Guilt. It’s a funny one, everybody know how it feels, however most people normally feel guilty because they’ve done something that they could have done a different way, a better way. So why is it that after I’ve had an off day, got overly anxious about something or had a panic attack, things that I can’t help happening, I feel this overwhelming sense of guilt?
Mental health problems changed my life entirely, I went from being a highly motivated student who was doing well (not wishing to be too cocky) to somebody I would describe as a bit of a mess. From there I went to living at home, working part time and trying to decide what to do with my life having left university early. This is obviously a big change, but it wasn’t just for me, it was a bit change for my parents, my friends and my family. I went from living away from home for 8 months of the year to being home all of the time and chatting to my friends became something that happened via Skype or text rather than face to face. Change is something I would consider a good thing but normally I’m more a gradual change person rather than a turning 180 degrees sort of person!
The pressure that has been put on the people around me over the last year is more than you can imagine if you’ve never been in their position. I’ve been fully aware of it, because I’ve been them before, but it doesn’t make anything any easier. Being aware of this pressure merely makes me feel guilty. There were days when I was simply foul to one of my friends for doing the slightest thing or when I rang up my parents from 200 miles away and cried down the phone to them (what on earth could they do?) or I’d ruin somebody’s evening by having a panic attack and have to be looked after or taken home. These people are my friends and family though, they can hardly turn round and say ‘sort it out yourself’, they’re far too nice for that!
I’ve always being the sort of person who wanted to do things for myself. I wasn’t the sort of person who would go and ask a teacher for help if I was stuck, I’d go online and find the answer myself! If I could do something on my own, why would I want to bother somebody else to do it for me or help me? Yet the thing that many people don’t realise about mental health problems is that you become heavily reliant on those around you. I’ve had friends have to come into my room and insist I ate something on days that I spent all day in bed! Being on your own constantly doesn’t help problems like anxiety and depression; you just end up dwelling on your problems. Having somebody around to take your mind off everything else is exactly what is needed. However, being that person who needs to distract me from something that ruled my life for months, is easier said than done and probably got a bit depressing!
Mental health problems can be linked, they can fuel each other, throw a constant feeling of guilt into that and you’ve got one massive mess. Sometimes I forget that there is no immediate cure for a mental health problem and that even when I’m feeling on top of the world, something can happen to bring it all crashing back down in a second. Everything is a bit of a constant challenge and once the balance has been found life starts to slip into place, people around you are no longer your rocks, and you can stand there, all alone, quite happily.