Guilt is born from not living up to expectations be they your own, someone else’s or those of what we perceive as the powers that be.
I’ve lived a lifetime of having to be useful in order to earn love that has left me feeling that, unless I’m of some use, then the love will dry up. Experiencing unconditional love for the first time is a bewildering experience. Someone loves me in spite of the amount of baggage I haul behind me. I try to be useful to him to justify that love even though I am told there is no need. I feel guilty because I have not bought the love.
I feel guilty if I waste my time, if I am not wholly productive all of the time. I am constantly looking for ways to justify my existence even though those ways usually drown me in stress.
The current round of Welfare Reform, particularly the work assessment is demanding that I justify my existence. It is forcing me in to a situation that is detrimental to my mental health and is putting my future sanity into the hands of someone who will not be qualified to make a reasonable assessment of me. I am being made to feel guilty because in order to prove that I’m too disabled to work I have to relate experiences that will result in raised eyebrows and skepticism.
There is a guilt associated with doing well in spite of having a major health problem. People with similar problems do not believe the severity of my illness. My eloquence is not associated with illness and, in particular, mental health problems. To be able to talk, cope or thrive is not acceptable. My “peers” and the wider society feel that I should be presenting an image of degradation and despair or I cannot be truly suffering.
The taxpayer wants me to feel guilty for sponging off the state, presuming erroneously that I have never worked or never want to. I have worked long and hard at many different things with varying success and find it frustrating that I’ll never work again and find it degrading people can sit on judgment based on an invisible disability.
Guilt is a destructive animal; it is the cat from next door who digs holes in the garden before depositing the contents of its bowels there, the mole who decorates a once smooth lawn with bumps and lumps, the escaped gerbil that chews through electrical cables.
Guilt pressurizes us into attempting to be that which we cannot be. It is the trigger on the suicide’s gun.
I try to live a good life. I often fail. I’m nice to people when I can but the day is too often populated by me muttering in varying degrees of loudness about “fuckwits” and, when the fuckwits get in my way, “shit and corruption”. My lack of tolerance gives me feelings of guilt for wanting space, for being a throw back to when living in such a huge population was unthinkable.
I feel guilty for not living in a more healthy way. I need regular meal times, a less disorganized home. I stumble chaotically from one moment into the next. The list of things I could do to improve my life would be almost endless if I could just find a pen or a piece of paper to list them on.
Well meaning people offer inadequate and irritating tips and hints that presume I have not the common sense to have tried them myself. I don’t function like you; my solutions have to be different. It is enough to be able to harness the chaos and drag it screaming behind me as I walk but I cannot hope to tame it and I will not be made to feel guilty for living beyond the limits of anyone else’s imagination.