I received an email the other day from a woman who found my Blog and Instagram page online. She lives in Australia! WOW.
I read her email several times (I tried to do so in an Australian accent too!). In it she opens up to me in great detail about her own personal mental health journey. It actually gave me chills as to how eerily similar our stories sounded; right down to us being the same age at the onset of our illness (her illness began though in January of 2018, mine in April of 2014).
Although we may live on opposite sides of the world and have never met one another before, I instantly felt such a deep and emotional connection to her.
We’ve both tried so many of the same treatments and have been prescribed countless amounts of medications over the years to help treat our anxiety and depression; all of which have caused severe side effects and continue to fail us miserably. We’ve also both experienced what it feels like living inside the four dreary walls of a psych ward on many occasions, we have both experienced dramatic weight gains because of our illness and we both live our lives with the daunting and very exhausting task of trying to survive another day.
For a person who has never felt what it’s truly like to be so close to that edge numerous, numerous times before, it can be very hard to understand or relate to. But having someone to talk to or vent to or just listen to you who truly understands your feelings because they too have lived through a similar experience as you, can be such a gift.
Finding support from people who are able to empathize with what you are going through, even if it’s a stranger you meet at an AA meeting or at a peer support group for individuals who have lost a child, spouse or parent or through some kind of online forum for cancer survivors, it can make your journey feel much less lonely.
Empathy goes way beyond sympathy. When a person is sympathetic to your situation they are understanding how you feel, but only through their own perspective, whereas with empathy you can actually feel how the other person feels. The same holds true for caregivers as well; Rich being one of them. They also deserve to find that same connection with other individuals who are living through similar experiences as they are who can offer them an empathetic ear to help ease some of their daily stressors, frustration, guilt or loneliness that come along with their role (over the years that Rich has had to take on this very tiresome role, he has had many other caregivers reach out to him looking for that same empathetic ear).
Trust me though, having empathy for others can sometimes be downright overwhelming at times when you feel it as acutely as I most often do, yet finding the right connections, the ones filled with compassion can truly be so fulfilling and may even help brighten up another person’s day (which is why I won’t stop doing what I do)!
Please don’t ever hesitate to reach out whenever you feel like you need an empathetic ear to talk to, vent to or listen to you 🤗
#thegiftofconnection #youareenough #empathy #understanding #itsoktonotbeok #youarenotalone #blogger #writer #socialmedia #listening #empath #mentalhealth #mentalhealthsupport #youmatter #depression #anxiety #suicideawareness #suicideprevention