Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.
There are three main reasons why a perfectly functional and responsible person might have a breakdown.
LACK OF SLEEP: Few people are informed about the importance of sleep; in fact, we are constantly surrounded by the opposite message. We praise gedolim who sleep only 2-3 hours. We praise community activists who say, “You can call me 24/7.” Many people see sleep as a waste of time. Young men in yeshiva are proud of their ability to outdo even the gedolim by not sleeping at all! Some creative artists enjoy the flow of energy which accompanies and inspires their work. Writers often welcome the nighttime “high,” when ordinary mortals are asleep and they can use the peace and quiet to create. A new mother may find it impossible to sleep because the baby keeps waking up. She may think, “It’s not worth going to sleep, since I’ll only be woken up anyway.” New mothers may also suffer post-partum depression due to lack of sleep; if and when their babies do sleep, they use the time to work. Teachers often tell me that they sleep only three-four hours a night. Young people are not told that almost any person who goes without sleep for three or more nights will start to hallucinate. While 1% of the population needs between 4-5 hours of sleep, ordinary people need between 6-8 hours. Less than that causes the body to produce cortisol and other stress hormones which can cause high blood pressure, diabetes and cardio-vascular disease. During sleep, the body performs numerous rejuvenating activities which it cannot do when we are awake, such as consolidating learned information and cleansing the cells of toxins.
LACK OF NUTRITION: Few people, especially in the frum world, want to hear about proper nutrition. People associate sugar with love and comfort. A good hostess makes people happy and “proves” her love by making rich desserts, regardless of future illness. Most people imbibe junk foods mindlessly, accepting obesity, diabetes and other illnesses as normal and unavoidable. Those who warn others about the dangers of junk foods are often ridiculed. Here are the facts: Every nerve cell in the body is protected by a myelin sheath, which is composed mainly of vitamin B. Without adequate B, people become agitated, depressed and fatigued. B is lowered each time we use drugs or eat white flour and sugar, which also cause iron levels to fall. Ironically, a major sign of low B is a craving for sugar, which sets up a deadly cycle. Diet substitutes (except stevia) are even worse! Few schools teach good nutrition — yeshiva and seminary food is notoriously lacking in B vitamins, because nutritious foods are costly. Many young people detest the taste of whole wheat bread and never eat fruits or vegetables. Such a diet is almost guaranteed to induce mental disorders due to the lack of essential minerals and vitamins. Yet most traditional doctors claim that nutrition has no connection to mental or physical health!
ABSENCE OF LOVING FAMILY OR FULFILLING ACTIVITIES: In this busy world, there is very little time to express love. Parents race off to work and return exhausted. Dysfunction, abuse and addictions abound. Without love, depression and fear flourish. People also get depressed when they are pressured to please others rather than engage in the activities which provide personal fulfillment.
If you have intense mood swings or have had a psychotic episode, many will urge you to take psychiatric medication. It is very tempting to do so, but psychiatric meds will not provide love for the lonely or meaning for the unfulfilled. Nor will meds teach you how to be self-disciplined, loving or full of faith. To avoid meds, we must learn not to be a victim of our moods. To gain “mood mastery,” you need:
1. Regular sleep. Don’t count on your moods to tell you what to eat or when to sleep. Keep to a schedule despite the temptation to stay on the computer or engage in exciting activities! Make sure you get to sleep by 12 a.m. Sleep at least seven hours during a high mood, but not more than nine during a low. L-theanine (100-200 mg.) induces deeper and better quality sleep. Occasional melatonin can help, especially from the age of 50. You can also try hops, passiflora, uzrad and valerian to calm you occasionally. Turn your cell off at night, and do not tell anyone that you are available 24/7.
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As optimistic as Menachem Rosenberg is – and he said he is going to Uman – he’s sure that this year, most of the travelers will not tour other religious sites or places in Ukraine.
Three sets of three-day Yomim Tovim can seem overwhelming – especially when we are trying to stay healthy.
Is a missed opportunity to do a mitzvah considered a sin?
Everyone has a weakness. For some people it is the inability to walk past a sales rack without dropping a few hundred dollars. For others, it’s the inability to keep their house organized.
Not enjoying saying no, I often succumbed to requests viewing them as demands I couldn’t refuse.
His entire life was dedicated to Torah and he became a pivotal figure in the transmittal of the Oral Torah to the next generation.
When you don’t have anyone else to turn to… that’s when you’re tied to Hashem the closest.
While we all go to restaurants for a good meal, it is dessert, that final taste that lingers in your mouth, that is the crown jewel of any dining experience and Six Thirteen’s offerings did not disappoint.
Today, fifty years and six million (!) people later, Israel is truly a different world.
There will always be items that don’t freeze well – salads and some rice- or potato-based dishes – so you need to leave time to prepare or cook them closer to Yom Tov and ensure there is enough room in the refrigerator to store them.
In Uzbekistan, in the early twentieth century, it was the women who wore the pants.
Chaim* was admired in yeshiva for his incredible diligence. His days were consumed with learning and he could be found in the Beis Midrash almost 24/7. For him, sleep was a waste of time. Great things were forecast for his future until neighbors found him lying in the middle of the street in Geula, hallucinating that he was Moshiach. Medications stopped his racing mind but made him feel like a zombie. He became depressed and shell of his former self. His parents thought they were acting responsibly when they had him hospitalized and then put in a hostel.
Since suffering from colitis as a teen, I finally adopted a strict diet in my 30s that ended my torment. It wasn’t easy to forgo white flour, white sugar and all chemical additives, but it meant that I spend the last 40 years pretty much free of doctors, medications and illness, thank God. Thus, I was surprised when two weeks before Rosh Hashanah, I began to experience increasingly severe stomach discomfort – until I was barely able to move. Despite what I was soon to endure, it helped greatly to focus on the moment-to-moment miracles.
As a teenager, I suffered from occasional panic attacks, social anxiety, and more than the usual amount of teenage angst. In today’s drug-obsessed society, I would certainly have been given psych meds; thankfully, back then, it was expected that maturity would bring greater resilience and awareness. And so it was.
Psychologist David Richo defines love in terms of five A’s: appreciation, affection, attentiveness (listening), acceptance and allowing (as in allowing others the freedom to fulfill their own dreams). Love is the opposite of control.
The couple had barely completed their brief intake papers, which included a small handwriting sample, when, her eyes blazing with fury, the wife pounded on the small table between us and yelled, “He has to grow up! I need a husband who is a real partner, not a lazy good-for-nothing who won’t take responsibility and is totally clueless about my needs!” Her husband sat hunched in his chair, looking like a hapless cat which had somehow survived the spin cycle in a washing machine.
Kindness is such an essential Jewish trait that we are told to suspect that a cruel person is not really Jewish. The media constantly uplifts us with inspirational stories about saintly people who radiated love to their fellowman and did their utmost to avoid hurting others. Yet we are also told, “Those who are kind to the cruel will eventually be cruel to the kind” (Koheles Raba 7:16). It is not a kindness to allow ourselves to be abused, exploited or manipulated. By not taking protective action when possible, we encourage destructive behavior. The following stories are examples of naïve and trusting people who paid a heavy price for being overly “nice.”
In a paper greeted enthusiastically at the May conference of the American Psychiatric Association, in San Francisco, a new name was given to a common problem, Post Traumatic Embitterment Disorder. My initial response: another excuse to drug people. However, upon thinking it over, I think that the word embittered does describe the essence of a serious problem. Many of us suffer from some degree of jealousy and bitterness about the injustices in our lives. But does that make us embittered? I would hope not. So, what characterizes embittered people? Here are some actual examples (the names have been changed):
Like medical doctors, every therapist is tormented at times with the question of the hopelessness or hopefulness of a marriage or any other relationship. Everyone is anxious to know if the “broken” spouse/child/parent/sibling can be fixed. With desperation in their voices, they ask, “Can medication, therapy or other interventions turn him/her around and stop him/her from being so depressed, anxious, addicted or angry?” How can a therapist say, “There is no hope.”?
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/health/bipolar-not-a-life-sentence/2013/01/11/
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