My title in the eyes of the professional community has changed drastically over the years. I went from holding the blame for my panic attacks, low mood and physical symptoms to eventually “victim” (and still sometimes used) to a flip-flop of that and “survivor.” There were even times I was labelled with “weak”, “oppressed” or “sinning.” (or really any buzzword popular at any given time for a person who is struggling). Basically, I was told it was my fault and that I wasn’t fully accepting God or I was allowing the devil (an entity I don’t believe in and never have) to control me by giving in (weakness). Something I was doing or thinking was the reason why I suffered with Panic Disorder, Depression and Agoraphobia. I needed to get right with God and be the sheep I should be (sorry, I can’t help but be a bit obnoxious).
The thing is, I knew God loved and cared for me if no one else did and I knew I wasn’t doing something to cause these horrible feelings and frightening experiences. I was a long way from acknowledging the damage done by others (I’m still working on that), but at least I knew I was innocent. As much as I knew these accusations against me were unfounded and plain ridiculous or even just ignorant, it hurt. It hurt to be judged by everyone from friends who thought they knew me, to strangers who assigned the blame without knowing a thing about me. Logic is apparently frowned upon in our society and much of organized religion from my extensive experience, as it is easier to assign blame than take responsibility or bother to try to understand. We all do it from time to time, myself included, but who can stand in judgement of someone who is hurting? (I kinda already answered that, but don’t be a sheep, think for yourself.)
My first understanding of who God is, was that He loved me and praying to Him and being nice to other children and adults was of utmost importance. Fairness was a virtue, but no one bothered to point out we live in an unfair world. It was a simplistic view typical of any child and based just on what I was told by my teachers and pastor at nursery school. My years after that and up until age 14 were not so simple and pleasant (read: horrific) and although religion had hurt me so deeply over many years, I still believed in God. Somehow, even my 6 year-old brain knew that these bad people doing bad things were not godly people. I’m grateful for that steadfast faith that was repeatedly trampled, but survived in me.
As an adult, I’m simply outraged that anyone would stand for such behavior toward their children, particularly in an environment that is supposed to be nurturing, and loving and all in the name of our Creator and the concept of loving-kindness. It’s sick. Sadly, it happens all too often.
I still have a very strong connection to my faith and speak to and listen to God daily. I know He works in my life and miracles are indeed a part of my beliefs. As Chanukah begins Sunday, I am thinking of the miracle celebrated for these 8 days and pray that a miracle will occur for me. May HaShem bless you all.
Chag Chanukah Sameach, chaverim!