You can’t use mental health as an excuse to act like an unapologetic dickhead. There I said it.
You’ve probably clicked on this post thinking it’ll be super controversial and juicy AF. It kind of is. However, it isn’t intended to be that. As always, I’m only trying to use my experiences to guide others and help them feel less alone.
I’m not trying to drag anyone. This is based entirely on my own life – either my own mental health journey or the experiences I’ve had with people in my life. Anyways, can I stop with the justification now and get on with it?
It’s Easy To Behave Horribly
Mental health can completely change your personality and behaviour. I know this firsthand, from my own journey.
In the deepest, darkest hole of a depression, someone who is usually a bubbly person won’t be the life and soul of the party. It’s likely that they won’t even be able to leave their bed and brush their teeth. And during an anxiety attack, you can barely control your breathing and physical responses, let alone anything else.
Mental illness literally alters the chemistry in your brain. So, it is no wonder that our behaviour can change. Sometimes you can do things that usually you would never even dream of.
You are just trying to survive and sometimes that can result in some shitty actions like pushing people away, physically lashing out or saying hurtful things.
It can also be extremely frustrating when you are suffering with mental illness. Not being able to explain how your feeling, the lack of services and understanding around mental health can make it even worse.
My Mental Health Journey Shows That
My own experiences with mental health prove just how differently you can behave when you’re suffering.
Whenever my mental health has been at its worst, my actions reflected the self-destructive, dark thoughts that were plaguing my mind. I acted in some of the most horrible ways, I fully admit that.
The way I behaved was absolutely disgusting. I did some terrible things to my loved ones, especially when they were just trying to help me.
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There were times when I was physically violent, with rage spilling out of me uncontrollably. Other times were I was so consumed by my own mind and struggle that I didn’t care about consequences of my actions. I would say the most hurtful things that my mind could conjure up. And that is just scratching the surface. It’s safe to say that I wasn’t an easy person to be around.
Looking back on it, I cannot even recognise that behaviour! It seems so alien to who I am now. But that doesn’t mean I should ignore it.
Don’t Brush It Under The Rug
I understand that when you finally get yourself out of a really bad patch, it is so tempting to just pretend things didn’t happen. To just move on and ignore it all. However, that isn’t ok. You can’t just pretend that the thing you have done didn’t happen.
No matter how little control you’ve had over your actions, you can’t just forget them because the people in your life won’t be able to forget. Trust me on that, as someone who has suffered with their own mental health and witnessed the struggle of their parent . I’ve seen both sides of this situation.
One of the hardest bloody things is acknowledging what you’ve done. You have been so consumed by your mind and struggle, it doesn’t even feel like you did these things. I mean, usually you wouldn’t behave like that.
However, you did behave this way.
And yes, it is really awful but you have to acknowledge your actions, and own them. No matter how difficult it is, you need to own your shit. Let people know that you are aware of your behaviour. Make them aware that you’re not just trying to sweep it under the rug and pretend it never happened. You know how you’ve behaved and you will try not to let it happen again.
Just Say Sorry
One of the simplest gestures in the world is an apology, but it can go a million miles.
Apologising for something that you feel like you had no control over isn’t easy. It just seems wrong to say sorry when you were being completely overrun by your mental health. It wasn’t your fault, so why should you apologise?
Don’t apologise for your mental health. Never do that. You don’t need to apologise to anyone for that.
Just apologise for what you’ve done. If you’ve caused someone hurt or upset then apologise. Understand how your actions have caused those feelings and just say sorry for being the cause of that hurt. Explain that your mental illness can change the way you act, but you’re truly sorry for what you’ve put them through.
Don’t just blow off your behaviour with the phrase ‘I was in a bad way’, even though you were. That really simple phrase completely dismisses the feelings that your actions have created. I’ve heard that phrase way too much and it made me feel like my feelings and pain didn’t matter.
Thanks The People Who Stuck Around
When my mental health was at its worst, I was not someone that anyone would want to be around. It is a wonder that I still have my family around me. I don’t know how they put up with me and still continually support me.
You have to be aware of how your actions have impacted others and caused them hurt, but you should also thank them.
I know that we can’t control mental illness, but that doesn’t mean that people should have to put up with our behaviour when it changes. If they have then we should be grateful for that and make them aware of that gratitude.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is not that controversial really. Mental health can change our behaviour, we know that.
I’m not saying that you’re a bad person if your mental illness causes you to act this way, you can’t control it. I mean, I don’t think I am a bad person. I’m just someone who went through some really tough, dark patches.
But we need to own all parts of our actions and just apologise or thank the people who have had to experience it.