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Mental Health and Accountability

We all know it can be challenging to manage tricky situations when you are struggling with your mental health. If something is going on for you that is profoundly affecting you – or something that you feel is a ‘reason’ for why you did something or behaved a certain way, it can be incredibly easy to want to focus on that. 

I recently heard an incredible quote that is very important for us all to remember: “You cannot mental health your way out of accountability.” This is what we are always talking about when it comes to system responsibility. 

If you have made a mistake – blundered somehow in your life and hurt people – the thing to focus on is not the reasons why you made that mistake. Instead, it’s time to focus on taking accountability for your actions and making amends. When you do this, don’t focus on yourself. Don’t focus on what you were going through or why you did what you did. Instead, focus on them, how what you did affected them, and what you can do to make it right.

Later – on your own, and not putting that burden on them – you can reflect on what you were going through and what you might need to work on in your own life to try and stabilize and ensure that doesn’t happen again. Mental health can explain why some things happen, but it is not an excuse and does not get you ‘out’ of accountability. 

Additionally, if you see people constantly using mental health as an excuse in their lives – whether these are people close to you or people on the internet – it may be a bit of a warning sign. Not that they’re terrible, but perhaps they haven’t done the healing they need to and aren’t necessarily portraying healthy behaviors. Don’t play into those narratives of them blaming their inappropriate or destructive actions on their mental health – and if it’s safest/healthiest/best for you to remove them from your life, don’t be afraid to put yourself first.

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