"Accepting help is not easy. Do it anyway."

October 03, 2022

"Accepting help is not easy. Do it anyway."

Ms. Jones (not her name) is a grateful client who shared this letter in the hopes that it will inspire others ask for help.

"My name is Ms. Jones. Not my real name. Not a particularly Jewish name, but I didn’t care. It was an anonymous name.

I didn’t want to die exactly. I mean I told myself I would never commit suicide. I could never do that to my kids. It would hurt them too much. If I happened to die, you know, it happens, then I’m okay with that. I was flat, and then I heard Congressman Jamie Raskin‘s story.

Congressman Raskin’s sweet son committed suicide right before the January 6th siege on the Capital. The story encouraged me to get the book, ‘Unthinkable,’ albeit I completely lost the desire to read even a fortune cookie omen. His story required me to reflect on my own precarious situation. His son told himself he would never commit suicide. He could never do that to his parents. It would hurt them too much.

He did it anyway. What pushed him past that point? Am I in danger?

What got me to this lowest of low points? Everything. Nothing. My Brain. What prompted me into action? My abject despair, fear, and that story. Nope, I did not read the book. I still have not read it. I just covet it, I like having it, it’s a reminder and I know the story. I couldn’t quite rally the attention span to read and comprehend a full chapter, depression does that, but the undeniable connection I personally felt to the story enabled me to watch the special. And I did. My heart ached for their family, my family, myself and all the people out there drowning right now at this very moment.

Asking for help sucks. Do it anyway.

So, through JFCS I was paired with a therapist without whom I am convinced I would still be sitting amongst dead plants and garbage from past years, both literally and figuratively. Yes, paired. They did that. I let them. It was the best thing I ever did. Because then this therapist of mine, yes, at this point I take a little ownership, paired me with a different service that changed my life in ways one would never imagine. So crazy I say! But seriously, each day got better after that first humiliating resistant tearful visit to the dreaded...Kosher Food Pantry.

I walked up completely incognito with sunglasses and a mask, thank you pandemic. No one should recognize me. I can only slightly giggle about that first day, because my fear and self-loathing were real. When the young man asked my name, I burst into tears and immediately he dubbed me Ms Jones. Thus, my pseudo name. No questions asked other than do you keep kosher and how many in your household Ms Jones. Fresh fruit, vegetables, food staples and helpers awaited in the background like curious little teasers, saying it’s all going to be okay. Food makes things okay. I’d never been much into food I guess, but not having food is also something I’d never experienced. This was new. This pantry might be okay I sniffled to myself. I tentatively chose nourishing food for Ms Jones’ home, her wellbeing and peace of mind. The food, it turned out, brought with it comfort, security and some semblance of normalcy.

Little by little Ms Jones became more like me, and less like her. Weird stuff began to happen. Stuff was getting cleaned up, internally and externally. Someone was doing it. Good stuff began to happen. Proactive baby stuff in mini directions, turned into connections with loved ones and loved hobbies, such as what I now call the Miracle Pantry Garden. I started planting the seeds from the vegetables and herbs and potatoes and fruit and something happened. They grew.

So, it seems, and outside of my control, I started to grow as well. And I think I’m not the only one who delights in that growth. A garden impacts a community. I guess I did too. Just go with me on this. The garden has struggled in the Atlanta heat, however it’s a labor of love. It’s admired. It provides anticipatory excitement. It is progress. So am I. The tomato plants are like trees while the peppers look like they are in the Negev sans irrigation. The grove of container orange trees is very short. The cucumbers and okra are coming along nicely, so is the mint; overall, each little bud, each little inch of growth is a joy I cannot fully put into words. I run outside to check on Le Garden a lot. A very lot.

The gratitude I feel for the opportunities this journey is affording me is huge. I tell this story not only in tribute to my therapist, psychiatrist, the Kosher Food Pantry and JFCS but most importantly in tribute to all those suffering with anxiety, depression, or any mental health challenge. I tell my story for you. My sister. My brother. My friend. I tell this story with gratitude mostly, a little humor and with my hand outstretched.

Accepting help is not easy. Do it anyway.

With hope for the future at last,

Ms. Jones"

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