The tall, sturdy trees form a shield around me. I absentmindedly flip through wedding photos on my phone and pause on a photo of us, my curls covered in baby’s breath, his fresh jet-black top coat. No smiles, just a deep knowing gaze of love as our eyes meet, and we take that first step beyond the chuppah into married life.

But today … I wonderI wonder how Yosef is feeling, if he needs my help how Yosef is feeling, if he needs my help. My fingers hesitate over his number. The words of my mentor/coach take center stage: “If a thought hurts, it simply cannot be true. If it hurts, question it.”

Is it true that he needs my help?

Yes, of course, my mind answers defensively. I see an image of Yosef trapped under the weight of our purple blanket, battling depression. I dial his number.

Can I absolutely know that it is true?

I hang up and allow myself some space. No. Maybe he needs someone else’s help, not mine. Or maybe he is OK at this moment and just needs quiet.

How do I react when I believe this thought?

My stomach responds with a familiar somersault, a tight pinch as a finale.

I can’t breathe. I don’t take care of myself. I walk through life in a cloud. My body is moving, teaching, praying, eating endless cereal. But my mind is in this dark cloud of anxiety.

Tears start to brush my cheek. I wish I could call my coach so she could guide me through this, but it is the middle of the night in her time zone. Come on, Miriam, you can do this. Your G‑dly soul is the coach. Just ask the questions that will lead you to the truth.

How do you treat him when you believe that thought, at least in your mind?

He is my capturer. My life is stuck waiting for him to heal. I cannot breathe until I know the depression has lifted, and he is back to his laughing, playful self. I resent planning our lives around his panic attacks. I resent canceling plans. After all, my friends cannot come over today because my husband needs to have the space to scream and cry and process.

Who would you be without the thought?

Present. Just feeling sensations. Breathing.

Turn it around, I challenge myself. My ego cringes. Yosef does not need my help. How can that be true? Well, this “me” that I believe myself to be. This ego control-oriented part of me. That “me” he doesn’t need help from. This scared part of me that just wants him to heal so I can feel whole again. He for sure does not need help from that “me.”

OK, good, sweetheart, I mimic my coach, turn it around again.

I need Yosef to help me.

How is that even possible? His nervous system has been swinging between panic attacks and depression the last two days; how is he capable of helping me? He can’t even help me around the house right now. I can’t ask him for anything.

There is so much resistance here, so I know there must be something true.

I need Yosef to help me. The words dance through my head.

I need him to remind me to return to my business. I put so much energy into G‑d’s business of how the world should look, and Yosef’s business of how he should be feeling, and what he should and shouldn’t say and how he should blink. I laugh at myself. I have been so busy in his business I forgot about my own.

I need Yosef to help me come back to my business. What is in my control: my thoughts, speech, actions. If I wasn’t so triggered by his depression, I would remain asleep: causally controlling his life while ignoring my inner world. Thank you, Yosef, for triggering me so hard. I needed to wake up and come back to my sphere of influence, my business.

How else can it be true?

Every time Yosef breaks through the cycle of pain and comes back to himself he has new sapphires of wisdom. He gives them to me as a necklace. He hands me the wisdom I cannot ever learn in a textbook. He teaches me about mental health and how to heal in a way like no one else could.

My Yosef is like our teacher, Moses, who became rich through sapphires. When G‑d forgave the Jewish people for the sin of the Golden Calf, we needed a new set of tablets because Moses had smashed the first ones.

The first set G‑d had formed. The second set G‑d commanded Moses to carve out of sapphire. Moses was allowed to keep the extra chips of sapphire that feel away and he became rich through them.

The first set of the Ten Commandments represent a soul’s perfect straightforward journey in this world, the tzadik, a completely righteous individual. The second set of the Ten Commandments represents a healing journey, the soul’s journey to find its path. It is the beauty that can be born out of mistakes. The power of the process. The ability to connect even deeper after those hard moments of disconnection.

Yosef is a gem miner. Bravely searching depths that I wouldn’t dare go to, to bring me the sparkling gems only found deep within his soul.

Would I have started doing deeper spiritual work on myself if Yosef’s journey hadn’t encouraged me to go deeper? Would I ever have started speaking to schools about mental health if Yosef hadn’t lovingly placed in my open hands these sapphires still covered in earth?

Yes, this feelsThis feels painful and unfair painful and unfair, how he suffers, and yes, he may just transform my life once again with new insight revealed through his digging. Thank you, Yosef, for going where most wouldn’t dare.

You could live on the surface as most do, but your soul won’t let you. It demands depth. You go to therapy weekly, eat healthily and exercise—not to mention your overflowing shelf of natural remedies. G‑d knows you are brave. He sends you to places most don’t dare to go or return from. You are my courageous gem-miner.

Tears of gratitude overwhelm me. Who cares if I need to do the dishes this week, you are bringing me a new sapphire ring every night.

“I need to help, Yosef,” I laugh. How silly that seems now. Yes, I can be there for him. If he asks for something, I will provide what he requires for his mining exposition. But I trust that he knows best what he needs, as he is the one G‑d entrusted on this sacred mission. I can call his therapist and ask them to check in, but not from fear. Rather, from respect. They are part of the headlight on this otherwise pitch-black digging exposition.

I will give you space and respect for your holy work. If you need me to send any supplies down with a rope, I will send it with a love note attached.

I decided to send a simple text.

“Thank you, Yosef. You’ve got this.”

Sincerely,

Your wife