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Jessica Lauren Walton
Mental health advocate for the security community

Healing is the choice we make

Wishing for a more peaceful time in Israel (Credit: Unsplash)
Wishing for more peaceful times in Israel (Credit: Unsplash)

Since the war started on October 7, the world we once knew in Israel and for Jews around the world has been shattered. Our sense of security all these years now seem like a naïve illusion. From the deaths of our soldiers to the suffering of our hostages, from the genocidal threats on US campuses to the beatings in the streets in Europe, each week seems to bring fresh horror for us. So the question is, how do we psychologically survive this new reality? How do we move forward with our lives in a way that isn’t laden with constant mourning and despair?

First, we must lean on each other as a unified nation. We must put our political differences on the back burner for now and love each other intensely. History has shown us that when the Jewish people are not unified, disaster ensues.

Second, at the same time, we can’t afford to huddle so intensely inwards that we forget our non-Jewish friends and allies who want to support us. There is no people on this planet that survives alone, and this is certainly true for a tiny nation such as ourselves.

Third, we must continue to speak out in support of our cause, which is our worthy country. The antisemites coming out of the woodwork these days are certainly loud and shocking in number, but there is an even higher number of neutral parties who vacillate on the sidelines. We must use our voices in an earnest and dignified way, educating those who are open to learning more about our reality on the ground. We should not allow dishonest journalists and academics to continue telling the skewed versions of our stories for us.

Fourth, we must look over our shoulders at the past and remember the times that we thought all was lost. The odds have been stacked against us many times before and we have always beat the odds. Whether you are religious or not, there is a bigger picture going on here. We can’t see the whole picture yet, but we need to have faith that our fight is worth fighting for so that our next generation has a chance at living in peace.

And fifth, we must accept that we will never be the same. The wounds we carry now seem unbearable and the scars will certainly be deep. We are certainly changed, but we aren’t shattered—in fact, we are an unshatterable people.

Just like there are times of grief, there will be times of joy in the future that will be enriched by the strength we’ve shown in the face of evil. This is our choice to make.

About the Author
Jessica Lauren Walton is a writer, communications strategist, and video producer in the U.S. defense industry. She writes articles on a range of security and mental health issues and conducts interviews with military leadership, psychologists, journalists, CIA officers, filmmakers, and more at www.jessicawaltonwriter.com.
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