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?
*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 🙂