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Why My Chronic Illnesses Make Me Feel Depressed and Guilty

I feel guilty for a lot of things.

Mostly, it’s because I’m depressed. Or I became depressed because of the guilt. I’m not sure anymore.

I have chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and fibromyalgia.

I started feeling guilty around my parents because I feel like I leech off them. I feel guilty about the community because I can’t work. I feel guilty about my boyfriend because I can’t put as much effort into our relationship as he does. And for failing so much. I fail at making a life for myself. Or at least, that’s what I feel. Because I can’t get a job; because I can’t keep a job. Most of the things I feel guilty about, I can’t even help. I just have poor health – for unknown reasons, I have decreased muscle tone that can’t be explained (no, not even de-conditioning) and struggle with lack of oxygen, again for unknown reasons. I can’t walk through a street without breathing heavy due to oxygen shortage. So simply put, the things I feel guilty for are not even things I can do anything about. I’m already doing more than I should, to be honest.

I feel guilty about my dogs because they need me to play with them, walk them. I feel most guilty about them. I do play with them, and I train them, and I even spoil them. But they can feel my emotions better than most other people around me, and make it their business to express the ones I hide. My parents are warm, kind people, but they got used to living on their own while I lived with my ex. I can’t move in with my new boyfriend, and so I lack space. My life is constantly packed in bags, so I can easily move it out of my parents’ way. Or so I can easily spend two days at my boyfriend’s place.

And as such, my dogs pee in the house. They attempt to mark territory for me and them. It’s not wanted behavior, but how can I punish them for expressing my (and their) feelings?

And the guilt just keeps building.

I love my parents. I love my doggies. I love my boyfriend. But I feel so guilty about all of them. And I shouldn’t. But I do.

It’s a cycle I wish I could break. And I keep trying. Maybe not in the way I should, but trying to get a place where my boyfriend and I can live together seems like a good one. It’s the only thing I know I can do. Keep going. It’s the one thing I’ve never failed at.

It doesn’t make me feel better, but at least I can always keep going.

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Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash