Sitting here in my living room on erev Shabbat after Simchat Torah, I take stock of a brutal summer. The heat wave, the dust storm, and now the violence which engulfs us come to mind. Our terrible and violence however only provided the ‘ambience’ for my own miserable discontent. Falling into depression and consumed by the horrible discomfort of anxiety, I struggled to keep my head about me. And, with the help of my wife, family, and friends, I seem to have made it to the other side.
Relapses into depression and anxiety are not new for me. Even as I struggled with this horrible darkness, it seemed to me that there was some purpose for these periodic descents into madness. Over the years, each relapse has been a journey from which I’ve brought back assorted souvenirs of ideas, perspectives, and new experiences. As tortured as I’ve been (and still am) these souvenirs enrich me. A firm believer in evolution and the hasidic ideal of descent as a prerequisite for ascent (yerida tzorech aliya), I see life as an unending series of upgrades even if the brutal descents are too much to bear.
So what have I learned? What great wisdoms have I brought back?
That dear reader is what you’ll be reading about in the coming posts. But here’s a start: If you want to know the nucleus of human misery, you’ll find it full of competing complexities.
Happiness comes with simplicity.
Shabbat Shalom to all.