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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Bodies » Dealing with Guilt

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Author Topic: Dealing with Guilt
graffitionyourbody
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Member # 47384

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I have horrible guilt over a lot of things. Sometimes it's relatively major things like having and/or wanting sex, but other times it's stupid things like saying something and having it being taken the wrong way. It's because of my depression, I know that, but I'm as medicated as I can get. What are some ways I can alleviate myself of this guilt? Please help, it's getting hard to handle.
Posts: 19 | From: Washington, DC. | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
mma
Activist
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You're not alone. A lot of us deal with crippling guilt, and I also have depression that I'm managing with medication.

Are you in counseling too? Because I think depression isn't the kind of thing you can just take a pill and get on with your life. The cool thing about the medication is it helps you get to a place where you can start learning and practicing new patterns of behavior that you learn in therapy.

One thing my counselor likes to tell me is that guilt is wasted energy. Goodness knows, those of us with depression don't really have a lot of it to waste to begin with! So we have to conserve our precious energy. [Smile] If you're feeling guilty because of something that happened in the past, well, feeling guilty about it isn't ever going to change what happened; if it's appropriate guilt you can use it to help choose not to do the thing that you feel guilty about again, so it serves its purpose and doesn't need to interfere beyond that. And if you're feeling guilty about something that hasn't happened, well, it's pretty obvious that there's nothing to be gained by that.

It's also kind of a waste to obsess over feelings that we're having. Feelings just sort of are. The easiest way to take away their power is to just acknowledge them and let them go on their way. Now, that's not to say if you're feeling scared because you're in an unsafe situation you shouldn't take action! But if you're in sort of a feedback loop, as sometimes happens with me, it might help when you notice this happen, to literally tell your guilt, "OK, I see you there. You can have a seat over there in the corner, but you don't get to interfere with my activities right now."

So then in my case, I just tell that inappropriate guilt to park it until I can get to my next therapy session and we can let it have its say. Sometimes I have to let it have its voice over and over for quite a while before it feels sufficiently heard and goes away. Some things, they've been squatting for years, taking up space in my brain where they have no business. I accept that they may never move out entirely, but it seems like they behave like better tenants when I'm not constantly trying to evict them.

I don't know if any of that helps, but if you need to get out the things that you're feeling guilty about, and it's not against the forum rules, it might help to put them down here. And again, hopefully it helps to know you're not alone.

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Posts: 116 | From: Texas | Registered: May 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
graffitionyourbody
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Yeah, I'm in counseling, but I only see him like once a month or so, so my feelings get really bottled up. Plus, I feel kind of awkward talking to any adult figure about things like the things that my guilt is about (lately it's been about sexual things, so yeah).
Posts: 19 | From: Washington, DC. | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
mma
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I know that awkward feeling too, and I'm an adult myself! One thing that's cool is that the longer I'm in counseling, the better I am at doing "uncomfortable" or "awkward". I still feel those feelings; they just don't cripple me anymore.

For example, I survived 16 years of abuse and torment in my childhood. It used to be embarrassing or awkward to tell people about that, but now it's almost like telling somebody our car was stolen when I was a kid or we moved around a lot. It's not something I share with everybody, but I can tell my close co-workers, for example, if I think it'll help them understand my sometimes odd reactions/behaviors.

It's really neat to be able to let go of some of the power things like "awkward" and "guilty" have over me, a little bit like a noose untightening from around your neck!

You can talk to me about it here if you want to. Maybe if you practice talking about with when you're not face to face with someone, and you know the person on the other end will not be judgemental it'll be easier to talk to your counselor about it.

Also? Chances are, I and your counselor did a lot of the same things or similar to them when we were growing up. Turning into an adult is a messy process, and I'll let you know how it turns out for me when I'm done! [Wink]

--------------------
http://www.safeplace.org

1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
http://www.ndvh.org

Posts: 116 | From: Texas | Registered: May 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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