Originally Posted by kdt26417
So while I still think imagining and empathizing is good and necessary up to a point, there also needs to be a point when we admit to each other, "I can't really know what it's like to have to face the kinds of hardships you have to face. I can only use my imagination and get a blurry picture of the tip of the iceberg. But if you'll forgive that shortcoming in me, then maybe you'll still be willing to help me better understand how I can help you."
People with mental/emotional disorders get discriminated against for things that other people *can't* see. People with a "minority skin color" get discriminated against for things that other people *can* see.
YES! I Agree.
One more thing I think it helpful in crossing over these sometimes invisible and sometimes visible distinctions we make;
Is to accept that while someone may not know EXACTLY the struggle we face; they know what it is like TO STRUGGLE.
Which is a common ground.
Like you, I suffer from mental health issues (and some physical health issues) that limit my abilities in a way others can't readily see. To look at me, one would easily assume I am "able-bodied". But in fact, I'm not.
But-when someone says "I understand", I assume that they mean they understand what it is like to struggle. I don't assume that they are trying to say they know EXACTLY WHAT MY STRUGGLE is like.
The difference sometimes seems like it shouldn't matter. But it can be the difference between defensively angry or graciously appreciative.