Because You’re Human

When give a dose of twisted reality, much like the tragedy in Boston, we’re also given a dose of perspective. Things are completely out of our control. There are monsters that walk among us who are filled with rage and hate. Bad things happen to good people.

It’s enough to make anyone want to crawl in a hole and escape.

But this post isn’t about Boston, Texas or Newtown or the myriad of tragic events that unfortunately, we’ve had to endure. There are others that can speak much more eloquently on those topics, as thankfully, I’m personally removed.

What I’m not personally removed from is depression, something that I’ve written about a million times before, and something that quite frankly, I’m tired of writing about. I like to keep it light, if only for my own sanity.

But events like Boston bring something to the forefront of my mind, something that I’ve heard others who suffer from depression bring up all the time—the guilt.

Ahh…the guilt. That useless emotion.

I have a job, a roof over my head, family and friends who love me and who are still safe. How dare I be depressed when on paper, things look go good? Other people have “real” reasons to be depressed, so what the hell is my problem?

These are the thoughts that go through my head. The guilt—combined with frustration—are what lead me to physically wear myself down to a literal shell of who I once was.

I won’t go into my details again, but when it hits, I can’t imagine how things might change. My motivation becomes basically reduced to: food, exercise, sleep and hopefully coming up with something to write. Anything on top of that isn’t something I have any interest in.

I just don’t want to think anymore.

I simply want relief, and part of me thought (and maybe still thinks) that if I kept physically pushing myself, eventually something would literally give and then I would have a “real” reason, a valid excuse.

Because if I have an excuse, then I won’t have the guilt and there’s something else I can blame for the way that I feel.

In their own way, I hear this from friends who deal with depression themselves. That the guilt is what keeps them tamped down, that they don’t “deserve” to feel anything less than the inspirational quotes and posters that plaster the globe expect everybody to feel.

But you know what?

Sometimes things are completely out of our control. There are mental monsters like that fill our minds with negative thoughts we don’t ask for. Depression happens to good people.

It’s not your fault.

So even though I cringe as I publish this— “serious” equates to insecurity for me—I wrote it because I know I’m not alone, because everyone has shit that they deal with—big, small, internal, external. 

What you deal with is your shit and what I deal with is mine. That’s both comforting and disconcerting, as it means even though we’re not alone, we’re also not unique or the exception to some rule. Everyone has pain.

The only guilt you should feel is if you don’t honor the fact that your feelings are valid and real.

This doesn’t mean you wallow. This doesn’t mean you throw up your hands, say “screw it” and crawl in a hole and escape. This means you fight. This means you endure. This means your guilt is replaced with acceptance and you take the next step forward and deal with your reality now, whatever that reality may be.

You’re human.

That’s all the “excuse” that you need.

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28 responses to “Because You’re Human

  1. Years and years ago, I was watching Ally McBeal and there was a bit that has stuck with me for 20 + years. Someone asked her why she thought her problems were so huge compared to this that and the other. She just looked at them and said ‘um, because they’re my problems…?’ That silly little bit from a tv show has actually helped me manage guilty feelings many, many times.

    • I miss Ally McBeal. Sigh…but great point. Perspective is key, but it doesn’t mean we have to ignore our own issues. It’s a delicate balance.

  2. “The only guilt you should feel is if you don’t honor the fact that your feelings are valid and real.”

    You speak the truth, lady. Thank you for posting this – it’s a great reminder to us all.

  3. Thank you. More people to be vocal about it. There is a time to suck it up and a time to say “You’re not alone.” People dont hesitate to post tweet blog about every dang bowel movement, but real world shit? Either doesnt get said or gets spewed angrily when it’s too late to take positive steps.

  4. My husband was up all night with “survivor’s guilt.” I had to talk him off the ledge this morning, and he CRIED, which he never does and he is always the sane one in the family. I had no idea what to do. I think Sandy Hook broke us in ways we couldn’t imagine, and then this sort of made us all tumble down. I’ll be hibernating until the weekend is over; tomorrow is my bad day. Love you, Abby.

    • Sometimes it’s hard to balance staying informed and staying sane. It can also make your problems seem insignificant, when in fact, they’re entirely valid and real. At least we have support and the “good” in our lives, even though it’s hard to remember at times. Feel ALL the feelings…or is it FEED all the feelings? Either way, love ya Kitch.

  5. I know Abbey has issues, but she is also incredibly gutsy and resourceful in the way she deals with them. Bravery comes in many guises and you are braver than you think. I love your Blog. You know that already

  6. I’ve come to the conclusion that depression is depressing and I don’t want to do it anymore. Then start wallowing. Then I feel guilty. Because I’m human. But, find I’m doing it just a little less everyday.

  7. Sometimes you just have to jam your heels in to stop the slide into the murk and inch by inch wedge your way up – not fast progress , but not going down. Surviving, courage, or just life – It doesn’t really matter.
    (and everyone else really isn’t so happy or so lucky or terribly wonderful all the time either – good thing to remember)
    ” whatever that reality may be. ” great line. It is what it is. Well done

  8. I’ve never heard someone put that “guilt” into words so well. I’ve felt it multiple times, but couldn’t explain it. Being Bipolar, it happens to me frequently, but before I knew I was Bipolar, it especially affected me because I could never understand why I would be depressed, what reason could I possibly have for feeling so “pathetic”? Now, I know, and it makes it a little easier….sort of…for me to understand what’s happening in my brain. But, the guilt still likes to make an appearance.

  9. I just discovered your blog… like, today. Late to the party, as usual. :) But I really, really needed to hear this, so today was the perfect day. I struggle on and off with depression, and after this week, I’ve been reduced to curling up on the floor in a little hole between the coffee table and couch. With wine. And I’ve sat here thinking, what right do I have to be so sad, when some people have lost their limbs?! You hit the nail on the hit about the guilt/frustration spiral. It’s normal, but it gets us nowhere, and guilt over feeling depressed is the last thing we need. Thanks for a great post. I will definitely be back!

    • Hello and welcome to the party! I promise I’m usually much lighter in scope, but once in awhile I verbally vomit for a bit. Thanks for stopping by and I look forward to checking out your blog as well, even if you’re curled up in a little hole between the coffee table and couch (quite flexible, now are we?) Hang in there.

  10. Well, my dear friend, you captured it just beautifully.

    Thank you.

    You know why.

    Love you, my friend xo

  11. thanks abby. you are in my heart.

  12. Cindy - The Reedster Speaks

    So lyrically sublime, Abby. Just rousing from a winter of darkness myself, that time when you feel that the veil will never lift. And then one day, it does. If only we could take a picture and remember those moments when the darkness descends again. Xoxo, Cindy

  13. Beautiful post. You’re a fighter!

  14. As a fellow depression sufferer, I say well said and thank you. That is all.

  15. agree . you really helped me with this post thanks very much

  16. I always love your “serious” posts. I know they make you cringe but they resonate with so many people. I used to feel the guilt but haven’t in a long time. I think getting older has helped and connecting with others. We all need to be here for each other. Keep writing!

  17. “when on paper things look so good” aint that the truth..

  18. Yes, you’re human, which makes you fabulous and lovable! It’s one of your most endearing qualities because you don’t try to be someone you’re not. :-)

  19. Meleah Rebeccah

    Abby, thank you for this post. Truly. I really needed to hear this today.

    “The only guilt you should feel is if you don’t honor the fact that your feelings are valid and real.”

    Amen.

  20. I just found your blog today and this post was exactly what I’ve been needing to read. My friends and I were at the Boston Marathon last week, very close to the 2nd explosion yet all unharmed. I’ve been struggling with my feelings since then, mainly feeling guilty for feeling so hurt and upset when I was unharmed physically. I’ve spoken with friends and a counselor but reading that others struggle with guilt helps a lot. thanks!

    • Oh my gosh, Kristen. I’m so, so sorry you had to be so close to so much tragedy. Thank god you’re safe, and I hope you can find some relief from what you’re going through. I’m glad this post could help in one very, very small way.

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