Mental Illness: An Excuse for Bad Behaviour?

This is alarming. And angering.  And saddening.

Stats taken from Canadian Medical Association, 8th Annual National Report Card on Health Care, August 2008

As you know (well, at least I hope that you know) this week is Mental Illness Awareness Week for us Canucks.

I know I’ve been rather quiet this week. Work is been kinda insane so I feel bad for not starting more conversations here but I sure have on Facebook (by the way, for those of you who follow me there, I’d appreciate your input).

And I found this statistic very appalling.

To learn that almost half of Canadians think that I may be using my mental illness to excuse any kind of bad behaviour is overwhelming.  Do they think that if I (anyone) call in sick because an anxiety attack the real reason is because I went clubbing last night, got hammered and now I’m hung over? Do they think that if I can’t keep an appointment is because I am a juvenile brat who doesn’t care about other people’s time?

What on earth are they thinking?

This is my plea to all of you who have to struggle with mental illness: Be vocal about it. Start conversations. Write about your experiences. Support your local groups.

Let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and let’s show them what living with a mental illness really is about!

Let’s fight the stigma!

I am wearing my MIAW wristband. Are you?

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21 thoughts on “Mental Illness: An Excuse for Bad Behaviour?

  1. Angel Fractured says:

    Yeah. I also feel like people think mental illness is an excuse to be lazy . . . at least, that’s what I was conditioned to think while growing up. Sometimes I’m not sure if I’m using it to be lazy or not. It’s hard to overcome something you were long taught (and that you actually thought was true, too boot–I know better now, obviously, and that probably doesn’t make me look good).

    What gets me are stories like this one I read a while ago. Someone was on leave for bipolar disorder, but they had pictures of them hanging out at a bar. When people saw those pictures, they said it was basically an excuse to go party, etc. What is that?! Are people not allowed to ever have fun because they have a mental illness? That could be part of the recovery process. Plus, just because you can have fun once in a while doesn’t mean you’re not in mental agony. I can enjoy activities; even when I was/am at my worst, I can occasionally. And it’s not like my worst is a walk in the park.

    • SummerSolsticeGirl says:

      oooooooh you know what? That happened to me once too, you know the bar thing? And you know what’s worse? I was told that by my husband’s (at the time) co-worker and supported by said husband. Both of them being Paediatrics residents. That one really hurt. I was not allowed to have fun because I was on a leave because of my mental illness. And I was told that by TWO medical doctors. Talk about stigma :(

  2. rod rapaport says:

    Well I for one have been dealing with someone that self proclaims to have multiple illnesses. When the trouble started she was only “bi-polar”. Now, years later, she claims it has grown to schizophrenia, severe anxiety and bi-polar. I do honestly believe this woman has serious issues but she also continuously uses her “mental illness(es)” as an excuse for harassing my family and I for almost 6 years now. Anytime she starts breaking the law in trespassing and other forms of harassment she knows what she is doing is illegal but she has learned how to work the system so she is never held responsible for her actions. She has even admitted this but still continues to invade all of our lives. Even with ZERO contact on my end for almost 2 years now, she still makes contact up to 10x a day. Even emailing my wife over 1000x in a span of 3 months. With the sole intent of trying to piss us off and get a reaction.

    I really feel bad for her but after almost 6 years….she can rot in jail for all I care. I don’t mean to sound crass but the stress she has caused on my entire family is beyond what I would wish on my worst enemy.

    What kind of advice do any of you have to deal with this?

    • SummerSolsticeGirl says:

      Oh, I’m SO sorry. For some reason, I completely missed you comment.

      I am so sorry to hear you’re in that situation. To me, it is obvious that this person has issues, I’m thinking both mental and others too.

      And I can understand you feel the way you feel. Mental illness or not, there’s no reason why you and your wife/family should have to endure that.

      I think you should definitely talk to the police, if you haven’t done so. A restraining order is in well… order. One never knows when or if this kind of things will escalate and the safety of you and your family comes first.

      Best of luck. Again, I’m sorry it took me this long to reply. I must’ve missed the notification :(

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