Healing a Parent, Saving a Child

Andrei Zyrukhina, 11
Vinnitsa, Ukraine

When the abuse of her aggressive and anti-Semitic husband became too much for Yana Zyrukhina to bear, she became a prisoner in her own mind.  The fear and uncertainty of a seemingly unending war compounded the problem, and she developed intense phobias, including a fear of burglars that kept her locked inside all day and anxiety brought on by electricity that plunged her family into darkness night after night. 

Noticing the negative impact that her erratic behavior and the unhealthy living environment was having on her 11 year-old son, Andrei, Yana approached the leaders of the Jewish Community in Vinnytsia and pleaded for help.  LifeChanger FSU was brought in to assess the situation and figure out how to best assist Yana and Andrei.   

Though Yana had gotten divorced in the interim, alleviating the abusive situation, her phobias had worsened.  She had become entirely unhinged, and Andrei lived in fear that his mother would hurt herself.

In an effort to distance Andrei from the persistent troubles at home, LifeChanger FSU tried to enroll Andrei in Jewish recreational and experiential education programs, but Yana severely limited his involvement.  Her phobias included a preoccupation with Andrei’s safety, and she would barely allow him to leave the house.  After much discussion, LifeChanger FSU convinced Yana to allow Andrei to live with some distant relatives until she could find the key to her mental health.

After intensive treatment at a psychiatric hospital, Yana was diagnosed with a severe hormonal imbalance, the cause of her mood swings and phobias.  Yana responded immediately to the prescribed medication and therapeutic treatments and was able to leave the hospital and return home.  After Yana secured a job and proved that she had her phobias are under control, Andrei was able to return home.  Yana is now the kind of mother she always wanted to be for Andrei, and with assistance from LifeChanger FSU, they are building a healthy and normal life together.

LifeChanger FSU provides Andrei with new clothing that buoys his confidence and social and educational programming that broadens his world and expands his mind.  The organization also subsidizes regular sessions with a psychologist to help him deal with the extreme trauma he experienced over the last several years.  While the road to normalcy is long, Yana and Andrei are finally hopeful.  Their future is looking brighter every day.