[rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

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[rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by kleenestar on Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:15 pm

So, I'm having some exciting (read: sucky) pregnancy-related health problems. It's not currently life-threatening for me or for the baby, but I need to be monitored three times a week to make sure that it's safe for me to continue with the pregnancy.

I'm not thrilled about this situation, but whatever, I can handle it. My amazing husband has enlisted my community so that I'm going to every appointment with a little care package to open right afterwards, which even makes it almost a treat.

The only problem is, I'm incredibly fucking angry about our supposedly secular society is literally putting me in a position where I have to choose between my religious practice and my health.

Every single care plan option assumes I will come in on a Saturday for one of my monitoring sessions. Every single fucking one. Driving to the doctor on a Saturday is a religious violation. So is using electricity. So is spending money for my co-pay. But in our supposedly secular society, every single monitoring option is closed on Sunday. GEE WHIZ I WONDER WHY THAT COULD BE.

I don't have any question about what to actually do; Jewish law says you are required (not permitted; required) to prioritize your health above any purely religious commandment. There are more complex laws when it comes to interpersonal commandments, but Shabbat isn't one of them so it's not relevant. So I'm going and getting monitored and doing what I have to do.

But I'm really, really fucking angry that I have to choose between monitoring a potentially serious health condition and living my religion. Really, really angry. Even more angry when I realize that the Christians around me never have to make that choice, and probably never even have to realize that there's a choice to be made.

Not sure what I'm looking for here. Maybe help being less angry? Because I'm fucking angry and it feels like shit, especially when everyone is going out of their way to make this less miserable for me.

Please no advice about how to navigate the medical bureaucracy or otherwise try to get out of Saturday monitoring. Feelings advice only.
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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by Dan_Brodribb on Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:30 pm

kleenestar wrote:
Not sure what I'm looking for here. Maybe help being less angry? Because I'm fucking angry and it feels like shit, especially when everyone is going out of their way to make this less miserable for me.

Please no advice about how to navigate the medical bureaucracy or otherwise try to get out of Saturday monitoring. Feelings advice only.

The sense I get from reading is that you're feeling a sense of injustice. That you as an observant Jew have to go through this and others don't. It also sticks out to me that the fact that people of a Christian background, even non-christians or people who claim to be secular don't seem to notice this or be all that bothered by it or recognize their...is privilege the right word here?

Is that sort of what's going on?

You're also not totally sure what you need, but it isn't so much about the practical advice or working around what's going on, but you want the anger to go away. It has you...off balance? Upset? I'm less sure here. Are you angry that you're angry? Afraid because you're angry? Feel like you're being unfair for being angry or that 'there's no point in getting angry because there's nothing I can do about it so why am I angry anyway?'

I guess if you're looking for feelings stuff, the question I would start with is 'how does being angry about this leave you feeling?'


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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by azazel on Tue Oct 28, 2014 5:55 pm

Damn, first all the best wishes for you and your baby!

Sadly can't help with the feelings advice... Anger is not the emotion I deal most healthily with Razz

My thoughts are with you, in any case!

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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by kleenestar on Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:03 pm

Yeah, injustice; yeah, privilege.

As for angry: it feels unkind and ungrateful of me to be angry when everyone around me is rallying to love and support me. Also a fair bit of "Nothing I can do so what good is being angry?"
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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by Enail on Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:29 pm

You're not angry at the people rallying to support you, though. There's nothing ungrateful about having feelings other than the positive ones you have for people supporting you, at the same time!  Give yourself a break for having feelings!

Is there anyone you could specifically appoint as a venting person? This might be just me, but I sometimes really need to just talk about what I'm angry about while sounding really angry, but if it's a situation where the people you'd vent to are being really helpful and supportive, it feels mean to be so angry at them (in their direction, I mean, not at at them). But it's easier for me, and doesn't risk hurting them by seeming snappish at them, if listening to and supporting my ranting is something they're giving me b/c they want to help.

All the best with the health problems, I hope everything goes as well and un-stressfully as possible.
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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by Dan_Brodribb on Tue Oct 28, 2014 6:31 pm

kleenestar wrote:

As for angry: it feels unkind and ungrateful of me to be angry when everyone around me is rallying to love and support me.

So you're comparing the way you feel (anger) with the way your community and husband have rallied around you and you feel a disconnect there?  You want to be feeling kind and grateful, and yet instead you're feeling anger?

Do those supportive people know that you're angry or do you feel you have to keep your anger from them? (ie: not wanting them to know how angry you are because they're being so kind and you don't want to 'take your anger out on them' ? Ashamed of being angry or frustrated that they don't seem to be mad about the larger injustice and are taking it in stride but also not wanting to 'rock the boat or maybe feeling that you're the one in the wrong somehow for being angry? Something else)?  Who do you feel comfortable talking to about being angry with?

Is this anger coming out in ways that you feel are hurtful to those relationships or affecting how connected you feel to these people or is it more your internal peace of mind that's disturbed? What does you being fucking angry look like?

Apologies for bombarding you with questions. I'm certainly not expecting you to feel obligated to answer them on the forum or to yourself. The reason i'm doing it is because I've found when dealing with feelings, the best approach is to carpet-bomb myself with questions, ignore the ones that don't feel relevant, pay attention to the ones that get a *ping* of emotional reaction in some way and dig into those ones.

ETA - another thought I just had--and this may sound stupidly obvious--but you are going through some health issues which can be both scary and hard physically. When we're sick, in pain, or worried, it's normal to be more emotionally volatile and for those of us who aren't used to that, it can catch us off guard a little, especially if we're used to thinking as someone who is normally in control of our emotions. I don't have a lot of personal experience either with pregnancy or a lot of health issues, but maybe others on the board who have gone through such things may have some thoughts on what it was like for them and what helped them cope.

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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by kleenestar on Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:09 pm

Ah, so the questions about venting / supportive people have helped me narrow things down.

There are two categories of people in my life. There are people who get it, because they've had to live with it, and people who don't, because they don't.

I don't want to vent to people in the first category because I think it will just amplify my own upset instead of making me feel better. I deal with this kind of quiet discrimination every single day, from the delicious meals I have to watch other people eating to the parties I can't attend. This is the first time it's gone from irritating to potentially dangerous, but I feel like talking to the people who get it will just make me connect it to all the other straws on this camel's back and that will only make it worse for me.

Then there are the people who may be sympathetic, but don't really get it - and I think the hard thing there is that they have no fucking clue and don't really feel they have to care about it. These are people who are feminist activists and anti-racist activists and LGBT activists, and to me it feels like they never connect their desire to make the world a more just place to what I might need as a Jew. It goes way beyond Jews as a model minority - it's that our problems are invisible to the people you'd think would care about them. I'm afraid to be angry about this in their direction because I'm afraid their reaction will make me feel horribly betrayed.

As for how me being angry appears - when there's nothing I can do, it just looks like me being normal but quietly feeling horrible and furious and having a very short fuse about unrelated things. When I do feel like there's something I can do, I'm a fairly terrifying cold-mad. Fortunately that hasn't been triggered by that situation; it takes a lot to put me into Avenging Angel Mode.

The other stuff Dan brought up feels less relevant. I've actually found pregnancy, despite how physically debilitating it's been, to be much less emotionally exhausting than I expected. Even this health issue was something I took in stride until I found out how fucking unfair the medical system was going to be for me.
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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by reboot on Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:17 pm

I an sorry you are having this happen. We bump into this sort of thing with many of my clients all the time and it is infuriating because people ask why it is "a big deal". You only have appointments available on Easter, Christmas, Sunday, Thanksgiving, etc and (often) only with a provider you are not allowed to see/ not able to have touch you and tell me how you feel about it m'kay?

I wish I could do more to help than offer empathy!
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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by Hirundo Bos on Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:32 pm

I don't have much personal experience to compare this with, as I don't practice any religion at all. I'm also not all that familiar with American culture... but I have seen you touch upon similar themes before, particularly about the assumption of secularity. How it helps to make invisible, on the one hand the dominance of the dominant religion, on the other hand the very existence of minority religions. Maybe not so different from Norway... or Europe in general...after all, when I think about it. And yes, it's removed from my own experience, there's a danger I won't recognize it when I see it, but it's not a great thing about the world.

How to deal with anger... My own response would probably be to recognize how the anger is in fact justified, how anger-at-injustice, anger-at-circumstances-one-cannot-change are ethical and very meaningful emotions... but I don't know if that's what you're asking for. It probably won't serve to reduce the anger. It might have the opposite effect.

Finally, about gratitude. It makes me happy to see how your community helps you deal with the stress and emotions round this, and I see why you want to honor that. But I wonder... is  "anger at societal injustice" really the main focus of that support? Or is it more geared towards the fear, worry, uncertainty and discomfort that goes along with both the health issues and the procedures?

Anyway, I wish you and baby well, and I hope you'll both remain safe.
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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by Lemminkainen on Tue Oct 28, 2014 7:38 pm

I'm super-sorry that you have to deal with this, and I think that your anger is totally justified. Thank you for trusting us enough to share your feelings with us.

Interestingly, though, I think that this very thread provides evidence that your close friends probably won't respond to your anger in ways that make you feel betrayed. I don't think that any of the people who have replied to you are Jews who are strictly observant in the way that you are, but a lot of them have recognized your anger as valid and responded with compassion and support. And we're just people who have come to know and respect you by reading stuff that you have to say on the internet. Your friends, who you've carefully selected and curated, will be even more likely to respond with compassion.

This issue is probably invisible to your friends not because Judaisim is invisible but because most liberal academic-y people's default images of Jewish people are assimilated Reform or secular Jews who violate Shabbos all the time. But as you've elegantly demonstrated yourself, this image is easy to displace-- you've helped shatter it for me with just a few paragraphs about your experiences. You're a really eloquent and intelligent person, so I think that you'll also be able to help your friends (who, IIRC, you've chosen for their compassion, yes?) to understand why this makes you angry and be able to vent to them. You deserve to be able to express your feelings and have them heard with compassion. Best of luck!

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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by Wondering on Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:21 pm

First, I'm sorry about the health problems and wish you the best on that front.

I agree with others that your anger about this situation is completely justified. I don't know how much advice I can offer about anger that hasn't been offered already, but if unrecognized/unacknowledged privilege is part of what's causing that anger, I recognize mine. I had to go in for a particular kind of monitoring twice a week during my pregnancy, and while the place we went was open every day, you are correct that this is something that this Christian woman and her non-religious husband never had to think about to make a choice about. We were able to pick Saturday so we wouldn't have to do Sunday. It is unfair that we never had to think about it. I am appalled that you have no options for Sunday.

I hope you are able to find someone you feel comfortable talking/venting to in your personal life.

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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by eselle28 on Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:41 pm

I"m really sorry you're having to deal with this, kleenestar. I won't even attempt to offer advice. I would hope that your friends don't betray you when it comes to this issue or deny your right to be angry.
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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by The Wisp on Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:05 am

It sucks that you've been forced to choose the least worst of two bad options, it must be frustrating. I hope everything turns out well with the pregnancy.
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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by UristMcBunny on Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:49 am

I'm so sorry Kleenestar. I'm keeping everything crossed that things go well for you.

Unfortunately I don't have much advice to offer on the anger issue... but I can offer internet hugs.

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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by kleenestar on Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:34 am

Actually, I'm now feeling a lot better. It seems like maybe what I was angry about was that no one else was angry about the injustice, or even seemed to care - everyone was like, "Oh, take care of your health, feel better, let me cheer you up!" That triggered my feelings of betrayal and hurt. But thanks to your collective advice I talked to a couple of friends (one from each category, actually) just to hear the indignant response that I evidently needed.

Go DNL!
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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by Guest on Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:49 am

Glad you're feeling better! And although I'm not religious, I do find it ridonk to hear something described as secular when it is obviously HUGELY influenced by a religious past. That may be a more US-specific thing, but I have had quite a few American Christians tutting to me about how secular their society has become, whereas to an atheist outsider, their god (and ONLY their god) is EVERYWHERE.

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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by Enail on Wed Oct 29, 2014 11:59 am

Glad you're feeling better. I imagine people who are close to you naturally focus on comforting and don't-worry-about-that-ing, which tends to feel like the right response to "person I care about is going through bad things," but I know that can be super-frustrating when what you actually need is for people to recognize your anger is reasonable and share it with you.
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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by Conreezy on Wed Oct 29, 2014 12:29 pm

embertine wrote:Glad you're feeling better!  And although I'm not religious, I do find it ridonk to hear something described as secular when it is obviously HUGELY influenced by a religious past.  That may be a more US-specific thing, but I have had quite a few American Christians tutting to me about how secular their society has become, whereas to an atheist outsider, their god (and ONLY their god) is EVERYWHERE.

I have the same issue as an atheist, but is it really so hard to believe, given the religious demographics of the country for the last couple of centuries?

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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by kleenestar on Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:32 pm

Part two of the story: after spending three hours in the doctor's office and STILL having to leave with half my tests undone because they scheduled poorly, I had a little tiny meltdown. It actually had a great outcome, despite the lady who felt the need to tell me "Oh, nothing's really wrong, that's just your pregnancy hormones" (SCREW YOU LADY). They were able to reschedule my tests so I only have to come in twice a week, meaning I don't have to come in on Saturdays. So now not only am I feeling better, I also have a better outcome - that's a huge win-win! Yay!
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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by nearly_takuan on Wed Oct 29, 2014 8:48 pm

Minor shitty thing, major awesome thing. I agree, net positive. Glad it turned out well!
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Re: [rant / limited adv] My Health, Their Religion

Post by Wondering on Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:51 pm

Part two of the story: after spending three hours in the doctor's office and STILL having to leave with half my tests undone because they scheduled poorly, I had a little tiny meltdown. It actually had a great outcome, despite the lady who felt the need to tell me "Oh, nothing's really wrong, that's just your pregnancy hormones" (SCREW YOU LADY). They were able to reschedule my tests so I only have to come in twice a week, meaning I don't have to come in on Saturdays. So now not only am I feeling better, I also have a better outcome - that's a huge win-win! Yay!

Huzzah!

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