We’re There When It Hurts

Inauguration of Ezer Mizion’s Mental Health Building 2013

Do you remember learning how to swim? In your panic, you may have tried to fight the water, thrashing about and soon finding that it didn’t work. ‘Relax,’ said the instructor. ‘Take slow strokes. Trust me. You can do it. True, it’s different. You’re not used to moving in water.  But it really can be done. Just don’t fight it.

‘I had been fighting it,’ says Yaakov. ‘Not the water but something else. Something much more scary.  And there was no instructor to encourage me. I was all alone, or so I thought, too terrified to face it. Too traumatized to seek help. The woman I had married, the mother of my children, had metamorphosed into …into. I couldn’t even say the word. I was fighting it, trying to make believe it wasn’t there. Then one day I did what i should have done months ago. I called Ezer Mizion’s Mental Health Division. They understood immediately. I felt validated. I felt supported. I was no longer alone.  They opened my eyes and helped me understand that accepting the reality and ‘going from there’ is not only possible but the only option that will allow us to continue living our lives. “Thanks to Ezer Mizion, I started dealing with my situation, both on an individual basis and in a group framework. I received the tools and strength I needed in order to cope. To people who are in my position, I want to say: We did not choose these ‘gifts.’ Hashem chose them for us. He gives us the gifts and He also gives us the strength to deal with the situation. Whoever thinks he can escape reality and conceal it is mistaken. Ezer Mizion is my light in this saga. They help me achieve a better reality.  They have shown me that it is possible to deal with my challenges in a better way.

Handling the expected can be a challenge but most of us do ok. Yaakov had known he may experience financial difficulties, perhaps a child who is not doing well in school. These are normal. His friends have gone through it and come out at the other end ok. But mental illness?! The words were hardly in his lexicon. That’s why Ezer Mizion tries to be there to be that guiding hand for this and similar situations.

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Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) | Symptoms & Treatments | alz.org
Life with Early Dementia

It’s commonly known that the elderly are often forgetful and sometimes not even in their right mind. It’s almost expected. It may be sad but certainly not a surprise. But a man of 60???! When dementia strikes at a young age, the tragedy is twice as terrible. Life as it was until now changes, even turns upside down. Every small action becomes a challenge. The struggle is not simple either for the patient or for the immediate family.

Roni, 60, father of two, was diagnosed a year and a half ago with “frontal-temporal dementia.. “When I got the diagnosis, I went into initial shock. But very soon, I decided to fight for what I still had. There was terrible anxiety about the future. How would I handle it? How would my wife and kids handle it? Would my persona change? Would we still be able to relate to each other or would I just become a nuisance at best, maybe even a burdensome millstone sapping every bit of enjoyment out of their lives.

“Ezer Mizion’s club is a ray of light for me. There are wonderful people here and it makes me very happy to come, meet people who have become my friends and understand me and my need. There are the fitness program, music, art and gardening activities, all providing a framework in which to learn to cope.”

Ezer Mizion: We’re there when it hurts.

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