The story of my guilt

Once upon a time there was a person, who was very close to me. This person has been diagnosed with depression and was medicated too. I thought that loving approach could improve and eventually treat this condition and I was probably expected to have this kind of approach. Doing all I could think of – I accepted uncertainty of what was promised or agreed on, I changed my regular daily schedule and adapted it to that person’s daily schedule, I listened, tried to understand and support. I did not have anyone to talk about it, because the person did not want me to, and I respected that. But I got so lonely with this task I was not able to handle. Then I got to the point when my thoughts were:

I invested so much time and energy in this… I cannot quit now! It must start to get better soon… At least a tiny bit better…

There were ups and downs weekly. With each up I was hopeful and with each and every down I got broken more and more. I was not able to get out of this cycle. Then a hard time with university final exams was added to this, and I burnt out. I remember myself saying: I failed. And either I did not say it aloud any more, it stayed in my head.

My body ached, I could not sleep, I was so tired. It was the start of goodbye. It took me about two months to reach the point – I was calm and I knew it is the right thing to say goodbye. I have never been more confident about my decision. It surprised the person and me too.

I did not think it through, I just knew it was the right thing to do to save myself.

Recovery

The recovery was very slow, and today, looking back, I think it has not been completed. I did what I could, but I did not look for causes, my mindset was unknown to me. I continued living my live and I thought I was doing quite well. Until my son B. was born.

I found myself in a desperate state of mind. I was not able to enjoy anything, even smiling felt unnatural. For several times my longing was to suffocate under the mattress of my bed. I did not want anyone to know how bad it was, because I was so ashamed and lost. I self-diagnosed postpartum depression and other mental health issues. Back then a thought used to appear in my head:

This is your punishment for not improving conditions of that then-close person. You failed. And you fail again, because you failed before.

Maybe it was also how that person felt too. Like a failure. I have started to understand what I could not back then.

I was like on the slippery slope – trying to climb higher I slipped lower… It took years until I gradually started to feel better; however, guilt of failing that person’s life, my life, my son’s life kept and keeps coming back.

Hot-air balloon

Last Saturday morning I woke up with a feeling of peace and tranquility on my chest. I had a dream about me talking to that in-the-past-close person casually about ordinary things. That dream brought an epiphany to me: I could do nothing about that person’s mental health as others could do nothing about my mental health. They could show me the ways how to do it myself, but they could not do it for me. Fortunately, I happened to find my own way how to improve my life. I created a hot-air balloon to get up the slippery slope… Hopefully, the guilt of failing that person’s life will not come back again, as I have other guilts to be handled.

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