Guilt is a birthplace for isolation and withdrawal. Since the anniversary has passed, guilt has invited itself round for tea in my head and stayed for a 48-hour long bender, but it seems to be heading on its way now. (Thank fuck.) During this
bender tea party, there’s been a whole host of other guests too but I have only been sat on the doormat with – I haven’t invited them in. Why? Because I JUST DON’T WANT THEM TO BE THERE. The isolation, the longing for withdrawal, the shame, the embarrassment, the unworthiness, the belief of undeserving and unloveability, the overflowing self hatred, the negative future tripping, because of what I did. These have all been here with such a strong presence, but somehow I have managed to keep a slight distance from fully believing them…but it’s pretty fucking hard as when I’m not sat there with them, they’re banging on my door until I listen and join my ignoring tactic has worked a bit.
The guilt is the guest that’s marched through the door and sat itself on a chair inside my freakin’ head. It weighs a tonne – my whole body aches from this bitching thing. I notice that when I don’t share things when I get the urge to, they then nestle their way into my body and bring such intense psychosomatic symptoms or just kick up chronic fatigue big time. It kinda makes sense when you think about it. And I believe this nestling of the unspoken feelings happens to all of us, just some are more sensitive to it. I am finding it hard to tell this guilt to pipe down and back off, and to not give in and believe all the crappy theories it comes up with, or conversations with my inner critic it starts up…they are just so convincing.
The main guilt is the one of what I put my friends through by overdosing. The guilt that I did something so seemingly ‘selfish’ and ‘pathetic’. These are definitely not the words I would use to describe any attempt, or my attempt, but it is how I imagine it being seen from the outside, even though I know it’s not true. With the guilt of putting those I love through what I did, comes a shed load of doubt and wondering whether I deserve to live a happy life or a life at all because of what I did. This is a doubt that I have kicked in the nuts, but I cannot deny that it has been there, lingering in the shadows. This is normal. And one that can feel empowering to work through. But it still sucks.
My friends are my family and so to me, it feels as though I committed a crime by doing what I did to them. Knowing how much judgement I held about my mothers attempts, I just assume they hold the same for me too. That’s what’s happened here: I’ve got all twisted up in the story of her attempts and the story of mine, leaving the blur of truth a hard one to navigate. The only thing that helps this is to hear reassurance from them that they don’t feel that way. And the fact that they are still here. That’s the main one and the one I keep coming back to: they are still here, they still love me, they are still my friends. It breaks my heart that I needed them so much, that I did something so desperate and had to let them piece the parts back together again for me, that I caused such upset and pain, and shock… But in my heart, broken or not, I also know that this is the way life works too. We are there for each other in times of need. As humans it’s what we do: we love each other. This was the first time I have ever experienced such love and support and help, and so naturally with it, comes guilt and shame about this because that is how I was brought up to see help and love, and needs. For me what happened is a huge massive fucking deal – the love, the support, the care, that followed is something I have never truly known in that way before – and so my feelings of guilt, and GRATITUDE, are somewhat huge around it too.
I never would have thought I would do what I did. I never truly wanted to, but that’s the thing – it’s not a matter of want, it’s a matter of need. Never ever would I want to put people I love through what I did, and somewhere inside I believe they know that. They know me.
The only person I know well in real life who has attempted suicide is my mother. (Great.) This proves a touch tricky in deciphering all the fucked up theories and beliefs about what I did, because growing up I had to develop a defence mechanism to be able to cope with her attempts and her abuse…but these theories and beliefs are still there, they just have turned themselves onto me because that is all I have known. And that is why I feel so self-judging about what I did, because of all the unresolved shit I have about her attempts.
I long to not have to talk about what I did, but truthfully I don’t really, I’m just scared. To not have to even admit that I did what I did makes me feel sick and want to run a mile, but I know that is not how healing happens. That’s my shame, that’s not my heart talking. I dream of not needing my friends anymore, of having the conversations I know we need to have, of really being able to hold and hear the pain that they felt around the time of the event, but I can’t…that is just me wanting to just be able to be fine. This weekend passed I tried to speak with friends a little, and am so glad I did, but the truth is that I am not resilient enough yet. And guess what, I feel guilty about this too, but it is a big lump I am choosing to swallow and accept…that it just takes time and I am not ready yet. This is big, in fact massive, for me to admit that I am not strong enough to do something yet. I just am holding the trust that one day, like life does so well, I will have the conversations I know I need to have…when I am ready and when the other people are ready. That is something I am blessed with – good timing.
I realise why this tea party got as raucous as it did. From the feeling of guilt, I then followed the story that my critic came up with. This suddenly clicked earlier this evening, as I was cycling home after kickboxing. This is why I have spent the last two days barely able to move. Yes, I feel guilt. I feel the pain about what I did to those I love, about what I did in general, but I don’t need to feel the shittyness that the stories our mind conjures up too. Those are the things that screw us over and leave us festering in a pit of darkness. No matter how hard we try to shift it, when we’re finding meaning, telling stories, linking up theories in our mind, we stay in the darkness. We don’t deserve that.
The feelings are painful, they feel horrible sometimes, but at least they are clean and they are true. They are a whole lot better than the stories. The stories are full of shit. Believable shit. I know the truth. I know that my friends still love me, I know that they always tell me that, I know that they are still here, I know that they don’t want me to feel guilty…I might not believe it, but I know it is true. I don’t truly now how to work with this guilt I hold, but I hope with time I’ll work out how.
So, in times of guilt or worry, this is what I now know to do to avoid another chaotic tea party with guilt: look at the facts, not the fantasy.