Thursday, June 21, 2012

What Joins Us

I have done terrible things during manic and mixed episodes.  I have hurt those who love me, squandered my savings, lost jobs, behaved very poorly, and even attempted suicide.  As episodes ended, the knowledge of what I had done made me feel so alone, so separate from those close to me.  Isolated even from strangers.  The worse I felt I had behaved, the more I felt I was an undesirable person.  Immoral acts left me feeling as if I had no one.

Mental Illness and its associated behaviors can make one feel wrong without equal.  A sense that only a very sick person would commit such transgressions can drive one inward and away from those who can help.  We often push those who want to help away, if only to protect them.  Fear of hurting or disappointing others leads to strained and severed relationships.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Responsibility and Compliance

One of the most difficult challenges to overcome when dealing with a mental illness is the temptation of the excuse.  With a psychiatric diagnosis comes an excuse for everything.  Any bad behavior, lack of motivation, or failure can be passed off as a symptom or the result of an episode.  The excuse is always available.  Don't take it.

No one's asking you to take responsibility for having a mental illness.  That's not your fault.  But you have to take responsibility for your actions.  Sure, unexpected things happen as a result of a serious mental illness, but most of our behavior is within our control, or at least our influence.  And the behavior that most influences our wellness is compliance.