I have a question for you.
When does suffering become an excuse? When does suffering become learned helplessness? Where is that line? And have I crossed it?
For 14 years I lived with an undiagnosed mental disorder.For the past two years my symptoms had been so bad I could barely function. They had been so erratic, people didn’t know how to help me. There were many times I waived the white flag and gave up trying to fight it.
I’ve always wanted to tell people my struggle because I wanted their support, and a lot of times when I would tell, I’d push too far. I still want to tell, and I still want to push.
Now we know what is going on. Now I have tools to fight it. I have a built in support system. I’ve got a schedule that keeps my crazy in check. I take pills that keep my crazy a secret as long as you ignore my 8:30pm bedtime and my medicine cabinet.
But I still want my crazy to explain away my choices and performance. I still want my crazy to dictate my actions. I had let go a lot of my determination and perfectionism and independence regarding my life outside of bipolar. It was sheer hell but it let me slack off guilt free. Now, I’m faced with the leftovers and a job where I’m embarrassed with the way I’ve performed. My perfectionism has kicked back in and I’m left with nightly panic attacks about my job and all of the missed opportunities.
Sometimes I consider telling my boss that I’ve been sick and that is why I’ve been sucking at my job. I want to give a reason that isn’t my fault. Then I realize I can either do my job or I can’t…the reason doesn’t really matter much.
Then I go down the rabbit hole that maybe I’m not in the right job for me, and then something happens and I love my job again. Then I remember that I don’t make enough money and I’m not well enough to take a traditional second job. (And we won’t talk about about how my parents have to help me by a car. It’s killing me.)
And then I blame it all on Bipolar. I’m finding that I blame everything I’m unhappy about bipolar. I blame me leaving teaching on bipolar. I put in so much fight trying not to make bipolar an excuse that I have no energy to do anything else.
I don’t want to use bipolar as an excuse, but I think I am. How do I make that stop?