I Know I Am Intelligent Because I Know That I Know Nothing .... Socrates

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Love Thy Self

“If you aren't good at loving yourself, you will have a difficult time loving anyone, since you'll resent the time and energy you give another person that you aren't even giving to yourself.”

Barbara De Angelis

I have loved someone very close and dear to me for near on half my life. This person is an incredibly intelligent person who also has a pure heart and is one of the most thoughtful people I have ever know. This dear friend is also an incredible musician with natural God given talent and has a photographic memory that can recall details 15 years old as if they happened yesterday. They have completed a Bachelor of Business externally while working 60 plus hours a week and helping to run the family house and raise their child and in her spare time she both trained in Martial Arts and instructed.

Sounds like an incredible person ? I certainly feel and think so !

Not that what I think matters because having said all of that, my friend hates herself ! Why, no one really knows. Yes she had a terrible childhood but her level of self loathing is incredibly profound.

Her despair and self loathing combined with her non existent self value has driven her to self harm over the last 3 years and attempt suicide twice in the last 12 months.

We all love her, we all want to help her and share this beautiful world with her but she is so convinced that she is worthless and irrelevant that any attempts to help her or share love with her is simply rebuffed and stone walled.

How do you convince someone that they are beautiful and a treasure to the world when every cell in their body screams at them otherwise and tells them that the world lies and that they are a bad person and that they don’t deserve to be happy or healthy.

When someone believes with their very existence a belief, even if it is totally baseless and unsupported by facts .. It is true to them !

Night may as well be Day and Black be White.

I am only 42 years old and to date I have personally known 4 people who have committed suicide. All four differed in many ways, age 19 – 50, Social Status ( Only child to comfortable family – Hard working grandfather ), Religion ( Atheist – Devout Christian ), Education ( Uni – Left at 16 ), Nationality ( Dutch, Australian, Scottish ) the only thing to date that any of them have in common is that they were all males. Depression and Mental health Issues know no boundaries.

Mental health issues are incredibly devastating conditions to deal with as it is not only debilitating to the sufferer but also places incredible pressure on the loved ones and carers of the sufferer.

Because of the profound beliefs that the sufferer holds as truths, there is no rationalising discussions with the sufferer for treatment plans or goals because the person doesn’t want the help due to their belief that they are not worthy of the effort or that they deserve to feel better.

The health care system even with its major advances in both medication and psychiatric practices, still offer very little relief from mental health conditions and due to the fact that each and every patient is different the process of trial and error in the treatment can mean years of hit and miss before limited if any relief can be found for the sufferer.

Mean while the sufferers loved ones and primary care providers are left powerless to protect their loved one and in most cases can do nothing but watch ( with guilt of inadequacy ) the sufferer self harm and hope that they will always be near enough to get help when required.

Mental Health issues reach every corner of society, it is non-prejudicial and non-discrimatory. It destroys both the sufferer and those who care and are associated with the sufferer, it destroys both male and female, young and old, rich and poor, black or white.

For the carer there is a profound sense of isolation and hopelessness. I believe on most occasions primary carers do not speak out about what they are enduring. This I believe is for two reason, the first being that they do not want the person they care for to be judged in any way by others who do not and can not understand the full picture and also because on most occasions if a carer does talk to someone they normally get the response of “ I don’t understand why they do it ” on more then one occasion I have pointed out to people that even the sufferer doesn’t understand and but for the grace of God I hope you never understand because to do so would put you in the same place as the sufferer, and that is something I would not wish on my worst enemy.

So if you know a sufferer or a carer, don’t run away ( it’s not contagious ) talk to them, support them but most of all Don’t Judge Them.

You may as well try to hold back the king tide or to shift the seasons as easily try to love someone who hates themselves.

Andrew Swansson


  1. Oh Andrew. What a heartfelt post. It made me feel a bit teary because I have suffered bouts of 'not liking myself' and not believing what others say - but I have overcome it, though sometimes grapple with it when low. It is difficult for the sufferer and the carer alike and there is a lot of helplessness for all involved. She is lucky to have someone like you in her life. Thanks for this post.

  2. Thanks for helping me understand from your perspective. I feel a little bit lost and perplexed how to help. I reached out initially, but haven't done so recently, because I got no response. Maybe you can help guide me in what I need to do to reach out again. XOX

  3. I am going to tweet and facebook this because it is a post more people should read.

  4. Andrew this is a really important and touching post that should be shared with many. I agree with Sharni, this woman is so lucky to have you in her life. Please send me your e-mail again, I'd like to add you as a contributor on Writers Rising and I'm not sure I got your e-mail right. My e-mail is kathyjenkins@hotmail.com.

  5. Thank you everyone for your support and kind comments, one thing I would like to point out is just " How Lucky I Am To Also Know This Person " Whilst there have been many very trying times there have been equally as many bright shining memories with the promise of many more to come ... The Battle Is Far From Over BUT I know she can win this battle, Yes I really am quite sure !

  6. Andrew, this is a very beautiful and compassionate post. One of my favorite quotes is this: "I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your own being" - Hafiz

    And it's so true, I wish I had that magic mirror that could show others the reflection of their own beauty. Alas.

  7. You know Andrew this was a very powerful and awinspiring and thought provoking post. Mental Disorders as you said not only effect the person that it is happening too but also the carer as well. You and I both know my story not that it is in any way the same as yours but just as debilitating to the carer in some ways. You can only help so much. I also agree you go through the gilt and inadequacy of could I have done more, is it my fault that they are going through this. I also agree that a lot of people and doctors just turn their backs on the carer and say you should be more understanding they cannot help it. Stop complaining about how hard it is for you, what do you have to complain about. Well a lot when it starts to also affect the careers health as well. Do not get me wrong I wish I could do more, I wish there was some sort of magic wand that I could wave and make it all go away, but there is not so on we go with the daily battles and mind games that goes hand in hand with mental illness. All you can do is be there, but then when does being there get to much for the carer as well. Only the carer knows that one. No matter how much you love them and care for them there is a limit that every person has. Some people just reach that limit and move on and some keep giving a piece of themselves over and over because that is the type of people they are. It does not mean either one of them is wrong. It just means they are different. You are one of those people that will just keep giving and giving because that is how you are. A very caring and loving person to the ones you love. You give and gave more of you then most people would ever give in a lifetime. This person is so so lucky to have you as a friend. You are not only an inspiration to me and others but also in the eyes of your son you are a hero.
    ***So if you know a sufferer or a career, don’t run away (it’s not contagious) talk to them, support them but most of all Don’t Judge Them. ***
    I so agree with Andrew on this one stop running away and turning your back on the ones that really need you just because it is too hard for you and you do not understand. This is when they need you the most. Sometimes all they want is an ear and a caring heart to just listen and not be judgemental. JUST BE THERE.
    Love you, your cousin Patti.

  8. If only there were more people like you in this world, Andrew. There are too many people suffering, with no-one to care for them but their own devastating thoughts. Your friend is not lucky to have you.. you are in each other's lives for a reason & therefore, you are blessed to have each other ;)

    Self-loathing, self-harm & suicide - only the strongest souls can face them, without running the other way - out of ignorance or fear. This article speaks volumes. Thank you.