The Torah has four children in mind: one, wise, a second, rebellious, a third, simple, and a fourth, a child who does not yet know how to ask.
The Wise Child Asks: Why do I have to go through life with a psychiatric disability? How can I learn to acknowledge that having a psychiatric condition is a part of who I am, that I'm going to accept this part of myself and be in the world as much as I can?
Why did it take me so long to get here? I'm grateful that medication is helping me, but I've still got a long way to go. Now that I'm feeling so much better, I do a lot of mitzvot.
Why don't we treat psychiatric conditions like we do physical ones? Why don't we allocate more of our resources to housing and treating those whose psyches and bodies require shelter?
The Rebellious Child Asks: Why do I have a psychiatric condition? Why are You, God, doing this to me? Is this a test? Maybe I'm being punished for being nasty to my parents and other people. I used to hate everybody and I wanted other people to have problems, too.
Why are you, my caregivers, doing these things to me? You say you're trying to help me, but I don't believe you.
Why should I keep going? I give up. I quit. Forget it, I'm out of here. It's not worth the struggle. It's too hard.
(Some call this child "The Unenlightened Child", one who is clueless about the experience of being labeled with a "mental illness".)
The "Unenlightened Child" Asks: What are they to me? Keep them off the streets and out of my way.
The Simple Child Asks: What is wrong with me?
The Child Who Does Not Know How to Ask: I need others to speak for me. Sometimes when a psychiatrist prescribes medications, I may not know enough to ask about side effects. Sometimes I'm so blown away by what the doctor is saying, I can't say a word. For this child, you shall tell of our stories, our triumphs, our struggles and our despair, saying, "This is what God has done for us and this is what we do for God."
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