Religion, mental health, leaving the path and more….

The subject of a direct link between a person suffering a mental health issue, and religion ( the orthodox way of practicing religion)  has always fascinated me.  In the Jewish religion, especially amongst teenagers, a vast number of people whom have a form of a psychriatric illness are leaving religion.

The close knit community I live in is an orthodox one, one where you follow the rules, you dress the same or similar to what is considered the “norm”, you know your neighbours, their family, the school they send to and the synagogue they attend, and a whole lot of judgements are presumed based on the above.   This is in no way a criticism, it is a fact of community, all small communities have their norms and this is just how it is in ours.

For those who find abiding by cultural norms, and are able to follow the unwritten rules this lifestyle can provide great comfort, you know where you stand, you know your role, you fit in, you will feel loved, accepted and can gain immensely from fitting in. But, what happens to those who don’t? what happens to those who despite being raised in a orthodox close knit community feel the need to break free? Feel stifled and caged by the laws and rules that they are born in to? Those who have perhaps been raised in a strict, cold home where following the rules is of utmost importance, and the ability to express any individuality is frowned upon. We live in a world where knowledge is just a click away, any child who wishes to know about the world around them just need to ask a computer, and if raised in a home where questions are frowned upon, where answers, love and warmth are not given readily the questions become secrets, secrets become lies, lies become anxiety and mental health is a downward spiral.

Religion can be a beautiful, wonderful way of life, it can bring stability and warmth, knowing that at any stage of life those around you will be there, by your side, helping, supporting you in any way you need.  I also believe that serving God, to the best of our abilities can be uplifting and provide a life of happiness and love. The Mitzvot (commandments) make sense, the laws are given for our benefit.  Women are not (contrary to popular opinion!) tied to the sink, downtrodden and belittled in Judaism, rather our role is so diverse, and we (sorry guys!) do have all the power!!

We live in a time where more and more teenagers and adults are opening up to others, bringing to light sexual abuse, sexual abuse which was not so long ago an hidden, horrendous and forbidden secret, many people in their 40’s, older and much younger are having memories, or strong desires to finally see their perpetrators bought to answer for their perverse and sickening crimes, when the perpetrator has been an orthodox person, or in some cases a Rabbi, a leader of the community, the victim is full of anger, and that anger is directed to the community, the religion and God, as the person who carried out their sickening desires seems or seemed like a man of God therefore it follows that people who follow this persons God are just like him, and mental health issues arise, upon remembering or opening up, or even keeping the secret inside, boiling over and over follow.

A person suffering a mental health issue in the community, has so much to loose, their siblings shunned by matchmakers, the family shamed and more, although the secret of mental health is slowly being talked about and accepted in communities more readily there is a long way to go, so a person who may have anxiety will have the added burden of keeping it a secret, leading to anger, depression and sometimes suicide, by leaving the community and becoming secular they are more free to express themselves in a way they feel is right for them.

So, why are teenagers and adults, especially those with mental health issues leaving the religion.  Below are some interesting points I came across, whilst researching the link between religion and mental health:

“Early 20th-century interest in religion and mental health was sparked by Freud’s view of religion as intrinsically neurotic. Freud described religion and its rituals as a collective neurosis, which, he suggested, could save a person the effort of forming an individual neurosis. For example, in an early paper, Freud (1907/1924) spelt out the similarities between religious rituals and obsessional rituals. He argued that guilt is created when rituals are not carried out, and assuaged when they are, so a self-perpetuating ‘ritualaholic’ cycle is set up.”

From the above, we can assume Freud was not a admirer of religion, and prescribed rituals, the guilt a person feels, when struggling with religion, when having questions about the way they were raised, questions concerning God and Judaism brings with it guilt, which in turn can bring with it mental health issues.

The way we are raised, how we are taught about God goes a  long way to either enrich or demean our mental health, is God a loving, forgiving one, has He put us here for our own benefit or for His? Does he really exist, what is our role in the world, etc. all these questions and the way we seek out answers go a long way in assuring we have positive mental health.

The below paragraph spoke volumes to me:

Religious factors, it has been suggested, are not always beneficial (Loewenthal, 2007; Pargament, 1997). For example, those who believe in a punishing God tend to have poorer mental health outcomes than those who believe in a benign, supportive God. However, some common suspicions about the harmful effects of religion have not always been borne out. For example it has been suggested that religion often fosters guilt, and this may serve to raise levels of anxiety, depression and obsessionality. Empirically, the effects are not so straightforward. True, generally there is an association between religiosity and measures of guilt and obsessionality, particularly in religious traditions that encourage scrupulous detailed observance, such as some forms of Roman Catholicism, Judaism and Islam. However, measures of guilt do not predict anxiety and depression, and measures of religiosity do not predict clinical obsessionality (obsessive-compulsive disorder, or OCD) (Lewis, 1998). Greenberg and Witztum (2001), in their studies of OCD among orthodox Jews, concluded that religion offers ways of expressing the disorder, but does not in itself foster the disorder.

Living according to the strictest of rules can therefore bring with it guilt, which results in many different mental health issues, but, if we live with these rules through love and devotion, in a positive way, realising that God is there for us, and guilt should not be a deciding factor surely our lives would be enriched.

Lastly, having been in the psychiatric ward, a huge part of people leaving religious lifestyles is living with people who to the day you entered the ward, have been aliens to you,  a strictly observant teen or adult may never have encountered the outside world, may never have spoken to anyone outside of their faith, met people who can dress how they wish, eat what they wish, see what they desire, and speak freely, to a vulnerable person, whom may not get many visitors, may not feel supported by the community due to the secrecy of the nature of their illness this life seems an answer to everything, the anger they feel towards those living close to them, and leading an observant life, is shown by leaving the community, publicly dressing and acting in a way they know will be shameful to their family and community, usually though they are crying out for acceptance and love.

Lots of love





Meaning its time to clean clean clean!

So I thought lets get some clever life hacks together to make the joy of cleaning even more joyous.

My aim is to get to 100… so sit back for a minute, let those net curtains that need to be cleaned stay right where they are and enjoy.

  1. Clean your toilet with Coke, it works!
  2. To clean your shower curtain stick it in the washing machine with a cap full of washing powder and a cap full of bleach and put on a very gentle wash.
  3. Clean the bath by using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar
  4. If you really must listen to something on your mobile whilst in the shower, put the phone in to a VERY dry sink…it makes a great amplifier.
  5. clean your showerhead by putting it in to a zip lock bag with distilled vinegar.
  6. To pick up glitter from …everywhere!! Use a lint roller lint
  7. A ball of tinfoil scrunched up tight acts as softener in the drying machine and picks up pieces of lint.
  8. To remove stems from strawberries use a straw.
  9. Wrap a wet paper towel around a bottle, stick it in the freezer for 15 minutes and it will be almost completely iced.
  10. For a refreshing ice drink, after filling up your water bottle half way put it down lengthways in the freezer, when it is frozen fill the rest with water and you will have an iced drink.
  11. To make a perfectly shaped fried egg, cut a large onion slice, ( so it is a round circle, put in to  your hot pan, and crack or pour the egg in to the middle of the onion ring.
  12. If you have lost your purse, put your notes in to a sanitary towel package! No one would think to look there.
  13. To prevent a pot boiling over, lay a wooden spoon across it.
  14. Put cupcake paper cases at the bottom of an ice-lolly so it catches the drips.
  15. For an inexpensive cookbook holder, use a skirt hanger, (hang it on a cupboard and use the clips to hold the pages open)
  16. Put pancake mix in to an empty ketchup bottle for a no mess experience.
  17. Use nail polish to identify keys
  18. If your wood is damaged, rub a walnut over it, the marks will disappear.
  19. If your car has seat warmers, and you have take out, turn on the seat warmer, it will keep it warm until you get home.
  20. To stop getting spam e mails, filter all messages by the word “unsubscribe” its a quicker and easier way to find those annoying messages.
  21. Take a picture of your fridge when it is full, and you have just done your shopping, a quicker and easier way to remember what to buy next time.
  22. For a fantastic I phone speaker, put the phone in to a large glass!
  23. Take out cups ( the plastic ones with the straw and lid) make fantastic paint pots.
  24. If you do not have a net bag to wash those hand wash items or fragile bits, put them in to a sports sock to wash.
  25. To make more space in the microwave, place one dish as usual, stick a mug next to it and place the next dish on top of the mug.
  26. When freezing minced meat, always flatten it out as much as possible before putting in the freezer, it will cut the thawing time by half.
  27. If you are trying to light a hard to reach wick, use a stick of spaghetti and light the wick with that.
  28. If you are low on work space, pull out a draw, place a chopping board on top of the open draw and you have more space.
  29. Here is a yummy one… almost finished that jar of Nutella? Put some ice cream in it, and enjoy!
  30. To easily separate eggs, crack the egg on to a plate, take a (empty !)plastic water bottle, and gently squeeze it over the yolk, release the pressure slowly it should suck up the yolk.
  31. Put old newspaper at the bottom of your dustbin to absorb food juices.
  32. To always find the end of sellotape easily stick an paper clip to the end.
  33. To save space inside your cupboards in the kitchen, mount towel racks on the indie of the opening to put lids on.
  34. Stick a sticky back picture hook on to your bins, when the bag starts moving wrap the end around the hook.
  35. Use unscented floss to cut cakes and other solids perfectly.
  36. To reduce wrinkles in a shirt quickly, turn on the stove and let it steam, hang the shirt over (at a safe distance!) the stove.
  37. If your shirt collar is creased, use hair straighteners.
  38. Apply chap- stick to paper cuts and hey presto they are gone.
  39. The above applies to shaving nicks to.
  40. Extend the life of batteries but putting them in the fridge one day before using.
  41. For a home made air conditioner point your fan at a few frozen water bottles, with about 2-3 Tablespoons of salt in each bottle. Refreeze the bottles at the end of each day.
  42. While playing games on your mobile, if you are fed up of getting ads, put your phone in to Air-plane mode.
  43. For emergency lights, put crayons in to a glass cup or plate and light, they will burn for hours.
  44. To break in or stretch tight shoes put on thick socks, put on the shoes and go over the tight spots with a hair dryer for a few minutes.
  45. Place a cup of water in the microwave with pizza and it will stop it getting hard.
  46. When reheating food in the microwave, always leave a space circle in the middle of the food it will heat up much faster.
  47. Put a paper towel in your bowl of lettuce to keep it fresh all week.
  48. To keep your potatoes from sprouting, put an apple inside on the top of the bag.
  49. Put a cut avocado in an airtight container, with a piece of cut onion to keep it fresh for far longer.
  50. You can use AAA batteries instead of AA if you don’t have any, simple fill the gap on the positive side with a small wad of foil.
  51. If you spill red wine, use white wine to get rid of it.
  52. Use laundry baskets in the boot of the car to keep all those bags and bits in.
  53. If you have no where to put the wooden spoon or other utensil when cooking, put it in the hole at the end of the pots handle.
  54. When travelling to a place where you do not know the language, take pictures of places before you go for an easy way of asking directions, or even simple things like the toilet!
  55. Use paper clips to organise cables.
  56. Never leave your phone charging overnight plugged in to a socket as this can cause a house fire, instead, use a battery bar.
  57. Use a tin opener to open those new packets which are impossible to open.
  58. Roll jumpers in the cupboard instead of folding, making ease of access and no messy wardrobes.
  59. Add dabs of glue to hangers, ( let them dry!) to avoid clothes slipping off them.
  60. When painting put a rubber band around the open tin, then use it to wipe the paint off the brush, to avoid spills and drips.
  61. If you borrow something, take a picture of that person holding it, that way you will always remember who you borrowed it from.
  62. Use a banana hair clip to organise wires.
  63. Use toothpaste to clean dirty head lights in the car.
  64. Cut open empty toilet paper rolls and use them as a cuff for your wrapping paper rolls.
  65. Chew gum to avoid tears when cutting an onion.
  66. Or.. wear goggles!
  67. Use a muffin tin to serve dips at a bbq
  68. Use a clothes peg to hold a nail whilst hammering it in to the wall.
  69. Use the tabs from cans of drink to create another layer of hanger space, simply pop one end over the hanger, and use the lower bit to put in another hanger.
  70. WD-40 lifts ink stains.
  71. Stuff dryer sheets in to smelly shoes overnight to get rid of the smell.
  72. Applying clear nail polish will stop a ladder in tights spreading.
  73. The next time you have a sore throat, try eating marshmellows!!
  74. If you are having trouble lifting any kind of sticky tape etc from a surface, heat it with a hairdryer for a couple of minutes.
  75. If you have smelly breath… eat some Parsley! it neutralises breath!
  76. A frozen, soaked sponge makes a great non drip ice pack.
  77. T shirt wrinkled? throw it in the dryer with a few ice cubes or damp towels for 5 minutes.
  78. Pour made coffee in to a ice cube tray for fantastic ice coffee.
  79. Phone running out of battery? put it on Airplane mode whilst charging, it will charge double as quick.
  80. Clean your keyboard by sliding a piece of tape between the rows.
  81. When shaving, line the sink with newspaper to catch all the hairs.
  82. If buttons on clothing are loose, dab a bit of clear nail polish on the threads around them to make them rock hard.
  83. Apples help with bad breath.
  84. Use duct tape to open stubborn jars, fix a long piece around the lid and then pull on the tape.
  85. Keep hair grips in old tic tac jars.
  86. To put a new key ring on your on your existing ones, use a stapler remover to hold the pieces open.
  87. Prevent tangles necklaces, by threading the chain through a straw.
  88. If you keep loosing one earring, using a button put the pairs together through the button holes.
  89. Use a giant paper clip to help close bracelets on your wrist.
  90. Use an emery board to gently remove scuff marks from suede shoes.
  91. Use old shower curtain rings on a hanger to create a scarf holder.
  92. Wrap fragile items in a sock when storing or moving to prevent any damage.
  93. Use dryer sheets to clean skirting and floors, they help repel dust.
  94. Keep your tulips standing straight by putting their stem in a straw before placing them in the vase.
  95. Use cooking spray to keep door hinges squeak free.
  96. Store plastic bags in empty tissue boxes.
  97. Protect china plates and fine dinnerware from scratches when storing by placing a cheap paper plate between each one.
  98. Add a penny and a bit of sugar to your flowers in a vase to keep your flowers fresher and looking great for longer.
  99. Use empty pill bottles for storing loose change.

Thank you to ALL the many, many websites I used to create this list.

Print it, hang it, use it.





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