So I was watching an anime called, That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, and a character in it left me with some food for thought. (spoilers for episode 11-13)
Delusions of grandeur are not only experienced by those with one of the commonly associated diagnoses, bipolar, schizophrenia, delusional disorder, or substance abuse. Think of those with high religious stations, management positions, or involved in charities, They’ve heard repeatedly how great they are, and they start to believe it.
In the slime anime, there’s a character called Gabriu. He’s the prince of a tribe of Lizardmen and he starts out quite modest, denying overzealous compliments and keeping a good head for a while. They go from village to village to gather allies for an upcoming invasion. He successfully gets allies as they travel which prompts his men to compliment even more extravagantly and he starts to believe it. This makes him so full of himself that he attacks a group far stronger than him. He doesn’t see it and gets his butt handed to him by people highly irritated at this person who is flagrant with his new opinions of himself. He even attacks his father to take over the whole tribe, only to fail miserably in the battles to follow.
Going the other way. Someone being devalued, hearing over and over how they are not good enough can create an opposite effect, chronically low self-esteem. Also, when compliments only come when someone wants something. One tends to distrust those compliments and goes a bit deeper down the hole in self-esteem.
I cannot remember a time that I accepted compliments readily when I was not manic. Even before I went low functioning, I would always brush off compliments directed to me as a person, be it looks, personality traits, etc. Deep down I know I have good attributes., kindness and caring being the ones most often mentioned and things I value in myself. However, if it comes in complement form my brain goes ‘nope, you’re not kind enough for a compliment. You’re not caring enough for a compliment. You’re not a good enough mother to be complimented. These are all things I know that I am, but I can’t hear it without dismissal and embarrassment.
My psychologist has been doing his level best to help me through this and into the world of believing good things about myself without assuming it’s mania on its way. I acknowledge that this is a mostly in part of being devalued for a long time, but just because I’m not to blame for having it doesn’t mean it’s not my responsibility to do what I can to better it.
There might be some hope with this lithium thing. On Christmas, I didn’t get much of the twinges. Ugh, but this morning I did, without blushing mind you, there’s an improvement. I’ve only just started in my world of therapeutic dosage, and I’m relatively new to the idea that I have Bipolar. This should get worked out, right? Can self-esteem improve for someone in my position? I’m working on it.