“I don’t think this is you. This is your pathology, not your personality.”
This was told to me by a psychiatrist when I was going through a particularly rough patch, and my behavior was less than stellar. The thing with mental illness is that our symptoms are not just seen as something apart from us. The way mental illness manifests, is that it affects the very way we think and feel, the way we perceive the world around us, and the actions we take.
Sometimes corrections a person who is mentally healthy can take are actually impossible for a person with mental illness. Then there is the added stigma of that if we were just “better” more compliant with our treatment, or choosing different treatment that our illness would be better mitigated.
Being mentally ill is not something we “do” to other people, but unlike many other illnesses, it can get a bit messy, and affect not only we who are suffering, but affect those around us as well. I don’t know how to avoid this. And the longer that we do manage to hold things together the more it seems like a betrayal when things finally go off the wheels.
Mental illness is damaging. It destroys one’s careers, one’s relationships, one’s perceptions, thoughts, and emotions. In my case, any mitigation is always ephemeral. Sooner or later, it will become evident that I am ill. Things will be done that are out of character for me, but they will still be me doing it. While I get dissociated and see my pathology take the driver’s seat while my personality is taken along like a passenger.
Mental Illness is a hell of a thing.