FINANLLY SLOWING DOWN But why do I feel so guilty?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Butterfly_of_grace, Sep 13, 2006.

  1. Butterfly_of_grace

    Butterfly_of_grace New Member

    OK...Ill try to make this short but Ill apologize now for rambling just in case.

    Im 39. My health has always been an issue and getting worse. Ive alwasy been driven to work two jobs, whether they were part time jobs or a full time and a part time job. Recently I lost my regular job as a Teachers Aide for the town I live in. It wasnt the greatest money wise but it was right on track w/ 4 kids schedules and such which was a great benefit, but most importantly it was a job I was very passionate about. Being exposed to all the illnesses made it difficult, especially last yr, I was sick ALOT...VERY SICK from being around 40 Kindergarteners. but again, I loved what I did. The downfall is also that you would work only 10 months and have to wait until August to find out even if you still were needed and had a job. In my case, I was given a job (school and teacher assignment) and poof two weeks later they took it back and said there was no need at this time for my services which lef tme unemployed, heart broken, panic stricken and very sad. Every August I faced this fear...it was adding tot he stress. I was in a scramble recently to find another job as it was already two months without a paycheck . I was so blessed and fortunate to have gotten a job right away (after two interviews and 2 weeks of waiting)part time at a Chiropractors office the next town over right away (I also have a Medical Assisting degree). The pay is actually almost $4 more an hour that I was getting here in town so that was a GOOD thing, the hours are about half though which makes us have less income every month. As you know raising 4 kids is expensive but Hubby and I are doing our best (we are a blended family). I pondered the thought of getting at least one cleaning job a week to help pick up wheta I am losing financially. I use to have a cleaning business way back when so I have experience. But my health is NOT the greatest. I have a real bad back (herniated disc) and Periformis Syndrome (very painful and no cure) plus add the fibro and the CFS and well, although Im only 39 I feel 100. I decided that MAYBE this is a blessing in disguise; maybe its my time to slow down since I have ALWAYS had two jobs since I was 20 yrs old and ALWAYS felt the pressure of having to work so many hours. I started going for my walks. Yesterday as I walked a little over 2 miles after work, I kept thinking that MAYBE this is my time to slow down...maybe I should just re-examine how we spend too much money, redo our finances and figure out a way to "make it work". For now, we dont ahve a choice because of what little im bringing home. But working two jobs, having 4 kids, Hubby working two jobs right now but really needs to be careful because he has epilepsy(constantly in worry about him) and trying my best to keep up with the household, Doctors visits, bills, etc I have been under tremendous stress for a long time which is really doing me harm.

    Bottom line, should I feel "guilty" about slowing down? Hubby really likes it this way, right now, because he said I need to start taking care of myself. I agree, but how come us care-takers always have this weight of harsh guilt when we need to start taking care of ourselves and slow down? Im at peace with it that is until the guilt sets in and then I think to myself "Oh my God, Im such a loser, I need to find another job to help out and take care of our kids, etc.".
    (some of you know this scenerio).

    Id love input....Id love to know if anyone else has been in my shoes...alwasy on the go go go go and feeling guilty for wanting/needing to slow down. I have prayed a million prayers of relief...thats why Im wondering if this is Gods message to slow down? or is it me trying to justify slowing down because of my guilt?
    Everyone alwasy says that I cant take care of anybody if I cant take care of myself and then Im no good to taking care of the rest of the family. I believe that to be true...why the guilt though?

    Hubby has a seizure disorder from an auto accident 17 yrs ago(manifested itself about 2 1/2 yrs ago). He also has short term memory disabilities so its hard for him to keep up with the kids, and their schedules etc. Even his Neuro told him to leave the kids up to me because its too mcuh for him. When I do leave him in charge we end up arguing and fighting because he "forgot" to check homework assignments, etc. and the household ends up in a "free-for-all". (we have two 8th graders, one sixth grader and one forth grader). My lovable 6th grade step-son has learning disabilities and ADHD so hes a complete handful when it comes to getting his work done, teaching him organization and responsibility and having to constantly be up his butt to help him succeed (but hes worth it hes a great kid...just sucks the energy outa me LOL). Now add 4 children with their emotional Kah-kah baggage from their "other significant parent" and well I ahve my hands full. They dont talk to hubby because hes not really the one to talk to. Im usually the Household therapist here LOL! MY PLATE IS FULL CAN YA TELL YET???? LOL!

    anyway, Im rambling. I needed to vent...I needed opinions because every time I find myself at peace with this I find the guilt creeping in. Its so nice to be able to start taking care of ME and the house (catching up on whats been left unattended esp since I was working a night job and the school job a few months ago),being here for the kids when they get home and working in an environment that isnt making me so sick like I was t the school.

    Its slowly getting more difficult for me to get thru the daily grind with the fibro...But I also feel that I have to be a provider for our family....its such a tough call. I nkow alot of you out there are fortunate to be able to collect disability...I wish I was. I wouldnt know where to begin with that one. I know I met a mom at school last yr who said to me "Ive been on disbility for a long time from depression....its free money and I dont have to work....the checks keep coming so I may as well take advantage of it"...then she was bragging about her new van and how she joined weight watchers. I was so ANGRY by her attitude. She wasnt depressed at all...she was taking advantage of the system so she could stay home with her 2 boys, takes advantage of the money and brags about it. People like that make me so sick.

    thanks for listening. Sorry so long. I just need a "good friend" to help me out right now.
    [This Message was Edited on 09/14/2006]
    [This Message was Edited on 09/14/2006]
  2. azbubba

    azbubba New Member

    ...but I thought I'd reply before I went to work.

    First of all, I don't know how you do it. I'm 39, divorced, with no kids...and it's tough enough for me working 40 hours a week, then coming home and just collapsing. A tip of the hat to you, my dear lady!

    When I was married, I was basically a caretaker to my spouse, who has a severe mental illness (BPD). I had to be the strong one. But after we divorced, and I had only myself to take care of, I found out how much I was pushing myself...because my body just basically said "STOP!!!" I cannot volunteer like I used to, and even going to a ball game at Chase Field takes a LOT because of all the walking.

    I am still trying to adjust to this new lifestyle that appears to be here to stay. The only reason I don't feel the guilt that I would probably normally feel is because I learned how to set good boundaries for myself when I was with the ex.

    Well, it's time for work. I wish you well, keep us posted, ok? I'll be praying for you today.

    Bubba
  3. Butterfly_of_grace

    Butterfly_of_grace New Member

    Thank you for your response.

    I know what you mean about the volunteer work as well. I MISS it. I use to be a volunteer EMT on the ambulance Corp. for yrs since I was 16 and volunteered at the Hospital as an ER Tech way back when. Once i had my first child that stopped. I was ALWAYS bsuy busy busy...actualyl I dont think I ever sat still in my life (I really believe I have Adult ADD). So my volunteer days are long over. I do miss them though...it gave me a sense of feeling like I made a difference in someones life which boosted my confidence.

    As far as you being divorced and only having you to take care of, its still stressful so dont underestimate what you do...a 40 hour work week is difficult with fibro; alone or not. The fact that you went thru a divorce is enough to really cause health issues. well, I know in my case my first marriage ended in divorce 5 1/2 yrs ago...that alone made my health so much worse. My first hubby was never around and fire dept alwasy came before me and the girls and his home. He was like a little boy who couldnt take care of himself. He too also had BPD. He lied so much about so many things, he had many affairs telling women he was going thru divorce or he was leaving me when in reality he would come home acting all like the great hubby he thought he was, owned his own business (which he never did), etc. and promissed the world one day and was depressed the next. He had these grand delusions.... It was a struggle for me. So I sorta can relate with what you were going thru. My exhubby is in denial fo his disease.... even to this day. He makes these strong promisses to our daughters and then leaves them heart braken over his empty promisses. My oldest who is now 13 KNOWs not to believe her dad. She finally excepts the fact that ok well if he comes thru with his promiss great but if he doesnt its ok...cuz she wont believe him unless it really happens.
    Im very blessed to have found the hubby I am with now...we take care of each other, the household chores are 50/50 and he helps tremendously. Its a partnership. Hes a good man with a big heart. He raised his kids on his own since his son was 9 months old (hes now 11 1/2yrs old) his daughter who was 3 at the time (and is almost 14 yrs old).

    Im glad u dont carry the guilt. I dont wish it on ANYONE. Im not sure WHY I struggle with this other than from childhood which I have said here before in the past. I tip my hat to you my dear friend...for you ahve conquered something I cna only dream about right now and thast living a life guilt free!!! <<<HUGS>>>> to you!

    Thanks again for responding. It was very swee to fyou to respond before your busy day.

    [This Message was Edited on 09/14/2006]
  4. PianoGirl

    PianoGirl New Member

    Butterfly,

    My goodness, you definitely do have a lot on your plate, it sounds like you do the work of 5 people not 1.

    First off, I commend you for everything that you are doing. Raising a family is tough, dealing with an illness, teenagers, blended family, divorce, jobs, they all can be an overwhelming thing by themselves but mix them all together and it's no wonder you are feeling like you do.

    I am dealing with the guilty things right now as well. I went thru a divorce 6 years ago, have been remarried for 4 to a WONDERFUL man who takes great care of me, I have 2 teenagers, a part-time job, that is very stressful, this illness, my brother and mother passed away last year and I am the executor of the wills, and I just can't seem to organize any of my days any more.

    It's hard to say not feel guilty about something, especially when you "used to be" so busy and able to do all the things you used to do. I wish I had an answer for you, but I do know, there is a point where we do have to slow down and make it known to the other people in your family and life that you aren't able to do the things you once were.

    I had a big pow wow meeting with my hubby and my kids. We sat at the dining room table and I basically laid it out on the line, mom doesn't feel well most of the time, i can't think like i used to, i obviously can't keep up with things the way i used to and this is your notice, I NEED YOUR HELP. I gave each of my kids chores that were specifically theirs. They had to do them cause I just can't any more. SOmetimes they mumble and grumble about it, and sometimes when it's not done i have to do some gentle prodding to have it done but for the most part, it is starting to help a little.

    Your kids are definitely at an age where they can help. Make them learn how to do laundry, cook simple meals, work on the dishes, etc. They can do it, you need the break. There is nothing wrong with delgating a little bit of authority and having everybody pitch in.

    Perhaps you can even tell them if you guys help me out I hopefully will feel better and that will benefit all of us.

    If you continue to feel guilty, let me know, we'll feel guilty together and try to come up with the best solution we can!!!!! :)

    Lis
  5. Butterfly_of_grace

    Butterfly_of_grace New Member

    You sound like wonderful people! Thanks for your response too.

    I know we all have our crosses to bear the best way we can. Its horrible this disease and the fact that no one really recognizes how debilitating it is. You mentioned that slowing down is a good idea outher wise you would be bedridden in the next five years....Im glad Im not the ONLY one who has thought that way. Sometimes I have long talks with Hubby about how scared I am to think of what Ill be like ten yrs from now...wheelchair bound? bed bound? This is a realistic fear and Im sure there are others out there who feel it too.

    Dealing with the guilt....thank you for not making me feel so alone in that Lis. Im not sure how to deal with it but Im praying alot. I keep asking God to guide me and to help cleanse me of feeling so bad. I just feel that 5 other people in my life right now come first. I know thast wrong....Im trying to change that because soon enough Ill be so ill that none of them will come first and Ill be in real bad shape.

    I too on a "good day" run around like a nut trying to catch up with 500 things I let go and take advantage of that energy spirt only to find myself a day or a week later two times worse than I was before the energy spirt hit. I was relived to hear that this is common for Fibros....I thought for the longest times that it was me and I was beginning to go nuts or turning out to be Manic Depressant.

    Thanks all for your input. Starting today, its a new day and Im going to make an effort to get thru the day enjoying my day off (although I already did a million things I probly shouldnt have).

    HUGS
  6. Redwillow

    Redwillow New Member

    My goodness Butterfly you have a lot on your plate.

    Guilt yes I think we all have that. I think it is programed into us from day one. We have to be the best wife, the best mom, the best housekeeper, volunteer, work 2 jobs.... on and on.

    I am 47 and have had FM my whole adult life but only got my diagnosis when I was 45. I had 2 children in my 20's and remember it as being extremely stressful. My children were both colicky and cried unless they were held and walked for most of the first year of their lives.

    This was the start of sleep problems for me. For the first year of their lives I rarely slept more than 3-4 hours at a stretch with small cat naps when I could get them. People told me I was spoiling them. But they threw up if I laid them down. I was told they were just doing it for attention. WHAT why would a baby throw up for attention??? We now know that my daughter has GERD and when she lay down in her crib all the acid in her stomach came up and made her throw up!

    Nobody understood how sick I felt. My doctor tested me for thyroid problems and when the test came back normal I was told to go home and relax.

    Joint pain, IBS, severe headaches, allergies, and sinus problems started around this time but doctors didn't think there was anything wrong with me. Again I was told to RELAX! I began hating that word and I stopped going to doctors.

    By my 30's I started keeping track on a calendar how many days a month I had the "flu". My doctor told me that it was just my hormones and ignored me.

    I still looked after my husband and children but when they were out for the day I spent a lot of time on the couch. My world got very small because nobody understood.

    In my 40's my husband's job began to look shakey. I started working part time to help out. Often I would have to drag myself home working in a fast food restaurant but I didn't feel like I had any choice.

    I pushed myself to work full time and even sold clothing in home presentations in the evenings and also did mending in my home. My husbands job of 28 years was downsized and I was trying to help him while he looked for a new job.

    Well you can guess what happened. In 2001 I went to visit my parents during my lunch hour and sat at their table and cried and couldn't stop crying. I was so nauseous and in so much pain that I had barely slept in months. My father dragged me to emergency where I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. I had to leave my job.

    I spent the better part of the next year barely able to get off the couch. The doctors now believe I have had FM since a severe car accident at age 17. Too bad it took 30 years for them to believe that I was sick!

    It is too bad that we have to push ourselves until we collapse before our doctors finally listen. I was told that I looked fine and I just needed to PUSH myself harder!

    Despite all this the GUILT was huge! I believed that I was a failure. I had 30 years of people telling me to get a grip on myself and that is hard to over come. It took 2 1/2 years in cognitive behaviourly therapy (CBT) and a wonderful therapist to give myself the credit that I deserved.

    I had to learn to pace myself, I had to learn to quit yelling at myself (you know the voice inside your head that says terrible things to you: you are lazy, you are fat, you aren't a good enough mother.... whatever your particular demon likes to say to you when you feel really down) and very important reach out and find other people like me.

    I am now on Canada Pension Disability. My husband has a new job and my children are both in college. Money is always tight but I am making progess with my illness and am learning to push the guilt away when it tries to take control of me again.

    It is such a blessing to find people who understand this crazy illness that we have. To be accepted is truly wonderful.

    Sorry that this letter was so long. Take care of yourself Butterfly. You are important and important to your family so you need to look after yourself.

    hugs Marion
    [This Message was Edited on 09/15/2006]
    [This Message was Edited on 09/15/2006]
  7. Butterfly_of_grace

    Butterfly_of_grace New Member

    What a story!
    I almost cried because I can definately relate. I ALWAYS here that negative voice in my head and mu husband cant understand why Im so hard on myself.

    As far as people saying "get a grip" sounds alot like my family. Alot of my friends actually too. They just think Im some sort of psycho case...others like to say "count your blessings stop being so negative..." or the famous "it could be alot worse so deal with it". People dont understand this disease and it sucks. Ths is why I wont tell anyone at my new job. Im afraid Ill be judged and Im tired of being judged so now I shut up and put up.

    Today was a difficult work day. 4 hours on my feet...doesnt sound like much, usually i can handle it BUT its been pouring rain for 3 days and well I could barely move when I got out of bed today> I was embarrassed because I could barely move at my new job. THANK GOD I was able to stand in one spot prety much. But when I had to put away some medical records of our patients I thought I was going to die every time i had to reach up or down and stretch a certain way. Advil aint working today thast for sure.

    thanks for your understanding. I hope soeday I can find "real" friends who can understand. I know my hubby tries his hardest to help me...theres just things he doesnt understand including my mental state of mind.

  8. IowaMorningGlory

    IowaMorningGlory New Member

    This is my first post, but reading others has helped me so much.
    My process is in the beginning stages. Getting that "official diagnosis".
    I can relate to your situation and have so much empathy for you.
    I am 45, married with 3 teenage boys (one from foster care) and a husband who has had two back surgeries and has chronic RLS. I am a nurse with 6 years education total for a minor in psychology/management. I have always worked two or three jobs. My last job was my dream job. I became an Assisted Living Manager of a brand new facility. I ran it all and loved it. Unfortunately that was just it, I ran it all. I hired, I worked out all the kinks, worked over 60 hours a week and on call 24/7. When all went right and we got rave reviews the Administrator took all the praise, when something went wrong I got all the blame. I was to the point where when I got off work I came home and was asleep in my chair by 6:00pm. By 9:00 pm I was awake and in so much pain from knees, hips, shoulders, migraines....I couldn't take it anymore, I knew the stress at work was ruining my life.
    I was missing days of work on a regular basis the last couple of months....and put it off to stress. Now, I know different....and I feel so guilty.
    I am tired...but hurt too much to sleep. If I do have energy then I overdue and pay for it the next few days. The only medications I have so far are Xanax & Flexeril. Not much help! At least I am not crabby anymore, just frustrated. I want to do so much more. I have a great education....but who wants to hire someone who doesn't know when they will have good or bad days.
    Sorry, for the rambling. I just miss being around people, or doing things with family and friends. I just don't want to do those things, because most of the time I feel like I am spoiling everyone else's fun, because of my pain, or lack of energy.
    I see my next specialist on November 6th. So long to wait! I am hoping to talk with my regular physician this week and try to talk him into at least trying some other medications.
    I hope things improve for you. I know guilt can be an all consuming thing, especially when you feel like your not pulling your weight, when really you are giving it all you have!
    Take care and Blessed Be,
    IowaMorningGlory
  9. jessica0123

    jessica0123 New Member

    My mother used to call guilt the big "G". I have learned I am my worst enemy putting the guilt on myself. Talking to a Christian therapist once a week and taking a little valium when it gets relly bad has helped. I am 37 and have had to take the last 2 weeks off and lay in bed. I couldn't even talk to anyone except my husband and step children who live with us full time. I have been married for 5 years raising teenagers! My therapist asked me If I had cancer would I still feel so guilty? Well...NO. So this is just another side effect of Fibro. I am also a go 100 mph woman. I own my own business thank God so I have had the option of shutting down for the first time with all of this. I have started a new anti depressant because last week was so so so low for me lower than I have ever been sad and crying non stop. I judge myself I am an adult chiild of an Alcoholic and we are extra hard on ourselves because our parents upset and didnt have it together so I vowed to have it together in my adult life and now this. TOTALLY OUT OF MY CONTROL good luck sounds like you are a Christian so pray too!
    Jessica
  10. Abbycat

    Abbycat New Member

    It sounds like you know what you need to do. Your husband agrees that you should slow down. So the guilt is coming from where? I think guilt is something we do to ourselves. Yes, sometimes other people will try to push us into feeling guilty because we are not like them. But that is the point. They are not you and they don't have any idea how you feel.

    The point is, how do you feel? You have prayed and prayed for relief and here it is! Your husband likes it and yet you are going to "ruin" it by feeling guilty. Accept the windfall that you've been given and enjoy it. In your "free" time you can work on teaching your children life skills that will last a lifetime, like doing laundry, how to live on a budget and all the responsibilities that kids need to learn.

    Maybe you will have the time to look into how to apply for disability. Taking care of yourself doesn't have to mean laying on the couch all day. You're a bit hyper but researching stuff on the internet and teaching your kids to follow verbal instructions to do chores, homework etc. does not require that you get up off the couch or chair so you can get a little rest in there somewhere.

    Believe me when I say that I have been the worst at taking care of myself. I'll have to save that for another time but this post has got me thinking about how long I've been suffering FMS symptoms. I just thought something was wrong with my motivation. I was lazy, worthless, the bad seed in the family or just plain crazy. I worked really hard, but never seemed to get anywhere and above all I was really tired but I pushed myself anyway.

    Gosh, this is really long but I feel for you and the others who have posted here. I think we can help each other. I say let the guilt go, just for today and see how it feels. And maybe tommorow you can let it go for one more day. You can always go back to feeling guilty, but wait until tomorrow.

    Abbycat
  11. Butterfly_of_grace

    Butterfly_of_grace New Member

    Hey Jessica...
    YES raising teenagers sucks the life out of ya! I have 2 who are in 8th grade and both are miserable now that they get their periods (A house for of Estrogen here LOL) and one tweenager who has learning disabilities and is a struggle(hes now in 6th grade),and one still not quite there yet, shes 9, but she has a bad attitude and acts likes shes 18.

    I do tell them what needs to be done. For the most part they do....but only after I have asked at least 5 times which is exhausting.

    I also grew up a child of an alcoholic and who also had a brother who was an alcoholic. I dont drink anymore becaus eof fear of becoming one myself. Besides, Im already unfocused...alcohol just makes it worse LOL.

    Im glad you are slowing down. I hope you bounce back soon.

    Abbycat-
    you are right about us putting blame and shame and guilt on ourselves...but in my case too I have always had a judgemental and disfunctional family (I am the youngest of 4 kids) and for the most part thats where my guilt comes from. Its something at even age 39 and yrs of therapy hasnt allowed me to completely cut myself off to. I do stay away from my family as much as possible becuase for yrs I tried so hard to "fix it" and attempt to get close to everyone only to fail and cry ALOT blaming it all on me. I dont do that part anymore...but when something negative occurs in my life I always ALWAYS hear my dad in the back of my head calling me a failure (out of 4 kids I was the only one who DIDNT do drugs and get into trouble). SO for the most part YES I LAY GUILT ON MYSELF becuase I was programmed to since I could remember as a child.

    Im ok wiht slowing down now. I just get very scared about the debt and the bills. If it werent for that, I would be perfectly fine with slowing down and making less and working less....Im driven by the fear of not being able to provide and its petrifying at times. Hubby says God will help provide and we will be ok. I believe that to a certain extent. I also believe that if God wanted us to have a break from the struggles we have been thru the past few yrs he would also send more relief (especially financially).

    thanks again guys! <<<HUGS>>>>