Most are familiar with discussing the Autism Spectrum and how there are different levels, varying degrees of impairment.
Much of mental health is like that. That’s we why often joke about having certain disorders like OCD or ADHD. We can relate to some of the symptoms. We are all broken and have various struggles but that doesn’t mean we can relate to someone who has been diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder. I cringe whenever I hear someone judge a depressed person based upon one’s own minor and situational depression experience.
Here are some examples of behaviors on the low end of a spectrum and the correlating disorder. You might experience some level of these symptoms without having a disorder.
Perfectionism, workaholism –> Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
being rude, a jerk –> Antisocial Personality Disorder
being selfish and uncaring –> Narcissistic Personality Disorder
being clingy, needy –> Dependent Personality Disorder
being shy and having low self-esteem –> Avoidant Personality Disorder
being a drama queen –> Histrionic Personality Disorder
having ups and downs, good days and bad –> Bipolar Disorder
being jealous or suspicious –> Delusional Disorder/Paranoid Personality Disorder
We want to be sympathetic, ideally empathetic, but we must be careful about thinking we understand other people’s problems.
Sympathy is understanding how you would feel if in the other person’s situation, but is still self-focused.
Empathy is truly understanding how the other person feels in his/her situation. It is other-focused.
If you are not struggling as severely as someone else, don’t judge, just Praise God and be grateful!