In my last blog post regarding empathy, I received this comment:

"don't make the mistake of thinking that people with mental illness are necessarily better people".

I would like to address this comment. My purpose in writing about it is not to argue, but to clarify. I did not write my previous post to say that depressed people are better. I wrote it wondering if we are better at empathizing. 

One of my beliefs probably sounds silly or naive to most people. I believe that all people are equal. That no one is "better" or "worse" than another. That is why my quote is: 

"Hate no one; hate their vices, not themselves" (J. G. C. Brainard).

I'll admit to having said things like "[Some people] are awful"; however, what I really mean by that is that I find it sad that humans can be so cruel sometimes. Actually, when I'm in one of my breakdowns (as I call the times when I cry intermittently for anywhere between 1 and 16 hours with little ability to do anything other than despair), I often lament the nature of humans.

Despite this, I do not believe that one person is worth more than another person. I may think that a person who commits murder has done something awful, but I also think that the person probably had a reason for doing so. It may not be a good reason. However, I like to think that deep down the people are good. The murderer may have become one because of his or her childhood, brain functioning, financial situation, etc. Most people would probably say that this person is less valuable than a hard-working person. I think that person is equally valuable because he or she also affects the people around him or her. This effect can even be positive. A murder might influence someone to not murder someone else, it might make people more cautious of their surroundings, it might strengthen their morals and beliefs, etc. 

I don't know. Maybe I'm completely off the mark. Perhaps I'm crazy. However, I hear at church that "Love is God" and I believe that He loves all of His children.

1 Comment
  1. arcania 10 years ago

     I do not have a tangential thought this time, so I will respond here. I haven't seen what you are talking about yet, since I am fairly new here. However, I can believe that some people do negatively judge healthy or seemingly healthy people. I think it's the problem of the "other" that makes people feel that it's alright to act in this manner. I'm not sure how or if this issue can be overcome. Since each person has a different experience with depression, I can see how you can't empathize with your mother; especially, if she acts in a way that is distasteful to you. I would like to clarify that I, too, do not believe in apologizing for murderers and do believe that people should take responsibility for their actions. I just don't feel that people should think that the murderer is innately evil, that he or she is inhuman or a monster, etc. He or she should learn and be punished for his or her action, but he or she should also be looked at as a human. I'm sorry to hear that you have been suffering from depression for such a long time. I will probably be the same way.

    (Not at all related to anything: I looked at your profile and would like to say that I loved "Man's Search for Meaning")

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