Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness
(c)2016 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry
A blues song could be the sound track for many of our lives. It’s lyrics would include, “Deadlines, worries, have to do this-n-have to do that” because these are hallmarks of so many of our days. Most people seem to be able to manage the pace, or better yet, manage to pace themselves.
With a mental illness, the normal speed of life can be too fast. Feeling overwhelmed, persons with mental health disabilities may not always be able to keep up with what others around them are doing. From the outside, perhaps these limitations look fake, because yesterday and the month before everything seemed fine. However, tough decisions have to be made when mental health is fragile.
At least four events occur when mental illness prevents a person from reaching his or her goals.
Disappointment. The one with the disability is frustrated and saddened that a desired career or accomplishment is out of reach. There may be a process of grieving.
Self-criticism. The world is quick to tell people without a job that they should be working. No one is more impatient and judgmental than the one with a mental health disability is toward himself. It’s a life of shoulds. I should be able to keep a routine. I should be able to put in a full day. I should be able to control my brain.
Defeatism. There will be days a person with a mental health disability will feel defeated. All the failed “shoulds” and dashed hopes will be too heavy a load. At this point it may seem wiser to quit trying.
Some Acceptance. Eventually or at least occasionally, the person with limitations due to mental illness will accept those challenges and even embrace them. It is a success in itself to accomplish what one can in a day. Many people do not do that much even though they put in a full day’s work.
People with invisible disabilities deserve as much respect as any one else. It is to our benefit as a society to look beyond the surface and see the heart.
Today’s Helpful Word
Isaiah 43:18 NIV
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”
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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 is yours.