Trying to manage a mental illness can be quite difficult at times; the symptoms are often pervasive and debilitating. In its wake, mental illness will bring along a myriad of feelings, one of which is guilt.
For some, it is a general guilt about mental illness; it may be that we feel guilty about how our mental illness impacts others, what it means in our workplace, guilt about the inability to function optimally, guilt that we may have to take some time to get back on track. We may get our illness back to a manageable state, yet the guilt remains; it can be quite tenacious.
We are much better served when we process the guilt. The first step in this process is to ask ourselves, “Is the guilt I am feeling appropriate?” And further to that, “Is it warranted?” Perhaps you feel guilty that you were not able to be there for your loved ones in the same capacity due to your mental illness – if that is the case, talk to them about it. Apologize for not being able to be there for them as you normally would be.
Perhaps you feel guilty about not having been at work for two weeks; warranted? No. How productive would you have been at work if your symptoms have moved to a place where they feel unmanageable?
If you need to make some amends, do so. If you realize that much of your guilt is unwarranted, then challenge its presence. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that mental illness will wreak some havoc; we are capable of tidying up the aftermath. Some of that may require some rebuilding, some might be about what we need to discard. 🙂
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