Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2014 Nancy Virden
A good mom would never leave her children, right?
If only the story of the young Oregon mom, who was missing for two weeks before being found dead, a victim of suicide, fit those descriptions. Truth is, a more applicable response might be, “Again?”
Good men and women can suffer from major depression. Loving parents can complete suicide. I know, because I was once like that Oregon mom.
A common sentiment among those who have not experienced major depression seems to be dismissal, almost a refusal to believe it exists. With the growth of medicine and technology in this century, it seems we would be more open to possibilities. We know that what is little understood today may one become household knowledge. Why then do we often insist that mental illnesses must be exaggerated or character defects?
Why would a mother of two leave her boys? Wasn’t she just selfish, weak, ego-centric, lazy, mean, stupid, and rebellious against God? No.
Severe depression had me convinced my children would be better off without me, that they would not care. I believed I would be loving them by getting out of their way. Of course, I was flat wrong, but I was not thinking clearly.
I doubt this Oregon mom would, in her right mind, ever leave her sons. I’m suggesting dysfunction in her brain made her act out against who she was in her heart.
Let’s bury assumptions, guesswork, and close-minded interpretations of what we do not know (That’s the media’s job.) You and I can be smarter, and accept there is much we do not yet understand about mental illness. We can refuse to criticize and instead come alongside as empathetic friends.
Pray for the Oregon Mom’s family. If she felt unimportant as I suspect she did, how amazed would she be to see the impact her suicide has had on a nation?
Compassionate love accepts and helps those who suffer.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a 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 are yours.