The guilt of letting people down
I wanted to write this blog post because it’s something that has been part of my depression for as long as I can remember. I have always carried the guilt of letting people down. Whether is be friends, family, work colleagues or partners.
It begins with me not getting involved in social situations because I don’t know whether my depression is going to a major factor on event day. I can almost guarantee that it’s going to play a part in whether I get to the event, whether I get up for work or make the family event.
The guilt of letting people down was the main reason I was single for over five years. From 2012 to 2017. If you are in a relationship there is an expectation to be social, to get involved in your partners friends circle and to be seen to be strong enough to be a supportive role in the relationship. I didn’t know how I am going to feel in a morning, or whether my depression is going to take over my day, and that wouldn’t be fair to whomever I was in a relationship with.
I now understand that my depression is a selfish illness and most of the time I am barely being my own support and just getting through the day without freaking out in my head is tough enough.
The pressures to be a successful, always loving, attentive and stable partner can also be the catalyst for episodes of depression. I am an inherent worrier and I over think everything. But the underlying reason, is how my depression is impacting on others. To the point where I simply want to remove myself from everyone so I don’t affect anyone negatively or let anyone down.
I don’t have a solution for this, it’s just another item on the long list of things I have to manage about myself on a daily basis.
But I will try to end this post on a positive note … In 2015 I was on a train from London to Doncaster. I happened to sit next to a woman and in front of her son. I got my sketchbooks out of my bag, as I always do, put my headphones in my ears and began to doodle. Before I knew it, her son had his sketchbook out and we were all in a conversation about our lives, art, loves and travel. I opened up about my depression . . . and to cut along story short, we became Facebook friends and, after two years of brief messenger chats, we are in a loving relationship and I couldn’t be happier. She is wonderful, understanding, beautiful and has the most amazing spirit.
Maybe the positive to take from my story is; I was open with her from the start about my illness, so it’s easier – on a daily basis, to tell her what is going on in my head, so I don’t freak out and ruin the relationship. I can’t say it’s been easy for her, because my instinct is to be on my own because of the guilt of not wanting to affect her negatively or letting her down, but my love for her keeps me wanting to fight and get better at managing my depression every day.
My final thought is; leaving yourself open to positive change, despite living with and dealing with depression, can also help with managing your illness and giving you a glimmer that it doesn’t define you and doesn’t control your life.
Be open to positive change.