What happens in the third year of war?


I’ve been seeing an acupuncturist at Common Ground this month. I went to her when I was getting over a bug with some upper respiratory junk setting in. Before the cupping, she gave me some massage and remarked on the stagnant energy in my spleen lines. I asked what that meant. She said it was associated with worry.

As 2013 drew to a close, I started to realize that I have a serious problem. I have gotten to the point where I am almost chronically depressed. Certainly, I am obsessed and filled with worry most of the time. In my dreams I find myself arguing with people about what is really happening in Syria. Of course, I spend a lot of my waking hours arguing too. I got into a habit the last few years of opening the front page section of the paper before I sat down to breakfast, to look for any articles written about Syria. Of course, after reading the latest lies and propaganda, I would sit down to eat, steaming over what I had read. I’m sure my husband suffered as well, having to listen to me explain to him what was said in the article and how wrong it was. What a terrible way to start the day.

After three years of war, I have realized something. This war may continue for another three years, or six, or ten. Who knows? I know that until the US government and Its allies stop funding and supporting the foreign fighters in Syria, until they give up their campaign of regime change, the war is likely to continue. I feel so powerless and I feel so angry. These people in power, at the top of the power structure of the entire world, are picking on my country. They’re tearing it apart because the Syrian government refused to do what they were told. Men, women and children are dying every day because, as John Kerry recently said, there can be no peace in Syria as long as Bashar Al Assad is president. What he fails to mention is that the only reason that is so, is because the US refuses to stop trying to remove him from power.

Of course, I get upset writing this. There’s this political fight. My attempt to explain to taxpaying Americans what’s really going on and how our money is being used to slaughter innocent people for geopolitical and economic gain. There’s my sorrow, fed by scene after scene of destruction – Homs, Aleppo, Damascus, mosques and churches, homes and hospitals. There’s my anger, fueled by the injustice of the media supporting the government’s lies instead of exposing the truth. And finally, there’s my overwhelming worry and fear, driven by video of Christians beheaded, priests and nuns abducted, children… I don’t want to finish that sentence. These are the things I’ve seen with my own eyes, so when I write about them, I can speak with credibility. I have seen these things for myself. And I know these evil men may come to my village one day. And there is my brother, my sister, my nieces and nephews. There are their children, two year olds, babies. I know what will happen to them if those demons come. Bought and paid for by my goverment.

So here I am, three years into this war. I realize now, I have to find a way to cope. I need to figure out how to handle all these chronic, negative feelings. What can I do? 

I went back to the acupuncturist. Susanna. She has given me incredible care. She has helped me cry. She has helped me dream insight. She has lightened my chest and eased the weight on my shoulders. And I’ve contacted a therapist, although we haven’t spoken yet. My dear friend, Lisa, recommended her. Lisa came to stay with me recently. One night, she came home from a visit with a friend and found me sobbing in the living room. She asked me what happened. I told her I just got off the phone with my brother and sister. She asked if something was wrong and I told her, I just miss them so much and I’m so afraid of what might happen and I just wait and wait for something to change. But I’m so afraid of what that change could be.

When I pray, I ask God to protect my family. I pray that they will all survive the war. I pray they will psychologically survive. I pray they will know peace and happiness again. As much as I worry, what must it be like for my sister, living there, with two sons and two grandsons?  I think the worry must be eating her alive.

When I pray, I beg God to stop the war. I beg Him to expose the lies and the liars, until they can no longer justify and continue their ruinous actions. I beg God to make it happen before the country is utterly destroyed. And when I think about the way things are now, and the way they may become, I try to remember the way they were before the war. I try to remember the laughter and the music. The dancing and eating. I try to remember sitting with my family, relaxing in the evening, without a care in the world. Please God, let it be so again.

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About Leila

I am a wife and mother. I am an Orthodox Christian. I am a yoga and fitness instructor and personal trainer. And I am a Syrian American with family living in Syria. My life is defined by my family, and right now, that means chronic worry and fear. Thank God for my faith and the support of my family and friends. I started this blog to talk about all sorts of things, but now I focus on Syria. Until this war is over, I, like all Syrians with a love for their country and their families, am a prisoner of this war, waiting to see what will be left after the dust settles. I pray for the safety of my family and for my country to survive and repair itself in the future. God willing.
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