Thank you to all of you… It’s interesting to read other patients views regarding remorse/guilt and ownership.
I can’t exactly say ‘I own the day’ as my initial day is Valentine’s Day, February 14, so the day doesn’t just belong to me I say ‘initial day’ because I’ve had 6 neurosurgeries and the emotional upheaval of commemorating all 6 ‘days’ would be beyond exhausting. Just acknowledging ‘Feb 14’ is enough for me. It can be a real emotional rollercoaster.
I’ve had to deal with some major guilt/remorse before. I was brought up Catholic (and if you know Catholicism) guilt plays a major role. mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa… and 90% of the time that mea culpa was correct, I was the guilty one… …ohhh I got myself in a LOT of trouble and had a LOT of ‘excess baggage’ because of it all. That excess baggage was the guilt. For a long time I used it all as a reminder, a negative, beating myself up with it. I decided that I could (easily) stay on the same destructive path or turn it around and use it as a positive. I’d been some awful, awful places and if I could prevent someone else from going to those same awful places, it wouldn’t be such a wasted experience. I did some studies and became a youth worker, putting those negative experiences to a positive use. ie “Ahh, don’t do that, because I did that and this is where it can lead too… …you don’t want to go there…”
Four years into that role and the weird headaches I’d been getting get even weirder and the neurosurgical journey started. My world got turned upside down, wrong side up and twisted beyond recognition. I knew I could easily fall back into that guilt trap or I could again turn it around and use my experiences to help others. I got a job teaching people with disabilities independent living skills, basically all the stuff most people take for granted (Cooking, cleaning, budgeting, shopping etc). I taught people who ranged from fully wheelchair bound to mild intellectual disabilities and whole plethora of abilities and skills. Although my role was to teach them, I learnt more from them in resilience, adaptation and determination than I ever taught them. Ten years in that role and my neurosurgical journey took a HUGE u-turn, needing a further 3 operations and I’ve been unable to return to my former profession and been told I’m unlikely to ever be able to return… Even more guilt.
So, I returned to what I know, using my experiences to assist others, and Ben’s helps me to do that. Now, please, don’t get me wrong this is not a purely altruistic undertaking, in other words, I get as much out of it as I put in and sometimes that simple knowledge of “PHEW, so I’m not the only one battling all of this…” is worth more than all the tea in China.
Melvin, using your words here, I think we all have a ‘Pity Party’ to some degree. In fact I think it’s unhealthy for us not to grieve in some way. Life as we knew it has changed and our acceptance of that fact ain’t an easy thing. I fought against it, I didn’t want to accept THIS. I had a life and I wanted THAT life back. It was a battle of mind over body. Mind said “PUSH” body was screaming “STOP” The body eventually won. It took a while to accept and still today I sometimes push those limits a bit. Staying in that state of ‘Pity Party’ can get REALLY heavy and depressing. I can go there for a visit but staying in that state can start dragging me down, way down, so I ‘try’ not to go there too often.
And don’t be apologising for your ‘whiny-ness’. We’ve all gotta get that stuff out or it builds and builds to unmanageable levels and who better to whine to than people who have been there too, people who understand it all. When I first became a member, if I apologised every time I whined the pages would be nothing but apologies
Merl from the Modsupport Team