Monday, March 12, 2012

I am not my own hero

I recently went back to work from taking a leave of absence for a week. Before taking off I debated over the idea in my mind for a few days before discussing it with my boss. Taking and off and admitting I need it is not easy for me to do. For me, it's like saying, "I think I need a few days to lounge around my house and watch TV."

I'm grateful to have bosses who are understanding and who will go out of their way to accommodate me when I need something regarding my mental health. Even more grateful for who are understanding, patient, trustworthy and non-stigmatizing.

But I could feel my depression sink deeper and deeper and sense the need to be hospitalized. I know being hospitalized at some point in time is inevitable with bipolar. But if I can avoid it then I rather would. Besides, being hospitalized would have required more time off from work. Not to mention time away from my family. Nor are those psych hospitals like spas either.

I hated the thought of asking for time off from work. I don't like the idea of others picking up the slack and extra work I leave behind. It makes me feel like I bail from my responsibilities. It makes me feel like I am weak.

But on the other hand, I need to stay out of the hospital. With rest; with an addition of another medication and with time to do things I enjoy, my mind can begin to refocus. It can take time to not think. It's a precaution method that can keep my mind from going into protective mode as well as suicidal. If my mind goes into protective mode I take the risk of blacking out for any unknown period of time. And that, well, has lead to trouble in the past. Even more so has being suicidal winding up in the ER, ICU and then admitted to a psych hospital in the long run anyway.

This was the first time I had taken off from work to deal with an episode. Normally I would attempt to push through severe episodes which never turned out in my favor. Adding more stress only prolongs the depression or mania. Besides, my coworkers had already noticed in the previous weeks that something was wrong; asking if I was ok and what was the matter.

It's difficult for me to face up to the fact when I am weak. The truth is, I know that I am in many ways. I know this. I am human. And in many instances I don't have a problem asking for help. But when it comes to my bipolar it's a whole different story. Much of the time I feel it's in control. It's the unwillingness to admit that I am at its mercy. So I have this super hero complex.

It's not flattering and it doesn't come with any special super powers. It's just me, in a homemade cape of illusion, trying to be something I was never created to be: my own hero.

I've been this way for as long as I can remember, however skewed that memory may be. In many ways, it's people pleasing turn inward. I rush to make my environment "better," but pride and exhaustion always prevail. I subconsciously, with anxiety, attempt to make my external environments under control thinking that if they are then somehow my own mind will be at ease.

The truth is, I can't possibly be a superhero. I am far too limited and far too weak.

Having a superhero complex also has additional complexities. You begin to hold people around you to the same irrational standards you hold yourself. While you set yourself up to fail, you simultaneously set others to fail with you.

It's disappointing, to realize you've been so focused on chasing unattainable goals, that you've left yourself no room to grown and evolve in your own life. I don't have any flawless answer to the hero complex. And I'm almost 40yrs old and up until now I refused to admit a need for help when a situation arises with my bipolar other than seeing my doc for medication needs.

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Where my inspiration comes from

A Recycled-Dad with Bipolar & Parkinson's, reflections on fathering and family life and other stuff thrown in'll love my Soap Box Rants

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Why I call myself a Recycled Dad

I call myself a Recycled Dad because of the struggles with remarriage and being a step-parent and weekend dad. This is also about my life living with bipolar and how it affects me personally, my family and my job. It also reflects on the grace God has poured out on me throughout recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder. Recycled Dad is about my reflections on the wisdom God teaches daily on fatherhood and being a better husband in spite of being bipolar.

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