This evening the Jewish people begin The Days of Awe. In the previous Jewish month of Ellul we started to reflect upon our behaviour and ask others for forgiveness. Tonight – the start of the Jewish new year – Rosh Hashanah – we intensify that process by asking Hashem – God – God for that forgiveness and promising to change and finally next Wednesday on the fast day of Yom Kippur – The Day of Atonement – Hashem makes a judgement on us and we pray that She will respond positively and we will be inscribed in the Book of Life.
This year, through a period of self-reflection and self-awareness I have discovered that I am not good at keeping promises – to make a promise you need to have a memory – to remember the promise that you made – and also to process that promise – so that it turns into action. However, surely I am not alone at finding promises hard to keep – but maybe Hashem understands this difficulty which is why She gives us a new opportunity every year (and indeed every day) to start again.
But the first step towards renewal to ask for forgiveness and that I can do. I first wrote this blog because I started to realise that my behaviour was a bit odd and I thought that everyone around me was noticing – ‘they must think I’m stupid,’ I thought. And now I realise that very few people, if any, around me were judging me – they just accepted me for who I was. And so I want to ask those readers that know me for forgiveness, because I judged you too harshly in thinking that you were judging me.
I used to get amused when a driver would give me expletives when I didn’t put my hand up to say thank you when they stopped for me to cross a road. I really didn’t understand it. ‘They did the good thing,’ I would say to myself ‘they stopped driving when no law told them that they had to – why don’t they have the satisfaction of just knowing that they did a good thing, they shouldn’t need a thank you for doing a mitzvah – a good thing, – they should just do it for the sake of the mitzvah’. But now I realise that the reason I didn’t say thank you was because my awareness levels are limited and therefore their good act went by without me noticing. In this situation I was judging the drivers by thinking that they were angry and rude and they were judging me by thinking I was ungrateful.
A wise person I know told me that when you get angry with someone else the anger usually more about what is happening inside of you than about what the other person is doing. And that has to be true. My issue with the driver of the car was actually about the fact that I hadn’t noticed that they had stopped for me and I don’t know why the other drivers got so angry, but that isn’t my concern – that’s theirs. And this year, if I remember, I will try not to judge angry drivers and everyone else for all the weird and wonderful things that they do that frustrate or annoy me. It is only Hashem who can truly judge us after all.
Wishing all my Jewish readers and happy and healthy (both physical and mentally\ spiritually) new year and well over the fast.
In other news
When I started writing this blog I didn’t think that what was going on in my head was unusual – I thought it would be quite simple to fix. As I said I wanted to use this blog as a forum to explain my behaviour and to show people that mental health issues can have just as much impact on the quality of a person’s life as physical ones. However after seeing quite a few more doctors and perusing many Facebook groups I now realise that my condition is quite rare and it’s going to take a special type of doctor to help me. I thought I had found my Pot of Gold doctor, who specialised in in my new diagnosis – a dissociative disorder, but it turns out that he is retired and is only taking legal cases. My hunt for a good quality of life is now going abroad (after all – as any introductory self-help book will tell you – a good quality of life is not about how much money you earn but about what is going on inside your head). If anyone in another country knows someone who knows someone who might know something about cognition and epilepsy, please let me know. I don’t mind if it turns out to be a dead end – I have had many of those before. I do have a lead to someone abroad who seems very well qualified but he is hard to get hold of……
PS As I explained tonight we start the Jewish season of lots of festivals culminating with Simchat Torah on 25th October. Since I am not being paid for these blogs during this period my blog writing will not be as regular as normal, and I am asking you not to judge me too harshly for that xxx