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I have a question that might get a number of people thinking...

Discussion in 'Opinions, Beliefs, & Points of View' started by meaningless-vessel, Oct 13, 2013.

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  1. meaningless-vessel

    meaningless-vessel Well-Known Member

    What is it about those who have mental illnesses such as depression or beyond that makes us able to support and advise others yet not want to deal with our own issues?

    I'm just wondering - because many people here come across as those who struggle with their lives (from my time on this site, be it forum or chat), yet will more often than not, when in a slightly better place, offer support to others. Would it not make more sense to put the energy into helping ourselves and encourage others to follow suit?

    Debate away :)
  2. Witty_Sarcasm

    Witty_Sarcasm Eccentric writer, general weirdo, heedless heathen

    For me personally, it's because my self-esteem is so shot, I don't feel that I deserve to have a happy life, or that I deserve to have anything good happen for me. I feel that I'll always fail and that things will always turn out bad, as they have in the past. But I like helping people and helping them to improve their lives and find their happiness, I guess I just don't feel worthy of the same.
  3. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    A combination of things, maybe?

    Suicidal thinking is highly emotional and tends to make a person not consider other alternatives...The person is probably mostly focused on not feeling any more pain as opposed to wanting to be dead. Most of us, at our most rational times, don't think suicide is the answer. When we hear someone suggesting that's what they want to do, we offer support and ideas to help them feel that life could be better.

    And if we can offer support, maybe we think someone would offer it to us in a time of need. Or maybe we are giving ourselves a little encouragement at the same time we give it to others.

    People who are not intimately involved in a given crisis situation are usually more objective and more rational than the person in crisis. They can stand back and see the whole picture more easily, and even find places for hope that the person might miss him/herself. But when it is our own crisis, it's different because we're in the middle of the situation ourselves and our own emotions are all charged.

    Last but not least, helping others is an excellent boost for our own self-esteem. Giving of ourselves and being accepted are important to everyone - whether it's expressing our pain/joy/hope/sadness or lending an ear to someone else. Simple kindness of being supportive or of being supported generally makes everyone feel better.
  4. rtrt46546565

    rtrt46546565 Well-Known Member

    ^Well put. I pretty much agree with all of that.
  5. Stoa

    Stoa Member

    Well put Acy +1. Its going to be hard to top that.

    I may add because its the similar group of people that come here, so more or less we went through the same thing and know how it felt. As result we know how to deal with it, and we don't want others to suffer like we did, because subconsciously we wished someone back then could have cared for us.

    Personally for me. I learned to suppress problems/emoticons between the years of post elementary to end of high school (not recommended). This may sound weird too, in a way I feel is there beauty when people bravely live or support each other despite of tragedy/hardship.
  6. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    Being depressed or being crazy doesn't mean you have no valid advice to give based on experience or education.
  7. morning rush

    morning rush Well-Known Member

    you know, when I'm in a bad place, I don't feel I'm a good help to anyone and I'm afraid of making things worse...and also I don't always reach out because I feel ashamed sometimes...frustrated and I can't imagine people wanting to know what I have to say of feel...

    but I try my best to help others as much as I can...
  8. meaningless-vessel

    meaningless-vessel Well-Known Member

    Interesting combination of responses.

    Witty - you are a person still - you are worthy of being treated as such. You offer so much support to others via the forum that I respect your views.

    Acy - I don't disagree with anything you have put.

    Matt - you agreed with Acy - so again I do not disagree.

    Prinn - I wasn't saying that people couldn't give valid advice while troubled themselves.

    morning rush - this forum isn't just for those who can "shout the loudest" - it's about everyone seeking support and I'm sure I wouldn't mind listening.

    I guess what I was trying to get at - is why we don't look at it from a "lead by example" principle. Show people that we can manage the varying degrees of mental/physical health and still live, then maybe there'd be more of an impetus towards living over suicide.

    In follow up to that "lead by example" line - I went from fighting with my previous workplace and my depression (and ok, in chat it didn't overly come across at first), to seeking out treatment through doctors. Then when I felt I was getting better - I weaned off the anti-depressants myself (and that didn't actually help, it spun me to worse. Not once, but twice, as my dosage of medication was upped). After all that and then early this year I threw in a few other factors of family history and found that there was a possibility (which was confirmed as a reality in june), that it could have been linked to a hereditary condition I have. Yet in spite of all of that - I have spent more than half of the last 22 months in work than out of it (marginally, but 12 months in and 10 months out), I have a girlfriend, I do things that I want to do. And I still have two psychologist sessions to go through before I'm without that side of support, but things are in general looking a lot better for me.

    The idea here is that I'm showing through my choice of words, that I have been able to pull myself out from thinking about ways to hurt myself or even off myself, to finding reasons to carry on living and enjoying what each day brings. For a contracted 20 hours of work (often pushing up to 42) - so looking at around 25% of time in a week at work, and a further 56 hours (33.3%) in bed, that still leaves me over 40% of the time available within a week to do things for myself. Admittedly some of that is getting to and from work, but I have all that time to spend living, so why should I let it go to waste? Why can I not make the best of what I have rather than focusing on what I can't?

    And there's the old argument of "easier said than done" - Ok, so it doesn't always work in the way mine has (I guess I got rather lucky). But could you make a positive story by showing others that you can make the best of what you have? Getting to work towards your dreams one day at a time?

    Tomorrow... is the first day... of the rest of your life. It's up to you to make what you can of it.
  9. Lost

    Lost Staff Alumni

    Selflessness which comes in hugantuousness (lots!), amounts in this forum, more so than any other place I've known. Restores me faith in humanity it does. :whoo:
  10. Prinnctopher's Belt

    Prinnctopher's Belt Antiquities Friend SF Supporter

    Please don't brush my comment off as irrelevant to your question, fightingthetide. You asked "What is it about those who have mental illnesses such as depression or beyond that makes us able to support and advise others yet not want to deal with our own issues?" My response was directly related and it's that our mental problems and depression do not necessarily diminish our ability to give advice (to advise others). I don't think being depressed has any bearing on 2+2 being 4, do you?

    Leading by example can be different for different people. Seeing someone in a Benz isn't motivational for everyone. Sometimes someone else's loss or death is the example that motivates someone to improve themselves.
  11. ronnymarie

    ronnymarie Guest

    I was taught as a child that all things bad in my parents life was my fault. And then I was severely punished to reinforce how bad I was. So, I am unable to believe that I deserve any help, from myself or anyone else. However, I do believe that others have the right to be happy, to get better. So, while I am not at a point where I can take my own advice, I hope something I say may help someone else.
  12. aqua

    aqua Banned Member

    I have more sympathy and concern for others than myself, my depression and other condition makes me think that I am a lost case, but if I can help
    someone else in anyway then I should offer the help, even though I don't think what I say matters. yes I am schizophrenic but I do care for others, and I hope they can
    get the help they need,
  13. Daphna

    Daphna Well-Known Member

    Fightingthetide- I agree with you one hundred percent. Right on! Blessings..
  14. justMe7

    justMe7 Well-Known Member

    Well, most things start with an idea, then that idea is actively enforced so to say. Lots of people can suggest a/the right route, but when it comes to doing it, that's a different beast. Comprehending how to do something and doing it are two different things. Many people have mental flickers of the best way to deal with a situation, but actually doing it can require an immense amount of energy and ultimately commitment. Suggestions and conversations are momentary, but the action is constant, or a progressive stance. Some people know what to do, but flutter under the strain caused by the stimulation of action.

    There are endless reasons why people choose to help others instead of aiding themselves, but some range in the areas of that when a person finds a moment of clarity/peace from a negative cloud or attack, they choose to emphasis a helpful point of view and share that with other people. It gives another person a different perspective, spreads good will, and in essence rejuvenates an individuals perspective..
    Sometime when people are helping others, they are also helping themselves.

    But like most things, thoughts, conversations, are more projectional rather then taking permanent steps forward. They tend to appease the moment, but not truly change it. That change comes from a different place, but if in some sense it is guided in a better direction, it can be more fruitful in the end. Rather then using all your energy for change on something that doesn't actually tackle the issues at hand, a different perspective can sometimes make your actions more productive. Imo atleast, spreading awareness and drawing a map are one thing, but actively staying tuned into those awarenesses when you're combating your own negativity, the negativity of the world, and steping forward through a cluster of confusion and hyper stimulation, or any number of things is a completely different challenge.
  15. Obsessive

    Obsessive Well-Known Member

    First of all, not all who have knowledge possess the physical capacity to apply it. My cognition is so heavily impaired that to consider me human is misanthropic. I've garnered enough of an understanding of the human thought process to chime in once in awhile, but the machinery itself is foreign to me; even the proper software can't be run on a hamster wheel.

    Second, it is erroneous to regard everyone's issues as some homogeneous condition with a one-size-fits-all solution. I've assembled an impressive collection of diagnoses, yet few aspects of my situation bear similarity to those of any who fall under the umbrella. Worthwhile advice must fit one's unique circumstances, and no one has all the answers. My case currently has no solution because nobody writes error-correction nor anti-virus software for an underused, clunky operating system that would be considered criminal to subject a loved one to.
  16. mpang123

    mpang123 Well-Known Member

    I suffer from schizophrenia and bipolar symptoms. I have no children nor a spouse and I feel awkward trying to empathize and give support to those who would need some encouraging words. I struggle everyday to live and that's the only common ground I find in this forum. I know a lot about mental illness, but can't relate to many issues that people are suffering. I need to take care of myself more before I can jump in and give advice. I know that's the opposite of this discussion but if your'e not in a good place with yourself, it is hard to help another. I wish well for everybody who is struggling and keep reaching out for I know the moderators and members can really give you great advice and support.
  17. mulberrypie

    mulberrypie Well-Known Member

    i don't get how a person or action can be fairly called "more" rational than another without applying subjective beliefs/values/cognition. i would say the difference between the decision to help someone and the decision to commit suicide isn't the ability to reason, but the values underlying the use of that reason. also, i think the decision to suicide is typically a much more contemplative process(in which alternatives have been considered)than the decision to get a sandwich when you're hungry, even though both are an attempt to avoid pain.

    but to the OT: in my time here I've really tried to offer advice/support, as unhelpful as it might have been. i would say some motivations off the top of my head are my empathy for people that are suffering and a desire to end suffering and that i take a sense of pride in making people feel better.
  18. Raven

    Raven Guest

    Self-hate I can deal with other people’s problems, it is so much easier to deal with other’s then to look at myself, then to deal with things I did as a child that I still beat myself up for. I can always up advice that I know I myself should take but am incapable of.
  19. wyngedbyste

    wyngedbyste Well-Known Member

    Some thoughts...

    One, it's easier because it's someone else. Less personal. It's easier to stay distant and not actually feel if we're giving advice or support to others. Working on ourselves can be too painful.

    Two, in mental illness, making sense is sometimes not an option.

    Three, when I can help someone else, I can maybe believe that I'm being useful. This, in turn, may mitigate my bad feelings for a few moments.

  20. jell

    jell Well-Known Member

    I guess I find it easier to listen and give advice to someone else even though I should be listening to myself I guess, but if I am able to help its usually because im out of the box, im seeing it from an outsider I feel for people I care about others I dismiss myself many times, I feel worthless and hopeless, yet I work with people in the homeless sector, many of whom are struggling with mental health issues, there is sh which I have done and try to fight it nowadays. alcohol, drugs, and violence I try and keep my experiences very minimal when with them as its good to keep professional boundaries due to the amount of people coming in, but I know I can empathize with them, It hurts to feel I cant do more.

    I think in helping others gives me a purpose. The fact I have children helps with that, the fact of not wanting them to go through the crap ive been through. I can advise them from personal experience. Don't know if this is off the subject......
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