Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 19 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Feeling a little guilty

I'm feeling a little guilty today. I was asked by my local NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) chapter to assist with an upcoming 10-week course. I am a trained instructor for NAMI's Professional Provider class. It is a course for professional health care providers taught by people with mental illness and their families. It's a very cool class, and it routinely gets rave reviews from its participants.

When I was asked to be one of the four teachers, I immediately wanted to do it. The chance to teach mental health professionals, some of whom have likely treated me in the past, has always been one of my goals. I wanted to say, "Yes, I'll do it," but my gut was telling me no, don't.

I typically listen to my gut. I sat on the decision as long as I could. When last week I was asked for my final decision, I listened to my gut's hesitation, and I said no. It was the ten week commitment, I think. Three hours, one night per week, for ten weeks, is quite a commitment. Bottom line, I was worried it would be too much.

Now I feel guilty that I let my worry (i.e. fear) get in the way of supporting my local NAMI chapter. I care about NAMI. I care about this class. I've been feeling well lately. Why couldn't I commit? Why couldn't I push a bit out of my comfort zone on this one? My gut told me no, don't do it, but now I feel guilty. I feel I've let people, including myself, down. Ick!

What's done is done, but now I'm questioning if I did the right thing. And feeling a little guilty...


Mohican said...

Big difference between pushing out of your comfort zone for a one day event for yourself and committing for ten weeks with others. You'd feel a lot worse making a commitment and then not being able to complete it.

Imiike said...

Well, feeling guilty seems natural in your situation. You care about NAMI, and would have liked to support them. Ok, this time, you didn't do it, but there will be a next time, probably?
The feeling of guilt just tells us what we care about and what's important for us to do and not do. As for doing the "right thing", I'm not sure whether such things exist. Actually, you cannot the predict the outcome of your decisions and choices. Maybe the job would have enrichen your life, maybe it would have left you exhausted, whatever, you cannot know in advance. Listening to your gut seems reasonable to me.I try that myself, but I find making decisions is still hard. It can also be quite difficult to distinguish between the "gut" feeling and our thoughts (or the thoughts that actually aren't ours at all).
And then, I found out that, saying "no" to an offer, often leaves unsatisfying feeling behind. Because you never get to know what would have happened if you had said yes. But then, the next time, making a similar decision becomes easier.
Good luck!

etta said...

Thank you both for your support. Your words helped a lot.

susmi said...

hey! never regret about your past...after all, remember that regretting about the past cannot change the way things are supposed to happen. You past is over and you cannot get it back. But that doesn't mean that you will do the same thing in the future. You know, you have plenty of opportunities like this before u. Even if you fail to realize these opportunities, don't worry! You have a big future in front of u!

and never ever let your guts damage your motivation. I can illustrate this by a simple story:

A disciple and his teacher were walking through the forest. The disciple was disturbed by the fact that his mind was in constant unrest.

He asked his teacher, "Why most people's minds are restless, and only a few possess a calm mind? What can one do to still the mind?"

The teacher looked at the disciple, smiled and said, "I will tell you a story. An elephant was standing and picking leaves from a tree. A small fly came, flying and buzzing near his ear. The elephant waved it away with his long ears. Then the fly came again, and the elephant waved it away once more."

This was repeated several times. Then the elephant asked the fly, "Why are you so restless and noisy? Why can't you stay for a while in one place?"

The fly answered: "I am attracted to whatever I see, hear or smell. My five senses pull me constantly in all directions and I cannot resist them. What is your secret? How can you stay so calm and still?"

The elephant stopped eating and said, "My five senses do not rule my attention. Whatever I do, I get immersed in it. Now that I am eating, I am completely immersed in eating. In this way I can enjoy my food and chew it better. I rule and control my attention, and not the other way around."

Upon hearing these words, the disciple's eyes opened wide and a smile appeared on his face. He looked at his teacher and said, "I understand! If my five senses are in control of my mind and attention, then my mind is in constant unrest. If I am in charge of my five senses and attention, then my mind becomes calm."

"Yes, that's right", answered the teacher, "The mind is restless and goes wherever the attention is. Control your attention, and you control your mind."