I have always been a giver, but how much of that is out of guilt? I made a lot of poor choices as a kid. Namely that I used to have quite the reputation as a thief. I’m talking anything from a small item to money. Always from people I knew. I don’t really get the urge to do that anymore. It was never done out of necessity. It was as if the desire would come over me and I just did it impulsively. I have come to learn that this could have been a sign of the bipolar at a young age, but I don’t tell my family that. I don’t like to talk about it with them. I think that they might see it as an excuse. If they come to the conclusion or correlation on their own then that is fine with me. I wish that I could tell them that it was the reason for things, but I really don’t know. All I know is that I don’t feel that way when I am taking my medicines.
The trouble is that I feel like I am forever trying to make up for the shit that I have done. I am trying to be the daughter, sister, and friend that I truly feel like I am. So I overcompensate. I put myself in debt to make sure that everyone has what they need and admittedly, things they don’t. I buy elaborately priced items that I know they would love, put off a bill of my own to make sure that I am doing everything in my power so that they don’t get that feeling I gave them. The feeling that they have lost control of things and I am off living my carefree life.
They shower me with words of gratitude and it doesn’t feel deserved. It feels like I should be doing these things because of the things I have done in the past. I feel like I owe them. Honestly, I don’t even feel like my mom would speak to me if I didn’t do these things because I feel like when she thinks or mentions my past she is disgusted with me. I am disgusted with me.
It’s disheartening when I really think about the reach and ripple effect that my mental illness has on my life. It has been about seven years (I think?) since I last stole something and yet the guilt feels like yesterday. Honestly, I don’t think I ever truly felt guilty about my acts when they happened. If anything, I felt guilty that I got caught. I felt bad for me. That is the one thing that makes me feel like my mental illness WAS the cause of the chaos. Yes, I made the choices. But the feeling that I was untouchable and didn’t care about the consequences? That isn’t me.
I think that everyone wants to explain away their faults and mistakes. I don’t want to be the person that doesn’t take responsibility for their actions. I also don’t want to be the person that can’t move on. I changed my behavior, dug into the root cause, apologized, made amends, and yet now I am enabling more reckless behavior. I don’t know that the feeling of betrayal and anger will come rushing back to my family members should I stop helping and doing. I also don’t know if I am strong enough to just let them go should they decide that I still have making up to do.
I know deep down that if people are only okay when you are doing for them, then they are not people I need in my life. I just know that it wouldn’t be completely unfathomable for them to still harbor anger with me. Realistically, I don’t think that it would go as far as total disconnect from my family, but my conscious is a funny thing. The way I treated them is an ultimate betrayal and I just don’t know how to shake it.
I can see how this is a sort of self-punishment or form of coping, but I find myself wondering if anyone else has made such poor choices and also experiences mental illness? I feel like a criminal (honestly I was in the grand scheme of things) and a fraud.