Mentalising from right to left (bet to aleph if you’re reading this back-to-front).
A young Jewish man was visiting a psychiatrist, hoping to cure his eating and sleeping disorder. "Every thought I have turns to my mother," he told the psychiatrist. "As soon as I fall asleep and being to dream, everyone in my dream turns into my mother. I wake up so upset that all I can do is go downstairs and eat a piece of toast." The psychiatrist replied, "What, just one piece of toast for a big boy like you?"
But of course Judaism isn't only about jokes and high calorie festivals. It has endless profound insights into the human condition, including illness and distress. A revered rabbi recently told me something which for the first time made me feel that my depression (soon to enter its seventh year) may have some point to it, and rekindled my evaporating optimism that it may eventually end. He told me that the Hebrew word for crisis, mashber, in Biblical Hebrew means 'birthing stool'. The concept of a crisis involving agonising pain may be part of a process of giving birth to something completely new and joyous is one that (despite my relentless secularity) resonates with me. And reinforces the need to stick it out.