The Black Dog

Perhaps I took on more than I can handle.

Breadwinner.  That’s me.  Only I’m broken in two by Bipolar I.  So in the things I wish I could do, I only fulfill those dreams about half of the time.  Because I still feel this mental illness holds me back.  Ruins things.  Destroys my sanity, at a time when I need it most.

I read a book once that described depression like a black dog.  It waits in the corner of every space in your mind, just waiting for the right moment to attack and bring you to your knees in agony and despair.

So having survived a few attacks by the black dog, I felt ready to pursue other avenues.  I searched the internet for a new job.  And I found one.  It seemed like a good fit:  it utilized experience I had from the prior jobs, while also seeming to be challenging yet inspiring work.  I thought it would bring a better life to me and my family.  I thought it would amp up my resume  and fill in  the blank spaces since my breakdown.

But it has come with its own difficulties, many I didn’t anticipate.

One thing I can readily admit about myself is that I am a hard worker.  I will stop at nothing to get the job done, and I seek praise more than anything else.  This need for praise most likely comes from some unrealized psychological desire for my father to show me love and attention, but that’s a different story.  Essentially, I am trying to do the work I am passionate about, while also trying to maintain some realistic expectations for myself.

Only with Bipolar Disorder, many times your mind carries you out to the farthest stretches of “realistic expectations.”  Sometimes I believe I can do it all, all by myself.  I constantly bite off more than I can chew.  And it leads to my downfall.  Foolishly, I press on, knowing full well where I am headed.

But what can I do?  I can’t stop living.  I can’t stop taking care of my family financially, emotionally, and spiritually.  I try to do it all.  It is a never-ending cycle, that I know will weaken me until the right moment when the black dog digs his teeth into me and pulls me down under.  I will once again have failed.

I know it’s hard to understand for those who don’t experience it.  It is hard to understand, and it affects all of us in a slightly different way.  But in essence, Bipolar Disorder I is disruptive to the live I wish to live.  I don’t want to downsize my dreams due to this illness.  I don’t want to let up on what I know must be done.

The thing is, I know what the consequences are if I don’t take care of myself.  I know I will be back on the couch, eating and sleeping and not doing much else.  I know I will become what I hate.

I need this to stop.  It is growing out of my control, and just as I know it will happen, it will happen.  Ya Allah, please save me from my own destruction.

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