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I wrote this post four years ago tomorrow.  In the midst of another brewing winter storm covering the swath of the United States and a horrific flu season, I felt that this story was appropriate and still made me smile.  I hope that it will do the same for you.

cartoon of boy with the flu

As a parent, I have tried to teach empathy and compassion to my children. We want to model behavior that will make an impression and reach the depths of human love and kindness.

Sometimes, a teacher can make an unforgettable impact with his ability to open his heart and show his students a lesson that will last a lifetime. For my son, and others, a compassionate and empathetic act will never be forgotten.

It has been a snowy and difficult winter. The Polar Vortex became a part of our vocabulary and people struggled all across the United States in bitter cold, ice storms and record-breaking snowfalls. Along with that, people became sick with colds, viruses, and the flu; all that time indoors may have been too much togetherness.

At the school my son attends, over 60 boys, in the dorm, were sick with the flu. Rising snow drifts and cold drafty apartments did not help anyone to feel better. A teacher with a heart of gold and an empathetic soul rounded up the boys who were still feeling fine. He sent them to the grocery store for ingredients and together they made a huge pot of soup.

The pot was so heavy, that it was carried by two boys, one on each side. The teacher, and his students, went from room to room, and bed to bed. They gave out bowls of soup and stopped to ask each young man how he was feeling and chatted a bit. It was not enough to acknowledge that they were sick; offering comfort in warm food and kind words taught a lesson more deeply than I could in 18 years.

A little creativity, sincerity and empathy can make an impact that will never be forgotten. My husband and I were so touched, and grateful, when we heard the story from our son. As parents, we wonder what trouble our children can get into away from home with unknown influences. This was a teaching moment that made a difference to each student that day, whether they were receiving kindness or sharing it.

What small act of kindness and empathy could you create that would be unforgettable?
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A good post reaches for your heart and remains on your mind.

Thank you so much for stopping by! It means more than you know.
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Education about mental disorders is still woefully low compared to those who suffer its effects.  Whether you, or someone you love, has depression, despite the soaring numbers of those afflicted, each individual feels desperately alone, ashamed, afraid, and overwhelmed.  Sometimes it is chemical, but it can also be situational or genetic; While precariously keeping it together, a major life change can trigger genuine mental and physical symptoms.  Whether you chose the wrong job, the wrong person, served in the military forces, cared for the elderly, had a family history of mental health issues, the death or estrangement of a loved one, and other vast and devastating experiences of daily life – symptoms are real and identifiable.

Social, psychological, and biological causes, combined with the social stigma can literally kill.  Mental disorders affect 350 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, and more than half receive no treatment.  In my work, I meet with so many affected individuals or relatives, afraid to seek out help or unable to afford the care they desperately need.  Education, accessibility, health insurance parity, and affordable medical care are critical to saving lives and families.  Communication and the safety to express genuine feelings and concerns, without retribution, is critical to asking for help.  It is not a weakness and no one seeks to be disabled by a mood disorder.  There are legitimate health risks at every age.

Saving your life, or that of another, is an act of bravery.  It is not cause for shame, it is an accomplishment to take action.

depression infographic

It is a brutal fight, taking all of your strength to rise again, with personal trust and confidence eroded.  Disorganized thinking, difficulty concentrating, or remembering basic facts are part of the cognitive dissonance that depression causes.  Multi-layered therapies appear to have the best rate of success.

depression_brene brown

Education is the tip of the iceberg.  Even if you are unable to seek help, or interact with others, the ability to take a free and anonymous mental health screening is a brilliant self-assessment tool.  Being self aware and sensitive to your own individual needs can begin the process of healing and receiving help in an overwhelmingly isolated and painful situation.  It takes months to recover one’s sense of self, or at least heal enough to gain the energy for perspective.  There is no magic pill, but developing coping skills and mechanisms, means that even if those daily steps are slow and tiny, they are moving forward, one at a time.

http://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/hyho

https://psychcentral.com/lib/how-can-i-help-someone-in-my-life-whos-depressed/

https://www.verywell.com/how-to-help-someone-with-depression-1065117

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Thank you for stopping by!  I hope that you enjoy your visit and I’m glad that you are here.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/educate/

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