Guilt doesn’t seem to be something associated with anxiety and depression. I mean it’s certainly not something that I associate with either thing. Well, not until recently anyway.
I’ve always felt entitled to my feelings. I was allowed to feel them and I did feel them.
I worked in retail. Which is stressful enough on it’s own but with bad managers on top of those customers we all dread and no stable money coming in. I felt I was entitled to my rage and anger and sadness. I was entitled to my stress and I was entitled to the swell of emotions I felt. It was rarely a numbness. If it was, if I did feel hollow and numb it was still intense, it was vibrant, it was a rage and feeling I could channel into something. Turbulent emotions I could feel through music.
I felt guilty occasionally. It was never about my feelings though, it was always about the way I’d treated someone else, or the fact I’d snapped wrongly at someone. The fact I’d ignored someone. I never felt guilty because even though I had a boyfriend who wanted to look after me and a mum who would support me, I was living month to month, I barely even had money to buy new bits of uniform for work. I was sometimes only getting four hours a week, despite being on a management program (because the managers had a big time problem with me). I turned to the internet for solace but even that was a minefield. I fought for control on there which left me even more frustrated. I was having no luck with interviews.
The rage at the world I was feeling. I was allowed to feel that. Because even though my life was- actually- pretty great when compared to others. I felt stifled and useless and I didn’t feel financially independent.
Then I got a new job. Things started to settle down, I got into a better sleeping routine, I stopped being so angry. I was less frustrated. Even more so after that first pay check. Where before I’d channeled my anxieties into anger that could shake buildings and joy that could make me soar, now I was even and stable and my anxieties had no where to go and so they started to build. They started to show themselves for what they were.
It snowballed slowly from there, getting worse over the rest of the year. Until I got to this point. This point where I can’t even read a book, this point where I’m struggling to write, this point where I’m numb to a lot of things. That has all become commonplace.
The guilt that comes with those feelings though is something new and foreign to me and just adds to that already huge ball of stress and anxiety.
I know there will be people out there who will tell me I shouldn’t feel guilty about my feelings, I can’t help them after all? But I do, I do feel a tremendous sense of guilt.
My job is not difficult and it’s rarely amazingly stressful, the team of people around me are a pretty decent lot. My family is amazingly supportive as is my boyfriend of 9 years. I live in a relatively nice area, I don’t have to worry amazingly about money anymore, or clothes, or food, or bills. I have a good life, I have a life that me four years ago would kill for. Compared to others life is good.
So if life is good why am I allowed to feel like this? Why am I entitled to say that I’m anxious that I’m depressed? Why am I allowed to feel so numb to the world? I feel like a fraud.
I feel like I shouldn’t be allowed to feel this way and for the first time in my life I feel guilty about my feelings.