I have a wide breadth of experience working with people who are struggling, including people who were inpatients at a hospital, and people seeking counselling to heal past wounds and better their lives.
What all those people had in common was resilience, strength, and beauty - the beauty that is the birthright of every human soul.
I've met people who survived things some can't even imagine, and who refused to give up on life. I've met people who were so depressed that they sometimes wanted to die, and then they would casually mention doing wonderful things, big and small, for others. I've met people who were scared of the world, and yet they decided to give humanity another chance and broaden their horizons. I've met people who went through intense trauma and pain at the hands of others - some of these are the gentlest beings we have been blessed with.
Every person has a story. I have found that even those who seem most incomprehensible can be understood in the context of their experience.
Understanding is the key to compassion, and it is the key to ending stigma.
So the next time your human, categorical mind tries to put you in one box, and those who are struggling in another, remember this: that person you don't understand has a story. And if you knew it, you wouldn't be judging. You'd be cheering.