Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse (c)2018 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries
Depression prevents one from being himself or herself.
Optimistic, giving, loving people will turn inward and may on the surface seem selfish. Truth is, from what I have seen, the true nature of a person is not changed when they struggle with even severe depression.
This explains in part why some suicides are shockingly surprising. A funny person’s humor, or a caring person’s compassion may continue, albeit with less fervor and energy, despite growing despair. At my worst point, a fellow member of a therapy group said it seemed as if I could laugh easily. I am naturally energized by people. In the moment, perhaps that showed. What she could not see was the cavern of emptiness on the inside.
It is a symptom
The point of this is that a generally less self-absorbed person in emotional distress may become ego-centric. A typically ego-centric person may express exaggerated selfishness. That is depression at work.
Thinking excessively about oneself, seeming to ignore everyone else, interpreting what others say in negative ways, or demanding attention are a few of the ways people in depression may act. It is ego-centrism, no doubt. It is also a symptom of the condition.
Suicide attempts are definitely a cry for help... unless they are not! That is why it is important to take each one seriously. Many sufferers actually try to die, and survive for myriad reasons.
The accusation that such a person was “only looking for attention” is one of the most – forgive me – ignorant responses. Obviously, one who attempts suicide needs attention, and lots of it! Thank God if even multiple attempts are cries for help. Perhaps the only way this person knows how to make anyone listen is by creating distress. One who never receives that attention may go on to suffer longer and more deeply. Or die.
Respond with patience
Frankly, recovering from depression requires hard work. While it is ultimately not healthy to remain self-absorbed, ego-centrism may hang around for an extended time. Taking one tiny step, then two, then three may take all the self-focus and energy one can muster.
And that’s ok. Pushing too hard can make hopelessness worse.
Today’s Helpful Word
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had.
***** COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME
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.
*pics by COBRASOFT of rgbstock.com