Guilt Towards Family Due To Mental Illness

Posted by tonbop @tonbop, Nov 6, 2017

I don’t know about any of you, but I’m constantly feeling guilty about my mental illness and how it’s affecting my family. It’s as if I’m always the one with issues. I’m always sick either physically or mentally and I know it’s hindering my relationship with my family. I feel my husband pulling away and I feel I’m always telling my two children I can’t do something with them cause mommy doesn’t feel well. I just want to be normal! I want to be a wife and mother they are proud of. I don’t want to be the problem or the one with issues all the time! I need help digging myself out of this hole! Anyone relate?

@theotherone

@tonbop I can imagine how you feel. I feel guilt because of my depression, I see how it affects my wife and my son. My doctors keeps telling me that it is not my fault I’m like this and in my mind I know it’s like that. But when I see my wife worrying about me, or feeling frustrated because she can’t help me, I feel guilt. We should remember that none of us didn’t choose to be ill. It is like we have broken arm; we need to accept that we have currently some limitations, we will not go to play basketball then. And with mental illness we have again different kind of limitations. It is important to know and to feel that it is not our fault. But it is very easy to say it, much harder to believe it. I feel constantly guilty that I’m like this, I am just an additional burden to my wife.

Jump to this post

@jimhd I just afraid that when my son sees e sad or nervous, it can affect him in his future. I afraid he will be the same as I am now.

REPLY

@theotherone My apologies and thank you for clarifying. With user names this does happen and no reason to be embarrassed. I have a 3 year old grandson and I so enjoy being a grandma. Never thought I would become one and it a delight. I have known those who stutter when they are around others. Stress can do this-I speak dyslexic if that makes sense. The wonderful thing about children is they are so accepting. My grandson and I stalk and hunt dinosaurs as well as zombies. My inner child loves to play. Thankful to have the happy memories.

REPLY
@theotherone

@tonbop I can imagine how you feel. I feel guilt because of my depression, I see how it affects my wife and my son. My doctors keeps telling me that it is not my fault I’m like this and in my mind I know it’s like that. But when I see my wife worrying about me, or feeling frustrated because she can’t help me, I feel guilt. We should remember that none of us didn’t choose to be ill. It is like we have broken arm; we need to accept that we have currently some limitations, we will not go to play basketball then. And with mental illness we have again different kind of limitations. It is important to know and to feel that it is not our fault. But it is very easy to say it, much harder to believe it. I feel constantly guilty that I’m like this, I am just an additional burden to my wife.

Jump to this post

@theotherone

What is there about yourself that you’d like to pass on to your son? I think that he probably already knows you love him. I remember the times during my son’s teen years when I had to apologize for losing it. None of us is perfect.

I’m happy to see him interacting now with his 5 year old daughter in ways we did when he was young. I wasn’t a perfect father – far from it – I just did my best to be generous with the hugs and affirmation and especially time. I tried always to model things like kindness, empathy, listening, and so many other character traits. Kids won’t necessarily learn those things in school. They generally learn them by watching us.

One thing our kids need from us is honesty. When they’re old enough to understand, we can explain to them what stress is, and talk about how to deal with it. My daughter had a difficult time when we moved between 3rd and 4th grades. When she got to high school, she started experiencing depression, and we talked about it. She knew that I was depressed during that same time, and after graduation, she moved away for a year or so. Then, I became suicidal, and had to retire and move. She came home to help us move, and I think that watching me go through that dark time was a good learning experience for her. She’s paying the debt from getting a BA in social work now, but plans to go on to a doctorate in some kind of psychology. Being open with our son and daughter has brought home the reality of mental illness, and the stigma and false myths that surround it. I believe that they’re better people for having gone through the past 15 years with me. We’ve had some hard conversations, especially with our son, who had some very wrong notions about depression. But I’ve seen him become a more caring person, not as quick to judge and criticize.

Conversations about these kinds of things can be life changing for children. It helps them understand their parents, but even more, it shapes their world view. We just have to be aware of the opportunities that sometimes pop up out of nowhere, and surprise! There’s a teachable moment.

Sorry for rambling. It seems to be what I do best. I just want to encourage you not to be afraid of being transparent with your son. Kids are pretty adaptable and accepting.

Jim

REPLY

@jimhd I like your rambling so no need to apologize. Have a good whatever the time of day it is.

REPLY
@theotherone

@tonbop I can imagine how you feel. I feel guilt because of my depression, I see how it affects my wife and my son. My doctors keeps telling me that it is not my fault I’m like this and in my mind I know it’s like that. But when I see my wife worrying about me, or feeling frustrated because she can’t help me, I feel guilt. We should remember that none of us didn’t choose to be ill. It is like we have broken arm; we need to accept that we have currently some limitations, we will not go to play basketball then. And with mental illness we have again different kind of limitations. It is important to know and to feel that it is not our fault. But it is very easy to say it, much harder to believe it. I feel constantly guilty that I’m like this, I am just an additional burden to my wife.

Jump to this post

@jimhd Thank you for your encouraging words. I really appriciate it.
I can see that my son knows I love him. And he loves me, too. Even now, he is 3 years old, he know how to show compassion to others. Like to me; when he sees I feel bad, he hugs me and asks “what’s wrong, daddy?” I hope he can keep this when he is grown up.

REPLY

@parus and @jimhd

I agree – rambling helps us get all our thoughts out! Ramble on.

Teresa

REPLY
@theotherone

@tonbop I can imagine how you feel. I feel guilt because of my depression, I see how it affects my wife and my son. My doctors keeps telling me that it is not my fault I’m like this and in my mind I know it’s like that. But when I see my wife worrying about me, or feeling frustrated because she can’t help me, I feel guilt. We should remember that none of us didn’t choose to be ill. It is like we have broken arm; we need to accept that we have currently some limitations, we will not go to play basketball then. And with mental illness we have again different kind of limitations. It is important to know and to feel that it is not our fault. But it is very easy to say it, much harder to believe it. I feel constantly guilty that I’m like this, I am just an additional burden to my wife.

Jump to this post

@theotherone — one of my sons, who is now 9, has done something similar to your son — he intuitively knew if I was down or in a bad mood since he was about 2 and checks in with me about it, gives me a hug, or says something encouraging or calming. He still does it. I’m thinking this is just how they are wired. It’s great to have a child like that.

REPLY
@theotherone

@tonbop I can imagine how you feel. I feel guilt because of my depression, I see how it affects my wife and my son. My doctors keeps telling me that it is not my fault I’m like this and in my mind I know it’s like that. But when I see my wife worrying about me, or feeling frustrated because she can’t help me, I feel guilt. We should remember that none of us didn’t choose to be ill. It is like we have broken arm; we need to accept that we have currently some limitations, we will not go to play basketball then. And with mental illness we have again different kind of limitations. It is important to know and to feel that it is not our fault. But it is very easy to say it, much harder to believe it. I feel constantly guilty that I’m like this, I am just an additional burden to my wife.

Jump to this post

You are so very blessed lisa …. my 3 adult kids totally ignore anything relating to how I’m feeling. And, I have avoided over-talking about it. If I’m in a depressed mood, I do everything I can so they don’t know because I know they say things like, “well Mom, you know life happens.” All I’d like is a hug and an I love you. One of them is more sensitive to emotional ups and downs as she has them herself, so we can be together and in some strange way, it helps ….. we understand each other and don’t say things like, “buck up …. you’ll be fine.”
abby

REPLY
@parus

When guilt attacks I try to tell myself that the guilt is the depression masquerading itself as guilt. Depression wears many disguises and as much as I don’t like to admit thus-it is an illness. Aarrgghh, sounds so disgustingly weak and pathetic. For those of us with depression we are constantly waging war with the venom that comes from the illness. I prefer to label depression as an illness and not a disease. I am currently in one of my dark phases and for no real reason. I get angry with what I view as a weakness. The very fact that those of us that struggle with depression are still in the battle says we are stronger than we sometimes realize. I also have chronic pain (what a yuck word) and everything else has been labeled hence in my gloriously mundane chart of maladies. Yup, the sarcasm and cynicism have once again taken the leading role.
Now if that was not a lot of talking in nonsensical circles-happens. On the bright side, my ear lobes do not hurt.
@hopeful33250 My profile picture is the design for my Christmas card this year. The title is, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. Rather sums things up. Adding the image in it’s entirely without the circular distortion.

Jump to this post

I love that picture for your cards …. you really have captured the sense of “going home” …. slowly, not out of joy but of obligation, and rather regretting having to do it. I love that picture … having been there myself many times when my parents were still alive.
You truly are an artist.
abby

Liked by Parus

REPLY
@parus

When guilt attacks I try to tell myself that the guilt is the depression masquerading itself as guilt. Depression wears many disguises and as much as I don’t like to admit thus-it is an illness. Aarrgghh, sounds so disgustingly weak and pathetic. For those of us with depression we are constantly waging war with the venom that comes from the illness. I prefer to label depression as an illness and not a disease. I am currently in one of my dark phases and for no real reason. I get angry with what I view as a weakness. The very fact that those of us that struggle with depression are still in the battle says we are stronger than we sometimes realize. I also have chronic pain (what a yuck word) and everything else has been labeled hence in my gloriously mundane chart of maladies. Yup, the sarcasm and cynicism have once again taken the leading role.
Now if that was not a lot of talking in nonsensical circles-happens. On the bright side, my ear lobes do not hurt.
@hopeful33250 My profile picture is the design for my Christmas card this year. The title is, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. Rather sums things up. Adding the image in it’s entirely without the circular distortion.

Jump to this post

Here I am again ….. is there any way that picture could be enlarged some so that I could print it out on my printer? It says so very much, and I have a feeling I’m not alone there.
abby

REPLY
@theotherone

@tonbop I can imagine how you feel. I feel guilt because of my depression, I see how it affects my wife and my son. My doctors keeps telling me that it is not my fault I’m like this and in my mind I know it’s like that. But when I see my wife worrying about me, or feeling frustrated because she can’t help me, I feel guilt. We should remember that none of us didn’t choose to be ill. It is like we have broken arm; we need to accept that we have currently some limitations, we will not go to play basketball then. And with mental illness we have again different kind of limitations. It is important to know and to feel that it is not our fault. But it is very easy to say it, much harder to believe it. I feel constantly guilty that I’m like this, I am just an additional burden to my wife.

Jump to this post

Hi, @amberpep — Yes, I do feel blessed. It has helped me a lot to have a child who is intuitive about my feelings and really empathizes with me. I was raised in more of a “buck up” atmosphere where negative emotions were not super validated, so I guess I’ve tried to acknowledge my own and my two sons’ negative emotions and discuss them. My household growing up also was not one where adults apologized to kids hardly ever, so I’ve also really tried to apologize to my kids if my negative emotions ever lead to not-so-great behavior, such as yelling at them or saying a cuss word in front of them.

REPLY

I deeply hear you … very deeply. My grief and guilt about the impact of depression on my youngest daughter and husband was immense. It still throbs, but with far les gusto.

Depression often lacks overt signs of illness to which others can readily connect. It is isolation that seeks isolation.

The first really helpful comment I bathed in – luxuriously – was a psychiatrist who told me, “Your kids were baked before depression came crashing. That doesn’t mean they have no needs; that doesn’t mean they understand, but don’t beat yourself up for an illnes thst is encumbering you”.

As for my husband – he is a stoic, kind man. He does not freely offer anything less than optimism. That said, it was clear he suffered. My capacity to help at home diminished to very little. I asked him constantly and forever how he was doing, and he was always upbeat – he was “fine” and simply worried about me.

I learned a few years into major depression that his struggling and angst for my struggles was immense. I understand why – I asked – but he was cconcerned that if he spoke negatively, I would tailspin.

What I needed most was the truth. He is now getting help from a separate psychologist. We share are thoughts openly and honestly. Our marriage is good – very good – after eight years of major depression.

I guess my thoughts – based on what I have experienced – is to (despite the constant pull of mental illness), do all you can to understand, deeply, the thoughts of your husband. Include him in your own therapy from time-to-time.

If the roles were reversed, and your were your child or husband – what would you be feeling, thinking, feeling? Is there something in those thoughts that would allow you to create “touch points” each day – a hug, a note, a surprise, a listening mind?

It is Hell to have mental illness. It is “near Hell” to watch someone you love suffer. It is a forum for torn relationships if all parties are not attentive. It creates a sense of feeling “depressed for your depression” – the doubleness of illness.

I would love to see a post of what you CAN and DO do for your kids and husband. It is clear (and true), that depression saps capacity … but usually, not ALL of it. How do you, or can you use the power within to give yourself credit for the many good things you are able to do?

REPLY

@amberpep We all see different things when we view a painting. The enjoyment in creating. No two people interpret the meaning in the same way. Thank you for the compliment. I loved the West and in my dreams I will be going there. I am content where I am and painting memories. Looking forward to having Christmas with my 2 grand children.

REPLY
@parus

When guilt attacks I try to tell myself that the guilt is the depression masquerading itself as guilt. Depression wears many disguises and as much as I don’t like to admit thus-it is an illness. Aarrgghh, sounds so disgustingly weak and pathetic. For those of us with depression we are constantly waging war with the venom that comes from the illness. I prefer to label depression as an illness and not a disease. I am currently in one of my dark phases and for no real reason. I get angry with what I view as a weakness. The very fact that those of us that struggle with depression are still in the battle says we are stronger than we sometimes realize. I also have chronic pain (what a yuck word) and everything else has been labeled hence in my gloriously mundane chart of maladies. Yup, the sarcasm and cynicism have once again taken the leading role.
Now if that was not a lot of talking in nonsensical circles-happens. On the bright side, my ear lobes do not hurt.
@hopeful33250 My profile picture is the design for my Christmas card this year. The title is, “I’ll Be Home For Christmas”. Rather sums things up. Adding the image in it’s entirely without the circular distortion.

Jump to this post

@amberpep Nope.

REPLY
@resolve

I deeply hear you … very deeply. My grief and guilt about the impact of depression on my youngest daughter and husband was immense. It still throbs, but with far les gusto.

Depression often lacks overt signs of illness to which others can readily connect. It is isolation that seeks isolation.

The first really helpful comment I bathed in – luxuriously – was a psychiatrist who told me, “Your kids were baked before depression came crashing. That doesn’t mean they have no needs; that doesn’t mean they understand, but don’t beat yourself up for an illnes thst is encumbering you”.

As for my husband – he is a stoic, kind man. He does not freely offer anything less than optimism. That said, it was clear he suffered. My capacity to help at home diminished to very little. I asked him constantly and forever how he was doing, and he was always upbeat – he was “fine” and simply worried about me.

I learned a few years into major depression that his struggling and angst for my struggles was immense. I understand why – I asked – but he was cconcerned that if he spoke negatively, I would tailspin.

What I needed most was the truth. He is now getting help from a separate psychologist. We share are thoughts openly and honestly. Our marriage is good – very good – after eight years of major depression.

I guess my thoughts – based on what I have experienced – is to (despite the constant pull of mental illness), do all you can to understand, deeply, the thoughts of your husband. Include him in your own therapy from time-to-time.

If the roles were reversed, and your were your child or husband – what would you be feeling, thinking, feeling? Is there something in those thoughts that would allow you to create “touch points” each day – a hug, a note, a surprise, a listening mind?

It is Hell to have mental illness. It is “near Hell” to watch someone you love suffer. It is a forum for torn relationships if all parties are not attentive. It creates a sense of feeling “depressed for your depression” – the doubleness of illness.

I would love to see a post of what you CAN and DO do for your kids and husband. It is clear (and true), that depression saps capacity … but usually, not ALL of it. How do you, or can you use the power within to give yourself credit for the many good things you are able to do?

Jump to this post

Hello @resolve

Thank you for sharing your experiences and thoughts – well said!

Teresa

REPLY
Please login or register to post a reply.