Empathy.

This short and powerful reminder that mental illness is no laughing matter posted today by my friend Steven which he called, succinctly, ‘Empathy’ takes short minutes to read and watch. Please do. I wish that my daughter could have done this when she suffered so badly during her school years.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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19 Responses to Empathy.

  1. Thanks for sharing this powerful message, Sherri. Being ostracized whether by schoolmates or family members creates a sense of isolation. I wish my cousin, who took his life at a young age, could have done this as well.

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  2. No-one can tell from the outside what is going on inside. Wonderful share, Sherri. This kid took a chance. Hope the rest of the class understood. So sad.

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  3. mumblypeg says:

    This is a powerful message and brings to bear the tragedy of suffering the torment of harsh words and attitudes, as well as the mental struggles going on inside. Wouldn’t it be amazing if a video like this went viral? Thank you for sharing Sherri in this season of peace and goodwill. Love m xxx Ps Have a blessed weekend.xx

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    • Sherri says:

      Yes, it is all about education and getting the message out there so that others can have a better understanding of what it’s like for those who suffer this condition. Thank you MP πŸ™‚ xoxoxox

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  4. Oh, Sherri, I’d never seen this either. Thank you for haring it with us. In the 30 years I taught h.s. classes, I had many students with various mental struggles, and though quite a few came in to my office to talk, I imagine many more tried to keep their pain hidden with alcohol, drugs, etc. This would have been a powerful tool to show in class–a comfort for them and a nudge for fellow students–I wish this had been available then.
    I’ve forwarded your link to this to my teaching friends still in the classroom. Again, thank you.

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    • Sherri says:

      Oh that’s great Marylin, many thanks for sharing it with your teaching friends, I know that my friend Steven will be so thrilled to know that you are helping in this way. It really would be so great if the message could be shared with other young people to help end the silence. Perhaps we are getting there slowly…

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  5. Great share, Sherri. Thanks.

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  6. Steven says:

    I think what I love most about this is that, if I had had the balls to stand up and do this when I were at this age (I never would have, but let’s imagine), then I would have said, virtually word-for-word, exactly the same. Even now, after 22 years of diagnosed bipolarity it still somehow feels odd to hear somebody explain so many of my symptoms. Mental illness has a very strong, nasty ability to make you feel separated, not only with those around you, but inside your own head too.

    Thanks for sharing this Sherri and also to all above who have shared it. This should be more widely known, I would have loved to have had something like this back then, hopefully more people who need it will see it. πŸ™‚

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    • Sherri says:

      Thank YOU for sharing it Steven, and I’m so glad that others here also did the same, as I knew they would.

      It is so very isolating to know that you feel so different from everyone else yet unable to express it. This is also what afflicts my daughter. She suffered terribly at school because of it. She was often told that she was being ‘off’ or not being friendly or not interacting by raising her hand in class. She had Asperger’s of course but nobody knew it. Then, when I took her to the doctors for a whole year all he kept saying was ‘oh, wasn’t she assessed when she was at school?’ No understanding at all.

      You must have had a terribly difficult time of it, putting it mildly, and that very powerful photo of you says it all.

      The least we can all do is to help educate others and get the word out about the reality of this condition that afflicts lovely people like you. I’m just glad that I could do my very tiny bit… πŸ˜‰

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      • Steven says:

        Aah yeah, I was similarly treated by my peers at school. Not nastily I must add, just people didn’t really know how to approach me, so mostly didn’t bother. I was incredibly withdrawn and rarely spoke in class, whether I needed help or not. It did get worse as I got older. People would be kind of, “Oh, Steven – he’s nice isn’t he, seems a bit strange though. Why doesn’t he talk?”

        Yeah, the amount of nonchalance in this very serious area of concern is quite shocking. It is improving, though… slowly.

        It was tough but I think the majority of that is down to my father, who was less than compassionate, shall we say – this left me suicidal, thinking that my own dad didn’t give a toss. He still thinks I milk it a bit, I think. I do not. Mum was always supportive πŸ™‚ though I still found it very difficult to talk about it.

        Best wishes to your daughter, and, creepy as it might sound to her, my e-mail is always there for a chat if need be; sometimes I feel it much easier to talk to strangers. I’d love to talk about this art stuff I’ve yet to see too πŸ˜‰ I haven’t forgotten, Mary!

        Thanks again! πŸ™‚

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        • Sherri says:

          Ahh, that’s sad about your dad and the effect it had on you. Mums are mums and we know even when we don’t understand, if that makes sense… although I’m sure it must have been so difficult for you 😦

          On a lighter note, I gave my daughter your message, she thought it was hilarious but in seriousness she thought that was really nice of you to say. I am working on her with the art thing, honestly!!!

          Have a great evening JG – I’m now going to fly away, just opening the umbrella now πŸ™‚

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          • Steven says:

            I know what you mean, yes, mums know best indeed!

            Ha, I told you it’d creep her out πŸ˜‰

            Bon voyage! Do watch out for Dick Van Dyke though, I’m not sure his accent is genuine.

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  7. Very powerful Sherri, I suffered from depression when at school – and at other times over the years. I’m always open about it, because I think that’s the only way for people to know that there should be no stigma attached.

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    • Sherri says:

      I’m very sorry to hear this Andrea, but it’s so good that you have been able to talk about it. This certainly does help reduce the stigma attached and hopefully for those who don’t suffer from it to better understand how it affects every aspect of daily life.

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