Always with the Guilt…

Posted by on February 23, 2010

I’m not an anxious person by nature. I mean I do worry about things but I don’t SUFFER from anxiety naturally. It’s actually a side effect of my antidepressant which…I’m pretty sure I can’t live without. So. I just deal with the unfortunate side effect of random anxiety.

It doesn’t come every day. In fact most days I don’t have it at all. But when I do, it’s horrible. Today is one of those days. It made me think I had an upset stomach at first. But then the guilt started creeping up on me and that’s when I realized that this horribly unsettled feeling I have is the anxiety monster. Again.

The guilt, always with the guilt… It overwhelms me and I feel so awful. I don’t know what to do with myself.

All I can think about is lost time and missed opportunities and things that will never be again and I just want to cry except I can’t because my kids are here and it would upset them. And considering that every ounce of guilt in my pounding heart is about my failings as a mother, the last thing I want to do is upset my kids.

Why? WHY do I dwell on these things? My rational self knows it’s just the anxiety talking and it also knows that regret is a useless emotion, that what’s done is done. Nonetheless, all I can do is think about how my kids aren’t babies anymore and all the times I didn’t play dolls with my daughter (because I really hate playing dolls) and how now she likes to go in her room and read or draw. With the door closed. And it’s like a sign to my crazy anxious heart that she is slipping away from me and I want to cry for all the times I missed playing with the little girl that she is no more. And I know it’s absurd. I know I have done plenty of memorable, wonderful things with her but I can’t think about that. All I can think about are the reasons I should feel horrible; all the ways in which I’ve failed.

My son is 4 now and while I feel so shitty and anxious that I just want to roll up in a little ball and sleep forever, that I WANT to do that is just one more example of how I am failing him. Why am I not outside with him. Why are we in the house? And then I think of all the reasons we’re not outside and goddammit. I’m just full of excuses, aren’t I? So I pledge that tomorrow will be different even though I’m pretty sure it won’t be. I know myself. And I fail again.

So I give in and I take the Xanax. I never want to but it works and soon all of this will seem silly and maybe even comical—but you know what? I’m going to publish it anyway. Because this is the truth.


  • SciFi Dad says:

    Weakness is seeing a problem and avoiding the solution.

    Solving a problem is not weakness.

    Doing what you have to do is not weakness.

    It takes a strong man to make a tender chicken.

  • Jenn says:

    I love love love you and this heartfelt post! You said what I have been feeling for a while! ((hugs)) You ARE a good mom, good person, and good friend. This I know!
    .-= Jenn’s last blog post…Things I Learned This Weekend =-.

  • Karen says:

    I’d wonder if my meds weren’t working anymore. You sound kinda paralyzed. If those thoughts are consuming you, maybe it’s time to talk to your doctor?
    I hope you find your way. You’ve made the first step. Now go.

    • IzzyMom says:

      Next month I’m switching to a lower dosage of Wellbutrin because what I’m on now causes way too much anxiety… It’s an unfortunate but very common side effect.

  • Michelle says:

    I find if we focus on what we are doing wrong – it takes us down. If we look for big things that we have done right, we beat ourselves up because it is never good enough.

    Looking at the small things. Doing the small things. Just one. Just today. Just right now, not yesterday, not tomorrow. Just now. Do something small.

    Small things are everything.
    .-= Michelle’s last blog post…Free Meal Plan: Ginger Apricot Chicken =-.

    • IzzyMom says:

      You’re right. And I don’t need to be in the throes of a freaking anxiety attack to follow this advice. Thanks :)

      • Michelle says:

        Anxiety really, really sucks. I know, been there. That is just what works for me, it brings me out of the anxiety to right now. If I let the anxiety win, it carries me down a very slippery slope. And that slope – is just the anxiety. It is not me. So – I do something small, to gently bring me back to me.

        Don’t mean to “advice all over you”, I just feel for you, heart aches for that space you are in. But without knowing you at all, I still know that is not *you*. It is just the slope. (Hugs from a total stranger)
        .-= Michelle’s last blog post…Free Meal Plan: Ginger Apricot Chicken =-.

  • ‘All I can think about is lost time and missed opportunities and things that will never be again and I just want to cry except I can’t because my kids are here and it would upset them. And considering that every ounce of guilt in my pounding heart is about my failings as a mother, the last thing I want to do is upset my kids.’

    It’s like you reached into my head and ripped out the words. The anxiety. It is crippling, I wish I would wave a wand and make it disappear from you. I really do.
    .-= katie | motherbumper’s last blog post…Going for Gold Tiaras =-.

  • mommabird2345 says:

    Sadly I know that guilt all too much. Sadly I know all about the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s. Happily I will hug my kids and try to cherish them today, because they grow up too fast.

    Thank you for this post. We all need a reminder every once in a while.

  • Miss Grace says:

    .-= Miss Grace’s last blog post…{W}rite of Passage – Morality =-.

  • patois says:

    When am I reading this? At the precise time my daughter has asked me to come sit with her because she can’t fall asleep. But do I go immediately? No! Bad mother that I am, I push her off to write this comment.

    I know of what you speak. Am I even a more terrible person because I’m secretly glad there are others out there just as whack as I am?
    .-= patois’s last blog post…QWERTYUIOP =-.

  • oh girl, THIS makes you a good mother.

    You cannot be everything to your kids. You just can’t. And if you try no one is better for it.

    My ‘baby’ has just turned 18 and I spend many wakeful hours wondering where the time went and lamenting all the missed opportunities. But you know what? She thinks she had a great childhood and we are friends because I am a real person and not a 50′s stereotype.

    And just to ram home the point, my comment here was interrupted by said 18 year old who is over 2 hours away from home calling just to say ‘hey, what up?’

  • Karl says:

    You’re not a bad mom. That’s the damn depression/anxiety talking. Don’t listen to it, it’ll make you nuts(er).
    .-= Karl’s last blog post…I’ve Asked Before, I Know… =-.

  • How about a different spin on it. What you consider “missed opportunities” may not be seen or felt the same way by your kids. While you are painfully aware of wanting to spend time outside and choosing not to do so, your child is happy to be drawing in her room and may be sweetly oblivious to your angst. It may not matter to her. It’s okay! Just say to yourself that it’s not just your emotions that need to run the show, how your child feels can be one of the other ways to determine if what you are feeling guilty about is even worth feeling guilty about. If it doesn’t matter to the kid, don’t let it matter to you!

    Also, just to add to it, increased levels of guilt is NORMAL when kids get older and when you have more kids. Someone once wrote a book about that and it’s in there. ; )

    I hope that makes sense. I’ve not had much coffee today and you know how I need my coffee!
    .-= Parentopia Devra’s last blog post…Happy Fat Tuesday: Laissez le bon temps rouler! =-.

  • I can so relate to this post. Sometimes I feel like I’m doing what’s necessary to get through the day, and then I’m mad because that’s all I’m doing – getting through the day instead of actually embracing and living it and being grateful for every little thing I’m so fortunate to have. We women have quite a knack for beating ourselves up about things like this. I don’t think my husband ever has these thoughts. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s okay to be human. Also that guilt is a self-imposed feeling. The “I’m not a good Mom” thing is what started my downward spiral into severe depression and anxiety, then alcoholism, so I have to make a conscious decision to go easy on myself these days.
    .-= Subourbon Wife’s last blog post…A Fickle Pickle Tri’s it Again =-.

  • Momish says:

    Does it help at all to know you are not alone? It helps me, so thanks!
    .-= Momish’s last blog post…The Hat & The Globe =-.

    • IzzyMom says:

      I just want to thank you for being such a steadfast reader. My blogging has totally gone downhill but you always come around when I finally do post. I appreciate that so much.

  • Laurie says:

    Truth is always worth posting – and we can maybe finally realize we aren’t alone with the awful feelings that can build up while we spend so much time alone with little ones.

    For what it’s worth – I’m not a fan of playing with my kids much either. I love to talk to them and hear about their creative games, but I crave quiet so badly sometimes that I push them out the door to play alone.
    .-= Laurie’s last blog post…WAHM Wednesday: Working Alone =-.

    • IzzyMom says:

      Thank you for this. Like you, I’d much rather talk to my kids and just hang out with them. It’s really nice to know I’m not the only one who isn’t into playing dolls.

  • Jessica says:

    I love your blog and I nominated it for an award! I hope youll check out my post and accept!
    .-= Jessica’s last blog post…How many hats? =-.

  • Boston Mamas says:

    Sending big hugs. Whenever you’re in a low moment, remember that whatever you are giving is miles more than many children receive. We’re all too hard on ourselves! xo Christine
    .-= Boston Mamas’s last blog post…Seeing the Everyday =-.

  • lildb says:

    oh, MAN, J-dog, i know. i get it, i so totally get it, and i’m so grateful you posted this. i’ve been feeling like this so much lately and it’s nigh impossible to wrench myself away from bed in the morning to face the fucking day.

    thank you a million-kajillion times for saying this. brave girl.

  • roo says:

    I wish there were something I could write that would make those anxious feelings go away–
    all I can think of (and it’s cold comfort, i know) is that your anxiety might serve a real purpose–
    figuring out your life, and your past, so that those past mistakes make you more informed about how to be the best mother you can be– mistakes and all.

    Hang in there, and i hope you feel better soon.

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