20 Jan Compassion: Is Everything Still OK?
By Wr. Njeri Macharia,
I feel disturbed by a great many things regarding the state of the world, humanity to be precise. Where is the world headed to? It’s a greed-driven, power disparity, needless deaths just to mention but a few.
Today I want to talk about COMPASSION. With the years of exploring mental illness and especially my own I have realised that am very compassionate. I tend to identify with the weak and the vulnerable in the society and maybe that’s because I know how it feels like to be the weak and vulnerable. You know that person you feel like is an outcast? That person you call a freak because they are unique, that black sheep? Yeah, those are the kind you will find me striking a conversation with. I remember last time I was admitted in psyche and there was this guy (also admitted, psychiatric ward is mixed gender just different rooms for male and female but we would get to mingle in the TV room and outside)…okay this guy was unique, he didn’t understand any other language apart from Somali and he had that spitting habit all the time and most patients would avoid him out of disgust and the fact that they couldn’t communicate. I never ran away from him and we would sit for hours talking (no I don’t understand Somali either so he would talk in Somali and I would make fun of him in Swahili and we would burst into laughter). One day a friend visited me and found us laughing and asked, “Do you even understand what he is saying?” and I said no, but I hear him and laughter has no language.
You have no idea how deep empathy can go. Maybe that one person you are avoiding because they are a “freak”, “unique” just needs that reassurance from you to fight a little harder. Not everyone is born with self confidence or high self esteem or in the case of wealth, some people don’t even have the basic needs.
Many of the issues that disturb me aren’t even issues that affect me personally or directly. Yet they do, sometimes I look around and am moved by people’s needs even when I know I can’t do much. But all in all I still believe in people and not defining them by what they have been dealt with. You have no idea how many times I have wished for someone to not give up on me, to just believe in me. Also I let people know they can always approach me. You are never alone.
Bipolars are unusually empathetic people.
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