Mental Illness is NOT an Excuse to Be an Asshole

Treat people with respect regardless of mental illness

Posted Dec 30, 2014

I live with significant mental illness. I'm going to sit here and intentionally label myself, but it's for a reason. I have panic disorder, PTSD, AD/HD and depression. Despite the fact that I manage these multiple conditions, it does not give me an excuse to treat the people in my life who care about me poorly. I try to be a good person. I put my best foot forward. I attempt to treat people with empathy and respect. However, sometimes I don't do that. 

It's unintentional, but sometimes I snap at the people I love because I am stressed. It happens, and I am not proud of it. However, I am a human being and human beings make mistakes. It's part of our condition. We react, we don't think, and then we apologize. Theoretically, we are supposed to learn from our mistakes, but humans can be hard headed and it takes time to learn our lessons.

So yes, I manage my mental health conditions poorly sometimes. But when I snap at someone I love, I take a moment to apologize for my actions. Having a mental illness does not give you a free pass to treat other human beings poorly. Just because you have depression doesn't give you the right to treat people you love like garbage. 

Unfortunately, I can speak from personal experience and say that I have done that. I have been careless about the way that I treated my loved ones. I'm here to tell you that I was wrong. To put it bluntly (and a bit crudely) being mentally ill does not give you an excuse to be an a$$hole. You still need to do your best to treat other people with kindness and respect. And if (in the process) you manage to hurt someone's feelings because of your behavior....you stop and apologize. 

One of my best friends, Allie, is a paraonoid schizophrenic. In the midst of psychosis she hurt a friend of hers. Want to know what she did? She took a moment and she apologized to him. Ultimately, he forgave her. She was wrong, and she took a moment to acknowledge her behavior. That is the morally right thing to do. 

So please, if you are living with mental illness, do not use it as an excuse to be rude to people you love. You can do better. You're not perfect and neither am I. We're humans. When you hurt someone apologize to them. They are human just like you. Peace. 

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