Who Am I to Tell You Anything?

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2015  Nancy Virden

mwk9ntmJim opens the door and faces his new desk and opportunity. A freshly engraved nameplate is symbolic of the change he so desperately needs. Regrets and failures fill his thoughts, then forced gratitude pushes them aside. He is not going to allow negativity to ruin this day.

Jim has been promoted from within the company into a position of authority. Prior to applying for this job, he had been one of the minions who answered to supervisors and managers. Now he is a manager, expected to lead former peers.

Gina works in production. For several years she and Jim worked side by side, teaming their skills to produce the best quality work they could. Sometimes Gina had good ideas for increasing their efficiency, and Jim benefited from the results. Gina also benefited from Jim’s plans.

Only now Jim is to be her boss. She doesn’t aspire to be a manager, yet as the more industrious of the two, she is uncertain how to respond to Jim’s direction.

Jim knows he was most likely promoted because Gina turned down the offer. He enjoys being in the thick of decision-making, and having input at an advisory level. How is he to approach Gina? Who is he to tell her anything about how to do her job?

At the end of each Compassionate Love blog post is a paragraph reminding readers who I am and am not. I may seem unqualified to talk about how to live. Opinions based on stigma dismiss me and other advocates. Yet here I am.

This is my aspiration – making a difference in how people with mental illness are treated, and to offer real, substantial hope to those in despair. Sometimes I end up in the spotlight, but it is not my desire to be noticed. Having my name splattered across this website is uncomfortable, but without admitting who I am, how can my message be taken seriously? People in pain need to know that someone who has been where they are came out alive and thrives.

If Jim is wise, he will continue to listen to Gina’s ideas. He can be a humble leader, ever mindful of his inability to know everything. So can I.

If you have comments, whether they be opinions, questions, or sharing your own experience, I want to hear from you. You will be heard. I can learn from you as easily as you can learn from me. Your participation in the discussion is important because your voice matters too.


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.

*picture of businessman from vierdrie at rgbstock.com


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