Return to “Life” in Israel

New Shoes

It’s not strange to be back, actually. It was stranger to be in the US than it was to be in Israel. I got so used to living in a dirty, old house that moving back in with my parents seemed like paradise, a dream. Now that I’m back, it’s like nothing has changed. I suppose it hasn’t. I’m still unemployed, still poor, still unhappy about being here. Not that being poor and unemployed isn’t a dream, but I do miss having new shoes. I miss a bathtub. I miss Bernstein’s Italian Dressing. I miss reasonably priced blueberries. I miss having a cell phone. I miss carpet. I miss surfaces without clutter.

It’s been three days.

I’m trying to have a good attitude, but there is just a very large black cloud that reigns over this place. I’m not speaking of Israel in general, but of where I live. So many negative memories haunt me here, my depression is alive and well in this place and I’m not sure I’ll make it out of here in six weeks without falling back into it. I’m very afraid of that. It sounds weak, and I can already hear what you are thinking: Be strong! It’s only six weeks! You can do it!

But, I really need you to shut the old trapper. Let me tell you, “You can do it!” does nothing for me. It’s why I don’t like telling people what bothers me here: you can’t help and encouraging me is irritating. How do you command yourself to wake up with a happy spirit? I don’t think everyone is built that way. And telling me it will all be over soon, or that I’m strong doesn’t help because I don’t WANT to try anymore. Yes, I want to be happy, but I don’t want to be happy here and I don’t know how to change that. I don’t like it here. It’s too different from what I know, from what makes sense to me. I’m isolated, I’m (besides my husband) alone and all the reasons I hated being here still exist, so I think my worry and my fears are legitimate, warranted even.

What also angers me is that it’s not even a real fight. I’m not fighting a war, not fighting cancer, not battling a lawsuit. Depression makes a person feel pathetic because the demons aren’t physical; no one can see them except for the afflicted. So in essence, they are imagined, even though they feel very real. I’m trying to be happy because I make for a miserable wife, but it’s already hard. I’m jet lagged and there are things I have to do here that I don’t want to do. When you don’t have a cheerful heart, it’s hard to make yourself do the “have tos”.

The jetlag is so intense that I can’t function properly yet and I’ve had a sinus infection for over a week that has morphed into any number of different maladies, but I, without a doubt, feel like my health is negatively connected to living here. I am ready for a job, a clean home, a back yard, friends, life. I got some advice from a stranger: Live wherever you are. I am really trying to remember that. But, this is survival, this isn’t living. It hasn’t been living for a long time.

But, this is boot strap pulling up time and I’m going to use mine. I’ve prayed and talked and written and thought about all the problems I have here and my only solution was leaving. So I left. Now I’m back because I believe that in one’s first year of marriage, one should see his or her spouse more than half of the year. I miss Ben. I miss that being in love feeling. I miss the idea of being together forever in our own home, our own clean home with a back yard that has carpeted flooring and a bathtub with good Italian dressing in the fridge, reasonably priced blueberries at the store and a Target around the corner. Soon…soon.


7 thoughts on “Return to “Life” in Israel

  1. I can identify with what you’re going through right now. In just 16 days I am moving back to Mexico City for an undetermined amount of time. All of the reasons I dislike life there are still valid. I’m still leaving my kids and grandson behind too. Sometimes I think you just have to give yourself permission to grieve for what you miss. Yes, it’s not like a tangible fight, but it IS real none the less. You may be a strong person, and you may have been able to shoulder these burdens before, but it takes an even stronger person to admit that, right now, it’s just a little more than you can handle.

    Making that admission isn’t saying that you’re weak, or that you’ve given up/given in to the depression. It just means you need someone to be there and be supportive of you, just as you would be for someone else going through a rough patch.

    One thing that works for me when I’m feeling overwhelmed and depressed by yet another struggle is to start my day with something that makes me laugh. Somehow reading the comics, a humorous anecdote, or funny story at the beginning of the day helps me to feel more positive. It may not make me feel happy all day, but it at least takes the ‘edge’ off. I don’t know if this will help you, since everyone is different, but hopefully it will.

  2. Wow… I know what you mean – it’s reverse culture shock. Every time I go back to the States, I feel crazy for days. Like wearing a dress from 6th grade and you’re 30. I’m told it goes away with time… I just don’t stay long enough anymore to find out.

    Keep your chin up.

    • “Like wearing a dress from 6th grade and you’re 30” !! I laughed out loud! Every time I go into Forever 21, I think…I shouldn’t be here…these clothes are too young for me. And then I find a regular cotton dress and feel better.

  3. I can relate. You know there is so much in this life you should be grateful for, but it’s hard to feel gratitude when you feel like your situation in life is some sort of punishment for making the “wrong” choice. Depression makes the challenges seem insurmountable, but moments of peace and clarity will sneak in when you least expect them to and in that moment you know you can hang on just a little longer.

    Sometimes I find writing it out to be cathartic, sometimes not, but if you can allow yourself to accept and reveal those feelings it takes the weight of the world and makes it a little lighter. Having a support system with people around you who can let you express yourself without judgment is a blessing as well. And you know, those blueberries may be expensive but you’re worth it so splurge when you can and have no regrets. The simple pleasures in life can make all the difference some days.

  4. Depression does suck. I frequent it quite a bit. I hated people telling me you’ll get through it as well. Makes me want to puke my depression down their throats.

    I’m here if you need a friend to talk to though. That’s still nice to hear I think.

    • Thank you! Amazing how warmer weather brightens my spirit. I think I have that light deficiency depression where I get sad in the winter….I’ll check that out…next year.

  5. I have suffered from depression for 15 years… After my daughter was born it took six months before the doctors realized that I was suffering from post partum depression. Years went by and it never seemed to go away for very long. It sucks when there are days that I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and some days I would decide, “today is the day I’m going to clean of the kitchen table.” As stupid as that sounds to people that haven’t been in this position, it was something that I could actually pat myself on the back and say, “I did it, I finally got the table cleaned off.” When you suffer from depression and there are medications out there, the last thing you want to hear is, “this could take up to 6 weeks to see if this will work for you.” Who seriously wants to hear that after you’ve already been suffering for as long as you have? I went through so many different medications, there were days that I didn’t want to go on to the next day. I’m glad that I pushed and keep pushing through it, life is a journey and worth living. Day by day, hour by hour and sometimes minute by minute, but life is worth it.
    God Bless

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