When I got sick, coming up on 3 years ago now, my life was hijacked and became about recovering and mis-understanding my recovery and confusion. The process of looking for what was wrong, trying different approaches and recognising what I could and couldn’t do, left me quite directionless as far as work, relationships and achievement went. A feeling that persists now, even though I am (hopefully) well on the path to recovery.
On a different but related topic, when my daughter goes off to her Dad’s place I often feel guilty. I couldn’t tell you the number of women (and one man) who have said out loud that they envy me and my situation. Which I know means they don’t understand it, because no-one would envy splitting their child’s life with someone, but they just see the time I get to myself and envy this, which I understand.
Over the past 3 years this time has been essential to help try to keep my head just above water and allow me to recover enough energy to work and support myself and my daughter. What people don’t think about (or there is nothing to envy) is when the child is back with you and it’s you 100% – no taking a nap and asking the partner to keep an eye on the child if you’re tired. No nipping out to the shops. No I’m going to bed early, can you put the kids in bed…
But back to the feeling I always get, the guilt that somehow I have time to myself and this is a benefit and I should not be complaining. I can’t shake it. It often makes me feel I should be ‘doing something’ with my time and I turn to work. My work is never complete, there is always something to do and it gives me a sense of satisfaction to tick off tasks but turning to it has also made me feel trapped by the work, because I am filling up all the rest of my time with ‘worthy jobs’.
I know also that this feeling has always been inside me, that I should do something useful with my time and that’s possibly what got me into this mess. I wish I could sit and just enjoy the sun or read a book, but I find it quite hard to do, always feeling guilty.
I am now looking for more direction to apply to my life, since the paths I had before no longer appeal. I had been a manager and was assuming that would be where I would stay for a long time, and while I miss some aspects of people management, it’s not something I would have the energy to do now or perhaps the drive anymore either. I had thought I was ‘on my way up’ but I didn’t make it and now I wonder, what’s next?