Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2014 Nancy Virden
I know a few people, myself included, who struggle with gaining and holding on to healthy relationships. Commonly I hear, “I’ve been hurt so much. I’m never trusting anyone again!” It’s true, friendships, romances, and marriages do not always last. And that hurts.
It hurts a lot.
We come away feeling bruised and weak. Perhaps we are angry, confused, self-loathing, or depressed; maybe we are all four at the same time. One choice we can make is to hide in our houses, under a workload, or in front of the TV. We can wear smiles and be cold, vowing no one will get close enough to hurt us.
Selecting such an option has not worked out for me. Once I’m surrounded by my own thoughts it is like an unending movie, and emotions of the moment seem the whole story. That is why, in my case and I suspect for many others as well, challenging those feelings with new thoughts is necessary.
Reaching out to other people comes into the equation – you know, talking with members of the same human race that brought us pain in the first place. Making that phone call, sending that text or email, or visiting a friend can be difficult when we are depressed and hurt. Lethargy mixing with the desire to protect ourselves can make it hard to get out of bed. Our motivation is slight, and the goal of feeling better may seem unattainable.
Yet this is the very reason to reach out. We need support, second opinions, and distraction from our troubles. Sometimes our needs are not met as fast or in the way we want, but not inviting relationships in is a guarantee of self-inflicted loneliness and its accompanying agony.
So how does one reach out? We just do. Carefully determining who is safe by taking our time, then taking yet another chance is the best bet we’ve got. Sometimes helping others is a positive way to re-enter society.
We may feel alone, but we are not. I am here, you are here. Let’s hope instead of hide, and find as well as be the kind of people we want to know.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.
*picture from qualitystockphotos