They are sick and I am not.
I can leave the house. They cannot.
I can eat anything I want. They must not.
Guilt is an emotion that it is easy to struggle with after a diagnosis of chronic illness.
When we as Watchers see how the illness is impacting our Loved One’s lives, and envision how it will continue to impact their lives,… the guilt creeps in.
Why do we feel guilty?
When we are out partying or simply enjoying a day at the beach we feel guilty because our Loved One can’t be there with us.
Or perhaps they can – but they are exhausted and have to sit down and miss out on the fun. Maybe they have a health problem they need to worry about, and the experience, enjoyable for us, is isolating for them.
We receive what they do not – and so we feel guilty. Days out become a guilty pleasure. It seems wrong to arrive home to our Loved One or visit them, and recount the fun we had with our healthy body and mind.
Yet guilt is not just about imbalance. For instance, if instead of being painful, lonely and debilitating, chronic illness was like winning the lottery, I don’t think we would feel guilty.
I think we’d feel jealous.
Instead, chronic illness is awful, and so we feel guilty. Their life has been ruined. It is restrictive, it is pain filled. They will climb mountains and descend into valleys which we will never tread.
Likewise, we will enjoy delights that they never will.
Our close relationship with our Loved One means we can’t forget or ignore these imbalances.
After all there are thousands of people in slavery across the world and on the whole we do not spend our hours feeling guilty about our own freedom.
Continue reading “Wait! I feel guilty.”