The Connection Between Mental Illness and Empathy
The connection between mental illness and empathy is not as complicated as the word itself. Why are people who live with a mental illness naturally more empathetic?
Pain is shared experienced. There is not a single person on earth (excluding, perhaps, very young children) who have not felt pain. Just as people all need to drink water to survive so to do they need to feel pain at some point in order to be human. To be empathetic. Mental illness is painful and pain is transferable–aka we are empathetic to other people’s pain.
Living with a mental illness can help us understand people on a deeper level. We have probably spent time learning about our illness–learning about ourselves. The journey we take to recover from mental illness is unique to us, but also lends itself to an understanding of other people.
We are probably more forgiving. When we were sick we probably burnt some bridges, hurt people we love, and asked for forgiveness. Having received it, we understand mistakes and we can forgive them based on learned empathy. (Natalie Jeanne Champagne)