Oh, I wish I could have received compassion like Jesus modeled. Jesus was in tune with the suffering of sick people, the suffering and needs of people who are judged by the world.

How can people rightly judge a person they don’t understand – whose pain they cannot feel? How can they understand the pain that brings on anger when a person is unjustly treated?

Being stigmatized hurts, especially for a person who had otherwise enjoyed respect and a good reputation. It’s understandable that it would trigger anger. There were times I no longer felt human. And so, my response was like an animal’s might be. I attacked with words. The anger became obvious around 2015.

Jesus modeled how to love the many who society judges: the tax collector, the prostitute. He draws close to those the world does not accept. Can we not try to do the same? At one point, desperate for better treatment, I sent an email, asking for “mercy and a return to kindness.” There was no response, and kindness did not return.

I worked for nine years showing compassion to people with mental health problems. In October 2015 when I was hospitalized, God used me to care for fellow patients and reach out to them. Yet, I who had given so much, did not receive the same for myself. I badly needed compassion.

All of us who struggle with our mental health need to receive compassion and care. We need to be treated as worthy human beings in the way others are considered worthy.