Guilt is depressing

I flew up to Brisbane to see my three kids last week. It’s been a year since I saw them last.

Living in Lara I was constantly stressed by the situation I dug myself in. Feeling like I was constantly being watched, not knowing who to trust, not knowing if someone has been in my house while I’ve been away. And finding the little tell-tale signs. The step ladder shifted in the garage. The roof access disturbed in the toilet. Of course my coping mechanisms didn’t make things better. Drinking most nights of the week after being away for eleven hours of the day. No wonder I didn’t have the money to move from that place. I was able to pay the child support every month but with the rent costing so much and with my drinking as well, I couldn’t come up with the money to go and see my own kids.

I didn’t even call them. And the longer it went on the harder it was. When I last spoke to my counselor I expressed my guilt over it all. She told me not to be so hard on myself and to focus on getting better. But my kids deserve better. At least the two younger ones were happy to see me and eager to spend some time with me. I wouldn’t blame them if they didn’t want to know me.

I stayed there from Tuesday night through to Saturday morning. We had a good day on Thursday and my eldest agreed to come with us for some ten-pin bowling at Richlands. It was fun for them. I didn’t score very well but I didn’t really care. Being with them I didn’t feel quite so sad. Kyle wanted to be home by 3pm that afternoon so we made plans to go roller skating together the next day.

So the next morning I sent him a text letting him know we would come and get him for the 10am session. We drove to his place, he was still asleep and his mother had to wake him. I guess sixteen year old boys love their sleep. He didn’t have to work until 7pm that night so I suggested we go to the 1pm session instead, so he would have time to wake up and get ready. But he just changed his mind and said he didn’t want to go after all. Dejected, I got back in the car with the kids and we drove to the skating ring.

I don’t know why it got to me so much. It’s not his fault. But I guess I am depressed as well as stressed and without my usual coping mechanisms there was just no emotional skin. At the skating ring I cried and cried. We took the kids home for lunch and I went to my room. Later that night I had an argument with my parents over my veganism.

That left me feeling completely misunderstood and alone. I cried some more. I had enough crying. I went to the pub and started drinking.

The next morning I had to get up early for my flight home. I was badly hungover and feeling terrible. All I wanted to do was sleep more. Waiting to take off I started to have anxiety. I started imagining all the things that could go wrong. I looked around and everything seemed surreal. People all from different lives by chance here on this flight. This must be how it is whenever there’s a plane crash. I wanted to get off. I felt that by imagining this I was making it happen.

Then I took deep breaths and reminded myself that the plane is engineered and based on science. The chances of something going wrong has nothing to do with me and I don’t have magic powers or ability to attract the thing I was thinking of. Probably the lady sitting next to me is having similar thoughts. And even if there crash, if I die then I won’t exist anymore and if I live then life goes on.

I don’t think I want to go back to Brisbane. It’s possible to fly my kids here to see me instead. There’s nothing else for me there. Those friends are of a different person in a different life. Here I have my work, my colleagues and my routine. My housemate is also my friend. We both try to keep the place clean and I feel less stressed in a clean environment. I don’t think people will ever understand me.

Since the counselor suggested I get a referral for a psychologist I went and saw the GP the other day. He was eager to give me anti-depressants. Did a good job trying to sell them to me. But I was sort of reluctant and just said I wanted to understand what was wrong with me before I begin any treatment. I left with a referral to a psychiatrist. The GP didn’t even have diagnostic tools. Maybe a shrink can figure out what is wrong.

– DK

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