When we have depression, it often comes with a huge dollop of all-consuming guilt. The guilt plays right into the hands of depression, which feeds back into our guilt….and so on. It’s a horrible never-ending cycle of anguish.
Guilt Over Our Relationships
Thinking about our relationships can cause our guilt levels to overflow. We don’t feel able to be there for our friends and family as much as we would like to be because depression debilitates us. We feel guilty for not pulling our weight around the house, but depression makes our limbs feel leaden and the smallest of tasks can feel humongous. We forget things. Important things like birthdays, or our child’s non-uniform day. Depression, and sleep deprivation, can lower our tolerance levels so we snap at our loved ones. We can see the toll our illness takes on those we care about which adds to the sense of burden we feel. When depression traps us in our house, we cancel plans that we made when we were feeling more able to manage life.
There are many things which can affect relationships. Illnesses. Life circumstances. Relationships are a steep learning curve; we’re choosing to navigate the uncertainty of life with those who are also navigating the uncertainty of life, with their own obstacles and things to overcome. We all say or do things that we regret at times. Depression isn’t an excuse for the way we are with our friends and family, but it can be an explanation. Having open, honest communication with those around us can help us to feel less guilty. It can also help those around us to have a better understanding about what’s going on.
Guilt Over Not Achieving More
Guilt causes us to feel as though we’re not enough nor doing enough.
It can be hard when we see our peers on social media, seemingly having it all sussed out. It’s worth remembering that the pictures we construct about ourselves online don’t always accurately represent our reality. People rarely plaster the icky bits of their lives over social media. And when we compare where we are (unwell) with their edited highlights, we will always feel as though we don’t match up.
Depression can limit our ability to do certain things. It can slow us down. It can fog up our brains so that it’s hard to think. It makes it hard to achieve the goals we set out before depression entered our lives.
We can’t change the past or magically wish depression away (as much as we might like to at times!). But we can reassess our goals. We can lower our sights a little, and take depression into account. It might not be forever. We just need to take things a little slower right now, and that’s okay!
Guilt Over Having Depression
One of the cruelties of depression, is that it kids us into believing that we’re unworthy of help and support. We look at our lives and feel guilty over feeling so low when ‘others have it worse’. When suicidal thoughts ricochet around our heads, we feel guilty for ‘throwing all of this away’, which only feeds the suicidal thoughts. It’s a vicious circle.
Having depression is not our fault. Depression doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care what job we have, who’s in our family, where we live, how much money we have, or how many friends we have. It can affect anyone.
Guilt Over Not Recovering Fast Enough
Sometimes we receive help – from friends, family members, work colleagues or professionals. When people try to help us, we begin to feel guilty for not recovering. Or for not recovering ‘fast enough’.
We might be able to do some things to help our depression, we can’t always completely control it. We will find something that works for us eventually, but it might take a bit of time and some trial and error.
Feelings Aren’t Facts
However guilty we feel, however awful the thoughts it conjures up – they aren’t necessarily true. Depression can feed us all sort of lies and it totally skews our perspective. We feel terrible about ourselves, but feeling terrible and being terrible are two very different things.
This Is Not Your Fault
Depression is not your fault. You do not deserve depression (nobody does!). You didn’t cause this. You have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. Be kind to yourself.
Please help us to help others and share this post, you never know who might need it.