About Me

Kent, United Kingdom
I have the perfect family but still struggle to find the light in the darkness of post-natal depression.

Friday, 27 June 2008

Need vs want...

It's an age old debate, I know, but that doesn't stop me from adding my views!
I got thinking about it today after a good friend advised me against trying to help someone because I didn't need the extra hassle....
She's probably right - she usually is, annoyingly, but that won't stop me doing it.
It's something I've been discussing with my therapist in our last few sessions, and disagreeing with her about too.
Unfortunately (or fortunately!) I'm one of those people with a very active self-sacrifice schema (see here if you're baffled already... http://www.schematherapy.com/id30.htm) which means I have a bit of an over-developed need to help people.
I have real trouble seeing that as a bad thing, and when I voiced that to my lovely therapist, she said it wasn't necessarily a negative unless my desire to help others impacted on me.
Which would seem simple enough, but I think that is where the problem lies. I genuinely have difficulties accepting that whatever I want or think I need at any one point in time can be more important than someone who genuinely needs my help (note to colleagues - I am aware of this difficulty so that doesn't mean I'll do all your work for you!).
For example, a few of my friends have or are about to have their second child. And as I can remember so clearly how soul-destroyingly awful life with one newborn was, and can imagine how difficult it must be when you add in a toddler as well, I am ready and willing to help however I can. Even if that means going off on a rescue mission when I'd like a quiet afternoon at home.
Is that wrong? I would say that if I'm doing it cos it makes me feel good or needed, which I'm not, then it would be a bad thing. But I think I'm doing it because I don't want others to have the kind of endless, bleak, excruciating hours and days I had when Tash was tiny.
Maybe there's an implication there that I wanted someone to do the same for me. I think there's some truth in that. And while people were as supportive as they could be, with the knowledge they had at the time, there is probably a lot more they could have done. But just because they didn't, does that mean I shouldn't? Surely if you believe in karma, or any kind of "do as you would be done by" philosophy, you would want to help in the hope that should you need something in the future those same friends would stand ready to help?
There can be a bit of a difficulty there though - if those friends don't have the same self-sacrifice schema going on there's a risk they may genuinely want to help but feel that time with their children, husband or at work is more important.
I'm still not sure how to find a way through all this, but for the moment I'll keep going with my rescue missions and building up those brownie points. If it's not hurting anyone but possibly me then I think it's worth doing.


sarajane said...

Wow! Can I be the first person to post a comment? I'm so upset to read about what you've been going through these past few days, and so amazed that you're brave enough to be writing this blog. I think your horrid hallucination was almost definitely caused by coming off the medication too quickly, which is well known for having horrible side effects.
Not sure whether I can say anything useful over the web, I'd rather talk to you in person, i just wanted to let you know that I have read this and am here for you if you want to talk. Also wanted to prove that I am not a technophobe (er, still some way to go there, I think).

Liz said...

Hurrah! My first comment! Many more to follow I hope...
It makes it all a bit more real to know people are actually reading this.
Well done at not being a technophobe and thanks for taking the time to comment.