Mental illness has always been a prevalent problem. However, it’s being more widely addressed and talked about lately. That’s a good thing that can help to eliminate harmful stigmas. However, the more “popular” subjects become, the more likely it is for them to be abused.
Because of that, some people have started to use mental illness as a good excuse for bad behavior. Or, they might use it to justify their actions.
When mental illnesses are unmanaged, they can cause you to say and do things that might go against your underlying character. But, they’re still your actions, and using something like depression, OCD, or anxiety as an excuse isn’t fair to those around you — or yourself.
Let’s take a closer look at why mental health isn’t always a good excuse for bad behavior, and what you should be doing to manage yours.
Can Mental Health Ever Be an Excuse?
It’s important to remember that if you’re acting in a way that doesn’t represent your values or character, a mental illness could partially be to blame. Mental illnesses are just that — illnesses. You wouldn’t criticize someone with a physical illness for acting out in certain ways, and you shouldn’t be criticized either.
So, yes, mental health can sometimes justify poor behavior. But, not always. Unfortunately, some people have started to use mental health conditions as nothing more than excuses to get away with things. Essentially, that’s “abusing the system” and making it difficult for people who are really struggling with mental illness to be taken seriously.
What Can You Do?
If you have a genuine mental health condition, think about how it might impact your behavior on a regular basis. Do you feel like you’re mostly in control of your actions and words? Are there things that “trigger” you to act in ways you normally wouldn’t?
If so, avoid those triggers or choose to address them so you can start to gain some control. If you find yourself using your mental health as an excuse to say or do things you know you have control over, it’s time to take a step back. Don’t let yourself fall into stereotypes or myths associated with mental health issues.
Sometimes, people act out in ways they shouldn’t because of everyday stress. Maybe you’re burnt out and overwhelmed, so you lash out at a co-worker or friend. But, you use anxiety or depression as an excuse, even if you’re not really struggling with those things. It’s important to be able to draw that line and know what you’re really dealing with, especially if you’re going to try to make excuses for your behavior.
Talk to Someone
Mental health struggles can often be hard to manage on your own. If you’re not addressing a mental illness, you could be acting out in ways you don’t recognize or like. On the other hand, if you know you’re struggling and you’re using it as an excuse to justify bad behavior, that’s not okay, either.
The best thing you can do is reach out for help.
Lean on family and friends for support, and be open about your struggles. If you’re having a hard time managing things on your own, contact a mental health professional. Working with a therapist is a great way to get to the root cause of your mental health issues, and learn the necessary skills to manage your symptoms.
Don’t let mental health issues control your life, and don’t use them as an excuse for bad behavior. Get the help you deserve as soon as possible. Feel free to contact me for more information or to set up an appointment to learn more about anxiety therapy or depression treatment.