The other day I wrote a post detailing how I often feel guilty when I'm too depressed to work but still manage to get out to take photos during the day.
Lee made the following telling comment:
"Why do you feel guilty?"
Let me count the ways...
Mainly it's to do with financial responsibility. Here's a few facts:
- Mrs M works in a high stressed job, which she doesn't particularly enjoy, leaving home at 6h15 am to negotiate major traffic jams to get there. She earns a good salary (thank G), but can never afford to treat herself to anything because basically, her salary is supporting me too.
- My aging retired Dad has loaned us money. In the meantime he scrimps and scrapes and may be forced to sell his house, one of the reasons being that I can't repay him.
- In an effort to alleviate this, my Mom tries to earn a little income by giving art classes. It is extremely painful for her, as she has really bad knees and hips (2 x hip replacement operations)
- My sister, who in many ways has even more mental health issues than me, soldiers on at her half day job, day in and day out. She also finds it extremely stressful, but unlike me, she pushes and pushes herself.
- Miss L is likely going to move back in with us next year. We might have to sell our house to afford it. And this time I can't send her to a good school. I promised her a trip to London when she turns fifteen, ever since she was about 6 (so she can see where her Mom and I lived, and where she was conceived). Right now I can't even give her a trip to the local steakhouse.
- Mrs M's parents have also lent us money. We do pay monthly interest on that loan, otherwise they would not eat. Mother-in-law spends every day at her sewing machine (despite Osteoporosis) to try make ends meet.
What, in my opinion, makes it particularly difficult for BiPolars (as opposed to long term unipolar depression sufferers) is that in the Up years, we manage to achieve GREAT things. Like set up my own business, which made major monthly profits for a few years, and realised me a fat cheque when I sold it to a big player in the field.
So you kinda set a precedent. What I'm trying to say is that if I had been depressed all along, and struggled to maintain any career my whole working life, then expectations (self and from others) would not be there, and it would be kinda OK. But because I was capable of having a highly successful career in various points of my life, the obvious logic arises: "Well, he's totally capable, he's just been lazy right now." (like the past 5 years)
And then there's the financial debt issue. Perhaps a unipolar depressive would be more hesitant to take on a half million buck loan from a bank. Not me. I kept telling myself: Well I've done it before, so it's only a matter of time before I get my hyper entrepeneurial drive back, and then I can club the debt in no time at all. Guess what, 5 years later and I'm still waiting for the entrepeneurial spirit. In the meantime my values in life have completely changed, and I'm pretty sure I'll never want to be a success-driven person again (even if I could). I'm quite content to lead my simple life of daily meditation and simplicity. The bank manager, as I'm sure you'll understand, is not so excited about these aspirations (actually he doesn't know about them - I reserve my face from previous years for the likes of him).
So GUILT, if you ask me, is pretty damn appropriate.
Problem is: the ROOT issue is to get out of depression. Wanna know the very WORST way to get out of depression? One word: GUILT.
So it's like a never-ending downward spiral:
Depression => Guilt => more depression => more guilt => more depression => more guilt => more depression => more guilt => more depression => more guilt => more depression => more guilt => more depression => more guilt (yes, I feel quite strongly about this).
Anybody got any ideas about how to escape this whirlpool?