps saying I wasn’t that bad in the beginning of our marriage. As the years go by I believe the energy level went less and less.

This is the first time an explanation made excellent sense. All the doctors I went to, all the alternative practitioners I visited, no one came close to finding the problem. No wonder Ritalin didn’t help! I was so relieved to hear this, I felt half the problem solved.

She also told me to go off Gluten and cow milk as she saw this isn’t good for me. I probably have a gluten sensitivity as I was tested for Celiac disease a few years ago and results were negative. I am willing to try this since I suffer from bloating and stomach cramps.

As it’s been many years, I need to be patient and not expect instant miracles. I need to give it up to five months. 25 years of repression cannot be reversed instantly.

Katya gave me drops to take. 3 times a day I need to smell a certain oil which I must admit is very soothing and calming. She gave me some other instructions which include saying an affirmative sentence to myself several times a day and wearing light blue if I can.

She wants to see me again in 4 weeks. I pray so hard for this to finally be the end of my troubles.

What I also liked about her was the fact that she didn’t bash conventional medicine. She said that she works WITH them. With children, she involves their pediatrician and she loves hearing that we work with therapists. She told me that it increases chances for success.

I will keep you updated on the progress, follow me if you don’t want to miss anything🙂

For a more in-depth explanation of the process, you can visit: http://drsusanhamilton.com/homeopathic-medicine/ and check out her site.

(Food struggle) What’s wrong with me?

I have always suffered from stomachaches from as long as I can remember. After I eat too much I have stomach cramps. I am way too dependent on meds. I also keep getting sinus infections. After going to regular doctors and finding nothing wrong, I started going to alternative practitioners. There I was diagnosed with Candida and they recommended I only eat spelt and limit sugar. I tried to keep to it but as I have said before, I have a very hard time sticking to anything restrictive so that didn’t work very well. I managed for a while but I couldn’t always control myself so I ate wheat, then felt the sinus coming on. It was a vicious cycle with me not being careful and then living off the medication.

Another symptom I suffer from is a terrible brain fog. I feel like I can’t think, can’t gather my thoughts and basically have ADD-like symptoms. I went to multiple psychiatrists but not one was willing to diagnose me with ADD. I was going for therapy for childhood sexual abuse and cried to my therapist that I feel like my life is out of control, I can’t help my ASD/ADD son if I’m like that. She referred me to yet another psychiatrist who took some tests and was willing to start me on meds. I tried Ritalin but no effect. He wanted to go real slow but I had no patience for slow. I needed to find something to help myself as soon as possible. My life was really impossible. I got overwhelmed by every little thing, even making supper was a huge chore for me. My husband was shouldering 90% of the burden of the household in addition to being the main breadwinner. It was not fair to him but I couldn’t manage without him. I felt helpless in my own life. Continue reading (Food struggle) What’s wrong with me?

My food struggle-intro

Hi everybody,

Let me start this off by telling you about myself, my history and what’s next. I hope you’ll relate to at least some of it. Growing up, I was actually thin. No problem whatsoever with my weight. At age 16 I went to study in the UK for 2 years. That’s when the weight slowly started to creep up on me. I wasn’t fat but I was chubby (size 42). I don’t know why but my mother kept on criticizing me for my weight. Even before that, I remember my father jokingly calling me the garbage can of the family as I always used to finish everyone’s leftovers. I got married at 69 kg (which is my dream goal these days). I thought I’d become pregnant right away but that didn’t happen. I did not want to go to a fertility specialist before 2 years had passed but I went for a blood test just to check. It was discovered that I suffered from hypothyroidism. That explained the weight gain that had started after I got married. Continue reading My food struggle-intro

The holiday of Sukkos

Our next holiday is upon us. The high Holidays are over, we hope we are all inscribed in the book of life and that we will merit a good, sweet year.

Sukkos: a major Jewish festival held in the autumn (beginning on the 15th day of Tishri) to commemorate the sheltering of the Israelites in the wilderness. It is marked by the erection of small booths covered in natural materials. (Google)

From tonight, for a week, we partake all our meals in the sukkah, which is best described as a hut. The reason for that is written above. Another reason is that as a temporary dwelling the sukkah also represents the fact that all existence is fragile, and therefore Sukkot is a time to appreciate the shelter of our homes and our bodies. (toriavey.com)

The sukkah is decorated by the kids, here is a picture of ours!


Our sukkah is built in.  Most people erect it only for the holiday and then take it down after. The sukkah is the reason why most Jewish families are only looking to buy apartments with balconies or houses with a garden.

This holiday is a joyous one. The first 2 days are proper holidays, where no electricity is allowed and is like a regular sabbath. Then comes Chol Ha-moed which is called the intermediate days. Some things aren’t allowed, like writing but for the rest, it’s like a regular day. The days are used to go on family outings.

Another commandment that is unique to Sukkot is the taking of the Four Kinds: an etrog(citron), a lulav (palm frond), at least three hadassim (myrtle branches) and two aravot (willow branches). The Midrash tells us that the Four Kinds represent the various types and personalities that comprise the community of Israel, whose intrinsic unity we emphasize on Sukkot. (Chabad.org)

Sukkot

Then comes the next 2 holidays of Shemini atzeres and simchat torah. Simchat Torah is the holiday for the children which they eagerly await for all year. Simcha means joy and the meaning of the holiday is our great joy at finishing and restarting the annual Torah reading cycle. The highlight of the day is called the hakafos in which the men and children dance around in circles 7 times with the Torah scrolls. It’s a beautiful and emotional sight to watch. The first few years of my marriage were hard as I had to see my husband dance empty handed. Oh, how my tears flowed when after 7 years, my husband was dancing with our precious long awaited miracle in his hands! As we want our kids to feel that Torah learning is sweet, the day is characterized by the distribution of sweets and the kids eat more junk food on that day than all year!

This holiday is a beautiful one, full of joy and adults and kids alike wait for it all year round!

Chag sameach!

Blogging about different aspects of my life as an ultra orthodox chassidic Jewish woman and mother.