When can mental illness be used as an excuse?

Over the past few years of succumbing to endless waves of mental health issues and depressive episodes, I can definitely say that there has been a change in my personality and behaviour, whether it’s for the bad or for the good. As a young child and up to my early teens I was always a very submissive child, rather shy, and basically stuck to my parents wherever I went without complaints. Nowadays I feel the need to ‘escape’ from home or simply life altogether* as if it’s a prison, I argue with my parents, I’m a lot more defiant and am easily triggered. Most probably because of my mood swings, I show my emotions a lot more than I used to, not hesitating to express my anger or frustration in situations. I’m prone to periods where I shut myself off from people and become extremely curt, not replying text messages or ignoring them altogether. Sometimes I lose my temper in front of my parents, answering back constantly and raising my voice in a harsh tone.

The point I’m making here is, can mental health issues be valid as an excuse for these behaviours?

Part of me knows that rude and offensive behaviour shouldn’t be tolerated in the first place and therefore should need no excuse, especially one like mental illnesses. But somewhere deep down inside of myself, I truly believe that it can be. Reason being, I can explain all the behaviours and changes in personality I described above IN TERMS of mental health issues.

I feel the need to escape from home because my parents/family are one of the main sources of my emotional instability. I constantly feel guilty at home as if I’m a burden, they put pressure on me without knowing, I feel as though I can never say anything without being judged, and they don’t respect my privacy. In order to deal with the mess in my head and bottled-up emotions, I have the tendency to lash out in an attempt to protect myself from getting hurt, almost like self-defence. I show my emotions a lot more, purely and simply because I’ve been struggling way more than I used to. I cut myself off from people to mentally “recharge” and give myself some space to gather my thoughts.

Yet, I don’t do any of these things on purpose. It’s as if my mind has automatically gone on “self-defence mode” and is doing everything it can to mentally protect myself and literally keep me alive.

For those who been following my mental health updates for quite some time, you’ve probably seen this coming. Yes, I’m here once again to discuss this issue in regards to my friend Mitch.

In the last update I posted, I expressed how I was upset at Mitch due to his behaviour and began avoiding him in order to clear my thoughts and get ahold of myself. I could tell that he had noticed a change in my behaviour and I apologised to him, telling him that once I’m fine I’ll explain why I acted in such a way. I never did though, and was mentally “alright” for a couple of days before those same feelings surged back into my mind and now I feel like doing the same thing all over again. Yet, I can’t exactly pinpoint the reason why I’m being like this.

I’m always thinking to myself, “I must be such a nuisance, treating Mitch in such a way. My parents must have a really hard time dealing with my emotional outbursts and rudeness. I must be such a tiresome person to be around with.” I begin to feel that saying that “I need space” or “I’ve been struggling lately” is a really lame excuse for offending people in such a way. But in reality, it’s gotten to a point where I’m actually doing this to SURVIVE. I’m hanging onto a tiny thread of hope that someday things will eventually get better, obstacles a constantly been thrown in my direction, and I’m frantically trying to push everything aside in order not to let go. I can’t figure out whether I’m doing this for myself, or for others. As in, trying to live for myself, or to make others happy.

I feel as though I need to justify all these feelings and behaviours, but if mental health issues can’t be a valid excuse, what is left for me to fall back on?

~Abbey ❤️

*T/N By saying that I want to escape life, yes. I am admitting that I have suicidal thoughts, but they’re not ones I’ll (hopefully) ever act on. I’m ok. I’m coping. So please don’t be worried 🙂


15 thoughts on “When can mental illness be used as an excuse?

  1. howikilledbetty says:

    Now that is an interesting one … hmmm. Well, for what it’s worth here’s my view. There are numerous cases of people who have committed a crime and have been able to either ‘get off’ or have a lesser sentence on the grounds of diminished responsibility, being in a depressive state etc … therefore I’d say that there are definitely grounds for some leniency in the cases of ‘bad behaviour’. However (there’s always a however isn’t there!), I personally don’t tolerate it with myself. Manners maketh man and all that was drummed into me from day one and therefore however irritated, angry etc I feel, I would be disappointed in myself if I took my internal problems out on someone else. I’d rather remove myself from the situation than explode. But to be fair, that’s just me. So in answer to your question, I think I’d just really, truly work incredibly hard to be calm, then take up boxing or something really violent to let off some steam, and if the (excuse the language) shit really hits the fan and you lose the plot and everything goes wrong, that’s ok, you’re human, but when all is calm in your mind again, go and apologise. Explain gently that you’re out of sorts, you’re working on getting better and you’re sorry for … whatever it was … and ask for them to be patient with you and then bake them a nice cake. By the time you’ve baked four cakes, you’ll be so sick to death of doing it that you’ll probably learn the habit of breathing deeply and walking away. Because that’s what it is. It’s a habit to learn. That’s what I reckon anyway. Hope that helps?? X

    Liked by 2 people

    • happysky7311 says:

      Perhaps I didn’t explain myself fully in the post, but when I have outbursts, I have a feeling it’s not what you’re thinking. Maybe all I do is just raise my voice a little louder and get more argumentative. Yes, I do agree with you that I should work hard on trying to remain calm, and it’s tiring at times but at least it’s stops me from blowing my head off in front of others. Thank you for your advice 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Luftmentsch says:

    I hear you. I don’t know what to say. I wish you could find a counsellor or therapist to talk to, because I think this is something that would be better to talk through with someone trained, rather than online.

    To be honest, a lot of your behaviour doesn’t even sound like it comes from your mental health. You’re a teenager, teenagers have mood swings, are not always good at managing their emotions, want independence and argue with parents about how much is appropriate. Obviously your mental health issues might be making that worse, but I think you should cut yourself some slack here, on some level at least it’s your teenage hormones and psyche doing their thing rather than anything that’s your fault. As for needing space, you might just be (probably are, in fact) naturally an introvert and need time away from people to recharge.

    Liked by 2 people

    • happysky7311 says:

      I have thought about these changes being due to adolescence and some of them probably are, but are just made extensively worse by my mental health. Thanks for your opinion on this 😊


  3. mosbird says:

    Maybe you’re just (finally) giving people a “no”, “don’t step on me” signals. If you’ve let others dictate your life for too long you need to adjust to acting differently. And sometimes you err in the way (like being aggressive, saying wrong things). But I don’t think it’s mental illness. As you put it, it’s self-preservation. Of course, nothing is an excuse for the wrong behaviour – you just need to learn a better way (for both parties involved). Good luck!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Tabatha says:

    the same thing you done to mitch i am currently doing to my friend mandy.. the last week or so shes been seriously getting under my skin. and it created this type of behavior that you been going through.. you have to kind of cut them out so you can fix yourself.. i call it a vacation.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Anonymous says:

    Your post resonates with me in that I have also struggled with the same issues with my parents growing up and used to be complacent and took everything they threw at me quietly. As I got older, I began to lash out in anger at them as a result of their repeated abusive behaviour over the years. I rationalised that the change in my behaviour was due to the fact that I was older and had developed my own personality and sets of principles that often conflict with that of my parents. In terms of managing my own anger, I often found that having space away from them, focusing on pursuing my own goals without the need for their validation, and surrounding myself with good friends helped.

    At the end of the day, your mental health is what takes priority here and you have the right to dedicate time and space to yourself in order to recalibrate. If your friend is truly a friend, he would understand your need for space. Taking time for yourself isn’t selfishness at all, it’s self-preservation and survival as you said. I hope things look up for you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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