Letting go of guilt

guilt
Wow, I can’t believe it has been over two weeks since my last post – life has clearly been quite hectic!

We moved into our new place last week, but because I have been so busy with school, I haven’t had a chance to unpack and organize half of my boxes – I am slowly getting there! I normally have to pace myself so I don’t overdo it, just the same as I do when I am packing to move.

Yesterday, I wrote my final exam for a course worth 100% of my mark (can you say anxiety!), then, Bart, his best friend Aaron, and his wife Jodie and I went to the first Jays playoff game, and we had a blast! Unfortunately, they lost to Texas 5-3, and again today after a 14 inning game. Not good. We met up with Bart and Aaron’s friend Tim, and his girlfriend Katie, who I actually went to elementary school with, and lived down the street from growing up (small world), at Hunter’s landing and had dinner and a few drinks. It was a great day!tumblr_nm6zqtOR9s1qijsi3o1_1280The last couple days I have woken up feeling VERY run down, with a fever, less energy than normal (which is pretty bad when you have chronic fatigue already!) and today it hit me like a ton of bricks. I have been resting on the couch drinking fluids, trying to do as little as possible all day, but I’m still feeling crummy.

Bart’s best friend, Aaron, and his wife Jodie have been in town for the last two weeks from Brisbane, Australia, and tonight is their last night here. Bart just left to meet up with them at a bar in downtown Toronto, and as much as I REALLY wanted to go to see them for the last time (till god knows when the next time will be), I am just feeling too run down and sick. I know if I were to go, I would be out late and push my body beyond where it should go, and I’d be a wreck for the next week (or more).

I feel incredibly guilty that I can’t go, because I absolutely adore Aaron and Jodie, and would love to be able to spend this last night with them before they leave tomorrow.

The same thing happened to me two weeks ago – I had to cancel last minute on my friend Beth’s birthday dinner because I was completely run down, in a lot of pain, had no energy, and had spent 6+ hours with the Bell technician trying to set up our internet at home. By the time he left, I still needed to shower, get ready, and get my butt downtown (over an hour away) and I just couldn’t do it in time with the amount of fatigue and pain I was in. I was frustrated that the Bell guy had been there that long, and also because my body was giving up on me. I feel so bad when I have to cancel last minute, because my mind so desperately wants to go out, but my body just won’t follow suit. It’s as if I’m a 30 year old woman, stuck in an 80 year old body – not fun.

I’m just hoping that when I do cancel like I had to today, that others will understand and won’t be frustrated or disappointed with me. My friendships and family mean the world to me, and the last thing I want to do is let them down.

I know this type of thing happens to MANY of us living with chronic illnesses, and you can all sympathize with what I’m going through at the moment! I have planted myself in front of the TV, and will be watching chick flicks, drinking herbal tea, and cuddling with the pup, while everyone else is out having a good time.

Here is the type of advice that I need to start listening to:

It’s time to let go of all the guilt you are carrying around. It’s only dragging you down. It’s stealing your limited energy, it’s adding to your stress, and it’s making your pain and fatigue worse. So, instead of saying you’d do anything to feel better, do this one thing – stop feeling guilty for everything. I know it’s easier said than done, when something like this is a habit, it takes time, and it takes work to change it, but, it can be done. When you catch yourself feeling guilty, STOP, just stop what you are doing/ thinking, and take a breath. Tell yourself (out loud if you can get away with it) that it’s not your fault, you are doing the best that you can. Then take another breath and continue on. There will be days when you have to do this many times, and that’s ok. Eventually, you will find you are doing it less and less, because you don’t need to.  You may find it helpful to keep a journal of the times that you have to stop and remind yourself that you have nothing to feel guilty about. Watching that number get smaller each day will give you a little thrill, and with that thrill a little boost of energy.

Aaron and Jodie – I am so glad we finally got the chance to meet –  you two (and your family) are amazing, and I can’t wait until we can come pay you a visit in oz.

australia_canada

I plan on writing another post this weekend about managing your anxiety and depression during a big life change, e.g. for me, it has been moving!

Xoxo have a fantastic long weekend everyone!

Lex

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