Rosh Hashanah will soon be here, and for most of us, it will be a time of prayer, a time of exchanging gifts, then the time to walk into a relative’s home and dealing with a large, happy family sitting around a beautifully laid table laden with tastefully prepared food. Amidst festive parties and good wishes, many lonely people will be crying or slowly dying on the inside and all this might be overwhelming.
Whilst growing up, I only knew about Happy New Year celebrations, but I now know that holidays can be myths for many, myths that generate a great deal of unhappiness instead of joy. Why? In our case, it was due to Schizophrenia but, there are many ill and handicapped people world over, who spend this and other holidays alone. I would love to change this situation because for all of these people, this beautiful holiday becomes simply ‘another day’ but that does not mean that there is anything wrong with them. All it means is that they don’t live near their families or friends, or, don’t have transport and cannot afford taxis. They might be recuperating from a recent separation or divorce or even mourning the death of a loved one.
Portrayals by the media can add to their sense of isolation too. The hype surrounding the holidays accentuates their feeling of being all alone in the world. Television announcers make the holidays sound bigger and better than they really are. Store owners invest in them heavily, trying to make as much profit out of the pre-holiday stampede as they possibly can.
While our son, Doron was ill and suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, he had the blues for a long time but holidays were worst of all. He always seemed to need medication on holidays or a psychiatrist when they were all on vacation, and, we never knew until the very last moment whether he would be joining us for the festive meal or not. We realized that indulging in self-pity only made it worse for him, but, there was nothing that we could do about that and it was not for want of trying.
I have discovered that during the year, people don’t really dwell on their relationships, but, when the holidays approach, they are at a loss as to how to handle their situations. I can only suggest that each person who feels alone and unloved, should organize to spend their holidays in a way that feels right for that person – in a way that does not loneliness to dominate.
I would like to wish my readers a Happy, a Healthy and a Peaceful New Year.