Is mental illness more of a reason or an excuse?

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no excuses signgeralt on Pixabay

This post was inspired by a recent post on Mindless Overthinking about the psychology behind excuses.  I left a comment about distinguishing between reasons and excuses, and I thought the idea was worth some further expansion.

The Oxford English Dictionary includes many definitions for “reason”, but these are the most relevant for this purpose:

A cause, ground, or motive

  • Of a fact, event, or thing not dependent on human agency

It defines an excuse as:

That which is offered a reason for being excused; sometimes in a bad sense, a (mere) pretext, a subterfuge

  • A plea for release from a duty, obligation, etc.

The differences may be subtle, but I think they’re actually really important.  The word excuse carries with it a lot of negative overtones.  It sounds like an attempt to get out of something that you really should be doing but just don’t want to…

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