Thursday, July 19, 2007

Telling The Truth

Do you think that BIPS require that people tell them the truth more than "normal" folks? It's something I've wondered about for years. Ever since I was a kid, I've hated it when people lie to me. I would rather someone say, "I really can't be your friend any more," rather than ignoring me.

While being truthful is a quality I admire, it's not one I could always engage in. I used to think it was better to "walk away" than to tell someone something unpleasant. I used to find it impossibly difficult to say, "I have a problem with your behavior," or "I can't do that (whatever) because it's not consistent with my morals and values."

I believe I was able to change for two reasons. The first is therapy. While my therapist never diagnosed my illness, she did help me learn how to express my emotions honestly and openly.

The second is surviving 120 depressive episodes. During the worst of these periods, I felt like each time I "came back," it was if I had survived a death-like experience. After surviving enough of these, it finally seemed like I learned a series of lessons that have remained with me.

One is that life is too short to "lie" so I might as tell the truth. It might not make everyone else happy but it sure does wonders for me.

2 comments:

marja said...

Hi Susan,

I tend to keep quiet rather than say what I think, unless my opinion is asked for, or unless there is something I really can't be quiet about or it might harm someone if I don't speak up and say something.

My mother is not a very nice person in many ways and she often says derogatory things to me about my sisters or about other people. So I have to speak up for my sisters, trying to nicely show my mother that she is not being fair. There's a lot of dysfunction like that in my family and I've found myself in the role of peacemaker. But the only way to make peace is to do it without making anyone feel to blame but encouraging understanding between people. So I find it's often better not to say exactly what I think. Better to let people find out for themselves where they're wrong - gradually - bit by bit, through the way I respond.

I'm a fighter. My husband calls me a shit disturber. People call me a mental health activist. But I try to do tell the truth peacefully (or diplomatically); I try to do it in love. Perhaps that sounds like kind of a polyanna attitude to have, but I've found it works and it keeps me from responding in anger (which never helps matters). And it keeps me feeling at peace, in spite of all the "shit". (Nice way for a Christian woman to talk, isn't it?)

Bipolar Wellness Writer said...

Marja,
As always, a great comment with much insight. I can see what you mean and I don't go around "randomly telling the truth," although now that I think of it, it's an interesting concept.

What I really meant is that when people "overtly lie to me," and I know it, I no longer remain silent.

In earlier years, I would listen to them and bite my lip--particularly at work. And I found that keeping it all bottled up inside was very bad for me and caused depressive episodes.

In the last few years, as my mother has aged, it has happened with family members. And I no longer let them overtly lie any more.

The bottom line is that I was the peacemaker my entire life. It may have been a personality trait and it also may have been because I am the middle "child" in my family.

I spent most of my life trying to resolve things with people. Suddenly, I became aware that while I did all this work, there was no real benefit (for me).

Unfortunately, they never learned how to deal with issues themselves, in an honest and open way.They became more and more selfish. And less and less honest.

But, I do appreciate your point of view. Part of the reason I "like you so" is because of the way you express yourself (whether it's appropriate for a Christian woman or not (smiling face)!

Susan