My dearest readers,
I have added a blog list of some of the mental illness blogs I follow on blogger for easier sharing. Please take a gander on the lower left side of my blog and take time to read some of the awesome posts by my very talented friends. If you are a mental illness blogger that uses blogspot, and would like me to add you to this list, please let me know. The more we share the more stigma we can erase. I also added a section on the right for my most popular posts of all time, just for easier reading. Now, on to today's post.....
Feelin' a little guilty is really a daily occurrence. Sometimes I am not even sure what I am feeling guilty about. It just goes with the territory of having OCD. Guilt and doubt are it's personal tools of torture.
Years ago, I had a friend that was my best friend. We were best buds for a year. We came from similar backgrounds, divorced parents, lower income, and just trying to figure out what growing into a teenager was all about. We shared the secrets only silly preteen girls share. Whom we had crushes on. What famous rock star we wanted to grow up and marry. What jobs we thought we'd have after school. What cars we thought we would drive.
She was my partner in crime and we did everything together until life got in the way and she had to move. Suddenly, I was left with the momentous task of finding a new group of friends when school restarted. I was alone. It was sad for both of us and hard to start anew, but we did. I found new friends and so did she. Our lives went on different paths.
I have been looking for her for over fifteen years. Not necessarily to rekindle our long lost friendship but out of hope that she had gotten all of the wonderful things in life that she deserves. That she did okay and was happy. That is really all a true friend wants for her friend's life anyway.
I was lucky. I found her finally last month on facebook.
So we talked a little and caught up with each other's lives. She is doing great. She is happily married and has a career that she enjoys. I couldn't be happier for her. And then it happened. Her father died.
Now, I knew her dad a little bit. He took us places a couple of times and he was very nice. He even took her to see me once after she moved. Our final goodbye as kids, as it were. He was kind, and funny, and a really good father to her and her younger sister. I was shocked and saddened and then she asked for all who would like to, to come to his funeral and I was stuck. I couldn't make it and knowing that it would be impossible to go made me feel very sad.....and a little guilty.
I wrote her a really nice note saying that I wouldn't be able to come and that I would keep her and her sister in my thoughts and prayers. She was very nice back and told me that she wished I could come but she understood. That was Monday and I still am dealing with the guilt.
I am not sure she really understands my reasons for not going and I didn't elaborate but there were many. It was a good drive away and we have had over twelve inches of snow and ice the day before. It was at a time my kids are off of school and I have no babysitter. My husband would have to drive and we didn't know where it was. I have nothing appropriate to wear and I am not going to a funeral looking like something the cat dug out of the litter box...that's just disrespectful. And mostly I didn't go because although, I knew her, her sister, and her dad years ago, I don't know anyone else. I would be stuck in a room with a great number of strangers at their most vulnerable and painful time and it seemed almost intrusive or voyeuristic for me to be there. My OCD was wrecking havoc at just the notion of going. To be there made the pit of my stomach twist and turn. But I so dearly wanted to support her.
So I didn't go. I had no way there and I was having panic attacks at the very idea of going. I am not sure she understood truly. And because all of that would have sounded like hollow excuses, I didn't say why I couldn't make it.. She doesn't know that I suffer from mental illness because at the time we were friends my OCD had been dormant. It didn't come back again in full force until the next year. I never discussed the fact that I had been fraudulently institutionalized at the age of ten for three months at a mental institution because my doctor was a fraud and scammed my parents to believe I was dangerous to myself for their insurance money. Even though he knew what OCD was and knew I was not anywhere near suicidal. Nor did I tell her about the illegal drug trials they did on me and all of the other kids there (that were just normal kids with truancy or lying problems) or the gut wrenching horrific memories I have of that hell hole. I had blocked it all out and also I am not sure just when a conversation like that would come up. She simply did not and does not know that I have this disorder. The subject never came up and ,in all honesty, I would have probably been terrified of being judged for it so I doubt I would have said anything to her as a teenager, anyway.
So I just wrote the nice note and left it at that. I didn't want to burden her with my problems or make excuses to sound like I was petty or didn't care. I care very much and if any of those hindrances could have been fixed, I would have went. But they weren't so I didn't.
And so rightly or wrongly I feel guilty about it. It makes me feel bad that I couldn't support her or pay my respects to her father. It makes me feel like a bad person. A bad friend. I have been able to slowly let go of some of the guilt but it is Thursday and I still have a great deal to let go of. Maybe by next Tuesday it will all be gone. Who knows? Learning how to forgive myself over and over can be really exhausting sometimes.
But I am working on it.