Is it okay to be selfish for your mental health?

When I first began this blogging experience I befriended another individual who was experiencing a continuing span of manic symptoms and lending one of my huge ears to her many problems at the time. Honestly, she was going through a lot but from my point of view it was directly related to her willingness to help others and not herself. My advice to her was always to be selfish with her current needs in order to regain some sense of stability because if you aren’t stable yourself how can you ever help anyone else? In the case of this person I had to cease communication as her mania was projecting on to me ( I didn’t know how to respond and not worry) and it wasn’t good because I don’t experience mania that someone with Bipolar I Disorder experiences. Mine is quite different. If you’re not familiar I suffer from Bipolar II Disorder my highs are referred to as hypomania as opposed to full mania. Reflecting back on advice given to this person, I realize just how long (34 years )it took me to understand that we (those who suffer with any debilitating condition) must do this for our own sanity. I wasn’t smart enough to realize this on my own because naturally I am a helper and fixer. I guess this is a male trait as we like to “fix” things or at least feel needed. I once asked J to help me still feel needed to get things off the top shelf in the cabinets. She is just a few inches shy of me and wouldn’t really need my help but I wanted her to need it. I now realize how wrong of me that was to ask that of her and I’m also doing better with not trying to “fix” everything  but I do still like to feel needed every once in awhile such as in the case of protecting those that I care about. It’s recently created a problem. I guess a little background as to why I feel that I have to protect those that I care about is I am a little brother to two amazing sisters whom I love dearly. Of course growing up they gave me a hard time and could’ve probably kicked anyone’s ass who tried to bring me harm but they never let me know that and it feels good knowing that I would be the person they would look to protect them if the situation arose. In all honestly, I’d rather deal with me than to face the wrath of either of them so in other words…they can handle themselves. I know that but it doesn’t change the fact that I care about them dearly and worry when they’re out alone or when they’re judgement might be lacking in certain situations. Lack of judgement doesn’t mean they’re less smart it’s just I am a bit more street smart than they are because I stay in tune with what’s going on in the world, I know how men are being that I am one, and I know how crazy people are because I’ve either read about it or watched a documentary/film about it.

To combat a recent issue related to my need to protect but still work towards bettering myself …I am choosing to be selfish for my own good and realistic as I know my limitations. However, being selfish for your own good can make one feel like an ass at times and question if you’re doing the right thing. This is what I am currently experiencing and I’m not sure if I’m looking for reassurance or just wanting to get this off my chest. You know, vent a little. Did you pour your wine yet? Kidding …if you’re reading this you probably suffer from some form(s) of mental illness and are medicated (kudos to those of you who are not medicated and are stable – you are my inspiration) and you know we are not supposed to mix our medications with adult beverages. Womp womp.

Mentally, I’d give myself a C – on how stable I am at the moment. I might go as low as giving myself a D + but maybe I am just giving myself a hard time as I am very good at doing. I’m never okay with anything less than an A. I’m still furious with myself as I earned one B this semester and the percentage was 88.1% …doesn’t that just make angry, when you’re so close? I am going through a lot but I feel that I could be doing better if I stopped worrying so much about many things that are not in my control such as the safety of other people that are not in my near vicinity. Hell, a few months ago I worried for an entire night about a fucking coyote in Atlanta and I was no where near Atlanta at the time. I bet my sister will refrain from telling me about stranded animals in the future.

If you read my last post then you’ll know that I have my follow up appointment on next week to assess if the cancer cells were killed by the RAI that I had last year. That is enough to worry about by itself being that I’ve now had cancer twice. Well, wouldn’t you know that I ended up going to the doc early on yesterday due to an acute illness. Said illness produced the worst body aches I could have ever imagined, inability to get warm, chills with no relief, no appetite and fever. I was diagnosed yet again with the flu, this time it was influenza A and not B. Didn’t know there was a difference. The lab work I had drawn yesterday that will tell my doc what to do next in regards to cancer. If the level is high, cancer is still present. I may need more surgery to remove more lymph nodes if that is the case. But before any of that …I had to deal with the fact that within two hours of arriving back home into bed and finding my comfy spot I was notified that I needed to come back ASAP to have my labs redrawn. Want to set me off on a high anxiety trip? This was the way to do it….I automatically assume the worst and think that the labs must be bad and I’m dying tomorrow (which would now be today but I’m still here). Have you realized how dramatic Bipolar Disorder can make even the most manly bearded man become? I could probably win an Academy Award or at least a Tony for my dramatics…in any case…mix this anxiety/drama + my mental stability + realizing my limitation and taking a step into doing the right thing, or what I think is the right thing = feeling like the biggest jerk/ass/douche/dick/fuckbag.

So I sit here as I have been for hours now feeling like said jerk/ass/douche/dick/fuckbag while refreshing my online medical chart test results every 10 minutes questioning why am I this way and why my doc won’t release my lab results to me…but at least this guy hangs out with me.


What is your opinion on taking a selfish step to better yourself or to help yourself achieve some sense of stability in times when it seems nothing is going right? Have you ever done so and regretted it? Is there a compromise?

Oh whale…return to hope one day is what I’d like …and I’d also  like a slice of chocolate cake. Seems relevant.

P.S. Speaking of safety…women and men of wordpress, check out this personal security system in the form of a ring, called Nimb. You activate it by pressing it when in a dangerous situation and it will notify up to 5 people of your whereabouts. Guess what my sisters are getting from their little brother? The Nimb ring.

5 thoughts on “Is it okay to be selfish for your mental health?

  1. in regards to sanity, I find it is best to keep distances of some people while they are going through some things. I end up soaking up all the bad juju and then get depressed.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve found that when you’re open about your battle with mental illness, people are much more likely to be drawn to you and lean on you because it appears that you’re “stronger” than they are. There have been multiple instances where I’ve given everything I have to someone that just simply isn’t getting better, and then I would find myself becoming unstable again. I think the key is just finding a balance. You can help others, just save a piece of yourself for yourself.

    Liked by 1 person

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