I woke up this morning with an immense amount of guilt sitting on my shoulders. I’m stable, or at least as stable as anyone can truly be in this life, but I’m not perfect. Most days, my mind is solely focused on my present with my kids, my husband, my writing, and on our future as a family. Normally, my mind stays in the present, but sometimes it takes a little walk down the treacherous path of memory lane.
It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s usually because of a nightmare. I used to get nightmares a lot, some of them flash backs, most of them just my subconscious playing tricks on me, hiding these tiny little hidden messages telling me how dumb I was in my past. Last night it was the face of the person I spent the most time with during my most unstable, during my most manic, during the scariest of times. And this nightmare was dropping these subtle hints of how childish I had been, and how far I had come, at least I think.
But, none the less, I woke up in a weird head space and I woke up with a lot of guilt.
I hate it, you know, having this guilt still around even though it’s been six or seven years. But, hating it doesn’t make it go away, and letting go of those memories doesn’t make it go away either.
I feel guilt over my past because I was not a good person. I was not a healthy person. I burned bridges, I made the most ridiculous decisions that could have ended my life, I lied, I embellished, I lived on a high of mania that screwed with me for years after it happened. But mainly I feel guilt because I involved so many people in my mental issues. My issues were the worlds issues, and I shouted them from the rooftops, which makes me cringe as I think about it.
The reality is, most days, if I even start to think about my past, I’m happily met with a blur, because that’s what happens when you’re too high up on the mania scale to slow yourself down. I like when it’s a blur because, as much as I’d like to remember some things, I’d like to forget most of it.
But, today is not one of those days where the blurriness of my memories is what I’m met with. No, instead I’m carrying around this guilt, this chest tightening, head throbbing, guilt and this sense of wanting to close my eyes and forget it ever happened.
When I think about the things I did in my past life, all I can think of is the ache it causes in my chest to remember the things I did that could have ruined my life. And all I can think about is how I wish I could erase it. Take a giant eraser, and make a hole where that time of my life was. Mainly because it hurt a lot of people, and also because I let that part of my life define me for so long. Even while I was with my husband, the effects of those times haunted me, and he had to deal with it along side of me until I got better, until I had the good sense to let go and free myself from those memories.
I don’t talk about them very often. And normally when I think about them, I’m happily met with no emotional attachments. It’s just a memory that I have and it happened and it’s done. But there’s a difference in feeling sorrow over the mistakes I made, and feeling guilty about them. The drowning myself in sorrow has ceased, the mourning, the depression over it is long gone, but every once in awhile, I think about the days my children will be old enough to ask me what I was like after high school, and I’m not going to have an idea of how to handle it.
I feel guilty that I dragged everyone I loved through this giant mess that I had going. I feel guilty that I even was that person to begin with, I just feel guilty that I continued with those memories for as long as I did, letting them define me as a person, when I should have let them go the moment it happened.
It’s not a healthy way of thinking, I know, but I had to get it out. I had to write it down, in order to move past and go towards that positive way of thinking that has gotten me to the stable mind I’ve been in.
Because nothing is ever as simple as just being stable, being sane.
It takes work. Hard, excruciating, heart wrenching work, that never stops. It’s worth it, but in order to get to that place of peace, it takes running through memory lane, feeling the things you need to get out of your system, and working your way through them, thinking your way through them.
Yes, I feel guilt. But, should I? All the people I have in my life now don’t hold me accountable. They don’t push it in my face that years ago, I was fucked up. So why should I be doing it to myself? The answer is, I shouldn’t be. What happened, happened. I can’t take it away, no matter how many times I day-dream of doing so, of changing it all. So why take the time and energy. I have to come to peace with what I did, who I was, and realize that I turned it all around. Most days, I know all of this, but after a nightmare, it tends to take me back a few steps. Maybe that’s good, maybe it’s humbling, to remind me that I’m not perfect, to remind me that I came along way, that I’m a fighter, and not to take anything for granted. Maybe it’s good because sometimes in the daily life, we become so focused on the tiny things that might bother us, like the house being a mess two seconds after we clean (by we, I totally mean me, and my insanity that is cleaning up after twin toddlers, lol) when my focus should be on the fact that I have a house and a mess to clean up, that I am alive, that I am living my dream life with my dream kids and my dream husband. My focus has to be on the fact that I changed, that instead of following down the road I was taking, I changed paths. Or else, I’ll be stuck in this perpetual cycle of guilt and shame. That’s not how I want my children to see me. That’s not how I want to show them a person should act. That’s not how I ever want them to be if they make mistakes in their lives that they regret. No, I want them to move past it with their head held high, knowing they screwed up, but knowing that they can be better, do better, and move on.
So, I let myself feel it all. I sift through it. I watch the memories go by on a fast cycle, and I let myself feel all the guilt, the shame, the regret. Then, I make myself realize that, although those times were awful, that there’s no sense in bringing it up, digging up the past, just to make myself feel horrible about something I can’t change. I moved on. I did better. And I continue to try and make up for what I did with karma, good deeds, and being a good person. That’s all that I can try to do, right? To be a good person now, make good memories now, be the person I always wanted to be but was too sick to be now. Live in the now, be in the now, and focus on the important things, like my kids, my husband, my writing, my beautiful life.
I don’t know if this will ever make it out of the pile of drafts I have saved in this site, or if I’ll actually publish it, but sometimes thinking isn’t enough. Sometimes I have to write it all down to make sense of it all. Because writing is more powerful than I continue to give it credit for. It brings out the epiphanies and the good feelings that take away the bad. So when I woke up, my head in this weird head space, I worked it out, I thought it out, and then I wrote it out to make it stick.
I’m sane, I’m stable, but I’m not perfect. I will have these days, but I’m just glad I know how to deal with them.