In Israel, a new five month scholarship program being offered to young aspiring athletes – one of them could be you.
Last week I published a letter I received from a former caregiver, Mrs. D. She had befriended a well spouse – a friend’s mother who was in a different city and was in a somewhat similar care-giving situation, and she wanted to help her. They spent much time speaking by phone, and Mrs. D. made herself available to her new friend whenever she needed to talk.
Mrs. D. asked me for some guidance and direction. Some of the issues raised were the lack of a frum support group, clinical depression, burdening our children, financial worries, how she can best be supportive and asked where and how her friend can find outside support. Though each of the several topics can easily be a whole article, I will try and answer them in an abridged form.
Talking to someone who can understand what you are going through is huge! It helps to unburden yourself to a non-judgmental listener who has had similar experiences. “It was good to talk,” was what she told you. Don’t underestimate how much talking to you has probably helped her. You may be the only person she can unburden herself to safely. I hope it has helped you as well.
We so often get when we give. Your offer to be available for her whenever she needs to talk provides her with her own mini-support group. Your own experience and your willingness to share what you’ve learned can be of tremendous help to your friend. She is just beginning the journey that you have finished. But I need to add a word of caution. Mentoring care giving can be very draining.
You may want to set up these conversations on a regular schedule that works well for both of you and does not pull you between your own family and your friend, and pull her between her needs and her spouse’s needs. Do not be afraid to let her know when the timing is not convenient for you and set up a better time to chat or you will burn out.
The lack of “frum” support groups:
I have always been surprised how many varied support groups exist in church basements and how few in synagogues. Perhaps it is our compulsive need for privacy or fear that sharing our pain and difficulties will be bad for our families. We seem to always need to present as “fine,” and “fine” does not allow us to receive help.
There is no question that the tone and ideas expressed in a support group comprised of people from various backgrounds will sometimes feel terribly foreign to a religious person and seem totally irrelevant. Yet, there will be things said that will also be “right on” and some of the irrelevant discussion may become very relevant after 10 years of care giving.
If there is no religious support group where you live, try and find one wherein the caregivers are all coping with the same disease. That will increase the chance of it being relevant for you. Also, attend a few times before you decide to quit. New members first meetings tend to inhibit everyone. I also know of many “frum” women who preferred going to a meeting outside of their community where no one knows them for the sake of privacy. They felt they could express themselves more openly and honestly in that setting. But if a “frum” support group is what you are looking for, approach various Jewish agencies in your city and see if you can get them to start one. My experience was that many Jewish agencies feel there is simply no need for caregiver support groups because people have not asked for them. And, we caregivers need to tell them the need is there. Lastly, many of the online family care giving sites will start an internet support group if there are enough people seeking it. Approaching them about a site for religious caregivers might just provide you with what you are looking for.
Depression is very common among ill spouses as well as their care givers. Apparently, depression caused by a situation can be treated as effectively with medication as can depression caused by hormonal imbalances. Yet, in the maze of what the doctor is dealing with, depression can often get overlooked. There are wonderful medications out today that can help both the ill spouse and the caregiver with depression, but it may be up to the well spouse to bring up the subject to the doctor. With everything the family is coping with when chronic illness invades, depression no longer needs to be one of them.
More on this topic next week. You can contact me at email@example.com.
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Leah Katz, a TeenZone camper at Oorah’s TheZone summer camp and an 11th grader at Midwood High School, read her winning essay about how TheZone changed her views on Judaism at the Jewish Heritage Awards Ceremony held at Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’s office in April. The purpose of the Jewish Heritage Essay Contest is to acquaint public school students with Jewish history and customs and to help foster a deeper understanding of Jewish culture. The contest is open to students of all ethnic and religious backgrounds. Leah’s essay is reproduced in full below.
Moshe Sharett, the head of the Jewish Agency’s Political Department, visited Egypt in 1945. In Cairo he met a most remarkable young woman, a beautiful journalist who was the darling of Egyptian high society – from high-ranking military brass, to culture icons and Muslim sheikhs, to the court of King Faruk.
The two proceeded to talk about everyday things and surprisingly her mother-in-law did not find anything else to criticize. This occurred a few more times, with my client changing the topic every time by complimenting her mother-in-law or mentioning something positive about her.
There is always a lot of confusion surrounding sensory processing disorder – mainly because there are many different diagnoses that fall under the catch-all phrase sensory processing disorder (SPD). Among them are three specific subcategories:
The doctor had warned us that even if we did everything right and followed the protocol after the follicle was of the right size, there was no guarantee of success. Fertilization still had to occur, and just like couples do not necessarily become pregnant every month, we had no way to know if we were actually expecting for two full weeks.
The next chapter of the award-winning novel.
Jewish Press columnist Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, founder and president of Hineni, the international Torah outreach organization, recently addressed an overflowing audience at the Beth Jacob Congregation of Irvine in southern California. Rebbetzin Jungreis’s address theme, “Making a Good Relationship Magical,” was apropos for the evening’s main mission: raising funds for the Irvine community’s mikveh.
You have probably been planning your marriage since you were about three. Let’s fast-forward to a big milestone– your twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. (Don’t worry, you don’t look a day over twenty one!) Now, would you appreciate your husband buying you a dozen roses that some florist recommended?
As I mentioned in my earlier articles about our family trip to Israel, our night flight went pretty smooth, thanks to my children’s willingness to sleep throughout the flight. I, on the other hand, didn’t sleep a wink and I wasn’t feeling too great by the time we landed. But we were finally in Israel, and just being in the beautifully renovated Ben Gurion airport and hearing all the Hebrew around us was exciting enough.
While all the flowers that grace your Shavuos table will surely be a delight to your eye, these will be a delight for your palette as well. Create them at any level, simple or sophisticated; any way you make them they’re sure to be a sensation.
Welcome back to “You’re Asking Me?” where we attempt to answer questions sent in by people who fortunately have fake names, so they won’t be embarrassed. I don’t know how they got through school, though.
Speechless wonder is the reaction to the beautiful vision seen though the Arch of the Keshet Cave at the Adamit Park in the Galilee. One of the most amazing natural wonders in Eretz Yisrael, the Me’arat Hakeshet — also known as the Rainbow Cave or Arch Cave — can be found up against the Israel-Lebanon border just a few kilometers from Rosh Hanikra and the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea. It is situated amid the wild scenery on the cliffs of Nachal Betzet and Nachal Namer, on the Adamit Ridge.
When one is blind one learns to use Braille to read. When one cannot walk, a wheelchair gives mobility. Sign language allows a mute person to speak and ocular implants assist in hearing when one is deaf. These are all compensatory strategies that help a person function despite his disability. But compensatory strategies are not just for physical problems. Understanding our psychological weaknesses and setting up our lives to ensure that we are not tempted to repeat our past mistakes, is as necessary as any aid to the disabled.
Well spouses have often discovered that their friends and relatives, despite their closeness to the situation, often don’t realize the tremendous emotional impact living with chronic illness has on the family. With the best intentions, suggestions, ideas and criticism are offered, based on the non-experience of those with healthy families. Even when the good intentioned get a taste of the difficulties, it is sometimes not enough for them to then identify and understand what the family of the chronically ill must face on a constant basis.
Over the past two weeks I have shared letters from a therapist and a well spouse. Both of the letters gave personal insights into the process of losing hope, how we react when that happens and some ways of coping when test scores, diagnosis and just simple repetitive behavior indicate that change for the better is impossible.
I’ve read your last few articles on psycho-neurological testing (Oct.8-22) with interest. As a therapist who has counseled couples dealing with chronic illness, I’d like to give you another perspective.
Your articles on the Neuro-Psychological Testing were right on (October 8-22). My husband underwent testing twice and your articles explained it things exactly the way they were. Besides the test, we also tried therapy.
Very often when we can’t face our big hurts or big loses we focus on the little ones. We can discuss those. We can cry over the small loses, be angry at the smaller hurts even though it may look trite and sound ridiculous to others.
Over the last two weeks we have been discussing one way in which well spouses can determine whether behavior displayed by their ill partners is caused by their illness or is a way they have chosen to act. We have focused on Psycho-Neurological testing, what it can tell us, as well as its pros and cons.
Last week I discussed a question that haunts many well spouses: not knowing if the difficult and often inappropriate behavior frequently displayed by their partners are caused by the disease and therefore not-controllable, or if the behavior is a choice the spouse makes and can therefore be changed. This doubt can be the source of much frustration and many marital disagreements. One way of alleviating this doubt is by having a psycho- neurological work up done. But that path is not so simple.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/my-answer-part-1/2009/02/11/
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