Tag Archives: responsibilities

Afraid of Success

12 Mar

The flip side to my last post, Addicted to Failure, is what I suspect is a common fear among the depressed and anxious – a fear of success.  This string of thought comes to mind after yet another day off spent – aside from this post – almost entirely doing nothing but procrastinating and feeling sorry for myself.

I first remember thinking this not during my own struggles, but growing up with a parent with a veritable jambalaya of mental health issues; anxiety, bipolar disorder, a dash of agoraphobia and pinch of OCD tendencies, like a favourite from allrecipes.com with all ingredients found in the DSM-IV. There’ll be more on this in future posts I’m sure, but for some years I tried – unsuccessfully it would seem – to help my father find help for his mental illness, going as far as finding, chauffeuring and even attending with him sessions with various psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and CBT therapists.

After what seemed like little or no progress through these sessions, I couldn’t help but wonder how much my dad actually wanted to get better.  He had it great, so the theory went; living off of family savings, holding no more than a handful of part-time, minimum wage jobs and free of most adult responsibilities for the bulk of his adult life.  Maybe he was afraid of treatment succeeding out of fear that he’d need to rise to the role of functioning adult/wage-earner/father/role model, etc., reminding me of the famous George Bernard Shaw quote:

“With liberty comes responsibility.  That is why so many man dread it.”

Fast-forward to today, now some two decades later, I can’t help but make the same accusation of myself.  Am I afraid of the responsibilities I remember dutifully fulfilling as a younger man?  Because I’ve made some poor choices about my money and lifestyle, am I forever scarred with the fear of regaining the capabilities and self-confidence I once thrived on?

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