Saturday, April 25, 2009

The adventures of a "Nebbach" - part 2

This is part 2, because I posted part 1 on my blog in December 2007.

Who is the "Nebbach"? Of course it is me. Not because I feel that I am really a Nebbach, but when "horrible" things happen to me I want to laugh about them afterwards, not cry.

So has nothing happened for over a year? Good question...

Episode 5 - winter was coming, and we were short of girls' clothes (and short of cash). So we decided to take up an offer of "amost new" 2nd hand clothes. However this involved making an evening trip into town. For me this is a big event. Getting kids in bed, getting the wheelchar in the van and being schlepped up 2 flights of stairs.

The clothes turned out to be a big disappointment, mainly baby clothes. So a bit fed up, my husband schlepped the wheelchair down the 2 flights of stairs in the dark. As we reached the bottom step, my wheechair got caught and I was tipped forward. Luckily I fell onto the small bag of clothes I was holding which cushioned the impact. But unluckily I fell into a puddle of sewage water!

I felt such a "Nebbach" that I couldn't stop crying. Thoughts of how lucky I was not to hurt myself didn't console me. Even thinking how funny this story was didn't stop the tears. Even knowing that this was probably the hand of G-d didn't help.

Now 6 months later I can laugh, and want to make others laugh at the story (not at me).

Episode 6 - a week before my Son's Bar Mitzvah last August, my foreign careworker left. The previous careworker had stolen all my expensive jewelery.

We then we had to wait another 5 months for a new foreign worker to arrive. She turned up in the middle of Chanukah. After 4 weeks she disappeared never to return.

A few days later, the agency, anxious to get their commission brought another lady. I thought it was just for an interview, but she had her bags with her. Not being in a position to be choosy - no one wants to work with a family - we hired her. Well, I don't know who is the Nebbach here, me or the worker.

The worker comes from a small village in Nepal, and up to now has had a very primitive 3rd World existence. No washing machine, no dryer, no oven, no microwave, no toaster, no hairdryer, no computer, no mobile phone, no MP3, no buses and even no supermarket. How spoilt we are today!

Apart from that, there are "cultural" differences, like eating with her hands, spitting in the street, not washing her hands after the bathroom...

She is still in our employment after 3 months, and can just about use my kitchen appliances. So who is the "Nebbach"?

The answer:
Neither her or me. Every person - Jew or non-Jew - is created in G-d's image (Be'tselem Elockim). This can be found in Genesis (Bereishit) in relation to the creation of Adam, the first human being.

Kabbalah takes this to an even higher level. Rabbi Moshe Corderovo in his book "The Palm Tree of Devorah" (Tomer Devorah) says that "one should not disparage any creature, for all of them were created with Wisdom (Chochmah). This extends to all of creation - inanimate objects, plants, animals and humans.

So, is the end of my "Nebbach" adventures?


Alan Ireland said...

One never knows when, or how, misfortune will strike. When our daughter was in her honours year at university, she became mentally unwell. Of course, we didn't realise what was happening. At the time, all we knew was that our relationship with her was deteriorating - for no apparent reason.

By and large, people don't understand mental illness, i.e schizophrenia. To the uninformed, a "mentally ill" person is a "mad" person. And they naively believe a "mad" person is easily identifiable. We found, however, that people had to live with our daughter for about three days to detect the illogicalities and inconsistencies in her thoughts and actions.

We were fortunate in that our daughter's illness eventually led to severe paranoia, panic attacks, and physical collapse. We were then able to get her into hospital, and to take the first faltering steps on the long, hard road to recovery. She is quite bright, and now has two degrees, but will always need a high level of support.

Alan Ireland said...

You say schizophrenia is "not seen as real illness". Not seen as such by whom? By R D Laing, Thomas Szasz, Loren Mosher, et al? In New Zealand, we certainly regard it as a real illness - and treat the person affected compulsorily, if necessary, under the Mental Health Act. I mentioned Parkinson's Disease because it is associated with a dopamine deficiency, while schizophrenia seems to be associated with a dopamine superfluity. If one is recognized as a "real" illness, why isn't the other?

My daughter is on flupenthixol, a dopamine antagonist, which brought her out of her psychosis within three weeks. No amount of "talk therapy" would have done that, for two reasons: (1) she simply wasn't amenable to it, and (2) she was constantly on the move, from one backpackers' hostel to another, all over New Zealand and Australia. Just keeping up with her was incredibly difficult.

I agree, however, that medication is not the entire answer. I think it's important to get the dosage down as soon as possible, by as much as possible, especially if there is a risk of tardive dyskinesia. We have been able to do this, partly through diet.