The Guilt

I used to think I carried around this never ending guilty feeling because of the stereotype about Jewish moms and guilt.  I have thought about the guilt so much and have read enough articles concerning Depression lately to know that this guilt is not because I’m Jewish but in turn because I am Depressed.  This is a daily battle that for myself has been going on for not just years, but decades.  Yes, you read that right, DECADES.

I have guilt over everything.  It stays with me so much so that whenever I see a cop I start to shake and hyperventilate.  This becomes especially hard when I visit a friend of mine whose husband is in fact a cop.  Funny thing, I’ve never broken the law that I would have a reason for excessive guilt and anxiety around law enforcement.  Well,  that is to say I’ve never broken a federal or state law but I’ve broken many of my own laws or beliefs.  I think this is why I feel nervous around police.

What governing laws of Stephanie have I broken?  Why am I so guilty? Why do I still live in the past?

Sophia.  My beautiful almost preteen daughter.  I carry a horrendous amount of guilt about her:

~ I passed on my genetically linked illness to her. (I don’t even know if this is true, but I feel guilty over it).
~ I caused her childhood Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
~ It’s my fault Tyler is not in the house.  This one is so strong that I’m trying to impose thoughts into Sophia’s head.  I believe she’s angry with me about it even though she has said she’s not numerous times.  I keep telling her she should be.
~ I missed 12 days of her life between her age of 4 to 6 weeks old because I needed to go to the hospital for help.
~ I missed 5 days of her life this past January for the same reason.
~ I thought of running away and leaving her when she was a baby.  I had a whole plan.
~ I showed her my illness.  Another biggie.  I never meant for her to see any of it.  To witness my dry-heaving, the shaking, the crying, the delusional thoughts, the drug usage.  The pain… My pain and hers for witnessing it all.
~ I am the reason she is an Only Child.

It’s all my fault and I carry this guilt around daily.  Yes, my antidepressant does help but it isn’t a cure all.  Therapy helps but that too will not take it all away.  It’s the disease speaking and it is with me all the time. 

But wait, I have more guilt, Jimmy:

~ I put him through hell when I suffered with Postpartum Depression.  His days were filled with waking up at 5am to get Sophia to my parents and himself to work 1.5 hours away only to come home late and pick Sophia up to visit his crazy wife at the psych ward.
~ I put him through hell again with my disease while Tyler was here and I vowed years ago I would never stick him in a situation like that. 
~ I am the reason he does not have a son.  One day I know he will hold this over me, although it might be the guilt talking.

I constantly tell him to leave me, that I don’t deserve his love or Sophia’s.  I tell him to take her and run away.  He won’t and tells me I’m nuts.

Then there is the guilt for what I put my parents through.  I can only imagine what they felt 8 years ago during my PPD and PPA.  I say imagine because I at first was so delusional and then I was so drugged up so in all honesty, I don’t remember and that’s sad.  This last time I had some brief moments of normalcy that I know I put them through hell.  As a parent, I can’t imagine seeing Sophia suffering the way I did and basically being helpless.  All parents want to do is help their children.  This I hold guilt for.

And of course, more recently, the guilt I live with about Tyler.  We were supposed to be his forever home.  He was the little boy I always wanted, my perfect son.  I let him down.  Each piece of clothing that pops up, each toy that is discovered only reminds me of this… And that I disappointed myself too.

Depression.  It lives in me daily.  It’s biggest fighter is Guilt.  It is a strong fighter and currently winning.  It wins because with Depression, you live in the past.  You dwell about the past.  You are your past.  I’ve never heard about anyone feeling guilt over the future.  Although the guilt is ahead right now, it will fall behind like the hare in The Tortoise And The Hare.  It just takes time.  Time… Each bout of Depression for me takes a full year at least to overcome.  I may feel better.  I may look better.  I may act better.  Inside though I still ponder about the past.  I relive it over and over.  The Guilt.  It painfully hurts me mentally and then it physically manifests itself.  It drains me over and over.

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