“It’s all about you, how can you be living a life filled with such self-indulgence ignoring the rest of us mortals?”

I could not tell you how many times this mere thought had crossed my mind in the last couple years. Not long ago, I was accused of such indolence, that I’m incapable of silencing my mind and coming up with a sensible explanation. I resent this notion because my personality traits do not hint a lack of consideration towards others; on the contrary, I blame myself for taking care of everyone’s else problems but mine. The fear of abandonment gets on my bones and makes me crawl sometimes. Therefore, I often confuse having a charity soul too enabling people to take advantage of me.

I wish I’d be able to be more assertive with my own regards and take the handle of the things that are within my reach. But a big part of me hates injustice and suffering. If I have the means to help, I’ll move mountains until I know the issue has been resolved. Still, now and then, I’m hurt by the lack of gratitude presented to me. This where my dilemma lies: Is it selfish to expect a degree of gratitude when my illness takes advantage of my words and attitude? It doesn’t mean to forgive my faults without taking full responsibility, but isn’t mercy one the greatest attributes a human being takes for granted?

I’m a mass of contradictions, I’m aware of it, but I ceased of fighting off such a revealing nature because that’s how I roll. I can’t deny how difficult I am to live with, sometimes spending days without uttering a word to anyone at home, the ups, and downs of my illness, the irritability, the depression, etc.… At the same time, I’d go beyond my means when rescue is needed. So therefore when I suffer from my ever-changing moods and the response is to call me selfish, it destroys the concept of lending a helping hand to someone in need.

I take heart at the advice of my therapist; “You need to send a clear message. You are first. You cannot carry everyone’s else problems on your back. It is not your responsibility at all.”

She’s right, so I carefully exercise the way I carry myself in a way that won’t hurt anyone when I say No. I wish I could say that I don’t care if people approve of my new philosophy of life or not, I do care a lot, but I’ve been feeling so emotionally drained; lately, it is time for me to say “I can insist on my rights and still be a good person”.

Sylvia Plath could not have said it better “If you expect nothing from anybody, you’re never be disappointed.”

There is an immense need to feel accepted somehow. Maybe I’ve been too prone to rejection, and it worries me, being a mom and all, to bring balance at home because I firmly believe my advocacy starts at home with my two children. They have too experienced the same rejections I had to face growing up: A nasty divorce, abandonment by a father, and yes, being separate for a short time due to my depression.

And this is the message I desire for them to learn “I can still feel good about myself, even though someone else is annoyed with me.” It is a hard lesson to learn, but I do understand it is necessary for my return to a normal state of self-love and health. Not everybody is going to love me, it doesn’t matter what I do for them, and it’s OK.

Regaining possession of assertiveness truly improves a few bumps on the road. If I didn’t reach my goals, that doesn’t mean I didn’t go about it skillfully. I’ve been neglecting myself for too long wasting precious time explaining friends and family about my weirdness of character and the consequences of my diagnosis. That means I’d be only concentrating on the dark side of my anxiety/bipolar disorder/depression, without any sense of awareness.

I may be swimming on self-indulgence right now, But I am a step ahead of living my own life counting the rhythms of my actions instead of following the drum beats of the crowd.

 

Photo Credit: cabralgabriel Flickr via Compfight cc

Stephanie Ortez

Stephanie is a highly caffeinated mother of two wonderful boys. She is hopelessly addicted to non-fiction books and literature that moves her to tears. She is an admissions advisor for George Washington University online where she assists homeschooled students internationally. Stephanie lives with Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder. She is a passionate mental health advocate, member of Stigma Fighters. Her writing has been featured on The Elephant Journal, The Mighty, The Organic Coffee Haphazardly and Feminine Collective.

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