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do you feel you use your mentall illness as a crutch?

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Posted

I had someone I thought was a friend tell me I do this, and it got me thinking. What exactly constitutes using your mi or unfortunate circumstances as a crutch? 

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Posted

I imagine that most of us are guilty of using our mental illness as a crutch every so often, but I don't think that the majority of people suffering from a mental illness regularly and intentionally use it as a crutch or an excuse. It depends on the person. I've known people who have been given ample opportunity to help themselves who continuously sabotage their recovery in order to maintain the role of a sick person as well as people who desperately want to get better but aren't able to because they're disadvantaged or because their illness is treatment-resistant. I believe that there are more people who fall into the latter category than the former.

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Posted

No.  I'm not even sure what it would mean to use my MI as a crutch. I have fought damn hard through hospitalisations, therapy and years of hit-and-miss with medications to get where I am today. Now I take full responsibility for my actions and behaviour, and part of that responsibility is learning and educating myself on my diagnosis.   I worked and struggled for a long, long time to reach this space.  I'm not perfect by a long shot, and I do get frustrated and despair still at times, but I really try to do the next right thing when it comes to taking care of myself. 

 

But seriously, I don't fully understand what is meant by "using mental illness as a crutch".  What do you think your friend was trying to tell you?

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Posted

Im not sure exactly what she was getting at. It was part of a conversation in which she ranted about personal choice, and how we shouldnt let our circumstances hold us back. I brought up mental illness, and that we dont always have control over that, even with meds and therapy. I asked her if I was to blame for my PTSD because I chose to be in a relationship with my abuser in the past. She basically said that it was my choice to be with someone I knew was a bad person.  Then she was talking about how she hated that rapists and murderers shouldn't get sympathy just because they had a crappy childhood. She was all over the place. I stated my opinion then logged off. (This debate was online.) I felt really sick and angry after that. 

 

Im still unclear how I use my mi as a crutch. And I dont want to ask her because I dont want to be triggered any more. I nearly self injured that night, and I've been working on not doing that. Today she texted me like nothing happened. I dont think she realizes how offensive she was, though I think I was pretty clear how angry I was during the conversation. 

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Posted

I'm sorry that the conversation with your friend distressed you. You are not to blame for your abuser's behavior and you don't sound like someone who uses their mental illness as a crutch. It sounds like she has her own issues that she's projecting onto you.

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Posted

Thanks. My bf said just about the same thing you just said. He thinks something pissed her off and she just exploded all over the internet about it. I just wish she didn't think it was ok to speak that way about mentally ill people or abuse survivors. Her own husband is both, so you'd think she would know better. 

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Posted

I'm sorry that the conversation with your friend distressed you. You are not to blame for your abuser's behavior and you don't sound like someone who uses their mental illness as a crutch. It sounds like she has her own issues that she's projecting onto you.

 

^ ^ this.  What your "friend" said was horrible and unkind, and I'm very sorry you were subjected to that.  I don't mean to overstep here, but I feel I have to ask: do you really need someone like that around?  Part of taking care of yourself and your own needs is not allowing poisonous people in your life.

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Posted

I definitely don't think I use my MI as a crutch. If anything I use it as a stepping stool. The things that I go through help me learn things and sometimes life lessons. I have in the past used my MI as an excuse for the way I was feeling, sure, but I definitely don't use it as a crutch.

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Posted

 

I'm sorry that the conversation with your friend distressed you. You are not to blame for your abuser's behavior and you don't sound like someone who uses their mental illness as a crutch. It sounds like she has her own issues that she's projecting onto you.

 

^ ^ this.  What your "friend" said was horrible and unkind, and I'm very sorry you were subjected to that.  I don't mean to overstep here, but I feel I have to ask: do you really need someone like that around?  Part of taking care of yourself and your own needs is not allowing poisonous people in your life.

 

 

Don't worry about overstepping. :) Im debating whether I want anything more to do with her. I've known her many years, and while she can be very opinionated, I had never heard her say anything like that before. Now Im kind of thinking its how she really sees me, and has just been quiet about it till now. 

I definitely don't think I use my MI as a crutch. If anything I use it as a stepping stool. The things that I go through help me learn things and sometimes life lessons. I have in the past used my MI as an excuse for the way I was feeling, sure, but I definitely don't use it as a crutch.

 

I like your perspective. :) Mental illness sucks, but I also feel I have learned a lot as a result. 

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Posted

I was thinking about this and I guess I don't understand how MI can be used as a crutch.  Do you mean people use it as an excuse for doing bad things?

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Posted

 

Don't worry about overstepping. :) Im debating whether I want anything more to do with her. I've known her many years, and while she can be very opinionated, I had never heard her say anything like that before. Now Im kind of thinking its how she really sees me, and has just been quiet about it till now. 

 

 

Yeah, unfortunately that's exactly how I feel with this kind of thing - it puts into question everything I thought I knew about the other person and their beliefs.  I've felt similarly when people I considered friends suddenly let rip with anti-gay rhetoric - my sister is lesbian, and happily married, and knowing just how much shit and trauma she went through to get to where she is means that I will not tolerate or excuse hate speech from anyone.  For me it's a deal breaker.  I guess you need to decide if this "mental illness as a crutch" BS is a deal breaker for you and your relationship with this person.  Only you can make that decision, but for what it's worth, I think you deserve kindness and generosity in your friendships, not hate and ignorance disguised as "debate".

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Posted

I was thinking about this and I guess I don't understand how MI can be used as a crutch.  Do you mean people use it as an excuse for doing bad things?

She made some comments about criminals using their abusive upbringings as an excuse for committing crimes, people who made bad choices complaining about not being where they want to be in life, people using their mental illness or having been abused as an excuse for not doing well in life. Basically that its not what happens to you, its how you react to it, and people need to take personal responsibility.

   I told her that it's not ok for someone to rape and murder, but that peoples life circumstances do affect them and the course their life takes. 

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Posted

 

I was thinking about this and I guess I don't understand how MI can be used as a crutch.  Do you mean people use it as an excuse for doing bad things?

She made some comments about criminals using their abusive upbringings as an excuse for committing crimes, people who made bad choices complaining about not being where they want to be in life, people using their mental illness or having been abused as an excuse for not doing well in life. Basically that its not what happens to you, its how you react to it, and people need to take personal responsibility.

   I told her that it's not ok for someone to rape and murder, but that peoples life circumstances do affect them and the course their life takes. 

 

 

oh ok, thanks.  Personally, like mentioned in a previous post, I might say I am (happy/sad/whatever) because of MI (like if I am hypo or depressed), but if I do something wrong I take responsibility for it.

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Posted

I personally have never known anyone who used their mental illness as a "crutch" which is why this confuses me so much. Some people are unable to work or go to school due to mental illness, but I dont consider that to be any different to a person being unable to work due to physical illness. I am trying to get disability due to my mi, and maybe she thinks Im wrong for that, and should snap out of it and be a "productive" member of society. 

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Posted (edited)

She doesn't sound very helpful at all!

 

I have been guilty of using it as a crutch yes, but that is because i was confused and my life had just been turned upside down. If i did something wrong while ill, i would take responsibility but i would have to make people aware that i have an illness that is sometimes out of my control.

Edited by neptunesky

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Posted

I use crutches to cope with my mental illness not the other way around. I'm often *too* hard on myself, push myself too far, assume I'm more well than I am and less vulnerable than I am. I have never used mental illness as an excuse except maybe to stay in my pyjamas all Sunday sometimes (jokes I don't have an excuse for that ;) ).

Coming to terms with and accepting ones mental illness is one thing. Intentionally using it to get something out of the system is another. Unless you're doing the later you're going through a normal human process and have nothing to feel guilty about.

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Posted

I had someone I thought was a friend tell me I do this, and it got me thinking. What exactly constitutes using your mi or unfortunate circumstances as a crutch? 

 

I haven't been outright accused of this, but my sister has insinuated it. Her thought is that I hide behind it, and use it as an excuse to get out of things, like working, family holidays, etc.

 

I've wondered at times if I do do this, but I'm not sure. I was hard on myself for a lot of years, and pushed myself to do things even when I didn't want to and, in hindsight, had no business doing them. It does feel weird to be on disability, and to "give in" and draw boundaries on things that I know will make me worse, but I still have times when I push things and discover that I maybe shouldn't have. I don't think it's a crutch, or if it is, I only say "I can't, it isn't going to work out" when I honestly need it, and I will not be blamed for using a "crutch" if I have a fucking "limp." That's what it boils down to, for me. It's not my business if someone else thinks I'm faking or whatever. I've seen what happens if I try to push it beyond my limits, and I know that this is real.

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Posted (edited)

What's especially unhelpful about what your friend said is that for many of us MI doesn't just impact our ability to do stuff, but it makes us feel crappy about ourselves that we haven't been able to do that stuff. So when people say things like that, they're kind of echoing and perpetuating the bad static in our heads that makes us feel worthless. Personally, I have spent a lot of time in therapy trying to quiet that static and not blame myself for my mental illness. I think people with MI have some responsibility-- getting medical attention, taking our meds, seeing our therapists, trying in general to be as well as we can, and maybe finding that sweet spot between what we want to do and what we feel like we can't do. But using MI as a crutch, yeah, that's not a helpful thing to say. Not everything is about having a can-do attitude.

 

I just wish she didn't think it was ok to speak that way about mentally ill people or abuse survivors. Her own husband is both, so you'd think she would know better. 

 

The fact that you said this about her, though, makes me wonder if her saying this comes from frustration with something she is dealing with as a spouse of someone with MI. Not that it makes what she said any more useful or accurate, but even as someone with MI myself I can say that dealing with my spouse's MI when it has been at its worst has been really, really difficult. I know how debilitating depression is, but that didn't make me feel better when I couldn't get him to come out from under his desk. I could be completely off base, but it's just a thought as to a possible explanation for what is otherwise completely thoughtless behavior.

Edited by Unstrung Harp

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Posted

Kind of hard to use something as a crutch while it's constantly kicking your feet out from under you. 

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Posted

^^^ i agree.

 

I have also pushed myself too far since becoming very ill, trying to prove to myself i'm not that ill, trying to keep up

with societal and family pressures.

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Posted

A couple years ago one of my best friends told me that I had been milking my MI for years to try to draw attention to myself.  He said I was faking it and that if I was really crazy I would have killed myself already like all the rest of our shared friends (there have been a lot to do so).

 

I didn't speak with him again until very recently.

 

But I do wonder if there is an ounce of truth to what he said.  I know that I have used my MI on occasion to stand out from the crowd, albeit in what is a negative way.

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Posted

I will not be blamed for using a "crutch" if I have a fucking "limp." That's what it boils down to, for me. It's not my business if someone else thinks I'm faking or whatever. I've seen what happens if I try to push it beyond my limits, and I know that this is real.

 

This.

 

Although I admit I do question myself when I take call in sick occasionally when I'm not physically ill, but at some point, ill is ill whether it's visible to a third party, or not.

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Posted (edited)

My crisis worker told me that just because you can't see an illness, doesn't mean it's not real.

 

But yes iam too fed up of societies attitude, you wouldn't believe the hassle i get from my doctors secretary to

get my sick note.

Edited by neptunesky

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Posted

No.

But I wish that I could sometimes.

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Posted

I appreciate all the replies. It's interesting to hear everyone's point of view. 

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