Understanding mental health - my own and others(9 Posts)
Mental health question. I suffer from anxiety, quite badly but I try very hard to keep it under control. I have been fortunate not to have to take time off from work - but it is quite debilitating and I am the very anti-social much preferring to spend time on my own than with others.
My husband has never tried to understand me and often picks on me for not having any outside interests. So recently I’ve tried to help others in a similar situation where my experiences could perhaps offer a bit of help or support, hoping that this also might qualifty as an outside interest. I don’t have any qualifications and this is very clear from the outset, I’m a listening service.
Obviously with lockdown it’s been harder so it’s remote access, telephone calls, Skype, etc. One lady contacted me, she has two small children and she was devastated as her husband had left her for her best friend. She’d been married 12 years. He left at the beginning of April. We talked a lot, I think it helped her. Then her husband returned to her, said he was sorry and that he had mental health problems – could she help him with them and could he come home?
Clearly I’m a listening service so listened to her, no judgement of him (or the OW) whatsoever.
What would you think? Do people use MH as an excuse for bad behaviour? I totally appreciate he may have MH problems, but it makes you wonder.
I’m struggling to understand how mental health problems caused him to have an affair to be honest. I think people do attribute poor behaviour to their mental health and it may be true but that doesn’t mean that if the person hurt you that you just have to forgive it.
I don’t understand why your husband would pick on you for not having outside interests.
I think people do sometimes use MH as an excuse for poor behaviour, yes. I also think that while in general its a very positive thing for society that we have become more aware of MH issues, it does make it easier for people to use it as a get-out-of-jail-free card.
Where it gets confusing is that depression often makes people quite difficult generally. People with depression can be quite hard work.
But in no way, shape or form does having MH issues justify having an affair in my view. He was just using that.
Thanks to you both, I tend to agree. My MH hasn't made me want to have an affair, but then I'm not saying that others do or don't find this a problem. I do think he's using it as an excuse.
Whilst I do not think it excuses an affair it can destroy a relationship and open the door to an affair. I know from my parents that whilst my DM was diagnosed first it left a vacuum for my DF as he too had mental health difficulties. Whilst I do not know completely about any affair they barely communicated for 3 years. At various times during this spell the both checked out of their marriage.
And what precisely are these MH problems that made him shag his wife’s best friend and run off with her?
Nah, sorry that’s bullshit. I have bipolar so have done some stupid shit when unwell, but starting a relationship, then buggering off with the OW is not one of them. Presumably it takes time to do that, so it’s hardly a spur of the moment thing. Getting carried away in a manic episode and shagging someone else I could believe quite easily, not that it would be excusable, but starting a relationship and getting to the point of buggering off with someone else, no.
The other thing is that every stupid arsed thing I’ve done when manic I’ve had to live with the consequences of. I’ve never been given or expected a get out of jail free card just because I was unwell.
He’s taking the piss, and I feel sorry for the poor woman who is on the receiving end of his scummy behaviour. I hopes she kicks him out on his arse.
It depends on the person, behaviour and illness concerned. Some people’s illness makes them vile to be around, some people would have been vile with or without illness and some lovely people behave oddly and inappropriately because of their illness. My aunty is bipolar and really hard for my uncle to live with at times when she had extreme mood swings. She had an affair. It lasted much longer than a single episode so couldn’t necessarily be attributed to a high and I think it was very much a product of her being a bit of a cow at the time but I do think there was something about her illness that made her throw away her security, loving family etc. It was just sad all round really.
I'm not sure what form his mental illness has taken, if it's bipolar or depression or what, but whatever it was there was no sign of it before this episode.
I just feel for her. She's now focused on getting him better. I'm sure it won't be the end of it and I do hope they manage to be happy again if that's what they both want but I hate to see someone being taken advantage of and MH being used as an excuse.
I think you need to keep reminding yourself that it will be much easier for you to remain as neutral as you can. The fine line of using your own experience and understanding of mental health without being triggered. Mental health is so fast and complicated and individual experiences are just that. Listening is helping this woman but you need to take care of yourself as well.
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