Women’s health and wellness, though sometimes neglected, must be a top priority for all Jewish women and their mikveh experience.  Eden is committed to educating women of all ages, especially about issues that are often “too private” to share.   

Now that it is all over, I have been asked to share a scary story, in the hopes that others will learn from it, and not suffer as this family suffered.

My connection to the story is that I volunteer for Nitza, an Israeli organization that helps women who are suffering from post-partum depression.  

This story is about a woman who suffered in her youth from anxiety and depression – fairly mild , but she continued to take antidepressants for many years.  Thank God, she never had setbacks after giving birth. 

At menopause, her ob-gyn felt that her physical symptoms were severe enough to warrant taking hormone replacement therapy.  Unfortunately, this ob-gyn did not ask her about her mental health history, and was unaware that she had suffered in the past from anxiety and depression.

Like most laypeople, she did not realize that there might be an issue.

It started very gradually. Her mood changes were blamed on her gradually emptying nest.  She would feel antsy , couldn’t concentrate on anything.  

Then the panic attacks began.  She quit her job, feeling that she was unable to do even simple tasks.

As time went on, she found it hard to be alone.   She would call her husband to come home from work.  But she was too depressed to enjoy his company.  She would lose her temper over nothing.  

And then there were rages.  She would scream, and throw things.  She seemed to have completely lost control.  

She stayed in bed most of the day, which kept her calmer.  And then, a few good days went by, as she stayed in bed, her mood improved. She talked calmly, the rages and the panic attacks were gone. 

In her calmer state, she noticed that she had missed a week of her hormones.  She took a pill, and by the next morning, was completely out of control again.   This sequence repeated itself one more time, until her husband decided to look up the potential side effects of the hormones.  Seems that mood swings and depression are both potential side effects, and much more likely when one has a history of mood issues.

Now that this very difficult time is over, the woman is back on her feet, and her family is breathing easier, they want to share the lessons – hormones affect moods.  And other medications can also affect moods.  Any doctor who prescribes medication must be told your complete medical history, including mood issues.  Even if it was a long time ago, and even if they don’t ask.  

Nitza’s hotline number is 02-533-2810.  Don’t hesitate to call at any time of life or time of day.