Anxiety and Guilt

Man, this could be like an 8 part series. I may just have to Shane Dawson this. Let’s see how concise I can be (not my speciality).

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As a person living with anxiety and panic, I constantly worry about everything. This, for me, and I know for many others living with anxiety (but probably not everyone), this worry can translate into a lot of unwarranted guilt.

This type of guilt has held me back in my life. I can honestly say it continues to. It’s something that I’m still struggling to break free from. I think too much about how my actions or decisions will affect others and leave myself out of the equation. That causes me to stay in a lot of situations and environments that don’t serve me.

I feel guilty that my life can be so hectic sometimes, and because of that, it takes away from a lot of the fun I could be having. I want to be everything to everyone. I want to make everyone happy. And so, sometimes I overextend myself even when I know I shouldn’t because I don’t want to upset others.

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I don’t get to see a lot of my friends very often. I know it’s part of being an adult and having to work full time, but I also have a work from home job and I freelance so I’m always on the go. When I have free time, sometimes I just want to spend it on myself. This is absolutely necessary, but I feel so guilty about it.

For me, this can lead to a breakdown. I have an overwhelming sense of doom and fatigue, and it renders me useless. I can’t work, I cant go outside, but I also can’t sleep. I need to physically and mentally recover.

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I’m lucky I have friends who are very understanding, and don’t hold it against me. They check in with me and don’t pressure me to be available all of the time. It doesn’t erase my guilt, but it does relieve a little bit of the pressure I put on myself.

I’ve learned a few things along the way that have helped me cope with this guilt complex to a certain extent. I find being honest with people helps me. Rather than coming up with an excuse or a lie that can only create more problems, I let people know that I just need to rest and relax. I let people know I’m not feeling my best and need to work on myself.

I’ve also read a lot about the power of saying no. I try to let myself do it. I have to know it’s okay. The people who love you get it, and the people who don’t don’t deserve your time anyway.

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I don’t know if my guilt will ever completely go away. I feel guilty for missing opportunities and doing things for myself and not having a lot of time for others. I don’t want to let me hold it back. I have to realize that I’m only hurting myself to benefit others, and that shouldn’t be the case. There’s a difference between making compromises for your loved ones and sacrificing your own happiness and health for others. I’m still on a journey to learn the difference.

Do you struggle with guilt? Share your tips in the comments.

Your friend,

Alicia

Published by Alicia Gallant

I'm a 20-something girl living with severe anxiety and panic on a journey to love myself. I'm becoming a part of the conversation about mental health through honesty and humour. *Photo: Stefanie Moreau Photography

2 thoughts on “Anxiety and Guilt

  1. The only guilt I suffered from was hurting people with my words. I would say things and then agonize for days over what I have said. I’m at that certain age now where I measure my words more and as a result the guilt has disappeared. Your post reminds me of a next door neighbour from 30 years ago. When talking to her she was one of the happiest and outgoing people I knew. She would make plans, ” come over and let me cook you and your wife dinner”, “there’s a great garden show on this date we should go”. But she would always phone us later and make some excuse why she had to cancel. So we never got together socially. I learned later that she was depressive and made lots of plans on her good days, but a day or two later depression would set in and she cancelled. I’m learning a lot from you on this subject Alicia.

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    1. Sorry for the late response. I’m glad that this post could help you see a different perspective on how sometimes anxiety and fear makes it difficult for people to follow through on things. Sometimes opening yourself up to listening goes a long way.

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