Empathy Expectations

I may be happier as a person on the outside, but I realize now that I am still vulnerable on the inside. It’s strange how a simple situation can erupt into a total mess. One thing is said, and the next thing I know I am doing something that I now regret.

Fact is, others who haven’t suffered from depression have no clue what it’s like when sadness consumes your life. Poking fun at my depression is an uncool move on so many levels. Calling it a cheap shot would be more of an understatement, in fact. Depression affects so many people throughout the world that it’s insulting when others ridicule the ailment like it’s something funny. No one should be laughing. It’s a serious, legitimate illness.

Yeah, I may have snapped back and did something stupid out of retaliation after someone went too far. The vengeful side of me loves what I have done, but the sympathetic side feels awful. I guess it’s good that I still have a conscience to remind me that doing bad actions is not the right thing to do to someone else, whether they deserve it or not.

I wish people had more empathy for one another in general, so these kind of situations would never happen at all.

29 thoughts on “Empathy Expectations

  1. Jenny October 3, 2011 / 9:32 pm

    I think a sad fact is: people who have never experienced depression can’t comprehend what it is. It’s a feeling that is alien to them.

    I didn’t realize this until last year when I tried explaining it to someone who’s never been inflicted with the illness, even though he went through a lot of tough trials growing up. Instead, he used his experience, as if he expected other people to be just like him. People like us are considered weak to people like that. This plays in with my anger… I got mad at him and a monster awoken. I got very angry and enjoyed it… since then I don’t get angry anymore. I loved it at the moment, but hated it later on. I understand what you mean by “vengeful” side.

    Some of us are more sensitive and have a harder time when it comes to certain obstacles in life. The people who poke fun are ignorant, insensitive, and apparently failed at the life skill of “understanding.”

    And then there are those of us who do understand the illness. Some say empathy is something some people have and others don’t. I learned this the hard way. I’ve even met people with depression who cannot empathize none whatsoever. You’re not alone. The lack of empathy from others is something I struggle with. I often just want people to understand me. I think a lot us with depression want others to listen and hear us without judgment… rather than some ignorant fool poking fun at our difficulties.


    • Nhan-Fiction October 3, 2011 / 10:34 pm

      The entire situation that sparked this blog post happened so fast, too. In a matter of minutes, my friendship with the person in question had ended, and horribly. This led to anger clouding my judgment as I got back at this person.

      When my depression symptoms were ridiculed, I lost it. Depression has been one of the worst things I’ve ever had to deal with in my entire life, and for this person who I once considered a friend to say that negative stuff to me caused something inside of me to snap.

      For a while now, I had been better at keeping my emotions in check. My mood was better balanced, or so I thought.

      I won’t forgive this person for making fun of depression, but I do in fact feel very sorry and regretful for what I have done for payback. What I hope to do now is to rectify this issue.


      • Jimmy October 4, 2011 / 6:51 am

        Nhan you’ve always told me to read your blog, and I always have. Just never bothered to leave comments, didn’t find a need to until now. It seems you’ve sugar coated your story so you can receive sympathy for what you have done. I can’t stop thinking about how you’re justifying your actions by saying “oh she said this, it was wrong of what I did but she caused this”. No Nhan, you’re wrong. You went low first YOU went too far, then she followed. It was immature of both of you to do this but you went even lower. You did something I wouldn’t ever EVER out of the 5 fucking years I’ve known you..Do something like that. Pathetic.

        You didn’t lose one friend, you lost two.

        The Nhan I was friends with wasn’t drowning himself in the river of his own tears and dropping to lower levels even I couldn’t expect you to do after these years no matter what was done. I thought you were a smart person who would know that a 17 year old girl can be moody and overreact to things. Get out of denial, dig yourself out of this hole that you’ve let yourself sink in. Make new friends and don’t make the same mistakes you did this time. Stop calling yourself depressed, think happy thoughts.. no FORCE happy thoughts. Do things that make you happy, go somewhere in life.

        Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.
        Helen Keller


      • Aphotic Ink November 21, 2011 / 4:52 am

        Hmh. Okay, I haven’t commented on these before, so I don’t know if I’m actually managing to reply to Jimmy…

        Depression is not a passing mood. You wouldn’t tell a diabetic to think sweet thoughts and expect that to work, would you? (I am assuming you have enough clue that no.)

        Telling someone suffering from depression to think happy thoughts works about as well.
        I think part of the problem comes from the fact that “depression” has entered the colloquial language as something that means the same as “being sad”. It’s not being sad. I *wish* it was just being sad, being sad is for healthy people is okay, it comes up and then it goes and you’re still *thinking* during the whole thing.

        Being depressed is having what makes you yourself–your mind, what you care about, your energy, your ability to cope with shit–be not there, not nearly as much. Being depressed is not being able to think properly, not being able to stop hurting. It’s being out with your spouse and having them ask you what you thought of the movie (because they thought doing something nice would cheer you up), and you not having an answer and panicking because they’ll think you’re stupid, and being terrified because you can’t think, and ending up in tears because you literally cannot cope, and probably saying horrible things to them–

        and maybe you do it because you are fucking worthless and they’d be better off without you,
        and maybe you do it because you’re afraid about how you’re thinking about crashing the car when you drive home and if there’s a big enough fight they won’t be in the car with you,
        and probably you do it because you can’t stop hurting and they just called attention to this by giving you a big old friendly smack on the sunburned and blistering back, conversationally speaking, and now you’re bleeding everywhere. And really, you wish they’d have just fucking *learned* by now, but they don’t understand.

        (In your better moments, you’re glad they don’t understand, because you love them and you wouldn’t wish this on them for the world. But that doesn’t help when you’re in pain.)

        Whatever happened with you and Nhan–fine, I can’t speak to that. But when you get to know someone else who’s depressed (and a lot of us don’t tell people, because we are very tired of how people don’t understand), please don’t pull this “MAKE yourself happy” stuff on them, too. The ignorance is frustrating. The dismissiveness is unfair.


  2. Nhan-Fiction October 4, 2011 / 9:45 am

    Actually, I didn’t sugarcoat my story. I LEFT out things in fact about the other things that were said toward me.

    Still, I realize it doesn’t excuse my actions. I was overcome by anger, and then I did something stupid. It’s as simple as that. I am trying to be responsible to repair some of the damage I have done. I know it won’t buy me forgiveness (either from you, Jimmy, or the person I did my actions toward), but it’s the least I can do.

    It’s the thing about all the stuff that I’ve said about my depression throughout this blog – it’s all true. I didn’t adopt the moniker of Nhan-Fiction to be a liar. I don’t exaggerate. I am not that kind of person.

    I literally try to take walks just about every day for hours just to clear my mind of negative thoughts. Yesterday, I didn’t happen to take my walk. Not an excuse or anything, but I am just saying.


    • Schindler's Fist October 4, 2011 / 10:28 am

      “There’s two kinds of people in this world. Jocks and nerds. And hot Asian chicks. Yeah they’ll do what you want.” -Peter Griffin


  3. Johnny Rainbow October 5, 2011 / 7:44 pm

    Friends are just people and people are replaceable, like dogs. Especially if they are just friends over the internet. Who gives a fuck. “Bitches ain’t shit but hoes and tricks” -Gandhi


  4. Desley Finedon November 30, 2011 / 8:21 pm

    Hi Nhan! I know you do not know me but I was really interested in reading the comments on your depression. Thanks for being so honest about how you feel. There are so many out there who feel the same as you do. It is useless pretending to be what we are not (most people do this) – gets us no where. We’re all in a mess – the world is in a mess! We all need forgiveness – God’s forgiveness. No-one is too bad they can’t be forgiven and no-one is too good they don’t need it. I think your heart is crying out for forgiveness. And you can have it because Jesus Christ has paid for our wrong-doing Himself (when He died on the Cross). And more, when we come to Him for forgiveness He starts healing our broken lives, which then enables us to forgive those who have hurt us (difficult if not impossible otherwise). It is true. It does work. He has pulled me out of an awful pit. Try it – give yourself to Jesus (sincerely) and I know you will find Him right there for you and your life will start changing – from the inside out.


  5. jackcurtis December 12, 2011 / 11:29 am

    Depression is an illness; apparently, something out of kilter in the brain. It sure ain’t voluntary! People suffering can be prickly and short tempered and empathy, like so many other human characteristics, is a variable. It’s always in the end, up to us as individuals to keep up the fight! And hope for providential help…


  6. poetleeprose January 23, 2012 / 8:14 am

    May I ask what was going through your head the moment before you reacted to the given situation?


  7. mysterycoach March 2, 2012 / 4:29 pm

    I’m Sorry Nahn… to hear you’ve been so depressed… 😦


    • Nhan-Fiction March 10, 2012 / 12:57 pm

      It’s gotten a lot better during the past few months. 🙂


      • mysterycoach March 10, 2012 / 4:17 pm

        Well this IS good news! 🙂 !!!!


  8. paranoid4life March 22, 2012 / 7:48 am

    I like what you said about people needing to understand depression and not make fun of it or lessen the significance of it’s effect in our lives. And regarding revenge, part of me is this pay back monster – I want blood – but the other side of me is deeply compassionate and I feel horrible for hurting anyone. Thank you so much for this post. I related a lot to it.


  9. SkiDaddy August 12, 2012 / 8:06 pm

    You are absolutely right, depression is not something to be scoffed at. Thanks for your support in that.
    Thanks too for “like”ing my post “Study The Enemy”.
    Take care,


  10. Marty R. August 17, 2012 / 7:15 am

    Hi, Thank you for reading my post about Jacky in Granada, Nicaragua. I hope you continue to do well with your illness, we have it in my family too.


  11. brainbodybliss August 20, 2012 / 2:34 pm

    I’m glad that you liked my blog Nhan. Some people have felt relief from listening to my free “CellularMeditation.com excerpts of my short practical meditations. It is something that can boost whatever state level we are at. Whatever floor of the building we are on… the basement? The third floor? It’s all about getting connected to ALL the brains and emotional centers in the body—all 70 trillion. Turning on those feel-good chemicals so that you can start to reestablish a feel-good baseline. Often it is instantaneous…but like eating, breathing, shitting, it is a recycling that works best if you engage every day. It’s a natural high. My CDs offer lots of practical suggestions. Take a look! I hope it helps!


  12. waywardweed August 22, 2012 / 6:23 am

    Yeah, telling a person with depression to “just think happy thoughts” is dumb. BTW, I like your cat pics.


  13. Nancy Pilling August 22, 2012 / 1:43 pm

    Having suffered from depression the majority of my adult life, let me assure you, it is not something ‘you can snap out of’. It is with you for life, I have fortunately learned how to live with it. I understand the triggers now, I know how to respond to them. i know how to combat them.

    When asked about depression, I tell people who have not experienced it that it is very much an emotional paralysis. At my worst, the effort to just get out of bed in the morning was enormous. To just breathe. Trying to do ordinary everyday things like taking a shower, feeding myself, cleaning my house…well, they were monumental tasks at that time that, but I did at least shower and feed myself daily. And I had a daughter to provide for.

    I had people tell me to ‘just snap out of it’. How do you tell someone when you feel dead inside, feel crushed and broken that you really can’t ‘just snap out of it.’ You can’t just think happy thoughts. Depression is far beyond sadness.

    What I will say, is that you can live a good and happy life. Deal with the issues as to why the depression exists, then start to build your defenses to deal with it. Depression can be the result of many things…so first, find out the cause…then work on the remedy. Good luck.


  14. Lou September 5, 2012 / 2:41 am

    Hello 🙂
    You’re absolutely right. Depression is not something to be joked about and it’s not possible to just snap out of it. Most people who haven’t experienced it can’t understand it. I’m glad you liked my blog about happiness. I hope it helps a little.


  15. Dear Nahn,

    You are correct most peopel do not understand how when you get “depressed” it can take control of your life and of your desire to even be alive. They also do not know of the actual physicla pain that comes along with being depressed. Depression is an illness that needs to be looked at on so many levels. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for taking responsibility for your part of the situation. And it doesn’t matter how old someone is, they shouldn’t be ridiculing someone over something they do not even have control of in their life. But it is situations such as these in which we learn how to moniter our own behavior.




  16. imconfident November 25, 2012 / 7:26 am

    Hi Nhan,
    People who have never suffered from depression have no idea of what it feels like. Your friend obviously doesn’t understand depression and it isn’t his fault – the world believes so many untrue myths about mental illness. I’ve done some powerpoint presentations on mental illness on my website…www.imconfident.com that you might be interested in viewing and maybe showing to your friends so they can understand better what you are going through.

    I have struggled with depression for all my life and it is a terrible thing. It almost destroyed my family and myself. It is hard to control our moods and we get upset and angry quickly and we are offended easily. It is especially hard when people tell us to stop feeling sorry for ourselves. When I was extremely depressed, I felt like I was in a dark room with no doors and I could hear people outside, but I couldn’t connect with them. I work hard every day to control my depression and I am able to manage my moods better. I’ve been able to do this through research so I can understand the illness better, by surrounding myself with positivity (people, places) and mostly through my faith.

    Try to be positive and if you need someone to talk to that understands, send me an email through my website.


  17. ivoryrajkumari November 26, 2012 / 4:05 am

    Reblogged this on Illiyyon and commented:
    I couldn’t agree more with this.I feel helpless at times and I want to get back at people thought I know this isn’t the right thing to do.As a quiet person as well I tend to alienate myself staright off until I know people better.But at times talking to people straight out doesn’t work either.They lack the undertstanding.They lack the tact of empathy.


  18. confrontingbipolardisorder November 28, 2012 / 4:35 pm

    I have not experienced being ridiculed because of my bipolar disorder (perhaps because of my age)–I cannot imagine how awful that must be–but I all too often have experienced lack of understanding on the part of others. I have not found an effective way of responding, and wonder if anyone else has?

    And I relate to your experience of acting in anger and then regretting it, actually feeling shamed by it.


  19. steven1111 November 30, 2012 / 10:37 am

    I’ve long wished for an Empathy Machine that one could hook up to others to allow them to directly experience our feelings. I’d like to give one to doctors in particular but that’s my issue. And others too I suppose. But empathy is one of the main things that makes us human. ComPassion means suffering or feeling With someone as does empathy and too many people don’t know how to do it. Depression is evil. As Dick Cavette said, to paraphrase – “When I’m depressed I feel so bad that if there was a pill on that table over there that would cure it instantly I’d be too apathetic to walk over and take it”. It’s like that. It’s not a cold, it’s like cancer. You don’t just “get over it.” Good luck with your struggle Nhon. I can empathize.


  20. lightenup2012 December 4, 2012 / 1:37 pm

    I just had someone majorly push my buttons yesterday. I really started slipping down the rabbit hole this am. Started believing the garbage they were saying about me. But I stopped myself and reminded me that I am a good person and thry don’t deserve a response at all. Success is the best revenge. 🙂


  21. beautiful loser December 13, 2012 / 3:10 pm

    First, thanks for stopping by my blog. I hope you will continue to follow me on my artistic journey. Secondly, I agree, I think if we just understood where people came from and tried to help them along in their journey, the world would be a much better place. I too have struggled with depression. Keep in there. The road is long but worth it.


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