Superman Syndrome

Over the years I have often described myself as someone who could leap tall buildings in a single bound. When asked what my life time plan was, the answer would invariably be ‘to take over the world’. Now each of these answers would bring a smile to the person who was listening to those responses. Looking back now, I wonder whether that smile was a smile of support or whether it was a sad acknowledgement that I was setting myself up to fail.

The overwhelming feeling that I could leap tall buildings in a single bound was yet another example of the fact that I bit things off in big bites, too big a bites for anyone without super-human powers. I look back on many examples of things that I didn’t start because the light at the end of the tunnel was too dim too provide a guiding light.

My house and the disarray in which I lived for the best part of a decade is one example of failure to start. Looking back, I can’t remember how I got into the mess that I did or why, in the early days, when the light at the end of the tunnel was bright that I did not walk towards it and regain a level of control and order but suffice to say, I didn’t. I’ve talked lots about blame and responsibility in previous posts and I can definitely say that I blamed G for the mess (because he didn’t live with me and help me to control it) and would never admit responsibility either for the mess or for doing something about it. There are a number of things that I would not start at work because I was not confident that I could do them perfectly or because the overall task was too big to be able to see a way to the end of it.

I set my sites at work high, to the point of expecting that I could just jump up the ranks and ‘take over the world’. I never really knew which part of the world that I wanted to take over and never made any sensible plan about how I was going to do it; I just knew that I wanted to do it. Looking back now, I can see that without any concrete plans, I was doomed to failure. I need to clarify that my version of failure was not abject failure. I certainly progressed in my chosen field, command respect in some circles and feel that I can make a difference in the role that I have. It’s just that through the eyes of my Superman Syndrome, I never recognised that anything other than being ‘numero uno’ was good enough. The most ludicrous part of the whole situation is that I would now be way better equipped emotionally and physically to take over the world but I no longer want to do it!

These thought processes are very counter-productive and very self-destructive. Those around me who have noticed the ridiculous extent to which I celebrate small wins (since I started to view the world in a kinder (to me) and less extreme way) would be nodding about now if they were reading this. It’s not that I was never introduced to the idea of biting off small, chewable pieces. In fact, I can picture my current manager gently asking me to make a start on things. There was always a road block in my mind, a road sign that said, “Do not enter. If you can’t see a clear path to your destination, do not undertake the journey!”

Sensible? Of course not! But then thinking sensibly and depression do not generally walk comfortably hand in hand.

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