cathugger: An orange-and-white cat facing to the left. The front of this face is fading into shadows. (Default)
[personal profile] cathugger
I’ve been finding so many contradicting opinions on here--both of which make sense--that have my emotions exhaustedly running in circles. I’m usually scared to be in the middle of those contradictions, too, because a lot of people advertise the idea that you’re a Bad Person if you don’t believe ____ 100.5% of the time. Since my brain automatically tries to categorize things as good or bad, it acts like it gets new proof every time someone else enforces that idea.

And I know there are reasons people do this. My head is too jumbled for me to actually give an opinion on that right now... or ever. All I can say is that, from experience, once my brain labels me as hopelessly bad, I give up on improving. If being “good enough” is on the opposite side of where you are, it takes a lot of willpower to get there.

Going to add a cut before getting more specific about one thing that’s been confusing me. To anyone who reads this, please know that I am not settled in my opinion, and that you can correct me on anything.

This specific thing is related to mental illness and its effects on other people. On one side, I’m hearing things like (not in this exact wording), “mental illness doesn’t cause people to hurt others,” “mentally ill people are the ones who are abused--not the abusers,” “mental illness doesn’t cause violence,” etc. And I get that people are trying to stop others from instantly blaming mental illness without proof or a positive outcome. That makes a lot of sense. It just seems to me like people can take it too far sometimes.

I saw a thread on Twitter (might link to it if I can find it later) about this earlier, and it made me realize something. As someone who’s had serious violent thoughts/plans at times when I wasn’t me (whatever that means) that emerge from symptoms of mental illness (as far as I know), I realized that, by spreading those generalizations about mentally ill people, people without violent urges were separating themselves from people with violent urges. And even though someone definitely doesn’t have to be mentally ill to be violent, they’re leaving out that violence can be a part of how some people experience mental illness. (Unless I’m wrong there. But I’ve heard of a few similar experiences from others, so I’m not the only one questioning this.)

Then there’s things like manipulation, gaslighting, threats, hate, etc. that (as far as I know and have experienced) can get worse along with symptoms of mental illness. For example, if I’m having an episode where there’s a really thin like between which truth would mean life and which truth would mean death, I might unknowingly manipulate because the outcome is that important. I can’t assume that others are going through this, but I’ve seen people act really similarly when they use behaviors listed above.

There’s debate on whether or not it’s abuse when the behavior comes from mental illness. I don’t think I should have a say in that... not that I know 100% what to think about it. Either way, it can hurt others, and there’s not much they can do about that. I see posts about people leaving when mentally ill people start showing symptoms. The thing is, if they think they should leave because of how they’re being affected and can’t change how they’re being affected, I don’t see the point in them staying. Putting mental health issues aside, some people just can’t handle other people at that point in their lives. And I think boundaries are really important if you can form them. If people know what they can and cannot handle, it can make the relationship less rocky and unpredictable, though they can be hard to come up with, especially if you don’t know where to put them or if you even deserve to place them in the first place.

And, honestly, feeling like I constantly have to be there and be ready to help when people I know experience mental health issues hasn’t been good for anyone. I didn’t set boundaries because I thought, since others were experiencing the symptoms, they were being impacted more, and that meant that I had to be there for them to be an ok friend. But I could only do so much before I was making it worse for both of us. Me setting boundaries (and possible leaving the relationships, depending on the situation) could’ve been better for everyone.

There’s so much more to it than that. I think that, like most things, it’s situational. I know this is all jumbled together, and my mind is too... all over the place to reread it and fix mistakes. Also, I might think something else later and am not 100% set in any views. Just trying to organize my thoughts.

Date: 17 April 2017 11:18 pm (UTC)
matrixmann: (Ready)
From: [personal profile] matrixmann
Hm... If mental illness leads to violent behavior is something that is very individual and depends on one's own biography. There are kinds of mental conditions, diagnoses, which are more likely to end in such behavior, but on the other hand you also have enough of other conditions which don't automatically need to end in violent or even self-destructive behavior, but they do so also at times.
And then, this behavior needn't be the worst of what you can catch from a mentally ill person. When one has a tendency for manipulating people for his needs to get them satisfied, or just for "playing the big drama", I don't know if that can be a plague for all that surround him and have to do with him as well. Sure, nobody dies from it, but mentally it also leaves its traces in other people and sometimes it is just the really bad thing that this isn't recognized as a crime or sort of that as well. 'Cause it costs many nerves too and drive other people to madness and illness. Not even to say, it can also terrorize other people, which then makes its step to becoming an issue that keeps an enviroment busy like somebody would be running out there with a knife.
So... it cannot be said that generally or even people who are subject to mental illness themselves won't say that any of this doesn't influence anything in their lives and that there's nothing that can make things end in other more extreme situations than with people who are said to be healthy. One actually knows what worlds other people live in and how much they differ them the own one... This is subject of many discussions, fights and misery with people who don't have it.
Edited Date: 17 April 2017 11:19 pm (UTC)

Date: 18 April 2017 12:13 am (UTC)
numb3r_5ev3n: Jerry Cornelius (Default)
From: [personal profile] numb3r_5ev3n
There's a phrase that a roommate of mine once said in passing, but it's stuck with me: "There are some people whose natural inclinations are very unfortunate."

I am mentally ill, and come from a family with a long history of mental illness: some of it violent. And while the violence may in part be triggered by instances of mental illness, the people who committed those violent acts, and acts of abuse, are still 100% responsible for what they did.

I was a very violent as a child, and I was shaping up to be exactly like my uncle and grandfather. It took a serious amount of willpower, soul-searching, and a self-awareness that I suddenly had to learn at 14 that my grandfather and uncle maybe didn't gain until way later in life, to learn to control those instincts. My mother was not physically violent, but she was verbally and psychologically abusive in ways that were equally traumatic.

Now that I have a knowledge of what I and my sister have, I can look back at my mother and grandfather and say, "that is most likely highly functioning autism, and those fits of rage might have been autistic meltdowns." My uncle is probably a psychopath.

At some point, I realized "if I lose control, I will seriously hurt someone. I am responsible for my own actions. It may be the mental illness at its core, but I'm still responsible if I act on it."

This has caused problems with friends that I have had who also suffer from different forms of mental illness. There have been times when I have been abused and gaslit by people I know who have different diagnoses of mental illness or various neurological conditions (bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, sociopathy, depression, autism, co dependent/dependent personality disorders) and all of them at one point or another have said, "I'm just this way. If you're my friend, you should just put up with it, because I'm just that way and I can't change - and if you're as strong as you say you are, you should just be able to deal with it."

I am pretty sure I would be in jail for murder right now if I'd clung to that attitude that back in my teens. So there have been times when I have had to walk away, for my own sanity's sake. Sometimes cutting those people off is self-care, as callous and unpleasant it may seem.
Edited Date: 18 April 2017 12:19 am (UTC)

Date: 18 April 2017 05:07 pm (UTC)
anaryawe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] anaryawe
I don't have coherent thoughts about this but I definitely hear you.

Every close person from whom I have experienced abuse (physical or mental) has had mental illness(ess) - generally an untreated one. I think that in all of those cases, if they had not been mentally very unwell they had not been abusive. It doesn't mean that mental illness necessarily leads to abusive behaviour, but it ... is often a contributing factor?

People might be denying it to try to clear themselves of the stigma, which is good for them, but has very unfortunate consequences to mentally ill people who have violent/abusive thoughts and impulses. If the mainstream mental health advocates want to distance themselves from them, where they go for help?

This is somewhat of an ongoing thing in my life and my thoughts are not very well-formulated, but right now I tend to think that we should be more careful about branding people (instead of their actions) with adjectives such as abusive or violent. IE this person is behaving violently (for whatever reason) is very different than this person is a violent person, though those tend to be used interchangeably. Making this distinction tends to (in my experience) lead to a more meaningful analysis of situations - of course it makes matters more complicated too, but humans are complicated...


Date: 23 April 2017 12:20 pm (UTC)
anaryawe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] anaryawe
It is very nice to talk with you about this, thanks for responding. Kind of a deep end to jump right after becoming friends too. : )

I understand that people who have been abused want to brand people with "abusive" and it is their absolute right - I think that every person should take care of their own mental health first. If situation is harming you, I think you have all the right to leave it, even if the other person has good reasons (or bad reasons) to behave in the way they do. But that thought can exists together with acknowledging other aspects of it...

I do agree with you on the changeability, and I also want to believe in it, with myself and with other people too. I do want to think that it is possible to change and grow as a person, and change destructive patterns of thought and action. It is hard and slow work, and nobody has an obligation to stick around waiting for somebody else to do it, of course... But it is possible, and thinking more in terms of bad/good actions than bad/good persons would, in my opinion, benefit the mental health advocacy discussion, as well as the world at large maybe...
Edited Date: 23 April 2017 12:21 pm (UTC)

Date: 20 April 2017 04:56 pm (UTC)
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lb_lee
You know, siderea made a very interesting post about that exact topic and covered it way better and more thoughtfully that I think I ever could've.

Date: 20 April 2017 05:36 pm (UTC)
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lb_lee
Wait, no here, I know it's on DW somewhere, lemme find it... here it is! :D

Date: 20 April 2017 10:01 pm (UTC)
lb_lee: A happy little brain with a bandage on it, surrounded by a circle and the words LB Lee. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lb_lee
Nah, no worries, I just searched by date! I had wanted to re-locate it anyway for my own purposes! So you just helped motivate me.


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