5 Things Depression Makes Me Feel Guilty About
I’ve been struggling with my mental health a lot recently, and decided to take some time off from work to get myself better. Unfortunately, life happened and it kept throwing curveballs at me, which has prevented me from healing quickly.
During this time, I’ve experienced a lot of irrational self-hatred and self-criticism; my low self-esteem is something I battle with on a daily basis and something I’m working on in therapy. The guilt I have felt for not being a “proper functioning adult” has often been overwhelming, but as I am healing I realize that most of what’s been floating around in my head is utter garbage.
Here are a few of those “silly,” irrational guilty thoughts:
1. I feel guilty for being debilitated by depression.
I’m a young, relatively outgoing woman in her late 20s, so I feel guilty for frequently feeling debilitated by my mental health issues.
The version of myself I put out there (and whom I enjoy being) is quirky, bubbly and lively. But I constantly feel this intense sense of shame for letting myself get trapped in the frequent waves of depression that stop me from enjoying my life “like I should” and “like other people do.”
2. I feel guilty for not being happy with what I have.
I live in a great, vibrant area of Edinburgh, in a lovely apartment, with a wonderful partner. I have a good, stable job with nice colleagues, and I have great friends. But I feel guilty for still feeling unhappy in my life.
What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I be content with what I have? Why do I always feel like there’s something missing?
3. I feel guilty for not working.
Because I’ve had to take a big chunk of time off from work, I feel guilty for not being in the office recently and for leaving the team “a man down.”
I also feel embarrassed that my whole team knows I am off work for “mental health issues,” and worry they all think I’m taking liberties. But I know (I think) it’s just me panicking.
4. I feel guilty for taking time away from everything.
I feel guilty for having to take time away from work, friends and general life, when “I don’t even have a proper illness.”
I know in myself that there are plenty of things in my life that are tangible issues to worry about, but there’s still so much stigma surrounding mental health issues that sometimes those voices sneak into my head and tell me I am pathetic, weak and useless. I constantly have to remind myself that mental illness is a legitimate illness too, and that it’s OK to practice self-care.
5. I feel guilty for not being “fixed” yet.
I’ve tried doing all the right things to get myself better — time off work, antidepressants, therapy, yoga, meditation, journaling, finding plenty of time to just relax and being as productive as possible when I can, but as lazy as possible when I need it. So, I feel guilty for not feeling like I’m “fixed” yet.
I know it will take time for me to feel myself again, and I know these thoughts are all in my head. I know that deep down I’m an enthusiastic, passionate and driven person, but sometimes the world just feels like too much and I feel like I’m failing. But I have to keep getting back up because I am not going to let this beat me. I have to take good care of myself. I cannot and will not let the pessimistic voice in my head win, and I hope you won’t either.
Photo by Leon Biss on Unsplash