CompassionateLove Blog: Displaying Compassion for Those Who Struggle with Mental Illness (c)2016 Nancy Virden
Your covers wrap around your body as tight as you had the energy to make them. Except for a small space between your nose and air, you are separate and safe from the rest of the world.
If only intrusive thoughts and percolating memories would go away; they do not. Numbness, agony, emptiness, and desperation are familiar terms, yet you do not actually know how you feel. Your lungs strain against an inflexible wall of pain. Sleep comes and goes. The calls of nature pull you out from under your homemade cloaking device. When you return to it, there is no small debate as to whether the air hole is necessary.
This depression you are feeling cannot compare to the blues or a bad day. Everyone wants you out of bed – all are clamoring for you to be yourself again. “Come, be normal!”
You are aware that what they say makes sense to them. It is not so easy for you, however. You fall into an empty cavern deep inside your torso, and there guilt crucifies you for failing to be who others need.
Dear suffering soul, take a deep breath and read on. You are not a loser.
- If you are in danger of harming yourself, go to your local emergency room or call 911. I’ve done this and so can you! Ask someone to stay with you until help comes.
- Allow yourself to be weak. Present limitations do not define you, your character, or your future. It’s ok to be unable to do today what you wish you could. It’s ok to need help.
- Set your own goals to challenge depression and isolation. Today may be the day you sit up on the edge of the bed for a few minutes. If you are afraid to leave your room, perhaps you could stand outside your door awhile. Do the noises of family life irritate you? You can choose to sit in the living room where people are.
- Praise yourself for every accomplishment. You read this post? You sat up? You ate? Good for you! I know each of the tiniest moves are hard and cost you. One foot hit the floor this morning? You are thinking about setting a goal? You are being brave, go ahead and appreciate your efforts.
- Reach out for support from people who “get it”. Make plans to talk to a mental health specialist. allow a psychiatrist to determine if you would benefit from meds. Seek out a therapist. Support groups have helped many people. If one group or professional does not seem a good fit, feel free to find someone else. This is all about you.
- Pace yourself. I’ve made the mistake of beating myself up because I wasn’t becoming “normal” fast enough. Just do what you can at this moment. Tomorrow and next week you can reevaluate and set new goals.
- Involve God. He is already involved, so cry out to him. In my worst moments my prayers were , “Help”, and “Please use this for good.” I knew Jesus was with me throughout the healing process.
You will get better! The road to recovery can be long and arduous, but it leads out of the forest of fear, helplessness, stabbing pain, and loss of hope. The weight holding you to your bed now is temporary. You WILL rise.
Practical strategies: How to Gain and Maintain a Mindset of Hope
Today’s Helpful Word
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call in the U. S. the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.
*picture a from qualitystockphotos.com
*picture b from rgbstock.com
Thanks for the blog…. I’ve been in bed for several months and when I do get outta bed its only pure force and will power. It’s the first place I go and more and more the place you’ll find me. I feel hopeless
Loveornothing, I’m having trouble with WordPress informing me when a comment has been made. So sorry it has taken me this long to answer you. First, let me say I feel for you. Your pain is familiar to me, although of course different because we are none the same. I hope you have found some help. We are not intended to or capable of handling life, let alone depression, on our own. There are people who care. Second, hopelessness is a terrible feeling. What I have learned though is that it is always a lie. Yes, we may not see hope for the change we want, but change is always possible. During depression, hope hides behind things like pain and low energy. That does not mean it is gone. Give yourself time, please get some help, and thank you so much for reaching out.
Thanks you for these words. It shed some light on my husband’s struggle. It describes his actions, but he’d deny it describes his feelings.
i was 57 extremely fit ,lost my bussiness and have manic depression,
the bed is a crutch and without the purpose of work the situation deteriorates,
I NEVER KNEW DEPRESSION EXISTED,but i can assure it ishectic and the longer it stays with you the more life threatning, Shaving is an achievemeny,to concentrate on anything impossible,if the poor suffering partner leaves them they are completely stuffed.PEOPLE DONT UNDERSTAND DEPRESSION
Derek Watling: I am sorry to hear you are struggling. I agree, most people do not understand depression. That is why it is so important to find safe people who do. I know it is dreadfully hard, but you can make a call to a therapist and tell them how you are feeling. Look for a depression support group in your area. See a psychiatrist (although it can take awhile to get an appointment.) As always, in the case of emergency, call 911 or go to your ER.
The above is a challenge when shaving is an accomplishment! Yet it is doable. Please do not wait.
My apology for missing your comment until today.