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Why Do I Suffer from Mental Illness?

Why Do I Suffer from Mental Illness?

Monday, 8 May, 2017 - 12:16 am

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Question of the Week:

   
Can you tell me why G-d gave me a mental illness? Why has he made me suffer? I am not a bad person.
 
Answer:
 
Every soul journeys down into this world with two suitcases. One is full of the challenges the soul has to face during its lifetime. The other is full of the talents and strengths necessary to withstand those challenges. The first suitcase is opened for you; the second you have to open yourself. 
 
Your soul's challenge is mental illness. I don't know why. But I do know that your mission is to use your talents, to turn the pain and frustration into a positive force. 
 
Because of your openness and willingness to share your experiences, you are an inspiration to others who have mental illnesses. You bring hope and light to those who are not as strong as you, by showing them just how much they can achieve if they focus on their abilities. 
 
You can also bring understanding and insight to those who have not themselves experienced the pain of mental illness. I for one have learnt an invaluable lesson from speaking to you. 
 
Do you remember our conversation, when I asked you what was the hardest thing about having a mental illness? You said it was the silence. When people discover that you suffer from mental illness, they don't know what to say, and the conversation comes to an abrupt and awkward end. 
 
So I asked you, What would you like them to say? Your answer amazed me. 
 
You said, "I wish they would ask me questions about my illness. I wish they would show an interest to understand what I am going through. I wish they would give me the chance to share what I am experiencing, rather than let me suffer alone."
 
I'm sure not everyone is as willing to talk as you are, but I suspect that for many the stigma of mental illness hurts more than anything else. Thank you for letting me see it from your perspective. I promise to pass on the lesson.

G-d has presented your soul with a challenge, but He has also given you a bright and warm personality, and a strength of character that can stand up to the challenges you face. This is a gift that I hope you will share with the world.
 
Good Shabbos,
Rabbi Moss

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