Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2014 Nancy Virden
Yeah, so what? Everyone gets sad from time to time.
A woman grieves. A child’s friend moves away. A mother’s heart breaks. A husband struggles watching his wife grow sicker.
I know, everyone feels sad once in a while. There are bad days, blue moods, and grief. Burn-out exhausts us.
Then there is Major Depression.
The depression and sad emotions most people experience cannot be fairly compared to the feelings of one with Major Depression. It’s a matter of intensity and duration.
To be diagnosed with Major (Clinical) Depression, one has to meet certain criteria over a minimum period of weeks. Functioning must be significantly impaired.
Major Depression for me has shown up most often in an extreme lethargy mixed with a sense of hopelessness. Not only do I lose sight of what I want, but no longer believe those aspirations exist or matter. It is important to interupt the depressive cycle before it goes that far.
Many people seem to believe there is a disconnect between spirit, body, and mind. There is no separation. We are complex creatures. Simplifying Major Depression into only one of the three categories may sound like, “Just pray.” “Snap out of it!” “Get more sleep.” While suffering persons may want to comply and emerge happy and free, they cannot. I cannot.
Certain thoughts, behaviors, and negative beliefs trigger my depression. It is my responsibility to avoid those. I’m not claiming helplessness. What I am saying is that sometimes I’m sad- and don’t get over it like other people do.
First, I have to double-check whether I’ve remembered to take my medications. That is because my kind of sadness tells me to not bother. If my mood darkens, I will talk to my psychiatrist. Once in a while I have to go through a medication change.
I have to proactively review specific coping strategies. These include examining the evidence of what is real. Do family and friends love me? Check. Am I believeing lies about my worth? Check. Once aware of the thoughts that triggered this episode. they are challenged.
It may be hours or days before I remember I am worth all this self-care and begin. This sadness swallows up time. It is tempting to isolate. God never fails to call to my spirit. When I respond, he never fails to push me back out into society.
Sometimes I’m sad and have to follow a process to prevent the familiar downward slide that has become overwhelming in the past. This is life with remitting major depression. If you have it, do not let anyone tell you it isn’t real.
***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness, abuse, and addiction. 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.
*pictures from qualitystockphotos.com