During my years in a mental health team working alongside some of those most seriously ill in society I've taken it as a given that psychiatric illness can transform a person. Someone who would be normally described in positive terms acts totally out of character. The kind, sensitive, dignified, patient, funny and hardworking among us become abusive, aggressive, unreliable, disinhibited, intolerable, neglectful and needy when they're ill. My role means that I often meet them for the first time when they're like this. One of the best rewards of my job is discovering the person that they really are when they're well. I'm thinking about someone in particular who has transformed into such a beautiful human being now they've recovered. Their family told me they were there. It's making me smile as I write.
Although I've readily made allowances for people when I'm dealing with them professionally I hadn't always done that in my personal life. Bad behaviour directed towards me has been viewed in terms of vindictiveness. Even though it's because someone was poorly it seemed hard to rationalise, tolerate and to forgive when what they've done felt so dammed hurtful.
But something's clicked in recent times. And so I have a message to those at the receiving end of this kind of treatment. Ditch the ego. This isn't about you. The person is acting this way as a response to their own suffering. If they're lovely normally it's the illness that's the cause.. It's not something that should be held against them forever and destroy a relationship. Bide your time, do what's needed and send healing. Don't take it personally. And when they're well again, it would be stupid to keep bringing up what's happened. Move on. You have to believe it's more than likely that they didn't mean it!