Selfish me.

Selfishness. I often wonder if I really understand what it means. Sometimes I think its very definition contradicts the things we are taught are right.

In my opinion and my personal experience, depression, Bipolar, and likely reams of other mental illnesses can be very selfish things; mental illness is the very definition of self-absorption in that it is all about you! and nothing but you – though not in a purposeful way, so does that make it something other than selfishness? There is generally such a negative aura around the word selfish, we hear the word and instantly assume it means that those people are also bad, but these things are not synonymous with one another, selfishness does not always equate to badness.

I believe that my mental illness can make me selfish, I don’t believe I have any choice over this matter nor do I believe I can change this but perhaps being aware of it is not such a bad thing, perhaps I can repair the damage caused if I embrace this inevitability. Bipolar disorder is such an all-consuming thing, it can sometimes take all of your mental energy to simply move from bed to the sofa and so of course there is not going to be room to consider others – during a severe low mood you can sometimes be so convinced that everyone hates you or that they would be happier without you that you treat them with the same contempt and disdain you believe they are bestowing upon you with little regard for what they have to say or how you may be making them feel. A high mood can perhaps breed even more selfish behaviour as you are so caught up in the mania that there is little thought of how your reckless actions will impact others.

I wish there was a way to help others to see that my selfish behaviour, if it can be classed as such, is not coming from me personally but from my all-encompassing illness and that the real Cheryl, the one other seldom see, would never treat you that way.

These past few weeks I have been desperately overwhelmed, I am trying to embrace a mother load of new activities at the behest of my OTA and it is proving difficult to maintain. I have been so absorbed in my over-activity woes, therapy, medication, social interaction, money woes, children… ect that I wonder if I am seen as selfish by those around me as a result. The view people might have of you when they do not understand the reasoning behind your actions can often be painful to hear; Do we need to hear these things? Does it help to hear the truth, however painful. A few weeks ago I would have said that honesty was without a doubt the best way to soothe your paranoia and fears of the misconceptions of others but then I received my own dose of painful truth and now I’m not so sure if it is helpful. I was told by someone close to me how they felt when I first sought help for my illness and their subsequent thoughts, feelings and actions since and it was debilitating painful to hear, it sent me into a huge depression and instead of soothing my paranoia it has only served to heighten it around this person. Is this reaction in itself selfish of me? Shouldn’t others be able to express their feelings and how I have made them feel?

Though there seem to be more steps back than steps forward at the moment, I soldier on because anything less would certainly be selfishness.



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