Can you see what I feel?

I watched a popular sitcom the other night. One of the main characters is often ridiculed due to some of his bizarre behavior. Most, if not all of his peculiar actions are related to his obsessive-compulsive disorder. Most of the time he ignores their mockery, but in this episode he made a sincere effort to help one of his friends understand what it feels like to be him.

I was touched as I listened to this character explain the discomfort and even pain that he can feel during normal activities. I wondered how many of the people that I see and interact with every day might be suffering from some kind of pain or torment invisible to me.

As I reflected on this, I was reminded of an experience from my childhood. When I was six years old, my parents were shopping for a new house. Tired and bored, I wandered off to explore one of the homes on my own. By the time my parents realized I was no longer with them, the realtor had locked the front door from the outside, and they were getting in the car. As I watched my family preparing to leave without me, I was sure that my six year old world had just come to an end.

Soon after, my family went to visit relatives in Colorado. While there, I became locked in their bathroom. I was locked in for what seemed like hours. I was certain that I would never get out and that my parents would return home without me. I know my parents never would have left me there, but to my six year old brain it seemed plausible at the time.

After these incidents, I was terrified of being locked in. For months, even years, afterward I could not lock the door to a public restroom. My mother would have to hold the door closed because I became hysterical if she tried to lock it. Even today, it still bothers me a little, and if I have any trouble with the latch or lock…..it bothers me a lot.

I know that the anxiety and fear I have felt and sometimes still feel about locked doors is irrational. I know that there is no reason for me to fear a locked door, but that does not make the fear any less real to me. My phobia or anxiety is very mild, a minor annoyance, and I am for the most part recovered, but there are many people that suffer from much greater fears and anxieties. There are people around us who suffer from illnesses, pains and worries that we cannot see with our eyes.

Much of the pain and suffering in the world is invisible to us. We often cannot see and do not know what others are forced to endure. So, I will try to remember this sitcom character and my six year old self, and I will try to be a little kinder, a little more sensitive, and a little more compassionate to everyone I meet. I will try to follow the example of the Savior and love everyone as He did, and as He still does….

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19 Responses to Can you see what I feel?

  1. Cheryl Lancaster says:

    Thanks.

    Cheryl

    >

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  2. olgatodd says:

    Reblogged this on Inspiration for Daily Living and commented:
    Thank you dear Sandra f0r sharing :)

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  3. It goes to show how powerful childhood experiences remain with us. I don’t think your fear and anxiety that you sometimes feel about locked doors is irrational. I think it arises from some very deep and terrifying real experience that is embedded in your cellular memory. That you recognize it is wonderful. Many people go on with their lives not knowing the sources of their fears and anxieties and feel self-conscious or unworthy or inferior human beings. Being human is very complex. Your post is a great step in helping us recognize that we are not sub-human because of our fears.

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  4. Dotti Bond-Rogers says:

    Thank you Sandra. The first part sounded like Sheldon and Lenard. I have a friend much like that and I try so hard to understand how she must feel and I try to have her understand my fear of being locked in as you have experienced. It is a real problem and I feel that if we all try a little harder to be sensitive to each other’s feelings, we can become more like the Savior – caring, kind and loving.

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  5. kitico2005 says:

    Awesome blog. I’m in total agreement with you…most of the injuries and pains (both emotional and physical) we suffer from are not visible. We can never be too kind but we can sure fall short when we aren’t.

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  6. Kelly Grace says:

    Hello Sandra. I found you at Daily Inspiration. This is a very sweet vulnerable post. I thought it might be Sheldon you were talking about. If only people could be as sympathetic in real life as they are to a TV character. Thanks for sharing and raising awareness. We need to be reminded to practice kindness and empathy.

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  7. Whenever a stranger seems short tempered or just distant I always remember my mother telling me that you don’t know what they are feeling or what they have been through and to always respond with compassion…so right Mum.

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  8. He actually has Aspbergers a form of high function autism. Generally these aspies are very smart yet socially awkward. Aspies develop social quirks as a way to make the world more normal. OCD is a means of controlling your environment. It was still an excellent episode and well demonstrated.

    Good read thanks for sharing.

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  9. I totally agree. It is important to try to see or feel the world from someone elses point of view. As someone who suffers from panic disorder , I often wish people could feel what I do for a moment. So they could understand. I too have a mild form of OCD and it flares up at various times, I can’t control it and it drives me crazy. Anyways, as always I love your words and your tender heart. I hope more people in this world can begin to see the world like you do.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    This really hit home for me. Six months ago, I would have told you that I really try to understand people, their situations, what they are going through and not to judge anyone. I realized that after reading this I find myself sitting in this same situation of feeling like I have to explain to everyone all the time why I feel this way now or why all of a sudden I have this inner pain/fear/anxiety at any given moment. I used to think that hey you can prepare your self for this, you can talk yourself through this and it will be ok. Well……you cant talk yourself through it, it is not always going to be ok and not everyone understands. There is no time limit! There is nothing set in stone that says we all have to heal, cope or feel the exact same way. We are ONLY human. We are ALL different! That is why God made us the way he did. He loves each of us for who we are not for who everyone else thinks we should be. Thank you for sharing this and for helping me realize that it takes time, its ok that not everyone understands and that I am doing just fine! Love you Sandra!!

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