On Compassion

Friends, today I ask you to please practice compassion.

I had not planned on adding my voice to the public conversation about the recent deaths of two (and many more than two) truly remarkable and very admired people, but I now think it bears repeating. By me and to whomever is willing to examine their own opinions about the hows, whats, and whys of suicide.

Depression does not care about how much money you have.

Depression does not care about how famous you are.

It does not care how many awards you have won, accolades you have received, people you have influenced, or followers you have collected.

It cares only about your hopelessness. It cares only about the dark parts of yourself unseen by the public. It cares only about the most desperate and difficult places in your mind where it can make a home and convince you that you are unworthy.

Depression does not care about the health of your lungs or your heart or your skin or any other part of you. It cares only about your mind and how it can be ripped apart.

People who suffer from depression have an illness. It is a grueling, pervasive, exhausting, life-threatening illness.

This is an illness for which there is no cure, only treatment. Treatment some may not be strong enough to use. Treatment others may not know how to seek. Treatment in many forms, be they medication, therapy, the support of loved ones, exercise, meditation, behavioral practices, or any combination thereof and many far beyond.

To speak with derision and condescension about people who struggle to treat their illness is the height of cruelty. A person with cancer is not “selfish”. A person with heart disease is not a “coward”.

Depression infects and invades the minds and lives of thousands.

They are hurting. They are living with unimaginable pain.

Seek to ease that pain. Seek to support their treatment. A person can be crippled without crutches. A person can be paralyzed without a hospital bed.

Friends, please have compassion. You don’t have to understand. There is no requirement of you to make sense of it. You only have to make an effort.

Kate and Anthony, rest with the angels. I’m so sorry it hurt so much, and I’m sorry we didn’t know. You will both be so terribly missed.

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: text HOME to 741741
Featured photo courtesy of TIME

 

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