Dear Mrs. Bluth,
This letter is a “hakoras hatov” to you for saving my marriage and my life. Although we have never met face to face and I didn’t know how to reach you, I called The Jewish Press office and, within minutes, you called me back. It was over ten years ago, I was newly married and couldn’t talk to my parents or anyone else about my problems. I didn’t take your advice then, because it was totally against what was accepted by our “oilem”; I just tried as best as I could to manage. Well, babies came and things got worse. It began affecting my health and I almost suffered a nervous breakdown. Still, I didn’t tell anyone. Everyone was so busy with their own lives and housefuls of children, they barely had time for their own lives, how could I burden them with mine? The years continued and I fell into, what I now understand was depression. I lost a lot of weight, spoke little and simply put one foot in front of the other to get through the day and night. I had no menuchas hanefesh and certainly no simchas hachayim.
Five months ago I attended my niece’s wedding. I felt horrible being there and I sat curled up into a corner so as not to be noticed. You came over and sat down next to me. I thought that you, too, felt out of place at the simcha; maybe because your dress was so different from the chassidishe ladies. You put your hand on my shoulder and said these words: “Please let me help…” I started crying because I so desperately wanted help but didn’t know from where to get it. You took my hand and steered me to an empty room in the hall. When you introduced yourself, I recognized your name and the floodgates of my pain opened up. You listened, and even when I told you I had spoken to you over the phone years ago, you didn’t turn away or judge me badly for not taking your advice. I spoke for a very long time and when I was done and totally empty from crying, you took out a pen and wrote down three names and told me to call whomever I chose to see. You said to not worry and to just go and see that person. By the time we got back to the simcha it was after the chuppah and when I turned around you were gone.
This time I listened. I called the second name on the list, why? I cannot say, but that one was what my heart told me to pick. She is a wonderful lady who makes me feel as though I was the only person she is seeing. Things began to turn around from my second visit with her. She made me feel that there was hope for a good life with my husband and that my depressed state and health issues were tied into the problems between us. She suggested I ask my husband to come along on the ensuing visits so that we could address the marital issues as well. It was a huge job to convince my husband to come with, but he asked his Rebbe who said for shalom bayis issues he should go.
It is now five months later, and my life is changing for the better, both personally and in my marriage. Our home life is so much improved and I have only you and Hakodosh Boruch Hu to thank for this wonderful gift. I wish I could share what a difference therapy has made for me and for us, because so many yungeleit who I suspect have problems could benefit from it, but don’t go because it is not accepted in our community. I just wanted to let you know that I am so grateful, and I understand that Hashem heard my tefillos, collected my tears and orchestrated that we should meet so I would finally get the help I prayed for. May Hashem grant you the ability to keep helping those who have nowhere to turn, ad meyah ve’esrim shanah.
It is I who would like to thank you for the beautiful update and the hopeful message you are sending to those who feel that they are doomed to suffer throughout life without a moment of peace or joy. It has always been my absolute belief that Hakodosh Baruch Hu created a refuah for every makah, one has but to put in the effort to find it and Hashem will guide us to it. Hashem Yisborach is our Heavenly Father, full of compassion and weeps with us when we suffer. I too am blessed that He chose me as the vehicle by which you have found that refuah, and your letter, in turn, has given me so much joy. May your words encourage all who search for mental and emotional intervention to help them out of their darkness see what therapy can do to bring back quality of life and joy of living. May your journey forward continue successfully to bring you all that you wish for and more.
To my readers: I would like to explain that this letter was sent to me in a mixture of Yiddish and English and what you read above was my adaptation of it for this column. I have stayed true to its message.