An exciting and inspiring future awaits you beyond the noise in your mind, beyond the guilt, doubt, fear, shame, insecurity and heaviness of the past you carry around. Debbie Ford                                

Guilt. A feeling I know well these days. There is a lot to feel guilty about when you’re the healthy one in your relationship. Firstly, and most obviously, it’s just that. You are the healthy one but why should you be? He didn’t deserve for this to happen, no-one does, but it happens anyway. So you feel a kind of survivor’s guilt that you can still talk,  that you still have energy, or that you can go to work. The list goes on. 

Then of course, there’s the feelings of frustration you feel towards him. It’s not his fault he can’t communicate with me properly but that doesn’t stop me from snapping sometimes. It might be when I’ve had a long day at work and I’m tired or I’m in the middle of doing something and he is trying to interrupt me. That’s the worst. I feel awful when that happens and I swear I’ll never do it again but I’m only human at the end of the day. We all have emotions and even though I cope well with it 90% of the time there is always going to be an occasion when my patience runs out. 

This one might be unique to me but I also find myself musing over whether I am to blame for any of this. God knows I’m not perfect and just before the stroke we were arguing more than usual. So my mind starts to wonder and question whether I contributed to his stress, did I cause his stroke? Or was this karma for something one of us did in our past? My logical mind says no, of course not. If only the reasons behind the stroke were that simple but it doesn’t stop those feelings creeping in every now and then. 

I’ve also found myself on many occasions feeling trapped in a situation that I have little or no control over. Feelings like that go hand in hand with a desire to escape my life- even if just for a short time – which surely means I want to escape him. Doesn’t it? Truthfully, yes there have been times when I have wondered whether I should leave. I’m young and fairly bright with my whole life ahead of me but I don’t want that. I think I love Finn more now than I ever did before the stroke and it isn’t him I want to escape from. It’s the stress of the circumstances we both found ourselves in. Despite knowing that though I still feel guilty for feeling like I want to run away and hide. 

The final one I want to mention is the guilt I feel when I’m not well. I have struggled over the past eighteen months with anxiety and depression but it really hit me 6 weeks ago following Finn’s second stroke and consequent seizures. I was so unwell at that point that I couldn’t be there for him anymore. He was the one caring for me and that caused me to feel guilty. As you can imagine that doesn’t really help an already depressed and anxious mind. The crucial thing to take away from that experience however is that he is still able to care for me. Maybe not in the way he could before but he was there for me when I needed him. We’ve survived his stroke together and we will continue to survive whatever life throws at us. 

Image Credit: Brendan Foster Photography
Taken for the Stroke Association “I am more than my stroke” campaign

5 thoughts on “Guilt

  1. You are an incredible person Grace and together with Finn your an amazing couple .
    Let’s just say it was terrible bad luck beyond words but you are both managing it very well . Probably better same days than others but you are only human . Be proud both of you for what you have achieved up to now . ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Grace – I think this is amazing.
    Many of us feel these feelings when our loved ones are affected by long term illness
    Keep going.
    Its OK to be weak, there will always follow a day of strength

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful honesty, the truth is very liberating, and sharing will bring comfort to many others who recognise what you both have been going through. You are an inspiration Grace, x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These thoughts and feelings are absolutely normal for anyone caring for a stroke survivor (ask my wife). If you would like something to cheer you up, I invite you to read Cave Canem on my blog, where a whippet tries, in vain, to understand human behaviour

    Liked by 1 person

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