Compassionate Love: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness (c)2019 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
Try to explain the difference between anxiety and fear or worry. Can you?
I’ve had difficulty describing anxiety to friends, family, and even therapists. That is because each person experiences it in his or her own way.
Most people equate anxiety with worry as if they are interchangeable terms. For me, anxiety is more of a physical sensation than a thought war. It is a vague tension that seems to almost vibrate from my core. It can make me lethargic, sick, and sleepless even if otherwise I feel calm.
Depression too shares common symptoms across the population. However, their intensity, duration, and how a person perceives them at any given moment will not be an exact match to anyone else.
For example, self-pity is distinguishable from depression when I feel either of them. Contrary to stigma, they do not always show up hand-in-hand. Depression is not always preceded by self-pity. This is not everyone’s experience.
It is hard to choose one or two most important points about offering support when a loved one struggles with anxiety or depression. This CompassionateLove Blog has much to say on the matter. There is one theme running through it all.
The most vital phrase for supports to remember is:
“No one else is like me.”
That is right. Your experiences with depression and anxiety are your own. How you manage, what treatments work or do not work, how long it takes to return to normalcy – none of these are measures for anyone else’s struggle.
I will go so far as to say, as well as you think you know someone, do not assume what they feel today is what they have shared with you in the past. Moods are flexible, thoughts come and go.
No one else is like you. Please do not judge and expect the same results.
Today’s Helpful Word
“Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy.”
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.