The Guilt of Being Depressed
When asked the one word that is synonymous with my depression, “guilt” comes to mind. I feel guilty for having depression; I had a great childhood. No, nothing terrible has happened. I live in a lovely flat, have an incredible boyfriend and great friends. “I should not feel depressed.” This phrase turns over and over in my mind. There are people in the world who really suffer. “Not being able to get out of bed is not suffering,” I tell myself. “Surely, it’s a luxury.”
I’ve had depression for many, many years now. There are times when the clouds seem to clear, when the darkness dissipates and life feels good, but right now the clouds are ever-present, and it is hard to remember those times. However, no one would really know — I should be a spy, I am so good at leading a double life. I can put on a smile, muster up a good conversation (after ignoring a few calls and messages), but the reality is, all those “normal,” happy interactions exhaust me, and for that I feel guilty.
I feel guilty that I want to scream at my boyfriend who is just trying to be understanding. I feel guilty that I cause those closest to me to worry. My parents, my partner, my family and friends, all of them try to support me, to ensure I don’t get too low. How do I tell them it isn’t them and no matter what they do often I just feel low? I feel guilty that their efforts to help sometimes just make it worse.
I feel guilty for canceling plans last-minute. I mean to go, I want to go, but often I just don’t have the strength. I am brilliant at making excuses, but the shame I feel for letting people down is ever-present.
I even feel guilty for feeling guilty. Maybe some other people understand this warped way of thinking. I would tell anyone else with depression to not be so hard on themselves, to acknowledge their efforts. But to me, I just feel guilty.
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Photo by Eduard Militaru, via Unsplash