My Arthritis Make Me Feel So Guilty-Part 1 written by Wendy McBrair MS, BSN, read more about Wendy and Husband Pete on our "all About Us" page
Webster defines guilt as the fact of having committed a specified act or crime. It is used in this instance as a powerful word associated with the law. According to Webster, the word clearly says we have done something illegal and very wrong. When I first realized that I was feeling guilty all the time for having to make decisions and take actions based on the symptoms or status of my arthritis, I had to examine what was really going on. If I chose to believe the Webster definition, I asked myself, “Did having arthritis mean I had committed a crime? Was the specified act I was committing of having to take care of myself something I should have been able to avoid – something I could have avoided? Did I really sign up to have arthritis? Did I chose to have it impact my life, my family’s life, our finances, our choices of homes to live in, of cars to drive, to name a few? Was saying no to my family, if it was in the best interests of my health and thus resulting in the best interests of my family, really so bad. It might be disappointing but it clearly didn’t fall into the category of having committed a crime. Yes, there was a long list of impacts but clearly they were not illegal or a crime. Perhaps, I was being too hard on myself and feeling guilty was inappropriate. Perhaps I needed to take a look at my feelings of guilt and ask if they were helping with my adjustment to having arthritis or my family’s understanding of my health issues and needs. It can be as easy as learning that you say to yourself, ‘I need to allow my children not to do chores because they need to help me a little more because I have arthritis.’ Or chores and helping family are a part of life. Let’s create a helpful, supportive family structure that can benefit everyone and teach children responsibility. Clearly this is not illegal or a crime but wonderful instead! So take a minute, and make sure the decision you make is a good one and try not to let guilt be the deciding motivator.
Have a question or comment for Wendy? email her at