Repeating Koenig’s quote from the last post, I would like to tell a little how this panned out for me.  

In New Light on Depression, Harold Koenig writes how we need a supportive ally who will say, “I love you, and there’s nothing you could do or say that would change that. I am with you now, and I’ll be with you as long as you need me. I believe in you. I know that your depression has placed a great chasm between the person you really are and the person you feel you are. But I will try to help you bridge that gap with love – mine and God’s – for he loves you and believes in you too. We three are in this together – you, me, and God. And when this is over, together we’ll find a way to use the pain to help others.”

Nothing will compare with the godly love of the friends who supported me when I built the Living Room ministry – all the while struggling with symptoms of bipolar disorder. Those precious people meant the world to me, demonstrating to me what the love of my heavenly Father must be like. But, though they did not share this with me, I learned later that my needs became too great. Eventually they pulled away in a most painful way – each in his own manner. I felt stigmatized and hurt, as only an innocent child can hurt. Perhaps, if I had been talked to – as any person would be talked to – I would have understood what was happening and tried to correct my behaviour.

I learned how very much I had needed this support, because when I lived with the warmth of these friendships and then had it painfully taken away, my depression became greater and more frequent than ever before. The worst of it was that these friends did not talk to me about what bothered them. Support was withdrawn before I was given a chance to do better.

Why do our supporters feel they can’t talk to us like they do to others? People with mental health issues are not as different as all that.