Tuesday, 15 February 2011
Using Mental Illness As a Cop Out...
I have a mental illness; I suffer from depression and anxiety. And I take little white pills to help me cope with my illness. Over the last two weeks of my life I have descended into some pretty low places, even having thoughts about "that" but knowing that I would never do it. I have had angry outbursts and occasionally behaved in ways that I should not have. But throughout all of this, I have never disrespected someone to the point where I have hurt them deeply. This I know, because everyone who I have had dealings with over the last two weeks is still speaking to me, and loving me just the same!
The same can't be said for others I know that suffer from a mental illness and how they have treated me. I know that mental illness does CRAZY things to one's brain; I go there all the time, I KNOW! But having a mental illness should not be license to disrespect people and hurt their feelings, and avoid them like they have the plague!
My feelings have been hurt (can you tell?). Someone whom I thought was a friend and a support, for reasons of their own mental illness, hurt my feelings badly. We are now not speaking outside a hello, goodbye and occasional unavoidable communication that we still must have.
As I am a flight person I have left this person alone. But it still hurts. I would desperately love to be a fight person and sort out what the issue is and mend bridges, but with dealing with my own mental illness at this point in time I am avoiding what could possibly be a confrontational situation. In fact, I'm avoiding all confrontational situations at this point in time!
But it got me thinking how some people with mental illness will use the illness as a cop out for not really dealing with the issue at hand; themselves. I'm not perfect by any stretch of the word, and I will be the first to apologise for any crazy, mental illness related behaviour, but I am dealing with mine.
I don't like to be hurt and I don't like to hurt others. But why should I use my mental illness to deflate others? I shouldn't. Should I use my mental illness as a crutch to get through life? No, I shouldn't. Should I put every negative thing I do down to the fact that I have a mental illness? No. But why not? More like, why for? What does it gain?
It loses friends for you, it makes others uncomfortable, it hurts people and it scars! It also stops the person from confronting - really dealing with - the issue at hand; the issue of their mental illness. The fact that they need to actively get help to get better.
Now I don't know what this person is doing to get better, but I do know that I am praying that healing comes. I recognised all the signs in this person as I have acted the same. So, I knew what was coming. But, nevertheless, it still hurts.
If you have a mental illness, don't let it define who you are or use it as an excuse to live out your illness and hurt others. People deserve better, especially when they don't understand all there is to know about mental illness. I'm blessed in that I do know and I've cut this person some slack and provided space. Others may not be so blessed.