“Imma, I’m so sick and broken. I can’t deal with my pain anymore. I don’t know how to heal, but I do know that I want more than anything. Please get on the next flight to New York and come help me find the right path to healing.
I can’t take the pain anymore, but I want to be happy again. I want to be able to take care of my children. I want to live life again, to love life again, to smile again. I want to know the feeling of looking at food and not throwing up. I want to remember the joy of swallowing without fighting the food down. I want to go to bed without fearing the extreme demons that live in my mind through the night. I want to live with joy. Please, please come and help me because I can’t do this alone.”
That was the phone call I made to my amazing Mom 13 years ago today, on Tisha B’Av.
Tisha B’Av will always be a special day for me. A day of so much tears and pain.
A day that I will forever remember my personal feeling of brokenness, emptiness, and a desire to end my immense pain.
13 years ago today, on the morning of Tisha B’Av, I woke up with very little energy to even speak. I cried and said to my husband, “Ari, either we find a way I can get better, or I am done fighting my internal pain and sadness. It’s just not working. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t fight this immense pain on my own; I need help.” 😓
I was lying on the floor in the den because I could not move. I could hardly walk.
My energy was limited due to the lack of nutrition for the past few weeks; it was even hard to swallow. Every day, I had a goal to finish half a banana or half a protein shake if I was lucky. The anxiety was so strong that the struggle of keeping food down was real.
The level of nausea was one of the worst I experienced in my life. The fear of passing out from lack of nutrition was constant. The anxiety was so high that I could hardly sleep at night for more than 15 minutes at a time without waking up with a panic attack.
As I’m writing this, I am crying, remembering the awful, awful pain in my heart. Remembering how broken I was. Remembering how I had almost no hope to be okay again, remembering the deep emptiness I felf in my body, THAT BIG void.
It was so deeply lonely and sad.
Since it was a Jewish fast day, most of the local offices were closed. I called a friend and asked them to beg a local therapist to open their office for me, just to get a glimpse of hope and share with someone who understands Mental Illness what my mind is going through because I thought I would not SURVIVE EVEN one more day.
We slowly went to her office. The therapist was lovely! I remember sitting on the couch, shaking my legs up and down, repeating non-stop, “Please tell me I will heal. Please tell me this pain will go away. Please tell me I will be normal again. Please tell me I will smile again.”
My foot could not stop shaking. I was rambling so much she could not even get a word in.
I begged her to give me hope. I begged her to give me something that could stop this internal pain and sadness that I had no idea where it was coming from.
One of the greatest punishments can be to feel pain and not know what the source is from.
After sitting in her office for 45 minutes, shaking and crying, she suggested I go see a psychiatrist so I can get medication for relief of my pain until I get my healing going.
Ari helped me walk to the car, and I remember laying down feeling like an empty gas tank.
I called my Mom (in Israel) crying hysterically. I bet you to come to my rescue for support. I just wanted to heal so badly and I didn’t know how. I was gasping for air was so hard to get my words out, feeling like I’m gonna pass out her kind words gave me hope.
My amazing Mom, whom I have no words to describe her incredible love and dedication, said, “I’m so sorry, sweet Matana. I love you. Thank you for letting me know. I love you, and I’ll be there. You will get better! I have 4 more hours to my fast. Do you need me to go to the airport now, or can I break my fast and then get on a flight tonight?”
Every time I think about this conversation I break down crying because I remember that feeling of it will be okay.
I told her to wait until the end of THE fast, eat, feel good, and come to my rescue.
The knowledge that she was on the way was my holding on to hope. It was what kept me going for the next 24 hours until she arrived.
Today marks 13 YEARS from the day I acknowledged that I was SO BROKEN.
I accepted the fact that I needed to do the work to heal.
Tisha B’Av will always be a day of extreme pain for me, but at the same time, I remember my hope that I had in my heart, that tiny little bit of hope that I got from the therapist on her couch and from my Mom saying I would be okay. That hope kept me going through the darkness, through years of struggling and working on myself to heal.
Tisha B’Av was my commitment to myself. Tisha B’Av was my mark in the sand that I am no longer going to walk through this sadness without reaching out for help, a commitment to doing the work that it takes to get to recovery.
Tisha B’Av  was my Breaking Point, my rock bottom, my sitting on the floor or laying down on the carpet and saying I can no longer go any lower, my only option is to start Rising up, to go step by step, look the pain in the eye, and start healing.
I’m grateful that it happened on Tisha B’Av  because it was a day of sadness in general for the Jewish Nation.
It helps me cry every year on Tisha B’Av for my own personal destruction that I went through in my life.
It helps me GO INTO the highest level of gratitude for the gift of healing and feeling like a new person full of joy. It helps me remember how bad it was and how far I came in my healing journey.
On Tisha B’Av, I also remember that there is hope for REBUILDING. We have hope to build anything broken. I worked hard with so much SUPPORT, love, and acceptance from God and people around me. I did the WORK, I worked so, so, so hard. I did not give up; I wanted it so BADLY, I wanted the recovery.
I am grateful that I can sit on this Tisha B’Av  and cry for the past destruction. I use my tears to feel others’ pain and to feel the pain the world is going through.
I use my tears to beg God to guide us to a place of LOVE AND ACCEPTANCE to one another so we can get the בית המקדש back and live at a higher level of connection with Hashem. We often pray for rebuilding I often think that rebuilding is never the same it’s a new version maybe even a better version than before. There is a special connection that happens to ourselves when we rebuild ourselves it’s a connection that happens to ourselves and to God. I often say rebuilding after destruction creates Beauty because we get to feel the immense loneliness and sadness of not having something. Healing is a rebuilding for a better version of ourselves and a better version of ourselves for the world.
My friend Fally taught me that the highest connection of prayer is a broken heart that sings gratitude to God through the immense pain and struggling.
I know we are taught on this day to sit and cry for the past and present pain, and we must do that, but I encourage everyone to “sing gratitude” to God through the immense pain we are going through.
I hope and pray that from all the tears we shed today, we find a way to love the imperfection of ourselves the version of what we are now and to truly try to love and accept others even if they are different than us. If we can love ourselves in a different versions of ourselves why should we not do it for others?


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