Feeling thoroughly angry and despairing.  My holiday is shaping up to be the worst ever, although I may still get to see one or two Hevria people.  I’ve screwed up the travel insurance, which resulted in my father treating me like I’m a moron.  The two things I can’t stand are being ignored and being treated like an imbecile and I’ve had plenty of both so far with this stupid, pointless holiday.  Why did I ever think (a) that I was competent to do this and (b) that E. would stay with someone as screwed up as me long enough for the trip to be worthwhile?  I did seriously consider cancelling it, but I would have lost too much money and it would have felt cowardly.  I’m going to have to go abroad by myself one day, so I might as well get it over with.

There’s a lot of more general anger too, against HaShem (God) for making me suffer so much with my mental health issues and against the Jewish community, which takes care of its own, but doesn’t seem to consider me its own, in terms of helping me fit in to the community, find meals for Shabbat when I’m on holiday and, of course, find a spouse.

I worry that all this anger and hatred and unjustified self-pity (i.e. I’m not really justified in pitying myself so much, because really I can’t say I don’t deserve this) is going to coalesce and I’m going to turn into some kind of antisemitic (self-hating Jew), misogynistic anti-theist.  I don’t want that to happen, but I’m worried it might.

There’s a metaphor from the Midrash or the Talmud or something about a chamberlain who has the keys to the inner chamber of the royal treasury, but not to the outer door, so he can’t get to the riches inside.  I can’t remember what the original context is, but I feel a bit like that.  It’s no good frum (religious) people telling me that everything God does is for the best, that no suffering is unjust and that if I suffer now, I will be rewarded later, probably in the next world, because I feel I don’t have what I need right now to meet the immediate challenge (get through the out door/cope with my immediate feelings of anger, loneliness, despair, rebellion, hatred etc.) to get to the inner chamber (later reward).

Right now I feel like I just want to curl up on the bed and cry, but I have important stuff to do.  Watching Doctor Who just made me feel worse (The Girl Who Waited, a reasonably good episode, but too romantic and depressing for right now – the perils of watching stuff in order.  Next up is The God Complex, which probably also isn’t such a good idea right now for different reasons).

 

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5 thoughts on “I Want to Scream

  1. I suggest screaming and crying – it won’t do you any good to hold it all inside and it’s better out than in. Also, if you can let it out in a controlled way and in a safe space you’re less likely to explode in less appropriate surroundings. All the other stuff can wait. I’ll text you soon, and in the meantime write any time you like.

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  2. I don’t think I can literally scream and cry right now. I’ve just spent about an hour (I’m not sure as I wasn’t looking at the time) lying on the bed. I just don’t want to be here (although I’m not suicidal). I’m anxious about my trip and I can’t bear the thought of being alone forever and I’m so angry with HaShem and probably with the frum community right now.

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  3. You have a right to be angry and are in good company. A lot of the great saints of different traditions often screamed at G-d and were furious with Him (Saint Teresa of Avila comes to mind) and wrestling with G-d is part of what being Jewish is all about. The closer you are to someone the more likely you are to be angry with them and so it is healthy to be mad at G-d on occasion, and He is big and strong enough to take it. As for the frum community, I’m afraid I’m all too familiar with feeling like that. Again, you have a right to be angry, but in this case it’s harder to express as it isn’t just one individual you’re angry with but a community, which is made up of people, who are all imperfect, struggling individuals just like we are. Part of the problem (as I see it) is that we expect so much of frum people – we expect them to exemplify all the things they’re supposed to believe in and live by, in this instance giving hospitality to people, helping to arrange shidduchim, and reaching out in friendship and fellowship. The reality is that these people that we need to be perfect also have problems, health challenges, their own family ‘stuff’, job stresses, their own frum community issues, and a million other things going on which means they’re not always able to give the level of hospitality and friendship one would hope for from them. I don’t have answers but I just want to say I feel your pain and wish I could take it away from you.

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  4. Thank you. I do feel HaShem/the community is losing me though. It’s just so much effort to stay frum with so little reward. OTOH, I think I would carry on keeping Shabbat and kashrut on auto pilot, and because I’m scared how other people would react if I publicly renounced Judaism, plus I do find Shabbat somewhat meaningful even if I sleep through most of it. Torah study and prayer are getting harder and harder, though, because I feel, “What’s the point?”

    OTOH, part of me feels I have no right to be angry, that no one promised life would be good and I should just suck it up. This is basically just about loneliness/love/sex anyway; if I still had a girlfriend or was married, I doubt I would be feeling like this, at least not so badly.

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  5. I get you. I know what you mean about Shabbos – I love it so much I couldn’t give it up even if I didn’t believe what I do (chas v’sholom). Interestingly, quite a few of my non-Jewish spiritual teachers have been talking about the necessity and importance of having a Sabbath day and encouraging people to have one, and so I think the Sabbath principle is really catching on.

    Regarding your point about you wouldn’t be feeling this way if you were married; the fact is you are feeling this way and it isn’t the first time and so it’s important it’s worked with. One’s religious community is supposed to be like an extended family – people who you can turn to at any time, who are there for you through thick and thin, and who you feel loved and supported by. The fact you don’t feel any of these things much of the time (any of the time?) speaks volumes and I don’t think this is just because you’re not married.

    As for your relationship with HaShem; this is altogether different and needs to be looked at separately from your relationship with the community. Unfortunately, so many people turn away from G-d if they leave the frum community or have a major problem with it, and I can understand why, but one’s relationship with G-d should be and is so much more than that – it’s much more personal and is above and beyond any community affiliation and beliefs. It’s the relationship that underpins everything else in our life – it’s the foundation of our being – and He is so much more – infinitely more – than the tiny boxes religion tries to squeeze Him into. He is only glimpsed at in His holy books – and wants to be known and experienced in intimate relationship with us. For some people religion can help point the way, provide structure, give guidance and parameters, but ultimately the One wants to be met in the secret inner chambers of the heart, in the quiet sanctuary of the soul, which has nothing to do with any community or building or set of laws. We need to make our bond with Him so strong and sure that no matter what happens to us in our religious communities that relationship is unshaken and unshakeable.

    End of sermon 🙂

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