The effects of mental health are numerous, in most cases there is no one aspect of your life that it does not effect in some way be it in a big way or a small way. For me one such area that I struggle to deal with is the guilt that I feel for the effect it has on those around me, be it family, work colleagues or friends. The guilt in most cases can leave you feeling even worse about your condition, I know it does for me, and often can have a snowball effect on other aspects of your mental health. Now of course some will tell you that you should not feel guilty about your mental health, and that as it is a health condition you cannot be blamed for its effects, there is something to be said for that however I am of the mindset that although you should not be blamed for your health condition that you do need to recognise the effects it has on those around you, and as with all my blog posts I do not pretend to be an expert or in fact be correct in all I write, I write from my own perspective in a hope that it helps others to maybe deal with, or come to terms with their own mental illness.
Feelings of guilt for me always seem to occur when I am having “good days”, I suppose when I am feeling stable that my mind is calm enough to reflect on recent events or indeed think of others around me and how my illness affects them. Ironically these thoughts and feelings can turn a good day into a bad one, causing anxiety spikes as the guilt sets in. For me its about trying to balance the need to recognise that people close to me need to understand that I am suffering from an illness – and I am not choosing to be the way I am, nor am I just over sensitive, with the need to recognise that my actions have consequences on others and that this can have adverse effects on relationships.
I am not ashamed of my condition, not in anyway shape or form, but at the same time I feel guilty for the effects it has on my wife and children the most, they afterall are the ones that have to pick up the pieces when things fall apart, and also the ones that feel the pressure when things are not going well. I would say that I don’t feel guilty for having a mental health condition, or for even that I should feel guilty for this, but living with someone who suffers from mental health like myself is not easy, from dealing with someone with OCD’s “quirks” and compulsions, to the anxiety spikes and depressions lows, can place pressure on even the strongest of relationships, and I suppose it’s about balance between recognising that your condition affects others but equally that this is sometimes beyond your control. So is it right or wrong to feel guilt about your mental health? Well that is not as simple as it sounds in my book, as you should not have to apologize for having mental health issues, but you do need to recognise that you condition does have negative impacts on those around you.
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