Grief & Guilt

To weep is to make less the depth of grief.

William Shakespeare

I’ve realized over these past few weeks that I’m becoming the person who always says “my therapist told me to do this” or “or my therapist thinks that this will help me.” Honestly, I’m happy to be that kind of person because it means that I’m getting the help that I need. So, keeping with that theme, my therapist thinks that I should write a post about my feelings of guilt and the grief that I have experienced. So that is what I’m going to do today. Like I said in my last post, writing has been hard for me recently. I have had no motivation to sit down at my computer and pour my feelings out. When I am feeling depressed, any and all motivation I might have to do anything goes right out the window. So, I’m trying to push myself to do the things that I know will make me feel better after I have done them, like writing a blog post. So, lets start with grief. Greif is a tricky thing, and I also think that it is a very personal thing. I don’t think that grieving is reserved for just death. I think that you can grieve anything that you’ve lost, or anything that has changed. And grief really, really sucks. I’ve been in therapy for almost 2 years, and I’ve only just begun talking about my feelings of grief. I think that I was scared to talk about it, because so often we are made to feel that you can only grieve after someone dies. But, I’ve learned that it’s okay to grieve the person that I was before I got sick. It’s been a really hard change, and grief is natural in this situation. I have layers upon layers of grief inside of me. There’s so much grief, that it overwhelms me at times. I have never taken the time to open it all up, and work through it. But, that time starts now because I can’t keep living with these emotions all bottled up inside. So, what do I grieve? I grieve the person that I was before Lupus and CREST, I grieve for her because she’ll never get the life that was planned for her. She’ll never have a healthy body, she’ll never get rid of the intrusive thoughts, and she’ll never be “normal”. I know using the word normal sounds harsh, but it’s true. Nothing about my life is normal, nothing about my body is normal, nothing about my mental health is normal. But, I’m learning to live a “abnormally normal” life, and I think that it’s working out pretty well. I grieve for my family, both them before I got sick, and them after. My health affects them just as much as it affects me. They didn’t have to worry about me or my health 3 years ago, but now they do. And, I grieve for them. Grief has been a very confusing thing for me. I go back and forth between feeling like it’s okay to feel this way, and feeling like I’m being dramatic, and that I shouldn’t feel this way. But, my experiences are my experiences, and if I don’t’ accept them, I’ll never overcome them. So that’s what I’m working on now, acceptance. Accepting that this is now my life, and my family’s life. Just more things to talk about in therapy, I guess. Now, on to guilt. This is a tough one for me, because it’s something that I struggle with every single day. And, like grief, I just started talking about my guilt, 2 years later. Guilt is a heavy thing to carry, some days I don’t know how I don’t collapse. Maybe it’s my strength, but some days even that shocks me. So, what do I feel guilty about? I’m guilty about grieving, I’m guilty about feeling bad about my situation, I feel guilty about how this has affected my family, and everyone that I love. I feel like this whole thing is my fault, that I was the reason that I ended up sick. On my worst nights, I think about how I must have been a bad person in a different life for this to have happened to me. Is that rational? Not at all, but try telling that to my irrational brain. What if I had been a different person, in a different life? I think about that often. And I feel guilty about that, because I really do have an amazing life, with a great family and a bunch of people who love and support me. But I do still think about those things, that’s being an irrational person for you. I know that I’m irrational because I am mentally ill, but it does not make those rational thoughts come any easier. Because I think it’s really easy for those irrational thoughts to take over, but I’m working really hard at listening to my rational side (in therapy, of course). I guess that this blog post is my first real attempt at unpeeling the layers of grief & guilt. Everyone has to start somewhere, right? I feel anxious, I feel vulnerable, I feel scared. But maybe by writing this post, I’ll help someone else who is feeling the same way. That’s all I’m really trying to do. Okay, you all know what time it is now, time for a quote from Us Against You by Frederik Backman. “Grief is a wild animal that drags us so far out into the darkness that we can’t imagine ever getting home again. Ever laughing again. It hurts in such a way that you can never really figure out if it actually passes or if you just get used to it.”

One thought on “Grief & Guilt

  1. Eleanor,
    I admire your openness to your sickness. I wish my son had written a blog, I saw the pain he struggled with each and every day. His so called friends didn’t understand only me and my husband did. Matthew always had our support as you do with your parents and extended family.

    Your blogs are so heartfelt and I just want to reach out and hug you. You’ve brought tears to my eyes.

    The way you speak about grief is very true. Yes, you do grieve an illness because I witnessed it first hand with Matthew. Now I grieve his death.

    I too see a therapist every week for years. He’s helped me understand on so many different levels. I’ve become stronger than I’ve ever been. I didn’t have a choice. Speak your mind always! It helps, it really does. You are a true inspiration to all young people to be brave enough to voice their fears, sicknesses and unrequited hopes for their lives.
    I pray for you as well! You are a very special young lady. Love you!❤️❤️


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