How do you let go of guilt and anxiety?

I saw the GP today. They have increased my anti-depressants and signed me off work for two weeks. The result is Guilt and Anxiety. The tortoise and hare are off the starting line.

The Hare (anxiety with a guilt backpack) starts to tell me I am not enough. I am letting down the students, the other teachers in my department and my bosses. It tells me I should be able to deal with all this while going to work each day. I worry about being judged by others. The panic causes me to breathe faster and my heart jumps about in my chest. My mind hurts as thoughts race around my brain, making me feel dizzy.

Many people will be judging me. Thinking I should be at school as I am not physically sick. I am not glued to the toilet, in hospital or unable to move. That doesn’t mean I do not have some physical symptoms: I am exhausted, having headaches, feel dizzy, nauseous and my whole body feels heavy. Yet I don’t feel it is enough for people to justify me being off. I feel they will judge me. Worse than that, I am judging me.

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My tortoise (logical brain) tries to reason with the hare. It explains that mental illnesses are equivalent of physical. That I am justified in my feelings and just like I could not cure my own physical illnesses, I need help and support to get better. My desperate despair will take time to get over and it is exhausting to do it. But they feel like clichés, slogans and advice I give others.

Am I letting anyone down? It is hard at school to find cover and make it meaningful. Will students miss out on having me as they will have a cover teacher instead. But sometimes our own health has to come first and I will help them as soon as I am back. How much use would I be in this state of mind? I am finding it hard to concentrate and it would be impossible to pretend to be ok for 5 hours a day in front of the children.

So, I need to show myself some compassion and let it go. I need to look after me and let the guilt go. But it is so much easier to say it. How do you let it all go? Reminding myself over and over. Will my mind just finally click into understanding?

I have learnt to be more compassionate to myself in the last couple of years. I now allow myself time to rest and recoup. I give myself time to look after my mind through meditating and reading. I adopted my lovely puppy, Toby, and I go for forest bathing walks. I have stepped away from toxic family members and that was not easy. So maybe this compassion about being off work will come too.

Maybe I just need to breathe, to give myself time and be patient with my life in this mental world.

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3 thoughts on “How do you let go of guilt and anxiety?

  1. Recognise a lot of this. Takes time, not sure there is a moment when it clicks together, just small moments that in retrospect build into a more gentler way of being. Take it easy and gentle, it will come.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am SO SO SO glad you went to the GP and got the inc. dosage & time off. That is the wise way to go. I’m deeply proud of you!

    Of course there’s the awful guilt. I understand that. It SUCKS to know there will be those out there who judge and don’t get it. But you’re suffering from something serious and real. That’s the bottom line. I know there are those nasty “doubt demons” but you wrote something so profound and brilliant—you gave yourself (and us) the best advice/wisdom one could ask for:

    “Maybe I just need to breathe, to give myself time and be patient with my life in this mental world.”

    Your students will be fine. Better than fine. Teacher coverage will be arranged and while it won’t be as good as you, it’s okay. Two weeks is nothing in the big picture. You must get better.

    Sending you heaps of love!

    p.s. I nominated MHBC for the London Book Fair best book podcast & you absolutely deserve to win!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mental ill health sucks big time and I wish logic could think it away. If only it was that simple. I think you are often too harsh on yourself and that your compassionate side is growing but at times it is still difficult to hold onto. We have gotten used to the same old patterns of beating ourselves up over everything.

    But you are strong and are doing all the right things. Please remember that I love you and that there are so many people out there that want you to feel better.

    Liked by 1 person

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