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TOPIC TITLE: An essay
Created On 4/7/05 2:42 AM
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Shadow
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4/7/05 2:42 AM
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I just found this forum and I think it's wonderful. I was diagnosed with depression, although not near as bad as it would seem others here suffer from, may Hashem be with them.
I recently composed an essay of my exploding feelings. I'd like to share it here:

Hello. My name is --. I am as of yet unborn, although 21 years of my life passed into oblivion. Let me tell you about myself, or, what I know about myself.
I was born to parents who are as loving of their children as they are ignorant in raising them. A parent is supposed to accord a child unconditional love and respect. Unconditional means expecting nothing in return. Unconditional means respecting and supporting every aspect of a child’s growth, his choices and decisions. My parents expected. Two of my brothers, they responded so they’re okay. But another brother and I, we didn’t. We are both affected.
Now I am being reborn. Reborn to different parents. I will be my own parents.

I am very bright. I mean very. I know people who claim to be smart but in reality have squash-filled skulls. Well, believe what you will, I’m smart. There is but one person of all my acquaintances who I consider brighter than myself. Even he considers himself inferior to me in intellectuality. Not to mention everyone else.
When did I come to this realization? When I was 18. I remember but once either of my parents mention anything about my intellectual capabilities; about any of my capabilities, come to think of it. It was before I went to study abroad. My mother sat me down and told me, “--, you are going away to study (-until then I studied at a very elementary level). You have the gift of being very smart. I want you to use the gift properly.” Expectations. I have to live up to a standard established not by my religious or social morals, rather by my parents. Either way, I brushed it off as a standard farewell warning. I did not know how smart I was. My teachers throughout the years bear second place burden for my ignorance of my potential.
The excuse for both my parents and my teachers is the stability of my self-esteem. I shouldn’t think too highly of myself. I shouldn’t know the truth about my own person. Of course, someone who can bench-press 350, but only presses 150 because he doesn’t know it, is not doing much to cultivate his strength. So while my ego is lying low, my growth is stunted. What an accomplishment.
Well, I still did relatively well in my studies. It would seem that my parents received nice reports on my progress. I’m sure that made them happy, but I didn’t hear about it. It would feed my ego. All I perceived at my end of the line was disappointment. I was too involved in Niglah. I should be more Chassidish. My brothers are chassidish. Maybe like them. I should go to A because I’ll become more chassidish. I shouldn’t go to B because I’m just going to learn Niglah there. The heart starts with Chassidus. But I have a brain. The brain starts with Niglah. Don’t tell me I have a brain because then I’ll learn Niglah. I won’t be chassidish because I will think highly of myself.
I didn’t go to A. I went to B.

My personality. I am very tolerant. Where others will be annoyed, I might befriend. That means I am kind hearted. Giving. I found this out from my friends.
I am outgoing when I’m comfortable, calm and quiet to outsiders. I take great pleasure in causing others to laugh. I am witty. Am I funny? I try to be. Am I? I don’t know. Maybe you can tell me.
That must not be all, but it makes no difference. I have no personality. I am not even born. My feelings and tendencies are faded colors in a haze. Now I’m mainly intellectual. When I’m reborn my personality will become pronounced. I can’t wait.

I am musical. One of the more musical in my family. At the age of four I figured out to play lead for a known Chasidic folk song on the piano. And I started on a difficult key. I could always hold a tune, a beat; I could drum on the table. Someone once gave me a bongo for my birthday. My parents never arranged music lessons. They never encouraged me to take it to the next step. A friend of my father’s offered to buy me a drum set for my Bar Mitzvah. My mother refused. I ended up convincing my parents to pay for lessons after I left home. My teacher’s father died after four lessons. That ended that.
My mother was afraid my music would distract me from the more important things: being chassidish. Her father threw a tantrum when his son decided to take voice lessons. It may distract him from being chassidish. My cousin plays music and he’s not chassidish. But his brother doesn’t play any music and he’s not chassidish either. His little brother plays music and he is chassidish.
Humans have free will. I can choose to play my music in a rock band, or I can choose to play my music in my living room. Music is a major part of Chassidus. Songs are the pen of the heart, and spiritual songs stir the strings of the soul. But my mother didn’t want to open that choice for me. She wanted it closed; after all, I may choose the rock band. She had an agenda for me. She had expectations.
I just turned five. I’m learning to play the piano. My mother lets me. I am my mother.

I am artistic. I can’t draw, or paint, but I can design. I have an eye for a nice design. For blended shapes and colors. I barely know this.
I am an awesome writer. When I look back at documents I wrote, I can barely believe I am capable of authoring them. It’s fun to write. My mother told me I write well and I should develop my talent. But that was a month ago. It was too late. By then I had already figured out that I write well.
I am athletic. In 5th grade I was the fastest runner in my class, or so I would like to believe. I was at least runner-up. Although I didn’t make a shot the entire basketball season, when the coach needed the ball stolen, he looked for me. My mother was opposed to me playing basketball for my school. It may lead me in the wrong direction.
Who knows where I would end up as an artist? Designing magazines or websites for secular companies. Maybe worse. I could also design logos and brochures for Chabad institutions, but why expose the uncertainty? You can never be sure where one will end up. Better stunt all opposition. And potential opposition.
I should not be a writer either. Writers author romance novels. Romance novels aren’t chassidish. Who cares what good I can do with my talent if there’s negative potential?
Heaven forefend I should become an athlete. What, play in the NBA? Nothing more degrading than that. But what about exercise? What about staying fit? Just wearing sneakers is not chassidish. But maybe I will now, because now I am my own parents.

Expectations. Parents should not expect. My parents do. They expect respect and obedience. I’m expected to take out the garbage. My father expects me to answer the phone, although 29 out of 30 calls are not for me. He expects me to put away the clean dishes. My mother expects also. I have to unload the car of groceries.
It really doesn’t matter what I feel. What I need. I must drop my needs and attend to the things my parents need. If I can’t help for a certain reason, it’s just an excuse. I should really help. If I don’t help I should feel guilty.
According to Jewish doctrine, I am expected to respect my parents and assist them with their needs when they are invalid. Maybe when they’re not invalid too. But only after I turn 13. My parents expected assistance ever since I can remember. They don’t do it because they want to instill moral values in me. They ask for help because they are lazy. I know because I am lazy too. You may have assumed their expectancies made me a moving person. Nah, it doesn’t work that way. I grew up lazy just like them. They taught me how it’s done.
I promised myself that I won’t be lazy after I’m reborn. I won’t be lazy to my children. I don’t want them to go through my life.

All the expectations accumulate into a wave. When the expectations are not realized the wave crashes. My brother’s wave crashed onto him. My wave crashed onto me. Now we’re both looking for medical help. We will need medication. And then we will need therapy. But now I’m drowning in my wave.
What good is my brain if I can’t concentrate or make decisions? What good is my intellect if I’m not interested in learning? What good is my kindness if I am exploding in anger? What good is my tolerance if I stay away from people? I’m the greatest person I know, but now I’m just drowning in a wave. The wave of my parents expectations.
I’m learning to play music. Music is soothing.
I’m writing my feelings away. I like writing. I’m good at writing.
Writing and music. I grab onto them and float. I will cling onto them tightly until I am reborn.
When I am reborn my life will be different. It will be clear. It will be easy. I will be my beautiful personality. I will enjoy my company. I won’t be washed up by a wave. I will tan on the sun-soaked beach instead.

I will never show what I wrote here to my parents. My father wouldn’t know what to do with it. My mother, well, it would really hurt her. My mother is a wonderful person, a loving mother. She tried her best. She did what she thought was right. I love my mother. I won’t hurt her. I won’t show her my thoughts. I will live with them, live in them, and get over them.
I had expectant parents. The father of my children will be trusting. I hope.
 
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Recovering
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4/7/05 7:22 PM
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Wow. I don't know what to say, just, wow. This is so moving, and expresses so many of the constant thoughts and feelings that assault my own brain, to see it put so eloquently into words is just, wow. The realizations you've come to, the finding of your own self-worth and capabilities, is just amazing. The last line...

I, too, had a mother who gave me neither love nor care. I existed to do what she wanted, when she wanted it. Period. I had no life outside of her wishes.... not anymore. I am also my own mother. I had to teach myself many things, just mundane, everyday things that every person should know how to do, my mother never did for me. I had to teach myself how to go clothes shopping. How to put on make-up. How to clean my room. How to eat properly. These are such mundane and everyday things to a girl, yet I was deficient. I didn't know how to live as a girl. All I knew was how to obey my mother's wishes. And that was all I was.

I'm better now, not completely by far, but much more so than what I used to be. Baruch Hashem. A lot of the credit goes to EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, a very powerful Energy Psychology tool that helped me eliminate traumatic memories of my childhood one by one. And I consider interactions I had with my mother to be traumatic. EFT helped me immensely, and still is. I recommend it to everyone and anyone to check it out, emofree.com. It's easy to learn, and SO very helpful. Without meds, I'm starting to feel normal. I never knew what normal was. Now I have some idea of it. It should hopefully continue.

Shadow, you have truly inspired me, and given me chizuk. Thank you.


-------------------------
-"On the ladder of life, it matters not what rung you are on, but only how many you have climbed."

-"Love Thyself!"

Edited: 4/7/05 at 7:32 PM by Recovering
 
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Shadow
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4/8/05 12:45 AM
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I am delighted that I inspired you. I have read this essay over and over. Probably like ten times. I could read it forever. Today I read it aloud to someone. I cried.
I hope all will work out for the best.
 
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Vulvy
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4/10/05 3:14 AM
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Sad-oh,

I see you like to write. You would make a good poet or should I say puppet. Drumming on the table, it's one of the cooler things that I do. I also play guitar, I compose, play real drums, piano -a chord or two, Oh boy I’m getting way ahead of myself here. Anyway, nobody should ever say he/she would rather be born again, especially to different parents Chas Vasholom (heaven forbid). Until you become a parent, you can’t even understand what unconditional love means. A parent will do anything for a child. If you love that essay so much, go ahead and read it, but erase that paragraph please. It’s incredible that there’s someone out there who can hate life so much and blame it all on his parents. Or maybe you’re trying to act out someone else’s life; like I said you make a good puppet. Oh boy, am I crossing the line, I might be offending you; If I am then I apologize.

Wow you really like the way Chassidish sounds, or how it looks on the computer; it has a ring to it. You must be very bright to write such an essay; it also takes talent and thinking. And you know how to think very well. I’d like to know who that acquaintance of yours is. Is there actually someone out there so bright, even brighter then you, that’s inconceivable to me, wow, I am spell bounded.

Keep up the good work. You’re doing great from what I see. Just know that there’s more to life then music and poetry. It’s also important to gain a little knowledge everyday. You could also Daven (pray) to G-d, He listens, trust me on that. Another good idea for you is to mind your own business; I forgot, you do – you’re mind is strictly business like, you’re intelligent. Life can be enjoyable, if you live your own.
 
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Pocket Kings
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4/10/05 8:40 AM
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...


Edited: 7/27/06 at 4:40 AM by Pocket Kings
 
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motcha
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4/10/05 11:56 AM
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Its not nice for you to write that he comes off arrogant. We all have feelings you know.
I actually didn't think he was arrogant but thats besides the point.
 
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Recovering
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4/10/05 3:16 PM
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Motcha, I agree. We're all here for support, and to support each other. This is a place for acceptance, not ridicule. I thought Shadow was very honest, and very brave for admitting all his emotions. If some people can't handle or accept their emotions, they should learn from this essay.


-------------------------
-"On the ladder of life, it matters not what rung you are on, but only how many you have climbed."

-"Love Thyself!"
 
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Pocket Kings
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4/10/05 7:04 PM
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...


Edited: 7/27/06 at 4:40 AM by Pocket Kings
 
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motcha
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4/11/05 12:04 AM
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Sorry if I misunderstood you. Thanks for editing your post.
 
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Shadow
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4/12/05 2:22 AM
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Vulvy,
I'm not sure if you were completely literal in your post, but it seems my comment about rebirth got your emotions. It was simply an abstract way of saying that I will live up to my own expectations, as opposed to my parents', as I had done until now. I'm sorry for any misunderstandings.
 
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Shadow
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4/12/05 3:17 AM
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Pocket Kings,

I really like your username. Thanks for your support (although I sort of missed it).

As for my parents: It seems my parents are on equal standing with yours. I can say without a doubt that whichever direction they took in their children's education was inspired by their love for them. My parents definitely did what they thought was right, and best. I mentioned that in my essay.
However, that still does not mean that they raised me properly. We can learn lessons from others' mistakes. Besides which, my parents' problem, as I wrote in the essay, was ignorance. Ignorance is almost never the fault of the ignorant. It came from her education, where her brother was not allowed to take voice lessons.

Although I still question the way I was raised, I am now having doubts whether I should put the blame of my problems on them. You see, as I go through the stages of understanding my problem, my emotions become refocused. My emotions are raw. I am trying to figure myself out, put the pieces of the puzzle into place. I don't really know why I feel anger, depression or other emotions. But I try to know. I fit the pieces of my emotions with the pieces I am learning from doctors and books. And sometimes, even if the pieces seem to fit, it doesn't mean I've answered the question correctly.

So while I still support educating a child by his own needs, regardless of the parents wills and desires, I find myself wondering if that is the cause of my looming darkness.

As for you... you seem to be reading the posuk wrong. It reads: V'cha'asher uvadity, uvudity?! (B'tmiha)
I can only assume that your personalty is just as great as anyone's (if not greater), but if anybody's going to redeem it, it has to be you. You may regard my "advice" with disregard, as I am not in your position so as to advise you. I may very probably be suffering less than you. However, you must keep in mind that it's a matter of time. It's a buildup. I could have been where you are now if I didn't listen to others' advice to me. And it took me a good few years before I did listen.

Think of it as a wrong turn. Depression means you took a wrong turn. Now you're on the wrong road, going in the wrong direction, and to make things right you must return to the fork where you originally went wrong. You need someone to show you the way because you are lost.
I may be much closer to the fork than you, that's correct. It may be easier for me to heal. But practically, I am on that road just like you are. I know exactly what it's like. The fact that you're in worse shape than me is only due to the amount of time you spent on our road. So, just like I can find my way, so can you. You'll just need a better guide and more willpower. I'm on the road, you're on the road.
I'm finding my way back, you can find your way back. It may be harder for you, but like my father always says, "who says life is fair?" Everyone has to stand up to their own obstacles.

And remember: You will get nowhere without a guide. I probably should expect you have a therapist or professional you consult, but then let this be a message for all those who don't: If you are lost, don't expect to find your way.

Enough said.

(By the way, does anyone here know what kind of fuel goes into a Maxima '04?)


Edited: 4/12/05 at 3:46 AM by Shadow
 
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motcha
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4/12/05 11:52 AM
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>Think of it as a wrong turn. Depression means you took a wrong turn. Now you're on the wrong road, going in the >wrong direction, and to make things right you must return to the fork where you originally went wrong. You need >someone to show you the way because you are lost.
I see depression as a distorted thought process not really a wrong turn. The wrong turn comes secondary. Oneyou have depression you make bad choices.
 
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Pocket Kings
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4/12/05 5:39 PM
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...


Edited: 7/27/06 at 4:41 AM by Pocket Kings
 
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Shadow
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4/12/05 8:57 PM
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Pocket Kings,

I just wanted to share. For some, sharing is therapeutic. If it is disagreeable for you, I could not have known. The choice to view this site (and to comment) is yours.

I am really sorry if I said anything which made you uncomfortable.


Edited: 4/14/05 at 2:20 AM by Shadow
 
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ernie55B
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5/6/05 10:02 AM
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Hello Shadow!

I hope you are OK and had a peaceful Pesach. I suffer from SEVERE depression. After many years of therapy, I learned that there is no point in blaming anyone for the past. What good will that do ? How will that change your situation? It is important to UNDERSTAND why you feel the way you do, and it seems you have a very keen insight into that.

My advice to you therefore, is not to be bitter about how your parents raised you. They meant well although they were misguided. What is important is that you will raise your family the way you see fit. And it sounds like you will do a great job at that. In the meantime just stay strong and look ahead only!

Ernie
 
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ernie55B
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5/6/05 12:25 PM
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Ray-

I think I said something positive for a change. No?
 
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lookinforhelp
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5/9/05 4:25 PM
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Not only stam positive Ernie, but beautiful and inspiring!!!

It just doesn't help to blame the past... although it seems like a nice idea...

 
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ernie55B
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5/11/05 8:19 AM
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Hi LFH!

Thank you kindly! Great to have you back. How was your Pesach?
 
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