Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2015 Nancy Virden
- Your boss says, “You could work faster, you’re just lazy”
- Your spouse slams a door, and hollers.
- Your friend makes his point repeatedly to coerce you to think as he does ?
On a good day, where do your thoughts go when…
- Your friends do not include you in their plans
- Your spouse does not respond when you are sick
- People try to “fix” you
- Your character is attacked
Imagine then, how all this is not helpful in a struggling person’s depression.
At present I’m disappointed in a friend. I thought he was above badgering, refusing to listen, and falsely accusing.
An emotionally fragile young man struggled with suicidal thinking. My friend told him his depression was the result of sin. The young man told him the accusation was making him feel more hopeless.
As my friend sent text after text to the man in distress, he was unaware I was on the phone listening to the young man’s growing hurt and despair. When I confronted my friend on his carelessness at a dangerous time, he turned on me. He said I was selfish, and unwilling to help the young man (for money nonetheless, but that’s another story!).
Why would we assume a depressed person wants to hear our quick-fix opinions?
Most of us are not mental health professionals, and none of us have all the answers no matter how much we think we know. It is inappropriate to diagnose and offer cures when we do not understand the complexities of another person’s brain and issues.
At the very least, we can withhold judgment and a berating tone. Listening to what a depressed person says they need is important.
Compassionate love, as well as common sense, places safety above opinions.
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.