Yona is the wife of a schizophrenia patient. Life hasn’t been easy for her. Dealing with mental illness is a frightening nightmare only made worse by the loneliness. Mental illness is not something you share with the neighbors. On the outside, she is a bubbly mother of a large family, discussing the woes of a washing machine breakdown with another mother as they sit on the park bench together. On the inside, however, she is slowly falling apart because of a different type of breakdown – the breakdown of a strong, supportive husband, the breakdown of a family. Yona is a heroine, trying to go it alone but she worries how long she can go on. When will she herself break down?
Bravely, she had made her way to the Ezer Mizion office. Maybe. Maybe they can help a bit. What she received was so much more than she had hoped for.
Ezer Mizion’s Mental Health Program provides both professional services and practical support. The little things and the big things.
The Family Counseling Center works to provide families coping with a mentally ill relative with a variety of professional tools, information, and support. This includes individual counseling for family members, support groups providing information and coping tools in the form of weekly sessions, self-help groups, workshops teaching skills and coping tools, lectures on a variety of topics. Also available is a 24-hour crisis hotline for mental health crises such as suicide attempts or severe manic episodes.
Scheduled retreats for the whole family provide healing for strained family relationships and individualized practical support for a variety of circumstances complete the picture.
Yona shares her thoughts as she entered her home after an absence of an entire month. She wasn’t looking forward to walking in.
“The milk must be past its expiration date,” I thought, as I turned the key in the door. “It will take a ton of baking soda to get rid of the odor.”
And the dust! A month’s worth. The floor will be caked. Oh, and the linens. Ugh!
If my mother would know, she’d send me hot soup, polish the house to a sheen. And she wouldn’t forget to bring me her traditional cheesecake with the paper-thin crust. What a comfort that would be! To be Mommy’s little girl and be taken care of again. How I would love that! I know I’m not a child anymore but I certainly feel like one. So in need of pampering. I lifted my head and tried to pretend that I was a capable, energetic adult. I tried but I couldn’t fool myself.
I opened the door. What?! What’s going on? Did my mother find out my carefully kept secret?
Could this be real? I couldn’t recognize the house. It was perfectly clean.
Freshly-washed linen emanating a fresh, orchid fragrance, hot food on the stove. I opened the refrigerator. Fresh milk and cheese, fruit and vegetables and even an assortment of creamy cakes. Everything was there.
And there it was, like a centerpiece: a heartwarming note: “From us, the Ezer Mizion family, always here for you.”
My heart pounded. My eyes filled with tears. Someone thought about me!
Hashem, what a wonderful father You are. With one Hand, You strike, but with the other Hand, You embrace. A great, big hug, with all the love in the world. Thank you for helping me to connect to Ezer Mizion. How proud I am to be part of the Jewish people. One nation. One song. And one, special heart…
Ezer Mizion provides services to over 660,000 of Israel’s population annually in addition to its Bone Marrow Registry which saves the lives of Jewish cancer patients the world over.