This is a story about a series of traumatic experiences that could lead to PTSD and eventually which could lead to OTD.
PTSD, which means Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, gives someone who suffers from this a wide range of symptoms, from a normal response or adaptation to non-normal life conditions due to trauma. Struggling with emotional problems for a long time, can easily result in a reduced self- esteem. PTSD has many different manifestations. The importance of treatment and the right kind of therapy is often hidden in emotional patterns of pain, which result in anger. Frustration. Not many people will recognize PTSD, as it often is not visible on the outside.
It is not an easy story to tell, but I will try to explain it in the best possible way. It is not a detailed story of abuse of any kind, and not to put blame on any community in particular, but more to create awareness. I will try to go a bit deeper into the trauma. But also about PTSD, what it does to someone, and why sometimes leaving the community is better than staying. When everything you try, fails, and leaving is the only option, it is never because they want to leave everything they know and love behind.This couldn't be further from the truth.
We all know that life is not always easy. Sometimes it even seems unfair, but mostly we enjoy life. But sometimes things do go wrong in life, and often not due to our own fault.This story is an example of something that went terribly wrong, is very upsetting and even without going into detail, is hard to tell. It is not my intention to turn this into a drama story, but it about intense pain, frustration and anger, but also of strength. How he has dealt with this pain and heartbreak, falling down and getting up, not giving up but keeping on going, has made him stronger!
Trauma, PTSD I didn't know a whole lot about it, to tell you the truth, and now that I do, it still surprises me at times. Any child who experiences abuse suffers from mental health issues when it is left untreated. Many who leave a community don't do this out of curiosity. There are many forms of abuse, and the one I am referring to often has an impact later in life, when they get married and start a life of their own. When you leave a trauma untreated without therapy or medication, it could lead to PTSD. To make matters worse, when there is nobody who understands or willing to help. Maybe people simply don't know what to do. It could be that they think that unruly boy, the wayward son of who ask all these unwanted questions and could complicate family relationship even further.
On many occasions, she would walk out of the room or even out of the house without saying anything. The times of intense pain, anxiety, silence, total despair, and anger Sometimes understandable, but on other occasions wandering where it came, little things, like being unable to find that, but most of the time it was guessing. With many moments like that it was a heavy burden. I must say there was someone who step by step won his trust and never gave up on him, on many occassions and even later in life, when the going was getting tough again, he was there. It was hard, as his orientation to the world around him was one big treatise, so how could there be any trust? But when suffering becomes unbearable, it takes a very long time to trust someone again.
When years goes by and the trauma gets buried, there is still the yeshiva to go to,study almost day and night, gaining more insight. The love for the Torah growing with the day and it became a refuge and a comfort during these difficult years. Sometimes I think that the Torah was this turning point, but it still took years, and still a lot of things went wrong, and at some point the pain was so severe that life became existential. Or that his whole life was Torah and outside more or less existing. When finally therapy was issued, finding the right kind of therapy, which was best in this case, was just the beginning. What we learned about PTSD is, that there is no cure, it's for life. The therapy is helping step by step, in the best possible way to live your life, and with tools learning to respond to various triggers in a better way.
When someone takes this step and leaves a community, and later on feels something is missing in his life and decides to move back. It could a feeling of beloning, to find out that what he is looking for is not there anymore. The only thing that remains is the place where something terrible happened and people left the community for a second time in search of an illusion. I cannot believe, to tell you the truth, that someone left the community on a whim. When things are fine, there might be some curiosity about the outside, but not to the extent that leaving is something you just do for the sake of it.
We have wonderful and caring communities, and I am sure that every Rebbe wants the very best for their community. We don't want organisations like Footsteps, who are there supposely to help, but getting into a community to take already traumatized people away, when we know for a fact that when they leave in a vulnerable state, they also leave Yiddishkeit. This makes it so much more complicated, and there is always a high price to pay. There are other options, and in our communities we do take care of each other. The care we give is very good, and my wish is that we do the same with OTD, which are often people with trauma who suffer a great deal. To give help they despartely need! Only then is there a chance they won't leave. It is worth a try!
when someone goes through a difficult time for more than ten years, with the lost two years being living hell. In times of stress, and for no apparent reason as it seems to us, anxiety, severe pain, and not being able to cope in busy areas are common. The brain of someone with PTSD works different due to damage of untreated trauma. Stress is a major factor that triggers often anger,and It is for a reason. It is the survival of the brain. With the right kind of therapy, they are slowly learning to deal with their trauma. They get the proper tools to handle stressful situations better. Often, this takes years. with a lot of falling and getting up again, and when finally climbing that mountain, which leads them to a better and more stable life. Needless to say the bumps in the road will always be there
In all those ten years he never lost his trust in HaShem, never lost his love for the Torah. A lifeline which saved him.