(Today’s blog post is part of the Blogging From A to Z Challenge during which writers all over the world blog each day in April based on a corresponding letter of the alphabet. These are my personal stories about living with Trigeminal Neuralgia, the most painful diagnosis known to man.)
Ah, guilt. I’m so riddled with it I feel guilty for feeling guilty. The rational side of me knows that sometimes I can’t make it to a family function or get to the grocery store. But the other side of me, the side that’s worked since I was thirteen, that never missed a family event, that got stuff done is constantly whispering “not good enough” in my ear. And then there’s the side (yes, that’s 3 sides – I’m a triangle) that knows I’m doing the best I can.
People with TN, or any chronic pain I imagine, are constantly in a tug-of-war between what we know we’re supposed to be doing and what we’re actually getting done. I’m a worker bee, so not working has been really hard for me. Yet I know if I was working, I’d be doing a lousy job. It’s kind of a lose-lose situation. If someone says, “It would be great to see you this Sunday” my brain scrambles it and I hear, “You’ll really let me down if I don’t see you on Sunday”. (And honestly, sometimes I know that’s the truth.)
I can usually brush off the guilt fed by my perception that I’m not living up to someone else’s expectations. I know that the people in my life have great capacities for forgiveness, even If I do disappoint them. And, heck, I live alone, so nobody knows when I don’t take a shower or if I nap for four hours on any given day. But I know. The problem is, I can’t forgive myself.