Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Water Phobia

10 December, 2004

Question:

I am petrified of water and have a hard time going to the Mikveh. The moment I get my period, I start to get nervous and tense about going to the Mikveh. The last few times I have been it has been very difficult as one time I nearly drowned, the other few times I have been so nervous that I have either not dipped in completely or held on to something due to the fear of water. Hence, I have had to immerse a few times before the Mikveh attendant can say Kosher. I have come to the point, where even thinking of the Mikveh makes me very scared, nervous, tense and depressed. I do not know what to do as I am sure that I cannot handle going to the Mikveh anymore. When I talked with my Rabbitzein, she told me that I should take some medication before I go to the Mikveh, which is not a possibility for me as I do not like to take medications and have a feeling that I will not have control of myself. I observe the laws of Family Purity, but the only thing of going to the Mikveh is the most difficult for me and I know that it is the most important but I just cannot do it! Pease advise what I can do in my situation. Thank you so much for your time.


Answer:

It would be permissible for you to immerse while holding on to a railing under the water, so long as you do not grip it too tightly.

Alternatively, you could immerse with one or two women accompanying you into the water and holding you. In either case, both you and anyone assisting you must wet their hands in the mikveh prior to immersion.

You might also consider pursuing behavioral therapy to ameliorate your phobia.


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