Woman Struggling With Mental Illness Shares Why She Makes Excuses, Feels Like She Can’t Tell The Truth

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“I’m not proud of it, but I’ve become a natural at making excuses. I feel guilty not always telling the truth, but the truth is, I don’t usually feel like I can. They always say, ‘You don’t owe anyone an explanation,’ but without some kind of excusatory offering, I feel the silent judgment of others. The unfair assumptions. The personal offense taken.

‘I’ve got the stomach flu and would hate to give it to anyone else.’
‘We had a family emergency.’
‘I’m sorry, we already had plans that weekend.’
‘My spouse/child has been really sick and needs me to take care of them.’
When truthfully, the thought of attending this event just makes me incredibly anxious.

‘We’re having car troubles and won’t be able to make it after all.’
‘We weren’t able to find anyone to watch our kids/dogs.’
‘My alarm didn’t go off when it was supposed to.’
When in all honesty, I’m too depressed to want to get out of bed and be there.

‘I’ve been having to put in a lot of extra time at work.’
‘I have a killer migraine.’
‘I’m experiencing some serious menstrual cramping.’
‘I have a major school/work project I have to get done tonight.’
When I’m really just too exhausted and overwhelmed for that to even sound enjoyable.

‘We received some terrible news.’
‘I seem to have caught some kind of bug.’
‘I think I got food poisoning.’
When I seriously just need a mental health day to get back on my feet.

‘Some new medications are giving me really bad side effects.’
‘I was barely able to sleep last night.’
‘I had it almost finished but then it didn’t save my progress.’
‘Our internet went out for a minute.’
‘My computer was acting up and I had to restart it.’
When the truth is, my productivity is being impacted by a tidal wave of intrusive thoughts.

‘My phone hasn’t been working properly.’
‘I’m sorry, I somehow missed your message.’
‘It looks like my reply didn’t send!’
When in all honesty, I just don’t feel like talking to anybody.

Now that I’m sharing them with you, some of these excuses sound pretty lame. Maybe I’m not as good at covering up as I thought I was. Maybe people can see right through my alternative explanations. I wish I felt comfortable just saying it like it is. The more I make excuses, the more I start to feel like the little boy who cried wolf. And when some of my excuses become reality themselves, I feel like I have to make up other excuses because people won’t believe that really happened AGAIN.

I’ll own my responsibility in this complex web of lies I’ve been spinning to avoid always sharing the truth, but as a society, we need to shed light on why people with mental illness don’t always feel like they can give honest explanations. Why is it excusable to stay home when you’re physically sick, but not mentally? Why is it acceptable for technology to not always work properly, but not your brain? Why is it fine if you’re busy taking care of someone else, but not yourself?

The stigma is still very real. And there’s a reason for fearing judgment and negative consequences when being honest about your mental illness. I’ve experienced my fair share of them.” 

woman sits on floor, back against couch, looking down
Courtesy of Joice Kelly (via Unsplash)

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Connected In The Deep. You can read more from them on their blogSubmit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more from Connected In The Deep here:

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