Guilt. I hear it’s a useless emotion. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel it. Constantly.
No matter how good I feel… no matter how bad… how hopeless… how sad… how confused. No matter what I feel… the guilt is always there.
When I feel good, or even just okay, I feel guilty because I’m not supposed to feel good or, god forbid, happy. I know that sounds incredibly stupid, but hear me out. In my mind, feeling good makes me look like a liar. I have this crazy thought that if I feel good, people will think that when I said I felt terrible, I was lying. It’s so black-and-white in my head. Like I’m not allowed to have good times and bad. Having one disallows the other. And my negative emotions are so ingrained in me that they have become who I am… so feeling good seems like a betrayal to myself… and to everyone else. I know… I sound insane.
When I feel bad, sad, hopeless, [fill in other similar emotions here], I feel guilty because I’ve sought and received and continue to receive help in so many ways, yet I still feel crappy. I feel guilty because I never think I’m doing enough to ‘fix‘ myself. Maybe I’m not, but I’ve also been told that all I can do is all I can do. If I’m not doing more, it’s because I’m not currently capable. Beating myself up is pointless (but I am so good at it). In short… I feel guilty that I’m not better. [But if I did feel better, I’d feel guilty about that. See above.]
[Aside: Is this where I should mention the ‘mom guilt’? I have tons of that. I’m not a good enough mom. I feel guilty because my kids shouldn’t see me feeling so terrible. It’s not healthy for them to be around that. I know it affects them. So much guilt. But someone told me that if I’m worried I’m not a good mom, that means I’m a good mom. I would like to believe that… but I struggle with it.]
Just Plain Messy.
When I feel confused and indecisive, I feel guilty because it makes me weak. I never feel like I can take charge because I never really know what the fuck I’m doing. If I think, even for five seconds, that I do know what I’m doing—that I do know which choice to choose—in the next second, I’ve changed my mind and I’m right back where I started. I constantly second-guess myself. Confused. Indecisive. Really, just lost.
The easy answer… and the one I hear all the fucking time… is: Let go of the guilt.
And to that I say… Thanks, genius. Obviously I’ve tried that. Every minute of every day for as long as I can remember. It hasn’t worked.
People are so quick to give simple answers like that [not just related to guilt, but a host of other emotions], but those people can never explain how. And I find that the people giving those simple (but useless) answers are usually, if not always, people who don’t have the same struggle (at least not to an unhealthy degree)… so they don’t truly understand. For them, it just is. For me, it just isn’t. How does one change between the two? I don’t think anyone really knows.
So… here I sit, feeling guilty as hell. Guilty that I didn’t accomplish anything today because I had time but I didn’t use it well. Guilty for even having that time because I’m feeling guilty for being unemployed. Guilty because I had toast with my eggs this morning while I’m trying to eat fewer carbs.
If I have to feel something that has no bounds [guilt… but also other emotions that torment me], I wish it could be something positive.
p.s. — Of course I feel guilty for posting this because I wish I was posting something else… something better. It’s unfortunate that I can’t just come to grips with the fact that writing about emotions is simply where I am right now.
©2020 what sandra thinks