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  • Writer's pictureShenead Poroosotum

Mental Health Issues Aren't A Free Pass To Be A Bad Person

Mental health issues aren’t an excuse for problematic behaviour - and cutting those toxic people out of my life was the best thing I’ve ever done.

It can be challenging to talk about mental health. After years of people being ignored and nottaken seriously for their conditions, mental health is finally getting the awareness it needs. People are beginning to shed light on the importance of an individual’s mental wellbeing and,equally, people are taking more steps to protect their own mental health too.

Although this is a progressive way forward in society, it has quickly become apparent how some people can sneakily use manipulative tactics to be hurtful or toxic, and then justify it bythe fact that they are dealing with a mental illness. Using mental health as an excuse for cruel behaviour and to justify poor treatment of others is not okay. It can be a difficult situation when you’re involved with someone who does struggle with mental health issues who constantly treats you horribly, but the reality is, you don’t have to put up with it just because they’re ill.

Although we should protect individuals who suffer from mental health issues, it’s not talked about enough how it tends to affect the people around them. Something that we’ve had to learn is that sometimes it’s okay to put yourself first, especially if putting others ahead of you is detrimental to your own mental health. It’s okay to remove negative and toxic relationshipsfrom your life if it’s harming you.

Putting myself first was something that I had to learn the hard way. Having been in a situation where my previous partner ended our relationship out of the blue and brutally on a night out, he justified his actions with the fact that his mental state wasn’t doing so well and even hit me with the horrific “it’s not you, it’s me” line. As much as I felt empathetic because he did suffer from mental health issues, him defendinghis actions and basically telling me that “it’s just the way he is” was not only a poor excuse, but it now irritates me that he’s able, and has been able for however long to get away with using that justification with others. The whole experience made me realise that, although I wanted to keep in touch because I still had an attachment to the relationship, it was severely affecting my own mental health to do so and why would I want to keep someone who’s like that in my life anyway?

It also taught me that if someone is impacting my life negatively, I have a right to cut them off, regardless of their situation. I had a fall-out with someone who used to be a friend of mine who went through a bad break-up, and I constantly supported her through it. She then decided to lash out at me one day, accuse me of multiple things, as well as insist that I wanted to get with her ex (yawn). It was something that I didn’t need in my life, and I cut it offwith no remorse. It was damaging and hurtful to hear her say those things to me, and it was almost a lightbulb moment that I didn’t need to endure this behaviour from her or anyone.

Someone mentioned that I was possibly being too harsh in doing that because she was having a mental health episode but, why should I have to let someone say whatever they want to me, and I just forgive them as nothing happened because of their issues? It almost came across to them that I was making a selfish decision because she needed help, but the only person who can help her is herself. I shouldn’t be made to feel bad for removing someone who was horrible to me just because of her issues that she wasn’t looking to work on either.

Closing the door on a toxic relationship can feel both difficult and scary if the person who is unhealthy for you might be a close friend, relative, co-worker or even your partner. But no matter who that person is, if the relationship with that person is harming your mental health, the best and most healthy decision is to cut them out of your life. You shouldn’t be made to feel bad about it. It’s not up to you to try and fix someone and help them deal with their internal issues, that comes from them wanting to help themselves to actually be a better person in society.

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